Yes, I know this year-end list is beyond belated. Actually, I'm probably over a month late. Normally, I'm not one to make these kinds of excuses, but my life has been pretty hectic lately.
As you may or may not know, I'm getting married in a couple of months, so my time has recently come at an extreme premium and I haven't been able to commit as much attention as I'd like to this little
publication obsession. With that being said, over the next couple of months, I'll be playing around with post style and formatting a bit in an attempt to find new ways to rapidly pump out awesome food articles with fewer publishing limitations on my end. Please feel free to give me feedback on the new content — I'm planning to review this little experiment in a few months and we can take it from there.
I love that we live in a time where the modest and familiar burger is treated with the same skill and care as a seared duck breast or other fancy-sounding entrée. These impressive creations are no longer haphazardly assembled by slapping together unwanted scraps and trimmings and are no longer regarded just as greasy pub food. These burgers come a pedigree. Brilliant chefs now utilize custom butcher blends of meat and have truly mastered the art of balancing and enhancing those bold, rich, cheesy flavors while still retaining the burger's undeniably attractive gutbomb essence. These cherished burgers have now become a highlighted menu staple at most high-end restaurants and while many claim to serve the best in San Francisco, I think the title belongs safely to the one I've had at Stones Throw.
There I was, seated inside of a gold-painted shipping container, face-to-face with a live-streaming 23-year-old girl in Havana. What in the world should we talk about? First, names. Then I…
I'd argue that beer is almost always better when consumed along with food. It just pairs so well with anything and everything... but especially toasty, crispy things. One late evening while I was drinking with a few friends on Polk Street, we stopped in to a nearly unmarked bar called Woods Polk Station that I had heard good things about so that we could fill our bellies full of bubbly beer goodness and some tasty late-night munchies. The place was quite small and had a ski resort mountain lodge vibe with its fake flickering fireplace displayed on the TV overhead, quiet, laid-back vibe, and simple wooden bar slanging gorgeous goblets of craft draft beer. It's cozy and quiet and I think it's quite a nice option when you're looking to escape the general craziness of Polk Street with a few glasses of beer.
What a year!! I did something like this last year too, but oh boy was 2014 a doozy. I started off living in NYC, then a started a new job that whisked me off the San Francisco and Silicon Valley for a few months before ultimately relocating to San Francisco permanently. And along the way, I squeezed in a couple of vacations too. Sooooo, I did a LOT of epic eating this year. And truth be told, I found it particularly difficult to narrow down my list as concisely as last year's, but I somehow managed. So, without further ado, I present the winners (and runner-ups) broken down by category. I tried to cluster similar dish types together, but really they are in no particular order. Let's begin! And if you wanna hear about the 2014's Best Cocktails, read more here.
Who would be surprised to hear that this New York Jew loves bagels and lox? No one? OK. There are plenty of foods that I can now have in San Francisco that I could never get my hands on before in NY. And in fact there are many food that I could get in NY that are done so much better in SF. But, there are still a few dishes that I find myself truly homesick for that I can't seem to replace. Topping that list – a quality bagel with cream cheese and lox. By reputation, I didn't expect much from San Francisco bagel shops. In fact, I figured they'd be pretty abysmal based on the things I had read online. But, one day I woke up particularly hungover with an uncontrollable urge to crush a bagel with lox. On this day, nothing was going to stop me from embarking on this quest despite the fact that I knew it would likely disappoint me. So I headed six blocks north on Polk St. to my best nearby bet – a place called The Bagelry.
As a recently departed New York Jew on his way to San Francisco, one of my biggest concerns about the relocation was the ease of access to quality Jewish deli meat. I kid you not, I was really worried. I'm happy to report that this is no longer a concern for me as I've found Miller's East Coast only a few blocks from my new San Francisco apartment and it is able to completely fill that gaping void in my life.
Have you ever had the desire to eat tacos in a strip club? Nah me either, but at Nick's Crispy Tacos in Russian Hill you can do just that without all the... you know... herpes. And you're going to want to do it too because these are some seriously awesome tacos. You know what kind of place this is? It's the kind of place where a waitress could be mistaken for a hooker. It's the kind of place where DJs spin deafening EDM mixes so loud that conversation is practically impossible and dancing is unavoidable. It's the kind of place where the sun isn't even close to setting but someone's already puked in the urinal.