I was completely certain I was gonna love everything about Wing Wings. I absolutely love crushing buckets of chicken wings and I had heard such great things about the many unique varieties at this Lower Haight hole-in-the-wall and hot spot. They've been featured in 7x7 Magazine's The Big Eat 2013, on Grub Street's Best Places for Wings in SF, on Epicurious' America's Best Chicken Wings List, and in plenty of other high profile publications. To put it simply, their reputation precedes them. Beyond what I had read about online, I'd had already had the chance to experience their impressive chicken-preparation skill via the transcendent Fried Chicken served at their Off The Grid Picnic at the Presidio pop-up stall. I knew this was gonna be good.
I think it's about time I gave Aliment its much deserved due. Since that very first weekend away from New York in San Francisco over six months ago, Aliment has proven to be a reliable go-to restaurant when I'm in need of an excellent meal in the Union Square/Nob Hill area. Before this visit, I had only been to Aliment for brunch, but I was so impressed by every single dish I ate on every single visit that when I was in need of a last minute Saturday night table for four in the 'hood, I was confident that Aliment would be able to deliver. Somehow, despite how great this place has consistently proven itself to be, it continues to remain off the radar for most San Franciscans.
Who doesn't love Mac & Cheese? Just about every American has a sort of nostalgia towards it. I think there's just something about that dense, cheesy mess of noodles takes us right back to grade school and having Mom whip together a quick after-school snack. But now as an adult living in the Bay Area, I've figured out where everyone goes to relive those childhood memories in the form of boozy brunch. In the mostly residential Oakland neighborhood of Temescal, there's Homeroom – a super-casual schoolhouse themed spot whose name and decor only serve to further the emotional connection between the food and being a little kid.
Starbelly is generally regarded as the best restaurant in The Castro so I definitely went into this meal with high expectations. People rave about this place and their renditions of Californian farm-to-table local organic comfort food. I certainly haven't dined in the Castro enough to be able to confirm or deny if it really is the best restaurant in the neighborhood, but I knew I definitely had to check it out for myself.
*Editor's Note 1/2/17: I'm sad to report that this eatery is no longer open. If the divey dinner aesthetic of Han's represents the "Tenderloin" part of the Tendernob neighborhood, then Sweet Woodruff would represent the "Nob Hill" portion. Only one block away from Han's but a world of difference away in vibe you'll find a completely opposite brunching experience with a much more trendy and modern take on the meal.
Locals always have the best food tips. One drunken night out the town in San Francisco, I ended up chatting with a 10-year SF resident at a bar and it became abundantly clear that I was gonna be pretty hungover the next morning. After informing her that I was staying in the Union Square area, she told me that I absolutely must go to Han's in the morning to cure my hangover.
It's not always easy to find quality restaurants in Silicon Valley, but Mountain View has proven time and time and time again that there's some really excellent places to eat and drink on their main downtown drag. There are not many restaurants that I have loved enough to eat at multiple times out here, but Scratch has sort of become my go-to, not-sure-what-I'm-in-the-mood-for dinner and drinks spot.
I love new restaurant openings. There's always this energy in the air, an excitement, the mystery of what the gut gamble might uncover. That's why I was so excited to be invited to the soft launch of Union Bar & Kitchen in West SoHo.
As a native New Jerseyan and current New Yorker, I feel like I've earned the right to hold pizza in other places to high standards. Usually I scoff at the idea of anywhere else in the US producing any such worthy slices of my patronage, but I'll damned if I didn't stumble across some truly excellent pizza in San Francisco at Golden Boy Pizza.
It's not always so easy finding a good date night spot in NYC. Often times at the popular places it's tough to get a table without a long wait, or the menu is super-pricey, or the restaurant focuses more on ambiance than the food itself. I've certainly found some great (and unusual) places along the way, but sometimes you want a place that has the ambiance, good drinks, and upscale but accessibly comfortable food. That where's the newly opened Bleecker Kitchen & Co. comes in. In my opinion, it is a great addition to the NoHo dining landscape which could always use a reasonably priced, quality date night spot.