When I was planning my trip to San Francisco, what immediately came to mind was my perception of the SF food scene as being more culturally diverse than Boston. While I certainly have a few hole-in-the-wall gems in Boston that I deeply treasure, there really are not that many options for obscure regional cuisines. Therefore, the list of restaurants I compiled reflected my desire to explore some more unusual culinary traditions that I are few and far between in Boston. The Chowhound boards and other internet food blogs/reviews were immensely helpful.
|Dinner at Poc Chuc: taco with chimole de pavo and cochinita pibil|
|Lunch at Wooly Pig: Red coconut curry pork bánh mì|
After an afternoon in Golden Gate Park and the de Young Museum, we went to dinner at The Pot's, a hot pot restaurant in the Inner Sunset. While an all-you-can-eat option was available, we opted for à la carte, since two of our group were not big eaters. The variety was certainly far greater than what is available in any of the hot pot restaurants I have been to in Boston. We had a split pot with half ma la broth and half black chicken and herbs; the broths were flavorful and better than most. Our choices were not too unusual and included lamb, beef sirloin, beef tongue, shrimp, pork loin, frozen tofu, fresh tofu, enoki and oyster mushrooms, watercress, cabbage, fish balls, rice vermicelli, and more.
|Lunch at Barndiva in Healdsburg: Croque madame|
|Dinner at Angkor Borei|
For lunch the next day, we went to Burma Superstar on the recommendation of a friend, and it ended up being a delightful exercise in atypical Southeast Asian fare that the previous night had been unable to deliver. We started with the vegetarian samusa soup, which contained an amazing diversity of ingredients. The soup was followed by the rainbow salad, superstar shrimp, bun tay kauswer noodles, and pork curry with potatoes and pickled mangos. We had ordered the pumpkin pork stew, but that order got switched for the curry. I certainly didn't complain though as the curry we did get was delicious as well. What stood out to me was that the soup, salad, and noodles all were notable for the variety of flavors and textures involved: crunchy, crispy, soft, chewy, they were all present. The playful textural interplay was matched by the surprising gustatory influence of each component. Of all the dishes, the shrimp seemed to be the most quotidian, tasting good, but very much like what I've had at many Chinese restaurants in the past. All of this was accompanied by rich coconut rice, which has become a hallmark of Burmese cuisine to me.
|Burma Superstar: Rainbow Salad and SuperStar Shrimp|
|Burma Superstar: Pork Curry and Bun Tay Kauswer|
|Yes, we ate with plastic sword drink picks|
|Fish and chips at the Codmother, Fisherman's Wharf|
|Ramen Dojo, San Mateo|
|Croque Monsieur at Café Fanny, Berkeley|
|Charcuterie "cone" from Boccalone|
|Cheeses at Cowgirl Creamery|
|Breakfast in O'Hare: Pain au Chocolate from Acme|