The Liberty Caf̩ РSan Francisco

Liberty Cafe Sign

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

If you were to ask K what his favorite pie was, what would you guess? Apple pie? Peach pie? Pecan pie? No, no, his favorite is chicken pot pie. And you’ll get a really good one here at The Liberty Café. This cute little bakery slash restaurant on Cortland St. serves up French cuisine using local Californian ingredients.

Ever since we got the house, K and I cut back on eating out. We’ve been trying to recoup our savings as well as acquire furniture! Well a few nights ago, we finally made a dinner date and tried The Liberty Café. We’ve been meaning to come here for years since everyone in my family has gone and raved about their famous chicken pot pie.

When walking through the door, we were first greeted with two very friendly waiters. I had a reservation, so we were quickly seated at what I think is the best seat in the house – a table nestled within the front bay window perfectly strung with white sparkle lights. We were about to order one pot pie each, but was quickly warned by the waitress that the portions were large. Wow, how nice of her to warn us! With one chicken pot pie though, we still managed to eat an obscene amount of food. But everything was so tasty, I did not regret one bite.

We started off with the night’s special, tuna tartare. Little pieces of fresh tuna were mixed with shallots, capers, micro greens and a little quail egg split in two. The dressing was very light and I think I tasted a hint of mustard. The tuna was also served with crusty crostinis. I was really impressed with this dish. I noticed that the chef put a lot of thought into the ingredients of the dish because the the shallots and capers were diced very small so that their pungent flavors wouldn’t over power the tuna.

Liberty Cafe Tuna Tartare

Next, was the star of the night… chicken pot pie! The pie was perfect. The gravy wasn’t too salty and it had a thick consistency. The carrots, potatoes and peas still had a slightly firm texture which meant that this pie was made to order. These babies were definitely not pre-made and frozen. Our side of kale was super tasty too. You can’t go wrong when it’s sauteed in garlic!

Liberty Cafe Pot Pie Inside

Liberty Cafe Kale

Alas, we come to dessert. Banana cream pie with 6 whole inches of homemade whipped cream. The bananas were thick cut and fresh. The crust was thin and flaky, and though the whipped cream looks heavy in the picture, it was light and airy.

Liberty Liberty Cafe Banana Cream Pie

Well, I think K and I found our new date spot at this well-established café in Bernal Heights. The place is quaint, romantic and yummy. Check out our cleaned plates!

Liberty Cafe Empty Plates

The Liberty Café
410 Cortland Ave
(between Bennington St & Wool St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Bernal Heights

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The Melt – San Francisco

The Melt

Rated: ♣♣

What do you get when you bring together a high-tech inventor and some comfort food? Apparently, grilled cheese sandwiches! Jonathan Kaplan, founder of the Flip Video camcorder, has jumped out of the tech industry and opened The Melt. Since its inception in September, they already have 4 locations in the Bay Area! Too soon too fast? Only time will tell…

The Melt Mission

The standard at The Melt is to get a combo – a sandwich, soup and a little bag of chips. They have some set combos on the menu, but you can also create your own. I ordered The Mission combo, jalapeno jack cheese on sourdough with a sweet corn tortilla soup. The sandwich was warm and gooey in the middle and crispy on the outside. It’s obvious they’re not afraid of butter. The spice from the jalapeno gave it a good kick to break up the richness of the sandwich. The soup was thick and sweet with a smooth consistency. They seemed to have thrown in all the ingredients and pureed everything together which I was not a fan of. There were no kernels of corn in the soup and I didn’t sense any tortillas in there either. I would have appreciated a more hearty soup with identifiable ingredients.

Overall, I think The Melt is a solid 2 clubs. Their selection of sandwiches aren’t too creative and the soups are disappointing. However, if I were to rate on taste alone, I would definitely choose The Melt over the American Grilled Cheese.

The Melt
115 New Montgomery St
(between Minna St & Mission St)
San Francisco, CA 94105
Neighborhood: SOMA

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Foreign Cinema – San Francisco

Foreign Cinema Storefront

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

I’m a big fan of brunch. If I could wake up and get ready early on weekends, I’d go more often. A few friends came to the city to visit one Saturday, so we took them out to Foreign Cinema for their amazing brunch. You can probably guess by the name, but this restaurant is famous for showing foreign (or classic) films in the evening while patrons enjoy their meals. They have a beautiful outdoor seating area where they project the movie on the side of a building. Unfortunately, I came during the day, so they didn’t have any movies playing. Check out their film calendar here.

