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Found Foods

So there's this place in our neighbourhood, Corner, which is an odd little space up at the aforementioned corner of 18th and Mission. It opened about 2 years ago as this upscale-ish hipster restaurant. Had decent but slightly burned quiche, nice enough salads, disappointing brunch. We went there twice. A few short months later, it transmogrified into a South American restaurant one morning, albeit still called Corner with extra signs outside. Another weekend, while trekking home from Radish (more on them later in this post), Corner had turned into a place called Cat's Head BBQ, offering pulled pork sandwiches and oyster po'boys. Last Thursday, Seth walks home from the Sycamore and it's turned into ramen and karaage.

Dude, we were confused. But thinking we should probably give any Japanese restaurant in the Mission a shot, we looked it up online to see how their ramen was, and therein came the revelation. Turns out that Corner is now a rotating space for pop-up restaurants, with different cuisines on different days. iamfourninjas/bettyscout, you'll probably want to know the Whole Beast Supper Club has turned up here thrice this month. Today, it was not ramen, but EAT, whose food I'm going to describe as restaurant-style comfort American food done to San Francisco taste. Overall, our dinner was quite nice. We got the mac and cheese for an appetizer, and I know y'all are probably thinking, count on this city to make mac and cheese a gourmet appetizer -- well, this mac and cheese was divine. The sauce was rich, creamy, cheesy, just salty enough, with a hint of bitterness we liked, but not so much of all those things we would be overwhelmed by how creamy and starchy it was. My salmon was delightfully pink and translucent in the middle, the bed of barley it came on was comforting and pleasant. Seth's fried chicken was juicy and tender and just salted enough to my taste, though he found it a bit saltier than he would have liked. The cream puff dessert was my favourite thing tonight. Three puffs are stuffed with custard, cream and a chocolate cream, dipped in salted caramel and slathered with currant sauce. The contrast of flavours -- salty, sweet, sour, fatty -- was amazing. They had a 2 Chimay for $10 deal with dinner, I think it rounded out a perfectly pleasant evening.

We may be back for ramen on Sunday, or we may have other plans, or I may suggest we head to Nombe for their Sunday/Monday ramen special. If you're craving good ramen, dislike crowds, want to support a cool local restaurant and don't want to trek all the way to Japantown, may I very much suggest you head to Nombe on Sunday/Monday for their ramen/gyoza/Asahi special. They will usually have only one flavour of ramen, but Nombe has not, and I swear by this, ever served me a ramen dish I didn't like. And I have tried everything from their chilled ramen to that miso ramen that was so spicy we thought we were going to die, but it was still good! (They may also still have their chocolate-yuzu-chilli ice cream for dessert, a dish so cool yet so burny one does really start thinking after a while it is heavenly death.) The last time we were there, they had good old tonkatsu ramen. The noodles were springy, with an al dente bite. The broth was rich and thick with meat and bone essence that had clearly been simmered for hours. I got a poached egg, which I always love on my ramen, a generous serve of pickled seaweed, marinated meat and scallions. The gyoza were homemade, juicy, served with a vinegared soy sauce dip involving deeply pickled garlic. Mine even came with a crisp lace of pan brownings, and I always love crispy things leftover from pans.

On to new places opening in our neighbourhood, we did head to Radish one weekend for brunch. It's a bright, sunny restaurant, and the food has potential. Their thing is that they make everything from scratch, source local and want stuff hand-made. Seth got the Egg Sandwich and I got the Eggs Benedict. His house-made sausages were a little on the bland side, needed more flavour than salt. On the other hand, the biscuits both our dishes came with were buttery, light and oh-so-crumbly to the touch. Utterly magnificent things of butter and homeliness. I liked my eggs, the hollandaise sauce was also buttery and delicious, without being overwhelmingly rich. Their house fried potatoes are so absolutely wonderful to dip yolks in. It's crisp, well-spiced and just crisp and soft on the inside, golden brown all over. We might go back there for dinner or brunch at some point. The menu shows promise. Catfish and hush puppies! Shrimp corndogs! Win!

