Locomotoring

Seven continents, seven seas, seven billion people and seven thousand good eats …

Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco

A breakfast and a lunch in San Francisco’s Little Italy

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Mama’s on Washington Square. Even for a mid week breakfast, there was a long queue outside.

Mama’s screwdriver is made with grapefruit juice and soju. On yeah, a morning screwdriver is the best way to celebrate middle of the week time off from work. This is completely no-nonsense drink that would provide a buzz long enough to last the trek up to Coit tower.

Mama’s Benedicts. Tasty! Enough energy to last the trip to Coit tower and back and then slump on the luncheon chair at Tony’s Napoletana.

Menu at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. When pizza appears on the menu along with the oven temperature, one has to take it seriously, right?

The gluten free. You could ask, why one even bothers. There is something in the aroma of bread and cheese that is simply put, irresistible. Overall verdict, the dough is not as good as Mariposa’s.

Written by locomotoring

August 15, 2015 at 8:51 am

Rattlesnake sausage, you say!

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Rattlesnake+rabbit sausage and a cajun sausage, served with smoked beans and salad – Rosamunde Grill.

Really, rattlesnake and rabbit! Do rattlesnakes eat rabbit?

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February 18, 2014 at 12:56 am

Gajalee, Indian coastal cuisine in San Francisco

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Machi fry – catch of the day, coated in semolina and deep fried. Served with sambaar, a south Indian daal and  yogurt raita. The semolina has a coarse corn grit like texture and offers an additional layer of crunch.

Tisyra Masala – Half shell mussels cooked with spices, onion, and grated coconut. For those of you who can close your eyes and imagine a coastal Indian town, this dish can transport you there. Watch out for broken clam shells.

Written by locomotoring

February 18, 2014 at 12:45 am

A perfect dessert at Range

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Hazelnut millet génoise with cardamom mousseline, huckleberry compote and popped millet brittle.

For dinner we had couple of fish dishes that were unapologetic in their subtle and non-fussy conception and closer to Catalan style cooking than Californian. One, an olive oil poached cod, was extraordinary. Cocktails were definitely designed for a younger audience in mind – smooth and sweet. L’Ascensor….sigh!

Our dinner at Commonwealth on the other hand was so disappointing that we came back to Range for a repeat of the hazelnut cardamom génoise.

Written by locomotoring

February 18, 2014 at 12:13 am

Posted in California, San Francisco, USA

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Chocolate and Coffee at Dandelion

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Absolutely the best chocolate I have had so far…

There is XoX for the times when you want something romantic and there is Valrhona when you want a bite of something perfect knowing that it won’t disappoint. But Dandelion’s chocolate is for the moments when you to mix the two. In taste, it is like an intense Tcho, in texture it is like Valrhona, and after a bite, it makes you feel pampered like XoX. In the past, irrespective of where I wandered in the chocolate land, I always came back to Valrhona but now I am not so sure. Coffee at D is Four Barrel but if you are bringing Maya Mountain home, then try with Chromatic’s keynote.

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February 17, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Ganja cookies at Dolores Park

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Ganja cookies happens to be one of the many things you can get at Dolores park – sunshine, music, people watching, dog walking, watching kids improvise, picnic-ing – joys of a summer day in San Francisco.

Written by locomotoring

February 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Roxy cafe in mission district of SFO

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Roxy is a small cafe on Market street, mission district of San Francisco. Great food and don’t be fooled by the sign on the door that says shakes and pastries. At the time we turned up, they had no pastries left. The one interesting thing about kitchen is they only have access to sous vide machines, blenders and torches. No stove and exhaust. A fantastic meal overall.

Potato coconut soup with purple cauliflower and prosciutto


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February 17, 2014 at 6:15 am

Off the Grid, Picnic at Presidio

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If the Sunday sky in SFO is clear, head out to Presidio for a picnic . You can take your own lunch but not to try some of the “off the grid” vendors would be a shame.

A wide range of food vendors …


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Written by locomotoring

September 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Memory of Hong Kong in San Francisco’s Chinatown

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Place: Hong Kong Clay Pot Restuarant, Chinatown, San Francisco
Ordered: Biiter melon with frog and sea food clay pot
Served: Biiter melon with shrimp, sea food clay pot and a pot of tea

Hong Kong Clay Pot Restaurant, looking out towards Grant. Catch a narrow flight of stairs to get to the restaurant.


