Keiko a Nob Hill

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I was saving to eat at Keiko a Nob Hill for a special occasion so I think the last day of foie gras seems pretty appropriate.  Keiko a Nob Hill has two rooms.  The dining room serves the tasting menu only and the other  serves the a la carte items.
Keiko's signature foie gras as well as her tasting menu is all the buzz lately.  At $85 dollars this tasting menu is a steal compared to other SF tasting menus.  I wouldn't be surprised if Keiko a Nob Hill was awarded a Michelin star in the near future.

A modern take on split pea soup.  This amuse bouche was made of three layers of sophistication.  The top layer was creamy and foamy with a layer of warm pea soup and ending with a chilled minty finish.  The bean bavcarois was a firm green jelly with a strong green bean flavor with hints of bacon.   

A delicate dish with so many complex flavors.  Soy marinated tuna tartare with a runny quail egg and a squid ink chip.  The avocado and wasabi ice cream was bursting with rich avocado flavor.  

The seared foie gras dish with espresso sauce is Keiko's signature dish.  The richness from the foie balanced well with the bitter espresso sauce.  A dollap of artichoke and sweet potato puree helped to clean the fattiness from the palette. 
Fluffy, brioche buns were perfect vehicles for sopping up the leftover drippings from the foie gras.
The lobster ravioli supplement was buttery, rich, and decadent.  The two plump pieces of lobster claw and chunks of porcini mushrooms soaked up the butter sauce well.  One large ravioli stuffed with shredded lobster was the prize at the bottom of the dish.  A squirt of parmesan foam gave the dish a strong sharp flavor.  A well executed dish, but nothing exciting for me.  It was probably my least favorite of the meal.
Delicate slices of black angus rib eye and eggplant layers with the freshly shaved black truffle ($30 additional) option.  I love the smell of freshly shaved truffles.  The earthy smell and taste took this dish to a whole another level.  The beef was so tender and succulent.

The Fourme D'Ambert cheese is wrapped with a fig inside the flakey phyllo pastry.  The French cheese flavor reminds me of blue cheese, but its pungent taste paired well with the fig for a sweet and savory combination.

The dessert was so beautifully presented, it was hard to believe there were so many components to this dish.  Chocolate mousse, strawberry ice cream, strawberry sorbet, meringue, and mascarpone cheese are just some of the delicious parts.  My favorite was the little jellies that gave this dessert a fruity, refreshing, and fun ending. 
I've never been one to turn away a pastry that I've never seen before.  Originated from the Bordeaux region of France, the cannele bordelais are one of the most difficult French pastries to make.  The waxy looking coating of the pastry is actually beeswax.  A firm, but custardy filling is enclosed with a thin crisp shell.  The server let me in on a secret that you can actually buy these from the restaurant, no minimum order needed.

Address:                         Keiko a Nob Hill
                                               1250 Jones St.
                                               San Francisco, CA  

Type:                         Japanese/French             

Popular chomps:    tasting menu/foie gras with espresso sauce

Chomp worthy:        tasting menu
                                               foie gras with espresso sauce        


Devil's Teeth Baking Company

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Sometimes I feel like I have days when my sweet tooth goes into overdrive...  That plus the allure of freshly made beignets was enough to get me to go all the way to Outer Sunset. 
Freshly made pastries and other baked goodies made it a little hard to choose what to get.  Fyi - Bicycle coffee is served here.

The beignets here are availabe Sundays only.  They are freshly made to order and given to you steaming hot in a bag of powdered sugar.  With a little shake of the bag, the fried pieces of dough are lightly covered in the powdered sugar and dangerously, but delightfully hot.  At a dollar a piece, the price makes it even harder to resist.  Don't make the mistake I did and wear black,when devouring these pillows of air.  I forgot how messy powdered sugar is.
The lightly coated powdered sugar beignets.  Delicious!
I was hoping the donut muffin would be as light and airy as the beignets, but it was more dense and heavy.  Love the cinnamon sugar coating though.  Churro flavored!
The cinnamon buns are gigantic here with layers of gooey cinnamon and sugar.  The best parts of the cinnamon bun were the caramelized bits of sugar stuck between the layers.  I wished the bun was lighter and fluffier.  

