Food & Drink

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST NOLA WEST

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Appropriately, the Chapel opened last year with a string of concerts by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a group named for its origin point at NOLA's Preservation Hall jazz venue. That's the spot Valencia Street's new place for music worship (officially known as Preservation Hall West at the Chapel) is modeled after, and endlessly inspired by, be it in in the form of design, live music, or eats. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST FREEKEH-BEET TO FREAK ABOUT

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It is with good reason that Hella Vegan Eats' doughnut burger was the runaway star of the San Francisco Street Food Festival this year. No false modesty here: the Bay Guardian had already been praising that sticky delicious beet burger for months, even giving it top billing in our "Vegan Junk Food" feature. But no matter who broke the story; the real scoop here is that special dish, lovingly crafted by couple-founders Tiffany and Sylvee Esquivel, and showing up regularly at places like Dear Mom, Timeless Coffee in Oakland, and Dolores Park through La Cocina. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST SURROUND SOUND DINING

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When the sound system at your restaurant outstrips the food when it comes to rave reviews, you might have a problem. But the folks at Berkeleys's elegant, spare, and forward-thinking Comal are confident enough in their menu to take us to the next level of sensual experience. The haute-Mexican cuisine, emphasizing deep flavors and grilled textures, speaks for itself. But the sound of the place speaks volumes. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST CURRY QUEUE

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Light fare it is not, but are we ever glad to have come around to the gravy-like consistency and rich, complex flavors of Japanese curry. Nothing seems more homey or satisfying than when the comforting heft of a curry-laden lunch plate — chicken or pork katsu, tender cubed beef, steaming veggie, etc. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST POP SCENE

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You're welcome to play it safe tastewise in Willy Wonka-like soda paradise The Fizzary. Pop a familiar bottle of orange into the joint's charming quick chill device, crack, and glug. But even amid that flavor's designated shelf of sodas you'll find intriguing variations — a bottle flown in from the Phillipines, a blood orange variation innocuously lounging, a five-gallon jug of your childhood favorite fizz to take your sugar highs to new altitudes. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST NORTH BEACH FRY BOMB

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Oh, the end of a long night in North Beach. There you are, mercifully relieved of your singles after oh-so-lovely times watching the ladies of the Penthouse Club clack their mega-heels all up and down the two-story stripper poles. You're satiated in the "make it rain" department ... but damn, are you hungry. Enter Taqueria Zorro's Zorro burrito, there to stuff your belly and slash "satisfied" across your chest. What's in the Zorro, you ask? Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST CHILL TREAT

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"Rich and creamy, baked with love, and served chilled for the California heat" — did Schulzies Bread Pudding sound intriguing until that "chilled" part? Open your mind, bread pudding snob: Sarah Schulz's Venice Beach-born, super-moist dessert sensation, which added a Hayes Valley location last year, is too delicious to deny (and the shop has warm options to balance out the cold, FYI). Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST GROWTH IN THE YARD

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Back in 1992, inmate counselor Catherine Sneed started pioneering programs for former offenders that eventually led to the implementation of the San Francisco Jail's Garden Project. This in-jail option gives inmates the time and space to plant and tend their own organically grown food gardens at the Jail's San Bruno complex as a healthy add-in to their rehabilitation. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST COMMUTER CRUSTS

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The Mexican-Italian house of Juan Gutierrez opened The Sandwich Place in 1979 when Gutierrez was only 14 years old. A tiny shop that just fits its refrigerator cases full of bevs and counter, the shop sits a stone's throw from the 16th Street BART station in a bustling milieu of commuters, street preachers, and the occasional demonstration or spoken word open mic. In such a space, one would expect strict utilitarianism. But Gutierrez would scoff at such assumptions — quickly, in his exuberantly bilingual manner. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST OUT-THERE GROCERIES

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Houses in the Sunset may be built on dunes, but make no mistake, the neighborhood is no food desert. The flagship of the snacktastic stretch of outer Judah Street (see also: locavore haven Outerlands, beloved Mexican resto Celia's by the Beach) is without a doubt grocery co-op Other Avenues, about to round the bend on year 40 in the western neighborhood. Read more »