SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition
There is little reason to dread the coming equinox -- dreary San Francisco summers be damned, it's easier to look ahead to longer, warmer days than it is to the winter solstice. But the remaining days before spring officially arrives may be your last chance to eat one of of Mark Liberman's best winter dishes at AQ, which changes its menu every three months: the duck with beets.
Duck meat takes to cooked fruit like lamb to syrah, but instead, Liberman pairs the meat with two of the sweetest vegetables around: slow-cooked fennel, its anise kick mellowed in the cooking, and beets roasted until they become as sugary as a poached pear. The cooks lay a purple, transparent strip of gelled beet juices over the top of the duck, which melt onto the meat and cling to it, and spoons a mound of dehydrated beet pulp -- with an almost nutty, toasted-grain edge to the powder -- onto the corner of the plate.
AQ: 1085 Mission (at Seventh St.), 341-9000, www.aq-sf.com.
Other favorites in this series: