San Francisco


Tadich Cioppino

The Tadich Grill is a San Francisco institution, however, growing up in San Francisco, I had never been there. After asking my fellow long time San Franciscans, they too had never been there. Was this like Alcatraz, where locals know of the place but doesn’t bother going since it is a tourist destination? I guess if you don’t work in the financial district you wouldn’t really wouldn’t bother. Don’t be fooled. This place has been around for a reason, and it took me several years to finally realize it.

After hearing from a reliable friend about the cioppino, I had the occasion to meet him for lunch. Boy was I happy I did. If you have never had cioppino, then don’t bother with the Pier 49 places that advertise it, because I have found the one and only place to get it. I tomatoey based broth with garlic and all the seafood you can fit, this was a soup and a meal all in one. It was like an Italian fish gumbo without the roux mixed with French bouillabaisse and San Francisco seafood.

Tadich

Now to take a break from the food, I must mention the decor. It is literally like walking into the past, with the long bar, the hustle and bustle of the working people trying to grab a quick business lunch. You now have iPhones and Blackberries with the power lunchers, but that is the only evidence of modernity. If you are in a rush, walk past the throne of people waiting for a table and continue along the wall midway through the bar to grab the next available seat. Sitting at the bar is also much more enjoyable since you get to interact with the servers.

Now back to the food. All the seafood in the cioppino was fresh. The scallops were light in texture. The fish was buttery. The clams were not rubbery but had the perfect amount of bounce when bitten into. The garlic bread served as the perfect spoon to sop up whatever broth remained after all the seafood was gone. It is not a cheap lunch but taking to account all the seafood, it is definitely worth it.

On a side note, Courtney and I stopped by for a drink in the evening. Don’t expect those oversized martini glasses, but the perfect old-school proportioned glass. The drinks were well concocted and fit perfectly with the atmosphere.

Go to The Tadich Grill. Although it is open for dinner, it is probably one of the best lunches around.

Tadich

You can read about the history more at this SF gate article.

Though it is a little on the pricey end (and what isn’t) at the Ferry Building, Boulette’s Larder is definitely worth the money. You have many choices at the Ferry Building, such as a burger at Taylor’s Refresher or fresh oysters at Hog Island, but so far my favorite meal in the Ferry Building for lunch has to be at Boulette’s.

There is something about the freshness and the preparation. You feel like you are at a four star restaurant while sitting in the walkway next to an ATM machine, watching the tourists and locals walk by and check out the delicious looking food strewn across your table. Do not be fooled by the seemingly innocent starters. We had the fresh Acme bread with apple jam and the fresh beignets with apple pie spice and organic Japanese sugar, both which was way too much food for just two people.

Brunch at the Ferry Building

I had the Roman Salad which featured some greens, fresh cheese, some dressing, and roasted pork, all of which I forgot the specifics of. The greens were sharp and slightly bitter, which the lemony vinaigrette acid cut through and the sweet and salty cheese complimented. Unfortunately they were running low on the roast pork so they substituted it with some of the pork tonkasu that was also on the menu. I didn’t mind one bit since I was torn between the “salad” and the tonkasu. Both pork were moist, but the roast pork was definitely the better of the two.

Brunch at the Ferry Building

Courtney had the scrambled eggs which came with a delicious soft goat cheese wedge accompanied with sweet potato chips and fig and pears. A great way to suspend the fall flavors during the 60 degree plus weather right before December.

Definitely check out this place for breakfast or lunch. It is worth the trip. One of these days I will sample the private dining during the evening. They also validate parking.
As a side note, they also served Blue Bottle Coffee, which seems to be the defacto coffee of higher end eateries around the Bay Area. I’m not complaining.

Work has been hectic so it’s been hard to update, so I apologize for the infrequency of my posts. Things are getting better so I hope to get more posts out in lesser intervals.

Anyways,

I was watching a show about cocktails on Hulu called Great Cocktails, getting ready for our cocktail party and they featured a bartender from SF, from a bar called Cantina. This reminded me of a new place in Oakland called Camino. From the website it seems like the restaurant is about local and fresh produce and not trying to have a huge menu, but just a few things, but done fresh and right. Similar to Bar Jules, one of my favorite new restaurants, I have high hopes for this place, although it seems to be getting some mixed reviews. Time will tell, and I must go check it out soon.

Now that Halloween is just around the corner, one of the things that I miss is the large Castro Street Halloween party. It was a time to gather friends and go costume watching. Well the city put a stop to it so no more Castro. The bad thing about the Castro was the huge crowds and the aimless wandering without a purpose, so I came up with an idea to have a purpose by having a Halloween Scavenger Hunt that will work for any place with lots of people in costume.

The rules are simple. People are divided into teams and set out with a list of costumes that they then must seek out and take a picture of. They were limited to 1 hour and could not use the same costume for multiple answers. After an hour everyone reconvened and shared answers. It helped that we had friends who lived within walking distance so we could meet up there and share our answers.

Here are the items that I came up with for the first Halloween Scavenger Hunt that we did with the answers that my team found below.

1st Halloween Scavenger Hunt Clue Sheet 2002.

The Questions

Teams must find each of the following.

