20 Spot, the little wine bar and eatery that could, remains one of the Mission’s best kept secrets—well, that is, on week nights. (Weekends you’ll have to fight for a table just like anywhere else.) The sweet, sliver of a space now has Caleb Jones cooking up simple, but elegant, little dishes, like this potted crab with crème fraiche. I sat at the bar the other night and personally demolished a plate of burrata and beets followed by a pot de crème with citrus. So, it wasn’t exactly the lactose intolerant’s night out, but for the dairy-forward, it was delicious. Tip: Park in the Mission and Bartlett lot. It’s only a block away.
Little Szechuan is a new addition to North Beach. Located on the stretch of Broadway that could be considered an extension of Chinatown, the sweeping restaurant is not your usual florescent-lit situation. They’re definitely trying to class up things. The menu is predictably lengthy (pics included), and the food is good, if not great. We tried the cucumbers with garlic (like garlic!), dan dan noodles with a good amount of that numby buzz from the Sichuan peppercorns, spicy dumplings, and lamb stir-fried with cumin. It’s not date food, but with a beer it could definitely cure a hangover.
I was back at Hi Lo BBQ the other day. Can I just say that I love the mixed heirloom brassicas, all smoky and charred and scattered with almonds and a smear of nettle puree? I love it.
You’ve probably noticed if you follow my writing that I’m a bit of an Asia-o-phile. Which is why I was back, yet again, at Kingdom of Dumpling yesterday. And while we got the usual (boiled dumplings, green beans, cucumbers), we also tried what was like a big Chinese hot pocket. Imagine green onion pancake dough opened up and stuffed full of garlic chives, glass noodles, and egg. Delicious. If not date food (see Little Szechuan).