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Reporting Back from my Week in SF

Per usual, I am reporting back on my week of gluttony. While I was not able to execute to my exact plans, I think I did pretty well considering how much bread I ended up eating at my SFBI class! Sorry for the length, I tried to succinctly detail what was eaten:

Brunch at Bar Tartine - very good French Toast with perfectly ripe bananas, candied walnuts and a tiny bit of sweetened creme fraiche, perfectly seasoned.

Frjtz - right across the street. Satisfied my craving for something savory after Bar Tartine, though I probably would not come back.

Dinner at Nopalito - Got the chicken tostada, caldo, and the Totopos. Caldo was bland, even with the "hot" chipotle in adobo which didn't taste spicy at all to me. Tostada was nothing to write home about but the Totopos were great.

Breakfast things from MBC - Almond Croissant, Cinnamon roll, banana pie. Everything was mediocre, the pie was especially disappointing since I had read their pies were good.

Dinner at Range - special appetizer of the day, caviar topped poached egg on toasted pain de mie and sunchoke puree(one of the two best things I ate on the trip), braised Petrale sole, hot date turnovers. Great service at the bar, special cocktail of the night was tasty as well.

Quick bite at Dynamo - still warm Chocolate Spice and the maple bacon. My 2nd time getting the bacon donut and I guess I just don't get it. This time was even worse than the first which was just meh to me. The bacon was not crispy so it had an unpleasant, almost raw smell to the donut. The chocolate spice donut was nice though, very prominent cayenne flavor.

Dinner - Super "Baby" Prawn burrito: good stuff, very nicely cooked prawns(and super generous with them), nicely proportioned. Definitely want to come back and try the steak and prawn burrito.

Coffee at Ritual - Cappuccino. I don't recall the bean, it was a nice cup but not as good as Intelligentsia.

Dinner at Pearl's Deluxe - Phat Bob? Good burger, I think fairly priced for the quality of ingredients though the atmosphere would make you think otherwise. Good sweet potato fries, regular fries were nothing special.

Breakfast at Plow - Body was craving something somewhat healthy after all the previous eats, so I got the Anson oatmeal(comes with banana, brown sugar and walnuts on the side) and english muffin with housemade PB and honey. Nice oatmeal, though really needed the brown sugar. English muffin was yummy with the slightly grainy(love!) PB.

Bi-Rite - Always try to hit this place up when in town, this time got a sundae with malted vanilla/Peanut Brittle and Chocolate and Brown sugar w/ ginger caramel swirl, housemade graham crackers and caramel sauce. Decadent, and I almost ate the whole thing!

Coffee at Philz - Twas my first time here, so go the recommended Tesoro(a?). They were really pushing the cream and sugar, though I usually take neither with my coffee. I relented and accepted the cream at least. Nice cuppa, though I didn't like how I was almost ordered to sip it before allowed to leave…

Dinner at Nopa - I FINALLY made it here! I've been trying to eat here pretty much every single time I've come to SF. I tried the flatbread w/ asparagus, pea shoots, bacon, crescenza; braised duck pappardelle; the famed burger; sopapillas. Everything was delicious, the burger(perfectly cooked to medium-rare as ordered) had a great charred/smoky flavor that I dug, though the fries were disappointing. Definitely would return.

Sat Ferry Building eats - snacked at Pepples(?), Hapa Ramen, Della Fattoria. The vegan donuts tasted okay at first but later on left a strange aftertaste…Miso Ramen hit the spot though certainly not the best ramen I've ever had. Cinnamon stick thing at Della was tasty!

Brunch at Foreign Cinema - I've been wanting to try FC for a while now and I have to say it was pretty disappointing. The space is wicked cool, but the pop tart was meh(egg wash was way too prominent a flavor, Nickel Diner in LA has a much better housemade pop tart), the brandade gratin was okay, and the dungeness crab frittatta was just okay as well. The fellini cocktail was nice though.

Dinner at Una Pizza Napoletana - I'm obsessed with pizza so I was very excited to try Anthony Mangieri's pies. I have to say, I liked them(Margherita and Filletti) very much, certainly one of the best pizzas I've had in a restaurant. The dough was a tiny bit heavier than I thought it would be, but not to a point of detriment to enjoyment. Reminded me of homemade dough/bread. Had absolutely no issues with service.

Late night snack at Marlowe - Another food item I am obsessed with: FRIES! And I heard Marlowe had some good ones. After demolishing an order in a blink of an eye, I absolutely agree. I think they might be the best or tied with the best fries I've ever had.

Snacks and things brought home on my way out of town - Tried to get the biscuits from Plow to go but apparently they don't do takeout on weekends, sad! I had to settle for a slice of apple cinn. coffeecake which was good but nothing special.

Got the biscuits and gravy to go from MBC and was totally disappointed. Dry-ish, chewy biscuit covered in decent gravy.

Pastries from Thorough - I had to come here to try the croissants since they were tempting me all week at the Institute! Very nice interior, even layers though could use a touch more butter flavor. I prefer Tartine's Pain au Chocolat still but I like the more manageable size of Thorough's goods.

Anthony's Cookies - Got a dozen varied cookies, cookies and cream was the clear winner but after eating any of the cookies, I got a strange aftertaste. Weird.