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Written by locomotoring

September 11, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Atelier Crenn, yet again

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Popsicle with eucalyptus

We are bowled over by molecular gastronomy at Atelier Crenn. This time we settled on their five course menu. And yet again, each plate was an orchestra that brought together purity of flavors and textures to form an exquisite whole.

We had the same table as last and a Spanish chef for our neighbor that evening. Even with his highly broken english, it was clear from his explanation to Chef Dominique that he was on food tourism. He had settled for the ten course meal with wine pairings. With each course, his waiter had painstakingly explained the mile long list of ingredients in Spanish. This time I had decided I wasn’t going to write down the list.

First course was “trio of tomatoes”. Saying that the course was tomatoes says nothing. These were peeled, soft textured, cold grape tomatoes in essence of tomato broth with small bits of goat cheese – an umami bonanza. Next course was seafood medley that was infused with dashi. The third dish was soft cooked kohlrabi coated with coffee served on a bed of kohlrabi puree with kimchi sauce. The bitterness of kohlrabi was extended by coffee and kimchi offered an orthogonal spiciness dimension. Who would have thought that an earthy unpretentious root vegetable such a kohlrabi could be served for fine dining and with success. For palate cleanser, we were offered a shiso-ginger ice which if served with vodka would have made for a fantastic cocktail. The final savory item was guinea hen with huckleberries and  chanterelle mushrooms. Desserts started with a not so sweet beet sorbet served to look like a beet. The tail bit was made of chocolate and the soil was composed of chocolate, yogurt and oatmeal. This was followed by eucalyptus popsicle served in a eucalyptus bouquet. Finally, some caramels and fruit jelly candy served on an artificial log but with a real acorn bud for decoration. Charming.

We obviously adore the food here but  I wish I could see my food a little better. The main courses here were served on dark slate – the kind I scribbled on with chalk while I was a child. Very stylish and personally very evocative for me but I can’t quite see the sauces. The other courses were served on glass which again has a visibility issue for me – too much specular reflection or transparency. Nevertheless, I am waiting for my next excuse to celebrate.

Trio of tomatoes

Seafood medley with dashi foam

Kohlrabi special

Wild hen with huckleberries and mushrooms

Not so sweet beet sorbet

Fruit jelly, salted caramel, and marshmallow

Written by Som

August 31, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Gaultier at de Young Museum

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Gaultier’s exhibition at de Young ended last weekend.  The dimly lit cavernous space of de Young felt appropriate for Gaultier’s over the top couture. Projected facial expressions on faces of the mannikins was a brilliant touch that animated the show and added to the sense of engagement.
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Written by locomotoring

August 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Atelier Crenn, Molecular Gastronomy in San Francisco

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Composition 8 (Komposition 8), July 1923. Photo courtesy: Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Not counting the occasional foam or sous vide, Atelier Crenn was our first molecular gastronomy meal. My husband and I are both scientists who have spent a significant part of our lives studying molecular interactions, so we were of course delighted when the word molecular started to be part of modern food cuisine. But before this meal, I had occasionally wondered if molecular gastronomy was just clever hype. But after this meal, I think a better way to describe this new cuisine is to consider the difference between abstract and realistic art. Just because art is in one category or other, doesn’t make it good or bad. The artist has to work equally hard to capture the imagination of his or her audience. Molecular gastronomy is abstract art and Dominique Crenn’s creations reminded me of Kandinsky’s composition series – many ingredients playing with each other to create something that was larger than sum of its parts.

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Written by Som

June 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Is this the best pizza in San Francisco?

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Una Pizza Napoletana

We had seen chef Mangieri on Chow Obsessives. Location of Una Pizza Napoletana isn’t particularly exciting. Except for the oven, the restaurant interior looks like a bare canteen. From a choice of half dozen toppings, we ordered the Margherita. From any table, you can watch him prep the pizza with focus of a meditative monk. There is no aerial tossing, there is not much talking, there is no clinking of glasses, there is no busy moving to and fro from the kitchen… in fact there is no wasted movement, just obsessive placing of basil leaves and cheese on the dough. A baby, who was in the pram next to his station, presumably his, is growing up on the sweet smell of bread and basil.

