Best known as the TV host and central eater of Bizarre Foods, Andrew Zimmern has been showing off his knowledge of more quotidian delights in cities like LA and Austin on his new Travel Channel series The Zimmern List, whose San Francisco-focused episode aired last night. The straightforward premise of the show is that it presents Zimmern’s hit list in any given city, and that list here in SF won’t surprise locals. Still, it provides a more than competent sprint through some favorites with lots of tempting food shots. Here’s the local “list.”Read More
Everywhere Celebrity Chef Andrew Zimmern Ate in SF for His New Show
Lotta seafood on “The Zimmern List”
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
“San Francisco is a pleasure palace, especially if you love food,” Zimmern says by way of introduction, and his first stop in town is to the palatial Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. At Roli Roti, he orders a porchetta sandwich with no marmalade and no arugula to split with known Zimmern homeboy Chris Cosentino. The “crunchy skin, sweet and warm, all the porcine intensity, fennel pollen ... this is just insane,” says Zimmern. The duo also eats some fruit at the Peach Farm Stand and roams the market. Blink and you’ll miss it, but in one shot, Zimmern appears to greet Aster chef Brett Cooper.
To get the San Francisco “market to plate experience,” Zimmern swings by Cosentino’s restaurant Cockscomb next. “Just do what I do, come in and sit at the counter,” he recommends. His order: A “hot mess” with fig jam, pigs feet, and sliced raw candy stripe figs, plus a tuna collar dish.
Onsen Bath & Restaurant
This spot’s a newer cut and therefore less expected. Zimmern washes the Tenderloin grime off himself at Japanese restaurant and bathhouse Onsen. “The menu here uses fresh local ingredients in an incredible way,” he says, digging the roasted sardine and a broth that, paired with the shvitz, is “perfect.”
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“For years I’ve kept this a secret,” says Zimmern, “a place I consider to be one of the best Thai restaurants in America.” It’s Lers Ros, whose several SF locations are hardly the “little special culinary honey hole” that Zimmern seems to suppose. His order (at the original location) includes crispy duck larb: “The fattiness and the crispiness of the duck mixed with all those sour and sweet flavors is out of control,” he says. “Every time I eat at Lers Ros, I’m reminded just how special the food here is.”
Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop
It’s kinda Ferry Building double-dipping, but next up in the episode is the inside of the Ferry Building, where Zimmern was seen filming in August at Far West Fungi. Most of this segment is devoted to Cowgirl Creamery, “one of my favorite cheese producers in America” where the host cuts into a fresh wheel of gruyere.
Out the Door
Last up in the Ferry Building, Zimmern skips Charles Phan’s main restaurant The Slanted Door in favor of its quick-service sibling, Out the Door. There, he snags a fresh spring roll and a steamed meat sticky rice in banana leaf to enjoy outside with views onto the Bay.
Swan Oyster Depot
But of course. Zimmern waits in line to dine at this Polk Street standby, where his order is a half and half combination salad with crab and shrimp. “To me, this is Swan Oyster Depot, local seafood with louie dressing.” He also notes that “Swan is famous for having more items off the menu than on it,” and gets some “Sicilian Sashimi,” or crudo with capers, sea salt, and olive oil. Plus, “the oyster crackers are free!”