Top Tastes

Top Tastes, rather than a list of all-time favorites (another thing altogether), are among the best eats since my last newsletter, often from new openings. Many don’t make the cut, being a revisit previously written about or simply not as stand-out as dishes mentioned.


Red Door's beloved French Toast

**2013 Update: I strongly recommend against Red Door. The longtime host/owner insults locals and those who’ve been dining there since their CA St. days in lieu of showing off for tourists and suburbanites, though claims to be doing just the opposite when he handpicks from those waiting in line who he deems “special” enough for the privilege of his “unique dining experience.” When you have to say over and over again that you’re “not trying to be bitchy”, that speaks for itself.

One should never be insulted when dining out, much less pay for it. There are hundreds of amazing places to dine in SF and this is not one of them. Being judged (completely in error) by one’s exterior appearance is not what we dine out for. I found it almost hilarious that he insinuated my husband and I were from Walnut Creek (we’ve lived in the city for over 12 years) because we committed apparently his cardinal sin: wearing sunglasses on a sunny morning while waiting outside in line. Thus he would not seat us and sat tourist behind us. Those around us were discussing the suburban or far away towns they were from while we were apparently the only locals in line. We won’t ever be those chumps again. 

Red Door Cafe – I was bummed when this quirky breakfast spot closed down (making way for the nice but underwhelming Olea) on California Street. It has re-surfaced on Bush Street (at Franklin), in a smaller, but still funky space, with playful service and towering bagels. At around $11.99, they’re pricey, rather mediocre bagels, but they come in presentations you haven’t seen the likes of. Their French Toast Josephine ($9.50, add $1.75 with Caramelized Banana) remains the reason to go, particularly with the banana added.

Salmon Bagel, Red Door-style

Pica Pica – At a pre-opening party for this Napa favorite debuting its first SF location, we enjoyed small bites of menu items and pours of Sangria, fresh Passion Fruit juice and a fabulous, frothy Coconut Milk Lime drink. Female-owned and launched by Adriana Lopez Vermut, love for her native Venezuelan cuisine shows in the care with which she modernizes it with uber-fresh ingredients and dipping sauces.

Favorite tastes include a glorified grilled cheese ode, the  “Maize-Wich” ($7.99): sweet cornbread with ham and cheese. I particularly like the savory/sweet combo of Pabellon Cachapa ($8.99): skirt steak, black beans and cheese topped with sweet plantains on a sweet corn pancake/cachapa.
This drug interferes with transpeptidation and translocation vardenafil vs viagra thus there is inhibition of protein synthesis and hence inhibition of cell growth. viagra soft tablet Some of the significant spots which require some consideration involve hydraulic devices, the wheels, axles, the nuts, good wheels, couplings along with suspension devices. This rigidity enables the man to penetrate their partner and feel good about themselves. cialis pharmacy online Reports of violent headaches, facial flushing and upset stomach are some of the common side of cialis online overnight .* cialis include prolonged erection, loss of vision or loss of Job In this highly competitive scenario, failure at work causes a great distress, effects self-confidence, dampens mood and results in dullness in bedroom.

Pica Pica tasting of arepas, cachapa, maize-wich

There are traditional Arepas ($7.99), available in a myriad of toppings or fillings, plus Empanadas ($3.99), soups ($3.99-$5.75), salad ($3.99), sides of plantains and salsas. I appreciate the clean, bright interior functioning as high quality Venezuelan fast food on the go or to eat in.

Ike’s Place – Sure, this sandwich mecca is old news, but I’ve been going for years and despite the now sick crowds which have led to lawsuits from neighbors, this tiny hole-in-the-wall still shells out some of the best sandwiches ever, even if the only time to get them with a mere 15 minute wait is a Tuesday morning at 10:45am.

Recently, I ordered a Mark Cuban ($8.98), not pressed like my beloved Cubano, its inspiration, filled with ham, pickles, jalapenos, Jack cheese and Ike’s Godfather Sauce mixed with their now legendary Dirty Sauce. Keep it decadent with a Manage-a-Trois ($11.11): Halal chicken breast, honey, honey mustard, BBQ sauce, Pepper Jack, Swiss, Smoked Gouda. I love it all, but one of my best remains Paul Reubens ($9.99): sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese, poppy seed coleslaw, French dressing.  With news of Ike’s impending closure and relocation, it’s getting scary to think we may be without it for awhile… if only Ike’s customers were more respectful of neighbors (noise, leaving trash around, etc…), the lawsuits maybe would not have happened?

Sing Sing Sandwich Shop – It couldn’t be sketchier, this Tenderloin/Little Saigon dump with graffiti-ed signage and dingy interior. Vietnamese music videos pep it up. I felt immediately transported back to my month in Vietnam as a slew of older Vietnamese gentleman played Keno-like games in the back, while younger guys chatted me up at the counter.

The new 331 Cortland Marketplace

They only make one thing: Bahn Mi ($3). And it’s only one kind of Bahn Mi. Classic pork pate with usual carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, mayo, in crunchy French bread. You’re braving the elements for this one, but it’s a deal and authentic bahn mi experience.

Wholesome Bakery – This former farmers market regular now has a permanent home, along with other treats I crave, like ICHI Sushi and El Porteno Empanadas, in Bernal Heights’ brand new, little 331 Cortland Marketplace. Their regular chai is done Bombay-style, which is the more common. On a recent Sunday, they made a  Calcutta Iced Chai ($3.75), heavy on the cardamom and quite refreshing.