Once again, we bring you an edition of The San Francisco Diet, in which local food celebrities tell us everything they ate over the course of a week, who they ate it with, and why we should eat it too (or not). This week, Chris Kronner, executive chef at Bar Tartine, eats and drinks his way across the East, West, and North Bay, and lives to tell the tale. (Also, he breaks the news that Katharine Zacher, most recently seen at Bruno’s, is the new pastry chef at Bar Tartine.) Take it away, Chris.
Thursday, July 8
Had breakfast at the Out The Door on Bush street with my friend Jessica Silverman after the gym. Super beautiful chicken pho and smoked pork buns. We split a pot of Blue Bottle coffee. Out the Door has become one of my go-to breakfast spots. It tends not to be crowded in the morning and in a city that doesn’t really seem to do breakfast it’s a great option. Grace makes lovely food!
After OTD I headed over to the Ferry plaza market to shop for the restaurant. Ate a handful of Ryan Farr’s fritos and discussed the side of beef from Mac Magruder that we are sharing. After sorting out the logistics of when to do the butchery I made a few vegetable purchases, Dirty Girl romaine, corn and tomatoes. Then headed inside to buy cheese at Cowgirl Creamery. Ascutney Mountain is really delicious right now. Shopping completed, I grabbed an Americano and drank it as I drove my friend Dennis Lee back to Namu. Discussion of interesting things happening for the Namu guys….
Tasted food all afternoon at work. I made a pork terrine for the weekend so I had plenty of belly, liver, and kidney. The bakery sent over some retardedly delicious brioche buns with cheese and porcini mushrooms in them. Sweet! These were the highlight of my day in eating.
After work my buddy Sam White met me at the Bar and we walked over to Nombe. Really really good late night grilled tripe from Nick Balla. Iriko, agedashi tofu, grilled chicken heart, red curry ramen oh my! As we rushed out so Sam could catch the train back to the east bay Nick caught us outside with some beignets for the road. Nice dude.
Friday, July 9
Went to the gym and then had an Americano at Four Barrel on the way to an appointment. After my meeting I met Chad Robertson at Barbacco for an early lunch and to have a look at the new Tartine Bread book. The book is incredible. Beautiful photography from Eric Wolfinger and Chad himself as well as art from my friend David Wilson. We shared a plate of salumi, three crostini — duck liver, spring pea, and peach and prosocuitto — a shaved squash salad, an arugula salad with parmigiano, braised squid, seafood stew and a side of ratatouja. Everything was delicious. Staffan is one of my favorite chefs and people in SF and it was nice to finally have Sarah’s food at Barbacco.
Headed over to the Bar after lunch. It was Katharine Zacher’s (our awesome new pastry chef) first day on the job so we went over some new additions to the dessert menu. Delicious baked chocolate mousse with coffee cream, crunchy hazelnuts and vanilla scented raspberries. A masterful peach pie and some crazy delicious orange panna cotta with rhubarb compote and strawberry sorbet. Fuck yeah.
Didn’t eat much aside from tastes during dinner service. My sous chef Bill was in Las Vegas LUXURIOUSLY ENJOYING HIS BROTHER’S BACHELOR PARTY so I spent the evening being reminded of of how great he is as I spun in circles working the grill. My friends Michael Campbell and Kasi Boyd who had just returned earlier that day from Hong Kong came in for a late night glass of wine and after service we headed to the Lone Palm for a nightcap. After two Jameson and soda nightcaps we had another nightcap at my house which is around the corner from the bar. Handley Brut Rosé. Bedtime.
Saturday, July 10
Had an Americano on the way to the market at tenish. Didn’t eat much aside from some strawberries and some really beautiful Mexican tarragon from Joseph at White Crane Springs Ranch.
Back at the Bar I tasted some of the Oregon bay shrimp salad that we serve on toast with San Andreas cheese, sorrel and a hard cooked egg.
We ordered everything on the menu from Mission Chinese Food for staff meal because Saturdays are for balling out of control. Danny [Bowein] and Tony [Myint] sent over a salt and pepper dungeness crab covered in Ma Pa Tofu that made me cry so hard I had to sit down. After composing myself I had a bite of everything else. Braised Lamb that was horrifyingly delicious, Mongolian beef cheeks, cod and sausage rice, the sweet chinito and some pickles. Definitely the best Chinese food being served in this neighborhood. It’s also nice that Danny has finally embraced his inner Chineseness. So good.
I didn’t eat much during service. We were super busy.
Sunday, July 11
Walked over to Roosevelt Tamale Parlor for an enchilada. The sauce they use reminds me of the Mexican food that my mother’s friend used to make at Christmas time when I was young. Pretty tasty.
Had a coffee on the way to work at Four Barrel. Aside from tastes I didn’t eat much at work.
