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Famished: The Best Things I've Eaten This Week
Sara Deseran | Photo: Sara Deseran | September 14, 2012
On Vietnamese sandwiches, the soon-to-open Chocolate Lab, and the best way to make coffee on the cheap.
I love nothing more than a little food destiny. Yesterday, on my way to do an interview for the magazine, I circled around the Castro until I landed on a parking spot that was right smack in front of Dinosaurs, a modest Vietnamese sandwich shop that I’ve always wanted to try. Considering Vietnamese sandwiches are famously cheap—and these are $1.50 more than the ones at Saigon Sandwich in the Tenderloin—I chuckled at their website’s tagline: “Vietnamese sandwiches for reasonable prices.”
The pork sandwich you see above was my lunch and it was as delicious as it looks—well proportioned, tasty pork, nicely toasted. At $5, it's still a steal. I’d have it all over again right now if I could, though next time I might go for the “special pork sandwich” which includes paté too. Or maybe the spring rolls. Or maybe the avocado shake.
On Wednesday, I swung by what’s soon to be The Chocolate Lab—chocolatier Michael Recchiuti’s 40-seater café that's set to open in October on the corner of 22nd and Tennessee Streets in Dogpatch. On the white board was a breakdown of the results from recipe testing soufflés; on display is an army of individual convection ovens that they’ll be using to make their tartines which will use Firebrand bread (envision the likes of toasted sour dough, layered with shiso leaves, topped with a salad of local bay shrimp, lemon thyme and crème fraiche); and yes, there will be plenty of chocolate goodies, including an awesome sundae, cookie plate, and more. Wine and beer will also be served.
Coffee nerds might want to take note that there will be no Slayer espresso machine here to worship. Instead, because of space constraints and probably money (a fancy espresso machine can cost upwards of $20,000), the regular coffee is going to be made with the humble but efficient Aeropress. Essentially it works like a syringe and—foodie factoid—it was developed by the same guy that made the Aerobie Pro Ring frisbee. It only costs $26. You can also expect some honey. Rechiutti has a hive on top of his Dogpatch residence rooftop and has harvested 19 gallons of the liquid gold. The bees have been pollinating a nearby patch of wild fennel and Recchiuti has been watching the blue jays eat the dead bees around the hive. “I figure that the bees must taste really good,” he said, in a total chef moment. “Fennely and sweet.” Chocolate-covered bees, up next.