#52 Miette: Ginger Snaps

 

 

The Place:

The Ferry Building is always a fun place to go.  We both enjoy the feeling of an indoor market lined with different vendors and populated with a flurry of activity.  It feels exciting and fun, and if you go on Saturday morning you get the added bonus of one of the city’s best farmer’s markets outside as well.  Miette has a few locations but the one we visited resides smack dab in the middle of the Ferry Building.  They have great, attention grabbing displays that always seem to entice people to huddle around, gazing longingly at their goodies.  Service is quick and easy, so there’s never too long of a wait.

 

The Dish:

The packaging is, as Kristina put it “cute and irresistible”.  It’s simple and functional (ideal for resealing) and the cookies appear very uniform in nature.  Ginger is definitely the theme of the day when eating this cookie.  It attacks instantly, kicking your mouth with its spice and flavor.  We actually found ourselves wincing a bit from the heat (and we like hot).  The flavor is not of candied ginger, but pure, from the earth ginger root.  There is sweetness but it lingers in the background.  The texture of the cookie is firm and crunchy and has a nice consistency.  We feel like we may be missing the point, but when we eat a cookie, we want sweet then flavor.  For us, the ginger is just too strong and overpowering.  We’ll admit this is probably the point and what makes this item popular, but for us it misses the mark.

The Verdict:

Though we don’t recommend this item, we have heard that Miette’s array of goods are spectacular and worth trying.  We always recommend a trip to the Ferry Building, so should your curiosity get the better of you, you can always pop in and not worry about wasting your time traveling to some far off nook of the city.

 

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A & K

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#91 Don Pisto’s: Hamburguesa

 

The Place:

Venture partway up Telegraph Hill in North Beach and you’ll find Don Pisto’s (though you’ll have to look a bit since it lacks a sign).  North Beach is inundated with Italian Restaurants so it’s a nice surprise to find a kick-ass Mexican restaurant hidden in its midst.  Don Pisto’s is a modern take on Mexican street food from the coastal towns of Baja.  It functions as both a restaurant and taco shop and has a relaxed, casual feeling to it.  The design is simple and rustic, with exposed brick and heavy wood as the foundation of the interior.

 

The Dish:

The key to the lovely Hamburguesa occurs the night before you even arrive at the restaurant.  First they saute up some bacon and onions till they get a nice greasy mixture.  What is that mixture used for, you ask?  A marinade.  Yup, this burger is marinated IN BACON.  The next day the whole mixture, bacon, chuck and onions is ground up and the patties are formed.  The burger comes served on a crusty bun with a generous smear of guacamole, some mayo and that’s it.  The taste?  Well let’s tell you about the taste.  Have you ever seen a car chase where one driver has the pedal to the floor going as fast as he can and just when you think that’s it he hits the “turbo” button and takes off?  The flavor of this burger is similar to that.  You get this great tender bite of beef and just as you’re starting to feel it out it’s like someone hits the turbo button and boom, there’s the bacon to help push it to another level.  After one bite there is nowhere you can hide from the flavor invasion so don’t even try.   The guacamole is fresh and provides a great tangy balance to the burger (and helps prove our budding theory that avocado makes everything better).  Top it off with a toasty bun and you are in business.  This dish is a great example of perfection in simplicity.

The Verdict:

In addition to the hamburguesa we had ceviche, Mexican sashimi, grilled calamari and a pork chop the size of your head.  Each dish was unique, flavorful and we’re already planning our return trip so we can try more.  The prices compared to the quality are very reasonable in our mind and the service was great.   We think this dish and place are worth the trip from anywhere in the city.

 

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A & K

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#31 Dosa: Paper Masala Dosa

 

The Place:

We love Fillmore street in the Pacific Heights neighborhood at night.  It’s lined with trees and populated by a long stretch of small shops, restaurants and bars.  It reminds us a bit of downtown San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara.  The finishing touch is the white christmas lights that run through the trees giving the whole area a  magical glow.  Dosa sits on a corner in an old bank building, which provides a very impressive facade, high ceilings and an open floor plan.  The interior is designed with rich dark colors that are enhanced by the low lighting, which gives it a very luxurious feel.  This week we were joined by Alex’s cousin Courtney who helped with some quality feedback and fun company.

