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.