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Trip report

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mrsjoujou Apr 26, 2012 05:34 PM

We had a great time eating and walking all over in SF. Here is a review of the places we tried. Some hits and some misses.

Atelier Crenn

We were there for the first seating and had the whole place to ourselves for the first forty minutes. It almost felt like chef Crenn was just cooking for us and I joked to my husband that I have arranged for the private dining. We choose the five course tasting. We started with a series of amuse bouches and first was the asparagus spongy bread and butter. We were then served a single mussel with a very tasty saffron aioli. Our favorite amuse was kir Breton. Our favorite course of the night was the spring pea soup with the most delicious carrot sorbet, a tiny ruby carrot and I think coconut foam. We just wished we could have more of this soup. Every time a server walked by with this soup I wished we were in the receiving end. We were then served two tiny white radishes with sea salt and butter. Our second favorite course was the sea plate. It consisted of a very tasty white fish, a very fresh mussel, nice uni and some salmon roe. We were then served a palate cleanser of shiso and Saki sorbet. It was nice and refreshing. Walk in a forest was next and we really enjoyed all different kind of mushrooms, but were not crazy about the meringue. It was just too sweet and too much of it. The last savory course was our least favorite because I don’t care for birds and I had no idea a bird course was on the menu. This is a lesson for me to always tell them upfront I don’t care for birds. This course was a Pigeon and I took a little bite and didn’t care for it at all. My husband had a little more than me and didn’t care for it either. Thankfully the dessert was great and chef Crenn told us we were her Ginny pig to try a new dessert. It was a big red beet with stems and root. The beet was a beet sorbet with the root was a chocolate. It was visually beautiful and even though I am not a beet fan I enjoyed it. We finish the meal with pate de fruit, salted caramel and passion fruit meringue. Service was very professional and friendly, except at times we couldn’t understand our waiter’s descriptions of some of the courses. We will never forget that beautiful pea soup.

Barbacco

We had dinner here and started with roasted mushrooms trifolati and truffled mascarpone. It was nice and rich. We then moved to our favorite dish of the night farro with asparagus, radish, parm, arugula and a very tasty lemon dressing. I have to make my own version soon. maccheroni alla chitarra with pork ragu was next and it was good, but didn’t wow us. Next was quid stuffed with ‘nduja and none of us really cared for it and it was on a salty side. Our second favorite was the Sicilian meatballs with raisins and pine nuts. It had a great flavor and it was nice and moist. Service was great and friendly.

SPQR

We had brunch here and it was pretty good. We started with very tasty pumpkin bread. One of the reasons I picked this place is for their pasta dish with bacon, uni and quail egg. On that day, this dish was a part of their Prixe fixe, but our very friendly waiter told us that they can serve it to me as an a la carte. It was pretty good, but a little on a salty side. We also tried the eggs al forno with polenta, SM tomatoes and fennel sausage. It was a pretty satisfying dish. The best dish was the chestnut tagliatelle with suckling pork. We all loved it and it was our waiter’s favorite dish also. We finished our brunch with an assortment of their salted caramel chocolate.

Commonwealth

We had dinner here on our last night and the experience was mixed. I picked this place because I wanted to try it and also because it was close to Tartine and we could pick our bread up. We were there for the first seating and the place was almost packed right away. I started with asparagus, crushed avocado, black olive and chicory root and it was a very fresh starter and reminded me of the spring dishes that we had in Paris last year. I also tried the crushed pea agnolotti with artichoke and my favorite part was the artichoke. I have had better agnolotti than this. My brother didn’t care much for his slow cooked egg with peas and mint bread pudding. Two of us ordered the pork shoulder and my husband had the rainbow trout. My pork shoulder was mostly fat, but my brother’s looked much better. The server never showed up until we were finished with our main courses and when he asked me how I liked the pork shoulder he was surprised with my answer. The rainbow trout was fine. We shared the strawberry dessert with basil and we got strawberry sorbet on the house. It was a nice gesture, but I wish I have gotten a better part of the pork shoulder not the end, dry pieces. Service was cold, except for the helpful hostess.

Knead patisserie

The Pomme d’amore was great and we really enjoyed it. Either that day everything went wrong in their kitchen or I don’t know what happened. We tried the Pain au chocolate and it tasted bready and cakey and the top was hard as rock. The Butter Pecan Croissants was not much better. My bother didn’t care much for the fruit poptart.The Cheese and Herb Pastry was fine. So, besides the Pomme d”amore this place was a disappointment.