 

 

The Dish:

Dosa is a South Indian staple consisting of a savory rice and lentil crepe that is served with chutneys and sambar (a spicy lentil dipping sauce).  Masala is a mixture of spiced mashed potatoes and onions which is served on the side.  Put these pieces together and we have one of the more interesting looking dishes we’ve come across.  The crepe is huge, about a yard long and rolled up like some type of tasty movie poster.  Kristina’s first instinct was to use it as a bat to bop someone on the head.  We were admittedly pessamistic about this dish, but hey, we’re pros so we dove right in. We approached this dish by ripping a piece off, adding some of the potato mix to the inside, and then rolling and dipping it in the chutney.  The resulting mix of flavors and textures are really great.  The crepe is thin and slightly crispy and matches the potatoes quite nicely.  So nicely in fact that we are considering attempting some sort of mashed potato burrito at home.  Each chutney (coconut, tomato and lentil) added a different dynamic to the dish.  Though this dish is meant to accompany the main course, it holds its own nicely with the tasty fare they serve up.

The Verdict:

We give this dish the thumbs up.  Its flavorful, different and goes well with the rest of the food at Dosa.  We also highly recommend the restaurant itself, as the rest of the dishes we ordered were very excellent.  The prices are reasonable and the staff is attentive and knowledgeable.  All in all, another good dish and another good night.

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A & K

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Sift Cupcake: Ooh La La and Stud Muffin

 

The Place:

His

This week’s review will be the first not from The List.  Every once in a while we’ll throw out a few places that tickle our fancy, and this is one such place.  Also “The Place” section will be 100% Kristina because if you could see the look of sheer excitement in her eyes you wouldn’t give any input either 🙂

Hers

Thanks, babe.  Oh man, where oh where do I begin?  I can’t help but to get incredibly excited about this weeks post.  Ever since the first time I went to Sift Cupcakes in Napa, I became a committed, lifelong customer.  Little did I know, one was popping up in my own city!  Casually strolling around Lower Pac Heights of San Francisco last Friday night, my dreams came to life when from a distance I saw Sift Cupcakes on the corner of Fillmore and California.  I pointed, screamed and then ran across the street to see if it was really “the” Sift Cupcakes I always have to visit when I go to my parents.   Even though the two people who were working were incredibly nice and excited to be working there, I’m pretty sure they thought I was nuts based on my level of excitement and unlimited word vomit about how much I love this place (and I hadn’t even had the oh-so sweet treat!).

For me it goes beyond the actual cupcake.  From the setting, to the desserts, to the packaging, Sift has it figured out.  Andrea Ballus, Wedding Planner and Cupcake Master, took her talent to the test when she went on the famous Food Network’s, “Cupcake Wars”.  Blowing the judges away with her unique yet tasty and well balanced masterpieces, Ballus took the title while creating The Battle Royale,  Pink Champagne and Samoa cupcakes.  Their first shop opened in Cotati, then Napa, then Santa Rosa, now San Francisco (as of 2 weeks ago) and they’re expecting to open a 5th location in Petaluma shortly.  All of these shops have opened over the span of just a couple years.  Being a local to San Francisco I have noticed quite the cupcake trend.  There are so many cupcake shops in this city!  In every district, on every corner, in every apartment building…(kidding)!  To say the least, competition is steep.  I feel bad for the cupcake shops that have been fighting for the title; they have no idea what they’re in for.

 

The Dish:

Hers:

Stud Muffin – Having had a couple of “bad” bacon desserts, I still wanted to give this one a try.  A brown sugar beer cake with salted caramel frosting and cayenne dusted bacon on top.  Upon reading the description of the cake, Alex and my suspicion and curiosity prompted our decision instantaneously.   The Stud Muffin is more like a muffin, than it is a cupcake.  The cake itself is a little more moist than I typically prefer (reason why I say it’s more like a muffin) but not so moist that there were any crumbs left behind.  The frosting is creamy, caramelly and a tad bit too sweet for my liking.  Again, not a deal breaker.  What really ties this cake together is the b-b-b-bacon.  The idea of salty/sweet is quite attractive, but has led to disappointed in the past.  Normally it’s burnt, too crunchy and there’s no meatiness to it; the flavors just haven’t completed the each other.  Not the case with the Stud Muffin.  The bacon is really what blew my whistle.   Nice and thick cut, high quality and meaty!  It really tied all the flavors together perfectly and the struggle of perfecting that salty/sweet combination was achieved.  Definitely won’t be the last time I order this cake.

Ooh La La – Where do I begin?  All I want to say is this cupcake is the reason why I am such a huge Sift advocate, but there’s no way I can stop there!  I haven’t tried all of the cupcakes, but I have tried quite a few, and this one is definitely my favorite.  Ooh La La is just your standard red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, but there is something (many things) about this one.  I remember the first few times I had a red velvet cupcake or a piece of cake I found myself wondering, “what kind of cake is this supposed to be?”.  I always felt like it was “supposed” to taste like chocolate, yet I tasted…..no chocolate.  My mom is actually the reason why I even ordered the Ooh La La the first time I went (thank you mom!), because with all of those wonderful flavors and beautiful presentations, Ooh La La probably wouldn’t have been the first on my list.  The cake itself has a rich chocolaty flavor and is the most moist, most dense, most rich Red Velvet cupcake I have ever tasted.  Topped with the creamiest, smoothest, gooiest frosting and crunchy red candy crystal sprinkles, the textures and flavors flow perfectly together.  Beautifully piped frosting and exquisite execution every time.  I have made countless numbers of different cream cheese frosting recipes and I can never get it right.  They’re either way too sweet or way to sour.   Ballus has this frosting perfected.  Not too sweet, not too sour, and a whole heck of a lot of it.  So much that I actually scraped some off of my first cupcake and then instantly regretted it once I was halfway through the cake.  Don’t be discouraged by the amount of frosting on these cupcakes; you’ll be licking your fingers before you know it.  Ooh La La definitely takes the cake on this one!

I also suggest checking out their Food Network winning cupcakes: the Pink Champagne, Battle Royale, and Samoa

His:

I am not going even going to try to match Kristina’s description of the Ooh La La, just know that I completely agree with her.  That is by far one of the best cupcakes I have ever had.

However, I do have some notes on the Stud Muffin.  You say the word bacon and things begin to get fuzzy and I start to drool, so the Stud Muffin was getting ordered from the get-go.  I mean c’mon, brown sugar? Beer? Salted caramel? BACON!?  Now I’ve had good sweets involving bacon and I’ve had bad, well, mostly bad.  This one settles right into the upper deck of good.  The bacon is not overdone and adds the perfect amount of baconosity (yeah I made up a word, so what) to complement the sweetness of the salted caramel.  The cake portion itself is sweet, though not overly so.  The frosting is just downright heavenly.  It’s so good that they actually sell frosting shooters in small cups.  My only down comment is that it’s close to being too moist, more like a muffin than cake.  Having said that they could turn this into a shake (which they do!) and I’ll suck it down.

 

 

The Verdict:

What do you think?  Yes, go now, right now.  You don’t want to  waste another minute of your life not having experienced a Sift cupcake.

