Osteria Coppa | San Mateo, CA

Osteria Coppa. It’s always hard to find a spot here without reservation. Can’t be a sign of the good food though. Popularity is deceiving; take a look at Tpumps across the street, for example. As you venture more north, the Italian food seems to get better.

Here is the breakdown of the food:

Salumi misti: Served with olives and marcona almonds. Soppressata, coppa, pimento salami, sage white wine salami, san daniele prosciutto, porcini oregano salami. The amount was even less than Perbacco’s, but no surprise. Par for the course flavors.

Squash blossoms: Again, is this molecular gastronomy? There were four squash blossoms, but I could barely taste them.

Cod fusilli: Great infused flavor into pasta which was a good texture. No complaints here; rather, complete satisfaction.

Tajarin: Not sure what this was supposed to be. Uninspiring, lack of flavors. Pretty much like eating ramen with Italian flavors added.

Pappardelle: Great dish. Infusion of horseradish creme fraiche brought this dish a nice accent. Beef short rib flavor good, but not infused.

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Osteria Coppa
139 S B St
San Mateo, CA 94401

http://www.yelp.com/biz/osteria-coppa-san-mateo

100% Sweet Cafe | San Mateo, CA

100% Sweet Cafe is a Hong Kong style cafe in downtown San Mateo that specaliizes in Hong Kong styel snacks, desserts, and other cha chaan teng fare. The desserts are the highlight. Service is attentive, though completely hit-or-miss, in terms of speed. Seating is cramped in the style of Hong Kong.

Mango pomelo sago (楊枝甘露) or yeung ji gum lo is a classic HK style dessert served in a bottle (there is the standard option as well). It is chilled, fresh, and sweet.

Almond milk, served hot, is not sweet, but could use more egg whites overall.

Dun dan is decent here. The texture is creamy and flavor is subtle.

Crepes are puffy and fresh; best rendiion in the local area.

Egg puffs: Hit-or-miss. Sometimes the texture is crispy and crunchy with soft insides, while other times, it is soft all around, or almost burnt. In any case, the vanilla flavor is light here.

Creme brulee: Great taste and texture. Creamy and sweet, with a nicely burnt top.

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100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe

100% Sweet Cafe
205 E 4th Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401

Nabe | Inner Sunset, San Francisco, CA

Modern and minimalist, Nabe and its steamy storefront intrigue passerbys. Contributing to Nabe’s Japanese zen vibe, sake bottles line the walls, along with its chic vibe, dark walls, and hipster customers.

Nabe is a higher end shabu shabu shop in Inner Sunset. They also serve sukiyaki. Everything is kept pretty simple. The meat quality and vegetable quality is key. Spicy miso broth cannot be found here; rather it’s a focus on simple kombu broth, nice quality marbled beef, simple sauce choices, locally sourced vegetables (pumpkin!), and more.

The meal concludes with a tasty rice porridge – a bit too tasty, with too much salt. All in all, a great experience, though I would have preferred to see more variety.

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Nabe
1325 9th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94122

Roam Artisan Burgers | Lower Pacific Heights, San Francisco, CA

Roam Artisan Burgers is a great economical option in the affluent Pacific Heights. Beef quality is great (nice and juicy, as well); good crust, not burnt, bread is toasted well, nice fried egg, and all ingredients taste fresh. For a casual place, the atmosphere is beautiful with street seating lining the Pacific Heights streets, wooden panels, hipster lighting, and minimalist vibe. Great for families in Pac Heights. The prices are reasonable, given the area. Before tax and tip, you can try a classic for 5.99, which is not bad.

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Roam Artisan Burgers
1923 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

Four Barrel Coffee | Mission District, San Francisco, CA

Four Barrel is another third wave coffee roaster with four locations in San Francisco. Interestingly, one of the founders of Ritual opened Four Barrel in 2008 in Mission district, with it mission to roast their own beans, supply beans, and run cafes around the city. Their quaint Valencia street location (in Mission district) is beautiful, reminiscent of Sightglass Coffee in SoMa, but condensed. In the front, pour overs are displayed, the counter and working space is optimized to a nice square, and seating lines the edge of the shop. In the back is the roasting area.

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Four Barrel Coffee
375 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Big Mug Coffee Roaster | Santa Clara, CA

Big Mug Coffee Roaster is a Korean coffee shop in Santa Clara that opened in Spring 2014. Open and spacious, Big Mug’s space resembles Chromatic Coffee and minimalist SF style coffee shop. They serve Verve, Marianne’s ice cream, and any local sourced brands (particularly from Santa Cruz). My favorite is the espresso affogato for its amalgamation of bitter and sweet at once.

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Kuleto’s | Union Square, San Francisco, CA

Kuleto’s is a Italian-American restaurant located in the edge of Union Square. Bruschetta used di stefano mozzarella cheese with ciabatta, which was unfortunately, burnt. Duck bolognese pappardelle sauce reduction was weak – ground duck (?), barely any flavor, and pappardelle was not al dente. Desserts were too sweet.

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Kuleto’s
221 Powell St
San Francisco, CA 94102

Cotogna | Financial District, San Francisco, CA

Cotogna. Hands-down one of my favorite, most memorable food experiences recently. Michelin starred, sister to SF-renown Quince, Cotogna serves rustic Italian food that is easy to understand. Farm-to-table (ingredients are grown on the rooftop), Cotogna represents a new kind of Italian food that is unique and familiar to San Francisco.

Ordered: burrata, sformato, bacon-goat cheese pizza, rabbit tagliatelle, lamb sugo papperdelle, lobster spaghetti, raviolo, butterscotch budino, mascarpone trifle.

Burrata: not as creamy as Delfina’s; citrus off-putting. Fresh snowpeas were a nice contrast.

Sformato: Great flavors infused into broccoli/cheese custard.

Pizza: Excellent infusion and contrast of smokey bacon into goat cheese and great crispy crust, though burnt. Legendary quality.

Pastas: Raviolo was the standout (creamy and cheesy, runny egg shares the stage with the brown sauce which was calm, brittle contrast), rest of the pastas (rabbit, lobster, and lamb) were too subtle in flavors, though texturally great handmade pastas – al dente, fresh, a nice, bouncy chew in each bite. Pastas change daily and seasonly.

Desserts: Great butterscotch flavor in budino. Mascarpone trifle had good texture and subtle flavor.

Pastas were lackluster, in comparison to Flour + Water, though the pizza astounded me with its crunch and perfect balance of contrast in flavors. I’ve eaten a lot of pizza in the city (Gialina’s, Flour + Water, Pizzeria Delfina) to gauge and Cotogna notably holds the best.

Excellent service. Beautiful ambiance. Low key, casual, and modern. I love almost every aspect of Cotogna.

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31st Union | San Mateo, CA

31st Union in San Mateo, CA is a California-style, farm-to-table restaurant that serves comfort food.
– Mediocre tapas imitating San Francisco style. All locally sourced, farm-to-table, yet execution lacked finesse.
– Crispy pig ears: crispy, crunchy, good flavor like chicharrones
– Sliders: lackluster, kick was good, but flavor just was not there. Bread was not toasted.
– Fish and chips: soggy exterior; good quality fish.
– Braised beef tacos: beef quality good, though celery root remoulade did not complement well
– Housemade ricotta gnocchi: texture and taste of gnocchi great, though accompany forest of ingredients was bizarre
– Hanger steak: medium rare, good charbroiled taste, though not super tender

 

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31st Union
5 S Ellsworth St
San Mateo, CA 94401