San Francisco Super Weekend Eating Guide. Bar Crudo, NOPA, Hog Island Oyster Company, Bar Agricole, Commonwealth and Una Pizza Napoletana.Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
One of my best experiences working in advertising happened a few years ago when I was sent off to San Francisco to work as an art director on a project for nearly three months. Our sister office needed some help and by chance I was available to offer some help. Jeni would drop me off at the airport on Sunday evening and pick me up later in the week on Friday. It was awesome to be put up at a nice hotel for nearly a week. And the best part of all was a $100-a-day stipend for meals which for me was a break from my usual poor-man meals. I would eat a real simple lunch or even use my own money to pay for it, but each night after work, I literally went on a night on the town. After the project ended, I had fallen in love with San Francisco and it was very difficult to part from the city life and great restaurant scene. It’s been over 3 years since I was last in San Francisco and Jeni and I were long overdue on a return trip. For those living in Southern California, a weekend trip to San Francisco is very common since it’s only an hour flight. On a Friday night, we hopped on the plane to San Francisco and prepared ourselves for a night on the town. So here’s a quick weekend guide to some of our favorite San Francisco eats.
Friday, 8:36 pm. Bar Crudo.
When I was here in 2008, Bar Crudo was one of the most happening places in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco as I ate here nearly 8 times. The first time I ate here, I was completely blown away by the concept of a raw bar. Shellfish, sashimi and wine – all things I enjoy. The menu offered creative renditions of sashimi with an American/Italian touch (like Anchovies & Olives in Seattle). For those familiar with Mission Chinese Food, Chef Danny Bowien used to work here and was also responsible for creating some of Bar Crudo’s tastiest dishes. I then heard that due to their popularity, they opened up a larger location in the NOPA area (North of Panhandle). It was only obvious that we would have to come back.
Seafood Chowder. Made with fish, mussels, shrimp, squid, potatoes and Applewood smoked bacon – this is a must and still as good as I had remembered. Definitely rich so I would recommend sharing it with heavy-cream enthusiast friend.
Day Boat Scallops with Corn Puree, Lobster Mushroom and Terragon oil & Ono with Avocado, Rhubarb, Jalapeno Relish and Black lava salt. These are just two of the five different crudo dishes you can try. They offer samplers and individual platters. I have to say though that this time around, either my tastes have changed in the last three years, the cooks were having an off day or the absence of the Chef this night, really changed the kitchen dynamics. Fish was good but not as fresh as it could have been.
Friday, 10:08 pm. NOPA.
If you ask people in San Francisco what their favorite restaurants are, you’re likely to hear about Zuni Cafe and NOPA. Walking into NOPA, you can’t help but get excited as this restaurant is packed nearly everyday up until closing time at 1 am. The food here is considered urban rustic but I also get a sense of Mediterranean influence. The wood-fired oven may have been installed in the kitchen to cook one dish solely: the delicious, juicy NOPA pork chop.
NOPA’s Pork Chop. I couldn’t choose over the pork chop at Zuni Cafe or NOPA – both are delicious in their own ways. At $22, you get a pretty nice pork chop served with a grilled apple and arugula. Don’t you let that bone go to waste, it’s the best part. The tuna on the left was OK.