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Posts Tagged ‘Potrero Hill’

Tasty Kitchenette Lunches in the Dogpatch

February 1, 2010 2 comments

Kitchenette is one of the many cool things about the Dogpatch.

Across the street from the old warehouses in Pier 70, Kitchenette serves tasty lunches out of a garage door along Illinois Street. Run by chefs who have worked with the likes of Thomas Keller and Alice Waters, the food is organic, local and delicious.

Kitchenette's Pastrami Sandwich

I’ve had memorable lunches at Kitchenette since we moved to the Dogpatch.   Their house smoked pastrami sandwich (Marin Sun Farms beef smoked over fig wood with apple-caraway mustard and braised cabbage) and their beef and pork polpette sandwich (meatballs in amatriciana sauce with parmesan cheese) are really yummy.

Kitchenette's Polpette Sandwich

But the most memorable by far is their bacon snickerdoodle.  I think it’s genius. It’s an excellent example of how bacon can make anything, like a simple snickerdoodle, extra special.

Kitchenette's Bacon Snickerdoodle

Kitchenette’s lunch-to-go menu changes everyday, so its best to check out what’s for lunch the day before on their blog and tweets.  They are cash only.

Mom’s Hearty Homemade Chili with Homemade Cornbread

January 7, 2010 3 comments

Where can you find the best cornbread in the city?  Just for You Cafe in the Dogpatch.

Just for You is the place-to-be for tasty big breakfasts: fried eggs, ham, home fries and their freshly baked cornbread.  I love my cornbread sweet rather than savory, but not too sweet and I love it moist with a little bit of gritty texture.  Just for You’s has all these wonderful elements.  Enjoy it with a generous spread of butter or with their sweet strawberry jam.  The corncakes are equally good, too.  They have that melt-in-your-mouth, buttery and gritty goodness that I love.  And a visit to Just for You is never complete without indulging in their puffy beignets.  So delightful.

Just for You Cafe's Cornbread with Strawberry Jam

Inspired by Just for You’s cornbread, I ventured out, bought myself some corn meal and made my own cornbread.  And there’s no better way to enjoy a warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven piece of cornbread in this cold winter than to pair it with a tasty bowl of hearty homemade chili.  For that, I solicited Dennis’ help to make his mom’s homemade chili, the chili he grew up with in chilly Ohio.

Homemade Cornbread

1-1/4 cup yellow corn meal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup fat-free milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.  You can use a pyrex dish, a non-stick baking pan or you can also use a muffin pan to make corn muffins.

Combine the corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Combine the milk, oil and egg in a separate bowl. After mixing them well add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and pour into your baking dish.  Note that the original recipe called for a cup of flour to a cup of corn meal but for a grittier texture I added a 1/4 cup more corn meal and used 1/4 cup less flour in this recipe.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Homemade Cornbread

Mom’s Homemade Chili

Chili Spices
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder or freshly minced garlic
1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Great-tasting chili is very much a cook-until-the-way-you-like-it sort of comfort food.  So feel free to experiment with the spices as you wish.

1 to 1.5 lbs of extra lean ground beef
1 can black beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 medium to large size onion diced
1-2 green or red bell peppers chopped
Worcestershire sauce (start with 1 Tbsp and then add more to taste)

Cooking time is 2-4 hours.  Slow cooking is best.

Brown the ground beef in a large stew pot over medium heat.  Don’t thoroughly cook the meat but only up to a point when most of the fat has come out.  If you prefer a finer texture break up the ground beef completely but if you like a chunkier chili, as I do, break it up in larger bite size bits.

Extra lean beef (less than 5% fat) is recommended, which is the healthiest choice. If you do use extra lean beef there is no need to drain the fat out. Otherwise, drain the beef fat using a colander and return it to the pot. I think it’s a smart idea to give up the beef fat so you can indulge in butter with your bread later!

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, and peppers to the browned beef and mix well.  It will be pretty thick but there is no need to add water here as there will be plenty as the vegetables continue to cook.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and chili spices and mix well.  Let this cook and come to a slow boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.  Add the red kidney and black beans to the mix and stir well together.

Hearty Homemade Chili

Now, here’s the fun part, or well, at least Dennis thinks so.  Take a break and let it simmer for about an hour while stirring it occasionally.  Come back and taste the chili. If you think it needs a little more oomph add more Worcestershire, salt, chili powder and perhaps more garlic powder or freshly minced garlic.  Cook for another half an hour on low heat and stir well occasionally. Continue adding more salt and chili powder if you prefer but remember to stir everything well.  Let it stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Great-tasting chili is truly a season-to-taste slow cooked meal.  Chili powders have different levels of potency so feel free to experiment.

Enjoy a bowl of chili with a piece of warm cornbread or some saltine crackers on a chilly winter day. Some folks love red onions or grated cheddar with their chili but I love it just the way it is with some sweet cornbread.

