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SF Culinary Delights from a Canadian

a
adale May 25, 2012 07:54 AM

Did about 4 days in SF solo last week and experienced some culinary delights. I'm from Toronto and we have some great restaurants so I had high expectations. Thanks for all of your tips - I feel like I owe you guys a review for your help! All ratings out of 5:

Dinners:

Atelier Crenn - 4.5. Exceptional meal, one of my best ever. Did 5 course tasting menu (and each course also had an amuse bouche so I was very full by the end), plus cheeses and wine pairings. Truly artistic presentation and wonderful flavors. Highlights - Walk in the Forest (mushroom and meringue dish - how do mushrooms taste so good? truly felt like I was walking through the forest given the presentation) and Dessert (I'll leave this as a surprise to you...mind blowing). Found the squab to be OK, and seafood dish to be fine but not the best I've ever had. The soup was fantastic, fresh, and artfully presented, and the cheeses were delicious. Overall, impeccable, friendly service and beautiful, delicious food. I did request some California wine pairings to replace a few of the French ones (as we don't import CA wines very well in Canada) and the team appeared to be accommodating until they levied a charge of about 30 bucks on me for doing this - I didn't appreciate this. All in all though, a great experience.

La Ciccia - 4. Felt like I'd stumbled into someone's home kitchen. Very friendly and welcoming, and not a bad place for a solo dinner - very "neighborhoody". Had the burratta cheese / flatbread special, along with the homemade spaghetti with fish roe, and steelhead salmon special. The fish was exceptional and fresh, and the cheese appetizer was great. I walked out quite full. I did find the pasta to be a bit oily and heavy (as I did the braised cabbage below the fish) but overall I wouldn't hesitate to go here.

Ame - 3.5 / 4. Very good, but doesn't hold a candle to Crenn in terms of the one-starred restos. The service was fine, but not as friendly and "into it" as it was at Crenn. Modern / minamlist / Japanese ambience. Did the tasting menu and replaced the pig with NY steak. The sashimi taster was delicious albeit small, spring onion soup was lovely, and the signature sake cod was amazing (I got the last portion of the night...how do you run out of the signature dish?). I found the steak to be mediocre and the camomile ice cream dessert very good but not mind blowing. At this price point, I don't think it's a rip off, but could take it or leave it.

Lunches / Snacks:

AQ - 4. Had the beef carpaccio and panckackes. Devoured both. Carpaccio was a decent portion (not so razor thin as you sometimes see; you actually felt like you got a bit of meat); and impeccably prepared with horseradish powder. Mmmmmm. Pancakes were delicious with raspberry compote and almond butter. The space was very artistic and urban / modern as well. Surprisingly not busy for a post Bay to Breakers Sunday afternoon? Service was OK but for food purposes, wouldn't hesitate to go here.

Tacqueria Cancun - 2. Was not a fan of the chicken tortas. Fresh roll but didn't satiate me and it didn't really taste like chicken. Disappointing! I was so excited because we don't do great Mexican in Toronto.

La Tacqueria - 4. Delicious chicken burrito! Fresh, flavorful. And a friendly and happening place. Great agua fresca. Had the melon. Knocking off one star for price - found it to be a bit pricey for a burrito.

Taco truck in Delores Park - 3. My first tamale. Was OK. Good watermelon agua fresca

Other: I love your produce! Got some delicious organic green grapes and organic fuji apples and granola on Valencia street. MMMMM. If only decent organics were as easily accessible here!

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  1. v
    vulber May 25, 2012 08:56 AM

    burritos are the only thing one should ever get at taqueria cancun.

    2 Replies
    1. re: vulber
      a
      adale May 25, 2012 09:02 AM

      Thanks. Should have known. I also forgot about my lunch at Slanted Door - a tourist classic I guess. I will give it a 3.5. Loved the flavors of chicken in clay pot...bit of heat, a bit of sweetness...overpriced though. The asparagus I got was fine. Beautiful patio. It was very good.

      1. re: adale
        b
        bigwheel042 May 26, 2012 11:44 PM

        Which Taqueria Cancun location did you go to? There are 3 and most of the Cancun diehards (of which I am not one) swear by the one on Mission and 19th. I have mostly been to the one on the one on Mission near 29th, and most reports of the one at 6th and Market are not good.

    2. g
      goldangl95 May 25, 2012 09:18 AM

      Wonderful report! Second the uneveness of Atelier Crenn, but that the highlights can be amazing (and the desserts are incredible). Their wine program needs a bit of work, so I'm not surprised about the snafu.

      1. Ruth Lafler May 26, 2012 11:19 PM

        Thanks for reporting back! It looks like the La Ciccia/Crenn combo worked out well! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/849216

        I was interested to hear about brunch at AQ, too. Beef carpaccio and pancakes doesn't sound like a combo I'd put together, but each of the dishes sounds delicious.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          a
          adale May 30, 2012 01:06 PM

          Yes, the combo did work! Thanks Ruth. Hope to be back some day.

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