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Trip Report from a Boston Hound [San Francisco]

gini Feb 6, 2014 09:33 AM

I brought some wet weather with me to San Francisco this week, but that didn't stop me from eating some delicious meals while I was out here. I'm headed to Yak Sing for dim sum today, but in the meantime, here's what I've eaten so far:

Zuni Cafe - being a solo diner, I didn't get the roast chicken for two (though I've made their roast chicken recipe at home to great success):

House-cured anchovies with celery, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Taggiasca olives - those anchovies are so delicate.

Sausage with kale and beans - absolutely spot on - the sausage had a great snap to it, kale was slightly crispy (breadcrumbs?) and acidic, and the beans were creamy.

Gateau Victoire with whipped cream - a great rendition - spongy, moist, not overly dense, chocolaty.

Tosca Cafe: Having read about the April Bloomfield & co reboot, I was pleased to find an empty bar stool here last night.

Crispy pigs tails were fatty and crispy and practically steaming. A nice glaze cut through some of the pure fattiness.

Off-menu meatballs were some of the best I've had. A gorgeously rich tomato sauce complimented them nicely.

Grilled polenta with marscapone, mushrooms, and Parmesan hit some great notes - smoky, salty, crunchy, earthy. Pure comfort food.

No matter how many times I visit San Francisco, there's always something new to eat.

  1. d
    dunstable Feb 6, 2014 11:17 AM

    Thanks for the report; I've yet to go to the new Tosca...

    I'm curious about your doing the Zuni chicken at home. If I recall correctly, the recipe in the cookbook seemed to emphasize how much the quality of the original chicken matters. Did you go hunting for just the right chicken, or was it still stellar with any old chicken?

    5 Replies
    1. re: dunstable
      b
      budnball Feb 6, 2014 12:34 PM

      Having made the Zuni chicken many times, while the high end chickens may be better, it is a going to great as long as your chicken is fresh. No need to buy a Artisinal expensive bird.

      1. re: dunstable
        Melanie Wong Feb 6, 2014 01:07 PM

        Also important to buy the right SIZE chicken, that is, under 2.75 to 3.25 lbs.

        1. re: Melanie Wong
          BernalKC Feb 6, 2014 02:39 PM

          I just did a pair of chickens a la Zuni for a dinner party and my birds were 3.5-3.75 lbs and it makes a difference.

          The other lesson for me was that cooking the bread dressing in the same 475 oven is tricky. My dressing charred badly on the bottom. By removing the most burnt parts and adding some extra vinaigrette at the end, along with the pot liquor from the birds and the arugula, disaster was averted. But I'm sure it would be advantageous to have a 2nd oven.

        2. re: dunstable
          fldhkybnva Feb 6, 2014 05:34 PM

          Whole Foods has "just the right chicken" pretty readily available but I've found it works with nearly any chicken. I always use a bird less than 3.5 lbs.

          1. re: dunstable
            gini Feb 6, 2014 08:25 PM

            I buy a good, organically fed, free range (if possible) bird that's under 3 lbs and it always seems to work well.

          2. d
            DavidT Feb 6, 2014 06:12 PM

            Thanks for your report. Glad you are enjoying your visit.

            1. escargot3 Feb 6, 2014 10:35 PM

              Thank you for bringing the much needed rain...

              ps- praise on meatballs coming from a Bostonian...that's significant.

              1. mariacarmen Feb 7, 2014 10:41 PM

                I've been meaning to try the newly revamped, revitalized Tosca - thanks for this!

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