One of the great things about working at San Francisco magazine is our proximity to the Ferry Building, which has allowed me to nurture an increasingly passionate love affair with Il Cane Rosso. This week, I stood in a 20-minute line to get a side of their roasted Brussels sprouts and rutabaga (pictured above), and it was worth every last second. There’s nothing fancy about them—so far as I can tell, they’re just roasted in oil and tossed with some slivers of roasted purple onion—but, as is usually the case, less is more. They’re just earthy, perfectly seasoned, meltingly tender goodness, and, as a bonus, are also very nice to look at. —R.M.
There are days when I wake up craving oysters. In that case, I walk from my house in the Castro over to Anchor Oyster Bar for a cup of chowder and a dozen on the half shell shucked by true professionals (the kind who understand that preserving the oyster liquor is key). I grew up in Louisiana, so I'm not above a dabbing the sweet, salty little creature in a slick of ketchup and horseradish, but honestly I prefer to eat my oysters as naked as the day they were born. Maybe a squeeze of lemon. Maybe. —S.D.
The relatively new House of Xian Dumpling makes a lot of terrific things, but my favorite during a recent visit was the cold tofu with green onion. While chilled, slippery cubes of soy may not sound—or look—terribly appealing, those suckers are incredibly satisfying, thanks to an umami-packed marinade and crunchy slivers of green onion that provided textural contrast and kick. They’re refreshing when eaten in conjunction with dumplings and a savory pancake; eaten on their own, they’re bliss. —R.M.
Last fall, Bernal Heights acquired a new bar called Holy Water from the good people of Churchhill over on Market Street, another favorite bar of mine. It might just be the most stylish thing Bernal has going right now. Cool ceiling of cloudy wallpaper, just a touch of reclaimed wood, lights made of vintage carafes. Last night I sat at the mostly quiet bar (Bernal isn't exactly a rollicking hood on a rainy Wednesday night) and had an excellent Boulevardier, which is essentially a negroni except with bourbon not gin. I will be back and I will order the same drink again. —S.D.
Last night I went to dinner at Locanda and nearly sent myself into a coma with its ricotta and walnut cannelloni with stinging nettles, escarole, and dandelion greens. This is the kind of thing that’s ideally eaten in the dead of winter or after a full day of manual labor—or if, like I was, you’re into the idea of eating foraged weeds with a buttload of cheese. It was an idea that translated to a dish resembling mac and cheese that had gone for a walk in the woods: the cannelloni were stuffed with ricotta and clumps of greenery, with silky tangles of sautéed escarole piled around it. It was a delicious, ruinous mess, and I ate the entire thing against my better judgment and my stomach’s threats to mutiny. Afterwards, we went to a bodega and got a pint of Three Twins’s chocolate peanut butter ice cream and two spoons; as good as the preceding meal had been, nothing really beats walking down Mission Street with a pint of that gorgeous ice cream, trying to gobble it up before it melts into soup. —R.M.
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