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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Livin’ La Vida Gluten-Free at As Quoted

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 1:30 PM

The open-faced smoked salmon sandwich - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • The open-faced smoked salmon sandwich

When I walked up to As Quoted, Presidio Heights’ new all-inclusive cafe, the pole directly opposite the front door had a froofy white dog tied to a $2,000 Bianchi Intenso Ultegra bike chained to the pole.

I had to laugh. I don’t live here, I don’t know anyone who does, and I’m the opposite of gluten-, soy-, dairy-, or nut-free. But I have to say, I liked As Quoted a lot.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

We Got an Exclusive Tour Inside Smitten Ice Cream's Pacific Heights Shop

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 8:00 AM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane

A “warm little ice cream factory,” in the words of founder Robyn Sue Fisher, Smitten Ice Cream opens at noon tomorrow, June 17, in Pacific Heights in a space that had been a copy store for the last 20 years.

Although this is the fifth location for the company overall, it’s only the second in San Francisco. As each shop is laid-out differently, this one features six Brrr machines (the liquid nitrogen ice-cream-making apparatuses whose contents are -321 degrees Fahrenheit and whose aesthetic might be described as “frostpunk”) plus an open kitchen. For seating, there’s an outdoor area strung with lights that will eventually become a garden with a living wall, and benches made from Radio Flyer wagons, a nod to Smitten’s boostrap beginnings as an un-permitted cart.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Curbside Cafe Wins Regulars With Tried and True Brunch

Posted By on Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Crab benedict with hollandaise and roasted potatoes
  • Crab benedict with hollandaise and roasted potatoes

Curbside Cafe is a place for regulars. Located in the heart of chichi Pacific Heights, just half a block off of Fillmore, it has no reason to be intimate. Crowds of enthusiastic brunch-seekers fill the nearby sidewalks on weekend mornings. But there is something different about this place, where an elderly man sits alone, drinking coffee and ordering eggs benedict as if he's been enjoying the same routine for 20 years.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Roostertail: Roast Chicken for a Wednesday Night Feast

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Roostertail's rotisserie chicken with salsa verde. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • Roostertail's rotisserie chicken with salsa verde.

Gerard Darian and Tracy Green's two-month-old place serves reasonably priced rotisserie chicken (free-range, naturally), sandwiches, and a fleet of side dishes (cole slaw, brussels sprouts and bacon, broccoli and cheese) that sound like they've been pulled out of the Betty Crocker Cookbook but taste as if two former Postrio chefs had made them. There's beer and wine on draft if you're eating there before a movie. Or you can call in an order before you leave the office, and the servers will run out to the car to deliver your meal when you drive up. 

Roostertail isn't 100 percent spot-on -- dinner salads are weak, and the seasoning on the chicken ranges from off-kilter to excellent -- but it's positioned to become a Boston Chicken for diners who demand better ingredients. Better-tasting food, too. A Thursday night or Saturday lunch kind of place. In other words, an evergreen.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Wine Bar of the Week: Wine Jar

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 10:01 AM

Wine Jar (1870 Fillmore), a cozy and friendly neighborhood hangout, is what I call a real wine bar, as opposed to a restaurant that doubles or poses as a wine bar. They sell some nuts, olives, and cheese to snack on, and have a small selection of good bottled beer, but the focus is on the wine.

The thoughtfully chosen list includes around 50 wines, more than half available by the glass ($4-18) or half-glass, and many of the rest in half (375ml) bottles. The selection favors boutique California wineries, but also has some nice choices from France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nightcap: Balboa Cafe's Sixth Burger for a Pint Blood Drive

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 7:07 AM


It's a cliché that when times are tough, people will sometimes cash in on one of their most basic attributes: blood. So don't be surprised to see a mob scene at Balboa Cafe's Sixth Burger for a Pint Blood Drive next Tuesday.

