San Francisco: Bay Area, Stanford & Palo Alto

Yes, I know, I came back from San Francisco more than a month ago – somehow I feel like chronicling my foodventures through the places I’ve been is a lot simpler and easier than just a restaurant in itself. Feel like a place does influence the kind of food people tend to cook cos 1) culture and 2) profitability. I mean, you see like a smorgasbord of pressed juices/green juice/kale in SF, which is definitely not as prevalent as say, HK (yes, HK post coming right up). Also what better time to write a new entry than when I have 3 tutorials in the next 3 days?? Gah, ethics….

After the culinary high that was Melbourne and Sydney, I have commented to people that I doubt I’d be able to find a place that matches up to them both because almost every single meal was a “WOW!!!” from me. For people who don’t know me, I categorise my life/experiences into roughly these 5 categories: ‘wow factor’, pretty great, good, alright and meh.

SAN FRANCISCO: WHAT I LIKED
(disclaimer: my time was spent mostly around Palo Alto, a chichi suburban neighbourhood where Stanford is located, and it honestly felt pretty dang good to be away from the crazy ass city life for a bit.)

1. La Tacqueria, The Mission District
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Ah, tacos in the mission district. This is definitely a MUST DO in San Francisco. Alight at 16th Mission and take a leisurely stroll down (or up?) to the 24th. La Tacqueria is conveniently located on the 23rd if I recall correctly.

THESE TACOS ARE NOT NORMAL TACOS. They are soft tacos wrapped around with a crisp hard taco and filled with the most luscious guac, pico de gallo and whatever choice of meat you choose. Rj ordered for us and BOYYYYYYY these were fan-freaking-tastic. They were dripping with goodness, (yum I love messy food) but THE TACO SHELLS (skins???) RETAINED THEIR STRUCTURE TILL THE VERY END. I did not want to give up the last mouthful to Tebello.. but anyway the point is. Come eat here. I haven’t had that many tacos before, and I’m not sure if taco joints all around the world do this soft taco/crisp taco thing, but that was the highlight for me. That and the perfectly charred meat and copious amount of guac heaped onto my taco. We also had agua frescas but they tasted like sugary watermelon & mango juice diluted with water. I’m not sure I’d try it again… but damn these tacos. If I ever go back I’m not sharing any.

So the Mission isn’t really my favourite part of town because the only word to describe it is DODGY (or sketchy, if you’re American)…. and the smell of pee is everywhere. Walk one block down to Valencia and it’s a whole new world. I would like to own a house on Valencia tbh. It is such a hip, happening place with great spots like…

2. Craftsman & Wolves
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THIS PLACE IS EPIC!!!!! C&W is most well known for ‘The Rebel Within’ – a savoury muffin with sausage, asiago, green onion and an entire gooey soft cooked farm egg in the middle. Don’t even know how they manage to keep the yolk runny, but what a gorgeous sight when I sliced it down the middle. So, the verdict on this? I wished it was warmed up.. and I think fans of cheese would love The Rebel Within. It was one of the most unique things I’ve ever tried, and a pity I couldn’t truly appreciate its full awesomeness because well, I don’t like cheese. That said, the farm egg in the middle is a genius idea – who would’ve thought? My coffee was excellent & my takeaway blackberry muffin was bursting with blackberry goodness. Topped with bran flakes, it made a wonderful lunch. I love it here.

3. Tin Pot Creamery, Palo Alto
Stanford students have it so frkn good, and I am insanely jealous of every single one of them because they have this frkn epic ice cream shop at their doorstep. When Rj told me Tin Pot was voted best icecream shop in Palo Alto I was kinda skeptical, but after having it, I think it should be declared best icecream in San Francisco. Humphrey Slocombe cannot compare. AT ALL. I had the blueberry lavender & pumpkin and oat strusel; I think the latter was a halloween special. I really cannot stand it when my icecream is icey and this was pure, creamy goodness. Blueberry lavender is such a special lavender pairing; seriously, earl grey lavender was so last year. It was creamy, floral and fruity at the same time. I really want a tub of it right now. I wouldn’t recommend pumpkin to anyone who doesn’t even like pumpkin but I gotta admit that oat strusel makes for fun eating, texturally. THIS HAS MUCH WOW FACTOR!!!! And if I had to pick a #1 item on this list, THIS WOULD BE IT

4. Evvia, Palo Alto
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My first experience with Greek food! Grilled octopus, the most lovely charred lamb riblets and marithes tiganites – crispy smelt with a garlic and potato skordalia. Okay food aside, doesn’t SKORDALIA REMIND YOU OF A POKEMON????? Or izzit just me?? FYI: a skordalia is a sort of thick, chunky dip. Here the skordalia made my entire meal. The lemon rly complemented the bold and punchy garlic and the crispy smelt was the perfect fish to hold it all together. Taste & texture wise, it was faultless. Ok think: fried crispy fish with the most garlicy dip in the world. YUM??? The lamb riblets were a bit gamey for me; I generally have a distaste to lamb, BUT I really wouldn’t mind having more of this; and the grilled octopus…. just….wow…. I feel like my favourite dishes at restaurants are those which are cooked simply with the freshest ingredients; while I enjoy the oohs and ahhs molecular gastronomy brings to food in general, sometimes the best kind of food is choosing the best cooking method to let your choice of ingredient shine. GIVE ME MORE OF THAT OCTOPUS

Tbh, most of my time was spent eating great food at Casa Italiana where RJ lived – I am still in awe at how catered food can taste this good. I’m quite sure freshman 15 would not be limited to just the freshmen, considering the open kitchen at Casa, and the food that Jose churns out day after day.

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HONOURABLE MENTION: Food at Casa Italiano; the monkey bread & kale mojito at CoHo

I’ve already talked about how frkn amaze Casa’s food was but honestly everyone needs to go visit Stanford just for the Monkey bread! Crisp buns of walnuts and drizzled with just the right amount of honey? caramel? when toasted make the best. snack. ever. And also, it will be one of the best $3 you spend in your life. I also miss the kale mojito, a juice blend of kale, mint, mango, celery, parsley and orange juice. I swear all green juice skeptics will change their minds on kale and green juice AFTER HAVING THIS. It is refreshing and exhilarating and makes me feel like I’m at a beach with a hot bod when I clearly am sitting at Coho with an expanding waistline instead.

OH, AND ONE LAST ONE (how could I have forgotten):
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In-N-Out: just because you’re in the West Coast. Also, it’s better than Shake Shack.

WHY MUST I DO ETHICS WHY

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