CHOW Tour
Two CHOW editors on a caloric extravaganza exploring innovation, novelty, and deliciousness.
See Where We've Eaten!
Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Red Velvet Pancakes from a Truck

Red Velvet Pancakes from a Truck
The name alone—Buttermilk Truck—was enough to get me excited about breakfast. One of the most popular mobile food operations in LA, a city that has taken to the nouveau street food trend quite happily, Buttermilk Truck serves breakfast food in the morning and late night. This morning it was parked outside a coffeehouse in Echo Park called Fix, which is tucked way up in the hills amidst winding streets, funky old houses, and parklike foliage. (more...)
Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Spiritual Rice Bowling at Chego!

Spiritual Rice Bowling at Chego!
Last night, we cruised over to Chego!, Roy Choi and the Kogi family's newish restaurant just west of Culver City, in Los Angeles, to order some rice bowls. We tried three: the Sour Cream Hen House, which had sweet chile sauce, sambal sour cream, egg, wok-seared Chinese broccoli, chicken, and grilled onions; the Buttered Kimchi Chow, with kimchi, chicharrones, tofu, and fried egg; and the One Chubby Pork Belly, which we'll let Choi explain himself in the video below. (more...)
Friday, July 9th, 2010

What’s Innovative About San Francisco?

We arrived in LA yesterday afternoon, where we'll embark on the next phase of CHOW Tour: Innovation. But before we get too caught up in it all, what was the takeaway from San Francisco? After playing tourist in our home city for a week, visiting and in some cases revisiting the city's most groundbreaking food businesses, what were our overall impressions of what characterizes SF's version of innovation? (more...)
Friday, July 9th, 2010

Doing the Ramen Twist

Doing the Ramen Twist
Is foie gras ramen too over the top to actually be good? That was the pressing question upon stopping by the Yatai Ramen Twist pop-up restaurant at Breadbar on West Third Street in LA. It was our first stop in Los Angeles after our flight, so we walked from our hotel, which got us a few weird looks from motorists along the way (the stereotypes! they're true!). (more...)
Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Where We Ate in San Francisco


View CHOW Tour: Innovation - San Francisco in a larger map (more...)
Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Cave-Man Cooking, but Chic

Cave-Man Cooking, but Chic
When we spoke to chef Josh Skenes on the phone about his restaurant Saison, he told us that ultimately, the "thing everyone wants when they come to a restaurant is to be wrapped in a warm blanket." We thought he was speaking metaphorically. When we arrived at Saison, every chair was draped with a soft cozy blanket. Skenes means business. (more...)
Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Grocery Store as Tourist Destination

Grocery Store as Tourist Destination
Cutesy, perfect, so crowded that shopping there is like a contact sport, Bi-Rite would be easy to loathe if it weren't so great. A retro-50s looking grocery store in San Francisco's Mission District, Bi-Rite is the brain child of Sam Mogannam: a former downtown chef, who had the idea of putting a serious kitchen inside his father's old grocery store to create restaurant-quality prepared foods for the deli counter. The results were ambitious and good: on any given day, you'll find delicious versions of things like chicken meatballs, fava-parmesan dip, bbq ribs, and lamb stew, as well as homemade charcuterie, house-smoked salmon sliced to order, and their own bacon. (more...)
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

The People’s Farm

The People’s Farm
The Free Farm on Gough Street in San Francisco is a radical idea. The gist: an empty lot in a sorta sketchy part of town that is being cultivated by volunteers who give all the food away for free to the community, both on site and on Saturdays in the Mission at a Free Farm stand. (more...)
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Earthworks on a Plate

Earthworks on a Plate
Daniel Patterson is one of the most respected chefs in San Francisco, a leader in the latest fine dining trend in which vegetables take center stage. His restaurant, COI, located incongruously in the red-light district of North Beach surrounded by strip clubs, is a temple of Asian-y calm, with grass paper wall coverings; a gray, brown, and green color scheme; and furry Wookiee-like pillows strewn on the banquettes. (more...)
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Bad Robot, No Coffee for You

Bad Robot, No Coffee for You
Coffeehouses in San Francisco used to be bohemian, grimy places where you read the Bay Guardian and there were really bad oil paintings on the walls. That all changed in 2005, when Ritual Coffee Roasters opened on Valencia Street. Ritual roasted its own beans and put out amazing espresso and drip coffee—for high prices. But soon, Ritual was colonized by a robotic race of laptop users. Any time of day, every seat was taken by somebody typing away, Facebooking, trolling Craigslist. (more...)