Our group went all out when we ordered. Everyone recommended the pop tarts, so we had to order that. And since they had 2 flavors (strawberry and kumquat), we had to order both. To be honest, although they were pretty good, they were still only pop tarts. Now, if it was frosted, that would take it to a whole ‘nother level.

Foreign Cinema Pop Tart

Between 4 people, we also shared a dozen fresh Hog Island Sweetwater oysters. As usual, pure deliciousness.

Foreign Cinema Hog Island Oysters

For my entrée, I devoured the Chile Verde Baked Eggs with Berkshire pork, avocado, chickpeas and tortilla chips. What a great combination of textures and flavors! The fluffiness of the baked eggs mixed with the creaminess of the avocado and chickpeas and the crispiness of the chips were a perfect match.

Foreign Cinema Verde Baked Eggs

K ordered the Balsamic Fried Eggs with Garlic-Potato Hash and Prosciutto. This too was a home run. Crunchy eggs, sweet balsamic vinegar reduction, salty prosciutto. Yum!

Foreign Cinema Fried Eggs with Procsiutto

I’d love to come back to Foreign Cinema during dinner. This is a perfect date place. Apparently, they have some amazing fried chicken which has been listed in 7×7’s 2011 – 100 Things to Try Before You Die list.

Check out more pics.

Foreign Cinema Interior

Foreign Cinema Lemonade

Foreign Cinema Coffee

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St
(between 21st St & 22nd St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Mission

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Barney’s Gourmet Hamburger – San Francisco

Rated: ♣♣♣

Every once in a while, I crave a big fat juicy burger. I usually go here because it’s close to my house, but I wanted something different. Then, I remembered Barney’s in Noe Valley. The last time I came here was probably 10 years ago. After a quick Yelp search, I found it. Still around? Must still be good.

Barneys Storefront

I was super hungry and ordered way too much food. We started with a side of curly fries. Thin, chewy and spicy – just how I like them.

Barneys Curly Fries

I got the North Beach burger topped with cheddar cheese and a mountain of saut̩ed mushrooms and marinated artichoke hearts. The patty was a perfect medium Рjuicy, tender and mildly pink. This burger was so large, I could only eat half.

Barneys Mushroom Artichoke Burger

K devoured the Western burger consisting of cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, sautéed onions and a tangy barbecue sauce.

Barneys Western Burger

And how can you have a burger without a vanilla malt milkshake to wash it down?

Barneys Vanilla Malt Milkshake

I will admit, this meal was the start to a very painful weekend. Yes, heartburn for 3 days. I need to get a hang of this moderation thing… Tasty, but 3 clubs for the heartburn.

4138 24th St
(between Castro St & Diamond St)
San Francisco, CA 94114
Neighborhood: Noe Valley

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I Left My Stomach in San Mateo… or Top Peninsula Eats

Farewell upper peninsula. I’ve taken a position in SOMA San Francisco, and will be leaving Foster City. When people ask me what I’m going to miss, I am always going to tell them the good, cheap lunch spots within driving distance. So, here’s a list of top 10 Peninsula Eateries according to Kingston in no particular order:


Jersey Joe’s Hoagies & Cheesesteaks
21 El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 592-7317

If you are looking for the best cheesesteak sandwich in the Bay Area, look no further than this San Carlos Cheesesteak establishment. “THE BEST CHEESESTEAK SANDWICH IN THE BAY AREA.” There I said it. For around $10 you get a delicious, mouthwatering cheesesteak, fries, and a medium drink. This establishment will be the one I miss the most. Make sure you put some Buffalo Hot Sauce on your Mushroom Cheesesteak. Oh… Man. In fact, this will definitely be on my weekend Peninsula visits. (BTW, for all you Philly freaks, they have the traditional Cheese Sauce.)


Ike’s Lair
555 Twin Dolphin Dr
Ste 115
Redwood City, CA 94065
(650) 637-8903

So, you get all the hype from the San Francisco Ike’s Place, and realize, that waiting 2 to 3 hours is really not worth it. Now for Peninsulites (Peninsulans? Peninsuli?) all we have to do is make a phone call at 9:00 am to pick up our sandwich at 12:30 pm. I mean, it takes all the guess work out of figuring out which restaurant to go to for lunch. My office did several 15-20 orders of sandwiches to bring back, since there’s no seating there. My favorite is the Not A Reuben (Paul Reuben for my SF Place homies) with Mustard around $9.50.


