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chefinthecity's Profile

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Wedding Cake!

So i'm getting married next month and i need a wedding cake.
But - i am a modern bride in a recession so I don't want something large, tiered - and certainly nothing with buttercream and/or a little plastic bride and groom on the top.

Kinds of cakes I am considering:

* tres leches
* cheesecake
* possibly even Profiteroles

I really just want a straightforward good cake.
I also, don't want something very expensive.
I only need it for about 20 people....
any thoughts??

thanks so much!

Best donut I've had in forever....

spicy chocolate donut from Dynamo Donuts!
a close second... their Bacon Maple Donut

Dynamo Donuts and Coffee
2760 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Tony Bourdain in San Francisco

i ran into him on the street when he was here! He was outside Hotel Monaco with his crew. I know he ate at Incanto in the back room - my friends where there with him. He was eating with Harold McGee and another guest who wasn't recognized.
He was very tall and very tired looking when i saw him - but when i told him that I was a chef and was inspired by his outspoken philosophies on food - and he shook my hand and was very respectful.
He looked beat though. I hope he got some rest!

SF episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations airs Monday 8/10

i ran into him on the street when he was here! He was outside Hotel Monaco with his crew. I know he ate at Incanto in the back room - my friends where there with him. He was eating with Harold McGee and another guest who wasn't recognized.
He was very tall and very tired looking when i saw him - but when i told him that I was a chef and was inspired by his outspoken philosophies on food - and he shook my hand and was very respectful.
He looked beat though. I hope he got some rest!

Great Cheap Happy Hours in downtown sf?

I'd love to know where to get a great cheap drink / snack in downtown sf!
anyone know of anything?
we're open to every time of food -
we usually go out to places like Range, Delfina & the ferry building.
thanks a bunch!

Whats the Deal with Black Label Burgers?

Its all over FoodBlogs - and now has a mention in the NYTimes - but i can't for the life of me figure out what makes it so special!
So - its made by Pat La Freida - got that.
But what makes a Black Label Burger so special?
and in the true American spirit..... where can i get one?
i need to try it!
i know there are a few outlets in NYC - but how about here in SF?
thanks for the help!

Bauer's "stars" vs review of SF's Absinthe

Michael Bauer consistenly embarasses his readers and the SF chronicle in general with his elementary narrative, vague adjectives and conflicting ratings. Even after having worked in the restaurant industry in San Francisco for only a few months, I realized how his opinons are highly disregarded and mostly ignored by people that take food seriously.

Sparks WoodFire Grill-Studio City

how funny - i've just returned from a short vacation in L.A. to visit my dad and where did we eat - but both Sparks AND firefly!

Sparks is consistent and solid - probably one of my favorite picks in that area, simply because of its convienience and stablility - you can always count on a good meal there, which i find suprisingly not to be the case for restaurants on ventura. The last time we ate there my dad got the KOBE beef hamburger with... avocado/ maytag blue cheese i THINK, although i'm not sure. It is one of the few places that they'll order hamburgers - and they say its great.

As to firefly - i had a great experience there on Friday night. My dad, his girlfriend and i arrived at 6:30 and were promptly seated in the outside area near the fire in the middle. We weren't very hungry so we ordered 4 appetizers to split and 1 entree - and although i was felt guilty for our "cheap"ish behavior it IS L.A. and restaurants are so used to everyone being on a diet anyway (and no one i knew was looking).
we ordered
Steak tartare with quail egg and white truffle
roasted baby beet salad with mizuna
braised artichoke with chipotle and roasted gypsy pepper
and i feel ridiculous because i can't for the life of me remember what the hell my 4th appetizer was.... ugh! i never forget - i'm a chef for godsakes. well, it couldn't have been that great if i can't even remember.

for our entree we split the grilled ribeye steak with a leek,pepper and arugula salad. Surprisingly unadorned and bare - our steak was also very medium when we ordered medium rare. My dad's girlfriend and i finished our portions - but my dad, being the man that he is - complained to the waitress that "it was dry" (even though it was sitting in a puddle of its own delicious juice) and he "wasn't satisfied" (i didn't happen to notice a "satisfaction guaranteed" sign on the door).... i was sinking lower into my seat, hiding my eyes and trying not to be involved in this unnecessary act from my dad - bracing for the worst from my waitress.... when i heard her very politely say that she would gladly take it from the check. She was amazing about the situation, and handled it with SUCH grace - that when the check came, i left her a 40% tip.

