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Bernal Heights & Excelsior

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Japanese Curry in NanoTokyo

Posted By on Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Beef curry served over ramen. - ERIC S. BURKETT
  • Eric S. Burkett
  • Beef curry served over ramen.

There's something sort of hausfrau-ish about Japanese curries. Unlike their more exotic counterparts from India or Southeast Asia, fragrant with herbs and rich with coconut milk, Japanese curries have a certain homely quality, much like dads' beef stew. They're satisfying in a cold-weather sort of way, even rib-sticking with their thick, brown sauce and chunks of root vegetables.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Bernal Heights Gets a Party Bus

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 1:10 PM

Rye Way or the Highway - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Rye Way or the Highway

Bringing the no-tipping trend out of the restaurant universe and into a brewpub, Old Bus Tavern has opened to some fanfare on Mission Street in Bernal Heights, as the principals are homebrew aficionados.

Unrelated to the Bus Stop Bar on Union and Laguna, it’s notable for the tapestries on the wall, the fermentation tanks sitting in the back, and for a chalkboard image of a microbus driving down Bernal Hill as a prop plane overhead trails a banner that reads “Drink Up!” The taps are a good cross-section of what’s doing in Bay Area microbreweries, from Fieldwork’s Tundra Triple IPA to Almanac’s Meyer Lemon Gose to Fort Point’s Westfalia Vienna Lager.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Choose Your Ramen Adventure at Coco's, in Bernal Heights

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:00 AM

STEPHANIE KUO
  • Stephanie Kuo

There is no shortage of ramen in the city. With recent chain expansions like Orenchi Beyond and Ramen Yamadaya alongside San Francisco’s own favorites, there’s definitely something for everyone. Despite the many options, it’s difficult to find a ramen house that caters to the ramen purist while still offering all of the traditional broth flavors. You typically either get only tonkotsu variations, or a menu with no tonkotsu at all — not awesome if you need to cater to all ramen preferences. The answer is finally here: look no further than Coco’s Ramen, a little gem in Bernal Heights where there is something for everyone.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Clever Vandals Tag "Banal Hill" Market

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 11:00 AM

ANGI BRZYCKI
  • Angi Brzycki

Without any endorsement of this action, I'm always surprised this doesn't happen more.

This morning, graffiti artists/taggers/angry displaced persons/subalterns/jerks emblazoned Bernal Heights' Epicurean Trader with some bold red spray paint.  The business is a two-month-old upscale grocer that opened in the space once occupied by Red Hill Books (whose name referenced an old nickname for the once-radical and Commie-filled Bernal) and so it's a good proxy for the neighborhood's evolution.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

It's Hard to Make Burrata, So Let Precita Park Cafe Show You

Posted By on Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Look at that professionally made burrata, hiding back there. - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Look at that professionally made burrata, hiding back there.

It is fairly challenging to make burrata, the fresh, southern Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream (stracciatella) inside a shell of pure mozzarella. Sourcing the curds can be challenging, but beyond a thermometer, you don’t really need much specialized equipment. Only technique.

As Precita Park Café makes its own burrata daily (serving it with artichoke, fried parsley, and a porcini vinaigrette), Chefs Chris Seyersdahl and Richie Wilim are teaming up with Sosh to present a burrata making class (with a wine-paired meal!) on Saturday, July 11.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Urinating Mannequins and Belgian Beer at Bel, in Bernal Heights

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Inside Bel. - ERIC S. BURKETT
  • Eric S. Burkett
  • Inside Bel.

“I've always cooked with whatever's on hand,” said Rick Rosen.

And at his new Bernal Heights restaurant, Bel, that would be beer. Bel is all about Belgian beer, and Belgian-style beer from California. There's beer from Germany, too, and a small but solid selection of wines from Germany, France, Chile, and California. But beer is really the star here and, anyway, who drinks Gewurztraminer with french fries?

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Aktun, Baby!: Mayan Restaurant Takes Over Former Emmy's Space

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 4:00 PM

PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane

When Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack vacated its original location on Virginia Avenue in Bernal Heights for a bigger location on Mission Street, it left a big old pile of nothing behind. That’s unfortunate, because the space has a secret passageway via the conservatory from Clue into El Amigo, the unassuming corner bar that just so happens to serve one of San Francisco’s finest margaritas.

And now that space is set to be taken, by a restaurant whose concept comports even better with salted rims than garlic bread does. (No shade at Emmy, whose menu does include a Mayan-style prawn ceviche.) Mayan-Yucatecan Aktun, whose kitchen is currently in the soft-opening phase as the dining room gets built out, is a project by Emmy’s brother Joe Kaplan, who has owned El Amigo since 2011.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ni Bar is the Izikaya of Your Dreams

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 11:12 AM

JULIE KRAMER
  • Julie Kramer

Ichi Sushi
is making quite a name for itself — even Martha Stewart had to drop in during a recent visit to San Francisco. It’s no surprise, really; the original tiny location had lines down the block, and the new space, with room for a kitchen, has allowed Chef Tim Archuleta to develop his menu. While the sushi bar and its educational mural occupy the front of the restaurant, the back houses Ni Bar, a cozy place that should not be overlooked. With a broad range of sake and a menu of beautifully-executed izakaya dishes, Ni is perhaps Bernal’s best-kept secret. And now you know.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Precita Park Cafe Serves Its Neighborhood More Than Food

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 4:15 PM

precita-homepage.jpg
Bernal Heights boasts more than just one of the city’s more pleasant microclimates. It’s also a hotbed for friendly, independent coffee houses, specialty shops, and destination dining. Precita Park Cafe has all this wrapped neatly under one roof. Committed to local, sustainable fare, this two-and-a-half-year-old eatery has established synergy with it’s surrounding community. It’s an enviable model for San Francisco businesses hungry for success in a crowded commercial market.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Patrick Lee Wants to Fry You Anything at Batter Up

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Does it really matter what's inside? - ALEX HOCHMAN
  • Alex Hochman
  • Does it really matter what's inside?

A graffiti-laden sliding window masked by a cold, windy Muni stop in the Excelsior District seems an odd spot for the city's lone dive specializing in Texas State Fair "cuisine." Odder still, its owner, Patrick Lee, is a San Francisco-bred dot-com escapee whose only prior restaurant experience consisted of busing tables at his aunt's pizza parlor downtown. Yet every day, Lee mans his minuscule space (only one person can fit at a time) and, utilizing a small deep-fryer no different than those found on the kitchen counters of many an ambitious home cook, doles out a dizzying array of battered dogs, sausages, cheese sticks, and mass-market sweets.

You can't visit Batter Up without trying a classic corn dog ($3.75). Lee uses Evergood all-beef frankfurters, fried in a thick blanket of barely crunchy, faintly sweet cornmeal. The dog managed to stay snappy despite a generous coating. Even better was a Schwarz smoked bratwurst, its more intense flavor truly able to stand up to the batter. Like a pedigreed chef, Lee refused to divulge any details about the secret recipe for his mixture.

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