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Who's hot in SF right now?


Andy Lynes
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This is a terribly lazy post for which I'd like to apologise for right off the bat. That said, would members be able to give me an idea of who is considered to be SF's hottest chef right now? I know David Kinch at Manresa, although not actually in SF, qualifies, but don't think I am going to be able to fit a trip to Los Gatos into my itinerary when I visit.

I must fess up and admit that my reason for asking is that I would like to try and bag an interview while I am in town. Normally I would do a little more research before asking such a thing, but this really is a last minute thing. Are places like Fifth Floor & Gary Danko still considered the best, or is there a new wave of chefs rising up. I have read the Chronicles top 5 for 2005, does that list reconcile with member's views?

I promise to look around the forum when I get the time, but a few pointers would be much appreciated.

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I'm delighted to see that this idiotic thread has been given the short shrift it deserves. As an update, it now looks highly likely that I will be able to make a visit to Manresa which I am thrilled about.

I am however still in search of a chef in the city itself and will do some proper research on the forum and refine my question which I hope will then be worthy of an answer. Thanks for your patience on this.

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I hope you do get some ideas from other folks Andy.

My recent SF experiences (in the last year) has been with more "tried and true" favorites rather than some of the new and up and coming chefs--hence, I have no advice to post...

I did see the recent Chron article, but again, alas, have no personal commentary to add...

Hope the Manresa plans hold.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Daniel Humm at Campton Place seems to have a lot of buzz-buzz.

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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While I think the b'stilla needs a bit of help, Andy, I might consider you check out Mourad Lahlou at Aziza.

That Chron article is about 'rising chefs' which is looking at the under-30 set of up-and-coming chefs who might be hot in the future, but are not necessarily there yet. Now that they are getting this press (and possibly your's?), it will definite increase their cashe.

Besides, what is being seen most right now are those chefs who are taking French and California cuisine to a new level. At least with Mourad, you get the added bonus of having someone take the traditional Moroccan to a new level.

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Andy-

I support Carolyn's idea. The Cal/French thing or Cal/Asian or Cal/Med for that matter has been beaten to death. At least in the press, it's been written about a lot. Why not a different cuisine. You could even do a comparison piece with Momo's place in London (Mourad Mazouz) .

As a side note, SF is a fun city to visit. The people are warm, relaxed, friendly.Lots of things to do, places to eat. I can't say enough about it. It's great for couples and for kids as well. As far as all around city vacations go alone, couple or family SF is second on my list after Paris.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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SF dining seems to be stuck in a rut these days. The popular recommendations tend to be Italian/Mediterranean/Cal variations—the restaurants may be new, the chefs young and happy, but the food is 1980s/1990s.. The thrills are found in the ethnic restaurants, but I’m really bad on the names. Walking in Chinatown, I can show you a terrific noodle place so many doors up from the fish shop on Stockton, but who’s the chef or what’s the name of that hole in the wall?

I like Daniel Humm at Campton Place, but he seems trapped in a tiny hotel restaurant with an inconsistent supporting staff. Others have had mediocre meals. I’ve loved almost everything I’ve eaten there.

Masa’s has a new chef I haven’t tried yet: Gregory Short, supposedly out of French Laundry: http://www.masas.citysearch.com/ Is this guy any good?

There’s lots of talk about Michael Mina. Food is just ok, nothing new, but all the fancy little porcelain and the glamourama décor seems to impress people.

I was in London last year; you’re not going to find anything on the level of a St. John or a Ramsey operation.

Perhaps this thread can be used to discuss the almost retarded level of dining in SF. (no offense--I mean stuck in the past, unable to develop)

I love the UK forum, by the way.

Edited by crosparantoux (log)
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The thrills are found in the ethnic restaurants, but I’m really bad on the names. Walking in Chinatown, I can show you a terrific noodle place so many doors up from the fish shop on Stockton, but who’s the chef or what’s the name of that hole in the wall?

I so agree that the best and least expensive food is to be had at the ethnic restaurants. I understand the question. However, perhaps what should be asked is what is the hot food in SF right now?

Across all food forum boards, the same boring posts are being made over and over. It seems like Californians are a bunch of lemmings who follow who is hot, so they deserve the same Cal/Med cuisine over and over and over. I think if I see one more pork belly or roasted beet, I will scream.

