Category Archives: San Francisco

Ten Things In 2012.

As 2013 rapidly approaches, we pause to take a look at our top food memories and discoveries of the year.

Jill: My itinerant adventures included a spring trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rice, summer visits to New York City and Cleveland (yes, a worthy destination) and a last-minute trip to San Francisco spurred on by World Series baseball. Below are a few things of note as I look back at the year that the world was supposed to end.

1. One-Course Meals.

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In 2012, I realized that while I may not be able to afford three courses of fine dining, I can create my own buffet of great eats by visiting several places for one course each. San Francisco was the perfect backdrop for this style of eating, and I found myself slurping oysters not once, but twice in the ten-day stay. The key, by the way, is to be upfront with servers from the beginning. And to tip a little extra before heading out for the next snack.

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Dim Sum Story.

It’s unfortunate: One of our most enjoyable meals in San Francisco is also the one that I feel least qualified to describe. I was thrilled when the Carnivore’s brother and sister-in-law suggested a dim sum lunch—I’d had a few such establishments on my to-try list and had been secretly hoping to go with a couple of pros—but I knew I’d probably do it a disservice with my reportage.

Bob and Nicole joined the four of us for what would turn out to be a whole lot of food. This, friends, is the calm before the storm.

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Food (Truck) Court.

My favorite eating experience in San Francisco was also the most fortuitous. Three days before we departed for the West Coast, I came across a tweet linking to this post from Serious Eats, and just like that, Off the Grid was bumped to the top of my list.

A regular gathering with street vendors, live music, and a cash bar, OTG is possibly the best time you’ll have in a parking lot all year.

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Breakfast Queue.

Compromise is not one of my strong suits, especially where food is involved. We had four days in San Francisco, and my list of restaurants to try would’ve taken at least a full week, so I was apprehensive when our friends mentioned the near-legendary breakfast joint Mama’s. The Carnivore was instantly sold, though, and as all of the places I wanted to visit were for lunch and dinner, I figured we could squeeze it in.

I was not counting on a monumental line at 10:00 a.m. on a Friday, nor on such massive portion sizes that eating would almost be ruled out for the rest of the day—lunch was certainly off the table.

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Second Dinner.

After our progressive meal at the Ferry Building, the Carnivore decided to sleep off both food and jet lag while the rest of us headed to the Haight for a proper sit-down dinner. Although I didn’t plan for this trip in quite as much detail as I did my long weekend in Portland, I’d done some research and gone fishing for restaurant recommendations before we left; when a friend raved about the Alembic, I took a glance at the menu and quickly moved it to the top of my list.

Known just as much—if not more—for its cocktails as for its food (the drinks menu is two pages long, the dinner menu only one), we ordered a round while we waiting for a table. My pisco sour proved to be the perfect choice for me, tart enough to cut through the afternoon’s beer-and-oyster haze, but sweet enough that it didn’t seem like punishment. Nicole started with a cheese plate, tucking in while we formalized our plan of attack.

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A Ferry Tale.

At the tail end of September, between two of my freelance gigs, the Carnivore and I finally took that trip out to San Francisco. (Those of you with good memories may recall that we were supposed to go for his birthday last November, a long weekend that was put on hold because of familial health issues.) We stayed with friends, sorely missed, who had relocated from New York nearly two years ago; it had been more than twice that length of time since I’d last been to the Bay Area, and even longer for him, so we were well overdue for a cross-country flight.

We got in at mid-morning on a Thursday and took the scenic route to Bob and Nicole’s apartment; on our way, the farmers market at the Ferry Building had piqued my interest, but by the time we’d decompressed, showered, changed, and returned, the hours had flown by and the vendors had packed up for the day. Disappointing, but not a total loss—the Ferry Building hosts a multitude of less transient food options as well, perfect for kicking off the weekend.

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