Every day, San Francisco Soup Company?s chefs craft crunchy salads and approximately 12 soups from scratch, keeping an eye on sustainability and seasonality. Both salads and soups showcase organic and locally sourced ingredients such as cage-free eggs from Glaum Egg Ranch and organic milk from Clover Stornetta, and soups cast tendrils of steam from biodegradable containers. San Francisco Soup Company?s commitment to conscious dining extends to the nutritional realms: each recipe comes with nutrition stats, and the menu even designates which soups are gluten-, meat- and dairy-free, and which soup spoons best shield noses from affectionate pinches.
It makes sense that a chef as mobile as Matias Bordaverri would take his chops on the road. Over more than 15 years in the culinary field, he has cooked his way through South and Central America, the Caribbean, and, now, the United States. He works out of a black food truck, his road-ready eatery’s name emblazoned in red on the side—Whisk on Wheels—stacking customer favorites such as the turkey and Angus burgers with beefsteak tomatoes, provolone, and smoked pepper mayo. “This was one of the juiciest burgers we’ve had in a long time,” said Luis Chong, a writer for SF Weekly’s Street Eats blog. “We couldn’t discern the secret ingredients in the meat patty…. Whatever it was, it was delicious.” The menu shows its South American roots with hand-rolled empanadas stuffed with spinach and ricotta, ground beef, or shredded chicken, which Chong said were “every bit as good as the empanadas we’ve found while traveling in South America.” Whisk on Wheels regularly updates its Facebook and Twitter pages to divulge their location to diners, share specials, and give the truck a place to put its feelings into words.
After losing a sizeable amount of weight with his kitchen-made juices, Sal had the idea to open a café coupling his love of French culture with his new appreciation for the role of food in health. With the help of his son, he opened Deja Vu, where painted ivy sneaks around the edges of menus on walls the color of rich buttercream. On the menu, Sal’s original French inspiration shines through in crepes, and fruit and veggie smoothies made from organic ingredients stay true to his nutritional vision.
Low in sugar and ideal for cleansing, the drinks can also be amplified with multiple types of protein. Blenders purr, full of smoothies and juices made with kale, green apples, ginger, oranges, and even hints of parsley, all delivered fresh daily. Crepes are also a Deja Vu specialty, whether filled with bananas and chocolate-hazelnut spread, or ham, veggies, or warm chicken and pesto. Conversation about the weather or the weatherman’s constant weeping drift over warm corned-beef sandwiches, and shoots of steam blossom from fresh-brewed organic coffee.
Pablo Estrada takes fresh ingredients from the California coast to craft Fattoria E Mare's authentic dishes inspired by cuisine throughout Europe. As an 18-year veteran of some of the Bay Area's most acclaimed kitchens, Estrada understands the year-round bounty afforded by the coastline, from fresh-caught seafood to vibrant, colorful produce. This respect for great ingredients yields a rotating menu of dishes in peak season, such as roasted beets with green garlic kefir or pappardelle pasta with braised oxtail and veggies. The spacious dining room strikes a perfect balance between intimacy and bustling energy. Guests can sit along the banquets in the sleek lounge, or slide into cozy booths that afford privacy while enjoying a romantic meal or while exchanging information with spies.
With more than 40 different specialty rolls in their repertoire, you'd almost expect to see all of the ingredients jotted down on the sushi chefs' palms. For the volcano roll alone, they have to wrap spicy tuna and asparagus inside a sheath of salmon and avocado before crowning it with snow crab, crunchy tempura flakes, and scallions. If anyone is up to the task of building these impressive amalgamations from memory, though, it's the sushi masters at Zen Bistro—they boast a combined 20 years of experience, and make it a point of pride to present each of their dishes as a piece of art. This commitment to distinctive menu items and attractive presentation is what helped transform this once small corner sushi joint in Sacramento to a full-grown restaurant in downtown Millbrae. Here, Zen Bistro surrounds its guests with an elegant atmosphere to match its unique creations, boasting seats along a sushi bar, blue ambient lighting, and framed autographs of the yellowtail fish starring in the popular Fong & Fong roll.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company—now owned by the trio of siblings—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.