I recently enjoyed a visit to San Francisco, which is probably the second best food city in the United States. If you measure by great meals per capita, it could very well come out on top.
Eating my way across this city was invigorating. It brought my attention to new flavors, and it reminded me of simple, timeless combinations of ingredients.
Here are five things I concluded after my visit to the bay:
1. We’re overcooking our pasta.
The spaghetti at Delfina costs $13 and arrives at your table strikingly unadorned. The whole thing is a little excessively San Francisco, but the pasta is undeniably excellent. It’s a reminder that spaghetti should 1) finish cooking in its sauce and 2) still be chewy when it hits the table.
2. When Mexican food is good, there’s nothing better.
The bowl of roasted corn I ate at Nopalito, richened by cherry tomatoes, mayo and lime, was probably the best thing I had all week. The carne asada, served alongside a tomatillo and arbol salsa that fit the meat like a glove, made me subtly fist pump at the table.
If you don’t have the chance to eat at Nopalito, or its higher-end cousin, Nopa, I highly recommend you pick up their cookbook.
3. Ramen is better with fried chicken.
The ramen at Halu features a delicious twist: they’ll toss a pile of richly seasoned fried chicken in your pork-based broth. This meal was the physical manifestation of the heart eyes emoji.
4. The Tony in Boise makes the best pizza.
Tony Gemignani is a 12-time world pizza champion. Critics have long praised the flagship restaurant in his pizza empire, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. I made the pilgrimage to North Beach to try pizza that is commonly called the best in San Francisco.
The pizza was good, but it was greasy. It was a far cry from the pure artistry of Tony’s Pizzeria Teatro in Boise. Boise Tony wears the pizza crown until further notice.
5. Our big salad shortage is a big problem.
Often when I’m hungry, all I want is a big salad. That’s why walking into MIXT, a chain exclusive to Los Angeles and San Francisco, felt like a dream come true. All this place does is make big salads.
Most restaurants will give you a big salad, but in a small bowl with one tiny cup of dressing on the side. They might as well scream, “Eat dry lettuce!” and flip you off.
But at MIXT, they THOROUGHLY TOSS YOUR SALAD IN A BIG BOWL, evenly distributing dressing over the whole salad! What a revolutionary idea!!!
Please, MIXT, set up shop in Boise, Idaho. ∎