Podcast Episode 63: Rich Table in San Francisco


An interview with Anita Chu


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Anita Chu

In this episode of the Find Dining Podcast, Anita Chu of Dessert First recommends Rich Table in San Francisco, where Chefs Evan and Sarah Rich serves up New American dishes like lamb and dandelion pasta, salmon with tomatoes and gribiche.

Anita recommends:

  • Sardine chips
  • Douglas fir levain
  • Lamb and dandelion pasta
  • Salmon with tomatoes and gribiche
  • Mint chocolate ice cream

San Francisco Dining Districts to Explore:

  • Mission
  • Financial District/SoMa
  • Hayes Valley

San Francisco Food Events:

Food for Thought:

  • Q: What was the original name of the city of San Francisco?
  • A: Yerba Buena.

Out of the Frying Pan Picks:

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Transcript

Seth:  This is Episode Number 63 of the Taste Trekkers Find Dining Podcast.  Welcome to San Francisco.  Hello and welcome to the Find Dining Podcast.  I’m your host, Seth Resler, and this is the podcast for foodies who love travel and travelers who love food.

 

Here’s how it works, every week we go to a different city and we find somebody who really knows the local culinary scene and we find out, you know, if I’m a foodie and I’m coming in maybe as a tourist, on vacation, whatever, I really want to know what’s going on in that food scene, well, we figured it out for you.

 

This week, we’re talking to somebody that I know, sort of, from way back in the day.  We actually went to school together and we were trying to figure out where.  That’s Anita Chu of the Dessert First blog.  She’s up in San Francisco.  Anita, thanks so much for joining us and I guess it’s good to talk to you again.

 

Anita:  It is.  Thanks for having me on, Seth.  Great we cross paths again.

 

Seth:  You are up in San Francisco.  You run this great blog called Dessert First, which focuses primarily on dessert, correct?

 

Anita:  Yes.  It is about dessert.  I love dessert.

 

Seth:  And you’ve also written two cookbooks, The Field Guide to Cookies and The Field Guide to Candy.  Now, tell me how you got into all this because you went to Berkeley and you sort of got on this engineering track.  How did you wind up doing this?

 

Anita:  Baking is always been a passion of mine.  I’ve been baking since I was young and I really did it more as a hobby until after I started working and I just kept doing it and want to learn more about it and finally made a decision to go to pastry school.  So after going to pastry school, I got my certificate and I actually love my engineering job, work for about a year in a bakery which I love and I was also writing my blog at the same time.  So I got an opportunity to write cookbooks through my blog at which point I decided to switch my focus and go went to food writing which is what I do today.

 

Seth:  So you’ve actually been able to make a career out of this.

 

Anita:  So far, yeah.  I’ve gone a lot of really great opportunities off of my blogs so it’s really very serendipitous, but I’m glad I started it.  I didn’t know where it go but it’s really gotten me all of the great things that I’ve done so far.

 

Seth:  So talk to me about that for a minute because I know we do have some food bloggers who listen to the show.  If you are just starting out, what are the opportunities for streams of revenue that can open up from blogging?

 

Anita:  Well, I think probably a lot of people start blogging and they want to become the next Martha Stewart or there’s a lot of famous food celebrities now.  And when I started, I didn’t really have that goal first, I just really focused on creating good content and getting a good reputation for myself.  And I think once you have that, then you have a lot of ways that you can use your content.  You can start developing recipes for different companies, you might be able to develop recipes for restaurants, do food photography.  You can partner with different brands and review their products on your page.

 

So I really kind of look at my blog as a platform to showcase what my interests and abilities are and then I look for other companies or individuals that might fit and have possibilities for collaboration.

 

Seth:  So it’s almost like a resume piece.  It’s almost like, “Here’s my skill set, let me show you what I can do,” and then opportunities sort of come from that.

 

Anita:  It really is.  That’s a great way of putting it.  The way I got my book deal was publisher contacted me and said, “Oh, we saw your blog and we really like your writing.  We’re looking for someone to do a cookbook and are you interested?”  When I first started, I thought, maybe I’m just going to do my blog and one day when I’m ready, I’m going to put together a book proposal and send it out, and instead, it happened the other way around, someone came to me and said, “Oh, we saw you blog and we liked it,” so it’s almost like my proposal was my blog.

 

Seth:  Oh, wow, that’s amazing.

