Nom Nom Paleo

Dining Out Paleo: Incanto (San Francisco, CA)

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If you’re looking to gnaw on all parts of an animal in San Francisco, Incanto is the place to go. 

How can you not love a place where butcher’s tools and cans of lard hang on the walls as art?

These days, nose-to-tail eating is old hat, but chef Chris Cosentino was seen as a culinary pioneer a decade ago when he began serving all parts of the animal — including all the nasty bits — to adventurous San Francisco diners. I’m ashamed to admit that when I dined here many moons ago, I was that squeamish patron who timidly ordered platters upon platters of pasta instead.

I’m so delighted that I was able to return and make up for my past sins.

This time around, we dined with a group of adventurous gourmands with the intent of chowing down on a whole cow leg.  

The Whole Leg of Beast dinner is a pre-arranged family-style feast where parties of six to eight meat-lovers descend on platters of antipasto, braised beef shank, salads, marrow, and dessert. Not everything on the pre-set menu is Paleo, but I’m sure you can ask for substitutions if you want to avoid all beans, cheese, and gluten.

In addition to the dishes on the prix fixe menu, we ordered items from the daily specials listed on the Odd and Ends menu, too. You gotta problem with that?

Our meat rumpus began with homemade salumi, roasted garlic, and pickled veggies…

…and a radicchio and arugula salad.

Next, we got our offal on: pork kidney, bacon, sungold tomatoes, capers, and lemon balm.

Then, the main event: A slow-roasted whole beef shank that had been cooked over 48 hours — accompanied by roasted marrow (a.k.a. God’s butter).

However, the waiter wouldn’t shred the meat…

…until the roasted beet salad (and a platter of braised beans, which the Paleo eaters among us ignored) arrived at the table.

I think he detected that there were savages in our party who needed to be reminded of proper dining etiquette.

Everyone was able to mod their meat with freshly grated horse radish, fleur de sel, house-made mustard, and extra jus. 

As if that wasn’t enough food, we demanded three extra platters of vitello tonnato. After all, more bone marrow is always a good thing, right?

For dessert, we had the choice of apricot chocolate cake or vanilla panna cotta with poached pears.

I’m a sucker for panna cotta so that’s what I indulged in.

Good stuff.

Paleo Eats: 2/16/12

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Today, the Double-O’s and I spent a fun yet exhausting day in San Francisco. Both boys are off for the next five days and I didn’t feel like being cooped up at home stuffing socks into envelopes all day (sorry!). Instead, we followed Fitbomb up to the big city.

Before heading out the door, I slurped up a steaming bowl of meaty pressure cooker bone broth for breakfast. 

Yesterday, I received my Valentine’s Day present to myself — a large Kuhn Rikon 8-quart pressure cooker — so I’ll be using it to make easy-peel hard-boiled eggs and meaty bone broth ALL. THE. TIME.

When we arrived in the city, the little guys and I wandered around the Ferry Building and visited my favorite shops and stands at the farmers’ market.

I love this beautiful food mecca and recommend it to everyone visiting the Bay Area.

Definitely try to visit it on a farmers’ market day (Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday) because the eats are phenomenal.

Plus, you can buy pastured, Whole30-approved, sugar-free bacon at Prather Ranch ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. 

At lunchtime, my hubby met us for lunch and we split a spinach salad with an additional double serving of slow roasted pork from Il Cane Rosso

…and my favorite burger in the world: a 4505 Meats double-meat Paleo burger with fried egg. 

After our bellies were full, the boys and I hopped on a ferry bound for The Rock

The weather was surprisingly fantastic and the boys had a blast wandering around the “spooky” prison.

Look at the crap they fed the prisoners:

No wonder they rioted.

I’ve lived in the Bay Area my whole life, but this was only my second trip to Alcatraz. Based on the grins on my boys’ faces, I’ve got a feeling that we’ll be heading back to the Rock much more frequently in the future — and I’m not even psychic.

At dinnertime, we met our besties at Roam Artisan Burgers

While we shared our alpha 1 build of the Nom Nom Paleo iPad app with our buddies, I ate a lettuce-wrapped double-beef burger with bacon and avocado…

…and split a farmer’s salad. We added mini patties to the greens for Lil-O’s supper.

