As you all know, lately I’ve been making strides in rebuilding my social life, making new friends, reconnecting with old friends and generally just reminding myself how to live the good life now that I’m on my own. When you live in a city as food-obsessed as San Francisco, an active social life often means a gastronomic tour of duty…no complaints from SavoryGirl on that! So I thought I’d share my iPhoto journey of my past 10 days eating out…enjoy!
First up! Bar Jules in Hayes Valley. I bus by this adorable cafe restaurant twice a day on my way to and from work…and while it has always caught my eye this was my first visit, which I was very excited about. Come to find out, that excitement was well warranted! I loved everything about this place…the food, the atmosphere, the service, the crowd…everything. There are a lot of amazing restaurants in my fair city, but to be honest, there aren’t many that I immediately put on the “I’ll definitely be back” list. Even before I had a taste of the food I had a feeling Bar Jules would be making the list, but as soon as I had my first few bites it was firmly planted there.
So what did we have in the photo above? Roasted Chicken with Creamed Spinach & Morels and Grilled Lamb over a Spring Pea and Mint Salad. We also had a butter lettuce and beet salad, a chilled spring leek soup and an amazing panna cotta with macerated strawberries. All delicious…particularly the panna cotta after my friend and I both admitted to each other that we normally don’t like panna cotta that much at all. But this one had us licking our spoons! If you haven’t been to Bar Jules go check it out…and sit at the kitchen facing bar like we did! Menus change daily and they always hold half of the seats for walk-ins, which I love.
Dosa…one of my favorite restaurants in the city, so I’ve been here many times. Which means I didn’t take quite as many pictures (ok, ok – I had also already been drinking wine all day too!) but I did remember to snap photos of two of my favorite South Indian dishes. On he left, the super puffy, fun fried Channa Bhatura that you dip into an amazing chickpea dip, shown above both fresh out of the oven fully puffed up and then a few seconds later as it starts to deflate. On the right we had the Spicy Mung Masala Dosa…a crispy paper-thin bread that you dip in a delicious lentil soup and/or any of the sauces that come along with it. This is one of my favorite Indian dishes! Besides the amazing South Indian food at Dosa, I also love the atmosphere and their cocktails. It’s the perfect spot for a date night (pretty romantic ambiance, plus you’re eating with your hands a lot which I find kind of sexy!) or a night out with a group of really great friends. Mmmm…I’m starting to think about my next visit there already!
This next one, Roka Akor, was a new one for me. I had honestly never even heard of it, but afterwards I found out it’s a small chain with locations in London, Chicago, Skokie, IL (random), and Scottsdale in addition to the San Francisco spot. It’s features Robata Japanese cuisine in a very contemporary setting. Honestly, not my normal scene…I tend to prefer warm, comforting environments but this is very well done and I did like the wealth of natural light and the fact that the kitchen is completely open and the centerpiece of the entire restaurant. This is definitely one of those places that every dish that walks by catches your attention and makes you a bit of a gawker…everything is plated beautifully and some very elaborately!
The dishes we tried above were Butterfish Tatake with White Asparagus & Yuzu in the center. Super fresh butterfish and beautifully balanced flavors…really delicious. To the sides of the Butterfish above are Wagyu Beef & Kimchi Dumplings. Need I say more? Like seriously, a party in my mouth. Then onto the sushi…we had the Hamachi Serrano Chili Roll and the Soft Shell Crab Roll with Kimchi. Both were really good, but honestly I’ve likely had better sushi…although this is in a much nicer atmosphere than most sushi spots for about the same price per specialty roll ($12-15). We said we weren’t going to get dessert…but as soon as that sneaky waitress brought the menu and we saw Roasted Pineapple with Brown Butter Mango Financier & Coconut Ice Cream we really had no choice! Quite delicious…especially the pineapple and ice cream. So all in all I thought the food was very good, but I think it’s more about the atmosphere, unique dishes and fun plating than anything else. I’d certainly come here again for a business lunch/dinner but not sure I would return otherwise.
Last but not least, Bocanova in Jack London Square in Oakland over where I work. So this isn’t a fair comparison to the other spots since it was a work lunch but I was so pleasantly surprised with both the food and atmosphere I felt I needed to include it! If you’ve never been to Jack London Square, it’s right on the bay with great views of San Francisco…so truly, the best thing about this place is the huge outdoor patio on a gorgeous day! But Bocanova isn’t all show…the food really lives up to the atmosphere. It’s fresh with unique twists and everything was cooked, seasoned and plated beautifully for a relatively casual and affordable spot. Their menu is quite expansive as well with a great mix of vegetarian, seafood and meat options.
I had the Seared Day Boat Scallops with Pumpkin Seed Pesto while one of my colleagues had Duck Carnitas Tacos. We also had a Quinoa, Kale, Avocado, Mango Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette that was seriously to die for. I’m still kicking myself for not taking that photo! Another colleague also had an Apple & Trevisio Salad with a Tamarind Vinaigrette, which we both agreed was really unique and delicious. I’ll definitely be returning to Bocanova for work lunches and cocktail hours in the future…I honestly can’t wait, I was so pleasantly surprised!
So as you can see, SavoryGirl has been living it up the past week or so…quite fun, particularly since we’ve been having a heat wave which always makes me feel more festive and social! If you have any experiences from these restaurants that you want to share, please do…particularly if you’ve discovered any must try dishes!
@barjulessf @dosasf @rokaakorsf @bocanova