BACON-WRAPPED PORK TENDERLOIN
Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin (Fringale SF)
The pork loin at Fringale is about as good as any pork dish I’ve had at a restaurant all year. Thick, hammerhead-sized slices of tender pork are choked by their semi-crisp bacon muffler and, with a swirl through the braised savoy cabbage and a semi-sweet caramelized onion jus, it’s simple and sumptuous. What a treat to get cabbage when it’s done so miraculously: tender, crunchy, and looks like little bits of braised apple in there to complement the pork. It’s a perfectly balanced dish.
Fringale’s been around for over a generation in restaurant years; doesn’t get the yelpies or real press it deserves; but retains a status as a SOMA neighborhood gem and still serves up awesome dishes like this one. The owner is often there and when he’s not, un autre bon ami amicably fills in, and they are great fun to hang out with at the bar. They’re good storytellers, manage a busy tiny space with calm and grace, and make you want to go back just for an appetizer and glass of wine.
Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin (Fringale SF)
And, not for overkill, but if the mood strikes…the potatoes gratin are wicked. See below for your personal ramekin of cheesy potato glory.
Fringale’s got wicked au gratin
The Grade: Awesome (highest grade)
The Damage: $19 (great deal for SF)
The Skinny: Fringale restaurant
570 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: (415) 543-0573
BACON-WRAPPED, GOAT CHEESE-STUFFED PRUNES
SF CHEFS. FOOD. WINE. 2009 OPENING NIGHT PARTY
At the opening night of SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009, Chef Lisa Eyherabide had fantastic prunes that were wrapped in bacon and stuffed with goat cheese. Many people, including me, went back for seconds and thirds. Simple, well-balanced, and delicious, evidence of why she and Gitane restaurant are getting lots of attention.
I discovered these are available on the regular Gitane menu. They’re called “bacon bonbons,” and the prunes are sauteed and finished with anise and cinnamon port sauce. Excellent appetizer and doorway to Gitane’s Basque-inspired innovations.
- Delicious bacon-wrapped, goat cheese-stuffed prunes from Gitane.
Chef Lisa Eyherabide of Gitane @ SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009
Fried Oysters with Hobbs’ Bacon
Cornmeal Fried Oysters with Hobbs Bacon - Town Hall, SF
Anything with Hobbs’ Applewood Smoked Bacon would be a treat, and Hobbs’ is just fine all by its lonesome as well. But topping cornmeal-fried oysters with a fat little dice of Hobbs bacon and preserved lemon twist, all nestled in a verdant spinach-Herbsaint puree hidden in the oyster shell….wow. It’s a full bite with vibrancy of color and a pulsating set of flavors that really sets a meal off. Go Town Hall. Another stellar dish.
The Grade: Awesome
The Damage: $13 (four fried oysters)
The Skinny: Town Hall
342 Howard Street, San Francisco CA
Phone: (415) 908-3900
Cornmeal Fried Oysters at Town Hall, SF
Cowboy (bacon & cheese BBQ) Burger
Best Bacon Cheeseburger: Lark Creek Steak's Cowboy Burger
I love bacon cheeseburgers with BBQ sauce. It’s a combination of hearty flavors that seems quite natural and, while each of the flavors of bacon, BBQ sauce, sharp cheddar, and onion are individually powerful and can overwhelm any dish, within a burger context they somehow seem to play well together. When the burger is done properly, that is. Everyone and their mother has a bacon cheeseburger, but very few places make one that stands out as strongly as the cowboy burger from Lark Creek Steak.
The Best BBQ Bacon-Cheeseburger on the West Coast
Of the 40+ burgers I’ve tried in the past 6 – 8 months, the “cowboy burger” at Lark Creek Steak is far and away the best BBQ burger or the best bacon-cheeseburger of them all. So (at least for now) I can confidently proclaim Lark Creek Steak’s cowboy burger as the best bacon-cheeseburger on the West Coast. Nothing else has come close over the past year.
Described on menu: Cowboy Steakburger (8 0z.) – bacon, cheddar, barbecue sauce, crispy onions
- Cowboy Burger, detail with crispy fried onions
Why Lark Creek Steak’s burgers are so good:
- meat is not ground chuck (typical, low-cost burger meat)
- meat is trimmed from regular Lark Creek Steak steaks (filet mignon, New York strips, sirloin, etc.)
- meat is double-ground, making it extremely soft and tender
- meat is ground fresh, sometimes 3 or 4 times daily (depending upon demand)
- bacon is perfectly crisp, and sustainable ranch-grown
- burgers are grilled over open wood fire for slightly smoked, healthier grill flavors (not over flat surface that accumulates grease and fat)
- fried onions are thin, perfectly crisp, and perfect in flavor
- terrific buns; toasted on the inside slightly (so condiments don’t make bun soft inside) and served warm
- burger accoutrements are perfectly proportioned and flavorful (butter lettuce has more flavor than typical iceberg lettuce; pickles are crisp and long-sliced to fit flat across burger; red onion is also well-sliced and grilled to mildly caramelize flavors)
The Grade: Awesome / Phenomenal (highest grade)
The Damage: $15.95
The Skinny: Lark Creek Steak
Westfield® San Francisco Centre
845 Market Street, 4th Floor, Ste 402
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 593-4100
Mon.-Fri. 11:30 am – 2:00 pm
Sat. & Sun. 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Mon.-Thurs. 5:30 pm – 9 pm
Fri. 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Sat. 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Sun. 5:00 pm – 9 pm
Bacon Dessert: Bacon Ice Cream, Bacon, Bacon Biscuit
Bacon Ice Cream, Bacon, Bacon Biscuit - Dissident Chef
And the non-bacon items: sous vide strawberry and rhubarb compote. Fantastic plate.
But wait…that’s not all…the last pairing is below, and it was an awesome touch.
Bacon-infused Four Roses Whisky!!
Bacon-Infused, Four Roses Single Barrel Kentucky Whisky
If the picture looks a bit grainy, I think it represents the mind-fuzz of everyone at the Bacon Heart Attack Dinner at that point. Wonderfully grainy-headed.
Bacon Sampler Platter: Bacon Heart Attack
- Dissident Chef Bacon Sampler Platter: Fantastic
Laid out like tiny machines of loving grace, or like a Japanese sushi platter, Dissident Chef’s glorious bacon sampler was a fetishistic array of bacon delights. This displayed the spectrum and variety across the field of dreams otherwise called BACON.
- Crispy Fatted Calf Bacon
- Sous Vide Bacon with Apple Cider
- Artisanal Bacon
- Hobbs’ Applewood Smoked Bacon
- Canadian Bacon with green garlic