Wednesday, February 3, 2010

San Francisco Culinary Frenzy

I spent the last weekend in San Francisco and I had the most amazing time. That city just oozes freedom. Freedom to be who you want to be, freedom to go where you want to go, freedom to eat what you want eat, and freedom to cook what you want to cook. San Francisco restaurants are constantly pushing the boundaries and the innovation behind the creativity is magnificent. San Francisco is a foodies dream come true and a waistlines nightmare!
I plan to share all the amazing places I dined at and the mouth watering dishes I indulged in. Thank god I had two amazing men to with me who have amazing pallets and were down for some good eats. Thanks Cousin Matt & Mike! I wouldn’t have gotten to try all the tastes of San Fran without you both at my table.
WARNING: Do not read if you are really hungry
My first stop was lunch at Amber India Restaurant. To my surprise this place was hip and modern with an Indian flare and for lunch they have a buffet for $16.95. This was some of the best Indian food I have ever had. The lunch featured a large assortment of Indian dishes that are prepared daily from fresh and environmentally sound ingredients. The buffet features dishes such as tangy salads, fresh vegetables, zesty curries, delectable tandoori items and luscious desserts. Oh I can’t forget the endless amount of fresh Naan bread that is served hot right to your table. If you love Indian food I highly recommend this place. Check it out.
Dinner that evening was spent at Delfina, a hopping neighborhood trattoria in the Mission. This place was so alive with energy it was perfect for my first night out. The food at Delfina is Italian with a California cuisine flare. The menu changes daily depending on the offerings of local producers. The wine list only features Italian and California wines. I must say this is some of the best food I had ever had in my life. Our eats included.
Antipasti - Lamb Sausage (made fresh) with warm lentil salad and pickled onions; The winner of the antipasti was for sure the Grilled Fresh Calamari with warm white bean salad. It’s a must and is to die for!
Salad - House Cured Salmon with crunchy salad and chive crème fraiche: I loved the fresh cucumber in the salmon salad. It was very refreshing.
Primi – The Butternut Squash Tortelli was my dish: This dish was delicately delightful. Who doesn’t love pasta where they zest an amaretto cookie on top? Dessert & pasta in one dish…It doesn’t get much better then that.
Secondi – My cousin Matt had the Meyer Ranch Hanger Steak with French Fries. This steak was so tender you could cut it with a butter knife. It was garnished with marrow which made this dish simply buttery and rich. Loved! Mike had the Roasted Liberty Duck with house-made sauerkraut and pomegranate sauce. This was by far the best duck I ever had. It tasted like chicken and steak in one. It was far from gamey and the skin was perfectly crispy! I would go back just for this dish alone. Check it out here!
For Breakfast or really lunch we went to Mama’s in North Beach. We waited in line for an hour and a half and I can’t say it was worth the wait. The food was very good but a little too rich for me. The best thing to speak of was the French Toast Sampler made from 3 of the house made beautiful breads. I’m talking banana bread, chocolate cinnamon bread, and Kugelhopf bread (house baked brioche bread with golden raisins, cinnamon, dates and sliced almonds) Just a little tip you can get fresh squeezed orange juice or coffee and variety of gorgeous coffee cakes and pastries to go and you don’t have to wait in line for an hour and a half. I wish we did that. It would have been beneficial to my waistline and would have allowed me more hours of the day to shop till I drop!

For Dinner that evening we ate at Zuni Café. This place is what San Francisco’s all about. Located deep in the Mission on Market you can watch cable cars go by from the large windows surrounding the building. It really has an amazing lively vibe and atmosphere and the food…oh the food…it is to die for. The dish of the weekend was from Zuni. The Chicken for two roasted in a brick oven; warm bread salad with red mustard greens, scallions, currants and pine nuts. It takes 1 hour to make so we ordered it as soon as we sat down. I was very happy to see that every table around us was eating the same dish. I knew we ordered right and I had no idea what I was in for. The chicken was so moist and tender. It is salted 24 hours in advance and that is really the only flavoring on the chicken. The skins is left on and its browned and crispy to perfection I have never had chicken like this before and I will never buy a rotisserie chicken from a grocery store again. The bread salad is made with vinaigrette and drippings from the roasted chicken. It was insane! I bought the Zuni Café cook book entirely for this one dish. I expect you will be calling me for an invite to dinner at my house very soon. Zuni Café is a must every time I visit San Francisco. It will always be on the top of my list!
After all the calories I consumed over the weekend my plan was to run a 10k through Golden Gate Park on Sunday...Didn't happen since I danced the night away in the mission till 4am Sunday morning...I think I burned some calories that evening. But who cares about calories when you are on vacation! Cheers and Bon Appetit!

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