 

Anita:  Yeah, I got really lucky.

 

Seth:  Well, you must have like the first experience because you went back and did a second cookbook.  What was the biggest challenge in putting that together?

 

Anita:  It was pretty intense.  And definitely, as a first time offer, it was a pretty intense experience.  The biggest challenge was the deadline.  On the blog, you pretty much say your own deadlines.  You know, you write — I tried to write regularly but, of course, my only boss is myself but when you write a book, obviously, there’s a deadline and you have to get it all done and I had a pretty short deadline for the book, so had to get pretty disciplined at sending up a good schedule and getting everything tested and written and delivered, lots of sleepless nights, lots of food testing.  I mean, people think, “Oh, it’s so fun, like you’re baking cookies but it was a lot of cookies to test out.”

 

Seth:  And you have to go in and test each recipe and make sure that it works and tweak them if they don’t, right?

 

Anita:  Yes, yes.  I feel that’s really important.  You want to make sure they work basically or people are going to say, “Your cookbook doesn’t work.”  So I got friends that helped, people I know in the industry.  I think that’s a big thing.  It’s good to also have other people to test your recipes just to make sure that they understand it and works well on other people’s kitchens not just yours.  So, I did have help.

 

Seth:  I remember something that Joanne Chang who is out of Boston, I remember something that she said when she was talking about her cookbook which is that baking is different from cooking because when you’re cooking, you know, you can sort of fudge it if you taste something that’s not right, you just throw a little more of this in or a little more that in.  Baking is actually much more difficult because, you know, you set it up and once you put it in the oven, it’s going to be what it’s going to be, right?

 

Anita:  I think a lot of people are intimidated that way, that it’s kind of like a magic trick or something.  They say, “Well, you put it in an oven and you don’t know what’s going to happen till an hour later.  You could get a disaster or something.”  So I recognized that and that’s why I try when I write my recipes to give people a lot of tips or give them a lot of descriptions, encouragement and I mean, I’ve come up with disasters, too, that’s what I tell people.  You can mess up and you just learn from it, that doesn’t make you a bad baker.  You just change something the next time.

 

Seth:  Well, let’s turn to the City of San Francisco and before we do, I know you’ve got a trivia question for me.

 

Anita:  Yes.

 

Seth:  So what is it?

 

Anita:  My trivia question is what is the original name of the City of San Francisco?

 

Seth:  What is the original name of — well, it’s Cleveland, right?

 

Anita:  Hmmm.

 

Seth:  No?

 

Anita:  I’ll give you a hint, it’s still two words, it’s still two words, so…

 

Seth:  New Cleveland.  Two words, I feel like I should know this, too, because I grew up in this area.  So it wasn’t originally called San Francisco.

 

Anita:  It was not.

 

Seth:  And do you know when it became — when we started calling it San Francisco?

 

Anita:  I think the year was 1847, so it was a while back.  So don’t feel like we suddenly changed it.

 

Seth:  So it’s not like I should remember it, it’s not like I missed the news report or something.

 

Anita:  No.

 

Seth:  Let me ask you something though, as a San Francisco resident, are there certain nicknames that people of San Francisco don’t like?  Like if I call it Frisco, is that frowned upon by the natives?

 

Anita:  We probably don’t call it Frisco.  Most people in the Bay Area just call it The City.

 

Seth:  Okay.

 

Anita:  San Fran is okay.

 

Seth:  San Fran is okay.  SF?

 

Anita:  SF is also good, yeah.

 

Seth:  Okay.

 

Anita:  All those are totally acceptable.

 

Seth:  But Frisco is a no?

 

Anita:  No, it’s just — yeah.

 

Seth:  All right, I understand.

 

Anita:  I think also what another thing people don’t like there is when they get asked, “Do you eat Rice-a-Roni?”

 

Seth:  Still?

 

Anita:  I think there’s other San Francisco treats besides Rice-a-Roni.

 

Seth:  Give me some time to think about the name.  I don’t know the answer off the top of my head.  But while we’re thinking about that, talk to me about San Francisco.  I mean, if I am a foodie and I’m coming in for the very first time, first of all, give me sort of the lay of the land.  What are some of the neighborhoods that I should be checking out while in there?

