Tag Archives: Best of SF Chefs Food Wine 2009

SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009 – SEAFOOD DISHES

SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009 – SEAFOOD DISHES

Because there was so much amazing food at SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009, I will make two exceptions by posting roundups of the best seafood and best vegetarian dishes. You gotta give those chefs the proper kudos. I thought a few of the seafood and vegetarian dishes were unreal; so incredibly good.

For richness, nobody topped the French bad boys of SF. Roland Passot’s corn soup and crabmeat came in a tiny package with a toy shovel and packed a wallop of corn flavor in a thick pudding. Amazing. One tiny bit of evidence why everyone who eats at La Folie froths with enthusiasm when they recommend it.

La Folie Corn Soup with Crabmeat

La Folie Corn Soup with Crabmeat

And Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys) also got to the deepest core of flavor with his lobster essence. Kapow. Knockout. I drifted over with my lobster essence and pulled a spoon of crabmeat from Mark Dommen (One Market) to dip it in. Kapow again.

Lobster essence from Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys)

Lobster essence from Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys)

Now you see the One Market crab....

Now you see the One Market crab….

...now Chef Mark Dommen is steadily replacing the crab.

…now Chef Mark Dommen is steadily replacing the crab.

And maybe all the people who think MoMo’s is a sports bar need to rethink what’s up to eat over there. MoMo’s Chef Damon Hall was slamming out the ahi tuna tartare by the monster trayload. Feeding frenzy ensued. Hard to screw that dish up, granted, but anytime it comes along, it’s a great treat. And he also made a smoked fish dish which was astounding, and handsome on the plate. Good stuff!

Damon Hall - MoMo's - ahi tuna tartare

Damon Hall – MoMo’s – ahi tuna tartare

Damon Hall - MoMo's - ahi tuna tartare

Damon Hall – MoMo’s – ahi tuna tartare

Damon Hall - MoMo's - awesome smoked fish

Damon Hall – MoMo’s – awesome smoked fish

Almost impossible to pick favorites in a stellar group like this, but if I had to, I’d say Justin Simoneaux of The Moss Room may have put out the best seafood bite. It was a tiny pastry cup filled with summer corn relish, tomato, chili, basil, and Monterey squid. Unbelievably good.

Monterey squid, corn relish, tomatoes - Justin Simoneaux of The Moss Room

Monterey squid, corn relish, tomatoes – Justin Simoneaux of The Moss Room

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SF Chefs. Food. Wine. – Awesome Meat Dishes

ELIZABETH FALKNER’S PORK BELLY

SHREDDED PORK TACO – SCOTT YOUKILIS

RYAN FARR’S BRISKET & TONGUE SANDWICH

 1. ELIZABETH FALKNER’S PORK BELLY WITH SUMMER MELON

Pulling out all the stops, Citizen Cake & Orson founder Chef Elizabeth Falkner and her crew served lovely pork belly chunks with cubed watermelon and a great, Dr. Seuss-green sauce. Rich and fantastic flavors, with the sweet melon calming the heart, the pork belly’s striation was like a painting in pork. Excellent.

Pork Belly with summer melon - Orson - Elizabeth Falkner

Pork Belly with summer melon – Orson – Elizabeth Falkner

2. SHREDDED PORK TACOS (CARNITAS) – SCOTT YOUKILIS – MAVERICK

Down the aisle, Chef Scott Youkilis of Maverick was cranking out amazing little carnitas tacos on fresh-fried tortilla chips. This was a great bite, enhanced if you so desired, with a piquant dollop of his house-made hot sauce. Youkilis steals away for 4 days once a year to produce the limited run of mouth-burn, and his balance of heat and afterbite and flavor makes the sauce a great addition to the tacos (and lots of other things I can think of). Another excellent dish.

Carnitas tacos from Maverick with house-made hot sauce. Excellent.

Carnitas tacos from Maverick with house-made hot sauce. Excellent.

Notice fire extinguisher? Yeah, Scott had house-made hot sauce!

Notice fire extinguisher? Yeah, Scott had house-made hot sauce!

