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In a state of hibernation. My backlog has long become unsustainable. Will probably tweet more and write less full-length stuff.

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Entries in American (49)

Wednesday
Aug252010

Maverick

I once promised to post some brunch pictures from Maverick, one of my SF brunch mainstays. There are two critical factors about brunch at Maverick. First, the food is delicious. Second, they are on OpenTable and take brunch reservations. It's generally pretty easy to get in, and there is rarely a line like other top brunch spots (such as personal favorite Universal Cafe... and I won't even get into places like Dottie's or Mama's). The intersection of convenience and quality make Maverick a standard brunch stop. I guess it's at a slightly higher price point than the packed brunch places, but I'll pay an extra few dollars to avoid the hassle.

 

ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE BENEDICT - grilled andouille sausage, poached eggs, crawfish and jalapeno hollandaise, English muffin, home fries - $15If you're eating brunch at Maverick for the first time, order the andouille benedict. It's been on the menu for years, and it really is their best dish. I'm a sucker for any good eggs benedict, and these eggs are expertly-poached. Maverick then mixes it up by using andouille sausage instead of ham, and throwing some crawfish into the hollandaise. The result is a nice peppery kick that gives the whole plate some life. The potatoes are also excellent here - hot and crispy on the outside, smooth on the inside.

 

MAC 'N CHEESE - $6Their mac 'n cheese is also a winner. Extremely rich and comforting, and also an excellent pair with the hot sauce...

 

YOUK'S HOT SAUCE - free, but it'll cost you $7 to take a bottle homeAnd a fine hot sauce it is. In fact, it might be my favorite American-style hot sauce of all (though admittedly, I've never been to the south). According to the label, the sauce is based mainly on serranos, jalapenos, and cayenne. It's got a wonderful tangy bite that goes perfectly with the potatoes and the mac 'n cheese (or just about anything, really). Love this stuff. Looks like they're actually selling it online now too.

So that's a typical brunch at Maverick. Apologies again for the long long overdue post. If you're awake in the morning on a weekend and looking for some numnums, definitely check out Maverick. You won't have to deal with the 600-person line in front of Dottie's.

Monday
Aug102009

Woodhouse Fish Co.

One of the things I miss about Boston is a good lobster roll. My favorite, which unfortunately has not been captured here on Arthur Hungry, is at Neptune Oyster in the North End. It's hard to beat the simplicity of lobster on toasted, buttery bread. Woodhouse Fish Co. has long been reputed to serve one of the best lobster rolls in town, distance from New England be damned. Unfortunately, I've never made it to the original branch on Market, but they recently opened a new outpost on Fillmore, across from SPQR... right in the middle of one of my most frequent dining hoods. I was happy to check it out.

 

OYSTERS - Marin Miyagis and Blue Points - $2 eachWe started off with a few oysters. The Chronicle just ran an article about oysters being fine in months not ending in R - and I'm inclined to agree, as these were just fine on this pleasant August evening. The smaller Miyagis had a deeper sea flavor, but I actually preferred the clean, crisp feel of the Blue Points.

 

FRIED WHOLE-BELLY IPSWICH CLAMS - $15.50Another mainstay of New England seafood, fried clams are a bit rarer here in the West. These had nice, full bellies, and a lighter batter than the photos show. Served with a delicious dill-based tartar sauce... didn't touch the red stuff as I'm sure you could have guessed.

 

CLAM CHOWDER - creamy New England - $4.95Of course, we had to give the clam chowder a try. They offer New England, Manhattan, and "Hartford" styles - I just noticed the Hartford one while looking at the menu now, and wish I had noticed it while I was there. The New England was pretty standard - a solid traditional version, but not quite as interesting or delicious as the clam chowder at Hog Island or the seafood chowder at Bar Crudo.

 

SPLIT-TOP MAINE LOBSTER ROLL - $17The main event was again, solid and traditional. The split-style bun was well toasted and sufficiently buttered; the lobster serving was generous. Temperature was spot-on - cold but not icy refrigerator cold. Still, I must say I prefer the hot lobster with butter version at Neptune, rather than the more common lobster mayo salad seen here... but I guess it's a little much to ask for style diversity in lobster rolls in California. Both the fries and the cole slaw were very good, and worth a mention.

