Plow: Brunch

31 07 2014

Sometimes I feel like there should be a sign as you enter San Francisco that reads: “SAN FRANCISCO: WE LIKE BRUNCH”. That would pretty much cover it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: brunch is like a sport in SF. Good places are swarmed with people every weekend, especially Sunday. There’s probably a dozen places I could name off hand that will have over a hour wait if you saunter in for brunch around 11am on a Sunday sans reservation. Plow is one of these places.

breakfast

As Plow does not take reservations, we had to engage one of the many common SF brunch tactics. But this time, we had a trick up our sleeve: daylight savings time. On daylight savings day (the one in the Spring), you can get there at 10am, and it really is kinda like arriving at 9am. What does this do? Well, it doesn’t get you any more sleep than arriving at 9am, but, it does seem to get you the same wait time as if you arrived an hour earlier. Everyone else is sleeping! And you’re eating awesome brunch. Good work!

Arriving so early meant we had about a ten minute wait, and then we were seated in their long, narrow, daylight-filled dining area. The menu is sort of old-fashioned meets modern — the only coffee is the kind that is held in a bulbous glass coffee pot and poured periodically into your thick-walled ceramic coffee cup, but the food menu puts a little twist on a variety of favorites, and offers a few yummy unique items.

restaurant

Despite my inclination to order absolutely everything on the menu (ex: raspberry glazed donut $4.25, chocolate banana bread $4.25, avocado toast $8.25, cold-smoked salmon toast $10, dungeness crab scramble $17), I went with my old favorite, eggs benedict with cold smoked salmon ($17). And, at the recommendation of a friend, my two lady friends and I shared two lemon ricotta pancakes ($5 each, or $13 for a meal of three), which were just as amazing as they were reported to be.

My friends ordered two very similar egg dishes (I can’t exactly remember which was which…):

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And my benedict was pretty much as good as it looks. The hollandaise was homemade, and was more vinegar-y than I’m used to, but was dang good:

eggs benedict

Oy, and that little lemon ricotta pancake? So. Good.

pancake

And by the time we left, this was the line outside. Thank you daylight savings.

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Plow on Urbanspoon





Eat Drink SF: An Epic Foodie Festival (+ Ticket Giveaway)

28 07 2014

Yes, it seems that every other weekend there is some amazing food or beverage festival in this grand city of ours, and next weekend is no exception. The Eat Drink SF festival (formerly SF Chefs) will be taking place at Fort Mason August 1-3, 2014, with a huge variety of events from classes to dinners to parties spanning the three-day event.

eat drink sf

 

As B&C loves to give away tickets to SF food events, there is one pair of tickets ($100 value) up for grabs to the event Up Close and Personal with Fabio Viviani on Saturday August 2 at 2pm! Leave a comment below or email me for deets. (Update: The tickets have been given away, thanks for all the emails!)

eat drink sf viviani

 

As they describe it, “Eat Drink SF is a food and wine event celebrating the unique flavor, diversity and bounty of Northern California. The Grand Tasting is at Fort Mason Center where chefs, winemakers, brewers and distillers will offer an exploration of taste. Classes, seminars, demos, dinners and parties will offer interactive opportunities for the public to participate with local farmers, ranchers, chefs, winemakers, distillers, media, authors, brewers, mixologists and culinary experts in an entertaining and delicious forum.”

eat drink sf food1

 

eat drink sf chefs

And, a variety of local restaurant favorites will feature sips and tastes, such as A16, Central Kitchen, CHAYA Brasserie, Commonwealth, Delfina, Frances, Flour + Water, Fog City, La Urbana, Park Tavern, and Tacolicious, not to mention the plethora of chefs including Dominique Crenn, Michael Chiarello, Tyler Florence, Charles Phan, Martin Yan, and Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani.

If I weren’t out of town this weekend, you know where I’d be. If you’re fortunate enough to be in the City this weekend, leave a comment or send me an email (brocandchoc@gmail.com) to snag some free tickets to be entertained by a Top Chef star as he teaches you how to make fresh Orecchiette Pasta with Pesto Sauce. And, check out the rest of the events to see what else tickles your fancy!

 

 

 

eat drink sf collage

(All photos courtesy of the Eat Drink SF Facebook page.)





Coffee-Con 2014 is Coming to SF July 26, with Ticket Giveaway!

17 07 2014

Do you love coffee? So many of us do nowadays. SF has been one of many special places for coffee culture incubation over the last many years, and is now hosting its third annual Coffee-Con on July 26, 2014 at Terra Gallery (511 Harrison, at First). Come one, come all — coffee-lovers unite for Coffee-Con 2014!

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Experience hands-on training classes (because you thought you knew the best practices of coffee creation…), learn about international varieties of coffee and methods of brewing, and, of course, get your caffeine fix with loads of free samples. There will be speakers, live music, and even giveaways for a variety of coffee-related prizes.