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Written by Som

May 7, 2012 at 8:36 am

One more reason to go to Ferry Building

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Mini cakes at Miette

Chocolate ganache cake

Chocolate ganache cake

Ferry Building at San Francisco is perhaps my favorite spot in the city when I am feeling lazy or when the weather is not at its best. They have everything to cheer you up – good coffee (Blue Bottle), good food (Slanted Door), good chocolates (Recchiuti), good bread (Acme), good cheese (Cowgirl creamery), the Farmer’s market and excellent views. This time, I found another reason, Miette Cakes. We picked up a chocolate ganache cake and it was delicious. The chocolate was intense (Scharffen Berger). The size was big enough to share with significant other and small enough to disallow fat/sugar overdose.

Written by Som

July 17, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Coffee and Chocolate at Four Barrel

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Four Barrel Espresso Station

Four Barrel Espresso Station

Four Barrel on Valencia is a well reviewed coffee mecca in Mission District of San Francisco. The queues are long but is a good opportunity to watch city fashions. The space has a modern warehouse look with a coffee bar at the entrance, the main coffee station in the middle and stock at the back. Seating is somewhat minimal but if you hang out long enough, you are bound to find a table. The coffee bar is akin to a wine bar where you pay to sample their brews. My husband was very excited about the coffee after having sampled 4 varietals! The music is played in an old fashioned way where a real person selects a record out of the collection and plays it on a record player. Unless you want a caffeine kick that makes you want to dance a jitterbug, I recommend picking their brew of the day, grabbing a seat and watching the  extensive and non-hurried ritual the baristas follow.

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Written by Som

July 17, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Kathi roll – Calcutta vs. San Francisco

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Kasa in San Francisco, serving Kathi roll

Kasa in San Francisco, serving Kathi roll (click for more)

Making of Kathi rolls at street side vendor in Calcutta

Making of Kathi rolls at street side vendor in Calcutta (click for more)

Kathi or kati roll – kababs wrapped in paratha, flat fried bread, and served with a variety of condiments such as chopped onions, spicy green chillies, yogurt, chutneys and salsas. Admittedly, these rolls originated as street food in Calcutta. Close variations on the concept exists in other cuisines – replace the paratha with a naan and you can be standing at Khan market in New Delhi. Put the kabab and condiments it a pita pocket and you end up with the popular gyros.

But when you set up a hip taqueria on the gentle rolling hills of beautiful Pacific Heights in San Francisco, and serve home style Kathi rolls, you have done something brand new. For one, the milieu is orthogonal to the neon lit battered stall on the crowded Calcutta street that serves a hungry crowd of pedestrians on hot summer evenings.

And secondly, can there even be a concept of homestyle Kathi rolls? Did Kathi roll not originate to satisfy the hunger for spicy, juicy meat held together by flaky, chewy fried bread? Are these rolls not to be had in the anonymity of street crowd  – away from the watchful eyes of the dear spouse, away from the responsibility of being the ideal parent? Why would the average Calcutta babu seek out nutritiously balanced and healthy food on the street.

For food purists, Kasa will never reach the divine heights of unwholesome Calcutta street food. However, for the rest of us, there is something to be said about enjoying a glass of mango lassi with a turkey kathi and not having to worry about the number of sick days one has left.

Written by locomotoring

July 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Old man and the sea, Pacific Heights

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Old man and his friend at an old age home in Pacific Heights

Old man and his friend at an old age home in Pacific Heights

Like Lonely Planet says, Pacific Heights is a wander and look operation. Most notable sights in this neighborhood are old Victorian style homes. Some gorgeous, most in 1-3 million dollar range. There are parks tucked away for you to catch a snooze or get beautiful shots of the painted ladies. From top of the hills, the bay beckons with its little sailboats. You can spot landmarks such as the Palace of Fine Arts and Golden Gate bridge.

If you go with the city guides, you will get a very detailed understanding of the architecture and evolution of these Victorian homes. The guides will also tell you exciting tales, for instance being mooned by Danielle Steel’s children. Wandering and look operations are hard to describe, who knows where you will choose to wander. I am going to provide a sample of what we found on our wanderings. A link to more photos and map is provided at the bottom of the post.

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Written by Som

June 27, 2010 at 1:57 am

Sex in the city

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Financial District, San Francisco

Financial District, San Francisco

Should have called it “Taste of Italy”….

Find out what Italian food and kinky sex has in common at Perbacco.

