San Francisco - Saison
A Taste of San Francisco
By Jeremy Joven
Published Jul 2014
San Francisco’s food culture is only as exciting as the mouths it feeds. For without the appreciation for it’s highly refined, organically-leaning, progressive kitchens, the culture would not exist. Being in the Bay Area is a blessing; farms are within reach and the ideology of sustainable kitchens and organic, eco-friendly farming is embedded in the hearts and minds of its populace and those who create the menus we devour. With this thinking in the soul of our kitchens, our food shines above the rest. We are blessed with modern Thai restaurants, endless French or French inspired eateries in every district, Contemporary cuisines, some of the world’s most creative modern Italian restaurants like Farina and Flour & Water, farm to table fares offered at places like Radius, Local: Mission Eatery, Outerlands, and a handful of others - all offering the freshest, most inventive and undeniably delectable delights money can buy. Even our fastfood is “slow” with organic burger chains like Super Duper and Mexican food which focuses on sustainability like The Little Chihuahua. It is easy to see the culture of food in San Francisco with all of the top awards for excellence in dining being awarded to similarly curated restaurants - what they focus on and why it is they serve what they serve. All using seasonable fare, quality and humanely raised meats, with flavors that need not lots of seasoning; just a thoughtful ingredient use with flavors that speak for itself, prepared with a myriad of influences from cuisines beloved around the world, from the masters in Europe to the traditional cooks of Asia - all creating a new breed of cuisine that is undeniably Californian. One of the most incredible restaurants we’ve ever covered in Asterisk is the Michelin starred, multi-awarded Atelier Crenn. A place that could serve dirt and you’d gobble it up! It is in the vision of the incomparable passion that Chef Dominique Crenn puts in the poetry of her food. The ingredients she chooses and the way it all comes together in a bowl, a slate, or a spoon can tantalize even the harshest of critics. When it comes to the New American Cuisine, nothing exemplifies California Cuisine like the genius behind the kitchen of Saison. Simplicity at it’s finest, each plate explores flavors so common yet so magical when put together in a dish by Joshua Skenes, Chef and Co-Owner of the 3 year old restaurant. Saison blends the art of ancient fire cooking with modern techniques in a multi-course dinner. To truly understand what it is like to enjoy dinner at Saison, we will explore one of their tasting menus - highlights include a white sturgeon caviar (a sturgeon belly cured & smoked on kelp, gelée of the grilled bones), trout smoked in the wood oven, abalone roasted over embers, toffee with milk bread and beer, plus beef grilled alongside its bones in the fire with cultured buckwheat - It’s definitely not your typical dinner. The sensuality of Saison’s interior adds to the flavor of one of SF’s most expensive dining experiences - undoubtedly not for everyone with a price tag of $500 for two. That being said, if you can afford to spare a few hundred dollars on the most amazing journey of flavor you’ll ever have in your life - the experience of dining at Saison is an experience you cannot miss. If nothing else, Saison’s creativity will infuse you with ideas on how to truly embrace the complexity of natural flavors in food. With the perfect amount of curiosity, you can learn how to eat and cook more naturally, more healthy, and be more fulfilled. Experience SF Dining at SAISON 178 Townsend Street San Francisco, CA TNE NEW AMERICAN CUISINE - foreword by Jeremy Joven America’s Cuisine is known to the rest of the world as fatty, sauce dribbling, pre-packaged foods. We’re famous for hamburgers and hotdogs and just about anything that is entirely unhealthy, riddled with sodium and food you would never serve royalty. This gross idea of American Cuisine is not exactly a misconception, but a reflection of our Corporate Food Culture. The type of food we are famous for around the globe are the foods served at global chains like McDonalds and KFC. There’s nothing wrong with that image, although - after centuries of evolution, a new American cuisine is taking hold - the Locavore movement. It is not a novel idea, or even a publicly accepted one. Though now more than ever, the locavore movement is wildly popular from coast to coast. It’s roots have been growing in top restaurants for decades and it is now reaching a tipping point as it penetrates even the lowest of the food chain; fast foods. The New Asterisk explored 6 American Cities, showcasing this trend in “New American Cuisine” (not to be confused with New American restaurants - this is an exploration of the "New" ways of how Americans eat) with the help of local writers in each city, from our home city, San Francisco, all the way to Denver, Kansas City, Atlanta, Charleston and of course, New York - we dove in to find out what every city’s food culture is like and where it is leading with a sampling of each area’s most popular restaurants and chefs. In regards to exploring the ‘New American Cuisine’ by means of its ingredients - we asked 6 chefs featured to tell us their most used ingredient in their kitchens - many are things you most likely do not have in yours, something you can aspire to create and use in home cooking. read our exploration of other foodie towns - SAN FRANCISCO | NEW YORK CITY | CHARLESTON | ATLANTA | DENVER | KANSAS CITY