Tag Archives: favorite meat dishes

Pork Chop (Fresca, SF)

Pork Chop – Chuleton de Chancho

Fantastic Pork Chop, Fresca (SF)
Fantastic Pork Chop, Fresca (SF)

Fresca, a Peruvian restaurant with two locations in San Francisco, is renowned for an amazing array of ceviche. So Fresca may not be top of mind when someone’s considering a great meat dish in the Bay Area. But make no mistake, Fresca makes one of the best pork dishes in San Francisco. 

The pork chop at Fresca is stellar. It’s a nominee for Meatmeister’s Top Pork Dishes of 2009.

The pork chop itself is a generous portion (sometimes called a double-cut for its thickness), and is perfectly pale pink and juicy inside. The grilling on the chop is superb. The pork chop vogues across a muddy-river toned flatbed of rice and beans (black bean “tacu-tacu”), and some wicked plantains that are slightly crisped, sweet, and tender. Atop the chop is a mango mustard salsa, with some aji honey mustard sauce. Whew; it is one great dish and highly recommended for pork chop fans.

The Grade: Awesome / Phenomenal (my highest grade)

The Damage: $19

The Skinny: Fresca

Website: http://www.frescasf.com 

Locations: Fillmore, Noe Valley, Sunset, and West Portal

Noe Valley location: 3945 – 24th Street, SF CA

Phone: (415) 695-0549

See Fresca’s dinner menu

Bacon Heart Attack Dinner (3) – Hobbs’ Bacon-wrapped Halibut Filet

Hobbs’ Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Halibut

Bacon Heart Attack Dinner, Course 3: Hobbs’ bacon-wrapped halibut filet, braised fennel, edible wildflower, marjoram butter sauce

Course three of the Bacon Heart Attack Dinner had a flurry of flavors, but the richness suggested by bacon and marjoram butter sauce were little mouthfuls of subtleties. (Especially compared to the later, richer, and more piquant dishes that followed.) The small halibut was wrapped in Hobbs’ Applewood Smoked Bacon. Braised fennel and a tiny edible flower bisect the plate; the marjoram-butter sauce convenes the flavor-clashes together in a truly sumptuous manner.

The pairing for this dish was house-made rice wine from the Dissident Chef and crew (no bottle shown).

Hobbs' Bacon-Wrapped Halibut Filet, Braised Fennel
Hobbs' Bacon-Wrapped Halibut Filet, Braised Fennel

Veal Sweetbreads (Chez Spencer, SF)

Serious Sweetbreads in San Francisco

Veal Sweetbreads, Chez Spencer, SF

Veal Sweetbreads, Chez Spencer, SF
Veal Sweetbreads, Chez Spencer, SF

Like their signature filet mignon capped with creamy morels & truffle butter, the sautéed veal sweetbreads at Chez Spencer are simply over the top. This pheromone-jolting little plate is rich, rich, rich. Not bourgeois rich, not nouveau-riche, but dirty-old-money, we-don’t-look-at-prices rich.

Chez Spencer’s sweetbreads draw that perfect balance of slightly crisp outside and wonderfully chewy within, with sienna brown gravy (sherry wine vinegar and truffle vinaigrette) that’s waiting for a pirouette of torn bread to dance across its muddled floor. The little glands have a fallen ceiling of crisp baby spinach and a big, flat roof of a Parmesan crisp to add a tiny cheese-tang to the mild tang of the sherry wine vinegar. Some of the best sweetbreads in San Francisco, to be sure, and thankfully, they’re a staple on the menu of this little French hideaway where the Mission District meets the even more grungy South Van Ness and 14th Streets.

The Grade: Exceptional (5 out of 5). This is a large appetizer that should be shared, preferably by 3 people.
The Damage: $17
The Skinny: Chez Spencer 82 14th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 864-2191
Website: www.chezspencer.net
Chez Spencer on Urbanspoon

MEATY PASTA: PAPPARDELLE WITH VENISON RAGU

Pappardelle with Venison Ragu

Awesome Venison Ragu Pappardelle, Big Sur Bakery
Awesome Venison Ragu Pappardelle, Big Sur Bakery

The Dish: Pappardelle with Venison Ragu

I certainly enjoy hearty meaty pastas. And I usually enjoy the requisite napping that follows. As meaty pastas go, the pappardelle with venison ragu at Big Sur Bakery is outstanding. Rich and flavorful, the sauce puts a tingling in the mouth straight away. The venison is slow-cooked, tender, and thrillingly tasty. The pappardelle, long and flat, spotted with olive and basil oil, make a great wrap for the delicate deer meat. This was one of the best meaty pastas of 2008. Congrats, Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant!

The Spot: Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant, Big Sur, CA

Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant is my favorite place to eat in Big Sur, hands down. It transforms from a funky little bakery in the morning that serves up incredible pastries to a lovely and heart-warming little spot for a romantic dinner in the evenings. Every pastry, every dinner I had there was excellent.  Two of the three folks behind this little gem are are an emigre couple from Los Angeles, pastry chef/co-owner Michelle Rizzolo and her husband, chef Philip Wojtowicz.

What’s great about Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant is its straightforward, unpretentious excellence and down-home, rustic simplicity: picnic tables on the patio and heavy little wooden tables and chairs inside.

The service is friendly and sweet and, if any place can demonstrate the inexpressibly tender magic of one of the most magical spots on Earth, Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant certainly does. It’s the gastronomic soul of Big Sur, and Rizzolo & Wojtowicz capture Big Sur’s zeitgeist in every bite.  It doesn’t just get to your stomach; it stays in your heart.

Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant, Big Sur CA
Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant, Big Sur CA

The Grade: Awesome (5 out of 5)
The Damage: $23
The Skinny: Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant
47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA
Phone: (831) 667-0520
Website: http://www.bigsurbakery.com


Big SUR Bakery on Urbanspoon