Old Port Lobster Shack
851 Veterans Blvd
Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 366-2400
TheCultureBite Bite Back

Ah… yes. The Lobster Shack. Sigh… Where do I start. I’m actually not a lover of Lobster (I’m more of a crab type of guy), but their Lobster Roll is deeelish. I mean, come on. You walk into this establishment as if it were straight off an old port in Maine. Make sure you start off with some Creamy Clam Chowder, order a Maine Lobster Roll (if you don’t like mayo or green onions order the Naked Lobster so you can dip into a side of mayo or butter), and enjoy that side of fries. Can’t say I’ve tried anything else here, but I hear their BBQ is award winning! My meals were usually around $30 here, so take someone special.


Kabul Afghan Cuisine
135 El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 594-2840

I love the lamb here. We used to come here for special occasions, and then we realized we should just come here for no occasion. The Kebabs are delicious, and they remind me of the song from the Flight of the Conchords “Most Beautiful Girl” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmDTSQtK20c). Mostly because they mention kebabs and these are my favorite ones, specifically the Kabab-e-gousfand. Say that five times fast. The Lamb is seasoned just right and juicy. You get such large portions that I always have to take it home. The other dish I love here is the Challaw kadu. It’s a vegetarian dish with pumpkin in it. thdfsdf <–that was me wiping the drool off of my keyboard

Sushi Sam’s
218 E 3rd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 344-0888

This is one of the more expensive lunch dining options in the San Mateo downtown area. I’ve come here for lunch a couple of times, but I’ve come here for dinner a ton of times! S loves getting the Omakase everytime we eat here, but I don’t mind trying all of their other things. The rolls are phenomenal, the Uni tastes fresh, and the service is fantastic. This has replaced my need to return to the Tsukiji Fish Market for my fresh fish. If I were an account manager with a good expense account, I would take all my clients here. My recommendation is to try the Omakase the first time, then try a few rolls. If you feel adventurous they do have some multi-course meals.

Everyday Beijing
637 S B St
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 373-7878

If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for some Northern Chinese food. There are so many different variations of Northern Chinese food, that it’s always fun to try a new one. Some of them may have the XLB’s with the thin skin or the bun skin, some might have fresh soy milk, this one has Cumin Lamb. Yes, people, the lamb is excellent. Also, I love the meaty meat pancakes.

Saffron Buffet Line
Saffron Indian Bistro
1143 San Carlos Ave
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 593-4269

It was always a treat to come here. It’s a really cheap buffet ($10), and there’s such a wide variety of Indian food to choose from. You come in to the joint, and you’ll notice that there are white table cloths on each table. I kept thinking, oh no, Indian food and white table cloths don’t seem to go well together. Then you sit down, and realize, wait, I should just get my food right away. The smell of restaurant is fabulous, if you love Indian food. Once you get your plate, you are greeted by a salad bar. I usually skip this, as I’m here for the main event. I spoon a little bit of rice, then, it time. Time to pour on the different curries on each side, Butter Chicken, Palak Paneer. There are 8-9 different curries to choose from, and they all have their own tastes and textures. The last thing I pick up is the Tandoori chicken at the end and I’m ready to sit back down. Now, once you sit down, you’ll notice that buttered Naan has been magically placed on your table. Oh man, the waiters are wonderful. Sometimes, you can catch a sports game on one of the two televisions if something is on, otherwise, just sit, relax and enjoy the orchestra of Indian flavors.


Jack’s Prime
3723 S El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94403
(650) 638-1479

You want a tasty gourmet burger? Then you better come to this modern diner style establishment. They’ve got all the good stuff you could ask for at a burger joint, milk shakes fries, burgers, onion rings, and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it all. I personally recommend the Angry Cowboy which is a burger with smoked bacon, onion rings, jalapeno relish, cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce. Yeh doesn’t sound healthy, but it’s delicious.

Cha Cha Cha Fried Plantains and Pork
Cha Cha Cha Cuba
112 S B St
San Mateo, CA 94102
(650) 347-2900
TheCultureBite Bite Back

I love this place. The food is excellent, and the service is outstanding! My usual favorites are the Fried Potatoes with Chili Aioli, Fried Plantains, Ceviche, Calamari, and Mussels. Actually, I didn’t find anything I didn’t really like. One extraordinary thing is that I would actually enjoy drinking their Sangria. If you know me, I usually don’t like drinking alcohol. It’s so good here, how could I not? This place was introduced to me by my good friend, Victor D., who introduced us to the owner, Mario. Mario is a very friendly individual who has very interesting tales of the history of his family. You should ask him about the raft that’s posted on the wall. =)

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