30 Oct

Gail and our pizza

My dear friend Gail was visiting SF last weekend and we spent most of the weekend eating and drinking through the city. On Saturday night we didn’t have reservations anywhere and decided that getting on the list at Delarosa, would do the trick.

We started out with the crispy tagliolini dumplings, mozzarella, prosciutto and green pea which was basically a delicious fried ball of amazingess. I have been to this restaurant a number of times, and this is my first time trying this dish and from now on, I’m going to order it every single time. We next moved on to the skewer of sea scallops and citrus which is served with leeks and potatoes in a light sauce. I love sea scallops and this is a nice fresh dish that’s not too heavy to accompany whatever you pick off their menu. Our third shared plate was the meatball in a spicy marinara sauce.

Fritti - Crispy tagliolini dumplings

We also decided to order the heirloom tomato, ricotta salata and basil pizza. I’ve tried a few of their different pizzas, and for some reason wasn’t a huge fan of this one. I felt that it lacked some flavor, which I thought would be the opposite given the tastiness of heirloom tomatoes and the refreshing flavor of basil. The margherita pizza I’ve had before is much better and flavorful. We were also so full at this point we could hardly eat anymore we probably would’ve been better off only getting two shared plates and a pizza instead of three!

Sea scallop skewers and meatballs

Also, I think their wine list is a little short so we opted to pay the $15 corkage fee to bring in a bottle of Zinfandel from Quivira, which I would highly recommend.

Overall, Delarosa is a solid spot in the Marina to grab dinner, especially if you aren’t able to get reservations at some of the other places in the neighborhood. They allow you to call your party in up to 45 minutes before you arrive to get on their waiting list. By time you get there, the wait is usually only 20 or so minutes and they are really good at calling you if you head to one of the nearby bars for a drink. I definitely give them props on convenience in that department and the food is solid. – 415.673.7100 – 2175 Chestnut Street


Monk’s Kettle

22 Sep

Pickle Jar

My dear friend and past roommate, Beth was in town visiting last month and we made it to a number of interesting spots during her stay. The first one we checked out was Monk’s Kettle in the Mission. A few different people told me that this was definitely a spot to check out, and we’re glad we stopped in for a late lunch before hanging out in Delores Park for the rest of the day.

First on our radar was beer. We’re both Wisconsin girls, so beer is near and dear to us, not to mention that Monk’s Kettle has a serious beer list. I opted for the London Pride, a delightful pale ale. Next, we moved on to the actual food

Seared Scallops

menu. The first item I noticed was the daily pickle jar, I was intrigued and had to check it out. This little jar, pictured here, had pickles, as you would expect, but also pickled carrot, green beans and cauliflower. It was quite good, but you have to be a fan of pickled things to really enjoy it.
We decided to share small plates, and my favorite was the seared diver scallop, which was wrapped in apple bacon. It was absolutely to die for. First, I love scallops, but you wrap a plump scallop in bacon and you’ve got perfection. The other dish we got was the flatbread with heirloom tomatoes, ricotta and basil. The flatbread hit the spot, but I still can’t stop thinking about those scallops… – 3141 16th Street (between Gurrero & Valencia)


Kung Fu Tacos

21 Sep

Summer has finally arrived in San Francisco! 80 degrees and sunny means a trip out of the office to hit up a food truck is necessary, especially when my favorite food truck companion happens to be in the city for lunch!

Kung Fu tacos has been on the food truck “hit list” for a couple of months but for some reason our lunch schedules would never match up to times when they were in the FiDi. Fortunately, on Tuesday they happened to be at Truck Stop, an alley at 1st and Mission, which was an enjoyable walk in the warm weather. Truck Stop is a similar concept to Off the Grid; their website outlines the truck offerings, which change daily.

