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Bauer Awards Del Popolo Three Stars; Roth Discovers Blue Rice at Farmhouse Kitchen

Plus, Pete Kane reviews Hog & Rocks and Luke Tsai finds love at Saigon Deli Sandwich & Taco Valparaiso.

Farmhouse Kitchen's intriguing blue rice.
Farmhouse Kitchen's intriguing blue rice.
Farmhouse Kitchen/Facebook

Over at Del Popolo in Nob Hill, Michael Bauer found pizza with a “beautifully blistered crust” that’s “soft and pliable, but with a distinct yeasty flavor.” All of the toppings were “finely balanced,” especially in the bianca and sausage pies. Beyond the pizza, he enjoyed the “balanced” chicory Caesar and smoky sweet potatoes, though the “room temperature” wood-oven roasted broccoli confused him, despite the fact that he enjoyed the “exceptional” flavors. Bauer also praised the service and space, leading him to… 3 stars. [The Chron]

Anna Roth headed to the Mission’s Farmhouse Kitchen, and she was surprised to see rice dyed blue with imported blue pea flower, which she discovered is the current fashion in Bangkok. The traditional Thai menu — one without Americanized elements — though, is “mixed.” “Though a few items soar to the palate-expanding heights of exciting new Thai restaurants like Kin Khao and Hawker Fare, most are merely better-than-average renditions of your typical takeout spot,” Roth wrote. Her cheat sheet for a successful meal includes the Panang beef short rib, fried chicken and the dessert plate. She advised avoiding the herbal rice salad, green chicken curry and pad Thai. [The Chron]

SF Weekly’s Peter Kane established himself as a longtime Hog & Rocks fan at the get-go of his review, and that doesn’t change by the end, despite a recent chef shuffle and new menu. His happy place at brunch includes the “Vodka Pays the Bills” cocktail and “salty-syrupy” chicken and waffle. At dinner it’s the “clever” charred Spanish octopus and the squid ink spaghetti, pork and market fish, which all “really hit it out of the park.” It would be Kane’s perfect restaurant, if not for the P.S. at the very end: “I noticed how much the clientele has lurched toward the moneyed and the beige. I'm sorry, but having to look at more than two North Face jackets at any given time is depressing.” [SF Weekly]

In Luke Tsai’s 1,336 word review of a sandwich and taco shop, he uses East Oakland's Saigon Deli Sandwich & Taco Valparaiso to explore “cross-cultural communication” that beautifully ends in a love story. We’ll spare you the details of that and tell you about the Mexican and Vietnamese fusion food: you could order the “solidly above average” banh mi dac biet or the “wonderful” beef lengua taco (skip the “over-fried” tripas tacos). Or, you could get the most out of your meal with the fusion dishes, which is where Tsai thought “the magic happens,” particularly with the “delicious” al pastor banh mi and the “earthy” shrimp a la diabla rice plate. [East Bay Express]