NYC Food Lovers Visiting SF for Weekend...help!
Dear SF Foodophiles,
The man I am going to marry (sorry, I hate the French word for it) and I are visiting SF the weekend of the 20th. We are going with the excuse of going to look for possible places to get married and have our "reception" at (there are going to be 20 people tops). Almost as exciting as the pending nuptials is the fact that we LOVE food & wine (we own a little retail wine shop in the East Village and recently opened a cheese shop 2 doors away) and are looking so forward to our weekend away. The problem is that I personally haven't been to SF since I was 14 yrs old and my guy hasn't been since the mid 90's.
Here's where you come in: We want to eat memorably on our weekend there. We don't mind spending the dough on a meal that will transcend us but we also find few things more satisfying than having delicious food anywhere that doesn't require sitting at a "normal" restaurant. We NEED your help. If you were us, knowing what you know about food, us, and our situation, where would you go??? We plan on having 3 dinners, 2 lunches, and 3 breakfasts on our long weekend there (in addition to looking for the perfect spot to exchange our vows so any suggestions that you have for that would be much appreciated too). What do you say??
Thanks in advance,
B & D
PS We've been given everything including Tartine, Papalotes, Blue Bottle, Wierd Fish, & Ubunto just so you know the direction. Thanks!
Alright, SF 'hounds, go for it. And don't forget NYC isn't known for good Mexican food. And *I* am going to sit here at Lake Tahoe and take really careful notes.
My picks would be:
Coi - for your splurge meal. I went a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I don't think anyone in NYC is doing this exact style - local/seasonal with a strong Asian influence, plus a smattering of molecular gastro technique - it seems like a lot of seemingly disparate styles, but they meld beautifully, I didn't find anything too precious or forced.
La Ciccia - I don't think there are any Sardinian restaurants in NYC anymore, and this one's great. Intimate, lovely food, interesting wine list heavy on Southern Italian varietals that could be fun for 2 wine people. If there's a pasta with tuna heart on the menu, get it.
The wine list:
Bar Tartine - for the bread from Tartine Bakery (one of the area's best), and also for their take on Cal-Mediterranean cuisine.
Zuni - for a burger (lunchtime and after 10 PM only) and Bloody Mary. People love the roast chicken with bread salad too, but I'm all about the burger.
Lers Ros Thai - I haven't been here yet, but the reports are very strong:
Bi-Rite and Humphrey Slocombe for ice cream - because I've always found NYC surprisingly weak when it comes to premium ice cream.
Your Saturday breakfast should be a plate of chilaquiles from the Primavera stand at the Ferry Building Farmer's market. While you're there, grab a levain from Della Fattoria and some cheese from Andante Dairy.
Oh, and my favorite item at Tartine Bakery is the giant, super cheesy gougere.
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131
373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
3692 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
2790 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Lers Ros Thai
730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA
Those who are familiar with my post will probably say I'm beating a dead horse here, but La Mar at Pier 1 1/2 is a great place for out of towners -- even foodie New Yorkers! Because this is Gaston Acurio's (Peru's ambassador of fine and authentic Peruvian dining) only restaurant in North America. Fantastic cerbiche (raw fish that's "cooked" in lime juice) but the place also shows the countries range of influences -- Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish.
Other than that, I think almost any of the great restaurants in the Mission's restaurant row are fun for out of towners: Dosa, Spork.
And places I just love: Zuni, Isa, Blue Plate, Kokkari
Vows & Mexican and Not Sitting in a Normal Restaurant: Tonayense Taco Truck on Harrison and 19th Street - best tacos around! I can just picture the festivities as you and your guests crowd around the truck, lean on the chain link fence, slurping down juicy carne asada and carnitas tacos and salsa and chips and pledge your everlasting love to each other . . . then walk to Mission or Valencia and into any bar for a post-nuptual toast!
Not sure if you want Thai, but I've never had good Thai in NYC so here is one place that is worth checking out: Thai House Express at the intersection of Castro St and 19th St. Unlike lots of the other Thai places in the city (and there are many) that are very Westerized, this place is actually really good and authentic. There are several locations and the original on Geary St in the Tenderloin is arguably the most authentic and where all the Thais go, but it's also in a very seedy part of town so I'd stick to the one in the Castro.
So at Thai House Express I'd recommend the following dishes: (1) kao soy--ribbon egg noodle in thick yellow curry with chicken, purple onion slices and pickles (2) yellow curry powder fried rice with shrimp, onions, carrots and celery (3) salmon steamed in banana leaf--once in a while they over-steam it but usually they get it right (4) five spice duck--beware, they use very fat duck (5) pork stew--sometimes it's not that tender but usually it is since they also use very fatty meat (6) tom yum noodle soup with rice noodles and (7) pad see ew--flat rice noodles stir fried with broccoli and pork .
The last one is a very common Thai dish but it is a good litmus test for good Thai food since Thai people are very adept at stir-frying flat rice noodles and making sure that the sauce is spread evenly but thinly throughout the dish without too much oil.