I wish the top chefs would get out of their comfort zones and start introducing white bread America to some exciting cuisines. While I don't like Slanted Door at the present time because I feel they have become sloppy with the move, it was different.

Recently I dined at La Salette which does an upscale version of Portugues. Yet it seems the owner downplays the word 'Portuguese' because it is strange to the in crowd.

There are exciting chefs in Mexico City that put out food on the level of a Gary Danko. Dishes you cannot even begin to imagine. Yet what is the best San Francisco can do ... Maya. Even that restuarant panders to mainstream tastes by serving guacamole and chips. That would be like Campton Place serving Lays potato chips with Lipton onion dip.

I can tell you a restaurant in the Bay Area, a hole in the wall, whose food gives me the same pleasure as anything I have eaten in Chez Panisse. The woman has as much passion about food as Alice Waters. But people would not be interested.

There is a hole in the wall, called Chef Jia. The SF Chronicle did a report a few years back and it became a hot dive, so to speak. I was at a group dinner at Bizou and people were talking about good restaurants in town ... the usual suspects ... Boulevard, Town Hall, etc... These strangers were patting themselves on the back for their adventure at Chef Jia. There were there, not for the food, but because the Chronicle said the restaurant was in.

There is amazing Chinese, Indian, Japanese, etc, etc food in the Bay Area. I hope that a few famous chefs would be brilliant enough to bring these treasures to the top tier dining scene.

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I can assure you that every one in town knows what kind of restaurant it is.

Quote "Recently I dined at La Salette which does an upscale version of Portugues. Yet it seems the owner downplays the word 'Portuguese' because it is strange to the in crowd."

:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin: And those of us that live here don't care about the in crowd. All they do is take up the parking in town. :wink::wink::biggrin:

Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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I can tell you a restaurant in the Bay Area, a hole in the wall, whose food gives me the same pleasure as anything I have eaten in Chez Panisse. The woman has as much passion about food as Alice Waters. But people would not be interested.

I'm interested! What hole in the wall are you talking about?

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I tried The 5th Floor a few months ago and it seemed to be buzzing (in a subdued way). Everyone at the conference I was at wanted to try (about half of us were staying at the Hotel Palamor where it is located) but only a few were able to score reservations.

"Instead of orange juice, I'm going to use the juice from the inside of the orange."- The Brilliant Sandra Lee

http://www.matthewnehrlingmba.com

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I can tell you a restaurant in the Bay Area, a hole in the wall, whose food gives me the same pleasure as anything I have eaten in Chez Panisse. The woman has as much passion about food as Alice Waters. But people would not be interested.

I might be in SF soon and I would be interested!

Out of interest, what makes you so sure that people would not be interested? Am I missing something? :unsure:

Edited by VeryApe77 (log)
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This is all very helpful, thanks a lot. I'm going to attempt to do a bit of trend spotting in the short time I'm in town. Is there any one type of restaurant, or style of service or location that I shoudl pay particular attention to?

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This is all very helpful, thanks a lot. I'm going to attempt to do a bit of trend spotting in the short time I'm in town. Is there any one type of restaurant, or style of service or location that I shoudl pay particular attention to?

Peruvian food is what is hot in SF. A lot of people like Limon, we prefer Mochica. Other options include Destino and Fresca.

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This is all very helpful, thanks a lot. I'm going to attempt to do a bit of trend spotting in the short time I'm in town. Is there any one type of restaurant, or style of service or location that I should pay particular attention to?

I'm not sure if you've seen this on your side of the pond yet, but I am experiencing a preponderance towards Small Plates -- beyond mere Tapas.

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I caught the Michael Mina opening on "Opening Soon". Looks fantastic!

His food looks very intriguing...

"You like Thai?"

"Yea, you like shirt?" -Trent Steele & Max Power (From The Simpsons Episode No. 216)

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ps: yeah, definately mourad at Aziza, wonderful wine service (and pairing wine with middle eastern inspired food not always such an easy task), so imaginative yet suave and seductive the food, esp and surprisingly the desserts ( i don't have a real sweet tooth but was rocked to bliss by several of their offerings).

marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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Michael Tusk at Quince (and his lovely wife Lindsay, who manages the front of the house with aplomb).

Edited by moosnsqrl (log)

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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