Now we’re gaining some momentum. Site traffic today was back to peak levels. Blogging as a modern medium still follows some old-school rules: specifically, publish or perish. There is clearly a direct correlation to new, good posts and blog traffic. Duh. I know that y’all likes you some recommendations. It’s clear people want to be told what to eat.
Today, it’s a hodge podge. I’ve got a bunch of favorites that don’t fit a category. So, let’s just let em all hang out.
Yank Sing House Special Soup Dumplings: Say what you will about Dim Sum in San Francisco and the battle between Yank Sing and Ton Kiang, the soup dumpling at the former is one of the best dishes in our fair city. What a surprise to find a glorious, savory broth magically swishing about inside a tender dumpling, floating in a bath of a sweet sauce and sliced ginger. It is so well crafted that I laughed smugly at Heaven’s Dog far inferior interpretation. You don’t mess with the Zohan.
Hayes Street Grill Crab Cake Sandwich: I cannot speak to the quality of this restaurant because I haven’t been there in nearly 15 years. It’s just not on the radar of your average SF foodie. But they do something at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings that keeps me coming back again and again. The construct of the sandwich is perfect in many ways to my sensibilities. Let me deconstruct….. the bread is simple, white toasted on a fire to gain a lot of smokey flavor. This is critical. The crab cake is solid. Not the best crab cake I’ve ever had, but it’s a fine crab cake at that. It doesn’t need to be the best. Add to that a juicy, large slice of tomato. Sweet and cool meets crispy and savory. A little greens and tartar sauce round out the whole deal and man it just works. I get mine with a side of crispy bacon and it fuels me up for a market day.
Quince Ravioli: I’m not of the ilk that can afford to dine at Quince weekly. It’s a special occasion place. And it’s always special. I can confidently say that there is no pasta in our fair city that elevates the form like Quince (though Flour and Water is as close as close can get). Any pasta you eat at Quince could live on this list. There is simply too much care put into conceptualizing the preparations to not receive my praise. As I’ve said before, truly great pasta is about subtleties in textures and flavors that transcend the predispositions we hold. Ravioli is the purest example of how Quince can exceed any expectation. You’ll know it when you see it.
Nihon Tuna Carpaccio: Sushi is tough. Everyone has an opinion. The current darling, Sebo has everyone buzzing and I agree that they are pretty amazing. But I don’t want to get bogged down with identifying particular dishes in sushi joints. These seas are far too rough to navigate. Let’s leave them for my list of best restaurants. But……there is one dish that sticks in my mind as exemplary and worthy of joining this list. Nihon’s Tuna Carpaccio with white truffle oil, ponzu sauce & hawaiian sea salt is a crazy perfect blend of this and thats, these and those.
Gaspare’s Veal Milanese: This one is so out of place on any list, but what can I say – I love Gaspare’s. Everything is good and reminds me of my early years in New Jersey, eating late nights at Tony’s Baltimore Grill. The food is decidedly old-school AmerItalian. The lasagna is stunning. The pizza is greasy and flavorful. The chicken parmigiano is absolutely the real deal. But the dish that keeps calling me these days is the Veal Milanese. There is nothing particularly impressive about this except that it is exactly what it should be. A tender cutlet of veal, pounded thin and breaded (the breading is important and they get it right), fried and served with a little butter and lemon juice on top. I get it with a side of their spaghetti and meat sauce, which has a sweet, thick pile of sauce for sopping with bread when you’re done. Mamma mia.
I think I’ve got two or three more days in me of this. Frankly, it’s a hard exercise because I can barely narrow down the choices on some menus, let alone picking from the lineup of talent we have across the city.