All in all our experience there was a very good one - our appetizers (the ones i can remember) were really great, our service was pleasant and our desserts were pretty mouth-watering (DO order the bread pudding).

The Front Porch any recent visits?

i actually ate there just this past sunday night - and i really enjoyed it!
started with:
cornmeal fried okra,
chicken livers on brioche,
ginger (w. something else) soup
hamachi crudo
all really great flavors - my only criticism being the platings were a little rough.

i had the special of that night
the pomegranate glazed short-ribs with a scallion dumpling and fried plantain
really outstanding! i'm obsessed w. anything pomegranate and you can never go wrong w. short ribs so this absoloutely perfect for me. again, my criticism from above was repeated for all the platings on the entrees as well.
my friends had: the pork loin w. cabbage/apple slaw and the fried chicken

all in all - the service was impeccable, all the flavors were bold and satisfying and i loved the room - which reminded me of a really super casual "spotted pig" ( i love the ceiling!)
one of the best new places i've been to in a while.

Favorite New Restaurant for 2006?

Interesting... no one mentioned Salt House - which opened a few months ago by the owners of Postrio and Town Hall. why is this - has no one gotten a chance to try it out, or is it because it still needs some time to work out the kinks?

What Santa Brought the Chowhounds for Christmas...

A packet of home-made quince paste (to accompany the christmas goose) and a 750 ml house blend blottle of Stonehouse olive oil (from the boutique in the Ferry Building, sf)

Dec 26, 2006
chefinthecity in Not About Food

New York Restaurant T-Shirts

i ALMOST bought a t-shirt from the spotted pig.... until i discovered it was $40. Apparently they're "one of a kind" and made from a local independent artist. They did look really great, and am kind of regretting now that i'm back on the west coast

Dec 25, 2006
chefinthecity in Not About Food

What the heck is open on Christmas day???

I live in Hayes Valley - and the in-laws aren't feeling well, so our dinner is post-poned until the day after... which leaves me with a dreadful fear that i'll be stuck eating chinese buffet on market street.

so if anyone out there knows - what the heck is open on Christmas day? Where can a girl get some good food? i could cook - but i do that 6 days a week, and would like my vacation to be spatula free =)

Range Report

While my boyfriend was eating at Nate's BBQ with a friend - I opted to try Range out for myself. I walked in and was promptly seated at the bar. I was struck by the decor - i thought it was beautiful, the pale wood, the soft lighting. It was classy and elegant while still being casual.

I ordered a glass of their Pinot Noir from the bartender, while i looked over the menu. I ended up ordering their chicken liver mousse with frisee salad as an appetizer, and for my entree I ordered their half roasted chicken with an almond, mushroom and ancho cress bread salad with meyer lemon vinaigrette. Normally I don't order chicken at restaurants, and stupidly i ordered it for both courses - but I find it hard to not order Chicken liver anything when I see it on a menu, just to check out how its prepared. As for the chicken entree - it honestly seemed like the least predictable thing on the menu (to me). Everything else has either been served (or a variation of) at restaurants i've worked at, or are similar to things on the menu at the restaurant I cook at now.

My chicken liver mousse came - I was suprised to see that my "frisee salad" consisted of a small tuft of frisee the size of a few cotton balls. No worry though - it was delicious and dressed with thinly sliced chives, which went very well with the richness of the mousse - i only wished there was more of it! The bartender poured me a taste of the Louis Roederer Rose, to offset the butterness of the mousse - and it was just that - very buttery and heavy. But wonderful. It was prepared traditionally - in a ramekin, slightly chilled, with a few toasts alongside.
It was good - but I wish i'd ordered something else.

Next came my Chicken entree. It was beautifully prepared - really crispy skin, juicy meat with a small "bread salad" in between the two thigh pieces. I didn't see much of the "meyer lemon vinaigrette" that was stated on the menu - although everything tasted alright, I thought it could benefit from another sauce - an aioli? even an extra drizzle of the vinagrette would've made the dish just that much better. The skin of the chicken was just a touch too salty for my taste - but it was crispy and perfect otherwise.
As for the bread salad - it consisted of croutons (made from the same bread used in the toasts, and for the table bread) lightly sauteed oyster mushrooms and a few sprigs of ancho cress. Oh yeah, and about 3-4 slivers of almonds. All the flavors went together well - but there was a huge amount of chicken compared to the tiny amount of bread salad.