 

Anita:   If you’re into food, it’s a really great time to San Francisco, the culinary scene is just really, really exciting right now.  I think there’s more restaurants and other food shops opening that I can remember for a long time, but it’s like every week, there seems to be something new opening.  So, there’s a lot of places to check out.  But food wise, like if you’re — the neighborhoods that I would really go check out right now are the Mission.  Kind of right now, it’s the center of a lot of really cool food trends.  There’s a lot of cool restaurants, bars, bakeries, all sorts of things opening up there.  It’s also a really interesting district that’s kind of a little grungier, a little earthy and you get a lot of local culture at the same time.

 

Seth:  Artsy is what we like to say.  I think that’s the euphemism, right?

 

Anita:  That’s good way to put it, yes, colorful is another one, colorful.

 

Seth:  The Mission is also, people always tell me, is more sunny than the rest of the city, is that true?

 

Anita:  It does get more sun.  I think it’s definitely less foggy because it’s kind of, I would say, it’s kind of in the south selfish part more of San Francisco, yeah, so you don’t have to bring your parka when you go there usually.

 

Seth:  And you know, people may not realize this but the weather can be very different from neighborhood to neighborhood in San Francisco.

 

Anita:  Yes, one word, layers.  You may find yourself taking off your sweater or putting it back on in the course of a couple hours.

 

Seth:  Okay.  So the Mission District is one of the first places we should check out.

 

Anita:  Yes.

 

Seth:  Where else?

 

Anita:  What I call like the Financial District/ SoMa, that’s kind of right at the far end of — western end of the city right around the Bay Bridge, so that’s a great tourist area, there’s a Ferry Building which is a big tourist attraction and there’s a lot of cute little food related shops in there.  And there’s also a lot of nicer or higher end restaurants, more fine dining and there’s been a lot of great openings there, too.

 

Seth:  You said SoMa, that stands for South of…

 

Anita:  Market, South of Market, yes.

 

Seth:  Good to know.  All right.  So SoMa, anything else on the list?

 

Anita:  The other district is one I called Hayes Valley, that’s another really nice, I would say it’s a little more Bohemian neighborhood.  It’s a little bit more upscale than Mission but it’s got a really — it’s a nice shopping district, too.  There’s a lot of cute little boutiques, so people want to get their shopping in at the same time and also just a really nice selection of places to eat as well.  A lot of families like to go there.

 

Seth:  Talk to me a little bit about the ethnic makeup of the city because this is one of the first things I noticed when I got back to the Bay Area after being, you know, up in the northeast for a long time.  It was just the incredible amount of diversity.  I mean, you could literally hear five or six different languages in the same day just walking down the street.  Talk to me about the ethnic makeup and how that influences the cuisine out there.

 

Anita:  Yeah.  You know, it’s one of those things where — you know, since I grew in the Bay Area, you almost take it for granted until you leave the Bay Area.  It’s like a little bubble.  And, yeah, we’re definitely used to seeing all sorts of different cultures and ethnicities.  I think it’s really great.  It’s fascinating.  You never know who you’ll be talking to or their background and, yeah, it definitely means there’s a huge variety of restaurants.  I mean, you could go from, you know, there’s four star fine dining French restaurant to like this little Thai hole in the wall and they’re both fantastic.

 

I like to tell people that we’re kind of spoiled here  because we’re actually used to be able to eat different types of cuisine all the time.  Like I will just say, “Oh, I feel like Thai today or I feel like Italian,” and the idea of having to eat only one or two kinds of food constantly is probably actually pretty formed to a lot of people here.  We’re just used to a right variety of choices.

 

Seth:  Are there any sort of signature dishes or signature crops or signature foods from the region?

 

Anita:  Well, we are all about local food.  Like that’s pretty much like the universal buzzword right now.  But, you know, we do like our seafood because we are by the ocean so when it’s crab season, Dungeness crab season, which just passed a while back, it’s always really exciting, all the restaurants like to feature crab.  And actually right now or I shouldn’t say right now, but around fall is also a great time because there’s a huge local food harvest, so a lot of great stone fruits, peaches, plums showing up to Farmers Market.

 

Seth:  And when is Rice-a-Roni season?

 

Anita:  Whenever you want, whenever you want.

 

Seth:  Talk to me about chef any way that we should be keeping our eye on.

 

Anita:  Well, there’s a lot of old school chefs and there’s a lot of up and rising chefs and we will talk about — you want me talk about both of them?

 

Seth:  Yeah.  Let’s start with the old school.

