The food scene in SF is paramount. Restaurants and chefs with a global footprint are constantly attracted to the City to turn a new leaf or try out some new recipes in our 7×7 grid of a community. From famous NY food carts to world-acclaimed chefs, the San Francisco food scene caters to everyone — chef or eater. I was so lucky to be invited to a special, media-only dinner hosted by VisitDenmark and Scandinavian Airlines who put organic restaurant, Stedsans on our radar.
Stedsans is a beautiful restaurant set within the greenhouse of Scandinavia’s first rooftop farm, OsterGRO, in Copenhagen. If you’re a guest at their restaurant, which is booked several months in advance, you’ll sit at one long table and share five to six courses with everyone around you.
In keeping with the inspiration of the restaurant’s normal menu, the owners of Stedsans sourced our dinner’s ingredients from local farms and farmer’s markets that day. We were treated to a six-course meal paired with local wines at North Beach pop-up restaurant space, Cookhouse. Chefs and founders Mette Helbæk and Flemming Hansen were also on hand to talk about the restaurant and the inspiration behind our meal.
“Our menu changes with the season,” Hansen says. “We source natural wines too, because nature is so perfect. Sustainability, our health and gourmet food go hand in hand.”
The meal was absolutely amazing. Vegetarians would have LOVED it and carnivores would have loved the lamb dish. We started our meal with a crudite of raw vegetables, tarragon mayo and seeded crackers, paired with a Pinot Gris. We moved onto roasted butternut squash with goat cheese as well as veggies and hollandaise. While these dishes sound ordinary, they did an amazing job at showing off the freshness and earthiness of each vegetable. Our main course was lamb and two different types of onions and we rounded off our evening with a California gouda and macadamia nuts and Stedsans’ famous Chocolate Cake.
Unfortunately I can’t provide any info on when Stedsans will be back in town or offering a meal to the public, but if you ever find yourself in Copenhagen, make sure to look these guys up. For more information, visit http://www.cleansimplelocal.com.
Although no one would ever question the beauty of Oregon, the state is much more than just beautiful forests. Oregon is in a constant state of beauty whether you’re driving up the beautiful beaches, wandering around the forests, rock climbing in Smith Rock State Park, or eating the West Coast meets Southern style fusion food in Portland. And let’s not forget about all of the breweries and medical dispensaries that seem to be popping up all over the state.
So, follow me on a road trip from California through Oregon as I make stops in Klamath Falls, Crater Lake, Bend, Smith Rock State Park, Multnomah Falls, Portland, and all up and down the coast.
Although Crater Lake is regarded as one of Oregon’s biggest tourist destinations, it was pretty empty and peaceful on the day that I went. I should prefix that with the fact that I went on a Friday, mid-November afternoon when most people are working. Note to self: always check the driving advisories before making the trip to Crater Lake as it does get quite a bit of snow and your car will start sliding. Also, there aren’t any gas stations within around 30 miles of the Lake. So, don’t be like me and try to “man up” against your tank. Feed your car some of that sweet gas before making her drive to isolated areas. She’ll appreciate it ;).
I was a bit hesitant to make a stop here as there was a lot of other things I wanted to do in Oregon. Whether you want to stay by the coast your not, do yourself the favor and make a stop here. Although I had the benefit of not running into very many people, it’s hard not to find peace and tranquility with such a beautiful view.
Up until my visit, I can honestly say that I didn’t know all that much about Bend. When you think of cities in Oregon, for the most part, we just think of the state as having a ton of trees and that one city named Portland. However, Bend is a great city to stop on your way up through the state. There are tons of food options and breweries everywhere you look. With this combination, it’s hard not to have a good time. Oh, and did I mention, attractive people everywhere! Who would have thought? Since you are somewhat in the middle of nowhere, prices are cheap and you can easily find a hotel room for under $100.
