SF Pizza Tour Stop #6: Little Star

On a recent, lazy weekday night my dad, sister and I headed to Little Star on Divisadero St. for some late-night pizza. I had had Little Star before, but only take-out. The pizza was quite good. We were not extremely impressed, however, (it’s hard to compare to my recent experience at Una Pizza) and we left with take-out boxes in hand – not able and not especially wanting to finish the entirety of the pies we ordered.

The scene:

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The simple mixed salad:Image

The Brass Monkey (technically not on the menu, but it is basically the Little Star deep-dish + sausage):Image

We enjoyed the sweetness of the tomatoes in the Brass Monkey (loved the spinach with ricotta and feta and crunchy onions!), but we were disappointed by the sparse amount of sausage.

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The White Pie – garlic olive oil base, mozzarella, roasted zucchini, fresh tomatoes, feta:ImageMy dad and I quite enjoyed the White Pie though my sister thought it was too cheesy. I loved the idea and loved the zucchini on the pie, but again, I wish there was more.

Overall, a solid pizza joint and I would definitely hit up Little Star for some late-night take-out, but I would not expect a spectacular pie.

Little Star Pizza

846 Divisadero St.

San Francisco, CA 94123

(415)441-1118

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The Corner Store Chillin’

The Corner Store has mixed reviews in my family.

I had been wanting to go to The Corner Store since the place opened on the corner of Geary & Masonic. I passed by it every day on my way to school, and its red circular sign was an everyday reminder that I had yet to go. Finally, I went one day with my sister and a friend.

First of all, I loved the ambiance at The Corner Store. It’s hip – definitely the hippest place that has occupied its location, but when we went there late on a Friday night there was an eclectic mix of hipsters, young people and couples, and older friends and families. Everybody was conversing, loud, and laughing.

The flavors at The Corner Store are definitely more reserved and subtle. They may not be the most mind-blowingly complex flavors you will ever try, but they do go together nicely and make an enjoyable meal.

I enjoyed The Corner Store. Every dish we had was quite good, and I had no complaints. I would definitely return again. My sister, on the other hand, enjoyed our dishes, but was less excited about the place. Later, when I proposed going back to The Corner Store for a different meal (a while later, mind you), she opposed my suggestion.

We both agree, however, that we want to go back to try The Corner Store’s brunch.

The Spring Salad:

The Corner Store Spring Salad

The White Corn Soup – there was not a drop left in the bowl.

The Corner Store White Corn Soup

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Lamb Shoulder Pasta – also quite good, I loved the texture of the Garganelli, though I must say the watery portion left at the bottom was unappealing.

The Corner Store Lamb Shoulder Pasta

The Scottish Salmon with manila clams, gulf shrimp, baby artichoke, and spring onion:

The Corner Store Scottish Salmon

The special of the day – which I believe was a panko-encrusted poached egg on a bed of asparagus:

The Corner Store Panko Poached Egg with Asparagus

A balsamic strawberry dessert:

The Corner Store Strawberry Balsamic Dessert

The butterscotch pudding – delicious:

The Corner Store Butterscotch Pudding

The Corner Store

5 Masonic Ave.

San Francisco, CA 94118

(415) 359-1800

SF Pizza Tour Stop #5: Una Pizza Napoletana

Una Pizza Napoletana is not your typical restaurant. The exterior and interior do not look particularly welcoming. The menu only has pizza – and only five (or six, on Saturdays) kinds of similar, simple pizzas. Each pizza is $22. The hours are also non-conventional; they open at 5 PM and close when they are out of dough.

For some one who has never been to Una Pizza, the uniqueness of the establishment borders on pretentiousness. As I sat down, staring at the menu, I thought to myself: “This better be good pizza.”

And it was.

With the first bite of dough in my mouth, I knew that I had gone to pizza heaven.

The place:

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The pizzas are baked in this oven, which does not look like your conventional pizza oven either. Anthony Mangieri makes the pizza dough, forms it into pizzas, tops them with fresh ingredients, and bakes them himself. Talk about a one-man show.

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The dough is made using natural leavening, and my first bite revealed the fluffy, chewy, glorious-ness that is Una Pizza crust. The texture is indescribable. The crust is soft to the touch. The crust is also flavorful and salted, but by no means overpowering. I would come here even for a pizza without any toppings. Just pizza dough.

The pizzas:

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The Bianca – buffalo mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh basil, sea salt (no tomatoes, white) – subtly garlicky and nice:

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The Ilaria – smoked mozzarella, fresh cherry tomatoes, arugula, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt (fresh tomatoes, no sauce). The combination of the smoked mozzarella and the charred bottom of the pizza gave the Ilaria an unmistakable smoky taste that was cut by the refreshing cherry tomatoes.

