travel: epic dinners and secret breakfasts…

San Francisco

I don’t know what this East Coast v. West Coast culinary pissing contest of late is about (a silly, media-driven phenom, for sure). Both coasts have talented chefs serving fantastic food.

San Francisco, especially, is an ever-more exciting place to eat.  In the year since my last trip, many new restaurants have opened, including Joshua Skene’s highly buzzed saison; Melissa Perello’s Frances; the overnight cult-pie sensation, flour + water; James Syhabout’s tiny powerhouse eatery, commis, which earned a Michelin star in four months; and, of course, The French Laundry alumnus Corey Lee’s much-anticipated benu. Television cookster Tyler Florence has opened Wayfare Tavern, and Timothy Hollingsworth has become the newly appointed successor to Keller’s stove in Yountville.

San Francisco
Civic Center, San Francisco

Sadly, between returning to old favorites and picking up a couple of places I didn’t get around to trying last time, I didn’t have time to visit all of the new restaurants on my shortlist.  But, in four and a half days, I managed to pack in a decent amount of eating.

Overall, it was a very successful trip, both at the high and low ends of the dining spectrum. Particularly surprising were the amount of amazing desserts I encountered.  In fact, I can’t recall a stretch of eating where desserts were this consistently fantastic. There were lots of boozy ones, and fruity ones, and some that were both boozy and fruity.

I’ll hyperlink these restaurants/eateries to their reviews when I get them posted to the blog.

4505 Meats
benu
commis
The French Laundry
Hog Island Oyster Co.
Humphry Slocombe
Il Cane Rosso
Luce
Manresa
piperade
Roli Roti
Zuni Cafe

Culinary Institute of America Greystone
Culinary Institute of America
Greystone Campus
St. Helena, California

In between meals, I grazed judiciously. I hit Blue Bottle Coffee Co. multiple times a day and indulged in the amazing ice cream flavors at Humphry Slocombe and elsewhere. I circled Boulette’s Larder like a shark almost daily for their canelés (the girl working the pastry counter now knows me), in preparation for making my own at home. And I somehow managed to buy more chocolate in a quick run through Fog City News than I’ll be able to consume in any reasonable amount of time.  My eyes are bigger than my stomach.

But even better than the food was my company. I’m very blessed to have some amazing friends and I relished spending time with them, both at table and about town. They are wonderful and generous hosts and culinary guides to the city. To them (you know who you are), I owe a big thanks for taking the caloric bullet for and with me.

Always sad to leave that amazing kitchen by the bay, I left my stomach where Tony Bennett left his heart.  I’m sure I’ll be back for it soon.

~ by ulterior epicure on September 10, 2010.

2 Responses to “travel: epic dinners and secret breakfasts…”

  1. looking forward to all your reviews ;) So glad you enjoyed my town!

  2. Nice call on Humphry Slocombe – I see you got the Secret Breakfast. Thanks for the rec on Capogiro for philly, btw – stellar.

    I’ll be interested in your thoughts on The Laundry (and why you went back given the mixed feelings on TK) as well as benu.

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