Archive for the ‘Best San Francisco Food’ Category

Molinari’s Delicatessen: a North Beach Classic

June 15, 2010

If you’re ever in North Beach, in “Little Italy,” you have got to go to Molinari’s.  It’s got a classic, Old World feel – a long, narrow shop with a good selection of cheeses and a well-stocked deli counter.   While you wait to order, you stand amongst shelves of wine, delicate-looking packages of savoidari (lady fngers), tins of tuna that look like they could survive an air strike, “the good stuff” olive oil, amaretti cookies, an eclectic assortment of  imported Italian products.

If you’re having a cold sandwich, you can select your piece of bread from a bin, the way you select lobsters from a tank, only you get to help yourself.  I like to have the panini, and it’s what I recommend to everyone.  My favorite is I think the Luciano Special; you don’t have to remember the name because it’s easy to spot on the big black board with white plastic lettering.  It’s a grilled focaccia with prosciutto, mozarella, red peppers and sundried tomotoes.  It is a-mazing!

Every time I get my sandwich, I almost want to recite a poem.  In fact, I think I will.

Ode to my panini

Ode to my panini                                                                                                                            How golden brown and warm and havey                                                                       Your bountiful layers of freshly-carved prosciutto                                                        Perfect saltiness, delicately thin  and buttery                                                               Your heavenly-textured cheese and succulent peppers                                               Topped with sundried tomatoes – a red chewy piece of summer                             As I unwrap you I think I could not be happier                                                               Until I take my first bite


Best Hamburgers in San Francisco: Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers

May 3, 2010

Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers is the best burger joint in town – maybe the world. It’s definitely a hole-in-the-wall, and is very near the Tenderloin District (if it’s not officially considered part of it). I’ve never felt unsafe there, but it’s definitely a different scene from the more upscale Union Square area nearby.

The food is delicious, and the prices are very, very reasonable. The burgers come “standard” with Nieman Ranch beef patties, but you can also order buffalo burgers (buffalo meat is supposed to be even leaner than chicken) or Kobe beef burgers. Pearl’s also offers poultry burgers (chicken or turkey) and vegetarian burgers.

Estancia beef is their latest offering, and it’s actually free-range and grass-fed beef from Uruguay. Even taking the transport required into account, it’s still better for the environment than beef from ginormous-farm-raised cows in the States apparently. It’s “good for people, good for the animals, and good for the environment.”

What really makes Pearl’s stand out, though, is the complete “burger experience.” Along with your burger you have to get some onion rings or sweet potato fries. You don’t even have to choose. They have combinations of fried goodness like “frings” (fries + onion rings) and “springs” (sweet potato fries + onion rings). If you are in the mood for walking on the wild side, order the chili cheese fries. The calories and cholesterol might kill you, but at least you’ll die happy.

Also part of the ultimate Pearl’s experience are their awesome milkshakes. The milkshakes are an absolute must!! They come in all kinds of fruit flavors in addition to flavors such as peanut butter and Oreo. Even if I knew that drinking them definitely caused something like deafness (it doesn’t), I would totally go deaf rather than not enjoy their cold, delicious caress on my tongue. I order a shake even when we get our food to go, and although I live only a few blocks away, the shake is gone before I get home.

Pearl’s burgers are best enjoyed on the spot, however. If you take them home, the burgers and the fries start to get soggy. There is limited seating, but it doesn’t take that long to inhale – I mean eat – a burger and sides, so there is pretty good seating turnover. The bathrooms are nice and clean, so having to pee but not wanting to stay because of a gross toilet is definitely not an issue.

Just so you’re not disappointed, you should be warned that Pearl’s is closed on Sundays. My husband and I found that out the hard way, and we were devastated; we ended up getting a burger closer to Union Square and hated it.  The burgers at the other place were not as good and the shake was twice the price and not even half as tasty. That’s the bad news as far as opening hours.  The good news is, Pearl’s is open ’til 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights/mornings, making Pearl’s burgers what my husband calls the “ultimate [drinking] night food.”