 

Anita:  Old school, so there’s a great restaurant tradition here.  Some of my favorite really well-known chefs is Hubert Keller, who is kind of pioneered contemporary French cuisine here.  So he has a restaurant called Fleur de Lys.  He came from France and came here and kind of revolutionized the whole French dining tradition on the California of Coast.  So he’s been around for a really long time.

 

Another one is Traci des Jardins, another fine dining chef.  Her restaurant is called Jardiniere which is also kind of like California/French food.  And another one is Michael Mina who — he kind of started the whole very personal and eclectic type of cuisine, like he would take all the classics and kind of give them his own personal spin and that’s kind of all derange now in San Francisco.  He was one of the first people to do it.

 

Seth:  So that’s some of your old school chefs.  Talk to me about some of the new guys coming up.

 

Anita:  San Francisco has had a really great last couple of years like I said.  Some couple of chefs that I would keep an eye on, Danny Bowein.  He has a restaurant called Mission Street Chinese and it’s basically his take on Chinese food and it’s actually gotten him the James Beard Rising Star Chef Award.  So it’s not just your regular, you know, Kung-Pau Chicken or whatever, Chicken Fried Rice.  It’s actually really, really exciting different take on Chinese food.  Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, their restaurant State Bird Provisions also won the James Beard best new restaurant.

 

Seth:  I heard so much about State Bird Provisions and I have an opportunity to go and I couldn’t make it and I’m so mad.  Have you gotten to go there yet?

 

Anita:  Well, you know right now, they’re closed for renovations because they’re expanding.

 

Seth:  Right.

 

Anita:  It’s nuts.  It’s like almost impossible to get in there and I’m just getting back into eating out because I just recently had a baby.

 

Seth:  Oh, congratulations, by the way.

 

Anita:  Oh, thank you, thank you.  I finally able to go out again and feel like myself but a lot my friends who have gone there just rave about it.  It’s great.

 

Seth:  Like you have to stay in line like insanely early and just hope that there’s a slot.

 

Anita:  It really is.  I mean, a lot of these restaurants now, they don’t like to take too many reservations or they just — they take reservations for like basically a month in advance.  A lot of restaurants that are opening, like I said, it’s more of like a labor of love by a lot of chefs, so they’re opening smaller restaurants, meaning, the spaces are smaller, there not quite as many seats and, yes, definitely, it’s very hard to accommodate large parties.  I mean, if you’re just a couple or something, it’s much easier.  And restaurants get a lot of buzz.  People just really want to try the next new thing.  So when a restaurant is hot, it’s really hot, it’s really hard to get in.

 

Seth:  Right.  So people are following the scene very, very closely here.

 

Anita:  Uh-hmm.

 

Seth:  I mean, there’s a very active food blogging scene I found in San Francisco.

 

Anita:  There is.  Not only are there food blogs, but there’s, you know, professional sites dedicated to food news and gossip.

 

Seth:  Yup.

 

Anita:  So people here don’t read us weekly.  You know, they read food news daily, right.

 

Seth:  I’ve made this analogy before, it reminds me, you know, I mean, I work in alternative rock and I was there in the ’90s when you sort of had that explosion of crunch and everything that came out of that and I actually feel like that’s kind of what’s happening in food right now, like there just seems to be a lot of parallels in the way that there’s just the sort of grassroots celebrity of following of chefs, and kind of like there was for, you know, the Smashing Pumpkins or whoever back in the day.

 

Anita:  Oh, yeah.

 

Seth:  All right.  So any other rising stars that folks over at State Bird?  Who is that by the way?  I think I sort of catch up a little bit there.

 

Anita:  State Bird Provisions, the chefs are Stuart Brioza and Nicole Kaminski and they are definitely restaurant veterans.  They’ve worked in other restaurants around San Francisco.  They decided to go off and start their own place and it’s been a runaway success.  I mean, that’s kind of the trend I’m really seeing is chefs going off to start their own place that really expresses more of their own vision of what they want to do.

 

Seth:  And I mean, you really do have this sort of apprentice model still very much alive and kicking in food, in restaurants where somebody will learn under other people and then go to their own thing, right?

 

Anita:  I think so.  I mean, all of these people that I mentioned or these places I’ve seen definitely the people behind them, the chefs, are quite experienced, you know.  It’s not like they just came out of nowhere and said, “I want to open a restaurant.”  So they’ve done their time, they’ve learned from, you know, other people and now they said, “Okay, I’m ready to go off and do my own thing.”

