Our city’s newest food critic, Jonathan Kauffman, isn’t all that new at all. He spent eight years covering food for the East Bay Express before taking a job at Seattle Weekly four years ago, and he’s been back to visit friends often since then. And to emphasize his history here, the first piece he files in the Weekly is a culinary tour of the Bay Area, focusing on the dishes he’s missed most since relocating north. The greatest hits for Kauffman? Most are Asian, but Pauline’s Pizza and a carne asada burrito at El Toro make the cut.
As we know from his writings in the Express, Kauffman is a great lover of both Middle Eastern lamb dishes and most Asian cuisines — he even notes a Filipino joint in a strip mall in Hercules where “a bowl of coconut milk-braised jackfruit had rocked my world.” But there’s an extra-special place in his heart for the dim sum at Yank Sing:
The Shanghai-style soup dumplings claimed to be the best in Vancouver have nothing on the ones I gingerly leveraged onto my spoon [at Yank Sing], their wrappers as translucent as muslin but strong enough to keep the hot broth sloshing inside.
Kauffman’s a good writer, and it’s no wonder he’s won several national awards for his work at Seattle Weekly. And after being limited for years to a diet of Bauer’s old-school formality and Meredith Brody’s awkwardly overwrought prose, we’re grateful to have a new guy in our midst who drops references like this one:
The powdered-sugar-dusted alfajores at El Perol in the Mission Market (2590 Mission at 21st St.) are as miraculously crumbly as they always were; a few seconds after fishing the cookie out of the bag, I already looked like Lindsay Lohan leaving a toilet stall.
Welcome, Jonathan. We look forward to agreeing (and disagreeing) with you for years to come.
Remapping the city, one memorable dish at a time [SF Weekly]