Man, I’m bushed. Time to get some shuteye!

Eating Out Paleo: Locavore Restaurant (San Francisco, CA)

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Locavore is a cozy joint in Bernal Heights where all the food is sourced within a 100-mile radius. It’s the type of place where you can eat, drink, and chat for hours — and that’s just what we did.

After a busy day throwing a party at our digs, Fitbomb and I were in no mood to cook. Instead, we headed to Locavore with a gaggle of friends to relax and gobble down pretty much everything on the menu. Although most dishes contained some non-Paleo-approved ingredients (e.g. beans, bread, dairy) we only requested one Paleo modification – no buns on the burgers.  When you’re eating family-style, you can pick around things you don’t like, and there’s always someone (e.g. Dr. HA) who will eat the grains and legumes. (Yes, if you’re special enough, I’ll be friends with you even if you eat tofu and no fat.)

Maybe we should’ve made more substitution requests, because the kitchen apparently forgot (ignored?) our no-buns-on-the-burgers mandate. Not a big deal - we just ate around them.

My favorite dishes of the night were the crispy duck wings, the duck breast entree, the meatballs, and the side of warmed cherry tomatoes. 

For the amount of food and drink we consumed, the final bill was very reasonable. The fact that they didn’t kick us out after talking, drinking and laughing for three hours, however, was priceless.

Eating Out Paleo: 4505 Meats (San Francisco, CA)

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Without a doubt, I’m a HUGE fan of Ryan Farr and his meat magic. Remember? I called him the Jedi Master for all things meat and I regularly treat our family to his seasonal meat CSA packages.

However, up until today, I’d never tried one of his famous cheeseburgers. (I heard that audible gasp. Shut it.) 

He’d recently tweeted that the 4505 meat stand makes “Paleo-style” burgers so I vowed to get myself up to the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market to try one.

But when I stepped up to order my sandwich, I saw a sign that said “no substitutions or alterations.” Whaaaa?

“Um, I know your sign says no substitutions, but can I get two double burgers with no bun and an extra egg?”

“Of course you can!” The friendly server turned and called out to one of the grill masters: “Two double burgers, extra egg, no bun please.”

One of the guys behind the grill yelled back, “Two burgers…PALEO-STYLE?”

My heart leapt!

“Nope, she wants cheese on them.”

“WAIT! No no no — I don’t! I want ‘em PALEO-style! I just didn’t want to be a pain in the ass and ask for more changes!”

The server smiled. “No problem! We’re very Paleo-friendly here. Kent, the cook back there, eats Paleo and gets very excited when someone orders Paleo-style burgers.”

Kent, I love you.

The burger was fantastic, with perfectly seasoned patties, a thick slice of ripe heirloom tomato, and nice, runny egg yolks.

When I went back to tell Ryan and Kent how much I loved my Paleo burger, they joked that Ryan is actually “Bi-Paleo.” (And if you’re scratching your head, you’re clearly not from San Francisco.)

Lunch at the 4505 Meats stand was one of the highlights of my summer FO SHO.

p.s. Don’t forget to pick up a few bags of their amazingly delicious chicharrones as an eff-off treat. Yes, I’m aware that they’re fried in rice bran oil and seasoned with sugar, but I don’t care. At all.

Paleo Eats: 8/18/11

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Today, the Double O’s and I spent a fun, fun day in the big city by the bay. Oh, how I love you, San Francisco!

Before catching a ride to the city with Fitbomb in the morning, I contemplated fasting until lunch but the intoxicating smell of his butter-fried eggs got my stomach rumbling.

For my breakfast, I chowed on leftovers: a slice of frittata and sautéed cabbage with onions and cherry tomatoes.

As soon as we got to the city, the Double-O’s and I bid Fitbomb adieu and we headed to the waterfront. Our first stop was to run up and down Pier 14: a spectacular pedestrian walkway where you can get an awesome unobstructed view of the Bay Bridge AND the San Francisco skyline. Plus, you can spin yourself dizzy in metal rotating chairs lined all the way down the strip.

