I Left my Fork In San Francisco

12 Apr

I love San Francisco. The winding (or should I say rolling) streets, the laid back vibe, the laid back weather, the fact that no matter where you are you are likely to have a gorgeous view of some body of water be it the Pacific or the Bay.  It is a city of little surprises and it is a city of really good food.

I do love the dining scene in DC but after four years living in and subsequent visits to the Bay Area here is what I have discovered. Both DC and San Francisco are great culinary cities. The difference in my opinion is that in DC you PAY for food to knock your socks off. My list of really-really good cheap eats in this city is not a long one where as in SF every corner of the city seems to have some adorable little cafe turning out good food at reasonable prices. Fresh ingredients, simple preparations, they just seem to get it right out there.

Last week I wondered out West for a visit and after a lovely stay in Sonoma I spent the remainder of my time in the Bay Area, a little SF and a little East Bay. Earlier this year I had read an article in Food and Wine entitled ‘The 10 Best Bars in the World’ and one of the ten, Rickhouse, happened to be in San Francisco. We decided to check it out. Rickhouse is a relatively new bar from the owners of Bourbon and Branch. The outside of the bar is unassuming. The inside is all rough wood and old barrels; the staff dons bowties and suspenders. It is like stepping into the prohibition era. An era, I should mention that apparently a whole lot of people like to step into, the place was packed. It took us forever to get our first cocktail but once we did we located the back room where it was easier to order and to sip.

And the cocktails? Amazing. I love a good cocktail but my issue is that most cocktail lists are heavy on the fruity or sickeningly sweet side. Please dear God, not another Flirtini! Rickhouse’s cocktail menu, for me, is like the stuff of dreams. Nearly every offering is infused with some herb or savory element. We had cocktails with basil, cucumber, foamed egg whites and more basil. The bar specializes in bourbons and whiskeys but the bartenders were happy to whip up quite a few vodka/gin/tequila drinks for those who like me who aren’t exactly friends with dark liquor.

This is definitely a place I’ll make a point to visit on my next trip out. So good.

Now a question: What does one need after a night of perhaps one too many basil infused cocktails? Answer: Brunch! So after our evening out in SF Jessica and I pulled ourselves out of far too comfy hotel beds and trekked to North Beach in search of eggs. North Beach, San Francisco’s Little Italy, has about a billion little cafés to choose from and on this occasion we selected Café DeLucchi just off of Washington Square.

Caffé DeLucchi is a little corner spot that blends local ingredients with Italian sensibilities. Their brunch menu had so many tasty looking options it took us forever to decide what to order. Breakfast paninis and pizzas, Benedicts and pancakes, eggs galore… and then there was the lunch menu.  In the end I decided on something one doesn’t encounter on many brunch menus, breakfast polenta.

Bacon & Eggs...& Polenta

I might just have to eat breakfast polenta more often. This version was comprised of a big bowl of soft, creamy polenta with gorgonzola and clover honey melting throughout, topped with extra thick applewood smoked bacon and a pair of poached eggs. It was quite the sweet and salty delight and really hit the one-too-many-cocktails nail on the head. My only complaint was that there could have been more of the add-ins. I ate a few too many bites of plain polenta, a bit more cheese or bacon and a little less polenta would have evened things out nicely. Though I think everything could benefit from a bit more bacon.

So maybe that’s just me?

http://www.rickhousebar.com/

http://www.caffedelucchi.com

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