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Food Fight

Friday, January 29, 2016

Crepe Showdown: Creperie Saint-German Vs. Petit Crenn Vs. Crepe Madame

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 4:30 PM

crepe-madame-2.jpg

After the parade of classic haute cuisine French legends that called it quits in the early 2010s like Fleur de Lys and Masa’s, we all thought San Francisco had had enough with French cuisine, right? Finished with the duck à l’orange and pastries?

Wrong. Very, wrong (cue the image of a mime with a beret wagging his finger).

Monsieur Benjamin, Petit Crenn, Gaspar, and the buttery treats of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, just to name a few, have made French cuisine not only relevant, but chic again. And, I haven’t even mentioned the most French place of all, Union Square’s Bouche, where with its 1 a.m. closing most nights of the week you’ll find many of the city’s French restaurant workers gathering after their dinner service ends.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Anthony Bourdain on Guy Fieri: "How Does He De-Douche?"

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 2:00 PM

HELGA ESTEB / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

World traveler and culinary badass Anthony Bourdain is currently on a standup tour called Close to the Bone. While performing in Atlanta's Fox Theater (which is very similar to Oakland's Fox Theater, for the record), Bourdain digressed from the topic of fatherhood to slap Guy Fieri around a little. According to Atlanta magazine, Bourdain said the following:

The minute that you become a father, certain truths become immediately obvious to you. The first second you see your daughter’s head corkscrew out of the womb and open her eyes, they are pretty much saying “Lose the Ramones shirt.” . . . So I’ve made some adjustments in my life. So I sort of feel in a heartfelt way for Guy [Fieri]. I wonder about him. He’s 52 years-old and still rolling around in the flame outfit . . . What does he do? How does Guy Fieri de-douche?

For the record, Fieri is 47 years old, not 52. But considering his estimated $8.5 million net worth, it's unlikely that he's going to retire Donkey Sauce or rebrand completely any time soon. (And IMHO, the second-best Guy Fieri put-down was Saturday Night Live's "Guy Fieri's Full-Throttle Christmas Special." In a separate, un-aired SNL sketch, Bobby Moynihan spoofed Fieri and said, "I look like I'm playing the sun in a school play." And the best one is this parody menu from Guy's American Kitchen and Grill.)

Bourdain also said of Man Vs. Food's Adam Richman that he's probably why people in the Middle East are spurred to join ISIS. Of Ina Garten, Bourdain said, "She’s one of the few people on Food Network who can actually cook."

Close to the Bone will be swinging through the Bay Area with an appearance at Davies Symphony Hall on Sunday, July 26. 

[Via Atlanta Magazine]


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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The City's Best Bloody Mary Will be Decided This Weekend at Public Works

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Look, I like mimosas as much as the next day drinking enthusiast, but it is a truth universally acknowledged that Bloody Marys are the superior morning cocktail. They're savory instead of sweet, they're interactive, they deliver at least a few vitamins, they're endlessly customizable. On Sunday you can be part of history by attending the first annual San Francisco Bloody Mary Festival, held at Public Works (1-4 p.m.) and drinking as many as you dare.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Who Makes the Better Khao Mun Gai: SF’s Kin Khao or Oakland’s Hawker Fare?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 8:37 AM

Kao Mun Gai at Kin Khao, in San Francisco - KATE WILLIAMS
  • Kate Williams
  • Kao Mun Gai at Kin Khao, in San Francisco


First, a definition: Kao mun gai is a Thai chicken and rice dish made with gently poached chicken and schmaltz-slicked, broth infused-rice. The humble plate of poultry and starch is of Chinese origin, but it is likely best known in Singapore, where it is called Hainese Chicken Rice and is referred to as the tiny country’s national dish. Regardless of where it is served, kao mun gai falls into the category of healing comfort food; at its best it is a pure expression of chicken itself.

