My favorite Restaurants:The Front Room, (Clement Street), Michelangelo's Ristorante and Caffe, The Iron Pot, Tommy’s Mexican restaurant (on Geary Street). You might notice that all of my favorite restaurants are in San Francisco.
Actually, the correct term is “were” in California. I visited Tommy’s in September 2009 and Tommy and his wife were still running the restaurant. They serve Central American food with fantastic mole, red and verde sauces. California has the great blends of global culture and food. Asian, Mexican, Greek, Indian, all made better by fresh ingredients and the willingness of the chefs to take chances.
As the city has changed, so have the restaurants. If the original owner-operator leaves, the quality always seems to suffer. The Front Room, and Iron Pot are closed, and Michelangelo has changed ownership.
My wife and I met for the first time at the Front Room in Concord. The Clement Street location was my college favorite, and the California Street location was convenient when I lived in Pacific Heights.
Where Texas does compete with California is barbecue and fixings. Low and slow cooking takes time. Californians don’t have time. Rudy’s in Round Rock, C&J Bar-B-Que in College Station and plenty of smaller pits cannot be duplicated in California.
I am an ice cream snob (I'm a polenta snob as well, but most people are not concerned with polenta). Dreyers, Breyers, Blue Bell, Baskin Robbins, - sit a the top of the chain brands. But Mitchell's Ice Cream is worth making a trip to Noe Valley..
Jack Daniels, neat.