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18 bar seats easily available for early birds who don’t mind crab for breakfast with an ice cold Anchorsteam. Swan Oyster Depot is a Centenarian, provider of magical unicorn juice, Nob Hill institution – but guys, they don’t have a website. No. 2 of my Best Brunches in SF series, Swan Oyster Depot (SOD) does not need anymore publicity thanks to Anthony B., but I still need to blog about the famed Seafood joint (I went to school with the family!). And I mean “joint” in the most revered sense of the word. SOD is not fancy. It is intrinsically unfancy and genuine and it’s beautiful; with decades worth of curated SF sports memorabilia slapped to the front wall, a trail of deep sea fishing ropes, coats and gear leading the way to the can, an antique metal cash register, collages of faded fish species posters aged with Bay sunshine and splatters of the freshest seafood in San Francisco. But please, I cannot stress enough, you have to come early to leave happy with a belly full of squid and oysters. Doors open at 10:30am, sometimes earlier. The line will put Star Wars to shame at 10:15 – aim for a 10am arrival. Now, what to order…IMG_1450IMG_1442IMG_1439

Smoked Salmon (a real show stopper) 

I don’t mean to one up Mr. Bourdain, but I cannot fathom how the smoked salmon wasn’t featured on The Layover. If the coveted Crab Fat is magical unicorn juice, then the smoked salmon is magical unicorn flesh – tender, flaky, non-fishy, silky, nom-nom-able thinly sliced salmon served on beds of sourdough. I can’t even. When you order the smoked salmon it’s served with a shrimp side salad, but just ask for all salmon and you will get what is pictured above. You’re welcome. The smoked salmon is sourced from Lucas Wharf in Bodega Bay, but the people at Lucas don’t even sell the salmon directly to restaurant guests because of the labor and required expertise to fillet, debone and prepare the salmon. Another reason to #hype #hype #hype the people of SOD – they are true fish experts!

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Dozen Oysters

Ice, cold, freshly shucked, and a true assortment of rare oysters I had never even heard of. It’s a wild world Oysters are, but very enjoyable. I recommend sliding them back with a spoonful of mignonette and the chili sauce – damn delicious.

Sea Food Cocktail

Served in a pretty little sundae glass, the plump and piled high crab, shrimp, and oysters are super satisfying. Although the cocktail sauce will be enough for those who hate spicy, I recommend adding the chili sauce!

Crab Fat

Yes! The Crab Cellulite… errr Fat is Bomb.com, but it really needs the chili sauce to enhance the magical qualities. Once you have that spice, feasting on a crab’s jingly bits will become a tradition.

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Family owned Swan Oyster Depot is a time capsule. They play Ella Fitzgerald, ring you up on an antique, engage in San Francisco pre-earth quake history chit-chat, and carve room in all visitor’s hearts about the size of a dozen oysters and a slice of sourdough. But hurry, the line’s getting longer!

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Say what — Christmas is this Friday!? Phuket, Thailand! Wait until the last minute to buy gifts again? Don’t worry, E-comm sites bank on your procrastination and help a sista out! But hurry, today is kind of your last day.

Deadlines to follow:

  • Anthropologie & Madewell: Order Tonight by 8:59 PM PST/ 11:59 PM ET, have it by the 24th!
  • Nordstrom: Order Dec. 22nd by 12PM PST/ 3 PM ET, have it by the 24th

Shop these curated gifts, by yours truly, guaranteed to please your foodie/fashion-forward/good-humored-gal pal (that’s a mouthful #punintended):

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IMG_1916 IMG_1916_Fotor_Collage8IMG_1980IMG_1918 IMG_1921 Marlowe is a bomb-ass bistro style eatery in the industrial + artsy SoMa neighborhood of San Francisco. That stands for South of Market, in case you’re not familiar with the greatest city in the world. Marlowe does brunch, lunch, and dinner – all are worth your while, but today we are focussing on brunch. No. 1 of my new “Best Brunches in SF” series. Some people don’t understand San Franciscans and their brunch. Yes, we take it seriously. It’s kind of a sport in our eyes. But basic? Hell no. (Disclaimer, I did just come from a Sat morning Zumba class in The Marina before this mid-morning micro-feast… infringing on basic bitch, I am aware). Marlowe is too cool to be basic – I will show you why. With interior design inspired by butcher shops, a nod to their meat-centric menu, with taxidermy cattle, art prints of pigs marked with cut-lines post slaughter, chicken wire shaped floor tiles, you get the picture – the space is very cool. Let’s talk about the sips and the bites:

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Centered by a big beautiful bar, busting with rad aperitifs, liqueurs, and a hefty gin collection (Uncle Val’s FTW – this gin is a garden in your mouth) – you know you’re in good hands when it comes to cocktails.

More Cowbell: Barrel-aged 209 gin, lemon, Aperol & Cardamaro

Pucker up, this tangy and sweet, citrussy cocktail has zesty orange notes, balanced by the sweetness of lemon juice and the aromatic flush of toasty and botanical No. 209 barrel aged gin. Try it, it just might have you saying, “more cowbell.”

