Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Foreign Cinema: Brunch At Its Best

Marshall: Why can't two guys who are friends go to brunch?
Ted: Because brunch is kind of...
Robin: Girly.
Marshall: Girly? Breakfast isn't girly. Lunch isn't girly. What makes brunch girly?
Ted: I don't know. There's nothing girly about a horse, nothing girly about a horn. But put them together and you get a unicorn.
-- How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

Maybe the idea of brunch really does evoke images of girly, yuppie indulgence on a Sunday morning, but that made it perfect for a food date to catch up with Julie, one of my long-time girlfriends who was visiting in town. I had heard wonderful things about the brunch at Foreign Cinema, and we were definitely not disappointed. And luckily for me, Julie brought along her fancy SLR camera, so I have to thank her for these photos!

The restaurant is a pleasant surprise in the middle of the busy Mission District of SF. The space has a soft industrial feel, but is still effortlessly classy and comfortable, with wood floors, a high ceiling, and plenty of natural light.

Chefs Gayle Pirie and John Clark have roamed the city's restaurant scene for decades. In addition to having worked at Zuni Cafe and Chez Panisse, they've also traveled through Europe and Asia researching culinary ingredients. In 1999, they opened Foreign Cinema, which offers exceptional California/Mediterranean-inspired dishes with fresh ingredients, creative flavor combinations, and chic-but-unfussy presentation.

Two poached eggs with grilled duck breast
on a bed of warm salad greens, croutons, currants, shitakes, sherry ($12.50)

It's never too early to eat duck! This was Julie's dish, but I tried a bit and immediately put it on my list for next time. The duck was tender and juicy; the eggs were perfectly poached; and the greens were a nice contrast of color and texture.

Baguette French toast
with blackberry sauce, mascarpone, powdered sugar, maple syrup ($8.50)

All the milky and eggy goodness of French toast, plus the chewy consistency of a baguette! The blackberry sauce was a nice touch that complemented the maple syrup well.

Slow-cooked brown sugar smoked bacon ($4.50)

This was the BEST bacon I've ever had. No joke. The bacon was juicy, crispy but not burnt, and infused with sweet brown sugar. A happy marriage of the sweet and the salty.

And finally, no girly brunch would be complete without dessert!

Ginger cake with crème anglaise, citrus essence ($5.50)

You can bet I'll be back at Foreign Cinema soon. With the girls, or the guys, or just myself! Can't really care when the food is this good.

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Photos from a "Secret" Japanese Gem

My boyfriend had been raving about a Japanese hole-in-the-wall joint, so we had to go try it. One visit was all it took to make me a fan. The food is simple but very fresh, and reminiscent of Japanese home cooking. Per the owner's request, I can't post the name of the restaurant together with the photos. So if you want to know where this place is, please contact me directly.

Mushroom and asparagus in some amazing sauce

Sake steamed clams


Sashimi platter

Hamachi sashimi

Ok, it was a bad idea to post a new entry before dinner. I'm starving now. 'Till next time!