 

FISH & CHIPS - Anchor Steam beer-battered wild Alaskan cod with fries - $9.50 (2 pieces)We finished off with a small order of fish and chips. I've always found that beer-battered food simply isn't particularly photogenic, and my photographic non-skills probably don't help. Not that looks matter... I just care about personality! :) These fish and chips had a nice crunchy batter that gave way to very moist and tender fish inside (plus you won't find any Anchor Steam batters in Boston). They were a touch greasy, though.

The meal met my expectations - good, but not great. The food is certainly tasty, and will satisfy the occasional NE seafood craving I get. Next time, I'll try the Dungeness crab melt, which looked delicious when I saw it flying by to another table.

Thursday
Aug062009

Maverick

Maverick is a pretty interesting story. Chef/owner Scott Youkilis is a lifelong chef who spent two years at Sociale before opening Maverick. It's not the most exciting pedigree, I have to admit; however, he is also the brother of Kevin Youkilis, the Boston Red Sox All-Star, noted for his extremely efficient on-base percentage and nicknamed the "Greek God of Walks" in the revolutionary book Moneyball. To my knowledge, Baseball Youkilis has no official involvement, and based on the fact that Maverick bears none of the trademark athlete-turn-restaurateur pitfalls, I can only conclude that Chef Youkilis has built this neighborhood spot just like any other successful joint, and the athlete connection is nothing more than a fun fact. The only thing they collaborate on is the signature "Youk's Hot Sauce" - a wonderful, peppery concotion served during brunch and sold by the bottle.

Named after an 1800s Texas cattle rancher, Maverick bills itself as a contemporary American eatery, with some visible influences from the South (as well as New Orleans in particular). The restaurant is tiny - it has maybe 10 tables in total. And for some reason, despite the fact that they serve an absolutely awesome andouille sausage benedict with crawfish hollandaise, the place is never so full that it becomes a hassle to eat there. It's become a go-to brunch spot for me that takes reservations and consistently delivers. But it's not a one-trick pony either; Maverick serves up some delicious grub at dinnertime as well.

 

BROKEN ARROW RANCH ANTELOPE TARTARE - ancho chili sauce, purslane, olive oil soaked toast - $13The tartare is a mainstay on the dinner menu, and for good reason. Antelope is lean, with a milder flavor than you might expect (not much gameyness, and not too far off from beef). It's quite well-suited for tartare, and Youkilis chops it to a nice size. The ancho chili differentiates it from the typical tartare by leaving a very delicate but noticeable heat in the back of your mouth.

 

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES - cornmeal crusted tomatoes, mizuna, heirloom tomatoes, buttermilk dressing - $10These tomatoes have a very nice, crunchy, and greaseless crust. The creamy buttermilk is a good complement to the acidity of the tomatoes. I must admit though that while I've found that I tend to order fried green tomatoes whenever I see them, they never seem to be as delicious as they looked in the 1991 movie named after them. That's not a knock on Maverick as much as it is a statement on the power of imagination when it comes to taste, I guess.

 

PAN ROASTED LIBERTY DUCK BREAST - Crookneck squash custard, squash blossom and russian kale salad, roasted figs, duck jus - $27I thought about ordering the fried chicken - Maverick serves one of the best in town. But I figured I'd be back to take photos of it another time, and this duck was really calling my name. I'm glad I strayed. The breast was perfectly cooked, and had a crackly but not fatty layer of skin. The figs, a pairing I usually find overly sweet, were mild and added just the right balance of flavor to the jus. The cheesy squash custard was a perfect substitute for mozzarella as a partner to the squash blossoms. This dish was a winner.

 

BLUEBERRY BREAD PUDDING - creme fraiche ice cream, blueberry coulis - $8Dessert was a totally pleasant surprise. I can't describe this any better than "blueberry muffin on steroids." Just imagine the best warm blueberry muffin ever, and put some well-made ice cream on top of it.

