San Francisco is one of my favorite cities on the planet, and I was lucky enough to make six trips there in 2013. Here are my 10 favorite foods from the Bay Area from the past year.
View 2013 San Francisco Bay Area Dishes in a larger map
Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Selections appear in alphabetical order, instead of my order of preference.
This Lower Pacific Heights bakery from longtime pastry chef Belinda Leong (Gary Danko + Manresa) and native Frenchman Michel Suas generated plenty of interest in 2013. Sure, B’s known for her flaky kouign amann featuring a sticky pool of molten sugar, but I prefer the savory cheese sticks, which are like superpowered Cheez-Its with a hell of a lot more heft.
2. Boot & Shoe Service Spaghetti
Chef Charlie Hallowell’s second restaurant resides in Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood, in a former shoe repair store. The sharp space features exposed wood beams, brick walls, and a pizza oven with green and white tiles that burns almond and oak, naturally. Still, while the pizza was good, the most memorable dish involved Spaghetti tossed with a spicy, tangy mess of cauliflower, anchovies, hot peppers and capers.
3. Fish Saigon Salmon Sandwich
William Foss’s restaurant rests right on the water in Sausalito, by Spaulding Boatworks, with wooden picnic tables overlooking the marina. Really, the food wouldn’t have to be that good for Fish to work, but it is thanks to dishes like the Saigon Salmon Sandwich. This fun play on banh mi showcases rosy medium-rare salmon, and tangy pickled julienne carrot on a soft Acme torpedo roll. The side of chile lime slaw with crunchy kick amp up the plate even more.
4. KL Restaurant Geoduck Two Ways [CLOSED]
Be sure to pre-order prized seasonal seafood when heading to Elbert Kong’s Cantonese restaurant in Outer Richmond. Depending on the month, you might find ling cod, Dungeness crab or Korean King crab. During my visit, the spotlight was on geoduck, the notoriously phallic oversized clam that’s typically from the Pacific Northwest. KL made sure the meat was tender in milky geoduck soup with baby bok choy and ginger, best accentuated with a dusting of black pepper. I also enjoyed blanched Geoduck salad with shaved scallion, cilantro, spicy julienne ginger and crunchy bean sprouts, spicy julienne ginger. Dipping the clam meat in spicy soy sauce elevated the flavor.
5. Namu Gaji Beef Tongue
This modern Korean restaurant from brothers Dennis Lee (chef/co-owner), Daniel Lee (co-owner) + David Lee is located next to Bi-Rite and across from Dolores Park. Counter seats in open windows provide views of Mission District street life, but all eyes were on the beef tongue when it arrived on the table. Tender, unctuous slabs of beef joined broccoli, blistered Jimmy Nardello peppers and spring onion.