When Frances opened, I thought it was going to be the beginning of the Castro’s culinary renaissance, but no such luck. With the opening of Reveille Coffee—a café from the two brothers who started their business with a coffee truck in Jackson Square—my fingers are crossed again (more tightly than ever, now that I’ve moved into the hood). Situated just down from Starbucks (one of the grimmest Starbucks out there, in my opinion), it has a pretty, light, Scandanavian-esque interior, accented with awesome black-and-white cement tiles. I got my usual soy cappuccino to-go (served up with some good-natured grief about my Third Wave rail), but I’ll be back for a lunch of quality sandwich and salads as soon.—Sara Deseran
While its eponymous carbs justifiably steal the spotlight at Beauty’s Bagel Shop, the Oakland storefront should also be a required stop for smoked fish connoisseurs, thanks to its excellent smoked trout salad. Big pieces of the fish are mixed with mayo, sour cream, dill, and celery, and it’s a testament to how delicious the result is that I don’t even mind the celery, my most hated food. The consistency hits a perfect creamy-chunky balance, deftly avoiding the spackle-like texture that blights many a smoked-fish salad. While you can get it served on a bagel with lettuce, onions, and radishes, I recommend just eating it straight from the container for maximum effect. —Rebecca Flint Marx
Last night was the soft opening for Kin Khao, the new Thai restaurant from Pim Techamuanvivit and chef Michael Gaines. Although it’s located at the corner of Mason and Ellis Streets—a corner slice of the Parc 55 Hotel—it’s the kind of place that would be just at home in the Mission. This city is in need of more thoughtful Asian food on this level and simply reading the menu, full of unusual curries and noodle dishes, could have satiated me for a while. Finally making a choice is tough because it means not getting to try something. The “pretty hot wings”—sweet, a hint of crispy, spicy. Get them. “Chicken fat rice” (as in chicken and rice and chicken fat) with rice comes a side of the most delicious, and spicy, chile sauce, as well as a broth of rich broth to pour over it. Cocktails are light and refreshing, as they should be. —S.D.
The women behind Rice, Paper, Scissors recently began serving lunch out of Brick and Mortar, and I was lucky enough to check it out earlier this week. It’s such a lovely surprise to find their cheerful red stools in the shadow of the 101, and even lovelier to sit on one and devour R.P.S.’s Banh Mi Op La, a sandwich stuffed to the gills with daikon pickles, veg pate, cilantro, jalapenos, and, most crucially, a perfectly fried egg. The bread, from the nearby Panorama Bakery, is thick, chewy, and more than worthy of its cargo. Add a few squirts of Sriracha, and you’ve got yourself what amounts to a perfect square meal. —R.F.M.
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