All posts tagged “san fran

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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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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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Aina

Aina took SF by storm at the beginning of the year as it seemingly appeared out of thin air. Located in the Dogpatch, Aina serves modern Hawaiian cuisine for brunch and dinner. Their brunch, which can be followed at @ainabrunch, is what put this small eatery on the SF food map.

The space is small, so be prepared to wait – I went on a Friday around 11AM and still waited over an hour. However, the restaurant is bright and hip, lined with wood and small plants, and the fun attire of the staff – Hawaiian shirts – adds to the tropical charm of Aina.

Their two most well known (aka most Instagrammed) dishes are the Malasadas, Portuguese doughnuts filled with guava custard, and the Kalbi Loco Moco, pictured below.

The food was incredibly flavorful and full of beautiful colors. The meat was tender and the eggs were cooked to perfection. I ordered the Kalua Pork Belly, which came with two poached eggs on rice and asparagus.

The highlight of our meal, since we picked a savory appetizer over the Malasadas, was the Breakfast Potatoes, which had aioli and furikake drizzled on them. The potatoes were perfect for breakfast and had a great mixture of sweet from the aioli with tang and spice from the furikake.

Aina was great, although it was a bit on the pricier side (for small portions) and the wait was longer than I had anticipated. I can’t imagine how long the wait would be on the weekends, but it’s definitely worth the visit if you are able to go early or have a lot of time to brunch!

900 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94107

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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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Media Noche

I know I’m a little late to the game but nevertheless, I finally made it to Media Noche in May. Media Noche is a Cuban fast-casual spot in the Mission, right by Boba Guys. The menu offers Cubanos, salads, and rice bowls, and the decorations are very cute and festive (and I hate to call it this, but very Instagrammable).

The decor is very colorful, with pastel hues of mint and light pink, and the space is bright and airy, with indoor and outdoor seating.

We ordered the El Cubano (roasted pork shoulder, smoked ham, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard), as well as the Lechón Asado (the roasted pork shoulder rice bowl).

The Cubano was flavorful, with the crispy, buttery bread and the sweet and savory flavors of the meats, pickles, and mustard. However, for the price ($12.50), it was a small sandwich, and could’ve used a side dish or salad of some sort. Or just bigger portions.

The Lechón Asado, which came with black beans, rice, and coconut slaw, was a decent portion and tasted good, however for a whopping $16.50, the meat was fairly dry, and there was nothing spectacular about the dish.

I was disappointed that they had run out of the Café con Leche Moon Bar (coffee ice cream dipped in dark chocolate), because the Mi Abuela Favorita, which was guava cheesecake ice cream dipped in dark chocolate, was OK (and I love guava!), but I think the coffee flavor would’ve gone better with the dark chocolate.

Media Noche was a bit of a disappointment. It was incredibly hyped up, and while the spot is incredibly cute and the food is decent (don’t forget to check out the bathroom, with the banana wallpaper!), I would recommend going for a happy hour glass of wine and a Moon Bar (preferably the coffee one). Maybe it’s just me and maybe I don’t appreciate Cuban cuisine as much as I should, but for the $$$, I would skip this one.

These walls are insufferably cute though, so I’m still a happy camper 🙃.

3465 19th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

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Cassava

Cassava is truly a gem tucked into the corner of Balboa and 36th in the Outer Richmond. The amazing duo Chef Kris Toliao and Yuka Ioroi created Cassava as a unique space that serves California cuisine with a Japanese twist, focusing on a variety of different grains and spices. They have an amazing dinner menu, with dishes like Duck Confit with Heirloom Polenta, Oven Roasted Mary’s Chicken, and my favorite Seared Chinook Salmon. While dishes can be ordered by the item, Cassava also offers a prix fixe dinner menu at $42 per guest, which currently comes with these delectable courses:

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I had the incredible pleasure of being invited for dinner and every single dish was amazing! The items change seasonally, but I still remember the pumpkin panna cotta I had during the fall of last year. I recently went back to Cassava for brunch, and had just as amazing of an experience that I had for dinner.

For an appetizer, we ordered the baked burrata and poached egg, with celery root puree, sautéed swiss chard, and brussels sprouts that is spread onto a crisp toast. The dish is full of garlicky goodness and warm cheese that literally melts in your mouth.

Above is the Barbecue Pork Ribs “Hash,” with potatoes, quinoa, and a poached egg. The dish is well balanced with greens and tomatoes, and the spice mixture reminds me of the tastes of curry flavor and za’tar.

The Pork Shoulder and Fried Egg Open Sandwich is one of Cassava’s greatest creations, with a juicy 12 hour braised pork shoulder, arugula, olive tapenade, and a fried egg served on top of a large hunk of bread. The portions are generous, and the rich pork flavors make me want to eat this for every meal!

Along with the American and Californian dishes, Cassava also pays homage to classic Japanese dishes, such as the traditional Japanese breakfast. It comes with rice, pickled vegetables, salmon, miso soup, and a poached egg in dashi. I don’t eat rice often for breakfast, but this healthy and well balanced meal is a standard breakfast in Japan. I loved every bit of it, and could not get enough of the salmon! Mixing and matching each component of the meal gives you the ability to enjoy each item in multiple different ways.

Cassava is full of amazing flavors and dishes, always using the best ingredients for a fresh and healthy meal. I would go here for any meal, and definitely recommend it for your next brunch or dinner date!

Big thanks to Yuka and the Cassava staff for always being so friendly and hospitable 🙂

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3519 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121

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Friends with Benedicts

Friends with Benedicts is a brunch pop-up, currently operating out of Mykonos Greek Cuisine on Polk St. Not only is their name incredibly catchy, but they create a special weekly menu with a specific theme with decadent items and hilarious pun filled titles.

The pop-up, which only operates on weekends, has a steady menu along with the themed menu, which features classics like eggs benedicts (obviously), french toast, scrambles, omelettes, pancakes, and of course mimosas and other cocktails. When I visited two weeks ago, the special menu was “Conspiracy Theories.” Here are some of the menu items:

“Moonlanding:” Chocolate Moon Pies Pancakes stuffed with chocolate mousse and marshmallow

I ordered the “Long Live the King,” an Elvis reference, which was a pork belly eggs benedict with spinach, topped with a red curry hollandaise. I felt I had to get a benedict – and I’m glad I did! The eggs were perfectly poached, and the red curry hollandaise was a welcome twist from the classic hollandaise on the rich flavor of the pork belly.

Every weekend is a new special menu, ranging from Star Wars themed to Social Media puns, Hayao Miyazaki movie titles to Superheroes. The themed menus are only available on the weekend, but the regular menu is served during the week. See the past themed menus here.

The french toast below, off the regular menu, is the Grand Marnier French Toast, made into a combo with eggs and sausage. The regular menu still offers a wide selection of sweet and savory meals that would please any brunch go-er.

The food was great, and the concept of a pop-up as well as the witty weekend menus create a silly and fun atmosphere for a casual weekend brunch. Take a break from the San Francisco classics and try Friends with Benedicts pop-up – there’s always something new!

Stay tuned to this post for upcoming visits for more themed brunches!

1433 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109