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Meridian's seasonal menu draws inspiration from global bar bites made from all-natural and locally grown ingredients. Start with an order of bacon mac ‘n’ cheese with buttered panko ($8) or the almond-breaded cod fingers served with jalapeño tartar sauce ($12). For a refreshing post-triathlon meal, opt for the togarashi ahi-tuna niçoise salad with capers, tomatoes, Humboldt fog, and sesame-orange vinaigrette ($14) or quell carnivorous cravings with an all-natural beef burger served with cheddar or blue cheese ($9). The grilled bangers and mash ($13) will evoke sweet childhood memories of playing hopscotch outside the smoky pubs of Bangladesh and also will serve as a delicious stomach stretcher for a third course of sticky toffee pudding ($6) or a house-made ice-cream sandwich with mocha sauce ($6).

2050 University Ave
Berkeley,
CA
US

In West Africa, a "chop bar" is a roadside gathering place serving food and drink, over which community members exchange news and ideas and compare findings on the validity of the axiom set theory of mathematics. Oakland's Chop Bar fosters the same sort of fellowship, right down to its neighborly use of items from local vendors in its dishes. Breakfasteers can opt for a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich ($6) or oatmeal ($3), among other offerings. The taste buds of brunch-goers are invited to trot the globe with the Italian omelette known as the frittata ($7) or an order of chilaquiles ($9), a Mexican dish tossing crispy tortilla strips in salsa, cheese, and scrambled eggs.

247 4th St
Oakland,
CA
US

After Trademark trademarked the name Trademark for its Trademark restaurant, the restaurant traded in its trademarker, Marcus, for Executive Chef and oyster master Jerry Mendoza. Mendoza's work with The Elite Cafe, The Meetinghouse, and Moose's Restaurant has made him a reputable American-style culinary artist with a dinner menu fit for salivating mouths. Trademark specializes in Pacific oysters like the Kumamoto oyster, originally native to Japan and perfect for a pleasing amuse bouche ($3.50).

56 Belden Pl
San Francisco,
CA
US

Hog & Rocks: A User's Guide

Ham and Oyster Bar | Chronicle Rising Star Chef | Whiskey Cocktails

Sample Menu

  • Ham: 18-month-aged Spanish Jamondor serrano, served with candied almonds
  • Oysters: three barbecue oysters with cocktail sauce and herb butter
  • Small plate: bone marrow with blueberry, onion, dill, and toast
  • Full plate: Napa Valley lamb with couscous

Who’s in the Kitchen? Robin Song, a young chef who defines his cooking as "refined rustic." In 2013, SF Chronicle chose Chef Song as one of its Rising Star chefs.

What to Drink: Whiskey is a specialty here, if not an obsession. Try a concoction from the bar's curated Pimp My Old Fashioned menu, with new takes like the Bruleèd Old Fashioned with High West double rye, caramel, orange bitters, and lavender.

Ham and Oyster Origins: Self-proclaimed as “San Francisco’s first ham and oyster bar,” Hog & Rocks takes its namesake items seriously. Read on to learn where each originates:

  • The ham is imported from Italy, Spain, and different states, such as Virginia and Tennessee.
  • The oysters hail mainly from the west coast of North America—Washington and British Columbia—with a few varieties flown in from the East Coast.

If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Keep an eye out for Youk's Hot Sauce at locations around the Bay. It's a joint effort between Hog & Rocks owner Scott Youkilis and his brother, Kevin, a former big league All-Star. "It can go on anything," so they claim on their website.

3431 19th St
San Francisco,
CA
US

Having proven his skill at inventing and handcrafting cocktails, mixologist Kevin Diedrich decided to tackle a second challenge: scale. He measured Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin into a keg, connected the keg to a line, and attached the line to the tap at Jasper's Corner Tap & Kitchen. Now, his clients have negroni on tap alongside 18 kinds of beer. Kevin's knack for blurring the boundary between beer and liquor hardly ends here—in 2012, he earned the restaurant an award in SF Weekly for Best Place to Mix Beer and Booze thanks to such alcoholic hybrids as the Wiessen Sour, a white beer, bourbon, and orange marmalade combo. He's since added a second cocktail to the tap lineup, and still crafts individual specialty cocktails to complement a long list of artisanal wines and bottled beers. This emphasis on quality libations speaks to Jasper's function as a classy yet convivial place. It takes its name from Jasper O'Farrell, who planned San Francisco's Market Street as a social thoroughfare during the Gold Rush. The restaurant strives to capture his neighborly vision by broadcasting sports games, serving locally sourced pub dishes, and borrowing cups of sugar from businesses next door. The menu handily upstages traditional bar food with its entrees, all of which are designed to pair well with the bar's excess of 60 beers. House-made sausage and the J burger, layered with blue cheese and bacon onion marmalade, are served long into the night. Even the fries dress to impress, permitting diners to choose from thin, thick, or sweet potato fries adorned with different seasonings and poutine toppings.

401 Taylor St
San Francisco,
CA
US

Fat Angel

Long relegated to the bottle and glass, wine finds a new home at Fat Angel: the tap. Fat Angel has six wines on draft at all times, allowing guests to select pours not only by the standard glass or bottle, but also by the half-bottle. And that’s just wine; Fat Angel is also a beer-lover’s heaven, where more than 150 beers by the bottle, pint, and smaller pour suit every type of taste bud. There’s sour smoked wheat ale from Germany, dark Double Chocolate English Stout by Wells & Young’s, and crisp Rising Sun Baird Brewing Co.’s Pale Ale from Japan. And one can’t forget to mention the signature cocktails that headline the drink menu, including a chic and classic champagne cocktail with house-made bitters.

The San Francisco Chronicle can’t seem to pick a favorite aspect of Fat Angel. From its handy location—near Yoshi’s, the Fillmore, and Sundance Kabuki Cinema—to its whimsical décor, which includes organ pipes above the bar and a lavish chandelier. Then, of course, there are the killer small plates perfect for soaking up all those libations. Salty fried capers put everyday bar peanuts to shame, and crusty loaves of sourdough or French bread may be elegantly dressed with cheese and meat plates or a selection of butters in flavors such as maple bacon and garlic chili. Larger plates including a chicken pot pie help appease heartier appetites, while Irish cheddar-topped sliders arrive three to a plate, making them ideal for sharing or juggling between rounds.

1740 Ofarrell St
San Francisco,
CA
US