If you are going to the financial district of San Francisco, also check out:

  • For chocolate lovers – Coffee and chocolate at Fog City News (more)
  • A touch of nostalgia – on the old Barbary coast (more)

Written by locomotoring

March 13, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Presidio – An escape from within

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Officers quarters at Presidio, fog covered Golden Gate bridge in the backround

Officers quarters at Presidio, fog covered Golden Gate bridge in the backround

For me, San Francisco is a pretty city with great food. But, the traffic gets on my nerves. Before our household got a GPS assistant, going to the city invariably meant an argument – about taking the one way only turn, and not finding a parking that cost less than the meal. Now, at least we avoid taking the wrong turn and if we do, we are not pathetically lost.

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Written by Som

October 14, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Kailasa at Stern Grove Festival 2009

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Beer and music at Stern Grove

Beer and music at Stern Grove

We have recently returned from a short visit to Delhi  and are a little home sick. So a couple of weekends ago we decided to go to the Stern Grove Festival for Kailash Kher’s group Kailasa. The thought of soaking in the coolness of Stern Grove listening to  Tauba Tauba sounded fantastic after Delhi’s grueling heat and mugginess.

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Fillmore Street Jazz Festival 2009

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Crowd at Lavay Smith Stage Lavay Smith Lavay Smith's Band

What better way to celebrate July 4th than with the most American of art forms – Jazz. And the Fillmore Street Jazz Festival does the celebration with gusto. This year it was spread across eight or so blocks on Fillmore street, four main performance stages, and many smaller performances going on all along the street and in Jazz clubs lining Fillmore.

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Coffee and chocolate at Fog City News

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Fog City News Storefront

Fog City News Storefront

Fog City News is fourth in our chocolate and coffee series. The earlier ones are Recchiuti, Tcho and XoX.

  • Location: Market Street, Financial District
  • Coffee: None! Although you can find imported bottled soda here. And magazines …
  • Chocolate: Tasting bites and bars – Dolfin, Vosges, Scharffen Berger to new a few …

FCN is not your atypical chcocolate store. It is an atypical magazine shop. If you like to lay your hands on hard to find magazines and periodicals, this is your place to be. Ditto for chocolates. The store fits in with busy life of financial district. Grab a chocolate and a magazine and be on the run…or, grab a soda and a magazine and be on the run … May even be a nice spot to spend ten minutes browsing during the dull part of the day. And to pick up gifts as well.

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July 7, 2009 at 12:09 am

Coffee and chocolate at Recchiuti

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Rose caramel

Rose caramel

Recchiuti is third in our chocolate and coffee series. The earlier ones being Tcho and XoX.

  • Location: Ferry Plaza
  • Coffee:  Peets’ or Blue Bottle is available a few doors down.
  • Chocolates: Truffles, caramels, …

Recchiuti’s is what you would expect a fancy chocolate store to look like. All trim, polished and glittery and that is just the staff. No chairs for shoppers to sit around and look flabby, unpolished and drab. No coffee either to ruin any nice perfumes the staff or customers may be wearing. Their price helps to not overindulge.

Are we sounding curmudgeonly?

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Written by locomotoring

July 1, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Coffee and chocolate at Tcho

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tcho-a-day

tcho-a-day

Following up on our coffee and chocolate trail (inspired by David Lebovitz), the second one on our list is Tcho.

  • Location: Pier 17, San Francisco
  • Coffee: Blue Bottle
  • Chocolates: Tasting squares and bars

We had known about Tcho long before we sampled it. They had been getting reviewed on boingboing since their beta days (yes, even chocolates have beta versions in silicon valley).

Our first taste of Tcho’s chocolates was on a walk along Embarcadero. On that occasion, we tasted all four of their varieties and picked up a small pack of 8 tasting squares. On our last visit, we picked up a 30 day package called tcho-a-day.
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Written by locomotoring

June 22, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Coffee and chocolate at XoX

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Store front on Columbus Ave

Store front on Columbus Ave

David Lebovitz says that some of the best artisan chocolatiers these days are from America. So, we decided to bring to you as many of them as we can find in San Francisco.

We start with XoX Truffles – a friendly shop for a cup of coffee and some handmade truffles.

  • Location: North Beach, San Francisco
  • Coffee: Espresso
  • Chocolates: Handmade truffles

The store front is unpretentious, the coffee delightfully strong, and the handmade truffles are small nuggets of perfection. These truffles have won so many awards that the list of awards exceeded our attention span.

They give away a free truffle for every cup of coffee you buy. Our plan is to sample all their truffles for free. OK, we lie. We buy them too. This time we bought a few Earl Grey truffles.

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Written by locomotoring

June 19, 2009 at 10:35 pm