All in all everything was solid - well prepared, looking flawless, strong flavors - but I was a victim to over-hyping!! I can't believe this restaurant has a Michelin star alongside Chez Panisse. Its not a bad restaurant, its just not better than SO MANY other restaurants that don't have stars. This is only one person's opinion from one snap judgement made from one meal - and i'm not arguing about it - but the whole michelin guide would benefit from a vast re-editing and re-critique of the restaurants they chose to put in there - oh yeah, not to mention all the obvious typos and factual errors included in it. Lets just wait and see how different the 2008 edition is.

Dinner New Years Eve

Woodward's Garden for NYEve! I think they have a prixe fixe - i went last year it was wonderful. Thats on mission + duboce

How many fellow Chowhounders are or have been in the biz?

Started at an asian fusion restaurant on garde manger, worked in *every* station at a 4 star luxury hotel and am now Sous Chef of a fine dining restaurant in San Francisco with a very high Zagat rating. Love the industry and am gonna... rule the world someday?

Nov 29, 2006
chefinthecity in Not About Food

Hayes Valley/Civic Center options for Monday dinner?

Sauce is solid - always good. I would also recommend Il Borgo (so cute) and Suppenkuche - although I've found their dinner entrees to be pretty hit or miss. I've had some really disappointing entrees there, but the last time I went i had the hangar steak w. truffle butter- such a revelation.
I would definitly not go to Caffe Delle Stelle - had a very mediocre lamb shank there a while ago, although it could have changed since then.

I'm assuming the sushi place mentioned was Sebo - although I've not been there myself, i've read great reviews of the place.

Nook's Health Inspection Rating [moved from L.A. board]

The rating is not solely based on their sanitation and the way they handle their food. For the ratings, the health inspectors look at EVERYTHING and much of their score is based on plumbing, their electricity, if they have handicapped-accessible bathrooms etc. Also, certain things can take more points off than others - say perhaps, their dishwasher is needs to be a degree hotter - that can take 5 points off their score. it all depends.

It doesn't mean they're handling their food in an unsafe way.

Oct 04, 2006
chefinthecity in Not About Food

Dommy & P. in SF Pt.1: Friendly Fred’s, Old Port Lobster Shack, Frjtz and Citizen Cake

ahhhhh why Fritjz!?!? that place is so disappointingly gimmickly and pathetic. It looks so promising and always lets you down.

Sea Salt . what to order?

I ate brunch there about 2 weeks ago - I ordered the lobster roll - which was great! Juicy buttery and perfectly sating. My boyfriend ordered the fish n' chips - ya know. Its fish and chips - they didn't do anything innovating or life-altering, but it was still great.

My only *slight* disappointment were the garnishes - both plates just had potato chips on them and this funny coleslaw. As did our appetizer (an "ok" tuna tartare). Theres a lot more you can do than just throw some chips and coleslaw on a plate - especially if you want it to be simple and seasonal. oh well.

all in all the meal was pretty good - and i would definitly go back!

Surprising Meal at Suppenkuche!

Although I live only 2 blocks from Suppenkuche, I am always hesitant to go there for dinner. Its due to the hectic service, the shared tables (usually since I go with my boyfriend, and not a party of 4 we get tacked on awkwardly to someone else's group) and the usual disappointing food.

My boyfriend and I found ourselves hungry and with no where else to go on Labor Day night for dinner. Il Borgo - closed! Sauce - closed! My restaurant was closed as well, so I understood. But we were hungry and the only places open were Fritjz (WORST CREPES EVER) and Suppenkuche.
We decided to take the plunge, and headed in for dinner.

After a 15 minute wait, we were seated.... tacked on awkwardly to a party of 4's table. It took about 10 minutes of waiting to receive menus. They were totally swamped. I decided to order their "special" entree - a grilled skirt steak with potato gratin and black truffle butter. I ordered it RARE and my boyfriend orded the pan-fried whole trout w. lemon and butter sauce. He always orders this and I've found it to be the only consistantly good thing on their set dinner menu.

We never received water - and only after my boyfriend asked the waitress - TWICE did he receive a water.... by that time, we were about done eating. But our entrees came relatively quickly - and I'm shocked and surprised to say that... my steak was great!
It was definitly NOT rare - but in this case i'll let it slide - they were extremely busy and skirt steak, being that it's such a thin cut, can be hard to cook rare. It was medium rare-ish - a little closer to medium. But it was juicy, not dried at all - and the truffle butter was great. Yes yes, of course, how can you mess up anything with truffle butter - but it was done well. The butter was melting all over the steak, and it wasn't overly truffly or overly buttery. The potato gratin that accompanied the steak was good as well - layers of potato with cream and parmesan and a hint of thyme.

