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Entries in San Francisco (39)


Tipsy Pig, San Francisco

Awfully trendy for a while on Chestnut Street, I avoided this place. Too much noise, testosterone and way-cool people are generally not my hangouts anymore or ever really. Well, on a Wednesday night at 5:30, I really liked this place. I sat with a buddy at the bar and powered down some food before a late flight to PDX.

We started with the hush puppies in a picante butter. I’m realizing I don’t like dense hush puppies. I like corn bread. I like fried things. I like savory. I don’t care for hush puppies. However, I do care for the picante butter Tipsy serves their puppies with. This compound butter is damn good. I’d put this butter on a steak or a baked potato or even cornbread. Butter good. Hush Puppies? Not my favorite.

Next up, Sloppy Joe Sliders. The Sloppy Joe Sliders were over the top large. Pulled beef , well soaked in sauce, was tender, juicy and outright delicious. The addition of coleslaw was a textural bonus and additive because of the acidic component. The min-bun was also up to the challenge and stayed together during all four bites it took to completely devour this massive meat burger.

Finally, because I needed some fiber, I had a salad. The Wedge Salad, right up there with the Caesar and spinach salad are my touchstone salads, a consistent way to evaluate  how the kitchen knocks out cold dressed roughage. Whole cluster lettuce Caesar was well done by Tipsy; with a wonderful creamy bleu dressing, crispy bacon and onions. Don’t get me wrong, I still like a stone cold, circa 1970s iceberg lettuce wedge at a steakhouse; it’s actually what I expected, but was happily surprised. Tipsy elevates the nostalgic classic.

I was happy with the Tipsy Pig, despite my preconceived notions of trendy Marina eatery, the food was really good. Call it modern gastropub, comfort food, or reworked nostalgia food; The Tipsy Pig serves up quality grub.

Tipsy Pig on Urbanspoon

Greens, Barbacco and Farro Risotto

I’m going to make a simple if not slightly unequal comparison between the Farro Risotto at Greens and a similar offering from Barbacco. The Cured Ham tries to be fair in his evaluations. I am by no means a vegan or vegetarian, however, one of my favorite meals is simple spaghetti in a fresh tomato sauce without cheese. Beautiful and simple.

Farro is a grain I like to cook with and like to sample various preparations from local restaurants. It’s a noble, versatile grain. Greens made a straightforward farro risotto with fresh mushrooms, herbs, and olive oil. I ordered it as my main course. It was certainly good, but I know it can be better.

It can be made better by Barbacco with the addition of butter, cream, and cheese. These three additional elements complete the dish. I would argue, that the addition of a high quality cheese, such as parmigiano to Greens farro risotto, would elevate the dish and add depth. Not very complex to add cheese, but it would make the dish pop.

I wasn’t displeased with Greens farro dish, just left wanting because I know that about 10 minutes away, Barbacco is making it better.


Bistro AIX, San Francisco

We ate a full meal at Bistro AIX, but one dish stood out as one of the best I’ve had this year and it was pasta at a French themed bistro.

Tagliatelli with artichokes and chicken braised in Riesling could be one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. Not overwrought, not overcooked, just perfect, simple, and satisfying.

Sure, we had more food that night (calamari fritte, a dish I often avoid was fried and seasoned wonderfully and skirt steak beautifully medium rare) and the service was on, but the pasta and chicken was just so simple and wonderful, I thought about it for 3 more days. I look forward to recreating the dish when I can spend more than 3 days at my home and have people over for dinner to share in this spectacular dish.

Who would have thought, a French Bistro would make such impressive pasta? 


The Cured Ham makes The Wall Street Journal!

In the shameless promotion category, The Cured Ham was quoted in the September 1, 2011 edition of the Wall Street Journal for my recent trip to Cotogna in San Francisco (read the post here).

I've been trying to get published in The Journal for my day job for 20 years! It only took a little over 3 years as The Cured Ham to get picked up. Who knew?!


Lots of Eats and Travel

I've got lots of catching up to do on reviews. A short list of where I've eaten recently:


Bistro AIX



Michael Mina


Ford's Filling Station

A bunch of food at the SF Food Truck Street Fair

My brother's Lamb Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

A killer Spanish melon and almond cold soup

I'll be eating at Beast in Portland very soon and probably a food truck or two while I'm there.

As I've done before, if I can't do a full review (because I just don't have tons of time), I'll give the highlight reel of highs/lows and whether or not I'll go back.


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