Address:                        Devil's Teeth Bakery Company
                                              3876 Noriega St.
                                              San Francisco, CA 
Type:                                bakery

Popular chomps:  cinnamon bun
                                              donut muffin

Chomp worthy:       beignets       


Craftsman & Wolves

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Craftsman & Wolves has been open for about a week and its already becoming one of the hottest eateries in the city.  Small and discrete with no signage at all, but the small "746" to denote its address. 

The interior is ultra modern and sleek, you almost forget you're in a bakery.  I actually came here on the weekend in hopes of scoring a couple of the highly prized pastries, but was shocked to find that by mid afternoon most of the popular pastries were already sold out.  So I put Plan B into effect - arrive here around opening on a weekday and treat myself to some decadent noshings before work.  I highly recommend coming here as early as possible.  Not only is everything fully stocked and laid out in gorgeous detail, but you can fully appreciate the interior space and the pastries without the crazy masses of people.
Adorable cakes (they call it a cube cake, but I'm not going to get mathed out and say it can't be called a cube because cubes are made of 6 square faces) made with intriguing flavors such as black sesame, Earl Grey, and even Vietnamese cinnamon.  Cakes can be purchased whole for around $28 or per slice for around $6.  This is definitely on my list of things to try on my next visit here.
The croissants, muffins, and flaky pastries are lined up on the counter as you walk in.  The eclairs and cakes are kept inside the side counter.

Everything looked so tasty and perfectly made that I wanted to try them all, but Tartine rivaled prices, as well as a time constraint, only allowed me to choose my top two.  One that I had my eyes on before coming in was The Rebel Within.  It's located on the front counter with all the muffins.
The Devil Inside, along with more chocolate items, are stored in the refrigerated side counter.
Easily overlooked as just an ordinary biscuit muffin, The Rebel Within is made of a sausage and cheese biscuit wrapped around a sous vide egg with a runny yolk.  It took me two tries to get my hands on one of these fantastic biscuits.  Definitely come before 10a if you are looking to score one.  Fluffy and savory, this biscuit is worth the effort.  I only wished that it was served a little bit warmer.

I can see it being even more tasty if I ate it whole, but I had to slice it open just to marvel at this edible work of art.
With only 3 more days of foie gras left, I'm desperately trying to savor all these innovative creations that have popped up due to the upcoming ban.  The Devil Inside pastry at Craftsman & Wolves immediate shot to the top of my list for this week.  The pastry/cake is made of chocolate, toffee, and foie gras.  

Rich, dense, and super decadent makes it a pastry best shared unless you have a huge glass of milk to wash it down.  The chocoholic in me was easily satisfied by this, but the rest of me wondered where was the foie gras? 

Address:                        Craftsman & Wolves
                                              746 Valencia St.
                                              San Francisco, CA

Type:                        bakery/American
Popular chomps:  Rebel Within
                                              Devil Inside

Chomp worthy:      Rebel Within
                                             Devil Inside    


Taco Bell

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Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos supreme has been tempting me for a couple months.  Apparently it broke records and sold 100 million tacos in just 10 weeks so I finally broke down and had to try it for myself.  It's a taco surpreme (beef, lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, reduced fat sour cream) in a shell made from Nacho Cheese Doritos Chips.  True to any fast food, the taco was only half stuffed and they forgot the sour cream.  Besides that, it was just a regular taco with a hint of nacho cheese flavor.  Not sure if mine was a fluke (since I only ordered one), but the bottom of the taco got soggy and decided to collapse halfway through eating.  At 110 calories and around $1.29 a piece, its a fun twist on the Taco Bell taco.  Now only if they had Cool Ranch and the other Doritos flavors...

The Beefy Nacho burrito is a recent addition to their Doritos chip craze.  Not exactly an earthshaking new product, like the Doritos taco, since Ron Stoppable in the Kim Possible series sort of invented it, then Baja Fresh did its take with their Nacho Burrito like 5 years ago.  At 99 cents, how could I not try it?  It's a small burrito filled with beef, nacho cheese, sour cream, and chip strips all wrapped in a flour tortilla.  I wasn't really a fan of this new menu item.  The chips were way too soggy and were barely present in my burrito. 


