I had a very rushed and hectic business trip in SF but was able to sample a few of the local restaurants despite airport-driven meals & catered lunches. Arrived early afternoon on a Monday and was back on a flight to NYC super-early Wednesday morning. :(
Trick Dog - Sampled the amazing Top Secret cocktail menu here. Loved the Grassy Knoll: rum, scotch, lime, jerk spice, and coconut water. Totally more than the sum of its parts. It didn't really taste like rum or scotch or any one ingredient but was delicious and refreshing on a hotter than usual SF evening. Chicken nuggets with sweet & sour, bacon ranch, and smoky BBQ sauces hit the spot as well, and you could tell that these were made from real chicken meat. Impressive, would love to go back. Sat upstairs with some friends, they were hesitant at first to let us up there since we weren't having a full dinner, but eventually relented.
Beretta - Spotted an empty seat at the bar and snagged it after waiting 5-10 minutes. Looked like a mighty long wait otherwise, even on a Monday night. It was guest bartender night and Ryan Fitzgerald of ABV was in fine form. I loved my Escondido Swizzle with mezcal, passionfruit, fresh lime, Cappelletti Aperitivo Americano Rosso, bitters, and lime zest on top of the crushed ice. Ordered a buratta pizza with sausage and egg to help soak up my liquor. Pizza was good - a bit wetter and heavier than I usually like. I only ate about half before calling uncle.
Beanstalk Cafe - The ridiculously named $7.50 Cragel Sando was pricey but great. A cragel (croissant-bagel hybrid) with cheese, egg, and bacon. Really satisfying for this jetlagged NYer. They were out of their mojito iced coffee and their regular iced coffee, unfortunately. I ate outside and watched the traffic go by on this very busy street.
Liholiho Yacht Club - Waited for seats at the bar with some friends. Thought this place was great. Bustling and crowded. Food was excellent as were the cocktails. The Clifton Special (Genever, Coconut Water, Coconut Syrup, soda) was light and refreshing, while the Coconut Telegraph (Banks 5 Island Rum, Coconut Syrup, lime) took me to a poolside paradise. I also loved the fresh and well seasoned tuna poke served on big crunchy nori crackers. We demolished an order of curry and squash clams with a side of naan. And the fried oyster with a single slice of seared beef "carpaccio" in a lettuce cup was revelatory. Plus, my friend knew to order the off menu spam musubi bowl, consisting of their house-made spam served with furikake over white rice, as well as sprinklings of nori, scallions, pickled cucumbers and togarashi.
SF is A+++ as the kids say. Would eat again! Hopefully I will be back sooner rather than later.