Taking it in
It’s no secret that we are what we eat. But it’s as true on a collective level as it is on a personal one. I’ve been struck by this fact as I’ve toured my new hometown with an eye for Bloody Marys and bloody steaks, learning about the life, vibrancy, art, and activism of San Francisco through its tamales and tajines. Having come most recently from Los Angeles, with the strip-mall predictability of its restaurants, I find myself falling more in love with this bayside city with every PBR I polish off. Not that there aren’t good places to eat in LA — there are. But a city’s culinary landscape is indicative of its culture, values, and politics — and while LA’s sweet spots are few and far between, hidden, often elitist, usually too expensive, and always hard to get to (hello, traffic), San Francisco’s are plentiful, varied, egalitarian, ecofriendly, and accessible. They have personality and heart. They provide nourishment and pleasure. Most of all, they serve damned good food. This is a guide to this city’s characteristic places for dining and drinking, the places that express our great diversity and our activist nature, the places that cater to our exciting nightlife and to the many ways we recover from it. From green restaurants to places to get cocktails, from high-end to lowbrow, from ethnic treasures to all-American classics, these are some of our favorites. This list is by no means comprehensive, as we are blessed to live in a city with so much to offer that a full list of places worth visiting would read like a phone book. For even more, check out our weekly restaurant reviews, in the paper and online at www.sfbg.com, and keep an eye out for our Best of the Bay issue in July. And in the meantime, raise your glass — or your fork — to the fact that we live in one of the most exciting, eclectic, good-eatin’ cities in the world. I for one am happy to drink to that.
Feast 2007 editor