Hearty Homemade Chili

For breakfast, scramble some eggs in butter and top it with chili and a piece of cornbread.

Homemade Chili Over Scrambled Eggs and Cornbread

By the way, I don’t think I have found the best chili in the city.  San Francisco doesn’t really strike me as a city for chili but maybe I’m wrong. What do you think?

Discovering the Dogpatch

January 4, 2010 6 comments

Two old cranes loom large over the Dogpatch. You simply can’t miss them.

Cranes with Graffiti in the Dogpatch

I actually think these old cranes are very cool.  Well, I think the Dogpatch is very cool.  It is a bit rough but, definitely, in a good way.  Old Victorians and old industrial and commercial buildings that survived the 1906 fire and earthquake mixed with new and modern loft apartments and cool cafes and restaurants give this tiny nine-block neighborhood a really interesting character.

The Dogpatch is an enclave of industrial worker’s housing in the once-booming San Francisco Central Waterfront district.  The city recognized it as a Historic District in 2003.  It still feels industrial but it also feels neighborly.  It was recently hailed as one of America’s best neighborhoods by Men’s Journal and recently featured in the New York Times.

I love its dog-friendly Esprit Park surrounded by quiet streets where dogs can run and play.  I love its 260 sunny days in a year, on average.  And I love its burgeoning dining scene. Fried eggs and cornbread with strawberry jam for breakfast at Just for You.  House-smoked pastrami sandwich with bacon snickerdoodle for lunch at Kitchenette.  A cup of Blue Bottle Coffee at Piccino Coffee Bar.  A bottle of Malbec with cheese and olives at Yield Wine Bar.  And a plateful of fried chicken with red beans and rice and yams for dinner at Hard Knox Cafe.

And if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, the equally cool 18th Street in Potrero Hill is just a quick brisk walk away. Hop on the T to get to downtown or on the 22 to get to the Mission. The choices are endless.

T Line at Mariposa in the Dogpatch

Here is a link to read more about the story behind the city’s working class historic district.  It is a great resource about the history and architecture of the Dogpatch.  And here are more information about the restaurants mentioned in this blog.

Just For You Cafe
732 22nd
415.647.3033

Kitchenette SF
958 Illinois
Twitter, @kitchenettesf

Piccino Coffee Bar
801 22nd
415.824.4224

Yield Wine Bar
2490 3rd
415.401.8984

Hard Knox Cafe
2526 3rd
415.648.3770

12 Round Shaped Sweet Treats for Good Luck: A New Year’s Tradition

December 29, 2009 6 comments

Every New Year’s Eve, it has been my mom’s tradition to gather 12 round fruits to bring us good luck in the coming year.  It has to be twelve, she says, one for each month of the new year.  And it has to be round-shaped for prosperity, abundance and wealth.  So she buys grapes, oranges, melons and even watermelons to ring in the new year.

This year, I’m starting my own tradition. I’m gathering 12 round shaped sweet treats to welcome the New Year!  These are my San Francisco favorites culled from past blogs plus teasers for future posts.  It’s definitely not a comprehensive list since I can only cram twelve.  And I guess, that’s what the New Year is for, a whole new year to try new tasty treats!  Send me a note and let me know what’s on your list.

And by the way, I define round shaped very loosely here.  It can be spherical or circular in shape or served in a spherical or circular container.

Fried Dough.

1. Dynamo Donut’s maple glazed bacon apple doughnut. “The saltiness of the little chunks of crispy bacon complements the sweetness of the maple glaze very well, which makes the maple glazed bacon apple an instant favorite.”

Dynamo Donuts Maple Glazed Bacon Apple

2. I Preferiti di Boriana’s bomboloni. Italian doughnuts filled with chocolate ganash and tossed in sugar. Pure bomboloni bliss.

Bomboloni with Chocolate Ganache

Street Sweets

3. Creme Brulee Cart’s Cap’n Crunch Creme Brulee. “But as he sprinkled colorful Cap’n Crunch pieces on my cup, for some reason, I got so excited. I knew I was in for a sweet treat!”

Cap'n Crunch Creme Brulee

4. Wholesome Bakery’s Sweet Potato Pie. Healthy baby sweet potato pies that actually taste great.  No need for sugar since the sweetness of the sweet potato shines.

Wholesome Bakery Sweet Potato Pie

I Scream for Ice Cream

5. Bi-Rite Salted Caramel Ice Cream. “One of the best things in life is real good ice cream. And Bi-Rite Creamery’s artisanal ice cream is beyond good.”

Bi-rite Ice Cream

6. Humphry Slocombe’s Ice Cream. Yes, you read it right: salt-n-peppa ice cream. Crazy, one-of-a-kind and out-of-this-world, yummy flavors are what makes Humphry Slocombe truly special.