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A & K

 

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#21 Izakaya Sozai: Tonkotsu Ramen

 

The Place:

We don’t often journey out to the Sunset district strictly for food.  That’s not saying that the food isn’t good out there, but it’s not as easy to access as the plethora of other options downtown and near our house.  Izakaya Sozai is often regarded as the home of the best ramen in the city and the reason why we made this trek (trek may be a bit of an over exaggeration and us just whining).  To give you an idea of how poppin’ this place is, we went on a Wednesday night around 8:45 and still had a wait of about 2o minutes.  Having been by the restaurant a few times in the past, this is definitely the norm and we were expecting the wait.   The place is tiny, a little box jam packed with small tables and a few larger shared tables.   It has an open kitchen window with a small counter. We give the waitresses credit for being able to maneuver between the tight spaces and protruding elbows.  We noticed two odd things.  First, listed right on the menu, parties of six or more are REQUIRED to spend $25 per head.  Our temptation is to test this out some time and spend under the required amount just to see what would happen.  Second, we were seated at the small kitchen counter and found that Kristina’s portion of counter had a huge hole right where her plate, silverware and glass would go.  A bit off-putting but luckily we’re close so we made it work.  To be clear, aside from these two small issues, the place is great and the food is even better.

 

The Dish:

Who here has had ramen before?  Lets see a show of hands.  We’re guessing almost everyone has experienced that square package of cardboard noodles and spice package known as Top Ramen.  Whether it was when mom was lazy or you were a starving college student, the vast majority out there have slurped down the stuff at some point.  Take what you know about Top Ramen and throw it out the window because it shouldn’t even be in the same sentence as what Izakaya Sozai sells.  We ordered the Tonkotsu Ramen and added pork belly and spicy miso for good measure.  The ramen broth takes around 3 days to make as they slow roast pork bones and tendon to create a cloudy white base for this amazing delight.  The ramen comes with noodles, green onions, seaweed, coarse ground pepper, a soft boiled egg, pork cutlet and our additives of pork belly and spicy miso.  As you inhale the steam you get a peek into the joy you are about to experience and your mouth begins to water.  The dish is absolute heaven.  The broth is amazingly rich, cloudy and meaty.  The noodles are long, slightly al dente and necessitate the slurping that fills the restaurants air.  The pork belly adds a wonderful smokiness and the layered fat just melts in your mouth like butter.  This dish has the taste of completeness, as though all the ingredients are operating in perfect harmony.  The flavor is so rich and intense that finishing a whole bowl is a feat on its own (we shared).

 

 

The Rest:

In addition to the ramen we also ordered the daikon and pea sprout salad with cilantro vinaigrette and shaved bonito,  hamachi carpaccio with mustard miso and shaved serrano chilis and grilled fava beans with wasabi salt.  Across the board our meal was very tasty.  The salad had a nice balance of acidity and saltiness.  The daikon was crunchy and refreshing though it was the cilantro dressing that was the best flavor (we would not have expected cilantro in Japanese cooking but shows what we know).  The hamachi was very buttery and fresh and paired well with the mustard miso.  The shaved serrano chili on top was a bit overpowering so we went without it.  The grilled fava beans gave us a very pleasant surprise as we discovered that wasabi salt not only exists, but is very delicious.

The Verdict:

This dish and restaurant are worth the relatively short trip.  The two little foibles we noticed aside, this place lived up to expectations.  Getting to watch the chefs work is always a treat and the chefs here move with practiced precision and care which shows in the quality and flavor of the food.   The Sunset district is often foggy and cold and we can’t think of a better dish to warm you up than the Tonkotsu Ramen.

 

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A & K

 

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#1 Mission Chinese Food: Ma Po Tofu

 

The Place:

This week will be a bit short as we were out of town for a wedding of our good friends, Greg and Amanda.  It was an amazing time with great food, drinks and friends.  Congrats to the two of them and we wish them a long life of happiness.