Kung Fu Tacos serves up Chinese inspired street tacos, which have always sounded quite interesting, especially their signature roast duck taco. Their taco offerings consisted of: Asian Asada Steak, Nun Chuk Chicken, Pork and Roast Duck. I opted for the chicken and duck tacos. The chicken was topped with a garlic ginger sauce, cilantro, and carrot puree. I would give the chicken mediocre scores. It didn’t overly wow me, but wasn’t unpleasant by any means. The duck taco on the other hand was awesome. The roast duck was super tender and topped with mango salsa and green onions. It was really delicious. We all gave Kung Fu Tacos among the highest scores of all our food truck experiences, and we’ve had quite a few. We will definitely be back for more of these tacos when they’re in the neighborhood.



8 Aug

The food truck craze is thriving in San Francisco and is personified by Off the Grid, which are these organized food truck parties all around the city. They’re even expanding outside SF to San Mateo and Berkeley. A couple weeks ago, Off the Grid hit the Financial District for lunch at St. Mary’s square. One of my coworkers had not yet heard of Off the Grid and was amped to check it out. We left the office early (11:30) to march up the hill and try to beat some of the lines. There are four trucks that come for lunch every Monday now at St. Mary’s park. Of the options available, we quickly decided that we needed to try Brass*Knuckle. I’ve seen this food truck at the Fort Mason Off the Grid events, but never tried it.

We all decided to get the same thing, although in hindsight, we probably should’ve diversified our choices so we could try more of the menu. We all ordered the Notorious P.I. G. This is one awesome sandwich. It’s a Cuban sandwich – roasted pork with a parsley herb spread, ham, swiss cheese all served on a rosemary waffle. Yes, a waffle sandwich. It’s absolutely delicious. We also indulged in the crack bar, which we split three-ways (thank God). This is one good dessert; A cocoa dusted peanut butter and salted caramel bar. Yes, it is like crack. This was quite a hefty lunch, afterwards we were all suffering from slight food comas and had to check in on each other to make sure we were all still awake at 2PM.

Brass Knuckle has music themed names for their dishes like Fryin Maiden (fried chicken), MC Hammer (pork sandwich with mac & cheese) and Prawns & Roses (prawn taco). They tend to be at Off the Grid – Fort Mason on Friday nights, and you can find out their schedule through their website or follow them on twitter @brassknucklesf. Given that my coworker is now into Off the Grid, I’m sure there will be many more food truck inspired posts to come from our Monday excursions.



Mission Cheese

5 Aug

I know the title of this blog is Beyond Cheese, but for one post, I’m sticking to cheese. Mission Cheese recently opened on Valencia Street in the Mission and being the cheese obsessed Wisconsonite that I am, I had to check it out while I was in the neighborhood. I was ironically with my other born-and-bred-Wisconsin friend, Leah, and we decided that the Midwest cheese plate, was necessary. I mean, in my mind, anything that comes from Wisconsin (or Midwest for that matter), has to be good, right?

The cheese was downright good. We could taste that this was some good cheese and even better was that their cheese monger walked us through each of the cheeses, which made our experience even more enjoyable. There’s very few cheeses I come across I don’t like, but I’d give the selection high marks. All the cheese served at Mission Cheese is from the US, so you’re not going to find any French or Spanish cheeses on this menu, which is okay. Buy American. Along with your plate comes a hefty serving of bread and a nice little cup of pickles.We also decided to order the mac and cheese, which was good, but maybe put us into cheese overload. I also think that adding something to the mac and cheese or having add-in options would’ve made it even better.

For me, this is the kind of place you stop in for a snack and drink, not a dinner spot. It’s more a place for bites to be shared with friends than to indulge in a full meal.  Mission Cheese is a really tiny spot; so if you’re headed there during primetime, expect a wait. We snuck in early on a Saturday for a late afternoon snackafter spending the day in Delores Park, and the cheesy goodness hit the spot. Mission Cheese has a handful of beers on tap and wine, although I have to be honest and say I didn’t even look at the wine menu. I opted for the Drake Amber, which was really tasty and as an added bonus is served in a mason jar.

