Sultan’s Brunch, Istanbul Modern in SF

by foodhoe on September 24, 2017

1096 Union St, San Francisco 94133

I have been following Laura & Sayat on Instagram for quite some time and finally managed to book a seat at their Sultan’s Brunch which offers a fascinating and delicious introduction to Turkish cuisine.  I’ve never been to Istanbul and am not very familiar with the food, and only know that it is an ancient city that straddles Asia and Europe that is famous for its long history and architecture that dates back thousands of years.  I pictured domed mosques and minarets, grand bazaars and spice markets, and couldn’t wait to dine like a Sultan!  The brunch was offered through Feastly at one of their venues, a cafe in Russian Hill with an open kitchen in the back where we could watch the chefs in action.  Laura & Sayat are two chefs who are also husband and wife.  Laura is from Mexico and has worked at esteemed restaurants like Cafe Boulud, Mugaritz and Eleven Madison Park. Sayat is from Istanbul and his pedigree includes cooking at restaurants from Mumbai and Istanbul, including Le Bernardin and Blue Hill at Stone Barns.  They have built quite a following with their Istanbul Modern popup events which focus on Eastern Mediterranean food

We sat at long communal tables and chatted with our neighbors while sipping pomegranate mimosas or Turkish coffee and tea.  The heavenly scent of freshly baked bread filled the room and soon platters of  Simit with yogurt butter were passed around the table.  Chef Sayat told us that they are known as Turkish bagels, one of the most popular street food snacks in Istanbul. It is tender like a pretzel and smaller than a bagel with a delicious nutty flavor from the toasted sesame seeds. I would love these slathered with butter and jam

Then came an exciting array of Mezes (small dishes) that are served family style.  A lovely woman at the table pulled everything in and styled it for an overhead shot.

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Mr. K and I spent a fun weekend in San Diego recently and decided to drive down to have dinner at Corazón de Tierra in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja’s rural and secluded wine country.  We planned a couple of stops along the ride down the coast which offers breathtaking views of Salsipuedes bay.  The first stop was at the town of Rosarito because Mr. K had a hankering for a perron from Tacos el Yaqui, a definitive taco made from smoky charred skirt steak that is cooked on a wood fire grill, then chopped up and served in a griddled flour tortilla with just the right amount of melted cheese, freshly made guacamole, some pinto beans, chopped onions and cilantro.  It’s served with a bowl of radishes, grilled jalapeño and fresh lime slices.  It’s actually pretty massive as far as tacos go, but perfect to share when you are on a foraging adventure.

We drove south for about an hour to Ensenada where I wanted to check out Sabina’s Restaurant, which opened this last year just around the corner from her world-famous food truck La Guerrerense, which has been visited and featured on shows with Anthony Bourdain, Rick Bayliss, Andrew Zimmerman, among others.  The restaurant is casual and offers the same fantastic seafood as the truck but with comfy tables and chairs along with wine and beer to enhance your meal dining experience.

We shared two tostadas and a seafood cocktail.  Everything is so fresh and the menu now includes shrimp or fish tacos, and a new house specialty of Pozole.   One tostada had a layer of urchin mixed with finely chopped vegetables topped with meaty slices of raw clam, the other had a mixture of chopped seafood topped with raw sliced scallops, all were topped with slices of perfectly ripe avocado, dosed with hot sauce a squeeze of lime and spoonfuls of Sabina’s housemade salsas.  And the seafood coctele?  It was the best!  We ordered the mixto, which had a little of everything, octopus, shrimp, fish mixed with tomato, onion and cilantro, fresh lime juice and topped with avocado.

From Ensenada it is a quick trip on a two lane highway called the Ruta de Vino that goes through wine country and we stopped to taste wines in a dark cool cave at Vinicola 3 Mujeres and shopped for local olive oils and cheese at Cremeria los Globos, located at the only streetlight along the entire route.   The Cremeria is packed with local food products like mole sauces, fruit jams, guava paste, baked goods, lots of cheese, wines and trinkets.

Our reservations were for the last seating of lunch at 4pm, as we thought it might be easier to drive back to San Diego while it was still light.  We turned off the road when we saw the sign for Corazon de Tierra onto an unpaved dirt road.

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a Full Moon Feast at Daughter Thai Kitchen in Montclair

August 22, 2017

6118 Medau Pl, Oakland, CA 94611 | 510-823-2354 | website I heard about a new restaurant called Daughter Thai that opened recently in Montclair, a lovely town nestled in the Oakland Hills near the intersection of Highways 24 and 13.  It is the latest project from chef Kasem “Pop” Saengsawang, who has two other restaurants in San Francisco, Kitchen […]

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Sons of Liberty Alehouse in San Leandro

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150 W. Juana Ave., San Leandro, CA | website I’ve lived in San Leandro for 14 years and am just dizzy to see so many new places opening up! We now have craft breweries, T4 boba teashop, Liberian food from Kendejah Restaurant, Cinco Tacobar, a worthy sushibar, and now a brewpub in the downtown plaza. […]

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Ippudo Ramen in Berkeley

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2015 Shattuck Ave. (at University), Berkeley | website If you haven’t heard, Ippudo Ramen is opening its first west coast location today in downtown Berkeley. These are exciting times for local ramen enthusiasts who have waited two years to welcome the 70th location of the global chain, so expect long lines!  I was lucky to be invited […]

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Farley’s East in Oakland reopens grandly

July 14, 2017

33 Grand Ave. Oakland, CA 94612 | 510.835.7898 | website | Menu Today is the official grand reopening of Farley’s East who remodeled to include the next door space (formerly Subway) so they now offer more space, and an expanded menu with wine and beer on tap.  Join them today Friday, July 14 from 7-9pm.  There will be door prizes, give-aways, […]

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Koja Kitchen in Walnut Creek

June 16, 2017

1550 Olympic Blvd, WC 94596 | 925.448.8218 | website I was so happy to hear that Koja Kitchen opened a restaurant in Walnut Creek.  I’ve loved their delicious koja burgers (the ones with the fried garlic rice buns) since the first time I tried one from their food truck at the Eat Real festival 5 years ago…  Koja is a […]

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