Boccalone: San Francisco’s Meatiest Haven

Posted by Foodie Buddha on January 19, 2012

boccalone in the san francisco ferry building

In the linguistic sense, I’m pretty sure that boccalone in Italian translates to “big mouth” “a gullible person” in English. In the tangible sense, Boccalone is a ragingly popular San Francisco salumeria (meat store) from Mark Pastore and Chris Cosentino that’s located in the famed San Francisco Ferry Building.  I can assure you the naming of the tiny market was no accident.

Thanks to these two dudes (who also prop up Incanto), Boccalone has become one of San Francisco’s most notable salumerias.  By no means a full-fledged Italian delicatessen, Boccalone is a nationally acclaimed house of cured meats, pig parts, sausages, and similar forms of charcuterie.  This meat swatch of indulgence is complimented with a handful of panini and plenty of take home packages.  The slogan neatly wraps it up: “Tasty Salted Pig Parts.”  That tagline alone was enough to get me in the door … but the lofty reputation alone didn’t hurt.

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The Sentinel: Get Freaky With Their Muffin [San Francisco]

Posted by Foodie Buddha on January 16, 2012

the muffin at the sentinel

Beneath a nondescript blue awning, in a tiny and simply adorned space, sits a little sandwich shop and breakfast stop that publishes one serious MOTHER TRUCKIN MUFFIN.  These housemade muffins come courtesy of The Sentinel, a Dennis Leary [the chefnot the “Asshole”] helmed dispensary in San Francisco’s Financial District.  Take note: it took just one bite of this crusty, intensely fruity breakfast treat to sell me.

When I touched down in San Francisco in mid-September, chef Dennis Leary was not an unknown commodity.  The now mid-30s chef has been kicking out the grub at Canteen restaurant for the better part of the last decade.  To this day, I still haven’t visited Canteen; but, I certainly heard about the place from my home some 2,473 miles away.  Despite that familiarity with Leary, I had no idea of his tiny side project, the aforementioned Sentinel.  Thank to all things holy (and sage advice from my SF hostess), I lucked into a little visit to Muffin Town.

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Tartine Bakery: Morning Glory From A Croissant

Posted by Foodie Buddha on January 15, 2012

tartine san francisco

When I tell you that I’ve had more than a handful of morning meditations about my breakfast at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, take note.  As shocked as you may be to read this, it needs to be written:  Most mornings, when I wake up, food is the farthest thing from my mind.  I’m not much of a breakfast guy and I usually have more stressful matters captive in my thought corral.

Be that as it may, Tartine has rocked that reality like Stockton dropped dimes – that is – with emphatic style.  To put it in less esoteric terms: Tartine Bakery delivered the best croissant I’ve ever had, bar none.  Granted, I’ve never stepped foot in France, but I suspect there are quite a number of folks in this country (and perhaps that one as well) who would agree with these sentiments.

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Mission Chinese: Flirting with Danny Bowien 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on January 14, 2012

mission chinese food misleading awning

It’s not unreasonable to say that San Francisco’s Mission Chinese is currently the most buzzed about Chinese restaurant in the entire country.  Seriously!  Head cookmeister Danny Bowien has taken a dumpy, otherwise un-notable Chinese eatery, hidden himself in its kitchen, and promptly turned the food world on its head.

Right around the time I dropped in on San Fran, Bon Appetit declared Mission CF the second best new restaurant in the entire country.  By then, New York based Serious Eats had already gone gaga and the NYT had said its piece.  Long after my visit, Bowien himself showed up in Martha’s kitchen.

As is usually the case before an initial restaurant trip, I had not actually read what had already been written of  MCF.  However, by the time I left Atlanta for my West Coast trip, I was well aware of the chatter.  Mission Chinese was hot … and I knew it … and so I waddled in there (literally in fact) as the clock ticked down on my San Francisco stay.

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Sushi House Hayakawa: Art-fullness [Updates]

Posted by Foodie Buddha on January 09, 2012

It’s been a few years since I’ve said anything of substance on Sushi House Hayakawa, and that needs to change, even if my feelings towards this delightful Atlanta sushi bar have not.  Stashed away on the BuHi corridor of Doraville, I half feel like a damn investor.  Mind you, this isn’t due to some compromising relationship with owner Atsushi Hayakawa (call him Art or Haya-san).  Rather, it’s just that I’ve pumped more than a g-string’s worth of the green stuff into Haya-san’s pockets by way of an onslaught of visits in the near four year run for the restaurant.

During the unfortunate periods when my visits come at a snail’s pace, I find my impression of the restaurant seems to cool and I begin to question its place amongst the handful of better than average sushi bars around the city.  I leave realizing how fucking insane and seriously bat shit crazy those doubts are.  Each new visit washes away that pish posh and reinvigorates my warmth for the jovial little Japanese restaurant.

