Ironside

19 09 2011

Atmosphere: 4/5  ♦  Service: 3/5  ♦  Food Quality: 4/5  ♦  Value: 3/5
Times Visited: One  ♦ Will I Return?: Sure

Ironside is a hip little restaurant on Second Street between Townsend and Brannan in San Francisco. It’s one of the (great many) places that makes SF what it is in terms of food and ambiance. The decor is a sort of modern wild-west: heavy timber framing (the stairway landing is a 4′ cube of solid wood pieces!) and steel connectors and accents fit in with the polished concrete floors and steel-railed mezzanine. Like other top SF restaurants, it looks great.

The order-at-the counter style adds a bit of casual-ness to your lunch (though they are also open for dinner, and brunch on the weekends), and the paper menu has lots of tasty things to choose from. The list itself is nothing particularly fancy: soups, salads, pizzas, and sandwiches; but the execution is key.

Inside Ironside

Entrance at Ironside

As I’ve only been here once, I can’t verify that everything on the menu is awesome, but lots of things sure did look really good. And my Pressed Veggie Cubano was pretty awesome: roasted seasonal vegetables (mine had spinach, squash, and peppers), melted gruyere cheese, and pickles really hit the spot. A side of big fat steak fries is $2.50 extra, and I had to try an agave soda.

Pressed Veggie Cubano with fries and agave soda.

Yes, agave soda. Instead of using sugar or corn syrup, Ironside serves soda that is sweetened with agave. Since I’ve never tried this, I splurged and spent the extra $2.50 for a soda.

And it tasted like Coke. To me. I’m just saying.

Other lunch menu items include interesting sandwiches such as The Pauline (garbanzo cream cheese spread, cucumbers, carrots, avocados, sprouts, and sunflower seeds on whole wheat ($8), add turkey $3); Pulled Chicken; Grilled Snapper (with jalapeno aioli, pickled onions, butter lettuce, cilantro, and Thai basil – $10); Vine Ripened Tomato and Mozzerella; Meatball Parmesan; and Cheese Steak. There’s also salads (Cobb, Nicoise, Mediterranean, etc.) and pizzas (Spicy Sausage, Roasted Mushroom, Fig and Prosciutto, etc.).

I can’t remember what Jesse ordered, but it looked like this.

I like this place a lot. My only complaint is that it was a bit pricey with my add-ons (fries were $2.50, soda was $2.50, and sandwich was $9), but overall a really cute place with a lively atmosphere, cool decor, and good food. Next time, I’ll have to try a pizza!

Ironside  on Urbanspoon





Canvas Print – Sponsored Post

8 09 2011

Not so much sponsored, really, as part of an exchange. This is new to me and I was pretty excited about it.

Brendan from Easy Canvas Prints contacted me a bit ago to see if I wanted a canvas print in exchange for blogging about it. While I love this idea, I typically pass on promos because I don’t often find them relevant to my blog and don’t want to clog up the content with crap no one cares about. But Brendan knew a weakness of mine… I love canvas prints. I also love picture and photos in general. And I love ordering things online. Ok, Brendan, let’s do this.

Because this was being posted on my food blog, I figured it wouldn’t be appropriate to order a canvas print of my family, a sunset, or my cat. It’s really only appropriate to order a photo of food to discuss on a food blog. So, I set off perusing my multitudes of photos for one that would turn out well on a canvas.

I was looking for a superior photo, obviously, one with good light, a tantalizing subject, and perhaps some color. A close-up was going to work best since the canvas that Brendan kindly offered was an 8×10. After much deliberation, I chose this photo:

Tuna Sandwich from The Brick House in SF

Yeah, that photo is totally awesome, huh. I know. So, I used their “photo to canvas” website and created my canvas with just a few clicks. I told Brendan that I’d be happy to post about my experience on my site, but that I wasn’t going to pump anything up that wasn’t up to par. He was confident, and I see why. His site is solid, his product is great, and there’s nothing to complain about. I had a great experience (in addition to getting a free canvas print), and I love my sandwich canvas. Here she is:

Sandwich Canvas. I haven't hung it up yet, so I took this photo outside. Which is weird, I realize. But the lighting was good.

And here I am:

Me and Sandwich Canvas.





