20 Culinary Questions with San Francisco Food Writer Amy Sherman of ‘Cooking with Amy’

amyshermanAmy Sherman is a cook, eater, and culinary enthusiast based in San Francisco. She runs the popular cooking and dining blog Cooking with Amy. An avid gourmand and traveler, Sherman says, “Cooking and eating are one of the best ways to learn about yourself and world around you.” She adores sushi and would eat it every day if she could afford it, but reveals of a common breakfast staple, “For a long time I had an aversion to maple syrup. Just the smell of it freaked me out. Now I love the stuff! I’m particularly partial to maple syrup from Canada.” An OpenTable diner since 2003, she shares her our answers to our 20 dining Qs.

1. What are some of the best qualities of the San Francisco dining scene? San Francisco has so much variety; there are new hip and trendy places but also classics that are just as popular as ever. It’s not hard to find fantastic pizza, Chinese dumplings, Viennoiserie, fusion street food, and high-end contemporary cuisine on any night of the week. In general, though, the quality is high, in part because our produce is so fresh and beautiful. We really are spoiled here.

2.  Any restaurants at which you’re something of a regular? I feel very fortunate to live in such a great food neighborhood. Recently several new places have opened up and Stones Throw has quickly become a favorite. The creativity on the menu and great hospitality make me want to return again and again .

3. If I come to your hometown/city, where must I dine? It’s impossible to not find something to make you happy at Fog City. The restaurant has been reimagined and it’s better than ever. The menu now features everything from burgers to grilled local calamari and oven roasted baby carrots with black garlic mole, almonds and cotija. The smoked salmon and smoked egg salad sandwich at lunch is to die for, and please do order enough of the frozen custard or French crullers for the whole table.

4. Last best restaurant(s) you dined at? I had a great dinner at Verbena, the service is slow, but the dishes are worth waiting for and the vegetarian dishes are as good if not better than the non-vegetarian ones.

5. Restaurant(s) you’d most like to try but have yet to — anywhere? So many places! Even writing about restaurants professionally, it’s hard to keep up, but high on my list to try right now are Aveline, Plin, Urchin Bistrot, and Souvla.

6. Favorite city (cities) for dining outside your own? I’m pretty crazy about Honolulu. It’s a world class dining destination but many of the gems are under the radar. I made a Google map with over 50 of my favorite places. http://bit.ly/honoluludining

7. Destination dining cities you’d love to visit? I would love to go to Copenhagen. Truly, I plan most trips around the food, and, as a result, I’ve been to a lot of great cities! Tokyo, Bologna, Mexico City, and Chicago are a few of my favorites.

8. What’s your overall favorite type of cuisine? Italian is comfort food for me. I lived in Italy for a while and always crave pasta. Even my Italian hosts were impressed by my love for it.

9. Small shared plates, tasting menu or app/entrée dessert? Small plates for sure. Sharing is caring! I want to try as many dishes as I can, but I sometimes suffer from tasting menu fatigue. Grazing on pintxos in San Sebastian was a blast!

10.Dish you can’t resist ordering? Because of the foie gras ban in California, when I do see it on a menu out of state, I’m likely to order it.

Continue Reading

On Our Plate: Restaurant Weeks in Minneapolis, New York + Seattle; Fog City Now Open in SF + More

SRWHappenings on and around OpenTable…

* The New York City 2014 Michelin Star recipients have been announced. How many have you dined at?

* Iconic San Francisco restaurant Fog City is open for business. Find out what’s new at one of the Bay Area’s hottest restaurants.

* Save on tickets to Taste of Atlanta, October 25-27. OpenTable diners enjoy an exclusive savings on tickets, now through October 11th.

* Help fight hunger in Boston. Purchase tickets to the Lovin’ Spoonfuls Ultimate Tailgate Party on November 10.

* Trending on recent OpenTable restaurant reviews? Tripe!

* Santa Cruz Restaurant Week is in full swing. Reserve now for $25 three-course dinners, October 2-9.

* Seattle Restaurant Week starts soon. Snap up three courses for $28, October 13-17 and 20-24.

* Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Restaurant Week reservations are open. Book today for $10-$20 lunches and $30 dinners, October 20-25.

Continue Reading

Fog City Rolls Open in San Francisco

Iconic San Francisco restaurant Fog City is now open. Housed in the location of the legendary Fog City Diner, Fog City has been completely renovated and reimagined by founders Bill Higgins and Bill Upson and talented local chef Bruce Hill, of Bix, Picco, and Zero Zero.

The offerings, very much a reflection of San Francisco’s rich culinary landscape, were conceived by chef Hill and will be executed by chef Erik Lowe, former chef de cuisine at Bix. “Some people call it personal cuisine, others might call it modern eclectic, but it’s really just the food that my chef and I and my partners love to eat,” says Hill. Virtually everything is made in-house, including buns, cheese, crullers, and barrel-aged hot sauces.

What’s not made in Fog City comes from the area’s finest farmers, fishermen, breweries, and distilleries. Chef Hill says, “I am incredibly grateful for all of my farmers and the people who are our suppliers. My relationships with some of my farmers go back almost 30 years!” Fog City specializes in grilled Brandt beef and other meats, such as chicken and lamb, cooked in the restaurant’s expansive wood-fired grill. Pastry chef Aaron Toensing oversees the pastry program, which includes house-made Straus Family Creamery frozen custard, made fresh daily. Hill, who actually worked as a chef at Fog City Diner in the early 2000s, notes, “Fog City is another name for the city of San Francisco. So, this is really a San Francisco restaurant. We have a local patriotism we’re capturing here.”

Rather than be daunted by the prospect of revamping an iconic brand and location, Hill was excited. “Having worked at Fog City Diner, even spending 9-11 there, watching the towers fall, I have a lot of emotional connection to the space. We absolutely took the history into consideration, but, other than the adventurous spirit of the original, we didn’t want to carry anything over.” The process has been in the works for three years. Hill was able to work on the opening while also operating several other successful Bay Area restaurants, something he credits to open lines of communication. “The key is my connection to my managers and my chefs, which is on a daily basis,” he reveals.

Continue Reading