All Spice, San Francisco

All Spice, San Francisco

All Spice is an elegant restaurant located in the Nob Hill area of San Francisco. The brainchild of Chef Sachin Chopra and his wife Shoshana Wolff, it is not your everyday Indian restaurant as its name might lead you to believe, but one that serves New American Exotica – and, believe me, there comes a surprise with every dish.

The couple’s original concept was a restaurant called Game serving mainly game meats. But finding the full expression of Chef Chopra’s talents curtailed, and in true Silicone Valley entrepeneurship spirit, the couple did a quick pivot and re-opened as All Spice, the San Francisco branch of their flagship restaurant located in San Mateo in the Peninsula.A few months ago I got an invitation to visit the restaurant. Finally, a couple of weeks ago I visited the restaurant with a friend. The minute we stepped through the doors we were  greeted warmly by Shoshana who showed us to our table and provided us with copies of, both, the tasting menu and the regular menu.

Starting with drinks, my companion opted for Adams Ale while my fancy was caught by a cocktail titillatingly named Gunpowder ($14).  And it certainly lived up to it’s name. Described as being somewhat similar to a gimlet, it was a swirl of gin, green tea, lime juice and citrus laced with an unexpected hint of spices. And this gimlet with a South Indian flair brought back memories of idlis, dosas and my childhood in the south of India. Continue reading

San Francisco Is Obsessed With Food?

Taj Campton, San Francisco

Taj Campton, San Francisco

With a title like this “San Francisco is obsessed with food and that is an understatement,” how can you not read the article? This was not published in a local San Francisco bay area paper, but in the Washington Post and it brought back memories of a conversation I had with a chef in Manhattan. This chef worked in a Michelin rated restaurant and was totally taken aback when I mentioned that on average I had access to better food in San Francisco bay area when compared to Manhattan. He, of course, disagreed with my point of view and made a case on why Manhattan was “the place” for food lovers. We agreed to disagree. I digressed, Back to the WaPo article.

Tom Sietsema captures San Francisco Bay area’s obsession with food in his WaPo article.He begins and ends his culinary journey with the airport that offers an interesteting selection of food, which I am sad to report is not the case with the airports in New York city when I was last there.

Sietsema mentions a mix of well-known restaurants, cafes and the shops in Ferry Building in San Francisco and a couple in Berkeley and Alamdea area. It would have been nice if he had included places in the Mission, Sunset and Richmod districts.  All these places have some hidden gems and some of them are reasonably priced.

Besides the restaurans and food trucks, the various farmers markets are respobsible for fuelling or rekindling our interest in food for folks in the bay area. This constant and reliable supply of fresh fruits and vegetables through out the year has spoilt all a bit and that might also explain our obsession with food. Oh! I forgot our obsession with artisenal bread and baked goods.

By the way, if you just have a few hours in San Francisco you may want to head to the bottom of Market Street and into the Ferry Building, where you will discover a cornocoupia of sorts of food. This is where you will find Blue Bottle Coffee, Acme Bread, Cowgirl Creamery, Straus Ice Cream, Humphry Slocombe and much, much more.

Take a look at the bounty that we see in our local farmer’s market in the bay area.