Tag Archive for chicken

Mac & Cheese Night #7 at Farmerbrown

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First Mac & Cheese Night of 2015! This outing took us to Farmerbrown, just about a block from the Powell St. BART stop in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Our original location was meant to be Grub in the Mission District, but it turns out Grub must have closed sometime in December! That makes two restaurants on the 7×7 list that no longer exist and two more left to go before my mission is complete.

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Farmerbrown is a Southern restaurant, perhaps one that could be called Soul Food, but I don’t think there’s enough crustacean or spice on the menu to qualify as that. I’ll go ahead and give you our overall impression of the restaurant: good, solid food that would have been great if, oh, $5-$10 cheaper per entrée. Yes, this is San Francisco, but I don’t want to live in a world where a pulled pork sandwich costs $17.50. It’s just not right.

Okay, maybe if any of us had ordered the pulled pork, my mind would be changed. But we didn’t, instead opting for two varieties of chicken—

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the fried chicken with mustard greens and the mac & cheese and…

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…the oven roasted chicken with pomegranate broccolini and roasted brussel sprouts—

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the cornmeal catfish plate with hush puppies, candied yams, pickled onions, and green beans,

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–and the appetizer portion of BBQ baby back ribs with an apple-jalapeno coleslaw for our entrees. I can personally testify to the ribs being tasty with a sweet & spicy sauce, though they were perhaps too charred in spots. My coleslaw was unique for being nearly all apples and quite flavorful. The catfish plate drew high praise from Friend #1, especially for the challenge presented in consuming all of those well-cooked vegetables. Friends #2 and #3 split the fried chicken and enjoyed it, though it could not compare to the double-dipped versions they’ve had in the past—what could, really? The Husband thought his oven-roasted chicken was good, and it was certainly the healthiest option among the bunch.

We also split a few sides for the table.

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Those fried pickle chips were warm and squishy with a refreshing dip, but the batter could have been a lot crunchier and firmer.

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That’s the double portion of the angel biscuits, which were inconsistent, ranging from fluffy and delectable to misshapen and undercooked. My biscuit was much denser than I’d expect from a restaurant claiming Southern roots. However, I appreciated the inventive spiced jam that came with it. Also a plus was the green chile hot sauce at every table that I ended up pouring liberally over my ribs to make them swim in spicy sauces.

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The crisped outer shell of the side of waffles reminded me strongly of a liege waffle, and Friend #3, who actually ate them, agreed with that correlation.

And of course, there was the mac & cheese. We had it both as a starter and as a side dish with the fried chicken.

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Ike’s Place

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This rapidly expanding Bay Area chain of sandwich shops got its start in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco, and its devoted following has multiplied phenomenally in the seven years of its existence, enough to  support 13 stores in all. I was glad to bypass the legendary lines at the original location and accepted a friend’s invitation to check out the Danville store.

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Bright with thick block lettering and a quirky sense of humor, the store’s sleek design is enough on its own to appeal to broad, modern-day, American eatery sensibilities. Who wouldn’t want to try a sandwich called Love Triangle or Reading Rainbow? A good portion of the sandwiches are also named after celebrities and famous characters. The vast array of options on the menu at the Danville location—

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–is dwarfed by the options shown in their online menu. It might be an overwhelming number of choices, but I like not having to compile my own sandwich ingredient list, and Ike’s has nearly any combination you want covered. That includes sandwiches stuffed with jalapeno poppers! Vegans and vegetarians also have a bevy of options, and lettuce, tomato, and onion are givens.

Friend #2 cleansing his palate before the meal.

Friend #2 cleansing his palate before the meal.

Every sandwich comes with Ike’s signature dirty sauce, which tasted to me like a creamy horseradish sauce…but really, really light on the horseradish, which made it very good. The interwebs tell me that it’s actually a garlic and herb sauce, but I’d swear there’s a little horseradish hiding in their somewhere. The sauce is grilled into the bread and also added to the ingredient pile—some sandwiches even come extra dirty. The messier a sandwich, the more likely I am to love it, so I thought those methods were fantastic.

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The Cheese Steak Shop

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The Cheese Steak Shop is a Bay Area chain that’s been in operation since the early 1980s. They’ve done so well, they even have a couple franchises in the Philippines! I love a good Philly cheese steak, to the point that it was probably more than half the reason I visited Philly a few years back. The Cheese Steak Shop makes their sandwiches in that classic style, going so far as to ship in their ingredients from Philly-based vendors. I think that commitment has paid off.

At the Castro Valley store, chopped sirloin beef or chicken are the meat options. White American cheese comes with the standard sandwich, which you can get in 7-, 10-, or 15-inch sizes. They have plenty of variations, however, including provolone, meat tossed in barbecue sauce, mushrooms, and spinach. I’m partial to the green chiles and provolone cheese sandwich myself.

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That one is a 7-inch with chicken. The slightly saucy cheese is melted on the bottom.  The meat is juicy and nicely browned, and the bread is absolutely perfect—squishy Italian rolls that melt in your mouth along with the sandwich fillings. Grilled onions and hot and sweet cherry peppers topped off my roll. Subjectively, I prefer my grilled onions in slices rather than diced into nothingness, and the peppers were sautéed too long for my preferences. But I loved each and every bite of the meal. It successful made me marvel at the magnificence that is the greasy cheese steak.

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