Then, we stopped by the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market where we sampled stone fruit and tomatoes and cased out the hot food vendors for our lunch.

But who am I kidding?

My primary goal in venturing to the city was to land myself a Paleo-style double-patty burger with fried egg for lunch at the 4505 Meats stand.

Fitbomb met us for our mid-day grub, and we both inhaled our tasty lettuce wrapped awesomeness.

After lunch, the little guys and I went to see The Smurfs movie at the Metreon. It wasn’t my cup of tea (despite lots of NPH), but the kids loved it. I guess they’re bigger fans of perky blue dwarves in tights than me. I know, I know — blue little people. No angry emails, please.

For dinner, we met up with hubby again and hit up Mexico DF for some grub.

Tonight we ordered our usual starter: guacamole with bacon and prawns…

…ensalada frida (living watercress, hibiscus poached pears, jicama, mango, almonds, and dried cranberries)…

…sautéed mushrooms, peppers, and squash…

…carnitas…

…and braised goat….

…with a spicy cactus salad.

The goat was under-seasoned and the salad was meh, but those disappointments were sufficiently outweighed by the fantastic bacon-y guacamole and flavorful carnitas.

We finally got home shortly after 8 p.m., and all of us were ready to hit the sack. As much as I’m looking forward to the kids starting school in a few days (FREEDOM in the mornings!), I’ll miss these lazy summer weekdays when the most pressing items on our agenda are procuring yummy grub and traipsing through the city.

Eating Out Paleo: Limon Rotisserie (San Francisco, CA)

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I’m always on the lookout for affordable, kid-friendly, Paleo fare in San Francisco, and Limon Rotisserie certainly fits the bill.

Limon Rotisserie is casual spot in the Mission District where the main draw is the Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken. The pollo a la brassa can be ordered by the quarter, half, or whole, and the bird comes with two side dishes and three dipping sauces. I’ve wanted to dine here ever since I read that the chicken was ranked #32 on this year’s SFoodie’s 92 best things to eat and drink in San Francisco. That’s a ringing endorsement if you ask me.

Everything is served family style (which is my favorite way to eat!) and you can also choose from a list of ceviches and small plates to share. But be warned: If you aren’t treating this dinner as an F-off meal, make sure you read the menu descriptions carefully because many dishes are seasoned with soy sauce.

What’d we order?

We shared a plate of ceviche de pescado (red snapper)…

…anticuchos de res (grilled beef heart skewers with yucca and choclo)…

…a whole rotisserie free-range chicken…

…dipping sauces…

…french fries for the kids, and a mediocre side salad.

How was the renowned pollo a la brassa?

With my expectations sky-high, it was bound to be a letdown…and it kinda was. The bird was very flavorful but the chicken was a bit overcooked in my opinion. However, we were stuffed to the gills, had 1/3 of a chicken leftover to bring home, and it all cost less than $50.

Not too shabby if you ask me.

Eating Out Paleo: Marlowe (San Francisco, CA)

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As I’ve written before, I love, love, love Marlowe. We come here with our little posse every few months and we’re always served delicious chow by friendly waitstaff in an unpretentious setting. How can you not love a place that has these two quotes (among many awesome foodie bons mots) printed on their front window:

Today, I took the train up with the boys to meet Fitbomb here for dinner. It’s so damn convenient since it’s located right behind the Caltrain station.

For our dinner, we opted to split a mess of starters and also ordered a burger for Big-O. It’s always funner to sample a large variety of dishes, don’t you think?

We began our meal with a couple warmed deviled eggs with aged provolone, pickled jalapeno, and bacon…

…and then the yumminess continued with a bowl of crispy Brussels sprout chips with lemon and sea salt…

…which Lil-O devoured like he had a bad case of the munchies…

…Little Gem salad with avocado, market vegetables, and citrus vinaigrette…

…spiced jumbo gulf shrimp with hot & boozy cocktail sauce…

…Dungeness Crab & Rock shrimp Louie…

..that we made into mini lettuce wraps topped with Tabasco and sea salt…

…roasted bone marrow with salsa verde and fine herbs…

…and steak tartare with poached quail egg.

