Saturday, February 16, 2008


In addition to a food review, you also get to learn a new French word today - plouf! It means "splash" in French, or according to the website's more eloquent definition, "the sound a stone makes when it drops into a French stream." Try saying the word aloud. Really does sound like a stone splashing into water, doesn't it? Ah, the French language is wonderful ... which is how I got seduced into studying it for five years, I suppose.

Plouf is the name of a trendy seafood bistro on Belden Lane, tucked in between all the other little restaurants on that bustling street. I went with a group of friends for the Dine About Town event in San Francisco - $31.95 for a three-course prix fixe meal. What better time to check out a famous restaurant in the city?

My beverage for the meal was a wonderful lychee martini that was on the stronger side. I liked how they suspended the lychee over the surface of the cocktail with a skewer; usually bartenders will just drop the lychee into the bottom of the glass where it soaks up too much vodka.

First course: Veggie soup with couscous

I wasn't a fan of the soup because the flavor was about as unimpressive as its appearance. I had to add some pepper just to make it less bland.

Second course: Grilled pork loin with polenta fries, braised swiss chard,
and smokey tomato sauce

The second course was thankfully much better than the first. The pork was grilled to a nice degree, and the meat went fairly well with the tangy tomato sauce and the slightly bitter swiss chard.

Several of my friends ordered the steamed Prince Edward Island mussels, stewed in a mouth-watering broth of their choice (not pictured). Having tried one of the mussels myself, I suspect Plouf might be better for seafood dishes. But I'll test that hunch out on another night.

Dessert: Vanilla bean creme brulee

The creme brulee was a solid end to the meal - light and creamy with a hint of vanilla bean flavor. And I loved the edible cookie spoon! However, it still didn't come close to the amazing creme brulee at Chapeau.

My overall thoughts on Plouf? I was happy for my meal at the Dine About Town price, but I'm not sure I would be as keen on eating here at the normal price. Although I think I'd need to make another visit and try more of the food before deciding that.

40 Belden Place
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 986-6491

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ti Couz

This is one of my favorite little restaurants in the Mission district - a super cute French shop with the look and feel of an old Parisian cafe. Ti Couz has a very comprehensive selection of crepes, from the savory to the sweet. And if you can't find something you like on the menu, you can create your own. The menu also features other French fare, including made-from-scratch soups (try their corn bisque if it's a daily special), salads, fresh seafood, plates of cheese and chacuterie, and wonderful desserts.

This is how most of their basic crepes look - simple and unassuming on the outside...

...but filled with goodies on the inside! Here's a ratatouille crepe filled with mixed veggies.

And no French restaurant would be complete without good coffee.

Ti Couz
3108 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 252-7373