Baked Goods
Tartine BakeryKristine recommended this great French Bakery Tartine Barkery. Lon had a good Buttermilk Scone with Currants and I tried their famous Morning Bun with Cinnamon and Orange. It’s like a cinnamon bun in a way, but not as ooey and gooey. The dough is layered with more of a croissant texture and it has a hint of orange. They certainly deserve to be famous for it–it is delicious and definitely unique (hence my poor description). Lon didn’t like their utter lack of service: customers get their own water and coffee and bus the tables. But hey, then you don’t have to tip.

The prices at Tartine are on par with Manhattan, so no savings for us there, but I would still go since the quality outshines any bakery in Manhattan. The coffee was bad (too acidic) but I plan to buy the Tartine Cookbook. That’s how much I liked their pastry.

Mexican (Again)
Vinnie and Kristine swear by the taqueria in the Mission known as El Farolito El Farolito. I really liked the tortilla they used and the prices are unbeatable ($4.45 for a burrito that is 50% larger than Chipotle’s). However, neither Lon or I enjoyed the flavor and thought the rice was particularly bad, tasting like over-cooked mush. Bad rice is sacrilege amongst Latinos. For the best burritos, we’ll stick with Great Burrito, and since it’s in Manhattan, it’s slightly more convenient. If you do decide to try El Farolito, note that there are many stores with that name that are not necessarily related, although there is at least one other real location. Vinnie pointed out that “The Lighthouse” is something of a theme in SF.

We met up with Tom, a chef-friend of mine from Culinary School, that I haven’t seen in four years. He recommended Cafe Bastille, a French Bistro on Beldon Place, a super cute, albeit touristy, alley of restaurants in downtown San Francisco Cafe Bastille. We shared a goat cheese in red pepper sauce appetizer while we waiting for Vinnie. I would’ve liked the goat cheese to be stronger, but I loved the red pepper emulsion sauce. For dinner, I ordered the Moules Mariniere with Pommes Frites and Lon ordered the Grilled Atlantic Salmon, but asked to leave the mushrooms out. All of my mussels were cold, but my fries were good. Lon’s salmon was over-cooked, sitting in a pool of overly fatty balsamic reduction. The fish sat atop a brick of basil polenta that tasted like pure butter.

Everyone else ordered meats, which looked better. Vinnie was happy with his Rack of Lamb; Kristine was happy with her Grilled New-York Steak, served Au Poivre style (but black pepper); and, Tom was happy with his Boudin Noir (blood sausage). For dessert, Vinnie ordered a Flourless Chocolate Cake that was too sweet and Kristine had a Chocolate Crepe that was really good, especially since it’s so hard to find good crepes in NY. I suppose Cafe Bastille is more of a meat restaurant than seafood, but we likely wouldn’t go back.

American Breakfast
We couldn’t leave SF without meeting Bobby, a friend of Lon’s who is also an ex-NYer. We sought out the wellknown breakfast place called Kate’s Kitchen Kate’s Kitchen. They do have a nice selection for breakfast menu, each item with a distinct twist, but I was unimpressed by the Flipped Egg Sandwich that seemed to be recommended on their menu. My entire dish was unseasoned and the home fries were flavorless. Bobby seemed to agree, since he aggressively seasoned his home fries in pace with me. The flipped egg sandwich was a just a regular sandwich with cheese and two over-easy eggs that weren’t distinct. Lon had a pretty good multi-grain oatmeal with nuts and fruits, although the strawberries weren’t so good.

Airport Food
After a mix-up at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), we had some time to kill. SFO does what I think all airports should do: instead of only offering national chain restaurants, they have outposts of famous SF restaurants. First we had a snack at a location of Emporio Rulli (there are several in the airport, and around SF). I had a nice coffee with a decent pastry, it was flaky with nuts, raisins, and some cream. We also shared a strawberry and mesclun salad with almonds and goat cheese. Again, the goat cheese was weak, but otherwise a good salad. Lon also got a foccaccia that the counter person told him was spinach, but it turned out to be pesto and too oily.

Later in SFO, for dinner, we went to Perry’s (only one in the airport: near gate 42, in Terminal 1, but others in SF) and ordered the Spaghetti with Meatballs and the Mahi Mahi. The meatballs were oddly spongey and the pasta was way over-cooked. The result was very watery sauce. The Mahi Mahi was a bit over-cooked, but still had a nice blackened flavor, although Lon thought it clashed with topping of tomatoes, capers, and overly-acidulated onions. The rice it came with was gross and Lon didn’t touch the so-so vegetables since they included mushrooms. While not remotely good food, it was pretty good for an airport.

We’re happy to be home!

posted by jessica at 06:25 PM Filed under Restaurants, Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.