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

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

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

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

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Nothing is as quintessential San Francisco as a morning at the Farmers Market.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays the plaza in front of San Francisco’s Ferry Building transforms into a popular Farmers Market.  When my family first started going, the market was small with simply a handful of farmers outside the building, but now the Saturday market has drastically expanded, hosting 100+ vendors, and drawing local and tourists alike.  The market sits right by the Bay and boasts a view of the Bay Bridge to enjoy as you shop. The outdoor market has an abundance of produce and artisan food products, and all of the Ferry Building’s usual restaurants and vendors are open too.  This morning I went with my sister, mother, and grandmothers.  Produce wise, we picked up some great squash blossoms (perfect to be stuffed with goat cheese and fried), Ranier and Bing cherries, apricots, cheese, bread, and a great Mediterranean roasted eggplant spread.  While shopping with Blue Bottle lattes in hand, we also snacked on a savory breakfast muffin with a poached egg inside from Craftsman & Wolves, a strawberry rhubarb galette, a sticky bun, and a donut muffin from Downtown Bakery (along with the various samples we encountered).

Our favorite vendors in general and from today:

Frog Hollow Farm (great stone fruit and preserves)

Dirty Girl Produce + Green Gulch Farm (veggies)

Cowgirl Creamery + Andante Dairy (cheese)

Downtown Bakery (pastries)

Acme (bread)

Marin Gourmet (hummus, aubergine spread, and baba ganoush)

Fatted Calf + 4505 Meats (meats, especially cured meats)

Saint Benoit Creamery (yogurt)

Blue Bottle (coffee and liege waffles on the weekend)

If you live in the city or are simply visiting, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is a great place to spend your Saturday mornings.  Whether you are shopping for your week’s groceries or simply there for a snack, it is a truly a San Francisco treat.

– S

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San Francisco Pizza Tour Stop #2: Pizzetta 211

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Ask me what my favorite pizza place is, and here’s my answer: Pizzetta 211.

Pizzetta has always felt like my neighborhood secret, four tables tucked away in a cozy restaurant in the Richmond District of San Francisco. This is where I would go as a child to celebrate a good grade in Math or a good job on the soccer field. While the setting is cozy and conjures good memories for me, the pure excellence of their pizzas is the reason why Pizzetta is my favorite. The crust is thin, but not too burnt or crunchy, the ingredients are always fresh, and the flavors and options are always delicious (the menu changes weekly). I always get their pizzas topped with a farm-fresh egg. As for non pizza options, the field green salad and daily cheeseboard are great ways to start, and if you still have room, the housemade flourless chocolate cake is delicious. Be warned, however: tables fill up fast and a line outside is a daily occurrence. Because Pizzetta 211 is so small, it can only accommodate a few parties (there are no reservations). Arrive early or bundle up and be prepared to wait in the Richmond fog. It’s worth it.

Pizzetta 211
211 23rd Ave.

-M

San Francisco Pizza Tour #1: Caffé Baonecci

The Contadina: Fresh mozzarella, parmigiano, gorgonzola, thin curly pearsImage

The Cigniala: san marzano tomato, fresh mozzarella, champignon mushrooms, wild boar

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After a very persuasive conversation with Sophia, a foodie friend from Berlin, my mother and I began our San Francisco pizza tour at her favorite pizzeria and a new restaurant for us, Caffé Baonecci. Caffé Baonecci became the first stop on our San Francisco pizza tour, a tour we decided to embark on for a few reasons: 1) for our enormous love for pizza, 2) because of the many delicious pizza places we love but realized we had not been to in a while, 3) because of the many pizza places we have always been meaning to try but have yet to, and 4) because soon enough this smorgasbord of pizza on a seven-by-seven mile peninsula will no longer be my food playground. In a way, this pizza tour represents my last (drawn-out) foodie hurrah in San Francisco before I leave for the East Coast in the Fall.

Caffé Baonecci far exceeded our expectations. When we arrived, I was honestly surprised by the casualness and homey feel to the restaurant. I was a little bit afraid it was going to be more of a pizza shack than a venue for finely created pizza. But as soon as we met our waiter I was in love. Not only was he good looking, but he was obviously Italian and spoke in a thick accent and with a very evident love for the food he was serving. We ordered the burrata salad, the Cannelloni, the Cigniala wild boar pizza, and the Contadina (curly pear) pizza. The pizzas were by far the best, and outshone all the other dishes. The Contadina was aesthetically beautiful, piles of intertwined curly pear shavings on top of thin crispy crust with mozzarella and gorgonzola. It was fresh in taste and a refreshingly different type of pizza as well. The Cigniali was also superb, though I was slightly disappointed to find that the wild boar, which sounded very different, was extremely similar to pepperoni.

We will be returning to Baonecci – this I can guarantee. Our family has decided, however, that next time we will probably only order pizza. Although the flavors were not mind-blowingly complex or original, they were tastefully fresh and traditional all at once.

-M

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