I really owe it to you guys to come back for brunch some time and take some photos. For now, these dinner pics will have to do. I really feel Maverick is one of the more overlooked restaurants in the city. To me, it's also one of the most convenient - it's always pretty close to full, with a lively atmosphere, and a reliable number of patrons to maintain steady business. But it's also never hard to get in; a few days of planning and it's easy to get a table, and often you can make a reservation the same day at decent times. The menu changes frequently enough to make it a regular member of the restaurant rotation. It's what a good restaurant should be: simple, consistent, and reasonable.

Wednesday
Jan182006

Paul's Famous Hamburgers

Well, I've started my last semester of school at BU. I just got back to Boston, and after being away from my apartment for 7 or so months, I'm finally starting to get settled back in.

 

pauls.jpg
One of my first weekends in Sydney was spent doing something very typically Australian: surfing! Even though I grew up in California, I'd actually never gone surfing before. I guess I do live in the non-surfer part of Cali. Anyway, over in Australia I signed up for a weekend surf camp. Although I only managed to get up on my board for seconds at a time before wiping out completely back into the water, I had a ton of fun.

More importantly for the site - on our drive over to surf camp, we stopped at this little place off the highway that claims to have Sydney's best burgers. Paul's Famous Hamburgers are supposedly known nationwide - at the very least, this article in the Sydney Morning Herald proclaims it one of the 50 foodie things to do.

the works burger - A$6.2 You guys will never guess the standard toppings on an Australian burger. There, "the works" means cheese, ham, a slice of beetroot, a slice of pineapple, and a fried egg. Yeah, pretty weird, huh? I was intrigued, and of course I had to order it. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. There is a beef patty underneath that pile there, somewhere. The burger itself was ordinary at best - neither the meat nor the bun came close to the quality you can get back in America. As for the toppings... well, they were okay, but I wouldn't be in a rush to order the works again. I prefer sauteed mushrooms and onions...

Later, I saw that beetroot was absolutely standard on Australian burgers, and no different than lettuce or onion or tomato. It's actually a pretty good burger topping, as it adds a nice refreshing element with a bit of tang. The egg and pineapple, while almost always available, didn't come standard. I didn't have too many burgers in Sydney, as I quickly discovered they aren't nearly as good there as they are back home. There are at least some things Americans still do best. :)

Sunday
Oct302005

Pajo's at the Wharf

pajos.jpg

So over the summer I did manage to spend 10 days in Vancouver. My cousin Karen got married, and I was able to get up there for some time before I left for Sydney. As usual, my cousin Geoff was ready to head around to new spots as well as old favorites.

One of the first places on the list was Pajo's, a fish and chips place in Steveston. SaabKen over at VanEats recommended the place when I posted about Matt Murphy's in Boston, and Geoff was keen to try it as he had heard good things too. Steveston is actually quite a bit of a drive from Vancouver proper... a good hour if I recall correctly. That's probably the longest I can remember driving for chow in Van. It's in a little area called, funny enough, Fisherman's Wharf - a far more modest place than our famous one in SF, but with a good number of restaurants and shops. Pajo's literally sits right on the wharf - it's actually on a little floating wooden dock thing, on top of the water. I wonder how they power those deep fryers...

small halibut and chips - C$7.79 The fish and chips come in these cute cardboard cones. The nearby picnic tables have holes fitted specifically for us with the cones, so you can just put your meal into the table and eat from it with ease. The fish was very hot, crispy, and extremely flaky. It didn't suffer the soggy aftermath of being completely wrapped in newspaper and fully exposed to steam, which would be my only complaint about Matt Murphy's. This halibut was extremely tasty, but I do admit it got a bit on the greasy side after a while. The chips were excellent - thickly cut but still extremely crisp on the outside and not too heavy or dry on the inside. The tartar sauce was okay, but not as sublime as Matt Murphy's.

According to Geoff, this tasted a little bit better than Mr. Pickwick's, the other place that SaabKen mentioned, but Mr. Pickwick's is a LOT closer to my usual Vancouver location. So I guess if you happen to be in Steveston, be sure to check this place out. Perhaps next time I'm in Van I'll try Mr. Pickwick's...