SF Street Food Festival

5 09 2011

After attending the preview dinner for this event, K and I actually left our house on the weekend (gasp!) and went to the full festival. Here were our thoughts:

SF Street Food Festival 2011

Pros:

  • Lots of vendors means lots and lots of food.
  • Helpful, well organized, uniform signage throughout the festival and at each booth helped to communicate information and make sure it was obvious what was offered at each booth.
  • Varied vendors made for a wide range of food offerings.
  • Extremely well organized arrangement, complete with information booths at appropriate intervals.
  • An entire event where food is the main deal instead of the sideshow. Brilliant idea.

    SF Street Food Festival 2011. Good lord there were a lot of people.

Cons:

  • Way, way to many people in attendance.
  • Immensely long lines for nearly every vendor.
  • While the signage was good, some of the dishes were listed in Spanish. This is not helpful to me.
  • Descriptions of each dish would have been good, but this may have been present in the festival guide that I did not pick up (which I should have). Descriptions were not present on the signs at each booth.

Basically, it seemed to us that the idea of the festival was great, the execution was pro, but there were just too many people there to make it wholly enjoyable for hermits like us. Lots of people seemed to be enjoying themselves, evidenced, indeed, by the magnitude of the populace. But we weren’t having it. We were hungry, damn it. We wanted to eat now, not in 45 minutes when we arrived at the front of the line. But that was our problem. So we went to Cafe Gratitude instead.

The 25-minute line we waited in to get to Onigilly.

We did manage to seek and eat one particular dish at a food cart called Onigilly. I love this place. It serves little triangles of rice which contain a bit of something savory in the middle (teriyaki chicken, spicy shrimp, eggplant, etc.) and are covered in seaweed. See?:

Onigillys

They have these in Japan and sell them at 7-Elevens, which is awesome. They’re small, healthy, and a really great snack. Onigilly makes them fresh to order so they’re warm and delicious when you get them. Their roving food cart (which I must find) makes a meal out of them by offering three onigillys, edamame, and miso soup. I want to go to there.





B

1 09 2011
Atmosphere: 3/5  ♦  Service: 3/5  ♦  Food Quality: 2/5  ♦  Value: 3/5

Times Visited: One  ♦ Will I Return?: Unlikely.

No, my keyboard did not break one letter into writing the title of this post. The proprietors of B Restaurant in Oakland apparently decided their time could be better spent on things other than coming up with an extravagant name for their establishment.

Bar and transom windows at B

B boasts floor to ceiling transom windows which give the space a modern open feeling. You can enjoy the view from the windows while sitting at the contemporary bar that serves a full range of cocktails.

Truffle french fries (moved out of arms reach of everyone at the table to keep eager fingers out of the picture)

Although the menu is known for pizzas, the real can’t-leave-without-it dish is the truffle french fries. Tossed in truffle oil and garlic, with sides of ketchup and mayonnaise and deep-fried to a give a wonderfully crispy exterior with a pillowy interior, these were the highlight of the meal.

Margherita pizza.

Pizza bianca.

Now to the reason why the restaurant was recommended in the first place: the wood fired oven pizzas. Unfortunately with all the hype they were given they had a lot to live up to, and they fell woefully short. The margherita pizza was blackened on much of the crust, and the bottom was comprehensively carbonized. The bianca looked as though it had been thrown together with no care in an attempt at extreme expediency at the sake of quality. And both of the pizzas came to the table lukewarm which quickly morphed into fully cold.

One of the highlights of the restaurant was the live jazz music that started to play soon after we arrived. The music gave a fun feel to the place, but was unfortunately played at night club volume. During the meal our server came to our table when he saw us yelling at one another and asked if the music was too loud, when we let him know that it was, he said it would get quieter soon and it promptly made absolutely no volume change for the rest of the meal.

Overall the atmosphere and french fries were great, but not enough to overcome the disappointing pizza and screaming-at-the-people-right-next-to-you volume music. Additionally, this meaty dish was highly regarded by our dinner companion:

Some people like meat. And this picture is beautiful.

*This post courtesy of The Boyfriend! I would like to note that if the music had been quieter (or not there), or if we had come for the music, and if our pizzas had been improved, this place would have been pretty awesome. I think we might have just had an unfortunately timed visit. Que sera, sera, no?

B Restaurant on Urbanspoon








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