Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

Rex Reborn

I’m excited to see something new going into the Rex place. I’ve long been wishing to see it shutter; never was a fan. Who knows what will replace it? Zarzuela has some competition. I’m excited.


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A new coffee shop, called The Brew, opened today in the former florist’s shop space at 2436 Polk St., between Union and Filbert. The menu is pretty straightforward with the usual cappuccinos, espresso, etc., and the decor is simple; there’s really no angle that sets this place apart. But nevertheless it’s a nice, quiet place to relax and they serve great coffee; I ordered a latte, which I enjoyed. There are several places to sit, including window stools overlooking the sidewalk and comfortable leather chairs. There are even some toys and a play area in the back for kids.

It’s exciting to see a new business open on Polk, especially on that side of Union, which is less commercial. There is no shortage of coffee shops on Polk, but this one in particular seems ideal for those who want to avoid the bustle of Starbuck’s and Peet’s or want more square footage than Royal Ground affords you.

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You know you can trust word on the street when it comes from, well, the street. One Polk Street business owner recently shared on her Facebook page that she’s “really, really excited a salad bar is finally coming to Polk Street . . . Blue Barn.” Apparently a neighboring business owner told her it’s going into the former Jade Snow Wong Travel Space at 2424 Polk St., which would make sense, as the location has had kraft paper covering the windows lately and seems to be under construction. But, the new Blue Barn Gourmet (second to a Marina location) is also rumored to be opening at 2238 Polk St, the former address of that seriously over-priced catering place, Aimee, Andrew & Co., which is already set up for a kitchen — did I mention I’m glad they closed?

I’m excited for the possibility of having more yummy salads on Polk, but wary of the street becoming too franchise-ridden. One commenter wrote, “Now all we need is a Chow and a Plant and we’ll be good.” Eek! Or how about all we need is an adorably cute and delicious café that’s one-of-a-kind and unique to our already unique neighborhood? That sounds better to me.

Anyone got any more scoop on Blue Barn moo-ving in to Russian Hill?

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Great typical French brasserie. Thonet bentwood chairs, dimly lit, and chic menu typography. La nourriture…c’est TBD.UPDATE on Cafe des Amis (2000 Union at Buchanan):

  • Sauvignon Blance aux pichet (by the carafe!) . . . delicieux!
  • French onion soup . . . to die for!
  • Hanger steak-frites . . . overcooked (medium was medium well), semi-bland, but bearnaise sauce was scrumptious.
  • Upside down almond cake with plums . . . indulgent!
  • Complimentary mini 1″ square salted brownie . . . perhaps the definitive reason I’ll be returning asap!

P.S. The lovely Eggplant Elephant was my dinner date!

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    Antica Trattoria (2400 Polk at Union) is set to close sometime in the next four months and will be replaced by a casual neighborhood hangout called Leopold’s. Tear! I’m booking a reservation ASAP! Inside Scoop has the details.

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    I’ve never eaten at the Afghan restaurant Helmand Palace (Van Ness between Union and Green), mostly because it just looks like a hole-in-the-wall and secondly because I don’t know much about Afghan cuisine. But, Michael of the S.O.F.A.T. blog (Stories of Food and Travel) dined there recently, and reading about his experience has convinced me to try it.
    Here’s how he describes the qabalee: “A mound of rice that, once uncovered, exposes juicy, moist and tender chunks of lamb. The carrots and raisins complement the rice and lamb with another dose of sweet, moist flavor. This was surprisingly more addicting that the aushak and bowlawni.” Yum! Looks good! Sounds good! Feels good?

    Have you tried Helmand Palace? What was your experience?

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    Near or far, edgy or conservative, American or foreign, a city is always a living, breathing thing. But despite the bustling streets, the forward-thinking citizens, and the need to push, push, push, you’ll find pockets that remain static — in face of change. Since I carved out a little life for myself around Russian Hill, Hyde Street has always seemed like one of those inert niches, free of the revolving doors and foot traffic of its sister street, Polk. With its twinkling lights and quaint streetcar drone, heading up to Hyde is a little like a trip back to your parent’s house . . . the pantry remains stocked with 15-year-old cans of pinto beans and desk drawers brim with ’90s Christmas cards of kids in white turtlenecks. On the outside, it looks a little staid, but it feels like home.

    When I learned that 1550 Hyde would be closing Aug. 15, to be replaced by Alexander Alioto’s Seven Hills come October, it shook me a little. I liked that place! Change may be inevitable but that doesn’t make it any more palatable.

    So I headed there Saturday night for one last hoorah. A salad of Marin Roots Farm little gem lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado green goddess dressing ushered in grilled red wattle pork chops with beans and snap peas — and a glass or two of wine. It’s an end of an era.

    Turns out my mother sold my childhood home this week too, so I’ll just go cry now.

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