What Does It Say When the Chron's Food Critic Looks for the City's Best Caesar at a Senior Center?

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Food in this city has changed, irrevocably. Younger eaters and all-ages early adopters ― they're bypassing the traditional restaurant experience for something more meaningful, more gestural, communal. At first I thought it was just the recession causing the city to seek out $8 heritage-breed pork sandwiches, crème brûlée on the street, DIY kombucha parties. But it's more than that: It's San Francisco looking for something with the tang of the authentic and the outlines of the accessible. Think the amorphous Local Mission Eatery (now it's a sandwich shop, now a sort of in-house pop-up dinner venue), Mission Burger. Chefs who, in an earlier time (like, three years ago), would be lining up investors and scheduling major openings ― well, these days, hell, Hapa Ramen counts as a major opening, with more grassroots buzz than any corporate restaurant could buy from PR strategists.

But does the city's premier food critic get it?

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