All in all - my entree was outstanding compared to the sub-par dinners I've gotten there before.
I hope they put it on the permenant menu!

When -- if ever -- do you send food back?

in response to you comment about rare steaks... i'm not saying you're like this - but as a chef i've gotten steaks sent back which,upon inspection - are perfectly cooked! Only a few times, but me, the other chefs and the servers will inspect it - and see that, yes - it's perfect. All i can say is "One person's 'rare' is anothers 'medium'"

Aug 21, 2006
chefinthecity in Not About Food

no seating until entire party arrives..

I was meeting my father for brunch - 11 a.m. on a sunday. Big restaurant - completely empty, and they made him stand and wait the 5 minutes while i parked the car. That was the first faux paus for a long uncomfortable meal. i will never go back.

Aug 21, 2006
chefinthecity in Not About Food

Best place to have some Lamb in SF, non-curry, non-expensive? POSSIBLE?!?!

Woodward's Garden - Braised Lamb Shank w. melted gypsy peppers, braised endive, cous-cous - cilantro oil - great value and tastes amazing - about $20.

SF cookie suggestions?

Best cookies in the whole freaking world are at the Montgomery Street Bart Station, right when you're coming out. don't know the name, but always packed. absolutely to die for, and they have like 10 different kinds.

Overcharging deliberate or inadvertent?

hmm.... probably not a deliberate thing... but probably something that they "forget to fix" and end up making a bit of money off of. Since its in a touristy area, I would be more skeptical of their motives. I know when I go travelling and i look like the obvious tourist (something i REALLY try to avoid, but can't help sometimes) i will often "accidentally" get the wrong change or have my dishes be a dollar or two more than stated on the menu, or just not receive the things that i've ordered and instead receive something similar, but of higher value. I always say something - but in many of these places,they seem annoyed.... as though they were expecting i was just another stupid tourist who wouldn't notice. I can only imagine how many people they do this to - and how much money they make! Probably quite a lot!

Aug 13, 2006
chefinthecity in Not About Food

Can you be a Chowhound if you don't like to cook?

Although Chowhounding is about the love of food, and finding adventure and passion in it - I find it incredibly hypocritical when a "foodie" will criticize a restaurant on how something isn't "cooked properly"- even though they could never attempt to do it themselves. I think a basic knowledge of how food is prepared is necessary, in order to define oneself as a Foodie or Chowhound. But i'm bias... i'm a chef.

Knowing how to cook broadens my understanding of food on a whole other level than before i had fully learned how to do basic cooking procedures.

Aug 03, 2006
chefinthecity in Not About Food

hayes valley: groceries, produce, and inexpensive restaurants?

Il Borgo has wonderful appetizers and pastas - i hear their pizza is great as well. The meat dishes were a little disappointing, but still delicious and filling.

The House in San Francisco

i just ate there tonite - and it was absolutely fabulous!

i had their special entree - seared lamb chops w. Korean five spice and red pepper coulis on mashed potatoes with sauteed greens. Absolutely amazing, i orded them rare and they were juicy and succulent. The mashed potatoes were rustic-ly smashed and divine.

their flat-iron steak on house-made wasabi noodles is their signature dish - and with great reason, because its wonderful! My brother in law ordered that, and it was perfect.

My only slight complaint was regarding my appetizer of a cesar salad w. crispy scallops. Although the cesar was good and straightforward - the "crispy scallops" tasted nothing like scallops, and instead of undersalted puffed rice. Didn't add anything to the dish itself, and i ate around them.

For dessert we shared the bread pudding w. chocolate espresso sauce a la mode, which was wonderful, although it was quite small. Usually the portions for bread puddings are much larger.

All in all the dinner was wonderful, and its certainly one of my favorites in the whole city!

Innovative food

Although i'm certainly in support of innovation, and the prospect of finding new and different flavors is thrilling - i can't help but feel that much of this food veers away from the whole point of eating in the first place: to survive and vitalize your body.

Personally, i would eat at El Bulli, or restaurants like it, perhaps once for the experience. But I enjoy food that sates my hunger while also sustaining my health with antioxidants, omega 3s, and complete proteins - which will last far longer than the flavor from those few bites of, oh say "bacon and egg ice cream" (on the menu at "the fat duck" in Britain).

Its great for novelty and innovation, but not for living on a day to day basis, and because of that it seems this type of food will also be an elite experience and never reach the main public.

Jul 17, 2006
chefinthecity in Not About Food