10 Things to Eat Right Now: Fall 2015

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10 things to eat fall 2105
Illustration: Alyson Thomas

Jessica Battilana’s 10 Things to Eat Right Now for fall 2015, including the Braised Veal and Grape Tagliatelle at Flour + Water, the Mission Chinese Food Burrito and Dosa’s Pumpkin Idli.

ABV’s Kimchee Fritter

Have you had too much to drink or are the undulations of the bonito flakes atop ABV’s kimchee fritter really that mesmerizing? It doesn’t matter—the fritter, which is okonomiyaki in everything but name, is a good reminder that there are bar snacks beyond peanuts.  3174 16th St.  415-400-4748  abvsf.com

Cherry Bomb at Ritual Coffee

(Bayview location only) If climate change is real, and the global temperature will continue to climb a few degrees each year, eventually driving us to extinction, at least we can take solace in iced coffee. In a world that now includes New Orleans–style and cold brew, a new contender for best cold coffee beverage emerges at the Bayview location of Ritual coffee, housed at Flora Grubb Gardens. A combination of cold-brew concentrate, Fever Tree tonic water and a maraschino cherry, it tastes like an uptown version of cherry Coca-Cola, just right for the end of the world.1634 Jerrold Ave.  415-694-6448 ritualroasters.com

Crispy Eggplant at Mama Ji’s

Despite the fact that I have a mild allergy to eggplant that causes the inside of my mouth to itch, I can’t resist the crispy eggplant at Castro dim sum spot Mama Ji’s. That’s how good it is—I hurt myself for the pleasure. The fat batons have a preternaturally crunchy exterior that gives way to silken eggplant, neither slimy nor bitter. The eggplant is righteously, aggressively salted, but take heart: Mama Ji’s has a terrific beer list, including lots of bottled Belgians and Chimay on tap. 4416 18th St.  415-626-4416  mamajissf.com

Brisket at Smokestack at Magnolia Brewery

There’s no point in harping on days gone by, I know, but I can’t help but think of all the brisket-free months that have transpired between Smokestack’s opening last summer and my first taste this fall. The California-raised corn-fed beef comes from Brandt Ranch, but its transformation into supple, fat-striated brisket with a bark as dense as pemmican and as flavorful as the best beef jerky happens under the tutelage of chef Dennis Lee (who is chef/co-owner of Namu Gaji). What does a Korean kid from Massachusetts know about Texas-style brisket, purists might sniff? One taste will tell you: quite a lot, apparently. 2505 3rd St. 415-864-7468 magnoliasmokestack.com

Braised Veal and Grape Tagliatelle at Flour + Water

I may not have empirical facts to back this up, but anecdotal evidence indicates that many people, aged 2 to 100, find some comfort in face-planting (literally or emotionally) into a bowl of creamy pasta. If you are one of them, there’s a new addition to the Flour + Water menu. The tagliatelle, as golden as a biblical fleece, is made with 20 egg yolks for every two cups of flour. Cooked to a perfect al dente, the rich noodle is cloaked with the thickened juices of the braised veal, which is shredded and scattered in the bowl. Punctuating the mixture are roasted grapes, sweet as any candy, which provide a counterpoint to the savory pasta. 2401 Harrison St.  415-826-7000 flourandwater.com

Baguettes at Tartine

Nobody wants to hear that the best bread in the city is available in limited supply at a certain time of day, I know. But all I can tell you is that you want to be at Tartine Bakery at 3:30pm, when the first of the baguettes are being pulled from the oven, before the country loaves and all the rest are baked. Unsurprisingly, the baguettes are paradigms of the form, with a crisp crust that shatters when you yank off the pointed end of the loaf, stuffing it into your mouth as you walk out the bakery’s door. 600 Guerrero St.  415-487-2600 tartinebakery.com

Dosa’s Pumpkin Idli 

Idli, the steamed rice-and-lentil cakes that are a staple of the South Indian diet and a mainstay of the Dosa menu, are a beautiful malleable food, a neutral foodstuff that can be drenched in ghee and chilies for a savory version or served with jaggery sugar and coconut for a sweet treat. For an autumnal version, Dosa’s Fillmore Street location is making pumpkin idli, loading the disks with bits of pumpkin flesh and small pieces of chana (chickpea), and serving them with a silky chutney that plays up the vegetal flavor of the pumpkin and packs some heat—giving the term “pumpkin spice” a whole new meaning. 995 Valencia St.  415-642-3672  dosasf.com

Taste of Jiangnan Delicious Pork 

This Inner Richmond restaurant specializes in Shanghainese food, particular dishes native to the city of Wuxi. Get the Delicious Pork (#23), comprising cubes of meltingly tender pork belly luxuriating in a soy-heavy braising liquid, along with a few hard-boiled eggs, which serve as sponges for the sauce. For once, advertising doesn’t lie.  332 Clement St.  415-610-6474 tasteofjiangnan.com

Mission Chinese Food Burrito

Here’s a first: a burrito that migrated from East to West. Mission Chinese Food may have been born in San Francisco, but since it opened in New York, Danny Bowien’s gonzo restaurant now belongs to both coasts. New York is also home to Mission Cantina, Bowien’s Mexican restaurant, which recently shifted to an all-burrito menu.  Of course, these are not average burritos. At the SF MCF, the burrito—of which there are only 100 available each day—is made with a La Palma flour tortilla, filled with salt cod fried rice and the restaurant’s signature kung pao pastrami. It’s a Chinese burrito and, deep breath everyone, it costs $12. Being on the bleeding edge of trends doesn’t come cheap, but it sure tastes good. 2234 Mission St. 415-863-2800 missionchinesefood.com

Warm Soymilk Custard at Chino

With the arrival of new chef Ron Pei, Chino is finally the restaurant it was always meant to be. Pei comes from a family of cooks (his parents ran Mountain View’s Cafe Yulong), and his dad, frequently spotted at the restaurant, came out of retirement to help his son with the menu. It would be easy to overlook the warm soymilk custard, especially when it’s pitted against more whiz-bang items, including General Tso–style spare ribs, dry-fried chicken wings and Dad’s recipe for juicy, pliant fish-and-leek dumplings. But the custard, a silken pudding slicked with red chile oil, nubby bits of sticky fried garlic and scallions, is a simple, craveable dish that heralds a new era. 3198 16th St. 415-552-5771 chinosf.com Editor’s note: Sadly, Chino has closed as of 11/08/2015