Presidio Social Club

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If I could live off of mac and cheese and dumplings I would be one happy camper. Seeing as those two foods contain no nutritional value I limit myself to just having them every once in a while. And I get extra excited when, every once in a while, a really tasty version appears. Nate and I went to the Presidio Social Club this weekend and not only was the burger amazing (pickled onions, an egg and avocado – yes please) but the mac and cheese was killer.

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We started with some fancy cocktails, Nate with the Manhattan and I with a little Bee’s Knees. Once we were good and liquored up we opted for the deviled eggs as a starter.

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Having heard great things about the burger we both ordered one (egg, cheese, heirloom tomatoes and avocado included) and also shared the mac and cheese (overkill, I think not). The burgers were really great. Thick patties, cooked perfectly with a nice soft bun and really great accoutrements. They came with crispy fries and a rich aioli that went great with everything.

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The star of the show was definitely the mac. It was creamy and peppery and had so much cheese flavor that everything just melted together in each gooey, salty bite. Perfection in your mouth and if we hadn’t eaten eggs and burgers and fries already, we both could have finished a bowl of the mac.

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We stopped halfway through though, (taking it home for a late night snack) and decided to go for it with the salted caramel ice cream sandwich. This salty sweet ice cream (real salt inside adding that little crunch) sat between two chocolate cookies and homemade marshmallows. So sweet and chocolatey, it was the perfect complement to the meal.

Tahoe Eats

I could write a week’s worth of posts about Stella and still not sing it’s praises enough. The food was amazing, each bite carefully crafted to deliver that punch of flavor and mix of texture. I would recommend it to anyone, for any occasion.

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We went with the tasting menu approach, in order to get a little bite of as many things as possible. For starters I ordered the duck pate, which is always my favorite. Creamy, buttery pate with crunchy bread and an acidic salad.

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The second course was this impeccable ceviche. Flakey, fresh fish cooked in the acid from the lime and topped with a little spice. I never wanted this dish to end.

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For the main I had the lamb, and while I don’t usually opt for lamb, it was the perfect choice. The medium rare meat was juicy and flavorful and the peach accents added a great burst of sweetness to each bite.

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Dessert was a smorgasbord of summer fruits and chocolaty decadence. We ordered everything (obviously) and shared.

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There was a lemon pudding and a raspberry cake with cream but the chocolate swirl was the most delicious item of the evening. I could have eaten three of them by myself.

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On Saturday, for a less fancy option we went to Fire Sign for brunch. And brunch being my favorite meal, we needed a place that the locals say is the best. Fire Sign (so named for the astrological sign) was just what the doctor ordered. Nothing fancy, but quality seasoned home fries with runny eggs and big cups of coffee – the perfect fuel to a busy day in the mountains.

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A recommendation that wasn’t on the Tahoe To Do List, was Cottonwood. And it was a good find! This place used to be an old ski lodge (Hilltop Lodge) and was cute and comfy like one. We had a gorgeous view of Truckee at sunset and enjoyed a nice dinner and wine.

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We ordered many an appetizer, calamari and polenta (and short ribs, not shown), all of which were delicious.

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And dinner had an italian flair with a seafood soup, pasta and steak choices from all of us.

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Tahoe may not be known for its food but it has some truly fantastic options if you are willing to wait in line or drive to the top of a mountain.

Bar Crudo

Seafood is where it’s at. Big chunks of raw tuna with glaze and green onions, or a bowl of steaming mussels in a cream sauce or tuna confit with fresh veggies – I will take it all. And I did, at Bar Crudo.

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Nate and I had a little date night here last week. Bar Crudo is a cool restaurant on Divis that specializes in raw fish, but not of the sushi variety.

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With that in mind, we dove right in with a crudo plate. We ordered a duet of ahi tuna and butterfish. I am a sucker for anything ahi, I would actually eat it everyday if I could. This ahi came with a simple asian inspired glaze and was so soft I could cut it with my fork. Butterfish, which I had never tried before, was so pleasantly surprising I want to eat it all the time. It was exactly as it sounds, buttery and melt in your mouth rich (sorry no pic).

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The uni (sea urchin) avocado toast was next and while it was fresh and interesting, it wasn’t my favorite. I think the taste of the sea was a little too powerful for my palate.

