Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Like a lot of kids, I brought a mommy-packed lunch full of nutrition and love to school everyday. (In a hip Duck Tales lunch box, I might add. Early '90s cartoons rock.) The main part of my lunch was usually a sandwich featuring mayo, meat, and cheese, with the bread crusts removed and the whole thing sliced diagonally. I was very particular about the way I wanted my sandwiches made. Nowadays, of course, I'm not so particular, but I'm always on the lookout for another interesting variation of this everyday food item.

'Wichcraft in San Francisco is one of my favorite sandwich places in the city. They've got a great selection of sandwiches with yummy combinations of ingredients. Plus, they often order ingredients from small producers, and use oils that are low in saturated fats. Some star selections on the menu:
  • Onion Frittata Sandwich with roasted tomatoes and cheddar on a ciabatta roll
  • Goat Cheese Sandwich with avocado, celery, walnut pesto, and watercress on multi-grain bread
  • Roasted Pork Sandwich with coppa, pickled pepper relish, and fontina on grilled country bread
Grilled Cheddar Sandwich with smoked ham, pear, and mustard on cranberry-pecan bread

Potato salad with mustard viniagrette

Check this place out for breakfast or lunch!

858 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 593-3895

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Epic Roasthouse

Having gone to my third and most likely final graduation last weekend, I still think all the ceremony is a whole bunch of fluff, complete with inspiring speeches that no one really remembers, uncomfortable shoes, and grad caps that either make us look like painters or bakers, depending on the angle. Needless to say, I was incredibly happy when it was all over, and I could proceed to take countless obligatory photos and sip on free champagne at the reception. Oh, and get rid of my ridiculous baker's cap.

By the end of the reception, I was starving and couldn't wait to sit down for dinner. I had made reservations at Epic Roasthouse a month earlier, and was excited to try Chef Jan Birmbaum's offerings.

One of the most amazing things about Epic is the view of the ocean and the Bay Bridge from the restaurant. It's the stuff of those "I [Heart] SF" postcards. Epic has tall windows on each side of the restaurant, so you can admire the view completely while enjoying your meal.

As for decor, the space was classically comfortable, with tall ceilings and plush carpeting. Dominating the middle of the restaurant was a prominent seven-foot flywheel with bold red paint.

Birnbaum wanted to go "beyond the traditional steakhouse," and this was evident from the menu. Steak was obviously the main attraction, with staples like prime rib, rib eye, and New York strip, along with classic steakhouse sides like mushrooms and spinach. Yet there were also plenty of other meat offerings (e.g., Wild Mushroom Risotto with Crispy Pork Belly and Balsamic Pork Reduction), as well as seafood (e.g., Wood Oven Roasted Half Dungeness Crab with Cipollini Onions and Fingerling Potatoes).

My mom always begins judging a restaurant by the quality of its complimentary bread. She really, really likes bread. Lucky for her, Epic served three different kinds!

Our favorite was the cheese-filled popover on the left. We shamelessly kept asking for more.

For an appetizer, we started off with a set of four baked oysters - two Rockefellers and two Bienvilles. Both were excellent, and I especially loved the melted cheese and breadcrumbs atop the Rockefellers.

Baked Oysters 2x2 ($12)

My dad and I decided to split the Rib Eye for two, a 32-ounce medium-rare feast presented bone-in, like all the other steaks at Epic. Good texture on the meat and savory accompanying sauces, all of which paired wonderfully with the bottle of Joseph Phelps Le Mistral that I had saved for my graduation. Yet I have to admit that I'm still quite partial to the scrumptious steaks at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Yes, it's a chain and has never been featured in movies, but that is still my default steakhouse. Maybe I just like buttery-flavored steaks.

Wood Oven Roasted Rib Eye for Two with Horseradish and Black Pepper Creme Fraiche ($84)

One of my favorite red wines! ($25 corkage fee)

My mom's salmon was delicious, just barely cooked all the way through and perched atop fresh asparagus stalks. It was nice to see (or taste) that the seafood here was just as good as the steak!

Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon with Asparagus and Housemade Pancetta Vinaigrette ($27)

Side of Wild Sauteed Mushrooms ($9)
Thick and chewy - great with the rib eye!

And of course, we couldn't forgo dessert, my favorite part of a meal! We split the chocolate souffle and the vanilla creme brulee.

Warm Scharffenberger Chocolate Soufflé with Caramel Sea Salt Ice Cream ($10)

The cool, subtle flavor of the caramel ice cream contrasted well with the rich, warm, slightly bitter-sweetness of the chocolate. This is the stuff of chocolate lovers' dreams.

Vanilla Crème Brûlée with Citrus Salad ($10)

I personally liked the creme brulee more, since I'm not the biggest fan of dark chocolate. Epic's creme brulee was nicely done, with smooth custard under a perfectly burnt sugar coating, and fresh berries on the side.

Overall, definitely an epic experience, along with an epic bill at the end. And now I'm also curious about Waterbar, which is right next door...

Epic Roasthouse
369 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 369-9955

Saturday, May 17, 2008

"You Stay Classy, San Diego!"

As a graduation gift to myself, I took a weekend trip to San Diego to visit some old college friends and, of course, to eat until I regained all the weight I lost while I was engrossed in textbooks during my exam period. The following are photos of my favorite meals from the trip.

La Jolla eggs benedict | bacon, mushrooms, spinach, tomato, garlic & balsamic vinegar| The Cottage

Mimosa | Champagne Bakery

Breakfast flatbread | over easy egg, bacon, cheese, marinara sauce | Champagne Bakery

Chicken wings | Yakitori Yakyudori

Smoked gouda cheese | Von's

Wine selection | The FleetWood

Tako wasabi | Tajima 2

Uni pasta | Tajima 2

Shaved ice | Cafe Venti

Thanks to everyone who made the meals so memorable! I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. And I'll be topping off my graduation celebrations tomorrow night with dinner at Epic Roasthouse in San Francisco!