584 Valencia St San Francisco, CA 94110 | 415.861.1844 | Website
When my friend Ben, who writes the evocative and lovely food blog Focus:Snap:Eat, told me that there was a new restaurant in the Mission whose menu listed a number of dishes featuring its namesake sea urchin, also known as the foie gras of the sea, I immediately jumped on the bandwagon. Joining us was Brenda, the intrepid food explorer/marketing ninja who writes the smoking hot Bites & Bourbon blog. The restaurant is located in former Wo Hing General Store space (the original location of the Slanted Door) on Valencia, and was opened by Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani, the chef/owners of Terra and Bar Terra in St. Helena and Ame in the Hotel St. Regis in SoMa. This is a playful homage to France’s cuisine bistronomique, serving market driven updates on classics along with modern artisinal cocktails.
The interior is dominated by a lively mural along the back wall that was designed by Chef Hiro, lined with bright red booths across from the long bar area where you can also enjoy a casual meal
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2067 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704 | 510.981.1789 | website
For years I have wanted to try the Vietnamese feast called 7 courses of beef, and was very excited when my friend Brenda of Bites and Bourbon organized said feast at the venerable Anh Hong restaurant in Berkeley. Joining us were Christina of East Bay Dish and Ben of Focus:Snap:Eat, for the specialty of the house, Bo 7 Mon, which arccording to their website, their family created. In 1954 the Anh family established their first restaurant in Vietnam, and have since opened up branches in the US with 5 locations in California. It’s a big roomy upscale interior with a stage in the back where a woman with a very sweet voice sang along to taped music.
Bò 7 Món, the Seven Courses of Beef is $21.95 per order, but you don’t need one order per person, that would be way too much. We shared two orders between four hungry diners, and another specialty of the house, oven roasted catfish. I was a bit intimidated about the meal, picturing platters piled high with slabs of meats and ribs, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the feast was not a total meat eating frenzy, instead it was very Asian, by which I mean the proportion of meat is in balance with other food groups. While the star of the meal is beef, the dishes are accompanied with lots of fresh herbs and vegetables, thin rice vermicelli noodles, to be wrapped up with fresh lettuce in rice paper rolls and drizzled with savory sauces. I advise to wash your hands before the meal, because you’ll be using your hands to make lots and lots of rolls.
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