The CHOW Blog rss

Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Gaga Sandwich with Beyonce on the Side

Some fine sandwich-making tips to be found in Lady Gaga and Beyonce's most recent video, for "Telephone." Also notable: smokin' sunglasses, half-naked prison dancing, and the Pussy Wagon from Kill Bill.

Green Wine Is Good (or Can Be)

Green Wine Is Good (or Can Be)

Herbaceous and leafy does not have to mean underripe. READ MORE

French Food from a Truck? Oui!

All rightie, the early reports last year on Spencer on the Go, a mobile truck from the Chez Spencer folks, were dubious. How are you going to eat frog legs off a paper plate while standing in a parking lot? It turns out the key is to grab your food and retreat to the wine bar across the street, "a very popular activity," notes Paul H.

Some of the food is still not so mobile friendly, but one brilliant invention is the escargot lollipop: escargot encased in puff pastry with garlic butter, on a stick. "Puffy, light, yet also delicious and filling," says vulber. You get two for $2, a more impressive deal than the $12 foie gras torchon. It's good stuff—“what can I say, Chez Spencer knows how to make foie," Robert Lauriston says—but not a great value in terms of portion size.

Although Robert has had issues with soggy crusts, SteveG had amazing white prawns on beautifully browned puff pastry and "delicious subtle spicing to the prawns, cooked perfectly." vulber's favorite was the port-braised lamb cheek sandwich, "by far the best sandwich I've ever had, and one of the best pieces of lamb." It's bursting with flavor, and just $10.

The "warm pudding" is underwhelming, vulber says, but "I still had an incredible 3-course French meal for $17," and you sure can't beat that.

Spencer on the Go [SOMA]
300 Seventh Street, San Francisco
No phone available

Discuss: Spencer on the Go – some of the best French food around
Spencer on the Go truck

Kimchee by the Bay

Stone Korean Kitchen seems to have gotten over its early-days kinks and is now a reliable place for good Korean food, says liamettocs, who's eaten there several times. Soondubu stew is wonderful, liamettocs says, with silken tofu and a generous amount of seafood (shrimp, clams, and squid). Bibimbap is excellent (the house specialty version is served in a hot stone bowl), and the Korean fried chicken wings with a tasty sauce get a thumbs-up.

david de berkeley, who tried Stone shortly after it opened late last fall, also liked the soondubu and noted that while portions are smaller than at your average East Bay Korean joint, Stone uses good-quality ingredients. He likes the kim bap, which are like sushi rolls with beef instead of fish. The kimchee is good, david says, but you only get three kinds of banchan (side dishes) with your meal. Endless refills, though.

Stone Korean Kitchen [Embarcadero]
Four Embarcadero Center, San Francisco

Discuss: Stone Korean Kitchen
Stone Korean Kitchen (Four Embarcadero Ctr, Street Level), SF - any reports?

Overheard on the San Francisco Boards

"After a month eating in China, Chef Liu was the first place I ate that brought back the memories." - bbulkow

"When we walked through the door at 9:30 am, I could float on the aromas of falling-off-the-bone porkiness." - Cynsa on the posole at El Delfin

"Velvety chunks of white and dark boneless chicken meat, precise little cubes of carrots and potatoes with an intensely chicken cream gravy with a luxurious mouthfeel..." - Melanie Wong on the biscuit-topped chicken pot pie at P/30

Breast Cheese, Famine-Based Marketing, and Biggie Smalls

Breast Practices: NY chef Daniel Angerer starts making cheese from his wife’s breast milk, and serving it as a part of a canapé with figs at his Chelsea restaurant, Klee Brasserie.  Kinda gives the expression “know thy producer” a whole new meaning. via New York Post

Operation Snake Oil Salesman: The FDA sends warning letters to several food makers for having “misleading” healthy claims on their labels, including Diamond nuts, Drumsticks, and POM.  Some wonder if the feds went overboard: who really thinks Drumsticks are healthy? via MedicineNet READ MORE

Making Italian Gnocchi with Grandma Paola

Play Video

Granddaughter Isabella helps Nonna Paola Bagnatori make potato gnocchi with tomato-porcini sauce. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

Friskies Cat Food Makes Your Cat Have Visions

Um. I'm not sure what to say to introduce this, but apparently the Friskies cat food company would have us believe that popping open a can of their animal-based protein slurry sends your cat into a sensory wonderland with floating cloud windmills, golden fish-shaped sailboats, dancing turkeys, and cows with bangs.


Cougar Dens, Hooky Hangs: Tablehopper Reveals

Marcia Gagliardi's gossipy email newsletter, tablehopper, has been the must-read for food lovers and restaurant nerds in San Francisco practically from the day it launched. Always on top of the latest openings, closings, best places to get duck-fat frites, and more, Gagliardi's just published a guidebook to San Francisco with even more great recommendations and insider tips. Her trademark tell-it-like-it-is-sistah voice, and categories you won't find in Zagat make it a very fun read. We asked Gagliardi for some dish.

What are some of your favorite dive bars in SF?

The kooky atmosphere at Li-Po in Chinatown is a fave, and the abrasive and bawdy charm of Carl at the Ha-Ra will never cease to entertain me—it reminds me of the dive bars in LA I used to love so much (the vintage boxing pictures are kind of hot, too).

Cougar hang-outs?

Anywhere there is good wine and cocktails, there are cougars. The Balboa Café is of course a classic cougar den, but hotel bars like the Lobby Lounge at the St. Regis and the Clock Bar are other locations where I’ve noticed prowling.

Where's a good place to go on an internet date?

Café du Soleil in the Lower Haight is the ideal location because you can often find a table, and it works for any time of day: a lunch meet-up, a coffee, a glass of wine... And the atmosphere is just cute enough. The option for outdoor seating is a bonus.

Next time I call in "sick" to work, where should I go?

A mid-week brunch at Brenda’s French Soul Food is great hooky material, but I will take any reason I can get to scoot to Outerlands Café in the Sunset for its delicious levain bread (and a coffee next door at Trouble Coffee). Then: to the beach!

For more tablehopper magic, check out Gagliardi on as she gives her take on the perfect pesto.

Boob du Jour

When news broke this month that Klee's Daniel Angerer was serving cheese made from his wife's breastmilk, the media paused to cluck and cringe, but no one got around to the meat (milk?) of the matter. What does the stuff taste like? Gael Greene samples a chunk of human fromage in the Daily Beast: