All posts tagged “instagood

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PYT

PYT is a somewhat hidden but classy restaurant in DTLA, perched on the corner of 4th and Main. It has a small patio area covered in greenery, creating a cozy alcove on an otherwise busy street.

PYT neighbors its sister restaurants Ledlow and Baco Mercat, with plenty of natural lighting and a sophisticated design. PYT offers brunch, lunch, and dinner, and even during peak weekend brunch hours, there was plenty of seating and no wait.

With fresh, seasonal ingredients and beautifully curated dishes, I feel like I found a hidden brunch gem in DTLA. While the meals are a bit on the pricier side, and aren’t necessarily a ‘classic brunch’ (ie benedicts and bottomless mimosas), the dishes were elegant and filling. This would be a fancier brunch spot, or a nice breakfast to take the parents for a quiet, quality visit.

To start, we were served a beautiful plate of grilled shishito peppers, an appetizer served on the house. They were sprinkled with lemon, yuzu, salt, pepper, and a hint of cayenne that gave a kick to our first bites.

I ordered the Fried Eggs with Heirloom Tomatoes, which despite being a very simple dish, were very flavorful and salty, and the roasted potatoes were cooked to perfection.

Below is the BLT, which was packed full of flavor and grilled beautifully.

On the side (for a bit extra $) is the Smoked Trout which came with a creamy dressing, lettuce, tomatoes, and multiple different spices. This dish was simple as well, but was so delicious that I didn’t even notice I was having salad for breakfast.

While the prices are a bit too high to dine at PYT often, it’s definitely a great spot to have a quiet brunch date or impress a few classy visitors without ever having to worry about the wait.

400 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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The Butcher’s Daughter

The Butcher’s Daughter, located on ~uber~ hip Abbot Kinney, is one of the prettiest restaurants I’ve ever been to. With another location in NYC, this vegetarian based restaurant has beautiful decor, a relaxing atmosphere, and great healthy food options.

Once you step in, you’ll already want to throw up from how pretty/hipster/Instagrammable this place is. The interior is all wood, with a ton of natural lighting, gorgeous plants and greenery, and hip furniture.

Even my water was growing a plant.

There is bar seating in the center, tables all around, and even a private table outside in the back. It is spacious, bright, warm, with beautiful gold and marble tables.

I don’t typically go to places that are 100% vegetarian, but after sneaking a peek at the interior, I had to try it out. The menu ranges from breakfast items to sandwiches, salads, bowls, pizzas, and more. The items and ingredients are very healthy, with gluten free options as well.

We started with a pressed juice flight, which they squeeze in house with fresh ingredients like carrots, beets, greens, and ginger. My favorite was the pineapple-jicama-lemon juice. They also offer many smoothie variations, teas, and coffee.

Below is the Surfer’s Breakfast, a breakfast burrito with black bean mole and vegan sour cream (whatever that is).

I channeled my inner (or outer) basic-ness and ordered the Angeleno, which was an avocado toast with strawberry corn salsa, burrata, and chili oil. I’m not used to having a sweet element, like strawberries, on my avo-toast (I usually prefer a poached egg), but the spiciness from the chili oil and salsa, combined with the fresh and very large chunk of burrata, made for one of the best avo-toasts I’ve ever had. Add a little fresh lime, and I was done within minutes.

It’s a very popular spot, and will often have a wait, but GO. It is peak hipster-dome here, from the incredibly gorgeous decor to the delicious and fresh food.

1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

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Chubby Noodle

Chubby Noodle, with locations in the Marina and in North Beach, is a noodle restaurant with great flavors and a laid-back atmosphere. Their website reads:

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While not a place to take your family from out of town, and sometimes a bit rowdy for date night, it’s perfect to come with a group of friends before starting a night out.

Chubby Noodle offers a dinner menu, complete with sake cocktails, beer, and wine, but also has a $39 (almost) bottomless brunch – 90 mins for 13 menu items and 4 drinks, served dim sum style. While I didn’t have the chance to enjoy their brunch, I’ve dined at both Chubby Noodle locations multiple times for dinner and loved it every time.

Chubby Noodle is enjoyed best if you order a few plates and share amongst your group. While they have full sized dishes such as ramen, there are many items on the menu that are worth trying, but you wouldn’t be able to finish 4 items on your own. Unless you have a bottomless stomach like me.

Some of their popular smaller dishes include the Steamed Pork Buns (above) and the Korean Pork Tacos (below), which are one of my favorite dishes on the menu. They are very rich in flavor (slightly greasy) and have a chili yogurt on top, giving the dish a little heat.

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One of their most popular dishes is the Spicy Garlic Noodles, which aren’t THAT spicy (unless you’re very sensitive to spice) but are pretty heavy on the garlic. Nevertheless, they taste GREAT and should definitely be ordered.

Another great dish is the Curry Lemongrass Vermicelli, which is made with sweet potato noodles, chicken, coconut, red curry, mint, and basil. I loved this dish, as it was a sweet and flavorful curry without the heaviness that comes from eating it with rice. The sweet potato noodles were light and added another level of sweetness to the dish.

This last dish is the Duck Lettuce Wrap, which is only offered on weekends, but SO BOMB. It comes with a HEAPING plate of duck that is rich and juicy and tender and everything you could ask for in a duck, along with a bunch of different fixings for a healthier and lighter meal. The fixings include fresh lettuce and cucumber, which offset the greasiness of the duck, and a chili sauce that is too good to resist.

Other great dishes (not pictured) are the BBQ Pork Fried Rice, Tonkotsu Ramen, and Salt & Pepper Shrimp. Chubby Noodle is definitely a restaurant that serves their dishes on the spicier side, which I love, but may not be for everyone! There are plenty of items that are created without spice, however, so don’t let it deter you. 😋

1310 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

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Samovar Tea Lounge

Samovar Tea Lounge is a great place for brunch, lunch, or a long afternoon tea. Whether you are visiting the the SF MOMA and need to relax your legs, or you’re looking for a loungey place for a quiet afternoon, Samovar Tea Lounge has a large selection of delicious food and exquisite teas.

My favorite dish on the menu is the Salmon & Egg Bowl. It has two scoops of brown rice, cooked salmon, two poached eggs, and a lemon ponzu sauce. It’s simple, healthy, and filling, and reminds me of Japanese comfort food.

My favorite drink at Samovar is the Masala Chai, which has the deep spice taste of real chai (not the overly sweet nonsense from Starbucks).

One of the other dishes I enjoyed is the Duck Scallion Waffle, a savory waffle that made a great brunch meal.

Samovar Tea Lounge has a large selection of sandwiches, like the Tea Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwich, as well as salads and small plates. They also offer a full afternoon tea, complete with the multiple tiered plates, and although they are on the pricier side, include a pot of tea (most teas a la carte are $10+) and a selection of tasty sweets and savory items.

As far as a more classic brunch goes, they also offer toasts, with toppings such as chocolate and sea salt (basically Nutella), peanut butter and banana, avocado, salmon, etc.

While they are delicious, the portions are a bit small for the price. I love Samovar Tea Lounge for a relaxing Sunday afternoon treat, and appreciate their idea of elevated comfort food, a lot of which is based on Japanese home cooking. The great location (in the middle of Yerba Buena Gardens) and the view of the Financial District make this a great spot for a spot of tea. 😉

730 Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94103

 

 

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Flores

Flores is the classier Mexican brunch that San Francisco has been needing. While there are other contenders like Padrecito in Cole Valley, the Marina district is covered in classic American brunches and was in desperate need of a little spice.

Taking up a large, open air space on Union St., Flores offers fresh, homemade masa tortillas, fresh cocktails, and great dishes.

The front of the restaurant features their large bar, with cute palm frond shaped fans, a colorful tile floor, and lounge seats. Above the bar is a kitchen, a large community table, and an expansive area of tables fills the back.

One of the highlights of Flores is the decor, with intricate lighting fixtures and lamps, as well as the ornately designed walls, full of vibrant colors and patterns.

As we were there for brunch (they serve lunch and dinner as well), we ordered their specialty coffee drinks, which were a combination of horchata – mexican hot chocolate – iced coffee with cinnamon on top. It was DELICIOUS. It’s sweet, but also has the coffee kick required for mornings.

Below is the Mango appetizer, fresh mango and jicama sprinkled with habanero, chili, and lime. This is a twist on a classic Mexican snack, and it was a great appetizer for our brunch. I love spice, but it was the perfect balance of sweet and spicy (my friend hates spice and ate it just fine!).

One of the dishes we ordered was the Flores Ranchero, which has 2 baked eggs, tomato-bean stew, tortilla, cheese, pico de gallo, and avocado. The other dish is the Huarache, which was a spinach and cheese tortilla, carnitas, sunny eggs, lettuce, spicy onion,  and queso fresco. Both were hearty and delicious, with big portions and big flavors. All of their tortillas are made in house and are only corn (so gluten-free!) and are thick, warm, and soft.

For a city that has so much brunch competition, Flores did us right in its great menu options, drinks, and affordable prices. The space is also fairly large, so I would recommend it if you hate waiting in lines and paying $20 a dish!

2030 Union Street
San Francisco, CA 94123

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State Bird Provisions

State Bird Provisions is another San Francisco restaurant that is notorious for its insane wait times. Restaurant go-ers must make a reservation 3 months in advance, with every slot filling up as soon as its available online. The trick is to line up before 5pm and wait 30 mins until it opens to be the first seated.

State Bird has a Michelin Star, and is one of the most sought after restaurants in SF. The best way to describe their cuisine, which a hostess stated during my visit, is “Californian cuisine served dim sum style.”

While the space itself isn’t that large, the servers bring around dishes on trays and carts, allowing customers to grab the plates they desire rather than ordering everything off of a menu. While they still have certain items on the menu, such as larger entrees, the charm of State Bird is to be able to eat what you see. Each tray comes around with a price tag, but be careful – it can add up quick.

The majority of items being carried around on trays and on the carts were small bites and appetizers, like the Trout Dip with homemade potato chips above.

Another small bite was the soup dumpling, which albeit it’s large size, was a great texture but lacked strong flavor. Below are the Hog Island Oysters with Kohlrabi Kraut and sesame seeds. The oysters were great but the Kohlrabi Kraut was an interesting topping to a fresh oyster.

Below is the ‘Croque Madam,’ with duck ham and cheddar atop a whole grain pancake. While the duck was great, the portions were a bit small. This item was on the menu.

Some of the other small dishes we enjoyed were the Pork Belly and Sausage.

Below are the Pork Ribs with Black Bean Sauce and Black Garlic. These were very flavorful, and I wish there were more in one serving!

Below is the Duck Confit Fried Rice, also ordered from the menu, which might be the best dish we had. The dish was hearty, the duck was cooked well, and there were a multitude of different flavors and tastes, from the furikake to the fried onions and the tender mushrooms.

For dessert, we ordered the Cream Puff with blueberry compote and the Almond ‘Ice Cream’ Macaron Sandwich, with almond ice cream, nuts, and cherry. The ice cream sandwich, along with the Duck Confit Fried Rice, were the highlights of the meal.

The best part about State Bird Provisions is the fact that you can see the options first and grab whatever you want to eat, and the menu is always changing. The family style plates are great for sharing, and the surprise of what’s coming out of the kitchen next keeps the meal fun and interesting. While the dishes were all great, they didn’t seem to follow much of a theme, and there didn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason between the courses. I’m glad I came, but Liholiho still holds the #1 spot!

1529 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

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Liholiho Yacht Club

Liholiho Yacht Club may have been the peak of my food adventures. Yes, it was THAT good. Nothing can beat it. (Yet?)

Liholiho is another restaurant that is largely famous because of Instagram. However, unlike Media Noche, Liholiho not only serves food that is (almost) too attractive to eat, it tastes f****** BOMB.