 

Seth:  Now, where do food trucks fit into this equation because I know that that’s been a stepping stone for a lot of people in starting their own restaurant?

 

Anita:  They’re still going strong.  I think they got really big last year but there’s still tons of food trucks I see around.  And that’s also another exciting facet of the San Francisco dining scene.  I mean, now, you can just find good food wherever, not just in a restaurant.

 

Seth:  Do you have any favorites?

 

Anita:  See, I do like Chairman Bao.  That’s a classic choice but they do these take on Chinese buns and their specialty is one that’s filled with pork belly.  The line is always ridiculously long.  Every time I go to like a food truck gathering, they always have by far the longest line.

 

Seth:  Cool.  Well, talk to me about some events.  Are there any great foodie events that happen  in the city?

 

Anita:  Almost all the time.  I mean, summer is a great time.  One that I really like in August is the San Francisco Street Food Festival and that’s kind of a gathering of a lot of the food trucks or like local small food artisans on one big street in the Mission.  So, again, Mission, exciting place to be.  And it’s basically, you pay one entry fee, you go in and there are stalls filled with all of these different cute little bites that you can go get, you know, dumplings, little mini sliders, all sorts of things.  People just thinking up all kinds of takes on street food.  I mean, it’s way beyond like hotdogs and popcorn.

 

Seth:  One other question I want to ask which is, you know — because I know all of my friends who come out here to visit from the other side of the country, if they’re making a long trip, they all want to know about Napa, they all want to take a trip up to Napa. How hard is that to do if you’re coming to San Francisco and, you know, how much time do you need to plan to put into San Francisco if you’re a foodie coming in and how many days do you have to set aside for Napa?

 

Anita:  It’s actually quite easy to get up to Napa.  It’s maybe hour, hour and a half drive and definitely Napa has its own scene.  I would definitely devote a couple of days if you can to Napa or at least one day because you’re going to be enjoying some of the wineries as well in Napa, I hope.  So it definitely wouldn’t be fun to just drive up there and dash back.  But there’s a fantastic food scene in Napa as well.

 

Seth:  The other thing I learned about Napa is that you guys should got to get up there early.  Those wineries open earlier than you think and they close earlier than you think.

 

Anita:  Yeah, they do and then you’ll also end up lingering longer at wineries that you think.  I wonder why but, you know what, and all of a sudden, you’re like, “Oh, it’s 2 o’clock and we’ve only hit three wineries.  Oh, no.  Quick, down another glass.”

 

Seth:  Right, right.  All right.  So we’re going to come back here in just a minute.  We’re going to answer your trivia question, what was the original name of San Francisco.  We are also going to get a restaurant recommendation from you and then we’re going to play a little game called Out of the Frying Pan.

 

So this is the part of the podcast where I normally plug something, up until now, it’s been the Taste Trekkers Conference which is awesome.  By the way, if you missed it last month, go to the website TasteTrekkers.com/conference.  You can check at all the photos and tweets and hear a lot of the speeches and things like that of everyone involved.

 

But what I really want to ask for today is if you enjoy this podcast, please head over to iTunes.  The link is right there are TasteTrekkers.com/podcast.  You can click on the iTunes and leave a review, you know, let other people know, it helps other people find the show, if you’ve gone into iTunes and you said something nice about us.  So really, if you like this podcast, if it’s something you enjoy listening to, take a moment and just leave a quick review in iTunes.  It would mean so much and we appreciate it quite a bit.  Thank you.

 

We are talking to Anita Chu of the Dessert First blog in San Francisco and she’s telling us all about the city.  Now, you had a trivia question for me.  What was it again?

 

Anita:  What was the original name of San Francisco?

 

Seth:  What was the original name of San Francisco?  She said it was two words.  Is it Spanish name?

 

Anita:  It is Spanish, yes.

 

Seth:  It is Spanish.  So I’m going to guess it’s San something.

 

Anita:  No, it’s not San something.  I don’t know if that makes it easier or harder.

 

Seth:  No, no, no.  I was hoping at least I had one word right and I could claim that victory.  I don’t know.  What is it?

 

Anita:  San Francisco was originally named Yerba Buena.

 

Seth:  Yerba Buena, I know that name.  I mean…

 

Anita:  And it’s still the name of a couple of places, yes.