As you may guess by the name, Mission Chinese Food resides in the mission district of SF.  Just knowing the name and the district is not enough information for you to actually find the restaurant without help since it is what is known as a “pop-up”.  A pop-up is a restaurant that actually inhabits another restaurant’s space, acting as a part time tenant or house-sitter.  Mission Chinese Food has no sign and operates out of another Chinese take-out joint called Lung Shan, which is your run of the mill Chinese restaurant.  Formica tables, cheap chairs and red lighting completes the notion that you are in just another neighborhood restaurant.  Once you sit down you start to notice things are a bit different.  The servers are all hipsters, early 90’s hip -hop blares over the speakers (think Wu-Tang and Biggie) and the menu is different from any type of Chinese food you’ve ever seen.  Dishes like Thrice Cooked Bacon, Salt Cod Fried Rice and Savory Egg Custard with Sea Urchin greet your eyes and puzzle your brain.

 

The Dish:

The Ma Po Tofu is thick, almost stew-like.  Filled with a healthy amount of tofu, its deep red color immediately alerts you to the presence of chillies and digging around un-earths dried sichuan peppers as well as ground pork shoulder.  The dish is not served with rice which is unfortunate because it is definitely a necessity with something like this.   One small note; we ordered one side of rice and the waitress returned and told us she brought two since we would need it (we didn’t and ended up leaving a bunch) and proceeded to charge us for it.  The flavors are intense, jumping out at you with a combination of smokiness, meatiness and spice.  The tofu is silken and very soft, almost disintegrating in your mouth, which gives it a somewhat odd mix of textures that is a tad off-putting.  While this dish is good, it isn’t even our favorite.  That award goes to the Salt Cod Fried Rice and its salty, fishy excellence.  It’s hard to put a finger on where the Ma Po Tofu lacks, but there is something about it that doesn’t quite wow.

 

The Verdict:

We’ve been to Mission Chinese Food a few times now and have had mixed results.  The first experience was awesome and we were impressed by the originality and flavor of the food, but since then we’ve had okay experiences.  They have changed their menu a bit and could possibly be suffering from some growing pains there.  Overall we suggest trying the restaurant because it’s so unique and is quite an experience, but we don’t feel that the Ma Po Tofu is the best they have to offer.  Try the Salt Cod Rice or the Sizzling Cumin Lamb and be a bit adventurous (you’ll need to be).

 

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A & K

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#94 the Buena Vista: Irish Coffee

 

The Place: 

At the bottom of your classic San Francisco hill (very steep), right where the Hyde Street trolley cars turn around and Fisherman’s Wharf ends, sits the world famous Buena Vista Cafe, home of the original Irish Coffee.  Brought to life in 1916, this bar was meant to service the beverage needs of the local fisherman and handlers.  From the street, there isn’t really anything that stands out besides the characteristic neon red sign.  As you enter, again nothing very special about the place, though it does have a very classic feel (as one might expect of a business that’s nearing 100 years of age).  Space is a bit tight, so try and score a seat at the bar or one of the large round tables.  The bartenders on the other hand are what helps make this a special place.  Let’s be blunt, they’re all older, a little rotund and look like they haven’t missed a drink in a while.  However, each one is a character and exactly what you want in an old school bar.  Full of wit and sarcasm, they never seem to be in a bad mood, yet the trained flick of their wrists shows that these guys know what they’re doing.  We’re convinced each one of them could bang out twenty Irish Coffees blindfolded.

 

The Dish:

If you wander into your local neighborhood (or strip mall) Applebee’s or TGIFriday’s and order an Irish Coffee you’ll receive a towering concoction topped with canned whipped cream, bright green mint syrup and even sugar to fuel an entire classroom of third graders.  The Buena Vista does Irish Coffee the right way.  The reason for this is because in 1952 they were the ones that invented the damn thing.  First is the goblet, heated in hot water.  Next, they fill it 3/4’s full with fresh, steaming hot coffee.  Then they drop two sugar cubes into the coffee and vigorously stir with a spoon until the sugar is dissolved.  A strong pour of Tullamore Dew (Irish whiskey) topped with fresh made to order heavy whipped cream and tadah, you have your Irish Coffee.  After watching them line up thirty glasses on each side of the bar and make all them in under three minutes, we decided to ask the bartender how many Irish Coffees he thinks they make in a given day.  He replied “Oh, on a busy day, around 2,000.”  2,000!  2,000 orders of the same drink.  Can you imagine?  It is pretty amazing.  Now, back to the important stuff.  The first impression we got when tasting it was not one of flavor, but of memory.  Did you ever go pick out a Christmas tree with your family at some huge lot and get to drink hot chocolate?  It’s cold outside and the first sip just warms you from the bottom of your stomach all the way up to the back of your throat.  This drink brings all those memories briefly rushing back as it warms you the same way.  The flavor is excellent as well.  The first taste is the cool cream that acts as a conveyer for the heated coffee and whiskey as it glides down your throat.  Not too sweet, too boozy, or too strong on the coffee, its the perfect drink for a cold night (which SF has plenty of) or hell, any night.

The Verdict:

Whether you like whiskey or don’t like whiskey, go to the Buena Vista and order one.  It’s a San Francisco staple, it’s the birthplace of the Irish Coffee and it’s an experience to say the least.

 

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A & K

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#29 Tacolicious: Tuna Tostada

 

The Place:

When we close our eyes and think of what a San Francisco restaurant looks like, Tacolicious fits the image pretty well.  Though it’s small, it’s stylishly painted, smartly decorated and always bustling.  This doesn’t mean that it’s ordinary by any means, just that it exhibits the feeling of San Francisco dining.  It’s also an example of a great “non Mexican, Mexican” restaurant.  What we mean is that it’s a place opened by people who you can tell love and respect Mexican cooking and focus on tradition, but are not Mexican themselves.  You get that feeling from the decor to the bar and definitely in the cooking.  Tacolicious also pays respect to SF’s unofficial motto of “localsustainable and organic”.

 

 

The Dish:

Like a lot of great Mexican food the Tuna Tostada is simple and to the point.  Two crispy corn tortillas piled on with sliced raw tuna, crispy leeks, chipotle mayo, avocado and a lime on the side.  The first bite confirms our suspicions that this dish has the potential to be an obsession.  The kind of dish whose siren song you feel anytime you come within 7 blocks of the restaurant.  The flavors are immediate and bold.  The chipotle mayo and fresh lime give a sharp tang that is balanced by the fattiness of the tuna and avocado.  The leeks provide a very nice crunchy texture and a surprising kick of salt.  Tacolicious provides 3 salsas with the dish; a mild tomatillo, a smokey chipotle and a spicy habanero.  We went with the habanero to complete the killer flavors with a healthy spice kick.  Our first few bites were accompanied by Prince’s “Sexy MF” blaring over the stereo, getting us in the groove to enjoy one sexy little dish.   We were impressed by the fact that, with all the bold flavors, the tuna is still able to stand out with it’s fresh, clean taste.

 

 

The Verdict:

Two foam finger thumbs up.  Though we’ve only been to this place a few times, each experience has been good and tasty.  This last time we also tried their huarache de carnitas, a crispy bean filled tortilla piled high with salsa, guacamole, fresh crema and shredded cabbage salad.  This dish rivaled the flavor of the tostada and we had to take a second to decide which was better (the tostada by a hair).  Though we haven’t done much boozin’ there, their drink menu looks fantasic and they boast one of the best arrays of tequilas in SF.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is one of the good ones.

 

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A & K

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#7 Tartine Bakery: Morning Bun

 

The Place:

Down the street from Dolores Park lurks a pastry behemoth.  Tartine Bakery boasts a James Beard award winner for Outstanding Pastry Chef as well as a line out the door almost everyday.  Once you gain entry to the small shop there is a large community table to the right with a few smaller tables around it, a coffee bar in the back and a long pastry case on the left filled with baked treasures.  The shop is neither rustic nor sterile, hipster nor avant garde.  It’s just a place to get some terrific food.