Kao mun gai barely made appearances on U.S. Thai menus until recently, but now the dish pops up on the menus of newer, foodie-focused Thai spots. (Portland’s food-cart-turned-restaurant, Nong’s Kao Mun Gai, might take some credit for this menu shift.) While traditionally made with a whole chicken, the plates of kao mun gai served in the U.S. are typically made with single, boneless chicken breasts. As long as they’re poached gently and served skin-on, chicken breasts are a surprisingly good choice; the rise of sous vide cooking has made it possible.

Kin Khao and Hawker Fare, two of the newest Thai and Southeast Asian restaurants in the Bay, both have a version of kao mun gai on their menu. Does one shine above the other?

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Who Makes the Better Ramen: S.F.'s Ken Ken Ramen or Oakland's Ramen Shop?

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Classic Hakata Style Tonkotsu Ramen from Ken Ken Ramen - KATE WILLIAMS
  • Kate Williams
  • Classic Hakata Style Tonkotsu Ramen from Ken Ken Ramen

San Francisco is one of the few places in which it is imaginable to crave hot, rich ramen in the middle of July. The incoming clouds and fog beg for something far more warming than summer's obvious choices: tomato salad, BLTs, ice cream. Ramen has exploded in popularity amongst the hip and food-obsessed in the last couple of years, and the newest joints offer such a mix of traditional and totally-out-there approaches to noodle bowls that it's hard to get bored. Pop-ups like Hapa Ramen are likely the best source of creativity in the ramen game, but this week we're looking at two of the most popular shops in San Francisco and Oakland: Ken Ken Ramen and Ramen Shop.

See also:

Who Makes the Better Banh Mi: S.F.'s Saigon Sandwich or Oakland's Banh Mi Ba Le?

Who Makes the Better American IPA: SF's 21st Amendment or San Leandro's Drake's?

Who Makes the Best Fried Chicken: S.F.'S Front Porch or Oakland's Miss Ollie's?

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

France Fines Diners for Maligning Fine Dining

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 4:00 PM

MCNGMARKETING.COM
  • mcngmarketing.com

We live in a world full of Yelp reviews to the effect of "I loved everything about this place, but there was no parking. One star." It's unhelpful and transparently ridiculous. On the opposite end, who hasn't cringed while reading a defensive restaurateur's words as they lash out in response to unhappy patrons? As a standalone comments section without actual content to comment on, Yelp can get ugly.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Who Makes the Better Banh Mi: S.F.'s Saigon Sandwich or Oakland's Banh Mi Ba Le?

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Saigon Sandwich's special combo banh mi - KATE WILLIAMS
  • Kate Williams
  • Saigon Sandwich's special combo banh mi

I've never had a banh mi in the South Bay, but I hear they're great -- maybe even better than those you can find in our neck of the woods. But the South Bay isn't of concern today. Getting down the Peninsula isn't a great strategy when looking for a cheap, quick lunch. Instead, we're pitting two stalwarts of the San Francisco and Oakland Vietnamese sandwich game against one another: the Tenderloin's Saigon Sandwich and East Oakland's Banh Mi Ba Le.

We all likely look for different things when eating banh mi. I know people who swear by tofu or even chicken, but to me, the ultimate expression of the banh mi is found in the combination specials. A savory melange of assorted pork spreads and deli slices, the best of these combos exhibit balance between the meat, toppings, and crisp-fluffy bread. Which side of the bay serves the best?

See also:

Who Makes the Better American IPA: SF's 21st Amendment or San Leandro's Drake's?

Who Makes the Best Fried Chicken: S.F.'S Front Porch or Oakland's Miss Ollie's?

Who Makes the Better Italian Sub: S.F.'s Molinari or Oakland's Genova?