 

Seth:  Yerba Buena.  So do you have any idea why they changed it?

 

Anita:  I’m not sure why they changed it but I do know that Yerba Buena means good herb in Spanish and it’s actually a name of a plant that used to grow around there.

 

Seth:  Knowing San Francisco, they could probably still be calling it Yerba Buena then.

 

Anita:  Yes, right.

 

Seth:  San Francisco, I have noticed this about the city that when you walk down the street, you literally, you walk by a building and you’ll just get a whiff of marijuana and you’re just like, I don’t even know where that’s coming from.  It just seems to be coming out of the side of the building, but that happens a lot there.

 

Anita:  It does.  You know, probably if you’re a native, you just kind of get used to it.  It sounds terrible.  It’s probably one of the, you know, less offensive things that you could smell, if you’re unlucky, right?

 

Seth:  At least it cures your cataracts at the same time, you know.  I asked you for a restaurant recommendation.  Tell me what you pick?

 

Anita:  So one of the restaurants that I’ve just been to that I really like is one called Rich Table and it’s in Hayes Valley which is one of the neighborhoods that I mentioned earlier.

 

Seth:  So, tell me about this place.  I mean, who are the chefs behind it?

 

Anita:  The chefs are a couple, Evan and Sarah Rich.  So they’re also some restaurant veterans.

 

Seth:  All right. So they’re restaurant veterans from where?

 

Anita:  They’ve been from quite a few restaurants.  I think Coi and Quince which, you know, were some really well regarded restaurants in the city and just like some of the other restaurants — I mean, some of the other chefs around here, they decided they wanted to start their own place and they went out and found a place, opened up and almost immediately started getting fantastic reviews.

 

Seth:  So how long has it been opened now?

 

Anita:  I want to say like a little over a year.  Yes.  So not very long but, you know, it’s — in the restaurant industry like that could be forever, you know, and the fact that they’ve pretty much gotten excellent reviews the whole time is also really great because, you know, people are quite picky here in the city.

 

Seth:  All right.  So I walk in and tell me a little bit about the vibe of the place.  What’s it like?

 

Interviewer:  It’s very casual.  It’s kind of rustic, hipster, eclectic.  I kind of hate the word hipster.  The word hipster is overused, but what I’m trying to say is it’s really casual ambiance.  I think a lot of chefs today are really looking to get away from the white table cloth fine dining.  They want you to feel like you’re going into their, you know, home or their kitchen.  So it’s, you know, you’ll see people in there wearing jeans but it’s not like grungy, it’s not dirty, it’s definitely like well-run and well-kept.

 

Seth:  I’ve noticed out here in California, people wear jeans for everything.  The dress is more casual here in general than it is in other parts of the country.

 

Anita:  A little bit.  If you dress too fancy, like sometimes people ask me where I’m going, like I’m going somewhere special, like I don’t know, I just ran out of clean jeans, all right, just feel like wearing something else.

 

Seth:  I had to put the tux on because, you know, I had no — my other laundry was dirty.  All right.  So we sit down and start looking at the menu.  What do you recommend for appetizers?

 

Anita:  They have some appetizers that really known for that I really like, a couple of them are the porcini doughnuts which are, you know, kind of like the savory doughnuts that made of this fluffy dough and they’re dusted with porcini powder, a mushroom powder and that comes of this dipping cheese sauce that’s like this really rich savory goodness.

 

Seth:  That sounds really good.

 

Anita:  Yeah, it’s like a flavor bump.

 

Seth:  All right.  I’m into that.  Anything else?

 

Anita:  They also have this dish that are called sardine chips and, yeah, at first you’re like, okay, is it chips made of sardines.  So this is kind of like example of their — how they’re kind of really clever and putting their personal spin on things.  It’s actually a chip with a whole sardine embedded in it.

 

Seth:  Really?

 

Anita:  Yeah, the whole thing is, you know, crispy and fried, you know, so — but you’re getting like a crispy chip and like a crispy sardine.

 

Seth:  That sounds interesting.

 

Anita:  I know, but not all people are into sardines, so I think this really cover.

 

Seth:  All right.  So we’ll try that.  And then talk to me about main dishes.  Anything you recommend?

 

Anita:  They do really well on their pastas I think.  Last time I was there, I had a lamb and dandelion pasta, so it was — I went in the spring so what I really like was they were putting  a lot of seasonal elements in the dishes and so they put dandelion greens in this pasta and they also had some comfy lamb.

