Ricotta gnudi, garlic braised pork meatballs, sage
SPQR, San Francisco, CA
SPQR was finally awarded a Michelin star in 2013 and deservedly so. The food is outstanding. I loved the casual ambiance inside this restaurant on Fillmore Street, including the Motown music that played during the meal. Weekend lunch offers a three course meal for $34, which is a steal considering this course alone goes for $23 on the regular menu.
Open for dinner nightly, lunch on weekends.
Reservations on OpenTable.
Red velvet pancakes
Cinnamon’s, Kailua, Hawaii
When it comes to brunch in Oahu, there are two very popular places in Kailua that are often recommended. We prefer Cinnamon’s. These red velvet pancakes are ridiculous! They also offer fusion-y breakfast fare, like Kalua pork benedict and a Chinese omelet with char siu. I’m also partial to places that offer bottomless iced coffee.
Reservations taken for groups of 8 or larger, otherwise prepare for a wait!
Ice cream sundae
Fentons Creamery, Oakland, CA
Fentons is an institution here, famously immortalized in Pixar’s movie, Up.
Fentons opened in 1894, and is the birthplace of the popular ice cream flavor, Rocky Road. Bay Area ice cream is known to be really fancy or outlandish, but Fentons is a wholesome American place with classic flavors and toppings.
Hush puppies with honey butter
Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen, Berkeley
Southern food is sort of a new thing for us, as there weren’t many restaurants in San Diego that offer this type of fare. Although we eat at Brenda’s in San Francisco fairly often, we stick with our favorites, the biscuits, shrimp and grits, and beignets. We obviously can’t compare the dishes at Angeline’s to the real deal, but we loved everything we ate at Angeline’s, including these hush puppies with honey butter.
Reservations are available on OpenTable. Good for groups. Open for dinner every day and lunch every day but Monday.
Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen
2261 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 548 - 6900
Albacore Tuna Tataki
ICHI Sushi, San Francisco
This delicate dish features seared albacore tuna, sudachi, shallot, shiso vinaigrette, micro greens, and fried shallot. ($12.95)
ICHI Sushi is a tiny restaurant in Bernal Heights serving the freshest sustainable sushi in traditional preparations. Although we usually stay clear of sushi restaurants that are not run by Japanese people, the food here was excellent. The menu also boasts a selection of cold and hot plates, and the pork belly should not be missed.
3369 Mission Street, San Francisco CA 94110
No reservations, dinner only, and closed on Sundays.
2oz Four Roses Single Barrel
1oz Fresh grapefruit juice
.75oz Honey syrup
Shake ingredients and strain into a lowball glass with a large ice cube.
The magic ratio for citrus cocktails is 2-1-1, meaning 2 parts base booze, 1 part sour, 1 part sweet. This blend uses slightly less sweet because I feel that my honey syrup (2parts raw local honey, 1 part distilled water, dissolved over medium-low heat) is a bit on the sweet side.
If you know your drinks, this concoction is very similar to a gold rush, except I replaced lemon with grapefruit. I was looking for a way to reduce the citrus strength, so I tried a Meyer lemon first, but eventually settling on grapefruit, which ironically makes this very similar to a Brown Derby as well. Regardless of what you call it, it’s a fabulous bourbon based summer drink.
My hometown (Bonita, CA) is a very small area in San Diego, but is known for three things: Lolita’s carne asada fries, Mexican seafood at TJ Oyster Bar, and fresh fruit strudel from Hans & Harry Bakery. This strudel measures 24” long and is a staple at almost every single party I attend in the area. Hans & Harry offers an assortment of strudel, but this one in particular is the most famous. The buttery, flaky crust is adorned with Bavarian cream and assorted fruit.
Potato Chip Cookies
Okay, this is actually my mom’s recipe, which she adapted from a couple she found in a cookie book and a magazine. They are my favorite cookies she’s ever made, and my mom is the queen of cookies. I think butterscotch chips are underutilized and they pair so perfectly with the saltiness of the potato chips!
Halekulani Resort, Waikiki
The Halekulani Resort in Waikiki is known for its impeccable service and luxurious amenities. Travel + Leisure magazine recently rated it as one of the best hotels in the United States. Rates hover around $400/night, so staying here for our 6 nights in Hawaii was out of the question, but we still made time to spend a few afternoons here, drinking afternoon tea and watching the sunset at House Without a Key.
The basic afternoon tea service on their veranda was reasonably priced at $32 per person. Good scones and devonshire cream are hard to come by in the U.S. and the selection at the Halekulani did not disappoint. Guests can choose from sixteen different teas, including a few with Hawaiian flavor profiles (think earl grey with Maui lavender and pineapple coconut rooibos with mango).
Served daily from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dress code is “informal resort attire”