In case you missed it, here is my roundup of my new favorite spots to eat in San Francisco that appeared in Go! section of the Monterey Herald. I’ll be reposting my reviews and stories from my weekly column for the Herald here on my blog along with extra photos that didn’t appear in print.
Anytime one of my friends is heading up to San Francisco, I inevitably get a text message asking me where to eat — where they can find great food, but at prices that won’t drain the bank account.
When I visited San Francisco last week, I found two spots that perfectly fit the bill.
Downtown, I visited Sweet Woodruff, the new casual lunch/dinner spot from Matt McNamara and Teague Moriarty — the duo behind San Francisco’s Michelin-starred Sons and Daughters restaurant.
Don’t let the atmosphere fool you: Sweet Woodruff serves up casual fare — like sandwiches, salads and a dinner special — but with sophisticated flavors and ingredients.
I liked the clever twist of mint, cilantro and peanuts in the Brie and apple sandwich ($9.50). I’d never expect to see these flavors together, but they came together in perfect harmony.
But my favorite was the suckling pig sandwich, with ghost pepper aioli, salsa verde and pickles ($11.50).
Ghost pepper has quite the reputation, taking the crown of the world’s hottest chile pepper. In expert hands, it was tamed, making for a flavorful aioli spread with the tender pork.
Together with the light crunch of the pickles, this sandwich reminded me of the classic pressed Cuban sandwich, elevated to a gourmet level.
The next day, I dropped by Umami Burger for a late lunch before heading home.
This gourmet burger concept from Los Angeles chef/restaurateur Adam Fleischman highlights umami — the fifth sense.
I’d eaten here late last year, when I wasn’t eating beef yet. At the time, my turkey burger was good, but I suspected the real deal — a beef burger — was much better.
This time, I ordered the original umami burger, with shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, Parmesan crisp and the signature umami ketchup ($11).
Sure enough, this burger was amazing! The toppings were so flavorful — tender tomato, earthy mushrooms, sweet caramelized onions and the crunch of baked Parmesan.
I’d happily return to sample more delicious burgers, like the truffle burger ($12) with housemade truffle cheese.