736 Valencia St. (between 18th and 19th) –


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Tartine Bakery

2 Aug

I FINALLY made it over to Tartine. This has literally been on my “to-dine” list since I moved to San Francisco, so it’s about time I made it to the Mission to scratch this off my list. This place is popular and as with all good places, there’s a line outside the door and about 20 people deep. While waiting in line you can smell the fresh baked goodness and its enticing as hell. I mean I’m starving and these smells are making me dizzy with excitement. Tartine means buttered bread in French, but they definitely offer a whole lot more than bread and delicate pastries.

We’re getting close to the counter which I wish I could stand in front of for a good 15 minutes and just look, but the line must move, so I need to make a decision. Everything on the menu looks good but I eventually choose a slice of the vegetable quiche and a double pain au chocolate as a treat for later. With little effort, (thankfully) we found two seats at a communal table and anxiously waited for our food to arrive.

The vegetable quiche was quite good, loaded with squash and corn. I’m told the eggs are local, they have a nice light fluffiness. The crust is the most important part of a good quiche, and this is crust done well; but I would expect nothing less from an establishment with a reputation like Tartine’s. My friend ordered the Croque monsieur, which was fabulous. Secretly, I think her choice was better than mine! This open faced sandwich was layered with béchamel, gruyere, thyme, spicy turkey and tomato. Truly delicious. Looking around at others food picks at our table, everything looked good, but the next time I am definitely going to opt for the brioche bread pudding. It looked phenomenal.

We enjoyed some good conversation, sipped on a latte and prepared for a full day of eating, drinking and shopping in the neighborhood. The perfect Saturday in my mind, and Tartine got it started right for us. – 600 Guerrero St. San Francisco




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Sobelman’s Bar & Grill – Milwaukee

26 Jul

I know that on that Food Wars TV show, AJ Bombers beat out Sobelman’s for the best burger in Milwaukee. I find this ridiculously hard to believe. While I have not yet had the opportunity to head to AJ’s to try out their burger; in my mind there is nothing better than the Sobelman burger. Maybe some of the nostalgia I hold for Sobelman’s is wrapped around the numerous college memories this place houses. It is by all means, a Marquette establishment, which makes perfect sense as to why they would want to put a new location right on campus in the old Angelo’s location on the corner of 16th and Wells.

While their burgers are pretty damn good, they make an amazing bloody mary. I mean look at this picture, that is some serious garnishment to go along with the spicy liquid goodness that follows. Most times that there are numerous garnishments it’s because they’re trying to over compensate for the lackluster beverage. In the case of this bloody mary, that is not the case, thankfully. I like to think of it as a tasty appetizer to the enormous piece of beef I’m about to consume.

All that aside, I’m not writing this post to debate which burger is better, I’m here to inform the public that IF you ever find yourself in Milwaukee, Sobelman’s Bar & Grill is a necessary stop. The place is always packed. At lunch time you see the whole gamut of individuals here ranging from blue collar construction and factory workers to business suit executives. This really is the kind of place that reminds me of home; good honest food coupled with good people of all walks of life.– 1900 W. Saint Paul Ave. Milwaukee, WI


Balzac Wine Bar – Milwaukee

24 Jul

I got the opportunity to travel back to Wisconsin for the wedding of one of my closest friends. While I was there I needed to indulge on some of the fine fare that can be found in Milwaukee. One of my (and the bride-to-be’s) favorite spots in town is Balzac. This spot was heavy in my rotation when I lived in Milwaukee but they have spruced up their menu quite a bit from what I remember.

While I waited for my cousin Shawn to arrive , I decide to hit up the happy hour specials which was (ring the alarm): half of everything from the bar, including wine flights until 6PM. I opted for a flight of red wines which included the following wines.

  • Kukkula “lothario” red blend – Paso Robles, CA
  • X Winery Nova vineyard Zinfandel – Lake Country, CA
  • Five H Heritage red blend – Columbia Valley, WA

Balzac offers a fairly extensive wine list (for Milwaukee standards), with numerous wine flights and bottle choices. On Wednesday’s, they offer ½ off bottles, which is an amazing deal.

What I love so much about this spot is that they always have the most friendly staff. They’re always willing to offer suggestions, joke with you and even give you a complimentary pour or two.

The menu has evolved a bit in the two years since I’ve lived in the city. With that said, while I did live their I probably didn’t even know what kimchi was, or know that it would make great quesadillas! We opted to share the Manchego Bruelee, which is a dip of baked Spanish Manchego cheese custard, topped with caramelized Serrano ham and garlic crostini. This was incredibly rich and delicious and went well with the wine and the crunchy crostini. For my main dish I went for, you guessed it, the Kimchi Quesadillas.

These quesadillas were packed with house made kimchi with manchego and pepperjack cheese and served with a chili sesame sour cream. There is nothing that I love more than a little Korean-Mexican fusion (see my John’s Snack & Deli post).

On my next trips back I am looking forward to trying the Roasted Duck Nachos (chips topped with shredded duck, bacon, three cheese blend, scallion crème fraiche and pico de gallo) and Sea Scallops (seared and served with citrus mashed sweet potatoes, garlic spinach and Dr. Pepper Molasses). – 1716 N. Arlington Street (@Brady St.)


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Cafe Pasqual’s – Santa Fe, NM

16 Jun

After celebrating the nuptials of the new Mr. and Mrs. Dan Brauer early into Sunday morning, the only logical cure for the mix of mojitos, wine, champagne, and tequila was of course, a breakfast burrito. I have to say, breakfast burritos are one of my favorite dishes. I mean combine breakfast (awesome) with burritos (even more awesome). It’s truly a winning combination in my book.

Cafe Pasqual’s also came very highly recommended and this time, I was not disappointed. I ordered the Chorizo Burrito which is a whole wheat tortilla with scrambled eggs, home fries, and sauteed chorizo covered in green chile and jack cheese. I know a good breakfast burrito, and I’ve tried a number of them (everything from Nick’s Crispy Tacos, Cafe Venue, Rex Cafe, to my office cafeteria). I’m going to go on the record and say this was the best one I’ve had to date. I would gladly accept a challenge from someone who can tell me the best breakfast burrito. If you’re going to be in Santa Fe, Cafe Pasqual’s is a must for breakfast.

They even give their recipe for the Chorizo Burrito. – (505) 983-9340


The Shed – Santa Fe, NM

15 Jun

Over the weekend I had the pleasure to travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the wedding of two of my dear friends, Liz and Dan. It was my first trip to Santa Fe, but I had heard great things about this city from my friends and family.  Our schedule was pretty packed for the weekend but my friend Haylee, her boyfriend Adam, and I decided to check out the Georgia O’Keefe Museum Saturday morning before all the festivities Saturday afternoon. All our walking around left us hungry and in need of a nice lunch. The Shed came highly recommended by a coworker of mine that is from New Mexico and has gotten rave reviews. It won a James Beard Foundation Award in 2003 and “Best of Santa Fe” numerous times over the last decade for their red chile and enchiladas. With all of this hype, maybe my expectations were too high? I somehow left The Shed desiring much more from my meal…

First of all, this place is packed. Apparently everyone and there mother wants to dine here and is willing to wait to do so. We waited about 35 minutes for a table, but in the meantime snagged a spot at the bar and enjoyed a nice margarita.  I’ll give their marg’s good marks as they were nice and fresh and somehow I’m starting to like tequila, after hating it for so many years.

We finally get seated and decide that chips and guacamole is necessary to start off this luncheon. The guacamole is probably going to get the highest marks from all of us at the table. A little bit spicy, but just the right amount. I was originally going to order the Shed Burger, but after talking to our waiter, he talked me into getting the enchiladas, since it’s what they’re known for. Given that this is one of their ‘signature’ dishes, it should’ve knocked my socks off, right? The dish left much to be desired. I thought overall they were pretty bland. The red chile sauce lacked flavor and I’ve had better enchiladas at ChiChis before (does that place even exist anymore?)! I have to imagine there are better spots in Santa Fe to get enchiladas! Overall, all of us felt like the food could have been much more flavorful. When in Santa Fe, I’d suggest checking out a different lunch spot instead of The Shed (or just come for drinks). – (505) 982-9030