Tartine

I called three days prior for the bread order and lucky for me they called me back two days prior to the pickup date. I got one of their each bread, but since it took me two day after to slice it the quality was a little less than perfect. The hot out of the oven piece we tried was as great as the great breads from Paris. We also tried:

Coconut cream pie was pretty good

Chocolate tea cake was pretty good

Pain au jambon our favorite, my silly husband said it was too big for him!!!

Cake aux olives was OK

Gougere was good

Pain au chocolate was good

Frangipane croissant was good

Frangipane tart with blueberry was very good and I like the fact that it was not sweet at all.

We always love Tartine and wish we had one near by. We have Huckleberry and Milo and Olive in Santa Monica, but it is not the same. You pay more for less.

Ferry plaza sat farmer’s mkt

You have the best farmer’s mkt and cheaper than the one in Santa Monica, Hollywood or OC. We started with sour cherry and pear and raspberry galettes from city bakery. I was really looking for Della Fattoria and I even walked by them but I didn’t notice, it was them. I liked the sour cherry one very much. We also really enjoyed the burger from 4505 meats and preferred it over the porchetta sandwich from RR. The potatoes from RR were OK. We wished they were more browned.

Swan Oyster Depot

We saved our last lunch for this place and that was a mistake. Even at two PM there was a long line so I figure we just get a take out. I had to wait for fifteen minutes before they took my order and another ten to fifteen minutes for them to give me my incomplete order. By the time we hiked to Lafayette park and opened our package we realized that they have left out the seafood salad and that was to be shared between me and my husband. Oh, we were so upset. We should have known from the price that something was missing, but after walking all day and waiting for thirty minutes for a take out, I guess we were too tired to notice. What they serve is good, but very basic.

Ferry building Mkt

Cowgirl side kick- We tried their Mt Tam and chutney sandwich and it must have had one to two ounces of cheese in there. It was 99% bread.

Boccalone Salumeria- We tried their sausage sandwich and it was tasty with onions and peppers.

American eatery- We ate here after they messed up our order at the Swan Oyster Depot. We tried the green goddess burger and the chili. The burger was grass fed and it came with avocado, cheese and over easy egg. It was a hefty burger and messy and a good one, but we preferred the one from 4505 better. The chili was good.

McEvoy Ranch- I really like their olive oil and always get one when I am in town.

Cowgirl creamery- I really liked the Gabietou, Keen cheddar and Lincolnshire poacher. The staff is always so helpful and friendly.

Recchiuti - always love this place and picked up the usual fleur de sel caramel, cherry two ways, smores bites(the best). The only disappointing item was the brownie. It was a little sugary and I think the first ingredient was sugar!!

Also got some mitakie mushrooms from the mushroom guy and Scharffen Berger chocolates for a gift. This place is always the last stop for a reason.

I almost forgot Bi- Rite. The salted caramel and chocolate never dissappoints. Also tried lavander honey and orange cardamom and they were great. Now, only if they shipped.

  1. t
    tjinsf Apr 30, 2012 06:22 AM

    sounds like a great trip and you got a lot in. I've found the service at Commonwealth to be very hit and miss and never that good and there to be problems with keeping the food at the same level of quality.

    Atelier Creen is really good at substitutions so they probably would have given you a different course had you asked although I have to say I love their squab.

    1. m
      mrsjoujou Apr 28, 2012 10:42 AM

      Thank you for reading. My husband just didn't like the taste of the Pigeon and it was not that juicy. I just wish that I was at the sat farmer's mkt right now.
      Another let down was the Blue bottle at the FB. We tried hot chocolate, capuccion, latte and drip coffee and they were all fine, but not great. I had a list of all the great coffee shops, but we either pass by them at the wrong time or it was too far from where we were at the time. Next time!

      1. t
        TeacherFoodie Apr 27, 2012 02:26 PM

        Gald you had a good trip and jealous you have somewhat recently had a pomme d'amour from Knead!

        1. grayelf Apr 26, 2012 11:11 PM

          Great report, especially the farro description, which I'm going to steal and try to recreate at home also. We had a farro dish at Barbacco last trip that was delicious also. I wasn't crazy about the squid dish either.

          1. l
            Leely2 Apr 26, 2012 08:25 PM

            Thank you for your excellent report. Your misses don't sound too bad. I so enjoy Atelier Crenn--I only wish my pocketbook would take me there more often, especially because I really love pigeon! What didn't your husband like about it, assuming that he's not as anti-bird as you?

            Agree that those meatballs at Barbacco hit the spot.

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