 

Seth:  So we’ll get that for the pasta.  What else do you recommend?

 

Anita:  If you know want more meat, I also had a really good salmon there.  It was really perfectly cooked, came with some smoked tomatoes and this sauce gribiche which is kind of like this mayonnaise base sauce.  So it was also, again, really, really fresh, really well done.  I think it had like a little bit of popcorn on it which all these elements I know sound kind of like they don’t relate but I think that’s part of the appeal of this restaurant.  They pull together all these different elements and it just kind of comes together into magic.

 

Seth:  Talk to me about drinks, what are we pairing with this meal?

 

Anita:  The partner in this venture, the Riches, is actually Mazznaba, who is really an expert in wines, who has created a really great wine program for them.  So it’s actually possible to get wine pairings with almost all the dishes.  You know, if you need a recommendation like they’re really well-versed in it and they also carry a lot of craft beers and they also have a great cocktail program.

 

Seth:  And then, of course, the big question for you is dessert.

 

Anita:  Oh, yeah.

 

Seth:  And we got to know because I know that this is your area of expertise.  What do you recommend for dessert?

 

Anita:  They had this really great dish called the mint chocolate cream, so it’s — I want to say, it’s almost like a cross between like s’mores and an ice cream sundae.  It’s like this really soft chocolate cream, mint chocolate cream and along with some milk ice cream and these chocolate wafers.  So it’s all these different textures and flavors coming together and it just tastes so fresh like just really — you know, it’s not like the neon green mint chocolate chip ice cream, it’s just like they’ve got the real mint flavor infused in there.  And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the chocolate, you know, I mean, it’s almost like guaranteed homerun.

 

Seth:  Done, I’m in.  What is this going to cost to meal there?

 

Anita:  I think it’s a really good deal.  When I went there, I got the tasting menu which is about six courses includes appetizers, salad, pasta, stew meats and a dessert.  I was like totally full by the end and it’s $80 a person.  Or if you just — you don’t want the tasting menu, then entrees are about $18 to $28.  So you could get by for about $40 to $50 a person with a glass of wine.

 

Seth:  Which is a deal in San Francisco.

 

Anita:  Oh, my gosh, it is, yes.

 

Seth:  And is this a place that we have to make reservation six months in advance or show up at like 3 o’clock in the afternoon or…

 

Anita:  It’s probably better to get reservations.  You don’t have to call them six months in advance.  I think you can just call and try to make a reservation.  But they do take walk-ins.  I mean, when we went, there was room, so you can take your chances.

 

Seth:  Good to know.  All right.  Are you ready to play a little game?

 

Anita:  Yes.

 

Seth:  Here we go.  This game is called Out of the Frying Pan.  I am going to ask you for a series of rapid fire recommendations, just tell me the first thing that comes to mind.  Are you ready?

 

Anita:  All right, I am.

 

Seth:  Obviously, I got to ask you this question, the blog is Dessert First.  So where is your favorite spot in the City of San Francisco to go for dessert?

 

Anita:  I’m really into ice cream right now and there’s a place called Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous.  It’s in Potrero Hill which is kind of out of the way, but they make fantastic ice cream.  It’s like by far the best ice cream I’ve had.  Il go out of my way to go there which is how good it is and they have really unusual flavors, like they have beer flavored ice creams.  So, you know, if you need a drink after dinner, yeah.

 

Seth:  Oh, good.  And I know that, you know, you literally wrote The Field Guide to Candy, so with Halloween, if I want to have the best candy in town to give away, where is a good place to go for candy?

 

Anita:  My favorite place is a place called Miette Confiserie.  Sounds really fancy, it just means candy shop and it’s in Hayes Valley.  It’s pretty much like this girly pink fantasy land full of like old time Victorian tile candy and like hard to find candy bars from Europe.  I just go nuts every time I go in.

 

Seth:  If you’re going to go out to a 9ers game, you know, before they move down here to San Jose…

 

Anita:  That must make you happy.

 

Seth:  If you’re going to go, where is a great place to go before the game?

 

Anita:  You know, I really like burgers and right now, my favorite burger place is called Super Duper.  There’s a couple of them around the city but there’s one near the Mission which is kind of around the downtown part of San Francisco and their burgers and fries are really good.  They’re baked with Niman Ranch meat and their fries come with these dipping sauces.  I mean, to me, that’s my meal of choice before a football game.

