I'd never thought to go to Tartinery in Nolita before, but I'll be damned if that place wasn't an absolutely perfect spot for an impressive first date. You wouldn't know it from the street, but inside the understated exterior of this restaurant there's an incredibly sexy, well-thought-out, subterranean dining room with large vaulted ceilings with exposed brick walls accented by lots of black iron and flickering candle lights. It's a really incredible space and if you're looking to put the vibe in the air, this place is perfect for that. The menu is also great for two people getting to know each other. It features a vast array of French-inspired open-faced sandwiches known as tartines. And there's a wide selection of very accessible toppings offered – so you know that picky eater Tinder first date is going to be able to find something they can eat – yes, even vegetarians.
I can't remember the last time I knowingly dined at a restaurant with such a low Foursquare rating. At the time when I sat down at Bon Vivant in Palo Alto, they scored a measly 5.3 illustrated with a bold red background. I didn't let that deter me. I was looking for a relaxing solo diner at an outdoor table and that's exactly what I found at this restaurant.
I get strange cravings sometimes. Escargot and Beef Tartare probably are not the first things you'd think of having on a hungover Saturday solo lunch, but I guess I'm a little different than most people. I knew what I wanted and I knew where to go to get it, so I took a fifteen minute walk from my Union Square hotel on a very grey, rainy San Francisco day to quench my thirst for fine French cuisine. Café Claude, whisk me away to Paris!
For over three years I have been lucky enough to work within walking distance of Chinatown. I've done my fair share of exploration and feel like I have a handle on most of the options. Every now and then I find something really unexpected. On this occasion, I was wandering around the streets of Chinatown deciding what I should have for lunch and when I decided to try something new on a hunch. Inside of an unassuming bubble tea shop on Bayard Street there are signs advertising some non-bubble tea offerings. Who would dare eat lunch at a bubble tea shop? This guy.