The Calf – Novo Fogo cachaça, pineapple juice, lime & Serrano chile agave

Gorgeous chartreuse pop of color, this tropical cocktail is perfect – in that it’s not too tropical. I can get very tired of rum, but cachaça, I would never. I know I have talked about cachaça before – its a Brazilian kind of rum. The calf tastes like banana, and pineapple, a tad grassy from the cachaça and it’s got a kick of spicy sweetness from the chile agave. Love this one. I’ve ordered it a few times!

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Brussels Sprout Chips: with Meyer lemon zest & sea salt 

Guys, don’t do crack, it’s not good for you! Although, I highly recommend these Brussels Sprout chips which I am mostly convinced are laced with cocaine. Flash fried in rice bran oil and seasoned with salt and Meyer lemon zest. Sounds simple, but these bad boys with ruin you for all veggie chips (and yes, they kick Kale Chips’ ass – hard). Rumor is they’re not always on the menu, but they can’t go 30 min. without an “off the menu” request. How many Brussels Sprout dishes do you know that have a cult following?

The Smoked Salmon: Grilled bagel, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, shaved vegetables and citrus

Quite possibly the most gorgeous brunch plate I have ever been served. This meal, #icanteven – I am in love. Smoked salmon is kind of my jam, and this expression of the classic ‘Bagel and Lox’ dish does not disappoint. It’s light, tantalizing, bright, and really quite moving. The smoked salmon has a tender and delicate texture. It’s smooth and silky and matched perfectly with smashed avocado and a bed of shaved vegetables – a mini garden almost. With razor thin radishes, cucumber, carrots, topped with frisée greens, cilantro leaves and a lemony olive oil dressing, this rustic farm to table meal would make Peter Rabbit himself blush.

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta: Marinated berries, Bertina Elderflower & seeded granola

Custardy smooth vanilla heaven fluff, garnished with toasted oats, seeds, and nuts. A nice alternative to typical Panna Cotta made with heavy-ass cream, this Greek yogurt based molded dessert makes for a nice light brunch bite! The berries are juicy, tart, and explosive. Nutty grains anchor this air light meal, and balance each mouthful. Try it, or diet.

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No, we did not even order dessert, but our AMAZING server, Samantha treated us to this delish AF dessert that possibly changed all of our lives and made us loyal Marlowe patrons for life. Our buttons were busting a lil’ more than we planned, but so worth it. So very worth it. #dessertstomach

Loretta’s Vacherin: Coffee ice cream, meringue, toasted almond and chocolate sauce

Did it hurt? When this dessert fell from heaven? I would assume the spongy meringue base broke it’s fall. Loretta, damn girl. I am a huge fan of layered desserts, built with dope ingredients. This one starts with a soft bed of custard cream speckled with vanilla bean, then comes a foundation of air light meringue, crunchy and sticky on your teeth like English toffee, then a scoop of locally-milked coffee ice cream (thanks, Bay Area Cow!), dressed with rich chocolate ganache, drizzling & oozing like it just don’t care, and sprinkled with toasted almonds. Girl, you best unbutton that top button to fit this one in your brunch belly, so worth it.

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Marlowe is truly a gem. The fare is top-knotch, the staff is very friendly and knowledgable. The cool vibes are off the charts. If you’re ever downtown, below Market, hit up Marlowe. I think you’ll like it. And remember, don’t waste your time or taste buds on a bad meal. You are worth so much more.
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dreamy1_Fotor_CollageIMG_1756dress10_Fotor      IMG_1732    IMG_1739 IMG_1740I am not going to lie, I like a well textured vest. This pink number I picked up at Forever 21 last winter surprisingly pairs well with a lot of ensembles and kinda makes you look like a rockstar – not that I mean to toot my own horn, but toot! Here in sunny California, even the foggy Bay (hey there, Karl) we don’t get a lot of opportunities for outerwear, vests are a staple. And alas, my first fall preview. Happy yeti vest shopping and boot sale pillaging!

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Pink Yeti Vest, Forever21 

Transport Tote, Madewell

Nine West Leather Boots, TJ Maxx (I am such a Maxxinista)

Sunnies, Dior

Dress, Free People

Hat, San Diego Hat Co.

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I was indeed a vegan for a little under a year. My animal anti-sobriety is in part impossible because of restaurants like Cockscomb and food heroes like Chef Chris Cosentino –  yes, food hero and lord ruler of tripe and foie gras. Thank God it’s legal again in California. Cockscomb is a carnivore’s culinary delight. Whether it’s bovine stomach parts that tickle your fancy or a pork shoulder burger, you’re in good hands – the very capable hands of renown San Francisco Chef, Chris Cosentino. A humble man who works his tail feathers off, but is never too shy to smile at an obnoxious millennial food blogger and her parents.

