Monthly Archives: July 2011

You Are What You Eat

I often times write about food and my restaurant encounters, but I certainly don’t consider myself a food blogger [per se]. That being said, I realize that I am very fortunate for the experiences that I get as a twenty-something. But ask me to open my refrigerator? Your findings would consist of a tub of hummus, some salad greens, a bottle of white wine, string cheese and a bunch of condiments. It may be extremely slightly embarrassing, but that’s just how it is for me! I don’t have anyone to cook for and we (being my roommates and myself) each do our own thing in regards to grocery shopping.

I recently stumbled upon a website where photographer Mark Menjivar traveled around the US, asking people to do exactly what I described above — open their refrigerator door for a stranger. One person compared it to ” asking someone to pose nude for the camera”. As you click through You Are What You Eat, each photo is labeled with the individual’s occupation, city in which they reside in, the number of people living in the household and some random fact about their personal life. When you study the photos and read the captions, you can’t help but begin to formulate an image in your head of this person. One that I found particularly amusing was a refrigerator with 4 cartons of milk for a 1-person household with the caption: ” Is not very good at small talk.” So, an introverted fanatical milk-drinking New York gallery owner? It would appear that he really likes his cream cheese as well — there’s 3 large tubs of Philadelphia!

Take a peek and see what conclusions you make about these people based on what resides in their fridge — it’s part of a larger topic on our country’s food issues. I found it pretty interesting!

xo.

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First Bite: Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen

The old Ponzu Restaurant was ousted on the corner of O’Farrell and Taylor Streets, and fittingly Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen has taken it’s place. With a complete remodel and redesign, the new Kimpton Restaurant opening today aims to take on hungry guests (and locals alike) with their “gastro-pub” theme. A little bit of some good ‘ole San Francisco history: Jasper’s Corner got its name from Jasper O’Farrell, who was the first surveyor in San Francisco and designed the layout of today’s Market Street. He was instrumental in naming streets (naturally “O’Farrell”) and even improved the 1839 street map. Way to go Jasper!

On to the restaurant. I never realized how big the space was when it was Ponzu, but boy do they have a nice, long bar to work with now! And by “they” I mean Bar Director and Bar Star Kevin Diedrich and his crew, formerly of The Burritt Room, are bringin’ the proper cocktail-expertise over to this watering hole. Right as you pass through the front door, you are greeted by a portrait of Jasper O”Farrell himself. As you explore the restaurant further, you’ll find some top-notch artwork.

On to the food. Executive Chef Adam Carpenter helms the kitchen, dishing out tavern-inspired fare. The back of the beer-centric menu features a full selection of beers on draught, which you can order in 1/2 or full serving sizes, as well as canned and bottled beers. Espelette was used to kick up the chick peas ($4) and the spicy nuts ($4) from the “Snacks” section. We also tried the warm olives ($5) in garlic, oil and lemon zest, ham and cheese fritters ($6), and the rillette of pork confit ($6). All of these dishes would be great enjoyed at the bar with a nice cold one!

There was a large array of “First Bites” which sound mighty tasty, including salt & pepper calamari ($9), warm soft pretzel with smoked gouda and cheddar fondue ($4/$8), mussels with chorizo ($11) and a local catch crudo ($13). On this particular night, our table skipped this section moved on to the “Sandwiches”. We shared the pork sandwich made with kurobuta pork roast, spicy coppa, pickles, mustard and swiss cheese ($13), the grilled cheese with tomato and onion relish, whole wheat sourdough, roasted garlic and a cow’s cheese ($7; you can add pork belly for an additional $4), and the J Burger with griddled Wagyu beef, English blue cheese, bacon onion marmalade and a frisee salad on a baguette bun ($15). All sandwiches come with slaw and pickles and you have the option to add fries or a mixed green salad for an additional $2. If you are in for a full dinner, check out the “Hot Plates”, which include fish n’ chips ($13/$21), bangers n’ mash ($16), shepherd’s pie ($16), grilled salmon ($20), pressed 1/2 chicken ($17) and steak frites ($18).

As you can tell, all prices are pretty reasonable and the food was absolutely delicious — and some much needed comfort food. The service was extra attentive, and our server was very friendly and happy to answer any (and all) questions we had. I loved that the staff each wore their own style of plaid shirts; it was a nice flair and nicely matched the theme of the restaurant.

And without further adieu…food photos below:

Rillette of Pork Confit

Ham and Cheese Fritters

Espelette Chick Peas

Warm Olives w/Citrus

Pork Sandwich

The J Burger..mmmhmmm

Grilled Cheese

Table-wise, there were 3 big banquettes right next to the window — so if you have the opportunity to nab one of those for dinner, you should. Also, they’ve got a nice semi-private table in back which would be perfect for larger groups. To me, this seemed like it would be a great restaurant for an after-work beer at the bar, snacks with friends or even a casual dinner with co-workers!

Sometimes you  just need a face-lift to breathe new life into a restaurant space — and this one was seamless. Enjoy!

Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen. 401 Taylor Street. 415.775.7979

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Madewell

Last Thursday I went to check out the opening of a new store in the San Francisco Westfield Centre called Madewell. Madewell is brought to us by the folks behind J.Crew so you can definitely expect preppy-ish, breezy fashion, however this store is geared towards the 25-35 demographic. Cardigans, dresses, light tanks & tees and accessories abound!

Check it out and don’t miss the denim bar or the bracelet bar!

Madewell. 845 Market Street. First floor.

