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sons & daughters in downtown san francisco


    Confession: this trip to Sons & Daughters exactly a week ago actually pulled me out of an intense appetite-stealing depression resulting from a certain personal situation. After a shitty, shitty week, Friday finally rolled around and my friends Megan and Sam invited me out for dinner before the Nasty Gal x Lookbook party (which I probably usually would have skipped out on if it weren't for my coworkers, it's just not my thing). Maybe I was still feeling under the weather when I first sat down but as soon as that meal started, I totally forgot about what was bothering me and just let myself go. It's kind of scary to lose your appetite when you enjoy food as much as I do... I'm feeling much better now, thank you.

    cucumber amuse bouche
    bread + butter + hawaiian pink salt

    The first thing that caught my attention and contributed to my abnormal burst of happiness at this restaurant? THE PLAYLIST. The Smiths, Bowie, Radiohead, Interpol, and even Arcade Fire... I could hardly sit still. The three of us went with the four course meal (sans the wine pairing, maybe next time) and while Megan and I chose all of our courses, Sam decided to let our waiter (who was really attentive and awesome about explaining everything) choose everything for him. Man, I wish all waiters were like him. Always spot on with his responses to our questions and never pushy, that's how everyone should be. First we had an amuse bouse with cucumber slices and little roe-like spheres of honey and bread with butter and hawaiian pink sea salt crystals while we waited for our first courses.

    oxtail tartare
    cream of beet soup
    sweetbreads + dungeness crab

    Next came my oxtail tartare with miso, juniper berry, chervil, and potato chips and Megan's cream of beet soup with creme fraiche. Our waiter chose the tartare for Sam and we were all quite pleased with our first courses. I remember trying my best to scoop up every last bit off of my plate... it was that good. The soup was also pretty decent from what I can recall but I definitely liked mine best. Megan and I chose the same second course, the sweetbreads and dungeness crab with pureed garbanzo beans, baby greens, and a light dijon foam. Sam ended up with the seared foie gras which came with a yogurt and concord grape granite. Terrific, terrific. My favorite part about that second course was definitely the crab since you could taste how fresh it was with just the right amount of seasoning.

    squab breast + confit leg
    lavender pork belly + pork tenderloin

    And finally, the third course. This is where you can tell that I was starting to lose my light and I actually considered not posting these but it's so hard not to share them. Megan got the squab breast and confit leg with chickpeas, maitake mushrooms, and savory jus while Sam and I had the lavender pork belly and pork tenderloin with torpedo onions, an herb puree, and barley. Again, I am SO GLAD I chose what I got and I would definitely get it again. Okay, so maybe I just happen to be so in love with pork that I naturally gravitate towards it with every chance I get (Cochon 555 again next year, anyone?), but still, I've had some pretty mediocre pork tenderloin and this one was exceptional. I think the biggest problem I have with pork tenderloin is that I love it so much that I'm super picky about it and to me it's either not cooked right or overseasoned yet this one was just perfect. Even Megan who was satisfied with her own dish admitted that she wished she had chosen the pork.

    (Not pictured is the fourth course, dessert, since I totally lost my lighting by then. In any case, we all had the vanilla panna cotta with blueberries and a lemon verbena gelee at the top which was fantastic, of course.)

    For what you get, Sons & Daughters is totally underpriced since I'd usually expect to pay much more for the quality of food that I had there. At no point during the meal did I ever feel stuffy or uncomfortable, the entire time I was at ease talking to my friends and enjoying a spectacular meal. You know, even if you're not into the idea of spending so much money on pricey meals, even as a college student I try to set aside a bit of money so I can treat myself to a great meal every once in a while. Buying new clothes and other material possessions can be fun but to me, nothing compares to the simple inherent pleasure that you experience when that first bite hits your mouth and all of your senses start to work together to process the meal in front of you. It's amazing to see how much happiness can come from something as necessary as eating...