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San Francisco Mines Gold in Michelin’s 2019 Bib Gourmand List

Michelin’s Guide star rating carries enormous cache in the restaurant world. The precursor to the Michelin Guide stars awarded each year (coming out next week) is the Bib Gourmand List, a lesser firmament, yet still a very heavy award for any restaurant. The List just came out and San Francisco placed 8 restaurants on the roster for 2019. Other towns in the Bay area also garnered the prize. All told, the Bay Area now has 68 restaurants as Bib Gourmands, ranging across 40 different cuisine varieties.

SF is very expensive city to open a restaurant, with the average hit to the pocketbook being $750,000. That’s sans rent or expenses after the opening. It’s becoming more and more challenging for restaurants to survive in the city, as workers can’t afford to live here, and the cost of creativity is rising. However, the 8 SF establishments on Bib do prove that creative cuisine, cost management, and building a rep for affordable quality do contribute to success. Among the SF restaurants honored are: M.Y. China, Cotogna, A16, Anchor Oyster Bar, DOSA.

Famous SF Restaurants: Trader Vic’s

Cosmo Place, 1951-1994

Dateline 1951 – Gis finishing tours of duty in Asia return with stars in their eyes and tales of the South Pacific. For the next decade everything Hawaiian and Polynesian is all the rage and Trader Vic’s quickly becomes the restaurant of choice on Nob Hill. Dressed in Aloha shirts and tropical-print sundresses, men and women dine on Madras and Susu Curry dishes, accompanied by Victor Bergeron’s famous tropical rum drinks. His most popular proves to be the “Mai-Tai,” or Tahitian for “The Best.”

Shake up one of Victor’s famous drinks yourself! Mai Tai Cocktails

Happy National Flossing Day!

It’s National Flossing Day. And what perfect timing considering most of us spent all day yesterday chomping on turkey, stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

Famous SF Restaurants: Ernie’s

If you’re pining for the legendary restaurant Ernie’s, go rent Vertigo and fast forward to the part where Scotty gets his first glimpse of Madeleine. For this scene, Hitchcock recreated the restaurant’s Ambrosia Room right down to the glowing red silk wallpaper. He even hired one of Ernie’s owners, Victor Gotti, to play a maître d. “I was supposed to say good evening to Jimmy Stewart when he came into the restaurant,” said Gotti to the Chronicle years later. “So he walked in and I said, ‘Good evening Mr. Stewart.’ I screwed it all up. They had to shoot it again.”

Check out the famous Ambrosia Room here.

JUST SOLD for $3.5million: Haight Ashbury Painted Lady

I call this landmark Haight Ashbury Victorian the “Prettiest Listing I’ve Ever Had.” Originally a grand mansion, today it’s a 4-unit building, with a lavish owner’s unit, a huge yard and an old carriage house that invites a thousand possibilities. This one sold to an investor up the street who (I’m told) needed the benefits of depreciation on an investment property (as well as the emotional charge of owning a piece of San Francisco history). 

Median Home Values in SF Less Than 1M Very Rare These Days

San Francisco has 102 neighborhoods from its borders to innermost heart. And as a rather startling snapshot of just how expensive SF is for buying a home, only 15 of those neighborhoods have median home values below the $1 million mark. That figure catapults San Francisco into the nation’s top three metropolitan areas with increases over the last year of homes pricing at or above $1 mil. The other two cities are our neighbors: San Jose and Oakland.

The city of Fremont (which is grouped into the Oakland metropolitan statistical area) had the biggest national increase with 11 of its 27 neighborhoods polevaulting to the $1 M status. Fremont now has a total of 21 million-dollar neighborhoods.

The Fremont story reflects the spillover effect where a large hub city like San Francisco with its very expensive housing market spills over into nearby smaller cities as home buyers are looking for affordability and connectivity. Thus, prices in neighborhoods are driven up. Seven SF neighborhoods jumped to the $1 mil mark, including Fisherman’s Wharf, Ingleside, Portola and SoMa.

Happy Peanut Butter Lovers Month!

It’s good with breakfast, lunch, dessert, in smoothies and even cocktails!  To celebrate, here is a recipe for my absolute favorite peanut butter cookie, the Peanut Butter Blossom.  Enjoy!

View the recipe at the NY Times here