Banh Mi Ba Le

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Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) has been the craze for a while now.  From food trucks to fusion banh mis like fried chicken banh mi, it makes me reminisce about a simpler time when banh mis were $1 (instead of the average $5) and they just kept it authentic and simple.  Some of my favorites for authentic banh mi are Thanh Huong and Huong Lan in San Jose, and Cam Huong in Oakland (Sorry - Saigon Sandwiches in SF  have fallen off my favorites list after their remodel), but Banh Mi Ba Le is the best banh mi I've had so far in the Bay Area.   A little bit of a trek into the not-so-safe part of Internatinal Blvd in East Oakland, but SO worth it.  Also, double bonus, you can pick up the best Bay Area tacos a couple blocks down at Sinaloa taco truck (see post HERE
Banh Mi Ba Le keeps it simple with tradional banh mis and the sandwiches here range from $2.50 to $3.50.  Okay, so the $5 toll makes these sandwiches above the average $5 SF banh mi prices for me, but SF banh mis don't even come close!  Not to mention a runny egg in your banh mi is almost unheard of in SF. 
They have a lot of freshly made goodies also like spring rolls, vermicelli, and some rice plates.

Thick and refreshing, the mango smoothies here are actually made with real fruit, not the powdery artificial stuff.

#13 - the pork meatball with fried egg sandwich.  This is their most popular sandwich and rightfully so.  The sandwich comes warm and perfectly toasted.  Crispy on the outside, but not so hard you hurt your mouth when eating, and soft, fluffy insides.  Since the egg is fried and runny, it's best you eat the sandwich asap to get the full gooey texture of the egg along with the crispy, warm bread. 

The pork meatball isn't really a meatball, but more like ground pork with amazing flavor.  Unlike some banh mis, you get a huge dose of flavor in each bite.  They don't put a lot of pickled veggies in here, but I find that its a perfect ratio of bread to meat to veggies.  They also had a quarter slice of cucumber for an added crunch.  I love how the runny egg gushes through the whole sandwich.  Be careful when eating this since the egg tends to drip out of the sandwich. 
 The grilled pork (#8) is also another popular sandwich here.  After having the meatball and fried egg, I felt like this sandwich was a little dry and bland.  The grilled pork comes in thick slabs and tend to be a little on the drier side.  I think it would be better with a runny egg!  Like most Asian spots, you can customize the sandwiches with an egg - will do that next time for this sandwich... 

The inside of the grilled pork banh mi (#8).

Address:                         Banh Mi Ba Le
                                               1909 International Blvd
                                               Oakland, CA

Type:                                 Vietnamese/sandwich

Popular chomps:   #13 - pork meatball with fried egg
                                              #8   - grilled pork

Chomp worthy:       #13 - pork meatball with fried egg         



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After having some delicious foie from Naked Lunch (see post HERE), I decided to book the foie tasting for their restaurant, Txoko.  Only 5 more days to savor the last bites of foie, so I've been scrambling to get my last bites of foie in.  For the last Tues and Thurs of the month, Txoko has a $65/pp 4 course foie gras tasting menu.
Even for weekday dinners, Txoko was fully booked.  Although, majority of the tables seemed to be indulging in the foie tasting meal.

The first course of the foie tasting meal was the "salt cured foie gras torchon".  From left to right: salt cured foie gras torchon, dates, toasted almonds, and duck confit salad.  The foie gras was placed on a small toasted bread that was salty and savory.  Each bite melted in your mouth and made me wish for another.  One thing I've noticed at Txoko/Naked Lunch is their foie gras is savory and delicious, but too rich.  Most foie gras I've had, it becomes too rich for me after a couple bites, but at Txoko/Naked Lunch the foie taste in my mouth makes me yearn for more.  The syrupy sweetness from the dates complimented the sweet notes of the foie gras. Besides the foie torchon, the duck confit salad was the other standout of this dish.  Salty bits of the duck confit made my mouth salvitate for more.  That is a seriously good salad. 
Close up of the foie gras torchon. 
"Foie gras a la plancha".  A seared piece of foie gras resting on top a toasted bread with slices of piquillo pepppers for sweetness and shredded crispy potatoes for crunch.  I felt a little jipped to know that two courses in a row were similar in style - foie on a toasted bread.  This dish was a little sweeter than the first dish (more savory) due to the piquillo peppers and the corn syrup.  This dish was good, but it was my least favorite dish of the meal.    
"Pan Roasted Muscovy Hen Breast".  The hen had a slightly crispy crust with super tender, juicy meat inside.  Well cooked, but I was hoping for some in-your-face foie taste.  I loved the lentil and wild mushroom underneath the hen.  The only foie thing on this dish was the foie sauce, but it didn't have a strong foie flavor.  If I hadn't know it was a foie dressing, I would never guessed it had foie in it.  A good dish, but not a good foie dish.

