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West Maui

By   /  March 6, 2013  /  Travel  /  2 Comments

Kaanapali, with its perfect year round beach weather and gentle ocean, always strikes me as a big parking lot in paradise.  Annually, for 18 years, we stayed in a low rise condo at the Maui-Kaanapali Villas in a unit much enhanced by a long, uninhabited beach on one side–and grandpa next door. Now, ten years [...]

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Hakkasan

By   /  February 11, 2013  /  Restaurants  /  2 Comments

Cecilia Chiang,  who in 1968 mounted the first upscale, northern Chinese restaurant in America called The Mandarin, and ran it for 23 years, perpetually complains about the dearth of Chinese restaurants in San Francisco that have gracious service, appointments and decor. So when Hakkasan, the new, high-end Chinese restaurant from London opened, we went right [...]

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Chez Panisse Downstairs

By   /  February 1, 2013  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

A revolution of sorts swept though the bastion of California cooking when long time chefs Jean-Pierre Moulle and David Tanis left their alternating bi-annual posts of downstairs dining room chef at Chez Panisse.  Many of the restaurant’s loyal patrons–the Chez Panisse family–were concerned. Jean-Pierre Moulle, a 37 year veteran, represented the institutional memory of the [...]

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The Corner Store

By   /  January 29, 2013  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

The Corner Store, an ebullient new pub and restaurant located on the partially hidden southwest corner of Masonic and Geary, has deep local roots.  One of the two owners, the chef and a multitude of investors grew up in San Francisco and hung out together since they were in kindergarten. The eventual crew worked around [...]

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California Olive Ranch Olive Oil

By   /  January 26, 2013  /  Food  /  1 Comment

For the first time, in my opinion, a California grower is producing extra virgin olive oil that is comparable in price, quality and availability to the extra virgin oils produced in Greece, Spain and Italy. Less than ten years ago California Olive Ranch started planting high density olive trees that look and act like grapevines. [...]

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Bar Tartine

By   /  January 21, 2013  /  Restaurants  /  1 Comment

Six years after it opened, Bar Tartine, the restaurant offshoot of Tartine Bakery, has become Hungarian at dinner and Scandinavian at lunch. Both meals are fantastic–original and luscious. The lunchtime Danish sandwich bar was created when Bar Tartine expanded into a space next door and installed bread ovens.  There, Chad Robertson bakes whole grain northern [...]

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Ken Ken Ramen

By   /  January 15, 2013  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

During the recession, the idea of opening a successful restaurant changed. Instead  of raising seven figure capital from investors, passionate cooks with a dish or two they loved to make figured out new ways to get them to the public–pop ups, restaurant sharing, food stands at farmers’ markets, food trucks, community kitchens. They invoked the [...]

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Boot and Shoe Service

By   /  January 9, 2013  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

To sustain a no reservations policy, a restaurant must be very popular and very good, not just in the kitchen but in the front of the house, too. Nothing aggravates hungry people more than uncertainty, and how the peckish  are handled from the moment they walk through the door determines whether they will flock back. [...]

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Chili House

By   /  January 3, 2013  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

Paul Kwan, my Clement Street insider, turned me on to Chili House, a new Sichuan/northern Chinese restaurant in the inner Richmond, and a relative of Z & Y, a Sichuan place in San Francisco’s Chinatown.  The chef at Chili House worked at Z & Y, and apparently the ownership is the same.  However, Chili House [...]

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Troya on Fillmore

By   /  November 6, 2012  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

As an immersive traveler, I adopt the diet of everyplace I go.  When I get back to San Francisco I actually feel homesick for the food, the air, the pace, of the places I visit. This happened when I recently returned from villages and provincial cities in southeastern Turkey along the Syrian border.  I just [...]

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