Last night, I was fortunate enough to check out the newly renovated Quince, which Michael Tusk and co. reopened in late September. It's a plush space that breathes serenity and refinement, but also, most crucially, a hospitality that's as unforced as it is flawless. The same could be said of the food, which, while technically perfect, isn't of the grandstanding, behold-the-chef's-ego variety: instead, it's beautiful, deeply flavorful, and, despite its precision, unfussy. Case in point was Tusk's tajarin, thin ribbons of egg pasta dressed in butter, cheese, and shavings of white truffle. Coiled into a deceptively scant portion, its plain appearance belied its intense richness; it didn't so much deliver visceral pleasure as short-circuit any dopamine receptors in its path. The restaurant may want to consider providing cigarettes to accompany the ensuing afterglow.
Rancho Gordo is basically without peer where heirloom beans are concerned, but the company also happens to produce some pretty damn fine tortillas. This being Rancho Gordo, they're made from heirloom corn that is soaked, hulled, and ground into fresh masa. The pliant, extremely tasty results of these labors are sold at R.G.'s Ferry Building stall, and in limited quantities—they tend to sell out by the end of the week. I recommend going early and often, since literally anything tastes good piled or smeared on these puppies—even slightly stale, they're still eminently worthy vessels.
There's not much more that can be said on the topic of kale salad and its somewhat unnerving ubiquity, but that doesn't mean exemplary ones aren't deserving of a shout out. Should you be in the vicinity of Levi's Plaza, Parlor 1255 serves one of the best I've found. The key to its success is balance (and, of course, unfailingly fresh, high-quality ingredients): the raw kale here is adorned with generous portions of roasted beets, marcona almonds, parmesan shavings, thinly sliced fennel, chunks of orange, and a scattering of red quinoa. It comes with a lemon vinaigrette and, for a buck extra, avocado slices. Everything plays well together, tastes good, and leaves you feeling virtuous, which only furthers my suspicion that kale salad is San Francisco's answer to a confession booth.