The foie gras ice cream was possibly the most interesting and anticipated dish on the menu for me.  It was topped with flecks of sea salt and fresh apricot compote and whole wheat sable cookie crumbles.  I was only able to taste a small savory component in the first couple bites of the ice cream.  Not really a foie taste, but more of a rich, fatty taste and after taste in those few bites.  Each of the parts of this dish were tasty - the apricot was fresh and flavorful, but not exciting if you were expecting foie. 

Address:                        Txoko
                                              504 Broadway
                                              San Francisco, CA  

Type:                                Basque/Spanish

Popular chomps:    foie tasting menu

Chomp worthy:        foie gras torch with duck confit salad        


Sanders Potato Chip Chocolate Bar

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On my way to get a sandwich for lunch at Schaub's in Palo Alto, a chocolate candy bar caught my eye.  I've had chocolate dipped potato chips before, but never in a chocolate bar.  I remember loving the salty taste and crunchy texture mixed with sweet chocolately goodness.  I sort of hoped that this would rekindle some of those great chocolate memories and tastes.

The bar itself is quite large.  I liked how it was sectioned off into breakable and bite size pieces.  The chocolate is rich and velvety, but there wasn't many potato chips pieces mixed it.  Not sure if the chocolate absorbed most of the salt in the mixture process, but there were no salty bits.  Once in a while I would bite into a chunk of potato chips, but that just reminded me of the crispy bits of a crunch bar.  Sad...


Wing Wings

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Is it me or are wings and anything with fried chicken popping up everywhere?  Wing Wings offers some affordable wings with a late night option on the weekends (open till 2a).
Their menu.  It includes items from The Creme Brulee Cart and Three Twins Ice Cream (located down the street).  The small size of wings (5 pieces) has a choice of one sauce and the large and jumbo has a choice of two sauces.
Wing Wings list of sauces and descriptions for their wings. 
They have 3 types of fries here:  seasoned fries, gravy fries, and chili cheese fries.  The gravy fries comes with a white gravy smothered over thick cut seasoned fries.  I didn't really care too much for the seasoned fries.  They were a little too sweet for my taste.  The flavor of the seasoned fries and white gravy didn't work well.  The sweet and salty didn't work well in this dish.

The Angry Korean sauce was sticky and sweet with a slight kick, but it was mostly on the sweet side.  The sauce was really similar to Gochujang sauce (the red colored  Korean sweet and slightly spicy sauce).  The chicken itself is meaty and well cooked.  These were my favorite of the three choices I had.

Opening this box, you can smell the orange on these orange miso wings.  These wings had a very sweet scent so the possibility of being overly sweet worried me a bit.  They turned out to be sweet and tangy, but still delicious.  I didn't taste any miso flavor though.  There are 5 wings to a small order, but I got lucky and found six in this box.  Score!

 Their signature wing wings flavor was the thinnest of the sauces I ordered.  You can taste more of the fried bits of the chicken and their crispy texture.  The sauce is on the sweeter side with a very small hint of spicy.  Decent, but I probably wouldn't order it again.

 The chicken salad on a biscuit is $3 here.  When I ordered it, I noted it was really cheap and a good deal.  Only after I got home did I realized how tiny it is.  About two inches on each side, it could probably be demolished in 3 large bites.  The biscuit here is not fluffy, but more on the dense side.  It was pretty tasteless as far as biscuits go, but the chicken salad was fresh tasting with bits of celery for an added crunch.

Again, another biscuit that was more dense than soft and fluffy.  The brown sugar salt and pepper biscuit is heavily coated in a layer of sugar that gives it a tiny crunch.  Reminded me of a churro in taste, but dense in texture like a brownie.  Creative.

Address:                        Wing Wings
                                              422 Haight St.
                                              San Francisco, CA

Type:                        American/chicken wings/late night

Popular chomps:   Angry Korean wings
                                              Miso orange wings
                                              brown sugar salt and pepper biscuit
                                              fried oyster mushrooms
                                              gravy fries
                                              chicken salad on a biscuit          

Chomp worthy:       angry Korean wings
                                              miso orange wings