 

The Dish:

We have never had a morning bun quite like the one from the famous Tartine Bakery.  What comes to mind when you think of morning buns?  For us we think of dry, boring pastries that we settle for when cinnamon rolls are 86’d.  Where most morning buns fail, Tartine Bakery’s excels.  So flaky, so crispy on the outside, so moist in the center.  The texture almost reminded us of a croissant because of the layers involved.  The appearance is magnificent, with the most beautiful  golden brown exterior and sugar crystals covering the top.  This patisserie was baked to perfection.  You know when you eat a good cinnamon bun and there is one perfect piece in the very center? One that’s soaked up all the goodness of the exterior?  This bun’s entire inside is that perfect piece.  There was also a slight fruitiness/citrus note that we couldn’t quite put our finger on.  Fortunately we were able to locate the recipe online and find that the sweet citrus was in fact orange zest.  Oh yeah, all these descriptions are based off a DAY OLD pastry.  That’s right, one of the best pastries we’ve ever had was picked up and then eaten the next day.

The Verdict:

Yes, yes, yes.  We don’t care if you are in town for half a day, if you don’t have a sweet tooth, or if you hate waiting in a bit of a line, this bun and bakery are a must for all.

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A & K

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#44 Rosamunde Sausage Grill: Beer Sausage

 

The Place:

Rosamunde Sausage Grill has two locations (a mini one in the Haight and the flagship in the Mission).  We went to the one in the Mission, which is a nice place to go to if the weather is warm.   Grilled sausages are always welcome, but there’s something about the childhood connection we have to them and summer that make them perfect for a hot day.  Two other big draws are a very extensive beer selection, with over 60 beers varying from draft, cans and bottles and a patio on Mission and 24th (outdoor seating in the city is always a plus).  If you like people watching like we do, it’s a prime spot to check out the variety of interesting folks the Mission conjures up.  The interior is open and relaxed.  You order your sausage at the beer bar and pick up at the grill window.  Very simple, no muss no fuss.  One note, it is cash only.  Something that we’ve noticed is very pervasive in the Mission, so be prepared.

 

The Dish:

We ordered the beer sausage as well as an andouille sausage.  You get to pick two toppings from a variety; we chose hot peppers and grilled onions for both sausages.  We got a pint of Russian River Blind Pig and Ommegang BPA and we were set!  Beer and sausage are like Batman and Robin, Hall and Oates, Regis and Kelly…..ok you get the idea, they work well together.  We had our first couple bites and this is kind of embarrassing to admit, but we could not figure out which one was which!  The appearance of these were very different, so we kind of had a general idea which one was which, but it took us slyly going back to the display case to scope out the shape of the respective dogs (FYI, we will be using dog and sausage interchangeably).  Ok, lets focus and break this thing down by its parts.  First, the sausage itself wasn’t quite cooked to perfection.  It’s skinnier so it’s understandably easy to overdo a bit, and that’s what happened here.  You know when you bite into a juicy sausage and at first it fights back a bit like it’s rubbery?  But then it breaks at the perfect time and you get the delicious interior.  This sausage didn’t quite get to that point.  It was a little tougher to chew than is ideal, but it didn’t make this a lost cause.  The flavor is still good.  It’s meaty, a little spicy and is a good balance to a hoppy beer.  The bun is very solid.  It stands up to the job of porting this dripping mess of meat, toppings and ketchup without folding.  Sometimes at the end of a hot dog or sausage you end up with a smushed lump of dough with a meat nub in it.  Not here, the bun stays sturdy to the end.  However, we both agree the key to the whole operation is the toppings.  Adding in the sweetness of grilled onions and the spiciness of peppers tie the bow on this present for your mouth.

 

The Verdict:

We suggest this dish, though we feel you need the other components to really enjoy it.  We plan on going back for the food, but part of the experience is the beer selection and the outdoor seating.  We feel that sausages are one of those foods where there is no transcendent dog, there are just bad, medium and good ones.  This sausage is good, even great with all the toppings and beer.  I guess what we’re saying is that as far as sausages go, this is one we will come back for.

Dig In

A & K

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