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream

Cupcake Heaven

7. Kara’s Cupcakes. “A pink box full of Kara’s pumpkin spice cupcake, moist carrot cupcake, and banana cupcake with caramel filling, all topped with Kara’s silky smooth cream cheese frosting, makes me extremely crazy, stupid happy.”

Kara's Cupcakes

8. Baked’s Red Velvet Cupcake. This small bakeshop in Potrero Hill is a real neighborhood find with baked treats like cookies, peanut brittle, and delightful red velvet cupcakes.

Baked's Red Velvet Cupcake

Filipino Finds

9. House of Silvanas Bakeshop’s Ube Silvanas. “They are best enjoyed frozen. The crunchy wafers and the yummy buttercream just delightfully melt in your mouth.”

Ube Silvanas

10. Hilda’s Hopia. Hilda’s Filipino favorite bean filled pastry is flaky, buttery and sweet.

Hilda's Hopia
Breakfast Bites

11. Dottie’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes. “The neighborhood may be dicey and the wait may be long but breakfast at Dottie’s is always a treat. The food is simply scrumptious.”

Dottie's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

12. Tartine’s Bread Pudding with Apples. There are so many tasty treats to try at Tartine (and a lot of alliterations, too); from delicious croissants and tarts to amazing bread pudding.

Tartine's Cup of Bread Pudding with Apples

Farley’s at 18th Street: Can you spot the Red Corgi?

November 16, 2009 2 comments

One of the many great things about my new found freedom is being able to work from practically anywhere, anytime.  I just need my MacBook, my Canon, a pen and my notebook, a good book to read, and since I work well while caffeinated and in a sugar high, a tasty cup of coffee and some sweet treats would be preferable.

And so, I have been spending a lot of time lately making the rounds of the coffee houses in the city to come up with my list of the coolest cafés.

Let me start with the one closest to home, Farley’s at 18th Street in Potrero Hill.

Farley's at 18th Street

Farley’s is truly a cool neighborhood coffee shop with lots of community events and activities like the Annual Pet Fest they host every Halloween and their evenings of live jazz and standards played by local artists.

Another cool thing about Farley’s is their wall where they display the work of local artists and photographers. For November, they are showcasing the charming photographs of the pets and kids in costumes at the Pet Fest taken by “Photo Booth” photographer Christopher Irion. Stanford actually made it to the wall! Can you spot the red corgi?

Farley's at 18th Street

Farley’s beans are hand roasted by a local coffee company in the East Bay.  My favorite Farley’s sweet treat is their rich and yummy brownie.

Other notes: a cup of coffee is $1.75; wi-fi is free; there is outdoor seating; cookies and pastries are available and you can grab a sandwich nextdoor at Hazel’s Kitchen and enjoy it at Farley’s.

Corgi in the Dogpatch

November 13, 2009 7 comments

Dennis and I are not the only ones enjoying the DogpatchStanford is loving it, too.

Corgi at the Dogpatch

The Dogpatch is actually a great neighborhood for dogs and dog lovers.  There’s Esprit Park at Minnesota between 19th and 20th where Stanford loves to run and chase balls.  The park isn’t fenced-in but is large enough and surrounded by quiet streets that it’s practically safe for dogs to be off-leash.  And best of all it’s only two blocks away from home!

Corgi at Pawtrero

Then there’s Pawtrero Hill Bathhouse and Feed Company with a large and clean self-serve bathing facility.  They have the tastiest treats and the coolest toys and accessories.

Corgi at Pawtrero

And not far from the Dogpatch, in the Bayview District there’s Pet Camp, Stanford’s home away from home. What we love most about Pet Camp is that they have outdoor playgroups. They have this huge outdoor play space where dogs can run around or just hang out and enjoy the sun.  All play sessions are monitored by camp counselors who are the friendliest people around.  Check out Camper Cameos, a blog where they post photos of their adorable campers.

Well, I’m certain Stanford doesn’t mind all these cool places, but at the end of the day there is something that trumps everything else: dinner!

Corgi and the City

Peter Pan and the Girl in a Flamenco Dress at Farley’s Annual Pet Fest

October 30, 2009 4 comments

Stanford met a very pretty young lady over the weekend.  She was wearing a lovely red Flamenco dress with matching lovely red earrings and red shoes. And what was Stanford wearing? A charming Peter Pan outfit with a matching dagger!

Farley's Pet Fest

They met while waiting to have their photographs taken at Farley’s 19th Annual Pet Fest.

It was a beautiful sunny Saturday in Potrero Hill.  The line was long for Christopher Irion’s famous Photo Booth but it was full of cheerful faces of dogs and kids alike dressed up for the occasion.  There was King Arthur.  There were ballerinas and cowboys.  There was a lot of bumblebees and ladybugs wagging their tails. There was even a green iguana with pink and white bunny ears, not a pooch dressed as an iguana but a real live iguana! It’s Farley’s Annual Pet Fest after all.

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