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There are rumors that Mangieri may be moving, and this establishment would not exist without him. I hope not, this is my new favorite pizza place.

Una Pizza Napoletana

210 11th St (between Howard St & Kissling St)
San Francisco, CA 94103

Picnic Club in the Presidio

Off The Grid, the organized gathering of superb food trucks in San Francisco, has begun a weekly picnic event in the Presidio on Sundays. Many San Franciscans often don’t realize that Off The Grid gatherings occur almost every day of the week every week (not just on Fridays at Fort Mason), and Picnic Club is a prime addition to their schedule. Not only is the location in the Presidio beautiful, but there is also space for sitting and relaxing. While I have found myself at many Off The Grid’s eating standing up or crouching on a two-inch radius of cement curb, Picnic Club allows you to sit, lay, and even take a snooze on your blanket, if you would like, between your courses of food truck delight.

The scene:

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An empanada from El Porteno. Champiñones – Local Organic Mushrooms, Shallots, Parmesan, Creme Fraiche. Positively delectable.

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Mango-Maracuya Agua Fresca from Cholita Linda.

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The BEST Fish Taco I have ever had, and I have had many. I absolutely love Fish Tacos, and this one was absolutely delicious (it’s tastiness may have also had something to do with just how hungry I was). One Baja Fish taco from Cholita Linda. You must try it.

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Salmon and avocado hand roll from Tataki.

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Namu Gaji Loco Moco – hamburger patty with fried egg and gravy on rice. Tasted good, but not my favorite.

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Fins on the Hoof Deviled Egg and Smoked Salmon Salad. The actual salad was very liquid-y and the meal altogether could not be eaten as a sandwich and was rather messy. The flavors were not unique or particularly vibrant. I would not waste your time, money, or calories.

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My sister’s friend wanted fried chicken from Wing Wings, and I immediately jumped on board. I have not had very much fried chicken in my life, and I don’t think I have ever had really good fried chicken. This chicken was quite delicious, and I enjoyed the variety of sauces that came with it.

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And finally…Crème Brûlée from the crème crulée cart with lemon shortbread, berries, and salted caramel sauce. Absolutely, mouth-wateringly delicious as usual. The crème brûlée cart has yet to disappoint me.

ImageMy sister and I went to Picnic Club with a bunch of her friends and split everything. This way, we could try a little bit of a lot (as evident by the plethora of pictures above). I would recommend this over getting one big meal at Off The Grid. There is always something new to try, and although everything is pretty good, there is still a range between good and spectacular at OTG. You wouldn’t want to miss out on something spectacular. So I urge you…Go Picnic!

SF Pizza Tour Stop #4: Gialina Pizzeria

I am a firm believer in the crowd rule. If you don’t know where to eat – follow the crowd. This especially applies in San Francisco where the majority of residents moonlight as food critics and five-year-old natives use the term “umami” along side “sweet” and “sour.”

After hearing the name “Gialina’s” thrown around a few times by companions who lived in the area, I decided to venture to the pizzeria for dinner one night with a friend. We arrived at a peak dining hour and had to wait almost an hour (crowd rule).

It was a Monday night.

We split the Amatriciana – tomato, pancetta, chilies, a farm egg & pecorino:

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The Amatriciana was a bit too flavorful for my taste. All the flavors were very loud – the yolk, the chiles, the pecorino. They all competed against each other instead of cooperating with each other. We ate the whole pie, but I would say it was good not excellent. The crust was extremely thin and extremely crunchy.

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But THIS is the real reason why we came to Gialinia’s. Their infamous Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Pizza w/ Amaretti & mascarpone:

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Think the idea of a dessert pizza is weird? Try it first.

It was beyond delicious…positively delectable.

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Mmmmmmm….

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Gialina

2842 Diamond St  San Francisco, CA 94131

(415) 239-8500

A Day Spent in Point Reyes

On any typical weekend in San Francisco, you can find the road to 101 North jammed with cars filled with people in search of sun over the Golden Gate Bridge. On one such recent weekend, my family packed our car early Saturday and headed out to Point Reyes, a protected national seashore on the west coast of Marin County. A favorite sunny destination for my family, I have fond memories of day trips out to Point Reyes since my early childhood.

On this particular outing….

We started at Bovine Bakery (11315 California 1, Point Reyes Station, CA) where you can find a line of people waiting out the door in the morning for traditional, tasty pastries. They are not out of this world, but certainly make a delicious breakfast.

The morning bun:

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The blueberry buttermilk scone. They make their scones on large sheets and cut them into huge triangles. The scones are more moist and much tastier this way.

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The blueberry buttermilk scone and the fancy scone. (I personally prefer the fancy scone.)

