san fran

A bit of California cuisine to start off your day. Photo by Stephanie Stiavetti.

I’m writing this from Portland but headed to San Fran for the Egg events below. Hoping to sneak out to Sausalito to meet the extraordinary Deborah Jones, photog of all French Laundry books and an angel on earth—one of the great luxuries of a book tour, seeing cherished friends. I emailed Stephanie Stiavetti (@sstiavetti), hoping to see her as well. Stephanie writes The Culinary Life blog. Her first book, Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, is also from Little, Brown, and it’s superb, the best one I’ve seen, in fact—accept no imitations! I asked her for SF food recs, and this is what she sent—well worth sharing (though Steph, I hear Hog Island closed for remodeling or something, damn!)—M.R.

Dispatch from Stephanie Stiavetti

If you’ve got time to head down to the Ferry Building, Hog Island Oysters is an epic oyster place. I’ve drowned my sorrows in beer and shellfish there many times. The Coachman, in the Mission, is good as well. If you’re willing to cab it, Flour + Water is the best pasta in town, Contigo is simple but creative Catalan small plates, and SPQR is excellent Italian food.

State Bird Provisions is the best meal I’ve had in the past five years outside of the French Laundry—you might have to pull strings to get in there, though. It’s relatively cheap and so good they’re booked up months in advance. If you get there at 5pm and stand in line, you can get a table. This is the one place I’d say is worth the line. And I hate lines.

Pancho Villa (wow, the website is hilarious!) is a pretty incredible Mexican place on Valencia. Definitely worth the cab fare, or the colorful walk though the Mission—just keep your wallet in your front pocket. Other seedy but awesome Mexican, because it’s just what you do when you’re in SF: Taqueria Cancun, La Taqueria, El Toro. Playa Azul way up around 29th and Mission is a total dive but has some of the best Mexican seafood in town (everything else on the menu is OK/edible).

Pizza: Delfina in the Mission (hit up Tartine while you’re over there!) is really good, but Una Pizza Napoletana in SOMA is the best thin-crust pizza I’ve had in the U.S. I balked at paying $25 a pizza, but then I finally ate there and was totally blown away. So. Good.

Thanks, Stephanie, hope our schedules align!


Upcoming Book Events

Friday, April 11

7:00 PM

Copperfield’s/Whole Foods Napa

Culinary Center at Whole Foods

3682 Bel Aire Plaza

Napa, CA 94558


Saturday, April 12

3:00–4:00 PM

Omnivore Books

Omnivore Books on Food

3885a Cesar Chavez Street

San Francisco, CA 94131


Sunday, April 13

6:30 PM

Book Passage’s Cooks with Books

Left Bank Restaurant

507 Magnolia Avenue

Larkspur, CA 94939


© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.