Tuesday, October 14, 2008

California Love

P and I just returned from a wonderful trip back to my hometown, San Francisco.  This was a trip full of culinary delights which I can't wait to fill you in on.  Since this is a Philadelphia based blog and and because since I gobbled up nearly everything before I had a chance to photograph it, I will smush everything into one supersize write-up.

Burma Superstar
This restaurant is practially around the corner from where I grew up and has developmed into something of a cult favorite. What more do you really need to know except the owners include "superstar" in the name of their restaurant? We went for lunch on our first day and loved it.  The best thing we tried, hands down, was the tea leaf salad, that mixes lettuce, tea leaves, peanuts, fried garlic, lentils, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds with a lemony dressing.  It was unusual and refreshing and just amazing.  Their chicken curry over coconut rice and superstar shrimp were also favorites.  Call ahead and get your name on the list to avoid a long wait.

Burma Superstar on Urbanspoon

This Marina restaurant is one of my dad's favorites. He and my stepmother go here weekly and are "regulars."  The fare is simply prepared tratorria style italian with wood oven pizzas, braised meats, simple pastas and salads.  The food is solid but the portions are on the small side.  The pizza is excellent.  They have an extensiv wine list and knowledgeable wine staff. On the night we were there a female winemaker from Sicily was visiting.  We met her and sampled four of her wines, which were excellent but a bit pricey (45 for a half bottle of one).

A16 on Urbanspoon

this bakery is everything they say it is and more.  It features fantastic cinnamon buns, lighter then air gougeres, and lines out the door and around the corner on a weekday morning.  The cakes look amazing and also cost $50.  I got the cookbook and can't wait to give things a try!

Tartine Bakery on Urbanspoon

Bouchon Bakery
Excellent bakery in Yountville, CA, and companion bakery to Thomas Keller's bistro of the same name.  Their prepartations are classically french and result in perfect, flaky pain de raisin and croissants and lighter then air brioche. 

In-N-Out Burger
A West Coast standby, In-N-Out never fails to dissapoint.  I had to bring my in laws for their first taste of the best fast food hamburger around.  I like mine "animal style"- with grilled onions. This is the only fast food place where I actually want to eat the lettuce and tomato provided on the burger.  Fries are hand cut daily, but they do need a little help. 

Ristorante Ideale
This North Beach restaurant is run by Romans and makes in.cred.ib.le fresh pasta and amazing sauces and well as great napolitan style pizza. My papardelle with lamb ragu was springy and toothsome like great handamde pasta and their gnocci is lighter then air. The grilled calamari appetizer was perfectly tender and had a great just off the grill char.  This place was understandably packed on a Saturday night- make reservations!

Ristorante Ideale on Urbanspoon

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