1. – Any character from the a Wes Anderson film
2. – Any Lord of the Rings character
3. – Any animated character
4. – Any Pixar character
5. – Any secondary Simpsons character (no one from the immediate Simpson’s family)
6. – Any notable musician (has to be specific).
7 .– Any literary character (has to be specific).
8. – Any Nobel Prize winner
9. – Anything with a Hitchcockian theme
10. – Any comic book villain
11. – Any corporate logo
12. – Any group coordinated costume
13. – Any costume based on a play on words (i.e. cereal killer)
14. – Any costume that requires batteries or is power driven.
15. – Any food related costume.
16. – Any famous athlete (must be specific, not just someone wearing a jersey)
17. – Any costume that incorporates the use of ones own genitalia.
18. – Any famous artist or work of art. (must be specific)
19. – Any ethnic themed costume.
20. – Any television personality (i.e. Donahue, the Crocodile hunter, Oprah)

The Answers:

Halloween Scavenger Hunt 2002

Starting from the top row then across.
1. we found 2 people dressed up from the Royal Tennebaums.
2. I assume they guy dressed up as Gandalf
3. Scooby Dooby Doo!
4. Sully (& Mike) from Monster’s Inc.
5. Duff man!
6. Slash from Guns N’ Roses
7. Pinocchio from the book, right?
8. We all guessed that he dress up as Yasser Arafat
9. Another team saw a person with birds on a wire chasing them ala Birds, but we didn’t see anyone.
10. Catwoman
11. Boy’s Big Boy
12. more that one = a group so Teletubbies count.
13. Dr. Pepper. (*groan*)
14. As you can see in the picture the guy was wearing some sort of fiber optic suit.
15. McD’s french fry super super super sized.
16. Dennis Rodman
17. No quite there own genitalia, but close enough.
18. Van Gough
19. An Indian (of the Land O’ Lakes tribe) and the St. Pauli girl.
20. In a stroke of luck we ran across Sally Jessie Rafael AND Geraldo Rivera AKA Gerry Rivers.

If you are interested, here were the clues for the 2nd and 3rd Halloween Scavenger Hunts.

2nd Halloween Scavenger Hunt Clue Sheet 2003.

Teams must find each of the following.

1. – Any Johnny Depp character
2. – Fighter Pilot Dubya
3. – Common household item
4. – A Nemo character
5. – Mexican wrester
6. – Any 2002 California Gubernatorial candidate
7. – Any Stephan King character.
8. – Anyone of the Forbes.com Billionaires
9. – Frank Chu
10. – Fast Food mascot
11. – Any dead famous musician that is not Elvis.
12. – Any group coordinated costume
13. – Any costume based on a play on words (i.e. cereal killer or bargain hunter)
14. – Any video game character
15. – Costume incorporating a pet.
16. – Any participant of the 2003 World Series, ALCS or NLCS.
17. – Any Non-American celebrity.
18. – Any famous work of art. (must be specific)
19. – Any Quentin Tarantino character.
20. – Any Internet icon or sponsor.

3rd Halloween Scavenger Hunt Clue Sheet 2004.

Teams must find each of the following.

1. – Tom Hanks character
2. – Vice-President or Vice-Presidential Candidate
3. – Charles Dickens character
4. – 2004 Olympic participant
5. – Reality TV icon
6. – 80’s music icon
7. – Michael Moore
8. – Non-Pixar CG animated character
9. – Historical Military Figure
10.– Any original trilogy Star Wars character (not Luke, Han, Leia, or Darth Vader, and must be specific. Will not accept generic soldiers)
11. – Costume thats incorporating a cape.
12. – Talk show host
13. – Costume based on a play on words (i.e. cereal killer or bargain hunter)
14. – Video game character
15. – Alien
16. – Red Sox player or fan.
17. – Non-American television or movie celebrity.
18. – Famous work of art. (must be specific)
19. – Food industry character that is not restaurant or fast food chain related.
20. – Anyone with a similar costume as a team member. (must take photo together)

Enjoy and Happy Halloween.

boquerones @ Bar Jules

Went to Bar Jules for dinner the other night in the Hayes Valley area of San Francisco. The menu changes daily to fresh, local ingredients, which you can check online. It is simple food prepared exquisitely. Though everything on the menu sounded tasty, we were there for one thing and one thing only, the boquerones. Slighty vinegary although not as salty and overpowering as regular anchovies, the boquerones was soft in texture and hinted at that good fishy taste. To enhance it’s flavor, it was served in a lightly toasted slice of bread with shaved radishes and fresh parsley. Simple, no frill, but delicious.

braised oxtail with white beans and salsa verde @ Bar Jules

We were prepared to just have the boquerones, but it seemed that lots of people were ordering the oxtail. Of course we had to order it as the aroma wafted past us. The oxtail was lightly braised with a “salsa verde” topping. The salsa verde consisted of parsley, cilantro, shallots, and some other ingredients but no tomatillo if I recall. The zestiness of the salsa cut into the greasiness of the oxtail and subdued the oil. The side dish of the white beans also helped meld all the flavors together for an elixir of olive oil and bone marrow and the acidity of the roasted tomato equalized it all. This was one of the best meals I’ve had in recent memory even after my recent trip to North Carolina and Mexico (post coming soon).