 

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Crazy, Stupid, Love

If you are like me and lead a busy social life, then you probably hardly find the time or even let the thought cross your mind to go to see a movie. Catching a flick, however, is a great stress-buster and provides a small two-hour window for you to put your mind at ease. Because who is checking their text messages/email/Twitter/Facebook while sitting in that darkened theater? And if you are — shame on you!

Last night I attended a pre-screening of a movie called Crazy, Stupid, Love starring Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon. This is a romantic comedy — but do not fear, it is not a predictable, cheesy rom-com. Instead this movie offers lessons on love, trust, family and friendship. It comes out in theaters on July 29th, so run — don’t walk — and bring your girlfriends for night filled with lots of laughs and a few tears of joy.

P.S. Ryan Gosling provides SERIOUS eye candy in this movie with his hot bod, slick suits and bad boy demeanor. But don’t worry ladies, there’s hope because even this self-proclaimed ladies man settles down in the end.

xo.

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Filed under San Francisco, Things to do in sf, Turbulent Twenties, twenty-somethings

Bar Agricole

Bar Agricole is a unique cocktail-driven restaurant located on a stretch of 11th street, breaking up nightsites such as Slim’s, DNA Lounge and Butter. This self-proclaimed “modern urban tavern”, designed using mixed material elements (which won the James Beard Award fo Best Restaurant Interior of 2011), is churning out great dishes and rather than re-gurgitate what is already known I’m just posting photos!

Baby mixed lettuces with chives, green almonds and spring onion vinaigrette

Fava greens, amaranth and gold chard with spring garlic and preserved lemons

Roast pork leg with tonnato, soft boiled egg, escarole and romanesco broccoli

Wood oven roasted duck breast with saurkraut, lentils and liver toast

Spaghetti with seafood sausage and chives

Bar Agricole has a sweet outdoor patio spot, so hit it up on a warm evening with a date or check it out for brunch (served every Sunday from 11am to 2pm). Either way, be sure to try the creative libations from mixologist-vet Thad Vogler’s restaurant.

Happy cocktailing!

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Txoko SF, Wilson and Wilson

It takes a certain type of restaurant that can come in to break up the row of seedy Broadway strip-clubs in North Beach, and Txoko has a mix of the right elements: great food, good cocktails and that breezy vibe.

I did see some semblance of the old Enrico’s restaurant/live music lounge, but I have to say that I really love what the new owners (and folks behind Naked Lunch)  did with the large space. There are tables on the left, a long bar on the right and tables for dining al fresco, but I highly recommend ponying up to the communal table in the center of the room. The menu consists of a variety of small bites, small and large plates, cheeses and desserts which really bodes well with the urban, some-what industrial interior. I was digging the silverware in mason jars. Plus, they serve late night — so this is a major bonus for those looking to score some grub when every other kitchen in town has closed. The prices range from $3 to $14 (save for the $65 for 2 big plate), so you could get carried away ordering a few dishes and not be shocked when the final bill comes.

On a recent visit, I tried the “Liver & Onion”(Foie Gras Torchon, Cipollini, Pedro Ximenez Gastrique), Crispy Veal Sweetbreads (Potato Coulis, Chorizo, Fava Beans, Mushrooms), Wild Mushroom Arroz (Hen of the Woods, Morels, Chanterelles, Fiddleheads), and Ahi Tuna Tartare (Roasted Tomato Puree, Black Olive, Chive Oil) — and I was delighted and impressed with every single dish. I recently checked their website and it appears that some of the ingredients have varied ever so slightly, just as an FYI. But the bottom line is that Txoko is churning out delicious food at reasonable prices. I think this would be a perfect date spot. Either pre- or post- cursor to 15 Romolo. Or Garden of Eden. You take your pick!

Tuna tartare dish

Liver and Onions

Mushroom dish -- sorry, a little blurry!

Sweetbreads

The 2nd stop of the evening was Wilson and Wilson Private Detective Agency (aka The Wilson Bar) for some serious cocktailing. We all know that you must make reservations for Bourbon & Branch and it is the same case here at this bar within a bar.

You may order drinks separately for $12 each or order three-courses for $30, set up similarly to a dinner would be: you have the aperitifs (light and will whet your whistle), the mains (just as a main course would be, full-bodied), and the digestifs. They’ve also got some serious punch offerings for $40, such as the Lost Temple with strawberry infused pisco, the Dark City and the Jungle At Dusk.

The Wilson Investigative Cocktails I chose were:

Red Scarab: Applejack, Lillet Blanc, Lemon Juice, Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup, Hibiscus Tincture, Sparkling Wine

Charlie Chan: Black Tea infused Karlsson’s Vodka, Lemon Juice, Ginger Syrup, Coconut Marmalade, Black Pepper Tincture, Clove Tincture

Hard Boiled: Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Laird’s 100 Proof Apple Brandy, Zucca Amaro, Cardamaro Amaro, Cinnamon Infused Orange Bitters

All drinks aside, I was (and still currently am) obsessed with the look and feel of Wilson and Wilson. The whole theme is based around a purse belonging to Ms. Wilson that was discovered within the walls of the building and the story is extremely fascinating. Tip: though you might be in a alcohol-induced haze, you must read the entire history in the cocktail menu and study the interior because every last touch is well thought-out and the decor is beautiful. The bar stools perfectly hug your bottom (no joke) and you feel like your in a hidden little den in a sketchy mc-sketcherton part of town aka the T-loin. But it’s all worth it in the end, if you’re still standing.

xo.

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Filed under Neighborhoods, Restaurants, San Francisco