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Dec 4, 2010 09:00 AM

Best bites of 2010

It's December, right? Never too early to start a top 10 list.

What were the best new things you ate and drank this year?

- chocolate bread at Thorough Bakery
- Montego Bay cocktail at Flora
- fried chicken wings with sticky sauce at Shanghai House
- perfect cup of coffee at Sightglass, consumed while leaning on bags of beans to watch the World Cup final projected on the wall
- home-smoked trout from La Bedaine
- any sorbet from Delise, preferably with tiny cookie
- breek, the Tunisian crepe, at Cafe Zitouna
- exceptionally fresh ikura (salmon roe) at Sebo

and still room for a couple more before New Year's.

Best out of town: Ketart oysters and beef tartare at Thistle in McMinnville; pastrami at Kenny & Zuke's in Portland; venison carpaccio at Gaumenspiel in Vienna.


517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Cafe Zitouna
1201 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Shanghai House
3641 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

1900 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

Thorough Bread and Pastry
248 Church Street, San Francisco, CA

Sightglass Coffee
270 7th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

DeLise dessert cafe
327 Bay St, San Francisco, CA 94133

La Bedaine
1585 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

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  1. can only think of two right now:
    Commis' amuse bouche egg yolk with onion cream
    Extremely Hot Peppers from Old Mandarin Islamic

    Thanks for posting about the brique at Cafe Zitouna - had that for the first and so far only time in Marseille in 2005 and fell in love with it.

    I'm sure I'll think of some more, tho I didn't go out to as many new places (that i loved) this year as in others...

    Oh, Tony's Pizza Napoletana - The New Yorker.

    Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant
    3132 Vicente St, San Francisco, CA 94116

    Cafe Zitouna
    1201 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

    3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

    2 Replies
    1. re: mariacarmen

      The extremely hot pepper is best on top of one of the Old Mandarin's green onion pancakes.

      I didn't know what I was ordering with the breek until I bit into it, which made it even better. Try it and see what you think. Also it's a steal--$4.50? and served beautifully drizzled with olive oil, lemon, and parsley.

      1. re: mariacarmen

        just remembered another: Burmese Kitchen's fish chowder, with crispy lentils added.

      2. Unforunately the "best ofs" I experienced out of town were significantly better than anything I've had in the Bay Area. They were:

        1. The BBQ oysters at Cochon in New Orleans.
        2. The chicken under a brick at Dante's Kitchen in New Orleans.
        3. The whole fried flounder at Skipper's in Darien, GA
        4. The mustard greens at Mrs. Wilkes in Savannah, GA
        5. The deviled crab at Posey's Steamroom in Panacea, FL
        6. The Warm Cauliflower Sformatino with Soft Organic Egg, Pancetta, Parmigiano at Trattoria Lucca in Charleston, SC

        For Bay Area, I'd have to go with:

        1. The crispy pork belly at Thai House Express on Larkin.
        2. The roasted beets at Osteria Stellina in Point Reyes Station.
        3. The braised beef with shaved black truffles at Cyrus in Healdsburg.


        Thai House Express
        901 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        Osteria Stellina
        11285 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station, CA

        1. The first thing that comes to mind is the Classic deep-dish pizza at Little Star in Albany.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Des Alpes-inspired kale and hard-boiled egg salad at Vineyards Inn.

            Vineyards Inn
            8445 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood, CA 95452

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Robert: Do they have pizza other than deep-dish? I can't abide all that filling. I have no allies in this belief. Everybody loves the deep dish. I think it tastes like a big bowl of tomato sauce.

              1. re: oakjoan

                Little Star in the city has very good thin crust. I liked it better than their deep dish.

                1. re: Windy

                  In Albany, too. The thin crust is surprisingly good--I was expecting thick Zachary-like slabs (which I also like, actually).

                2. re: oakjoan

                  Zachary's deep-dish (except maybe for the spinach pie) is a big dough bowl of tomato sauce topped with an extra layer of dough ("stuffed') and more tomato sauce.

                  Little Star's, at least the Classic, has maybe only half the filling and, like the Uno original, there's more sausage and cheese than sauce. I'm not sure the Little Star has any tomato at all.

                  The one time I tried Little Star's thin crust, a chicken pesto pie, I thought it was pretty good.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Didn't like the chicken pesto, dull with dry chicken. Did like the Italian Combo.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I always go for the Little Star deep dish, but the couple of times I had the thin crust (chicken pesto too, I believe), it was good as well.

                3. Arctic char and roe at Bar Crudo.

                  Sweetbreads at Bouchon (Yountville).

                  Bar Crudo
                  655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

                  6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: steve h.

                    I loved the arctic char when I had it at Bar Crudo too.

                    Have you seen it on a menu anywhere else in town?

                    Bar Crudo
                    655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

                    1. re: Windy

                      The horseradish cream and the wasabi make this dish pretty unique as far as I can see. I'm glad you enjoyed the dish. Bar Crudo is one of my favorite haunts.

                      Bar Crudo
                      655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

                      1. re: Windy

                        how is it prepared? tataki serves arctic char, but the whole time i was eating it, i was thinking about i'd rather be eating salmon

                    2. Oooh, what a fun task. A few off the top of my head:

                      - potato "chicarones" at Plum (the most addictive thing I've ingested in my life)
                      - satiny cold tomato soup at Osterla Stellina
                      - goat's milk and beet sorbet duo with pear jus at Aziza
                      - peach leaf panna cotta with double cherry coulis at Range

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: originalfig

                        Ooh, the 4505 Chicarrones have to go on my list, for sure. And I think the Xocalatl de david caramel bacon bar I had just yesterday has to as well.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          Shouldn't Portland get credit for Xocalatl de David? I didn't realize you could get them here. (And do they have foietella?)

                          1. re: Windy

                            I got them at Fog City News -- they several different bars. Foietella?

                            Fog City News
                            455 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94105

                              1. re: Windy

                                Yeah, I went and looked at it on their website. Sounds revolting, but if someone is willing to get me a jar I'm willing to try it!

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  And will they get to have a tee shirt saying "I made Ruth Lafler try foietella?