Smith Rock State Park
The central/eastern part of Oregon definitely doesn’t feel like Oregon anymore. Out with the tall trees and in with the beautiful wide-open landscapes. Oregon quickly transforms itself from greenery everywhere you look to a hay-type hue with beautiful rock formations. If you decide to go to Bend on your way north to Portland, this is an easy stop on the way. If you’re a rock climber, you’ll definitely not want to miss this stop as you’ll see hundreds of rock climbers trying to make these rock formations their bitch.
Just an hour or so east of Portland is one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever laid my eyes on and that’s saying a lot. I’ve seen them all over Iceland, Ireland, Hawaii, Jamaica, etc. but there truly is something special about the waterfall here. It’s free to get in and you need to make sure you pick up your jaw, which will surely be hanging after 30 minutes of staring in awe as the mist eventually envelopes you as you work your way up to the top of the falls. There are great trails that you can spend hours on and essentially feel as though you’re trapped in some type of Disney fairy tale (or enjoyed the dispensaries way more than you should have).
Oh boy! Just for a little perspective, I’ve been to 40 states and I usually try to go to the biggest to cities in each. I’ve heard good things in the past about Portland’s food and their beer culture, but it was never a top city of mine that I wanted to visit. I can now easily put Portland in my top five American cities to visit. The fusion of modern American/Southern comfort food is absolutely to die for (or from). While you’ll feel stuffed to the brim as you leave, every single meal left me with the ability to work up the energy to crack a smile before going into a two-hour food coma. SOOOOO GOOOOOOOD. Eat everything and do it as often as possible. Also, drink everywhere and do it as often as possible. Microbreweries are everywhere in this young man’s city so do yourself a favor and try to sign up for a beer tour as Portland is now known internationally for their unique and delicious beers.
Also, for all of you West Coast people who have always wanted to see the fall colors, don’t bother flying all the way across the country to the Northeast. I’ve lived on the east coast and although the fall season is beautiful, Portland does a great job making you forget all about the colors of New England.
Lastly, I can’t talk about Portland and not mention Voodoo Donuts. Voodoo Donuts is one of the top places to eat in Portland. You’ll likely wait a good 30 minutes just to get inside. Let me save you the time: OVERRATED. They are just donuts with the novelty of throwing a bunch of odd toppings on them like Fruit Loops. The donuts themselves don’t taste all that good and they are really heavy so you’re missing out an actual meal of delicious food from elsewhere in the city.
I strongly suggest driving up on the Eastern side of Oregon and then coming back down on the coast. The coast is beautifully filled with drastic cliffs cutting down into the ocean with tall forest trees resting above. It’s a rather unique view and one that you won’t get tired of as you drive the 8 hours or so from Northern Oregon to the California border.
TL, DR: Oregon = BEAUTY BEAUTY BEAUTY. Take the time, get a car, maybe a tent, a DD, and have a blast as you experience the many wonders of Oregon.
I’m the first to admit I’m a bona fide foodie. I like my restaurants sealed with a “hot” or “new” label, and have waited in line for cruffins, snapped Instagram photos of side-street tacos, and stayed up late to secure OpenTable reservations for State Bird Provisions (to no avail).
So when an opportunity came around to try a decades-old restaurant in the heart of Union Square, I was skeptical. There’s no line around the corner and the place had a small digital footprint.
I deserve to be slapped.
For anyone with Bay Area connections, ask about Campton Place. With its rich history, the restaurant has opened the kitchen door for many of the Bay’s renowned chefs like St. Helena’s Todd Humphries and James Beard award winner Bradley Ogden.
The beauty behind the restaurant, located within Taj Campton Place, is that it defines fine dining in a way that “hot” places like Al’s Place and Petit Crenn only wish they could replicate. I’m talking about a wait staff that refills your water at just the right time without making you feel like they’re hovering, or tossing your cloth napkin aside when you’ve stepped to the restroom to get you a new one. Each little detail that accompanies your visit to Campton Place is refreshing and “new” in the sense that we don’t see this kind of service anymore…and I haven’t even begun to describe the food.
