Every month, HuffPost SF joins our friends at Tasting Table to highlight our five favorite discoveries from our scouting expeditions around the Bay Area's culinary scene. Here's what caught Tasting Table San Francisco editor Jonathan Kauffman's eye in October.
Not Just A Pretty Face
Yigit Pura won San Francisco’s heart before most of us had even tried one of his desserts. With Tout Sweet, his <a href="http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/sf/10680/The_polish_on_Yigit_Puras_desserts_is_high.htm">new pastry shop</a> on the third floor of Macy’s, the Top Chef Just Desserts winner shows that his desserts are more than just photogenic. We were particularly drawn to citrus-flavored desserts, such as his Tesla tart (filled with Meyer lemon-yuzu and passion-fruit curds) and his panna cotta topped with Campari gelée and grapefruit.
Spread The Love
Rillettes--long-braised meats that are shredded and bound together with their fat--are one of those French pleasures that aren’t commonly seen in the United States. Wooden Spoons’ Brian Johnson and Julie Gordon have taken a private passion for rillettes and <a href="http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/sf/10741/Rillettes_made_with_classic_French_technique_and_California.htm">gone public</a>. Thyme and other herbs flavor their deep, meaty duck rillettes, and the pork rillettes, simmered with Calvados and star anise, are one of the best things we’ve spread onto a baguette in years.
One Trick Pony
Restaurants like the 28-year-old Il Pollaio endure so long that they sink into the background, dropping off people’s must-list visits and acquiring a nostalgic patina. As part of Tasting Table’s Classic Tables series, we visited this <a href="http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/sf/11006/Still_delightfully_a_one_trick_pony.htm">North Beach stalwart</a>, where the specialty is grilled chicken, rubbed with herbs and delivered straight from the smoke to the table. Ordered with a plate of fat fries on the side and a green salad doused with vinegar and olive oil, Il Pollaio’s chicken is a simple meal whose appeal never goes out of fashion.
A New Wine Worth Drinking
A few years ago, most of us--even the oenologically inclined--had never heard of a grape variety called Trousseau Gris. But a cluster of innovative winemakers, led by Pax Mahle of Wind Gap Wines, have bought grapes from a single Russian River Valley vineyard and turned them into three distinctive, <a href="http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/sf/10909/The_many_facets_of_a_grape_were_just_learning_to_love.htm">equally delicious wines</a>. They range from the fruit-driven to the dry and mustard-tinged, but all three pair beautifully with food.
Italian Mac & Cheese
At the table Baia Pasta sets up outside its Jack London Square shop on Sundays, the <a href="http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/sf/10976/Baia_Pasta_seduces_with_Americas_favorite_dish.htm#ixzz2AQKvg15c">artisan pasta company</a>, owned by two Italians, spoons bowls of mac and cheese made with its sturdy durum-wheat “nutshells.” Baia’s rich, comforting version reminds Americans who have loved the dish since childhood that the first word in “mac and cheese” isn’t “cheddar.”