And speaking of giveaways… broccoli and chocolate has been graciously given two pairs of tickets to give away to two lucky readers! Please either leave a comment below or email me directly (brocandchoc@gmail.com) for a pair of free tickets ($20 value) to this fun event!

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Haight Ashbury Food Tour — Avital Tours

14 07 2014

Avital Tours is a name I had heard before — but not until she contacted me about a media tour of The Haight had I considered actually joining a tour. But, since I know surprisingly little about the food scene in The Haight, and I wanted to experience one of these famed food tours, I happily accepted.

The tour took place on a bright, sunny day with eight or so other bloggers. Avital herself was there, but another local foodie and food writer, Virginia Miller, was the guide. The tour was three hours long and took us walking in a relatively small area while providing information about a variety of non-food-related historical facts as we made our way to five food and drink establishments.

Avital Tours Haight Ashbury Culinary Map

Avital Tours Haight Ashbury Culinary Map

A fun little map of the Haight provided by Avital is shown above (click to enlarge); the five stops we experienced are described below.

 

Stop 1: Bacon Bacon

This shop is actually really cool, even though I’m not a meat-eater. We got a bit of info from the owner, who was really laid back and knowledgeable, and tried a taco and a bit of Mexican hot chocolate, both graced with pork products. I had informed Avital beforehand that I don’t eat the piggies, and they seamlessly accommodated me without me having to ask again. Smooth.

hot chocolate

bacon Mexican hot chocolate

taco

piggy taco

taco

veggie taco

 

Stop 2: Alembic

Finally, I got to go to Alembic. This is always on the top SF lists for craft cocktails, and I just had not made it there yet. They have a small food menu, really intricate cocktails, and they’re expanding (maybe open now?) into the adjacent space to make a bit more room for tables (the bar essentially fills up the whole space right now). The Southern Exposure (a spin on the classic Southside cocktail) was extremely refreshing and expertly made. The tiny pickled quail eggs were my very very favorite (you know how much I love pickled things…) and were as yummy as they were adorable.

 

cocktail

southern exposure cocktail

eggs

pickled quail eggs

bar

Alembic

 

Stop 3: Anda Piroshki at Second Act Marketplace

This space used to be the old Red Vic Movie House, and now is working as a community space housing five retail shops and an event space. One of the five shops is Anda Piroshki, where we were able to watch as these traditional Russian treats are made (and then eat them, of course).

piroshkis being made

piroshkis being made

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piroshki

finished piroshki

 

[Stop 3 1/2: The Gardens Behind The Alembic/Second Act Marketplace]

In a small space behind these joint buildings, a garden exists that houses a surprising amount of veggies and herbs used in the creation of the food and beverages served in both establishments. This isn’t open to the public, so we felt pretty special getting a sneak peek at this area along with some information from the building’s owner, Betsy. (I believe this stop isn’t on the regular tour, but thought I’d share.)

garden

 

Stop 4: The Fizzery

Even for The Haight, this place is kooky. Offering hundreds of varieties of small-batch bottled sodas in all flavors and colors, along with enough candy and toffee to make a schoolkid’s head spin, the Fizzery sells a few of its own bottled creations from their facility in The Mission District. They even have a contraption to flash-cool a soda you just bought to be enjoyed on the spot. This place is a trip.

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instant cooling machine!

instant soda-cooling machine!

 

Stop 5: The Ice Cream Bar Soda Fountain

Mimicking a soda-pop shop of yesteryear better than you could possibly imagine (seriously, some real research went into this place), this seemingly simple ice cream shop is really a haven for the funkiest “soda” creations since 1850. Creating their own “tinctures” and “lactarts”, you can not only enjoy a radical sweet treat, but you learn a whole new vocabulary of liquid libations to boot. They also have a wide variety of ice creams (people were even raving about the vegan choices), and they serve lunch as well.

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The “soda” we tried (I use quotes because these are nothing like the carbonated canned drinks we’re familiar with) was a creation invented by the leader of our tour: Dill Lactart Soda. It was milky, but bubbly, and dill-y… I drank the whole thing without being able to place where this should go into my mental rolodex of flavors. It was sweet and tart and just really interesting. This particular flavor isn’t on the menu, but the menu items certainly leave enough interesting choices to last for many visits.

dill lactart soda

dill lactart soda

And that was it! If I wrote everything I learned on this tour, I could write for days. The whole thing was really well executed, the length was perfect (if it had gone on much longer, my dogs would have started barking*), and nothing about moving a group of eight or so from place to place was strained or difficult. And, I learned a heck of a lot more about The Haight than I knew before, which is fun even for a local. Not that she needs more endorsements with all her zillions of five-star Yelp reviews, but I’d definitely give a hearty thumbs up to this tour. Thanks Avital!