Without hesitation, we decided to take on the Spice Route menu, a six-course display of some of executive chef Srijith Gopinathan’s signature creations. It was ambitious, yes, but when else do you get the chance to spoon tamarind chutney out of a terra cotta pot that’s sitting on a bed of acorns and pinecones whilst dry ice delivers a mist of “San Francisco fog”? The spice pot alone is enough to venture away from your social circle; it’s a dish you aren’t likely to come across on your latest hunt for what Thrillist calls “the best” macaroni and cheese in the city.
Surprisingly, the audience wasn’t as stuffy as I’d expected on a Wednesday night. And while I’m not the first to describe the lackluster décor often associated with hotel-based restaurants (the Chronicle called is “fusty” last year), and a restroom hidden within the lobby alongside overstuffed lounge chairs and a giant crystal chandelier, I came here for the cuisine.
Of course, it was truly the food that stood out. Celebrating a second Michelin star this year, Campton Place would be nothing without the visionary talents of executive chef Srijith Gopinathan, who joined the culinary powerhouse in 2010. Upon his arrival, the Southern Indian native earned the restaurant its first Michelin star, which he’s followed up with one every year since then.
The beauty behind Srijith’s menu isn’t just the continued excellence, but the expectation that there’s constant innovation – like his incorporation of seasonal ingredients. As an SF foodie I’m used to enjoying changing menus and daily dishes, but for an institution like Campton Place – and signature dishes like the spice pot that have been on the menu for years – I was pleasantly surprised to see that the menu still keeps diners on their toes. This winter, everyone has squash on the menu but Srijith’s addition of Indian spices to a ladle of squash puree complimented the rest of the menu while adding a touch of modernism.
Without hesitation I can claim that I’ve never tasted a better pairing than the one I did at Campton Place – the cod and Riesling were like peanut butter and jelly; for once I finally understood what it meant to taste a complementary pairing. The cod exploded with flavor after a sip of my wine, a varietal I usually don’t enjoy for its sweetness but made my taste buds explode with happiness after just one sip/bite.
I could parade about the variety of each specific dish, but it’s all been documented before. Campton Place should still be where the foodies, bloggers, and PR stars go, and not because it’s new or hot or because the latest listicle from some newbie online publication tells you to go there.
The beauty behind great San Franciscan cuisine is that it has a history, and Campton Place is one of those places that has kept history alive. For more information, visit www.camptonplacesf.com.
San Francisco’s waterfront neighborhood, aka the Embarcadero, is some prime real estate for luxury apartments, AT&T park, tech companies and so much more. The locale recently welcomed its newest restaurant to the ‘hood and I had the absolute pleasure of checking out the new digs at Caputo.
If you’re in the mood for rustic, tratoria-style Italian food, Caputo is definitely a place to check out. Opened in October 2015, the beautiful restaurant boasts an open kitchen and a welcoming, wood patina bar and dining room. Caputo, which took over The Slanted Door’s previous space, is helmed by Executive Chef and partner Sam Ramadan and managing partner Shah Bahrenyi.
When we visited, we had the pleasure of watching Chef Ramandan and Chef de Cuisine, Carrie Anne Lopez, conjure up their delicious dishes together. When you visit for dinner, I definitely suggest taking a seat near the kitchen to watch all of the magic unfold.
Per usual, we started our meals with a couple cocktails. (A girl’s gotta be able to recommend a good cocktail, amiright?!) The booze list is plentiful. You’ve got your pick from California-centric wines, local micro brews and a bounty of fresh cocktail concoctions. If you need to kill time before a baseball game or whatnot, you definitely need to check out this stunner of a bar that overlooks the Bay.
We started our night off with a few super bright and light cocktails. Go for the Caputo Bellini or a Cucumber Collins. Or try my favorite of the night, the Corpse Reviver #2, a mix of #209 Gin (distilled at nearby Pier 50), lemon juice, St. George Absinthe, and Kina L’Aero d’Or aperitif. So good.
