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Saturday, January 15, 2005

10 reasons why I love being a foodie in San Francisco, Part II

7. Strolling to my neighbourhood haunts: 1550 Hyde, La Boulange de Polk, Tanpopo, and Kiss Sushi.
1stcourseI am very lucky to have these lovely places within walking distance, anyone who lives in the city knows how big a pain it is to find a parking spot anywhere. I could stroll down toward Russian Hill at dinnertime to 1550 Hyde for a lovely meal with fresh local ingredients prepared lightly by skillful hands and a glass of lovely wine, or on a Sunday morning to La Boulange on Polk St. for a morning latte and some lovely cannelés. I also walk the other direction, toward Japantown, for a big, steaming bowl of Shoyu ramen with rows of pan fried Gyoza (Japanese dumplings) on the side, or, -best of all- to Kiss sushi for a sublime meal of sushi and anything else Naka-san decides to give me that day.

1550 Hyde
1550 Hyde St (at Pacific)
(415) 775-1550
La Boulange de Polk
2308 Polk St. (at Green)
(415) 345-1107
Tanpopo
1740 Buchanan St (at Sutter)
(415) 346-7132
Kiss Sushi
1700 Laguna St (at Sutter)
(415) 474-2866

6. Lunch at Zuni and dinner at Delfina, my perennial favorites.

zunidehorsThese two places exemplify what it takes to be a fabulous restaurant in San Francisco. The cooking in both kitchens is firmly rooted in the old traditions of Europe -France in the case of Zuni and Italy for Delfina- but they are informed, rather than restricted by or even imitate those traditions. Zuni is not trying to be a French Bistro, nor Delfina an Italian one. What they do beautifully, exceptionally well is adapting those techniques to suit the bountiful and fresh ingredients in the Bay Area.

And why lunch at Zuni and dinner at Delfina? Because there is nothing like having lunch in the gorgeous space bathed so thoroughly in the shimmering afternoon sunlight at Zuni, and, well, Delfina is open only for dinner.

Zuni
1658 Market St
(415) 552-2522
Delfina
3621 18th St
(415) 552-4055

5. Dungeness crabs in late fall and Blenheim apricots at the height of summer.

lesabricotsI wait with barely contained anticipation every year for these. At the very height of summer, when the local blueberries begin to wane, and apricots first make an appearance on the scene. I wait patiently, biding my time, until I see the tell-tale bashful blush on the pale and dewy orange skin of the Blenheim apricots, our local specialty. The velvety texture, with the most intoxicating yet delicate -almost honey-like- perfum and intense sweetness, all conspiring to create the best apricot I’ve ever tasted, even when compared to the famous Abricot Bergeron from the Alsace. (The orange ones in the photo are the Blenheim.)

Gingerscallioncrab And every year, come November, I plot a dinner at R&G Lounge within the first few days of the Dungeness crab season. R&G Lounge is famous for two crabby things: Salt/Pepper Crab and Ginger/Scallion Crab. The Salt and Pepper one is lightly battered and fried, and tossed in a dry salty and spicy seasonings, while the Ginger/Scallion is tossed in an ever so slightly sticky sauce that is redolent of –what else- ginger. Which one do I prefer, you asked? I don’t pick, I have them both, the season –as is life- is so short, why not both?

R&G Lounge
631 Kearny St
(415) 982-7877

(to be continued)

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