*That means my feet would have started hurting.

 





Park Chow: Brunch

6 06 2014

If I were filling out a review of Park Chow on Opentable, I would check the box for “neighborhood gem”. And then I’d feel like that was super cheesy and uncheck it. Then I’d remember that it’s hecka accurate and check it again.

scramble

veggie burger

Park Chow is really just kind of your basic diner — old fashioned counter seating, a mounted board on the wall with menu items listed in individual little black clip-in lettering, and a menu of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and other American classics. But the difference is that the food is good. Like, better-than-your-basic-diner good.

And it’s just fun in there. It’s casual, unpretentious, and it’s inevitably crowded with hungry, happy patrons. It feels the way a diner should: comfortable and homey without being low-class or dingy. And last time I was there for brunch, I discovered something I never knew: they have a huge upstairs that’s partially enclosed by shade awnings! It was a beautiful sunny Saturday (an rarity in the Inner Sunset) and we were able to enjoy the outside without baking in direct sun. It was great.

scramble

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I wish I had taken more pictures, but, as usual, I was focused on the food. I went for the veggie burger* while my man-friend enjoyed a nice brunch scramble. The portions are pretty dang big, and we were ready for a happy nap afterward. Somehow I have to finagle a Thursday visit to experience the smoked salmon hash special… I can dream, can’t I?

*I ordered the veggie burger both to satisfy my craving for said food, and to further research the best veggie burger in the City. This one was good: nice texture, good taste, and the tzaziki sauce was a real win.

Park Chow on Urbanspoon





Mother’s Day Brunch at The Cliff House

21 05 2014

Mom likes a nice view and an elegant atmosphere. Cut to: The Cliff House Restaurant perched nicely atop a (wait for it) cliff on the very western reaches of San Francisco, overlooking the grand old Pacific. The beautifully renovated 1909 facility has been around since 1863, at least in name — two former incarnations succumbed to fire over the years (once even after surviving the 1906 earthquake — doh!).

Mom

Happy Mom’s Day Mom!!!

The Sunday Champagne Brunch Buffet is hosted weekly in the Terrace Room of the Cliff House, overlooking views of Ocean Beach and the Pacific herself. They jack the price up for Mom’s Day, but that’s to be expected.

I have to say I was a bit scared that the food wouldn’t be great, and that the selling points were the famous digs and great views rather than the platters in the center of the room. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. The list of food on offer goes on and on, but I’ll just show you a few pics to ponder. Also, they had a harp player to round out the elegant vibe. Harps rock. And this lady even played us some Stairway. Stairway on harp!! What more could you ask for?

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as we approach…

fruit

not an unimpressive fruit platter

salmon

smoked salmon (drool)

asparagus

citrus asparagus

breakfast

foods in warmy trays

 

mom

hi mom!

paella

paella

benedict

it’s not brunch without a benedict.

shrimp

shrump!

dessert

desserts!

plate

my first plate (not my last)

harp

And don’t forget the harpist!





Comstock Saloon

16 04 2014

Comstock Saloon is a nice bar and restaurant on Columbus that’s kinda got a classy, old-timey feel to it. As in, it’s gussied up like an old fashioned saloon but with new, nice, and artistic fixtures. Dark wood bar, tables, and booths; dim chandeliers and lamps; bartenders who wear vests… you get the idea. Fine, I guess it’s kinda a hipster thing, but it’s cool and classy and fun and I like it. (Per their website, the historic space was a saloon dating back to 1907 — points for authenticity!)

pot pie

Mushroom Pot Pie from Comstock — $17

bar

Comstock bar

Being a saloon (complete with fancy SF cocktails), I never really thought about it as a dinner place. Indeed, I was wrong. They have a small menu, but it’s really creative and very tasty. I went recently and was pretty excited about it. And they have a mushroom pot pie that’s made to order! Seriously, as good as it is unusual. Love.

Other dishes I tried:

pickles

Pickle Plate from Comstock — $5

I’ve never had pickled grapes, and I’m not entirely sure I liked them, but the rest of the pickled things were good, and I’ll at least give them an A for effort.

salad

Little Gem Salad from Comstock — $9

Little gem salad with garlic anchovy dressing was simple but solid.

artichoke dip

Crab and Artichoke Dip from Comstock — $14 (appears to be seasonal)

I mean, what can I say. Crab and artichoke dip? Is it possible to go wrong? So good. Also, appears to be seasonal as it’s not on the menu on their website at the moment.

pot pie

And of course, the finale was the pot pie. Not to even mention that I still want to try so many other things on their small menu… squash fritters! Bucket of shrimp! Monterey Bay sardines! Marinated olives! Maybe I’ll even muster up the courage and go for the oysters…

Also, free lunch Fridays with purchase of two adult beverages? Intriguing…

Comstock Saloon on Urbanspoon








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