3. BEEF BRISKET & TONGUE SANDWICHES – RYAN FARR – 4505 MEATS

Ryan’s a food star in the making, and you would be wise to attend any event that he’s cooking at because you will certainly be well fed. Ryan had amazing little brisket and tongue sandwiches on a great roll stuffed with cilantro. A guy asked about the sandwich and when Ryan got to “…and tongue,” the guy pulled his hand back. I chuckled and told him how great tongue is and what a soft, delicious meat it is. Ryan also gave him a soft sell. No dice. Ho hum. More for the foodios who know. Another excellent offering from Ryan.

Ryan Farr (4505 meats) - excellent brisket and tongue sandwich

Ryan Farr (4505 meats) – excellent brisket and tongue sandwich

Dude, it's tongue! It's good for you!

Dude, it’s tongue! It’s good for you!

SF Chefs. Food. Wine. – CIRCA

CIRCA – CHEF ERIK HOPFINGER @ SF CHEFS. FOOD. WINE. 2009

At the inaugural SF Chefs. Food. Wine. weekend, Chef Erik Hopfinger of CIRCA participated in both Thursday’s opening night party and Friday’s Grand Tasting Tent, which was a magnificent array of food and wines spanning a 3.5 hour lunch. Hopfinger created a great dish for each SF Chefs. Food. Wine event.

THE GRADE: EXCELLENT (for both dishes)

CIRCA Chef Erik Hopfinger @ SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009

CIRCA Chef Erik Hopfinger @ SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009

MOROCCAN CRUSTED LAMB CHOP W/MINT CHIMICHURRI

For opening night’s “RISING STAR CHEFS” party, Hopfinger offered beautifully grilled lamb chops. Herb-crusted, Moroccan-style lamb chops with pomegranate reduction and a wollop of mint chimuchurri on top, this was an excellent dish and one of the best of the opening party. I could have eaten a dozen of them.

Moroccan-style lamb chop w/mint chimichurri from CIRCA.

Moroccan-style lamb chop w/mint chimichurri from CIRCA.

TACO CHIP w/GUACAMOLE & SALSA
Chef Erik Hopfinger’s second solid offering at SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009 was a tiny taco chip laden with a fantastic guacamole and salsa. The tomato and red onion salsa was chopped much more finely than salsa fresca, sitting delicately on the chip among a creamy nibs of guacamole. The bite was light, creamy, wonderfully fresh and vibrant. It basically felt like a beautiful late afternoon in Mexico on a plate, something of a transformative taste that rolled memories of sun, salty skin, and summer into your mouth with complete contentment. Another great little dish that demanded a second helping.

CIRCA Chef Erik Hopfinger's magic little tacos and salsa

CIRCA Chef Erik Hopfinger’s magic little tacos and salsa

SF Chefs Food Wine – Wild Boar Hot Dogs

WILD BOAR CORN DOGS – CHEF RICHARD CORBO

PIZZERIA ZANNA BIANCA at SF CHEFS. FOOD. WINE. 2009

Wild Boar Corn Dogs - Richard Corbo at Zanna

Wild Boar Corn Dogs – Richard Corbo at Zanna

One of the best meat dishes at the opening night party for the inaugural SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009 was Richard Corbo’s wild boar corn dogs. Fried in small batches, Richard and his sous chef were putting down dogs and they were snatched up immediately by hungry hands.  The meat was delicately soft, quite surprising for wild boar, and the corn dog texture and flavor around the chewy, lush pork was just great. A small dollop of sauce sat on the dog, like a bellybutton bindi.

Formerly of Ducca, Richard will be opening up his own restaurant in 2010 in Oakland’s Jack London Square. It will be called Pizzeria Zanna Bianca, and we look forward to it. (Zanna Bianca is Italian for “White Fang,” a famous Jack London novel.)

The Grade: Excellent (4 out of 5)
The Spot: SF Chefs. Food. Wine. Opening Night Party, Union Square, SF

Chef Richard Corbo manning the fryer

Chef Richard Corbo manning the fryer

Wild boar corn dogs disappeared immediately

Wild boar corn dogs disappeared immediately