Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

1300 Fillmore – Shrimp-filled hushpuppies

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Get the flash player here:

I grew up with a Father from the south and was well-indoctrinated with his version of hushpuppies. They came from a box mix that I am not even sure is still on the market these days. Dad would make them whenever we had pan-fried trout or catfish or other southern delicacies that he recalled from his youth in Albandy, Georgia. He would tell me the etymology (which I later learned was printed on the side of the box), about how these cornmeal-based fritters’ name came from hunters or fisherman who would throw them to their canine companions to quiet them; literally, “hush, Puppy!” A slightly savory batter, the best hushpuppies I’ve had are studded with scallions and made with buttermilk, fried to golden goodness and served with butter.

At San Francisco’s 1300 Fillmore, southern cuisine is elevated to a more elegant setting. I have dined often on their shrimp-and-grits, fried chicken, and braised short ribs. It was a quiet evening when I stopped in to the bar area for a quick bite and saw shrimp hushpuppies on the appetizer menu. Somewhat anticipating bits of chopped shrimp in the cornmeal batter, I was surprised to see that the dough completely encased a whole shrimp, with the tail protruding out. The coarse hushpuppy batter was acting more like a tempura batter than its own vessel, but I was pleasantly surprised by the tenderness and richness of the batter. Served with an ancho chile remoulade, I found the flavor rich and not too overpowering for the delicate taste of the shrimp. Not a traditional hushpuppy by any means, but still quite enjoyable!

1300 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 771-7100

1300 Fillmore on Urbanspoon

Hall Of Shame, Part I

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

There is no way around it, there are a plethora of doughnut shops around the world which should be ashamed of themselves. This will more of a philosophical investigation as I hearken them to similarly disparaging fast-food restaurants. Here in parts of San Francisco (name, the Tenderloin), they serve a purpose to a certain aspect of society — the unknowing, the uncaring, the homeless and the crack addicts.

I will confess that when I wander the streets of San Francisco and I spy one of the signs that a doughnut shop exists, my heart skips a beat. 98% of the time, I can ignore the cravings and desires, knowing all full well that disappointment usually lies within. These mom-and-pop doughnut shops are an interesting ilk. More often than not, they are run by an ethnic minority (Cambodian, Laotian, or other South East Asian tribe). (more…)

Coffee Bar; Trompe-L’œil Doughnut

Monday, April 5th, 2010

In the French language, Trompe-l’œil means to fool the eye. Personally, I am big fan of Trompe-l’œil as an art form. I have practiced it myself — painting a living room ceiling blue with fluffy clouds giving the appearance of a lovely Spring day with the naked sky above me. I learned it as a decorating motif, making the eye see more space than really exists. There are very famous renditions of Trompe-l’œil in the art world, including the modern Carlo Marchiori and his muralist haven, Ca’Toga in Calistoga.

And there is a slight sense of irony that I experienced a little Trompe-l’œil moment at San Francisco’s Coffee Bar. Located in an area in SoMa (South of Market, for those you unfamiliar with our neighborhoods), I had just finished a painting lesson when I settled in at the upstairs bar which looks down upon the workers. I am a metalsmith by training and I had been taking painting lessons from Chris Leib to expand my repertoire.

I spied the dark brown, cinnamon-studded morsels in the pastry case and ordered one alongside a latté. I have to say, it was one damn-fine latté. The “doughnut,” however, was not a doughnut at all. My eye had been tricked by its size, demeanor, and gorgeousness. This hunk of dough had not been fried, but baked. It was dry and leaden and crumbly. It was probably vegan (although I have had some very good vegan pastries) in its attempt to be HEALTHY. Apparently the Coffee Bar gets their pastries (or at least this one) from Jasmine Rae Bakery, but here was an attempt to make something decidedly unhealthy less so. Sadly, it didn’t quite succeed in even being a good baked good. Very crumbly and the consistency of the classic Dolly Madison crumb cake but with so much cinnamon as to burn the mouth.

1890 Bryant St
(between 17th St & Mariposa St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Mission
(415) 551-8100


Coffee Bar on Urbanspoon

Starbucks Doughnuts

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Here in San Francisco, in the vast display cases of the Starbucks empire, lie donuts. Bedecked in white frosting and glittering with sparkly, course, decorative sugar, these little 3″ offerings are beguilingly attractive. Offered in white and chocolate cake, their glistening covering is reminiscent of freshly fallen snow just before Christmas. They tease and they taunt; their white draping perfectly covering what anticipates to be a delectable and engaging treat.

Ah, if only it were to be… Well, it is entirely possible that they ARE, when fresh. Unfortunately, the two different times I have tried them, I have found these doughnuts to be dry and crumbly and the frosting to be too sweet; if you are going to sprinkle sugar all over the damn thing, you don’t need to make the frosting THAT sweet.

Now I know that different Starbucks in different regions source their baked goods from various bakeries. When I lived in Los Angeles, I had a serious addiction to a cinnamon twist that existed at a Starbucks near La Cienega Boulevard. Back then, I think many of the breads were also brought in from the famed La Brea Bakery. I even enjoy the Egg Salad Sandwiches from time to time. It is anyone’s best guess where these San Francisco Starbucks are getting their baked goods as they are wildly inconsistent. Sometimes I see Morning Bunz that look and taste amazing and other times, they are obviously from a different supplier.

Regardless, I think you should trust me on this accord; avoid their donuts.
Starbucks on Urbanspoon