The space is larger than I expected, with a completely open floor plan. The kitchen sits in the center, and underneath the restaurant is its sister bar (with food), Louie’s Gen-Gen Room. The restaurant has wait times up to 3 hours (even on a week night!) and reservations can only be made a month in advance and fill up right away, so I would recommend making a res for a random night and going for it! Otherwise, line-up at 5pm and you’ll most likely be seated in the first round.

Liholiho offers a multitude of Hawaiian/Chinese/Indian fusion dishes, from small appetizer size bites to larger entrees with meats and fish. I had done a bit of research before my first meal here, and ordered the Tuna Poke and Beef Tongue Bao to start, as well as a fruity, tropical cocktail.

The Tuna Poke, served on a nori cracker with sesame oil and radish, was phenomenal. It was a generous serving of fresh tuna, and was a light snack before we dove into heavier foods. Get it.

The Beef Tongue Bao, however, might’ve changed my life. I might have an unhealthy obsession with bao (Chairman!!!!), but this bao was unlike anything I’ve tasted. I love beef tongue, and this one was tender, juicy, and there was SO much. It was wrapped up in the soft, warm poppy-seed bao bun like a little cloud, and topped with kimchi and cucumber. It was sweet, it was sour, it was juicy, it was HEAVEN. Get it. Twice.

After the smaller plates, we ordered a couple of medium sized plates.

*Disclaimer: these photos are from two different times, I did not eat all of this in one sitting. Although I probably could have.

Below is the Tuna Belly Misoyaki, with apricot, raddichio, and radish. It was good, sweet, and cooked well, but it didn’t stand out. Especially not after that Beef Tongue Bao.

Next is the Fried Rice with Bay Shrimp, Spam, and Abalone mushrooms. Although I was looking for the Spam & Rice bowl that is one of the highest Instagrammed dishes in SF, I didn’t realize it was off-menu (hint hint) and ordered this thinking it was the same. The shrimp fried rice, however, was REALLY good. I would order this again, as it was topped plentiful with shrimp and had a *tiny* kick.

Here, I redeemed myself. Look at how beautiful this is. I’m drooling. I never would’ve ordered spam before (especially in a restaurant), and have only ever tried it once in my life. However, Liholiho makes their own spam, and the (I think) Sriracha-Mayo drizzle, the pickled cucumbers, and the shower of furikake made this dish incredibly delicious.

This is a MUST when going to Liholiho (’cause if you don’t Instagram it, did you even go?).

One of two entrees we tried (one different occasions!) features the Whole Maine Lobster with preserved black bean sauce. A bit messy, but it was juicy and great! However, we were between the lobster and the next dish…

… which is honestly one of the best things we’ve ever eaten. This is the Grilled Short Rib with mushrooms, served next to the Escargot- Bone Marrow- Twice Baked Potato. It sounds like a mouthful and a weird mish-mash of ingredients but holy s***. The bone marrow potato goodness had escargot under the layers of baked potato and cheese, which melted in your mouth. The grilled short rib, which was topped with chimichurri sauce, was cooked so perfectly, and was so MOIST (I said it!), flavorful, tender, and everything you could ever want from beef.

This next part is crucial.

This first dessert was a chocolate thing with some ice cream and caramel. It was good but not memorable (clearly). It’s also off the menu now so it doesn’t matter.

THIS:

The grand finale of Liholiho Yacht club: the Baked Hawaii. It’s a Hawaiian spinoff from the Baked Alaska, which is an ice cream cake topped with a meringue, and usually torched with some sort of alcohol drizzle. The Baked Hawaii is a caramelized pineapple ice cream surrounded by a hive of ‘vanilla chiffon,’ a.k.a. marshmallow fluff, on top of a shortbread-y type cookie/cake thing (I have no idea but it’s good) and little pineapple chunks. Best dessert I’ve ever had. I love pineapple, ice cream, caramel, and marshmallow. You really can’t go wrong here.

Although it’s difficult to make a commitment for dinner a month in advance, this one is WORTH IT. I’m even making it easy for you and telling you exactly what to order so there’s no excuse. AND giving you the reservation link.

871 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109