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Cardamom Hill: Let’s Not Get Ahead of Ourselves 20

Posted by Foodie Buddha on January 07, 2012

more short ribs at cardamom hill

I strolled into Asha Gomez’s fresh faced Cardamom Hill half expecting the second coming.  Tucked away in the Berkeley Heights section of Westside, Cardamom Hill is the full-service, fixed location manifestation of Spice Route Supper Club (Gomez’s previous endeavor).

It’s a cozy little Indian restaurant, somewhat out of place in a strip center; and, it comes backed by a whole heck of a lot of of word of mouth and media chatter love splooge.  Gomez, who serves as chef and owner, endeared herself so well to the many people who previously sampled her take on Indian food, that she is, so far as I know, the first to take a local supper club and turn it into a brick and mortar.  Mind you, this ain’t a new trick … just new to Atlanta, where we follow trends instead of set them.

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Café Todahmgol: Get In My Belly 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 22, 2011

barbecue trays at cafe todahmgol

Writing about Café Todahmgol in Duluth is an exercise in frustration … I just get hungry.  Perhaps that is why I’ve never spent the time to relay my thoughts on this tucked away Korean restaurant way up yonder.  You see, as you begin to reach the Northeast border of Atlanta, most often identified by Interstate 285 and Spaghetti Junction, Korean restaurants become as common place as even the most inundating of fast food chains.

Though these spots are everywhere, it seems as if most “ethnic food” passionistas continually identify just a handful of restaurant when discussing Atlanta’s best Korean Barbecue.  Restaurants like Han Il Kwan, Hae Woon Dae, Honey Pig, Iron Age, and Myung Ga Won repeatedly get a nod.  Cho Sun Ok, Sun and Moon Café, and Star Daepo also get mentioned.  That’s frankly just the tip of the iceberg.  I’ve been to all of those places, some several times over, and yet I’m constantly disappointed that Café T, one of Atlanta’s best Korean restaurants of any discipline, is buried beneath a heap of the less worthy. 

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Burger Tap: Atlanta’s Latest Burger Bar 2

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 19, 2011

burger and rings at burger tap

It seems as if Atlanta’s culinary milieu dictates the popularity of the burger.  It’s very much a straight out of Field of Dreams situation, whereby “if you build it, they will come.”  So it happens that Burger Tap, Morningside’s brand spanking new restaurant, is serving burgers.  Elephant, meet room.

Aside from a few blurbs on various Atlanta news sites, Burger Tap opened last week a little under the radar.  A quasi-derivative of yogurt shop chain Yoforia, Burger Tap is attempting to put a spin on Atlanta’s unavoidable food trend.  As I was in the hood during their earliest of days, me and a few compadres decided to stroll in and see if Burger Tap had anything worthwhile.  After a single meal, things seem promising.

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Curly’s Fried Chicken: Westside Atlanta’s Latest FC

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 13, 2011

fried chicken and a side at curly's fried chicken

A family of Atlanta chickenistas has moved into the little Westside building that briefly housed LeRoy’s Fried Chicken.  While this restaurant also focuses on fried bird and the street sign and building are basically as they were before, there are several distinctions between the patriarchal Curly’s Fried Chicken and 1021’s former tenant.

First, Curly’s doesn’t focus on the locavore movement (aka – no “gourmet” Springer Mountain chickens).  Second, in lieu of lard, Curly’s uses canola oil to fry their product in.  Third, the prices at Curly’s are more inline with those of most chicken shacks (LeRoy’s was hella expensive).   There are a handful of other differentiators, but those three points alone establish a very different playing field for Curly’s, and by consequence, produce a very different type of expectation for a meal at Atlanta’s newest fried chicken parlor.

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Fuoco Di Napoli & The Pizza Obsessed 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 12, 2011

margherita pizza at fuoco di napoli

Fuoco Di Napoli is Atlanta’s newest pizzeria obsession.  Open less than 168 hours, pizza fans from all parts of Atlanta have made it over to Buckhead’s newest pizza joint to test the skills of Fuoco’s pizzaioli, one Enrico Liberato.

In his two-years in Atlanta, Liberato has become to pizza what Peter Chang is to Chinese food.  In other words, he’s a kitchen hopper of the highest order.  Liberato was brought to Atlanta by restaurateur Riccardo Ullio to help revitalize Ullio’s pizza restaurant Fritti.  He soon fled into the arms of Giovanni Di Palma to help get things started at Antico Pizza.  Then, Liberato quickly disappeared only to show up for yet another short lived stint.  This time, Liberato took his trademark checkered hat and chose the remotely located Vingenzo’s in Woodstock as his next destination … “and like that, poof.  He’s gone.”

Now, much like Chang, Liberato has resurfaced at a restaurant that he has a stake in assuring Atlanta’s food crazed minions that he’s here to stay (or so people hope).  While we wait and see if that holds to be true, I … like several others … have already stopped in to see if Fuoco Di Napoli is worth a fuss.

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