Brunch is the new thing in the Mission. Back when we moved in 3 years ago, the only really brunch-ish places around were Jim's, Boogaloos and St. Francis. Now, everyone, his mother and the South American places you never knew opened in the morning are offering brunch. One place you probably do not wish to brunch at is the Sycamore. Their lunches, dinners and sliders are good, but we really have no idea why their brunches are so terrible. Seth's omelet was clearly made with a lot of egg, but had no discernible flavour. Operating into its insides showed bacon and a vague cheese coating, again, not much flavour. The white sauce borders on disturbing, tasting like mostly lumpy flour with the odd minced up sausage bit. Their biscuits should be better, you even sort of hope it gets better as you eat it, but the biscuits were rubbery and bland.

Apart from Radish, two other places of recent note for brunch in the Mission (Did I mention Nombe also has brunch? Incidentally? Yes, they do good brunch.) are Asiento and Hog & Rocks. I take it Asiento's very recently opened. The couple who run the place are really quite lovely. The bartender made me a sour cherry drink on a new recipe involving maraschinos and strawberries, since sour cherries weren't in season. It was a convincing approximation of sour cherry. Breakfast, made by her husband, the cook, was genuinely tasty. Again, eggs benedict for me, breakfast burrito for the spouse. My eggs benedict was delicious, though you'll forgive me if all the eggs benedict I've been having have kind of melded together in flavour at this point, and I can't break down the flavours as much as I would prefer here. Seth seemed to like the burrito well enough. We both devoured the tater tots (which are just normal, frozen tater tots) like mad people. This was after we had Sycamore's dreadful brunch the day before. Tater tots have flavour! Tater tots are fun and wrong and tasty. My only gripe about Asiento's brunch is that they're so new, they probably haven't gotten all their cutlery together yet. We ate off paper plates with plastic tableware, and because Asiento is largely a bar, there weren't a terrible lot of sit-down tables to go around.

Hog & Rocks deserves a mention for brunch, in spite of being a specialty ham and oyster bar (doesn't stop them from serving oysters at breakfast), because they do serve a nice brunch, and I have always liked their cocktails. The food is nicely plated and all pleasant, hearty fare. The Hog is the surprisingly simple-sounding but best out of the brunch menu. Because I cannot resist, I recall getting their fish and chips for brunch when I was there. But their Farmer's Market Omelet may be worth a shot at some point. I've never tried nettles before, and I am keen to.

And if I may add one more point of gluttony out here, I would also like to call your attention to B3, another new place up on the Valencia corridor. We went there for lunch one day, not brunch, though they do indeed have brunches. They also have beer tastings to go with food, which me and the spouse shared and did rather much enjoy. I had their fish and chips, and let me say that it is by far the best fish and chips I have yet had in the United States. Crisp, light batter, not too greasy. Flaky white fish. Delicious skin-on chips. The chef mentioned the batter was just made as we were coming in that afternoon. Seth had their Guillermo burger, which was a divinely medium rare patty. It had just enough salt and pepper to bring out the natural flavours of really good beef. The food seems geared more towards small plates than not, even with substantial mains, so it sounds like the kind of place we might need to bring a larger party to for testing purposes. The folks there are nice, very helpful with the menu, and that brunch menu tells me even their breakfast salads could be awesomeness. Awesomeness on a bourbon brown sugar glaze!



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2011 03:39 am (UTC)
Augh! I just finished eating and you went and made me hungry again! Evil little Vamphamp!
May. 30th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC)
There is always room to think about your next meal!
May. 29th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
May. 30th, 2011 03:07 am (UTC)
I know what you mean and all, but man, now I'm thinking of carrots in lingerie. :P
May. 30th, 2011 01:24 pm (UTC)

I ♥ you. :)
May. 30th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC)
♥! :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )