Ok, I know you're sick of the cleanse talk. Frankly, so am I. I've been saving up some posts that I know you will all love and revisit. I'm going to drop some of my favorite individual dishes in the city! There was a survey going around facebook a while back that listed the 50 things you must eat in San Francisco. I had about 35 of them nailed. Some of them may overlap here, but for the most part, these are just the things I think you must eat. I'll probably list about 20 or so over the course of the week, in no particular order.
Slanted Door Shaking Beef: I've heard mixed reviews from people about the consistency of SD these days. I'm drawing on my experiences from the early years, living down the street from the original on Valencia. I've had the dish in the Ferry Building and it held up as one of the finest pieces of meat I've put in my mouth. It even translates well in the Out the Door, prepare-at-home, variety. The meat they use is so tender, it nearly melts. The sauce of white onions, green onions, soy, a little butter - kissed with a salt, pepper and lime mixture - put a fork in me.
Slanted Door Half and Half Rolls: While we're at SD, they capture another standout. If you're dining with two and cannot decide on their exceptional fresh spring rolls or fried imperial rolls, use our trick and order half and half. I would say that both are equally tasty, but the fresh rolls are probably more of a standout versus other Vietnamese places. Tu Lan does a pretty damn good imperial roll. The peanut sauce is the kicker. Just enough spice and the perfect density to grab on to the yummy mint, pork, shrimp and rice noodles that fill the fresh roll. Of course the imperial rolls contrast a crispy fried treat with some cool fresh lettuce, noodles and a sweet sauce.
Delfina Spaghetti with Plum Tomatoes, Garlic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Peperoncini: Again, from the old neighborhood, Delfina has pleased me with this dish for years and years. It remains the best spaghetti in the city and the foundation for my perfect spaghetti recipe [LINK] which I have shared.
Delfina Panna Cotta: It's two-for-Monday here. And Delfina takes the prize for my favorite dessert in the entire city. The flavors change seasonally, but their panna cotta is consistently one of the finest confections that will past your lips. It's dense enough to hold it's shape and coat the spoon, but so creamy that you'd be hard pressed to define what goes in it. Ethereal.
Delfina Grilled Fresh Calamari with Warm White Bean Salad: Ok, three-for. This isn't for me - it was a favorite of Julie for years. I must admit, it's pretty damn good. The squid is always fresh and tender - never chewy. The beans and herbs play so well off of the fruity olive oil - it is a perfect combination, often copied.
Tartine Morning Buns: Ok, we'll round out the neighborhood. If Delfina's panna cotta is one of the finest confections, Tartine's morning bun is the finest confection. Words cannot describe the perfection achieved from the subtle combination of orange zest and a bready dough that retains it's moisture on the inside and flakiness around the edges all day long. Though I strongly suggest getting some while they are hot. They will change your life, I promise.
Tartine Banana Cream Pie: Do I really need to give the details? Can you just trust me? Read and excerpt from my post about my birthday [LINK] this year:
The stand out of the evening was courtesy of my lovely wife……Banana Cream Tart from Tartine. This thing is off the charts. The texture of the cream reminds me of a merengue with the flavor of a custard. The bananas somehow remain fresh and crisp in all of the goop, the slivers of chocolate add even more pleasure and the crust is a tried and true winner (the same they use with their stellar quiche).
Admittedly this first list is nothing revelatory. If you've known me for any time or have been reading the blog these may have crossed your path. But what a start! Tomorrow we'll start exploring the city a little deeper.