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Taste Test

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Create Your Taste" Proves That McDonald’s Is Learning

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2016 at 1:00 PM

My burger (with receipt.) Look at those pretty pickles. - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • My burger (with receipt.) Look at those pretty pickles.

It’s no longer possible for me to say that I don’t go to McDonald’s, since I’ve now been three times in less than a year: once to write about the McDonald’s on Sutter Street that you’re not supposed to think is a McDonald’s, and twice while going to and from Reno with a gaggle of drag queens on Easter. Make that four times, actually, because I biked to the Mickey D’s at 235 Front Street to check out the freshly renovated restaurant’s Create Your Taste system.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Bar Fight: The Hi-Lo Club vs. Harper & Rye

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 12:30 PM

Harper & Rye's expansive backbar. - PHOTO BY MIKE VANGEL.
  • Photo by Mike Vangel.
  • Harper & Rye's expansive backbar.

The continued Marinafication of the dining scene on Polk Street is something of a microcosm for what’s happening in the rest of San Francisco. But even though that’s resulted in the closure of some old landmarks, a few of the spots taking their places are brilliant in their own right. Among them: the Hi-Lo Club, and Harper & Rye.

Each weighing in around the two-to-three year class — still young, but old enough to have their shit figured out — both have established themselves as hotspots for mixed drinks along the Polk Street Strip. Time for a face-off.
So I visited both on a recent weeknight with a good friend and discerning drinker. We started at Hi-Lo, taking seats at the bar just as the bartender, a flannel-clad brunette with a slight smoker’s rasp, was asking another patron how she took her martinis:

“How dirty? Like totally nasty, don’t-tell-your-mom-dirty?”

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Burger King Has Hot Dogs Now!

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 8:00 AM

PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane

"In order to eat one of those, I'd have to be ... "

So trailed off my co-worker, who was unable to furnish the appropriate metaphorical conditions under which he would eat a Burger King hot dog. 

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pepperidge Farm's Milano Cookies vs. Trader Joe's Crispy Cookies: a Comparison

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 10:30 AM

BETTY WANG
  • Betty Wang

In recent cookie news, Pepperidge Farm is suing Trader Joe's for trademark infringement, accusing the company of selling a way-too-similar version of the iconic Milano cookiesT.J.'s Crispy Cookies are apparently devaluing Milano's good name and reputation. 

Okay, let's be real here — are we grasping at straws much? I love Trader Joe's, and my pantry, fridge, freezer, car — and bed (don't judge) — on any given day are stuffed to the brim with their products. But we all know that a part of their schtick entails lovable renditions on many a name brand item. In other words, they make knock-offs. That's their thing. Why are you hating, Pepperidge Farm?

If you're curious, though, here's a comparison of the two.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

The San Francisco Kale Salad-Off: Trick Dog vs. Darwin Café

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Darwin Café's Kale Salad - TREVOR FELCH
  • Trevor Felch
  • Darwin Café's Kale Salad

You think the soaring rent prices, the mind-boggling tech innovations and the fact that there is a café with a parklet at Sixth and Mission are truly the concrete indicators of the sweeping changes in San Francisco circa late 2015?

Yes, they are, but let’s be honest. If the fact that people will actually go out of their way for a kale salad doesn’t signal how the city has transformed, absolutely nothing does. For this purpose, we’re having a Kale Salad-Off right here, right now. Not ramen, not burgers, not reubens, not anything with bacon…oh, wait. It’s time to massage those leaves and get rid of the stems. You know what time it is. It’s Kale O’Clock.

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Comparing Mission Chinese Food's Two Burritos

Posted By on Mon, Nov 2, 2015 at 8:00 AM

PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane

For all the times I’d been to Mission Chinese Food, never once was I there during the day. It’s not quite like looking around the EndUp by the light of noon, but it’s a little jarring to see natural light hitting that dragon. And now you can eat burritos under it, too.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Agnolotti dal Plin-Off: Cotogna Vs. Perbacco

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Perbacco's Agnolotti dal Plin - TREVOR FELCH
  • Trevor Felch
  • Perbacco's Agnolotti dal Plin

Now that it unfortunately looks like the Dodgers will run away from the Giants with the NL West, we need a new rivalry to keep us busy. How about best Italian restaurant in San Francisco? Acquerello, Quince, Flour + Water, SPQR, A16, Delfina, La Ciccia, Cotogna, Perbacco, Barbacco, The Stinking Rose — all right, we'll never reach a consensus except with the last one. The others all consistently superb within their specific California-flecked Italian genres.

Instead, let’s dive into a niche pasta category that some of those Cal-Ital powerhouses are known for: Agnolotti dal plin. It's basically a smaller, more rectangular ravioli filled with roasted meats — traditionally leftovers — along with a little cabbage or other tender vegetables, then served with a sauce reduced from the bones of the same meat. This is your San Francisco Agnolotti dal Plin-Off between Cotogna and Perbacco! (Cue the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? theme.)

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Falafel-Off: Old Jerusalem Vs. Alta CA

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Alta CA's Falafel & Bialys - TREVOR FELCH
  • Trevor Felch
  • Alta CA's Falafel & Bialys

Ah yes, everybody loves a healthy debate, especially if it involves Donald Trump or "New York does X better than San Francisco, or vice versa." Even though we've recently been crowned the best food city in the country by the experts at New York's own Bon Appétit, you still won’t win any discussion with your Brooklyn pal about how lackluster our bagels are and how Middle Eastern cuisines are covered in far more depth in New York than here.

Luckily, San Francisco does boast a handful of elite falafels to choose from. And that sets the stage for today's duel in the hot August sun: a good ol’ fashioned falafel-off. In one corner, opened in 2005, from the Mission, here is Old Jerusalem! In the opposite corner, founded in late 2013, residing right across the street from Twitter in the Mid-Market area and part of the emerging portfolio of DPG (Daniel Patterson Group) venues, please welcome Alta CA!

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Touch Our Junk: Doritos Roulette

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 at 2:00 PM

ALI WUNDERMAN
  • Ali Wunderman

We all have our guilty pleasures, which is why junk food purveyors such as Frito-Lay release things like their latest concoction, the limited edition Doritos Roulette. The premise behind these chips, inasmuch as they have a premise at all, is that you never know when you’ll grab a spicy chip and end up with your mouth on fire, scrambling to find the closest carton of milk (or bag of milk, if you’re Canadian). They’re the shishito peppers of the junk food world.

When I found out that these Doritos, normally so timid and harmless, sent a young British girl to the hospital I knew I had to try them for myself.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Judging Lay's 2015 "Do Us a Flavor" Contest: A Round-Up

Posted By on Tue, Aug 4, 2015 at 9:00 AM

BETTY WANG
  • Betty Wang

The 2015 contestants for Lay's "Do Us a Flavor" promotion have hit the shelves. Every year, Lay's solicits flavor submissions from folks, and this year's four regional-themed flavors are now out. This means you have a couple of months to run out and grab some bags, assault or please your taste buds, and then vote (as a law-abiding American, obviously) for your favorite. The winning submission gets a million dollars — and you get to eat lots of calories and elevate those sodium levels.

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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.'"