Forget the budgeting advice in the video. Check out Jeff’s adorable dimples…
Forget the budgeting advice in the video. Check out Jeff’s adorable dimples…
Last week, SF Examiner food critic Patricia Unterman gave high marks to Quan Bac, a Vietnamese restaurant located at
4112 Geary Boulevard between 5th and 6th Avenues.
Quan Bac was opened by by owner and head chef, Sarah Le, who has other small pho spots in the city. But Unterman says Quan Bac is Le’s “defining moment as a businesswoman and a chef.”
She devotes the first two paragraphs just to describing Le’s Vietnamese chicken salad, which she calls “one of the culinary masterpieces of San Francisco.”
Imagine a multicolored haystack mounded high on a white plate, the pale green of slivered cabbage, the orange of carrots, the pink of red onion, the beige of grilled chicken, interwoven with dark-green threads of kaffir lime leaf, cilantro and basil.
Unterman also praises Quan Bac’s lotus-root and jellyfish salad and says that the restaurant’s food is as authentic as any she has eaten on the “low plastic stools on the sidewalks of Hanoi.”
One of Quan Bac’s pork dishes got Unterman very excited:
Le’s Bun Cha Ha Noi ($8.95)… This bowl of juicy little charcoal-grilled pork patties, so moist and fragrant, and thin slices of charcoal-grilled pork chop comes with the same setup as the crepe, but with cold, rice vermicelli topped with chopped peanuts.
The pork, hot off the grill, is splashed with dipping sauce, which migrates to the bottom of the bowl and picks up the meat juices. Be sure to spoon this rich sauce into your lettuce rolls.
Quan Bac is open daily from 10:30am to 10pm with dish prices ranging from $6.95 to $14.95. Unterman’s top recommendations: Pho ga, cha gio, Vietnamese crepe, chicken salad, lotus-root salad, fish cake, Vietnamese barbecue chicken.
Have you tried Quan Bac? Leave your review in the comments.
Sarah B.10:15 am | Posted under Food | Comments Off
After a couple of people had recommended I try their sandwiches, I headed to Lou’s Cafe at 5017 Geary (near 15th) today to try it for myself. Lou’s Cafe opened its doors a few weeks ago after nearly a year of readying the former hair salon for the cafe.
Lou’s Cafe is run by the Brodeth family. Mom Ramana worked in catering at Andronico’s Deli for 19 years and runs the cafe together with her sons, TJ and Mark.
The menu has a nice variety of salads, soups, sandwiches (with Boar’s Heads meats) and espresso drinks featuring Illy brand coffee. I haven’t tried it yet but their hot chocolate uses Ghirardelli…mmm.
I had the turkey cranberry which came on toasted bread with a special homemade, pesto aioli sauce. With chips and a bottled water my total came to just under $10. The cafe also has a sandwich club – get 9 stamps on your card and the 10th sandwich is on the house.
Lou’s also offers free WiFi for customers and there is some seating on the sidewalk. Their website at louscafesf.com is not up yet, but TJ tells me it should be live in a few days. In the meantime, you can check out their sample menu below.
Welcome to the neighborhood Lou’s!
I stopped by the “Friends of Louis’ Diner” event today. The restaurant, which has been run by three generations of the Hontalas family for 73 years, is facing possible closure as their lease is up for renewal.
According to federal law, the business, which sits on federal land, is open to other bidders. The diner will submit a bid to the National Park Service, which includes improvements to the property and a request for a multi-year lease.
The diner invited supporters to come out to show their support and enjoy free hot dogs, IT’S IT ice cream, and Louis’ Coney Island clam chowder. They also held a free raffle for diner t-shirts and sweatshirts.
A couple of hundred people dropped by, many of them patrons that have been going to Louis’ Diner for many years, some for decades.
I met one married couple who have been eating at Louis’ since the 1940s. They remembered ice skating at Sutro Baths down the block and then coming to Louis’ afterwards.
Sutro Baths historian Tom Bratton, who eats there about once a week, was there to show his support. He said his father was a manager at Sutro Baths and when the Hontalas family first opened the diner, his father used to come to the restaurant to help them with their English lessons.
I asked Tom what the best strategy was for securing the prized corner booth at Louis’, which overlooks the ruins of the Sutro Baths and the blue Pacific. He laughed and said “Good luck!” But then he told me they open at 6:30am so perhaps if I was first in line, I’d get it one day.
If you’d like to show your support for Louis’ Diner to stay in business, you can sign the online petition, or email a story, memory (even a sentence!) to firstname.lastname@example.org which they will include with their bid to the National Park Service. If you prefer, mail in your words of support to: Louis’ Restaurant, 902 Point Lobos Road, San Francisco, CA 94121.
After waiting for his prized Rosenthal and Steelite plates to arrive, the owner is finally ready to debut Morph to the neighborhood.
Morph is a new Japanese-Thai fusion bistro at 5344 Geary (between 17th and 18th Avenues). Grub Street SF reports that it will finally open tonight (5:30pm, closing time 10pm).
The restaurant has been transformed from its former life as a noodle house into a 49-seat, clubby Thai fusion bistro, serving wine, beer and maybe soju cocktails. Check out the photos of the interior – very spiffy!
If you’re one of the first to eat there, leave your review in the comments!
Recently, outer Richmond resident Brian McGowan decided to forego his usual stop at Simply Pleasures Cafe on Balboa and instead tried Nibs Bakery & Cafe, located a few blocks down at 3717 Balboa (near 38th).
Brian writes that Nibs “has excellent scones, pastries, and coffee” and that “the scones are usually fresh and warm right out of the oven.”
He also praised the coffee, which is from a local artisan roastery. “The coffee that they sell is from Due Torri Coffee. They have 4-5 different flavours (blends, whatever) from which to choose. I had the Ethiopian today. It is a medium-roast, but was actually very strong and full of flavour.”
Brian says that Nibs is also dog-friendly but you’ll have to catch their tasty scones in the AM only. Nibs is only open for breakfast seven days a week.
Last Wednesday night, SFWeekly was wet from the rain and in the mood for Korean BBQ, so they headed to Brother’s Korean at 4014 Geary near 5th Avenue. They passed on the grill-it-yourself options and instead ordered up a variety of menu items.
“…short ribs, or kalbi ($23.95), spicy crab soup with tofu and glass noodles ($11.95), and rice sizzled in a stone pot with beef, vegetables, and raw egg ($17.95). Between lettuce-wrapped morsels of grilled beef, alternately chewy and tender, we sucked down nibbles from the eagerly anticipated banchan array ? including kimchi of cucumbers, cabbage, and radish, miso paste, tiny dried fish, seaweed, and limp fried tofu.”
But the evening’s topper was an entrée of seared squid with green onion spears, mushrooms, and zucchini half-circles slicked with a robust red sauce heavy on chile paste and sesame, which the reviewer says “was sweet, slightly smoky, with just enough bite.”
Sarah B.6:30 am | Posted under Food | 4 comments
A few weeks ago, the newly opened Hakka Restaurant at Cabrillo and 45th got high marks from the Examiner. This week, SFWeekly food critic Jonathan Kauffman filed his own review, “Hakka Restaurant: Inexpensive Chinese done right”.
Despite “floors decorated by Carpet Outlet and an “Opening special: 10% off” sign in the window”, Kauffman says Hakka chef Jin Hua Li is doing a lot of things right. Li is “bringing out simple, transparent flavors” and “using formal culinary technique to refine peasant food while staying true to the dish.”
Kauffman was particularly enthused about a stir-fry vegetable dish (“captured all the vegetables at their brightest”) and the house special braised pork belly dish. “A solid block of pork belly had been braised in a sweet soy sauce for a few hours — half a day at least — until the lean layers barely held together, the fat softened to the texture of whipped frosting, and the porous skin swelled with braising liquid.”
He also sampled Hakka’s pumpkin strips which are dipped “in a saffron-hued batter made with egg yolk and fried until puffed and crisped”. Chef Li doesn’t take shortcuts according to Kauffman, who offers a mouthwatering description of Li’s signature salt-baked chicken dish: “rubbing the bird in wine and seasonings, covering it in hot rock salt, and roasting it slowly. The method drives all the chicken’s juices back into the meat, until it tastes like chicken squared; chicken cubed, even, if you swab a piece of the golden-skinned meat through the grainy brown dipping sauce Li sends out alongside, a blend of meat drippings and sesame oil.”
Kauffman’s review is long and full of tantalizing descriptions that will make you want to add Hakka to your “must try” list. You’re bound to find something you like, as Kauffman reports, “Hakka Restaurant has one of the largest, most varied selections of authentic dishes I’ve yet seen.”
Hakka Restaurant is located at 4401-A Cabrillo Street at 45th Avenue (876-6898) and are open 11am-9:30pm Monday through Thursday, and 11am-10pm Friday through Sunday.
Sarah B.10:39 am | Posted under Food | Comments Off