Papalote - their carne aside burrito was to be our lunch on the drive home and due to the massive size, it stayed warm for quite a while! But that was pretty much the only pro. What a terrible disappointment. Barely any meat in there and whatever was there had mostly gristle. This behemoth was tasteless, spiceless, with uneven distribution, difficult to eat.

Despite the disappointing ending note, I again was reluctant to leave….as much as I love LA, there's something about SF that just resonates with me! I, as always, look forward to coming back and continuing to eat my way through this city. I feel like I've still just scratched the surface!

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Della Fattoria
141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

Nopa
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Frjtz
581 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Bar Tartine
561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Anthony's Cookies
1417 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA

Una Pizza Napoletana
200 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Hapa Ramen
ferry building, San Francisco, CA

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  1. Thanks for the great report. Glad you had a good time. Next time try Perbacco.

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    Perbacco
    230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    1. I had the french toast over the weekend, I was kind of underwhelmed. I was hoping for something sweeter, not overpowering but I wasn't crazy about it. The ripened bananas were a nice complement, but I felt like I got the same amount of calories for half the amount of enjoyment. Maybe my batch of creme fraiche was undersweetend? Someone got the brisket hash at my table which I really liked a lot though.

      1. Thanks for your report. One question, where did you have the Super "Baby" Prawn burrito?

        1 Reply
        1. re: DavidT

          Oh goodness, I totally forgot to write that! It was at La Corneta.

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          La Corneta
          1147 San Carlos Ave, San Carlos, CA 94070

        2. Thanks for the detailed report. I'm blanking on what "MBC" stands for, though.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Mission Beach Cafe?
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/749107

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            Mission Beach Cafe
            198 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA 94103

            1. re: wolfe

              Yes, Mission Beach Cafe. So sorry everyone, I wrote most of this post while barely awake...

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              Mission Beach Cafe
              198 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA 94103

              1. re: baloney

                No need to apologize - we really appreciate it when we get reports back!

          2. Great report, and I couldn't agree more on what a bad idea bacon doughnuts are, or how overrated Papalote and Foreign Cinema are. I think Thorough's breads are better than the pastries.

            Sorry you didn't have more hits, but you should win some kind of Chowhound award for coverage.

            Will have to check out those fries at Marlowe.

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            Foreign Cinema
            2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

            11 Replies
            1. re: Windy

              I could've done some serious damage to the dining scene had I not had to spend 9 hours at the school! I didn't buy any of Thorough's breads since I was basically baking them myself the whole week. I literally had an entire ice chest full of bread to bring home and it is so good, most is already gone.

              I was DYING to try La Ciccia and/or Perbacco but I just didn't have the room in le stomach! Grumble. I promise to make it a priority next trip.

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              La Ciccia
              291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

              Perbacco
              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

              1. re: baloney

                Thanks for the great report from another visitor who pines for SF between twice-yearly visits. Can you expand on what it is you love about the fries at Marlowe's? It is on my very long list...

                    1. re: grayelf

                      Hard to describe, I think I was in a haze of deliciousness: it's not too thick, SUPER crispy(almost like it has the thinnest membrane of tempura but not) but with the potatoe-y inside still. Every single fry, and I mean every single one, was crispy from beginning to end. The only fault I could find was that the salt could have been a bit more evenly distributed but that is nit-picking. Service was very friendly as well, though the space is small and LOUD. I think next time if I eat there, it'll be earlier in the evening when maybe there's less of a crowd.

                      1. re: baloney

                        That is a great description -- I am going to have to go! And the fry link was fun reading also. Thanks again!

                        1. re: grayelf

                          yeah! Fries made the list! awesome.

                        2. re: baloney

                          Next time you're in town, if you get a chance to come to Alameda, you might want to check out the Buffalo fries at Scolari's. So good!
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/734866

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                          Scolari's
                          1303 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

                    2. re: Windy

                      Count me in as another that doesn't quite get the hype for Foreign Cinema.

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                      Foreign Cinema
                      2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

                      1. re: Civil Bear

                        It's a beautiful space, and scene-y, if you like that crowd. And they do a good job with eggs (but so do I).

                        1. re: Windy

                          Yes the space is awesome; also, as I mentioned on another thread, I had fantastic food for dinner there 2 weeks ago. The food this time was just as good as the food at Nopa and almost as good as Aziza (although obviously not as original) . Our guest (who is a well traveled foodie) was very pleased.
                          Perhaps it is inconsistent and hence the mixed chowhound opinion? Maybe we've always gotten lucky... I have yet to visit for brunch.

                    3. For me, you have to have eggs at Foreign Cinema's brunch - they wrote a cookbook about eggs! I know others don't think they're that special, but i like the space and i love their egg dishes.

                      Glad you had a good time!

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                      Foreign Cinema
                      2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: mariacarmen

                        Foreign Cinema's croque madame is the best I've had in the Bay Area. Their hamburger and bloody mary are a contenders for the best in my book, too.

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                        Foreign Cinema
                        2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

                        1. re: scarmoza

                          After having a dozen meals at Foreign Cinema, I've loved every one except the one brunch I had there. I think dinner is the way to go.

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                          Foreign Cinema
                          2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

                          1. re: Jim

                            Interesting. The usual recommendation is just the opposite!