San Francisco’s Wayfare Tavern is for (Organic Fried Chicken) Lovers

Tyler Florence, celebrity chef and television host, recently featured one of his San Francisco restaurants, Wayfare Tavern, on the Food Network show, “The Great Food Truck Race.”

The restaurant opened in 2010, but briefly operated as a food truck at the start of the pandemic when many restaurants had to close. Their food truck service is now on hiatus, but their restaurant has reopened!

Wayfare Tavern and the Transamerica Pyramid in the background

Chef Tyler’s Organic Fried Chicken was named one of the Best Fried Chicken in the United States by Food & Wine Magazine (2019).

The magazine even reveals the cooking technique used to achieve its special quality. (Hint: after marinating in buttermilk brine, the chicken is baked on low heat for a few hours before frying!)

Enticed by the idea of trying this special chicken on a special occasion, my husband immediately booked a lunch reservation at the Financial District restaurant to celebrate our anniversary.

Burrata Toast, Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco

For appetizers, we ordered charred country bread with burrata. The soft, creamy Italian cheese was lightly sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, served with several cubes of watermelon, cantaloupe, and pear, and topped with some fresh microgreens. My elder daughter called first dibs on the prosciutto di Parma. (By the way, she snapped all of the photos shown here. 📸)

While we waited for the Burrata Toast, we nibbled on warm popovers (our American version of Yorkshire pudding). My younger daughter and I thought they were freshly baked croissants until we tore off a piece, revealing a soft, hollow inside. The popover was especially tasty with a spread of butter!

As for beverages, I recalled Sancerre’s recent win as « Le village préféré des Français » on the France 3 program of the same name, so I decided to have a glass of the Karine Lauverjat Sancerre 2019. I thought it was light-bodied and soft. I wondered, Is this typical for this appellation? Didn’t matter – I liked it anyhow! Meanwhile, my husband enjoyed his red sangria cocktail of Tempranillo and rum with licorice-flavor from the French tarragon.

Preceded by the distinctive scent of roasted garlic and the woody aroma of rosemary, the main course arrived, at last. After removing the rosemary sprigs that were perched atop five assorted pieces of golden fried chicken, I squeezed some lemon on top and took a bite. I decided it was definitely worth the splurge: the chicken was simple, but tender and seasoned to perfection!

Organic Fried Chicken, Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco

In San Francisco, mask-wearing and social distancing are still required indoors (regardless of vaccination status), but neither rule seemed to be strictly enforced here. Despite the full house, the noise level was comfortable. At our table, we could hear each other without having to shout. We couldn’t hear others’ conversations either over the cheerful music playing softly in the background, like this tune:

🎶

With its mahogany walls giving warm British pub vibes, savory Italian cheese appetizers, lively Cuban music, and sweet French wines from the Loire Valley, Wayfare Tavern is true to its name – the atmosphere lent a feeling of journeying to distant lands!

Overall, I had an enjoyable experience – and that’s not the sauvignon blanc talking! 😉

Cheers / à votre santé !

Picnic By the Pond at Marin French Cheese in Petaluma

the locals call it simply “the Cheese Factory”

The Marin French Cheese Company is located on a dairy farm in Hicks Valley, near the city of Petaluma, California, about 40 miles/ 64 km north of San Francisco.

a bridge over Sonoma Creek

Since they have been at this location since 1865, Marin French Cheese has earned the distinction of being the longest continually operating cheese company in America.”

If the circular red and black logo looks familiar, it’s because Marin French Cheese was the producer of a variety of premium, hand-crafted French cheeses sold under the brand, “Rouge et Noir” which means “red and black.” They started using the name, “Marin French Cheese” in 2013.

Their award-winning creamy Brie, earthy Camembert, and savory Schloss (with a light orange-colored rind) can be found in many major grocery stores in the United States, as well as online.

My family and I recently enjoyed a picnic by the pond. We purchased everything we needed for an easy picnic from their deli: an 8 oz. wheel of their traditional Brie, salami sandwiches, mini plastic bottles of wine, pasta salad, and a bag of baguette slices.

We found a picnic table in the shade! We were close enough to see these three ducks attempt some synchronized swimming:

For more information and to watch their 4-minute video, visit the Marin French Cheese website. 🧀

Quiche Vosgienne

I recently learned that when you add cheese to a quiche it’s called Quiche Vosgienne! The name refers to the Vosges area in eastern France, near Germany. I love learning something new every day!

While I’m not a big fan of eggs, I decided to take the learning a step further by trying my hand at making the savory dish. Here is my interpretation of the simple and delicious meat and cheese French tart using a gluten-free crust.

I’ve taken the traditional recipe for Quiche Lorraine (crust, eggs, cream, bacon, salt & pepper) and added a blend of Swiss and Gruyère cheeses.

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Ingredients

  • 1 frozen 9-inch gluten-free pie crust
  • 4 ounces of cubed pork belly (The French call it lardons, the Italians call it pancetta, and I call it yummy bacon!)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese, a blend of Swiss & Gruyère
  • 1 cup of half & half
  • salt & pepper

By using pre-made crust, pre-cubed bacon, and pre-shredded cheese, I saved lots of time.

Instructions

First, I thawed the gluten-free pie crust for 10 minutes. After poking the crust with a fork, I baked it for 15 minutes at 350°F.

While the pie crust was in the oven, I mixed the following ingredients in a large bowl:

  • 3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup of half & half
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

In a small, ungreased frying pan, I browned the pancetta, which I then drained on a paper towel.

Next, I filled the blind-baked crust with a 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese blend:

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I added the pancetta:

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Then, I poured in the egg, cream, and salt & pepper mixture:

Finally, I topped it off with the other half of the shredded cheese:

I baked it for 45 minutes at 375°F and then let it cool down for about an hour.

Et voilà!

Here it is: a Pancetta & Swiss/Gruyère French tart in a gluten-free crust, my interpretation of Quiche Vosgienne!

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Enjoy it hot or cold!

Do you like quiche? What flavor combinations do you like? Tell me in the comments below.

Poutine in Berkeley

[Update: Smoke’s Poutinerie in Berkeley closed on November 6, 2019.]

Poutine is a traditional dish from Québec, Canada, which consists of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds, the fun bits of whey that squeak when you bite into them.

This is the medium size

The first time I went to Smoke’s Poutinerie in Berkeley, California was a few years ago when it first opened. I had ordered the “Traditional” (French fries, gravy, cheese curds) and was unimpressed with the cold and soggy fries that were only made warm by the gravy. It was also topped with a so-so amount of cheese curds.

Korean poutine with kimchi

I went back to Smoke’s recently and I decided to be more adventurous. I broke from “Traditional” and ordered the Korean poutine (aka The Bulgoger).

Each poutine is made to order and you get to choose either French fries or tater tots. I chose fries, which were crispy, not greasy. You could tell they were fresh out of the fryer – they were hot!

The steak appeared to have been chopped so finely that it looked like ground beef. The picture on their wall menu didn’t include kimchi, or salted and fermented vegetables, but my poutine came with some on it, so that was a pleasant surprise. It almost made me forget I came for the cheese curds, which they kind of skimped on, by the way.

Overall, their Korean poutine was flavorful and I liked it. I’d order it again.

Update: Smoke’s Poutinerie in Berkeley closed November 2019

For more information:

Smoke’s Poutinerie

[This post was originally published on October 12, 2018.]

Since my local Smoke’s Poutinerie is now closed, where should I go to get poutine? Tell me in the comments below!