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Bran Banana Blueberry Muffin (surprisingly and delightfully tasty for something that looks so healthy):Image

Then we headed over to Tomales Bay Oyster Company (15479 Highway One,  Marshall, CA 94940). You can reserve picnic tables there in advance. In our case, we simply arrived early (they recommend before 11 AM) and claimed an open picnic table. We hung out for awhile (No, we did not eat raw oysters before 11), before buying our oysters to have for lunch. We had bread, butter, homemade mignonette, and garlic butter to accompany our oysters eaten by the seaside.

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The scene at Tomales Bay:

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One fresh, raw oyster, shucked by yours truly:

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One cooked oyster, grilled on the grill provided with our picnic table.

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Limantour Beach. This beach is very nice and is never very crowded, but on this particular day was very windy. We did not stay very long.

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And of course, we had to stop by Cowgirl Creamery at Tomales Bay Foods (80 4th Street, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956), my favorite local cheese manufacturer. My personal favorites are their Mt. Tam and Red Hawk cheeses.

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On our way home we stopped at Fairfax Scoop (63 Broadway Blvd  Fairfax, CA 94930) for some ice cream. Fairfax Scoop makes their own organic ice cream (it is quite creamy and definitely on the softer side) in interesting flavors that all stem from very local products. My favorite part though was their waffle cups and cones, which they make fresh in the shop.

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Vanilla Honey Lavender (their most popular flavor, it is to die for) and Raspberry Sorbet:photo 3

Vanilla Honey Lavender and Controlled Burn (cinnamon with ginger and red chile, also surprisingly delicious):

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A note: I did get extremely sick with food poisoning for the night and day after this outing. Most likely, it was from a bad oyster. No one else in my family was disturbed. If you are worried/concerned, however, there is approximately a 1 out of 4 chance of sickness.

SF Pizza Tour Stop #3: Zero Zero

The first time I went to Zero Zero a few years ago, I fell in love with it. Unfortunately, because it is so far from where I live, I don’t get there very often. The restaurant itself is quite large and can seat many. As a result, it is much easier to get into than many other pizza places in San Francisco. You can walk in and sit down without much of a wait, and reservations are often available only a few days in advance.

My favorite thing about Zero Zero is the crust of their pizzas. As the name of the restaurant would suggest, the crust is unique in that they use zero zero flour. The crust of the pizza manages to be thin while maintaining its chew.

I most recently went to Zero Zero for a very quick bite before a Giants game. We shared two dishes. Both were delightful and quickly scarfed down (we ate in less than 40 minutes).

The slow-cooked pork belly with roman style dumplings, crispy broccoli, poached egg, and harissa. Although pork belly has now been done a million ways and then some, everything on this plate together created a perfect combination of flavors. If there had been one more item on the plate it would have been too many flavors. One less, and the all the flavors wouldn’t have been complete. Needless to say, it was quite good and the combination of flavors and textures were quite complex.

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The special pizza of the day – a white pizza with soppressata, carmelized onions, dried oregano, shishito peppers, mozzarella, and grana padano. The combination of the carmelized onions and shishito peppers gave the pizza a surprisingly sweet taste.photo 5

Zero Zero

826 Folsom St. San Francisco, CA 94107

(415)348-8800

Paris: Foodments

Some food moments. Foments? Foodents?Fooments?….. Foodments.

 

A meal outside in the courtyard with Garance and her family:

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The display at Poilâne:

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The famous Chausson au Pomme from Poilâne:

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A Parisian take on a Chicken Caeser Salad from Balthazar in Le Bon Marché:

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Amorino, of course:

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Ladurée macaroons, of course:

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A kouign-amann from the local patisserie (my favorite pastry, along with the cannalé):Image

L’éclair de Génie:

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A crepe from Crêperie Suzette:

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Until next time, Paris. À Bientôt!

Poilâne: 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi 75006 Paris, France,  +33 1 45 48 42 59

L’éclair de Génie: 14 Rue Pavée  75004 Paris, France,   +33 1 42 77 85 11

Crêperie Suzette: 24 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003 Paris, France,  +33 1 42 72 46 16

Paris Eats: Chez Paul

I love Paris. Paris in my mind is synonymous with high quality, quality that definitely applies when it comes to food. Whether I’m tasting a macaroon from Ladurée or cheese from a local stand, everything is almost guaranteed to be good. In my mind, there is food in Paris that is good, and food that is spectacular.

We went to Chez Paul with Parisian friends off of a recommendation. The food was all perfectly seasoned and fresh food, while remaining traditionally French. I love a good steak tartare, and the tartare Chez Paul was one of the best I’ve ever had. The food was spectacular.

The handwritten menu:

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Located on an adorable rue:

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A Boudin:Image

Salade Lyonnais: Dandelion greens, lardon, tomato, and a poached eggImage

The steak tartare:ImageChez Paul

13 Rue de Charonne  75011 Paris, France

+33 1 47 00 34 57

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