Spotlight: 20th Century Cafe


If anyone was wondering why I fell off the face of the blogging earth the last couple of weeks, it’s due to a mixture of starting a new job (!) and frantically planning my two-week getaway at the end of March through Eastern Europe and Japan. And if you know anything about how I travel, that means spreadsheets and food.

As part of my Eastern European food “research” (eating is totally research), I visited 20th Century Cafe over the weekend, a year and a half old establishment tucked away in Hayes Valley. Brimming with natural light from the large windows and white interior, the cafe touts pastries and savories inspired by Prague, Vienna, and Budapest; pastry chef Michelle Polzine traveled through these areas some years back and vowed to bring them to SF, and so the cafe was born.


1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (96% score)

Spotlight: Aster by Way of Coi

Aster pop-up at Coi

Plate of snacks: Nori gougere, radish with miso, and pig’s head croquette with yuzu aioli

San Francisco is no novice to the pop-up scene – we see pop-ups featured on every to-do newsletter, email, and date night suggestion. But there is a method to the pop-up surgence that is rooted less in creating exclusive, in-the-know opportunities and more in background logistics, permits, and labor laws.

Aster, the latest restaurant slated to open next month at 22nd and Guerrero, is the newest venture from the Daniel Patterson Group, who of course oversee Coi. In the midst of preparing for the grand opening, Chef Brett Cooper (of Outerlands fame), popped up at Coi for the last four Mondays, when Coi is usually closed. While he was able to test dishes by way of a four-course prix-fixed menu, I had to the opportunity to eat during one of those nights and preview what Aster will be like.


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Recipe: Hazelnut Sea Salt Brownies


When visiting Paris last year, I probably ate every kind of pastry imaginable – croissants, tarts, canelés, macarons, etc. But one thing noticeably absent was brownies. I don’t remember even once coming across a brownie to munch on, and I went to a lot of patisseries.

It could be because brownies are one of the few desserts that originated in the United States (even my beloved cheesecake was invented in Greece). Wikipedia will tell you they came around in the 19th century and grew in popularity quickly due to the ease in making them –most recipes require little more than two bowls – and of course, because they involve lots of chocolate, and who can say no to that.


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Spotlight: Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Mr. Holme's Bakehouse SF

If there were ever a bakery that graced my heart with true love, it would be Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Not only does their website have a rap lyric slapped across the home page, but their pastries are so good that I woke up at 6:30am to get there right when it opens and be able to sample everything as fast as it came out of the oven.

The once sketchy (alright, still sketchy) part of the Tenderloin is slowly morphing into a food haven, making the tiny but mighty shop of Mr. Holmes a perfect addition. Pastry chef Ry Stephen, who was previously selling his goods at other local coffeeshops, kills it with his pastries. From the familiar croissants and doughnuts to the pastry cream-filled cruffin and lemon poppyseed cake slices, everything is appealing and delicious.


1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (96% score)

Weekend E.A.T. – Be Amazing

Chambers Eat + Drink

As it rained cats and pugs this weekend, there were two ways to deal with it – stay inside all day, or seek out the amazing gems that SF has to offer and take them by storm (hehe, get it?).

Some of these gems I already frequent (The Mill, the Mission), while others were more serendipitous. On Saturday after dance class (remember I’m taking those now?), I stayed warm from the rain with a big bowl of pho from Mau, which also made the Bold Italic’s list of best pho in the city.


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