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Who Makes the Better American IPA: SF's 21st Amendment or San Leandro's Drake's?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 8:15 AM

21st Amendment's Brew Free! or Die IPA - KATE WILLIAMS
  • Kate Williams
  • 21st Amendment's Brew Free! or Die IPA

Like burritos and sourdough bread, we've got no shortage of good craft beers in the Bay Area. Just down the street from my apartment are a craft beer pub, a beer garden, and two breweries, with at least two more on the way. This doesn't include, of course, the countless bars serving brews that would be hard-to-find anywhere else. But despite the Bay's affection for rare beers (raise your hand if you've stood in line for Pliny the Younger), there's still a place for that middle-ground beer: the widely available, affordable, and still darn tasty IPA.

American style IPAs are a staple of West Coast breweries, showcasing our locally grown hops in ways that range from subtle to bombastic. There are plenty of small-scale operations making killer IPAs, but for this showdown, we're taking a look at two of the longer-running breweries on both sides of the bay: 21st Amendment in San Francisco's SoMa district and Drake's in San Leandro.

See also:

Who Makes the Best Fried Chicken: S.F.'S Front Porch or Oakland's Miss Ollie's?

Who Makes the Better Italian Sub: S.F.'s Molinari or Oakland's Genova?

Who Makes the Better Chinese Dumplings: S.F's Kingdom of Dumpling or Oakland's Shan Dong?

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Who Makes the Better Italian Sub: S.F.'s Molinari or Oakland's Genova?

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 8:00 AM

The Molinari Special on Dutch crunch from Molinari's Delicatessen in North Beach - KATE WILLIAMS
  • Kate Williams
  • The Molinari Special on Dutch crunch from Molinari's Delicatessen in North Beach

"This is so not Jersey," my Garden State-bred friend often sighs after we pass yet another disappointing deli, bakery, or slice joint while wandering around the city. The food, and the burly men that serve it, are never quite burly enough, or sweet enough, or deliver with enough gruff to satisfy her nostalgic craving for an East Coast Italian-American experience.

Given much of the Bay Area's decidedly un-Italian culture today, it's easy to forget that North Beach as well as the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland used to be filled with actual Italian immigrants and not just tourists looking to spot those red, white, and green flags painted on the street light poles. Throughout the early part of the 20th century, North Beach and Temescal were each their own actual Little Italy, with likely just as much character as their East Coast counterparts.

See also:

Who Makes the Better Chinese Dumplings: S.F's Kingdom of Dumpling or Oakland's Shan Dong?

Who Makes the Better Bread: S.F's Tartine Bakery or Berkeley's Morell's Bread?

Who Makes a Better Burger: S.F.'s Super Duper Burger or Oakland's True Burger?

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Who Makes the Better Chinese Dumplings: S.F's Kingdom of Dumpling or Oakland's Shan Dong?

Posted By on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Kingdom of Dumpling's boiled dumplings with pork and napa cabbage - KATE WILLIAMS
  • Kate Williams
  • Kingdom of Dumpling's boiled dumplings with pork and napa cabbage

Whether slurped down during a hungover dim sum expedition, demolished after an afternoon run, or eaten as part of an elaborate multi-course meal, Chinese dumplings are some of the best comfort foods around.

San Francisco and the East Bay both boast quality Chinese destinations, many of them slinging their own variations on xiao long bao, shu mai, and a plethora of other dough-rapped delicacies, the simplest (and often most satisfying) of which are shuijiao, or boiled dumplings. With little oil or broth to get in the way of the supple wrapper and flavorful filling, these slippery, starchy treats are a fine way to establish a restaurant's dumpling finesse. In order to find the best in the Bay, we dropped into two perennial favorites: S.F.'s Kingdom of Dumpling and Oakland's Shan Dong.

See also:

Who Makes the Better Bread: S.F's Tartine Bakery or Berkeley's Morell's Bread?

Who Makes a Better Burger: S.F.'s Super Duper Burger or Oakland's True Burger?

Who Makes a Better Burrito: S.F.'s Taqueria Cancun or the East Bay's La Mission?

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"