When I first heard about the 100 Things to try Before you Die list in San Francisco’s 7×7 Magazine, I thought great, another list of unattainable items, another list created for the sake of creating a list – then I read it; it offers great specificity, something for every budget and really, a list that in every way is very attainable. So, while SF gets some of the simpler things drastically wrong, like a regular banana smoothie (no it doesn’t have orange or apple juice, why would it?) or believe it or not coffee, the city does do a good sit-down meal.
The 7×7 list is found here – 100 Things to Try Before you Die – and below I’ve included some commentary on my personal favorites from the list and a few new ones to add some personal flavor.
From the list, you can’t go past:
- Carnitas (soft chunks of caramelized pork) taco at La Taqueria – this place is legendary and a Carnitas Taco is a worthwhile addition to a long night, after a couple of cold ales over the road at the Beauty Bar.
- Baja-style fish tacos at Nick’s Crispy Tacos – believe it or not you can grab your fish tacos and then seamlessly slip or sip straight into a martini. The place doubles as a nightclub.
- Oysters on the half shell at Swan Oyster Depot – Swan was also awarded with a Food & Wine Go List award which is why, along with the truly delicious oysters and great relaxed atmosphere, you’ll find a line 20 people strong every Saturday.
- A classic gin martini at Bourbon & Branch – they require a reservation or password to enter the Library at the back but once in, a great menu of high end drinks worthy of a libation.
- Spaetzle at Suppenkuche – this is a traditional German meal served in a fun environment which encourages beer swilling and the occasional clang of a stein.
- Pan con chocolate with sea salt and olive oil at Laiola – chocolate with sea salt and olive oil? I was skeptical and so was everyone else but with a gentle nudge from the delightful staff, this was actually one of the most impressive desserts I’d tasted. Rich though!
- Giant pretzel with mustard at The Monk’s Kettle – did I enjoy the giant pretzel because I was half-way “around the world” (every beer on tap) or simply because it is super tasty? I’m not sure.
- Sand dabs at Tadich Grill – who wouldn’t like a piece of fried fish, particularly when done so simply. The Tadich is also SF’s oldest restaurant!
- Sesame Balls at Yank Sing – some say it is a little on the spendy side for Dim Sum, but regardless the Sesame Balls are very good.
- Clam chowder at Hog Island Oyster Co. – there is nothing better than preparing for the Bay Area’s best oysters with a cup of clam chowder. The usual aromatic vegetables and potatoes but with plenty of clam.
And, 5 more that didn’t make the list, but I’d say are worthy:
- The North Beach Sandwich at Molinari’s – simple and delicious with prosciutto, sun dried tomato, marinated bell pepper and provolone on a roll.
- Venison Carpaccio at Lolo – you just can’t beat this…thinly sliced and simply indulgent.
- The traditional Peruvian prawn soup at La Mar – one of the many delightful traditional dishes and a perfect place for a big group gathering.
- The Fries at Frjtz – it is as simple as that. These fries are really good!
- The revolving menu at Bar Jules – the menu is fresh daily and as such the ingredients are equally fresh. Actually, I’m so happy to have found a decent brunch spot.
Can you conquer the lists?
Photo courtesy of jslander