For starters, I suggest the Meatballs Al Forno and the Burrata. The smokiness and richness of the meatballs and San Marzano marinara pair perfectly with the creaminess of the burrata, served with oven-roasted mushrooms, hazelnuts and honey. Other small plates on the menu include a Salumi Board, salads, yellowfin crudo and Pecorino Flan, which sounds heavenly to the fat kid in me.
Everyone around us was ordering various types of Caputo’s woodfired Neopolitan-style pizzas. Oh, and I’m definitely coming back to taste the Whole Mediterranean Branzino grilled over almond wood. But alas, we played the pasta card and ordered a Squid Ink Spaghetti alla Chitara, served with Rock Shrimp, and the Raviolo, one beautifully plump ricotta-filled and farm egg hunk of pasta in a shallow pool of truffle butter and grana padano sage butter. Come to Caputo hungry and with friends because I’ll guarantee you’ll want to try a bit of everything from the menu.
If you save room for dessert, Caputo offers a hefty list of dessert wines, port, cognac. scotch and coffee to accompany your sweet tooth. We opted for the Butterscotch Budino, a velvety butterscotch pudding of sorts topped with sea salt caramel and an almond biscotti crunch. The Valrhona Chocolate Terrine and the Rosemary Polenta Cake was calling our names but we ate entirely too much.
For cocktails, wine, pizza and pasta, check out Caputo before everyone else discovers how great it is. For more information, visit hwww.caputosf.com.
Pacific Catch offers signature seafood dishes of SF in the Inner Sunset
Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez
It’s kinda unreal how good the seafood is up here. From the chowder and lobster rolls, to the oysters and ahi, the City has seafood restaurants everywhere you go. While going out for sushi or a seafood dinner was a treat before moving up to SF, now it’s a weekly occurrence. I had the pleasure of checking out Pacific Catch in the Sunset the other night to check out their digs and their new San Francisco Classics menu.
Situated in the heart of the Inner Sunset, Pacific Catch is surrounded by restaurants, shops, cafes, dessert places and the Golden Gate Park. The fish house offers sushi, poke, sandwiches, bowls, fish frys, and more alongside its lively bar. I started my meal out with a cocktail and the Hawaiian Poke trio. The Kiwi Flash is a mix of gin, fresh kiwi, cucumber and lemon juice. The brightness of the cocktail paired perfectly with the poke trio. Six different types of poke are on the menu and I highly recommend going for a trio if you’re with a group.
Go for the Original, California Style and the Seared Albacore poke, which are all served with wonton crisps, seaweed salad and daikon salad. The Original is so flavorful and good for anyone still trying to figure out their poke style. The California Style is rich with avocado and a lemon aioli. And the Seared Albacore is meaty and smoky.
The menu at Pacific Catch is enormous and you either need to visit several times or with a large group to truly experience it. The fish house is known for its Japanese Wasabi bowl, Fish & Chips, tacos, sandwiches and sushi. But I had to order from the San Francisco Classics menu, the restaurant’s celebration of the City’s signature dishes.
You’ll find items like clam chowder, cioppino, crab melt, and a Green Goddess shrimp salad. I opted for the Pan Seared Local Petrale Sole. A dollop of dungeness crab was placed on top of the sole, which was on top of a potato puree, brocolini and crimini mushrooms in a brandy cream sauce. The sole was perfectly crisp and tender and the brocolini provided a much-needed crunch. Everything was perfect and was a flavorful way to experience the tastes of the City.
If you leave room for dessert, the SF Classics menu offers two sweet SF ways to end your meal: an It’s It ice cream sandwich and a Ghiradelli sundae. My server suggested that I at least have a bite of their signature dessert, a Crispy Dulce de Leche Spring Roll, filled with cheese cake filling and a scoop of vanilla ice cream from a local ice cream shop in Berkeley.
If you’re in the neighborhood after walking through the Park and are craving seafood, Pacific Catch is just a quick walk or bus ride. For more information, visit http://pacificcatch.com.