Monday, July 12
Woke up early and had some sautéed escarole and frisée with an egg. Had an Americano at Blue Bottle in Hayes Valley and then drove over to Chez Panisse Café to have lunch with Sam White and his moustache.
Chez is one of my absolute favorite place to eat lunch (and eat in general) and Sam and I try to have lunch on Mondays as often as we can. Over talk of a temporary restaurant in Tokyo in the spring and the Scribe/18 Reasons event [Ed. Note: It’s already sold out] we are both participating in on July 31st we split a squab brodo, sardines escabeche, a pizzetta with porcini, fresh pasta with tuna conserva and a margherita pizza. We drank a bottle of red Jamaican lager and a bottle of Paolo Bea Santa Chiara 2008. The wine was much better than my company.
After lunch and a coffee I stuck around to join in on a wine tasting orchestrated by Johnathan Waters and Kevin Kelley wine maker for LIOCO and The Natural Process Alliance. Beautiful interesting wines from both labels and Kevin is a really devoted cool guy.
Had dinner in Sausalito with my friends Jessica Silverman and Katherine Priore at Fish. The three of us orchestrated a fundraiser for Katherine’s organization Headstand at Bar Tartine a couple of weeks ago and this was our celebratory dinner. I have a serious addiction to Louie salads and Fish makes a good one so that was dinner. We also split some clam dip, guacamole, bread pudding with bitter greens, and cornbread. Jessica’s girlfriend Carolina Amaris ordered a trout that turned out to be the size of a house cat so we all had a bite.
After dinner we stopped for ice cream and then went to Cavallo Point for drinks. If you haven’t been, go immediately. Literally. Stop reading this and go. Cavallo Point is beautiful and the hotel is sick. Had a glass of Roederer and a bit of St. George Absinthe. Lovely way to end the evening.
Tuesday, July 13
Met my friends Andrew Mariani, Lia Kessel and Jessica at Pier 24 to check out the Pilara Photography collection. So amazingly cool. After we went down to the Ferry Building for the Tuesday market. Bought produce for the Bar and then Lia, Andrew and I sat for an early lunch at Boulette’s Larder. I had a pot of coffee and a beautiful Escarole and chicken broth soup. Andrew and Lia each had a tuna nicoise (adorable) and I had a quail salad with a fried egg. We shared a bread basket that I’m pretty sure cost $140. Boulettes is a great place to have lunch on a sunny day.
Headed back to the restaurant for prep. Left around six to break down the side of Magruder beef with Ryan. We split a drip coffee and I ate some cold pork sausage and bits or raw beef from each portion that we butchered.
On the way back to the Bar I was drawn to stop by Sebo for a quick bite. Beautiful meal despite Michael Black’s absence. Highlighted by Hokkaido Uni. Sebo might be my favorite restaurant in San Francisco.
Back to the Bar. Tasted bits of the food that was sent to my friend Matt Greene (a cook from Diner in Brooklyn) and then went home to sleep.
Wednesday, July 14
Had breakfast at Swan Oyster Depot. This has become a weekly ritual. I am addicted to the clam cocktails. I usually have two and a cup of coffee, but today I had a Louie salad and one clam cocktail. Unfortunately the gentleman next to me was sadly wasted and spent his breakfast of beer slurring to the woman next to him about his love for her and how Swan is nothing like some restaurant in Greenwich. I had to bail.
Went to the Bar. I ordered some goat legs and heads and decided to braise the heads. It turns out that braised goat head is super delicious. I had several groups of friends come in to the restaurant so they were subjected to my braised goat head, egg, grilled bread, pickled green bean, heirloom tomato, pickled chili experiments. Resounding success. Had some head meat and called it a night.
Thursday, July 15
I had a breakfast of coffee and corn biscuit at Hooker’s Sweet Treats on Hyde Street with Jessica Battilana. Tasty coffee and a super moist biscuit. We talked about the book(s) she is writing and then admired a dog.
I met Chad at the Thursday market so we could try some of Richie Nakano’s ramen. I was pleasantly surprised to find my friend Brandon Jew behind the counter helping Richie. We chatted a little about Bar Agricole then Chad and I sat down behind the 4505 stall to eat our bowl of fried chicken and pork ramen. Cesalee and Ryan set us up with a Chicken Yum-Yum sandwich and one of Ryan’s burgers. The fried chicken sandwich was delicious but his burger is my personal favorite in San Francisco (only after the bone marrow burger at Bar Tartine). The bun is money, the meat is perfectly cooked and the care of the aging really comes through in the patty. So fucking good.
Went back to the Bar to get back to the goat experimentation. Bill made hog jowls over grilled romaine for staff meal which will be making an appearance on the menu today (Friday) after I finish writing this. Had a busy service and finished the night talking to Sam, Andrew and Jessica Niello over a glass of Muscadet.
Earlier: Where Didn’t Michael Bauer Eat This Week? [Grub Street]