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Let’s talk atmo. The night began at 5pm. 5pm on a Friday night in the industrial yet very hip SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco. The occasion? Dinner and an ACDC concert at the ballpark with the rents – our occasion and 75% of the other fellow diners’. The kind folk at Cockscomb were hip to the crowd’s intentions and inspired our classic rock appetite with the album Back in Black on the restaurant stereo. Chef Chris Cosentino reveals charming dimples as he leans over the counter in a “Tripe” graphic tee, greeting patrons while also prepping a bright eyed and bushy tailed kitchen staff – future rockstar chefs in the making. We HAD to order a tripe dish and a few other things. Let’s talk food and drink:

Sips:

Gin JamsTrolly CarIMG_1332IMG_13181. Chef’s Gin Jams: Bulldog Gin, House Jam, Lemon, Fever-Tree Tonic 

This drink is my jam! #punintended We were lucky enough to try this one with pluot house-made jam! My favorite fruit hybrid of all the times. The gin first hits your pallet with an herbal bouquet, then you get soft morsels of loving jam, finished with the gum quenching tonic. I would order this drink 100 times. I look forward to the next seasonal jam!

2. Trolley Car: Light rum, Gold Rum, Passion Fruit, Cinnamon

A nod to the Tonga room I hope? And possibly everything that’s right about the world. Apart from my go-to gin, tropical drinks are my everything. This drink does the hula in your mouth, but with that unexpected spectacular sweet cinnamon rim – baby I am yours.

3. Boothby: Pomegranate Infused Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, Bitters, Sparkling Wine

I am not usually a brown spirits fan (sorry Don Draper), so I tend to avoid these types of drinks. This sipper though, I like! It’s tart, very fruity but balanced with a dryness from the sparkling wine. Very sophisticated and refreshing.

4. Sweet November: Gin, Honey, Citrus

This drink must be doing laps down people’s alleys because it’s a crowd pleaser. The botanical gin is coupled by citrus magic and finishes with silky honey on the mouth. Reminds me of eating honey sticks at the farmer’s market, but better because gin was invited.

Note: Cockscomb is constantly reinventing their menu! Some of these staples may be available with different spirits or flavors – more reason to go back! 

STARTERS:

littlegemspig2hotmess11. Little Gems: Green Goddess, Radish, Crispy Pig Ears

All croutons should be replaced with crispy pig ears – all of them. I am such a fan of green goddess and this house-made blend does not disappoint. A perfect salad.

2. “The Hot Mess:” Foie Gras and Strawberries

Imagine the world’s greatest (that’s better than #1) stuffing – imagine it. That is the hot mess. The slow cooked strawberries are sweet and tart and perfectly balanced by the salt and exquisite rich fat of the foie gras. I would say one of the best things I’ve ever ate.

SUPPER:

prokshoulderburger3 IMG_1343tripe11. “Ham”Burger: Grilled Onions, Gruyere Cheese, Dijon & Chips (add sizzled egg)

There’s quotes around this “Ham” for a reason. This burger is pork shoulder and it’s kind of a big deal. It is also philosophical. Why are hamburgers called hamburgers. They’re beef, not pig! And do yourself a favor, when you order this non-burger-burger, please add the egg. Always add egg. I am kind of fumbling for words to describe this masterpiece. The pork is tender and lovely, the egg over easy – silky yolk but not too runny as to disrupt your hands from cradling the perfection that is this burger. And don’t forget the crispy spuds! Sidekick, I think not. I may or may not be making a reservation for tomorrow night to revisit this beauty. Sigh.

2. Grandma Rosalie’s Tripe – Tripe, Chili, Tomato, Mint

Smokey, spicy, savory, meaty. When the Chef wears a “TRIPE” graphic tee, you order tripe dammit! Is tripe sweeping the nation? Because it’s sweeping me off my feet. There is a very animalistic character tripe has, and not in an unapetizing feral way, but in the way a professionally prepared lining of a cow should taste – scrumptious. This was my mother’s entree and it reminded her of her Croatian grandma’s tripe supper. Mad props, Chef Cosentino. Mad props.

DESSERT: A.K.A. 2nd stomach – always make room for it.

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1. Duck Fat Tart with Irish cheddar, Apple Cider Caramel

Yes, that’s right – duck fat. Flakey, savory, and autumnal with a festive apple cider caramel ribboned over a very happy tart and then inside a very happy tummy.

2. Pluot Upside Down Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream

I love pluots! This cake reminded me of cornbread – dense with fruit and neighbored by possibly the best whipped cream I have ever had.

Did we finish everything? Heck yes. Our bellies were full and ready to rock out to Dirty Deeds and marvel at Angus’ nimble body and wicked backspins on the stage! There is something very exciting about dinner and a show. It’s a pastime I cherish. Cockscomb was well aware the ACDC crew had other dinner options in SOMA, and they were very appreciative of our business. That’s something I look for in a restaurant – a joint that genuinely appreciates its patrons and might I say, loyal fans. If you’re a Bay dweller or catching a Giants game, I highly recommend Cockscomb – it’s only a 5 minute walk from AT&T Park.

Convinced? Any vegans rethinking life decisions? 😉 Book your next meal at Cockscomb. I look forward to your rave review in the comments below or what dishes you’d like to try! Enjoy.

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