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Our next plate was the San Sebastian which was a perfect blend of tuna confit with a soft boiled egg and roasted red peppers. Confession – at first we forgot what we ordered and couldn’t remember what this dish was. Never the less it was delicious, flaky tuna with all of the accoutrements made every bite different yet flavorful.

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Our main dish, was mussels. It was one of those dishes that even now thinking about it makes my mouth water. The cream sauce went so perfectly with the mussels you wanted to drink it. I’m a huge fan of oysters but mussels, in my opinion, are their smaller, tastier cousins. Bar Crudo was excellent, it was a great choice for raw delicious fish without it being wrapped in a sushi roll. For a date night or a casual happy hour, this is the place to go.

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House of Prime Rib

This place is famous for a reason. It’s not just because it’s beautiful inside, or because Anthony Bourdain visited here when he came to SF – it’s because it’s absolutely delicious. Simple, home cooked flavors done right, that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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The atmosphere is set when you walk in. Warm wood-paneled walls, rich carpet and dimmed lighting. It’s instantly a date night with whomever you brought, and the meal is intimate.

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They start you off at the bar. We had some cocktails and then headed to our table.

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First course is salad and bread. Warm sourdough loaf with butter and a tastey salad that is spun and mixed before your eyes.

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Vegetarians be warned, this is a very meaty-licious post from here on out. And I am salivating just remembering it. After the salad you pick your entree. The menu is easy, you only have to choose 2 things: mashed or baked potato and how large of meat piece you want. They have four sizes ranging from smallest, to thin cut to king size (literally, it’s call King Henry VIII).

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The meat is slow cooked with a simple rub and cut by the master butchers in their magic bullets (or warmers if you haven’t been here). No matter the cut you get the meat melts in your mouth. I mean melts. Matched with the creamed spinach and potatoes you are in such heaven you don’t even converse with your table buddies.

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This plate basically says it all. Rich meat, with hearty sides. They don’t make much at the House of Prime Rib but what they do make is phenomenal.

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And its not just me or my plate who think so, this article calls it one of the best steakhouses in the country.

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By the end you are so fat and happy that you go home and straight to bed.

Nopa

Word on the street is that Nopa is one of the best (if not the best) restaurant in the city. I feel a little embarrassed that I have lived here for three years and just went for the first time last weekend. After enjoying a lovely brunch, I would definitely put it in the category of top restaurants in the city (right up there with Beretta and Magnolia) and I’m already planning to go back to try the dinner menu.

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The decor is perfect, I don’t know how they did it but they managed to make it feel homey and warm, while still being modern and cool.

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One unique thing that I had never experienced in a brunch menu was that they offered the menu like a dinner menu. There were three sections, starters, small plates and large plates.

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For starters we got the scone, and it was literally the best I’ve ever had (I’m going to say this a lot in this post so just be prepared). It was warm (always a good start) and soft and moist on the inside. This date scone was savory with a light crunch of sugar baked into the top and it was served with creme fraiche – perfection.

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For our small plate we ordered the baked egg, kind of like a dinner egg dish. It was an egg baked in the oven with tomato sauce and couscous (Israeli couscous to be exact, the best kind) and it was really tastey. Out of the ordinary for a breakfast dish/appetizer but completely satisfying in a really great texturally interesting way.

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The mains we got were epic. The french toast is pretty famous in the city so we obviously got that and we also got the italian sausage.

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The sausage was so flavorful, the spices and juices worked perfectly together. You got that great snap when biting into it and crunching with the pickled onions. So much flavor for such a simple dish.

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Watch out world – I’m going to tell you about the french toast – even though the picture speaks for itself. Hands down the best french toast I’ve ever had. If you haven’t tried it, go to Nopa and get it. If you don’t like french toast, learn to love it, and get it. If you are gluten free endure a stomach ache for a day because this is worth it, and get it. That’s all I have to say, oh and that this butter and egg soaked bread topped with fruit is to die for.

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Spam

So you know that meat product that comes in a can – SPAM – well its delicious. I thought you guys should know, because I just tried it at Ono Gridnz and it was really tastey. Tastier than I thought it would be honestly (meat out of a can = questionable). My sister was visiting from Tahoe and she used to live in Hawaii so she loves all of the treats from there. She was dying for some Musubi (whatever that is) and asked us to try out Ono Grindz.

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We ordered way more than we needed to but everything looked and sounded so good (and in our defense, we were really hungry). For starters we ordered the mac and cheese, tuna poke with chips and musubi. Musubi, for those non-spam eaters, is spam sushi. It’s cooked spam on top of rice wrapped in seaweed.

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The mac and cheese was one of the best I’ve ever had (and I’ve had my fair share). It had spam in it (are you sensing a theme here) and zucchini. The spam was the perfect amount of saltiness to bring out the cheese flavor and the soft zucchini pieces added texture and flavor that made this mac rise above the rest.

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I love raw fish, how I survived for so long without it, I will never know. Now I am making up for it, ordering it whenever I can. Tuna is my favorite, and the poke was just perfect. The sauce was flavorful enough but not overpowering and the crunch and salt of the potato ships worked perfectly with the fish.

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After the three appetizers (more like entrees) we moved on to dinner. We ordered the katsu club, kalua pig sandwich, and the spam saimin. The best of the three, in my opinion, was the kalua pork.

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It was melt in your mouth soft and had a great flavor. The bun was a perfect vehicle for the soft pork and crispy cabbage and tangy slaw. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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The katsu club (I want it to be called katsu klub) was really good too. Totally different from the pork. It was a crispy fried chicken sandwich what was the perfect amount of crunchy and had a good amount of veggie flavor from the avocado, tomato and slaw.

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The third entree we ordered was the spam saimin (saimin = noodle soup). Let me tell you, this is the dish that changed my mind about spam. The grilled spam with the noodles was to die for. And dying for canned meat may sound weird but this spam was so soft and salty and when paired with the soup it was the best combination of flavors and textures. How could you not die for that cute smile?

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Oh, did I mention that after sharing basically six entrees between three people we also got dessert? Well, we did. We got the chocolate haupia pie, which they serve at McDonald’s in Hawaii (questionable again, but it didn’t disappoint). Chocolate mousse on top, with a coconut layer and then a graham cracker crust on the bottom, it has everything you want in a dessert.

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Ono Grindz is definitely a place you should try out. Everything we had was amazing, I don’t think they have the ability to make something not amazing here. Apparently they started out as just a brunch place – done and done. We will be back.

Chow

Went to dinner last night with Nate’s cousin who was passing through SF. She had a couple friends who said they wanted to try out Chow and we happily agreed. I’ve been wanting to try this place for a while, one reason being the food is supposed to be good the other being the fact that I love the name (I’m a sucker for all things kitschy).

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It was a Sunday night after a too short weekend so we started with a chocolate milkshake. Creamy and cold it was the perfect palate cleanser.

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For appetizers we got the baked goat cheese (my new favorite appetizer – like a fancy build your own grilled cheese) and the bruschetta. Both were really good. The warm cheese on the walnut toasts complimented each other perfectly and the bread for the bruschetta was soft but still had tons of flavor.

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For dinner Nate got the seafood linguini (sorry for the bad pictures, the ambiance was a little on the dark side) with clams, “sustainable seafood” (not sure what that meant, I think there were tiny pieces of fish in it) and shrimp. The sauce was creamy and buttery with no hint of fishy seafood taste. I used my bread to mop up his sauce… sharing is caring right?

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I got the “sustainable seafood” special, which was halibut on a bed of cous cous with a tomato topping. The fish was cooked perfectly and was really light. The cous cous and tomato topping brought all of the flavors together and created a perfectly textured bite.

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The other diners all enjoyed their meals as well, I felt weird asking them if I could take pictures of their food – so I just have two to share. But you should try this place out, it’s hearty and feels like a good homemade meal – and I know you can’t resist the name!

Foreign Cinema

I love chicken – especially when it’s fried and in finger form. I was notorious for ordering chicken fingers every single time we went out to eat when I was little – even on vacation, which meant multiple chicken finger meals a day. I still love it (as you can see here and here) and I love trying it at different places to see their take on it. If you are a fried chicken fan and you have not been to Foreign Cinema – stop what you are doing, go down to the Mission and order it – STAT!

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I had a friend visiting this past week and I had heard a lot of good things about Foreign Cinema so we decided to try it out. For appetizers we got a cheese, a meat and a fish. The cheese was baked goat cheese with lavender and cardamom strawberry relish. It was such a burst of different flavors in your mouth, it was very satisfying. The warm cheese spread over the toasty bread had such an earthy salty taste to it.

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The beef carpaccio was delicious! It was presented in such a unique way too, they spread the meat out paper thin on the plate and you scraped it off with the BBQ flavored chips they served with it.

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My favorite of the appetizers (I think I’m addicted to raw fish) was the sea bass ceviche. It was served on these little tostadas with avocado and crema and it was like a bite of heaven. It was juicy and creamy and salty and citrusy – heaven I say.

For dinner (yes there is more) we split the risotto – not the most photogenic of foods – and the fried chicken, you may have heard me reference it before.

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The risotto was good, I’m partial to my dad’s version but it was pretty tastey.

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Nothing compares to the chicken though. I would venture to say it is the best fried chicken (by it self) that I have ever had, and trust me, I have had a lot of fried chicken. It came plated with a little hummus with spiced baby carrots and honey and sesame seeds. What made this chicken different from all the rest is the subtle sweet curry flavor from the batter. It was not dry, it had amazing flavor and the crunchy outside was perfect.

Ok enough drooling for now – you can’t celebrate seeing an old friend without dessert so we got these two gems – an apricot blackberry turnover with caramel and pistachio dusting on top (mini hand pies with great buttery dough)

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– and the chocolate pot de crème with caramel popcorn. Don’t know about you but I have never had a bad pot de creme. It’s just too good of a combination of things to turn out bad.

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This place is definitely a special occasion spot but it is absolutely worth it! PS. Get the fried chicken…

Bacon Jam

There are just too many good places to eat in this city. I literally want to try every single one too, which isn’t good for the wallet – or the waistband of the pants the wallet sits in. But I am a firm believer of all things in proportion – except when they come in the form of a burger or a fried chicken sandwich. Enter Corner Store – a new place on Masonic and Geary.

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The lunch menu looked the best so on Friday (work – who works?) my boo and I grabbed some lunch. Of course we got two things and shared and of course those two things were the fried chicken sandwich and the burger.

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The sandwich was great, the chicken crust was crispy but the meat was still juicy and the slaw added a nice tang. It’s just hard not comparing it to this sandwich that we love so dearly. But it was totally different and delicious – as was the warm potato salad that came with it.

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The burger was the real gem here though. Two words – bacon jam.

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The burger had all the right toppings to accompany the bacon jam, cheese, pickled onions, garlic aioli, pickles and it was perfectly cooked and plated on an amazing bun. Everything just worked together, one bite was a perfect blend of all the flavors you want in a burger bite. Juicy, savory, sour from the pickled onions and pickle, sweet and crunchy from the bread = perfection. This place was great, go here and get the burger. (Ok, one more picture)

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For the Love of Sushi…

When a coupon for sushi comes out you gotta snag it. I recently bought a coupon for $50 dollars at Tsunami Sushi for $20 bucks and it was worth every penny. I am relatively new to sushi, I never ate it in college (I ordered the chicken teriyaki roll), but since graduating I’ve become obsessed! My boo and I are always trying to find good places for sushi, our favorite being Koo, and this one just got added to the list!

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Tsunami Sushi is a relatively new place in the Panhandle, which is so nice because we could walk there! The ambiance is new and trendy, with some funky music and a large bar. We started with miso…

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Then went on to the good stuff. We got three rolls – the special, which was a California roll with the weekly special fish on top and a really pretty shrimp.

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Our second roll was the 1974, which had scallop and asparagus, topped with salmon, lemon & black tobiko.

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The last roll, which was my favorite (for some reason I really love warm sushi), was the Mama San. It had tempura shrimp with cucumber inside and it was topped with spicy tuna (another fav of mine) ponzu and scallions.

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All three were great. The fish was very fresh and all of the flavors melded nice in your mouth. I will definitely be going back – for the love of sushi and because I bought two coupons!