In this case, donors will be trading their vital fluid for a Balboa Burger, acknowledged as one of the best slabs of grilled meat in town. If the sight of gore doesn't exactly stoke your appetite, no worries: You can take your pay in the form of a certificate, good for the same burger within a year. If you aren't in a weakened state after your donation, linger over a few drinks from Balboa's cocktail and beer list -- I recommend Herb Caen's Vitamin V (Stolichnaya over ice with a splash of soda and an orange wheel). It happens Tuesday, March 24, from 2 to 7 p.m. at Balboa Cafe San Francisco (3199 Fillmore at Greenwich). For the first time, this year's drive is also happening at Balboa Cafe Mill Valley (38 Miller at Sunnyside) on Tuesday, March 31, from 2 to 7 p.m. To sign up, visit, click on the "Donate Blood" tab, and enter "Balboa-SF" or "Balboa-MV."

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Roll Play: Tataki's Early Bird

Posted By on Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 9:00 AM



Tataki (2815 California) prides itself on the sustainable seafood it uses for its sushi and sashimi, but one of the most intriguing rolls on the menu is actually made with meat. The Early Bird ($12) has crunchy asparagus and avocado on the inside and blowtorched filet mignon with pineapple and chile sauce on the outside. I had to remind myself repeatedly not to scarf down this sweet-hot treat too quickly.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Salad Daze: Kyoto Sushi's Yasai

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2008 at 6:55 AM



With creamy miso dressing and crisp romaine, many Japanese restaurants offer a cool little companion to sushi. But the best one I've found in the City so far this lifetime belongs to Kyoto Sushi. Its Yasai Salad takes those basics and kicks up the flavor and texture with black sesame dusted avocado slices and a mountain of diced vegetable tempura, the latter of which adds a touch of fun and caloric naughtiness to the plate of those that are trying to be good. Kyoto Sushi is located at 1233 Van Ness (at Post). —Tamara Palmer

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Snacktion: Tastykakes' Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes

Posted By on Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 9:00 AM

Name: Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes

Brand: Tastykakes

Origin: Philadelphia

Found at: The Cheesesteak Shop, 1716 Divisadero (between Sutter and Bush). The Bay Area franchise has several locations and is one of the only places on the West Coast to get Tastykakes treats.

Cost: $2.50

Ingredients: Sugar, peanut butter, partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening, bleached enriched flour, water, whey, milk, eggs, cocoa, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, mono and diglycerides, salt, cornstarch, skim milk, leavening, soy lecithin, butter, natural and artificial flavors, propylene glycol monostearate, isolated soy protein, xanthan gum, tapioca starch, cinnamon, sorbic acid, nutmeg, food starch modified, pectin, citric acid, dextrose, stearoyl lactylic acid.

Calories per Serving: 270 for a package of three

Why I Bought It: It was a gift from my friend Missy, who knows my sweet tooth and that this is some exclusive Snacktion.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Rich Still Different from You and Me

Posted By on Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 12:15 PM


Despite the sky falling over most of the U.S. (check the value of your 401(k) lately?), it appears there are still those in SF with a leetle extra cash in their jeans, who are willing to splurge big bucks on a hamburger - and a glass or two of red to slosh it down with.

Well, Spruce, the well-reviewed (including by us) Pacific Heights restaurant, thinks - and hopes - so. It's just introduced Burgers & Burgundy, every Sunday night through November, at which you can order a $14 burger (served atop a housebaked English muffin, with pickled onions, zucchini, and remoulade) and glasses of boutique red Burgundy from Spruce's award-wining wine list -- at $12, $25, and, yikes, $50 a glass. A tasting flight of all three will also be available at $40.

The rotating selection might include Saint Romain, Christophe Buisson 2006, Mercurey, Les Montots, Aubert de Villaine 2006, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Les Bousselots, Robert Chevillon 1999, and other varietals, including some not regularly available by the bottle.

If you have some extra change in your pocket, you can even "spruce" up your burger, as they put it, with housemade pancetta for $3 or seared foie gras for $13. But wine-pairing buffs might do well to hold the pickled onions. --Meredith Brody

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