The Financial District certainly isn't lacking for midday lunch options, but there's been a recent spate of openings that focus on what NoCal does best: local, seasonal, sustainable cuisine. First was Shorty Goldstein's, a deli with everything made in-house that's won some early raves. There's also Heyday, a healthy lunch spot from Chez Panisse alums that's also serving takeaway roasted Mary's chicken for dinner. The third is Foundation Cafe, a bright, subway-tiled spot on Kearny between Bush and Pine, serving up a short menu of salads and sandwiches, based on, you guessed it, local and sustainable ingredients.
We've tried two of their sandwiches so far. The blackened rockfish made for a fabulous lunch, with perfectly cooked, spice-dusted fish on a baguette with pineapple slaw and chipotle cream. Less successful was the roasted eggplant sandwich -- the ciabatta seemed a little underbaked, and the eggplant was slightly bitter, chewy, and underdone. Still, we liked the avocado and green olive tapanade enough to be open to trying another on the list -- the fried chicken with bacon and melted Swiss cheese, perhaps?
There are also soups, market sides like roasted baby artichokes with grilled lemon and parmesan or Brussels sprouts with pancetta and brown butter, Four Barrel coffee, and breakfast (we totally want to try the roasted broccolini with white cheddar, pancetta, and an over-easy egg).
The sustainable theme is played up in the farmhouse-like decor, which features the ubiquitous subway tile and jars of pickles, but is thankfully sans Edison bulbs. All in all, a pleasant place to escape from the desk for a bit.