I get to head out to San Francisco a few times a year for work, and I am always sure to make the most of my evenings. I plot out my dining options far in advance, and try to cross a few great spots off of my list each time I head out west. This time I really lucked out-- three fantastic dinners in three nights. Details below:
It's been on my list for over a year, especially since I have seen it written up in so many food magazines. I knew getting a reservation was out of the question, so instead I decided to show up just a few minutes before opening at 5:30PM. Sure enough, there was a line, but I was still able to make my way inside right as the doors opened and snag a seat at the bar. It was 80 degrees, the windows were open, and the vibe was just perfectly California. The waitress was so friendly and helpful, and was quick to share her favorites with very appealing descriptions. I was in good company-- many other food lovers who were in town for business had the same idea as I did, and we all enjoyed chatting over good food and wine. The pastas and pizzas are the way to go at Flour + Water, and the tagliatelle with mushrooms, peas, and ricotta was heavenly. The sauce was made from pasta water, and then thickened by the addition of the ricotta. Paired with a glass of rosé, it was a delightful dinner.
I also indulged in the chocolate budino with espresso and flakes of sea salt. Sweet, salty, smooth, and bitter all at the same time. As the waitress put it, "if you love chocolate, then it's necessary." She was right. Flour + Water is located at 2401 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94110. On Twitter: @FlourandWater.
I made one reservation in advance of my trip to San Francisco, and that was at Frances. I have been reading about the great food and atmosphere at this small spot in the Castro and knew by the menu it was a place I was going to dig. Frances features a seasonal and regularly changing menu, and Chef Melissa Perello looks to include the freshest ingredients on a daily basis. The space is small and narrow, but incredibly inviting and comfortable. Last night my friend and I ordered two delicious (and fried) appetizers to start the meal: chickpea fritters with a ramp aioli and the applewood smoked bacon beignets with a maple chive creme fraiche dipping sauce. The beignets in particular were full of amazing flavor, and the creamy dipping sauce was a perfect addition.
My main course was the highlight of the meal: black cod with shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, and potatoes. The fish was crispy on top and served in a light and simple broth. I also had a side of the ricotta gnocchi with walnuts and pesto which was surprisingly light and nicely portioned. For dessert, we sprung for the chocolate stout cake which was hot and served with some delicious cookie crumble that added the perfect amount of crunch.
Frances is located at 3870 17th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. On Twitter: @FrancesSF.
This is one of my favorite spots in San Francisco, and I have managed to eat here every time I have visited over the past year and a half. The Slanted Door is located inside the Ferry Building which is a location that cannot be beat. Right on the water, gorgeous views, and always a bustling and exciting scene. I love sitting at the bar and meeting all of the other travelers who have heard the raves about the modern Vietnamese cooking. Everything on the menu is excellent, but I particularly love the shaking beef with watercress, red onion, and lime sauce. The cubes of filet are cooked medium rare and I love to throw some rice onto the plate to soak up all of the flavors. Other great dishes include the cellophane noodles with dungeness crab, and I always love their different iterations of spring rolls. You can't go wrong.
The Slanted Door is located at 1 Ferry Building #3, San Francisco, CA 94111.
After a great few days in San Francisco, I am now off to Portland for the weekend. Stay tuned for good eats in PDX!