 

Seth:  That sounds good.  All right.  I know, you know, like you said, just had a baby, so for a while there, you weren’t drinking.  Now that you are, where is your favorite place to go for a cocktail?

 

Anita:  You know what, one of my really cool finds I like is this place called Gitane.  It’s this kind of Moroccan/Spanish-themed restaurant but it has really coolest set up I’ve seen.  It’s almost like going into a speak easy and it’s just a fantastic place to hide out and get a drink.  They have a really great drink program.  To me, it’s like the perfect cozy spot to hide away and have a drink with someone.

 

Seth:  All right.  What about outdoor dining, is there a great place to dine outdoors?

 

Anita:  Yes.  One of my favorite outdoor places is called the Waterbar.  It is on the Embarcadero and it has a fantastic view of the Bay Bridge.  I mean, you’re literally out of the patio and you’re almost right underneath the Bay Bridge.  And they have some great seafood.  I think a great end of the afternoon, you know, have some fresh oysters and glass of wine and just stare at the Bay Bridge.

 

Seth:  Did you do Farmer’s Markets?

 

Anita:  I do do Farmer’s Market.

 

Seth:  Do you have a favorite?

 

Anita:  You know, one of the ones that I really like is the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market.  You know, that, again, is in Embarcadero.  I like to go actually on Thursday because it’s a little as crowded.  They run on Thursdays and Saturdays.  Saturdays, everybody and their grandmother comes.  Thursday is a little less crazy but it’s still a great selection, lots of great stands and also, not just produce but, you know, a lot of local food artisans are selling their staff there.

 

Seth:  All right.  Last question.  Do you have a favorite place to get soup?

 

Anita:  I have a favorite place for Ramen, does that count as soup?

 

Seth:  We’ll fudge it.  We’ll call it.  What’s your favorite place to get Ramen?

 

Anita:  There is this place called Izakaya Sozai which is kind of out near the Sunset and they have a killer bowl of Ramen.

 

Seth:  All right.  Thank you so much for coming on.  Your restaurant recommendation was the Rich Table in San Francisco.  It’s located at 199 Gough Street, G-O-U-G-H Street in San Francisco.  People can find it online at RichTableSF.com.  And what about you, people want to find one of your cookbooks, if they want to read your blogs, if they want to follow you on social media, how can I do all that?

 

Anita:  Yes, you can visit my website called Dessert First.  The website name is DessertFirstGirl.com.  If you want to follow me on other social media, my Twitter handle is @AnitaChu, A-N-I-T-A C-H-U and I have a Facebook page also called Dessert First.

 

Seth:  Nice.  And the books are Field Guide to Cookies and Field Guide to Candy.  These do sound good.

 

Anita:  Oh, thank you.  Well, just trying to come up other topics, I don’t know, Field Guide to Cakes, you know, Field Guide to Pie.

 

Seth:  Is there going to be a whole series like that?  Is that the eventual plan?

 

Anita:  There’s actually already a series out.  The company I did them, whatever, the publisher cookbooks, they publishes Field Guide series, so there’s actually like a Field Guide to fruits, seafood, meat and I just kind of got some of the sweet related books.

 

Seth:  I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that you probably outsell the Field Guide to Vegetables.

 

Anita:  Yeah, you know, don’t want to get any competitions, but…

 

Seth:  The Field Guide to Brussels Sprouts isn’t doing so well.

 

Anita:  Yeah.

 

Seth:  All right.  So people can find those on Amazon and through your website and…

 

Anita:  Yes.

 

Seth:  …if there are any bookstores that are still in business, they can find them there.  Well, thank you so much for coming on.  I really appreciate you coming on the show.

 

Anita:  Oh, it’s my pleasure, Seth.  Thank you for having me.

 

Seth:  My name is Seth Resler.  This is the Find Dining Podcast.  Couple of notes, first of all, you can find links to all the things that we talked about on our website TasteTrekkers.com.  While you’re there, you can subscribe to the podcasts in iTunes.  Please leave a review and that helps us out.  Also, follow us on Twitter.  We are now Taste Trekkers on Twitter.  We’re on Facebook as well.  And if you want to be a guest on the show, all you have to do is click the Contact Us link, send us an email and we would love to have you on and you can tell everybody about the culinary scene in your city.  Thanks so much for listening.



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