Big-O gobbled up the famous Marlowe burger

…and we were all happy campers.

The eats were phenomenal as usual but I especially enjoyed the warm deviled eggs (we ordered a second round of them!) and Dungeness crab and rock shrimp louie.

I’m definitely mad about Marlowe.

Dining Out Paleo: Mexico DF (San Francisco)

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Every other Tuesday night when I’m not working, I take the kids on the train to meet up with the husband for dinner in the big city before returning to the ‘burbs. Just a few months ago, our typical Tuesday night dinner would consist of carby goodness at Pizzeria Delfina, ice cream at Bi-Rite Ice Creamery, and then one last stop at Tartine for some baked treats to take home. They’re all located on the same block, so we could easily waddle from one place to the next. I’d tell myself that this sugar overload was just an occasional bi-weekly treat, and given that I worked out hard all the time, it wasn’t a big deal.  Wrong.  My jelly belly proved it. These days, I avoid this corner of San Francisco, because it’s my kryptonite.

We now try to find places with more Paleo friendly eats, and surprisingly, we’ve done pretty well.  I really don’t like to compromise on food quality and taste, so I refuse to go to a crappy chain restaurant just because they have gluten-free and/or low-carb options. I want to eat well and as Paleo as possible, so I always study the menus of every place we might eat prior to heading out so I know my options.

Tonight, we ate at Mexico DF down by the Embarcadero. It’s not the most kid friendly place, but if you go early and are armed with iPads and iPhones, you can get in and out with no meltdowns. Here’s what we ordered:

Guacamole Classico (organic avocados with lime, cilantro, onions, serrano chiles,and cherry tomatoes) with added bacon and shrimp:

Crudo Jarocho (yellow fin tuna with serrano chiles, persian cucumbers, red onion, and habanero salsa):

Nopalitos (roasted cactus with pico de gallo, lime, cilantro, and queso fresco):

1 lb carnitas (Vande Rose slow-cooked pork shoulder with organic tortillas, salsas, guacamole, and pickled onion):

The kids scarfed up the chips and tortillas, and Fitbomb and I ate everything else.  Yes, there was some dairy in our meal, and I’m sure there was sugar in some of the marinades and salsas, but I’m okay with it. And, yes, I know we ordered a shitload of food. I did that on purpose so we’d have a tasty box of leftover carnitas in the fridge.

See? You can eat Paleo at a Mexican restaurant!

World Series Mini Party: Yay Giants!

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Fitbomb is a huge Giants fan.  Me, not so much.  But I love having friends over for dinner, so Game 2 of the World Series was the perfect excuse to have a mid-week get-together.  Plus, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I HAD to order the 4505 Meat’s World Series DELUX CSA pack.  Wanna see what came in it?

See the chicharrones on top?  Sadly, there’s a whole mess of non-Paleo goodies underneath, including  Acme hotdog buns, spicy peanut cracker jacks, a box of chocolate pretzels and cream cheese brownies, homemade fritos…

Here’s everything laid out:

I’m glad I got the DELUX pack because the regular World Series CSA pack (sans sausages) really was just a snack box without much in the way of Paleo-friendly eats.  

Since I gotta have some greens with my meal, I supplemented the meaty treats with three veggie sides.  I sous vided some carrots (butter, salt, and pepper in the SousVide Supreme set at 185 F for 35 minutes) and seasoned them with Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar. I also roasted off some romanesco broccoli with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and when I plated the dish, I added a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.  For my last veggie side, I made marinated roasted bell peppers.  Yes, the same ones I make all the time. 

Here’s my dinner plate:

How were the meats?  The brisket was tasty but the portion that came in the cooler was extremely skimpy. I could have finished it all myself as a light snack.  I enjoyed the chicken ’n beer brat but I would’ve liked it to have a little more snap.  I was not a big fan of the Gigante dog.  The flavoring was fine but the texture was a little too mushy for me.  What can I say? I like my sausage meat firm.  Ewwww.  Gross.