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Food & Drink

All Things Consumed: The Standard’s new column exploring the best of the city’s food scene

Mijoté's sirloin carpaccio dish, featuring Tokyo turnips and rhubarb; Loltun's panucho with cochinita pibil; AyDea's Qistibi, which consists of flaky flatbread with a mashed potato and roasted beef filling.
Mijoté's sirloin carpaccio dish, featuring Tokyo turnips and rhubarb; Loltun's panucho with cochinita pibil; AyDea's qistibi, which consists of flaky flatbread with a mashed potato and roasted beef filling. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard

Welcome to All Things Consumed, a new column that highlights the best things I’ve been eating in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Whether it’s from a taco cart on the street corner or the hot restaurant in a shiny building, I want to share the new and the unheralded in local food. The goal here is simple: to direct you to deliciousness and highlight things that are worth your time, dollars and calories. 

Each week, I’ll feature three things to eat and one thing to drink as well as something I’m stoked on (which could be anything from a new hot sauce or a new way of packaging takeout forks). If you have recommendations for any of the above, DM me on Instagram @ommmar. Now break out your stretchy pants and LFG.

Qistibi at AyDea 

I consider myself moderately cultured and decently well-traveled, but I’ve literally never heard of Tatarstan, a republic in Russia located about 500 miles due east of Moscow. This changed the other day when I ate at AyDea, the barely 2-month-old Tatar café on Bryant Street in SoMa. The restaurant is run by chef Christopher Dumesnil, who is from Mexico City, and his wife and co-owner, Liliya, who was born in Tatarstan. They started the cafe, which is named after their two daughters Ayla and Dea, as a way to help teach his children about their roots. “The easiest way to make someone rooted in their culture is through food,” Christopher told me.

A quesadilla with shredded meat and cheese on a plate with a cup of sauce.
Qistibi consists of a house-made flaky flatbread with a mashed potato and roasted beef filling. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard

I tried a few things during my lunch, but the standout dish is the qistibi, a housemade flatbread that’s almost like a flour tortilla meets paratha. It’s flakey blistered and buttery and filled with mashed potatoes. Dumesnil fortifies his with plenty of butter and raw cream along with caramelized onions for sweetness. There’s the option to add tender slow-roasted beef (do it), and it’s served with a side of Russian cream, an unnecessary accompaniment to an already rich and perfect dish.

💰 $10
📍 799 Bryant St., San Francisco

Cochinita Pibil Panucho at Loltun

I might be a little proximity-biased here because Loltun is exactly 328 feet away from my apartment in the Mission. But this is the most soulful and flavorful Yucatecan restaurant in San Francisco. If you need convincing, know that the restaurant’s chef/owner, Hector Chan, is also behind El Rincon Yucateco in the Tenderloin, another one of the city’s finest Yucatecan restaurants. (There’s even an award that hangs on its walls near the kitchen given to Chan by the mayor of Merida, Yucatán, that recognizes the restaurant for its culinary excellence).

A taco with chicken, lettuce, pickled onions, and a lemon wedge on a white plate.
Panucho with cochinita pibil consists of a deep-fried corn tortilla stuffed with a puree of black beans, topped with slow-cooked pork, lettuce and pickled red onions. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard

The thing I crave here is the panucho, a deep-fried corn tortilla stuffed with a puree of black beans. You can choose your own protein to top with, but I like to get mine with cochinita pibil—super savory, orange-tinged, slow-cooked pork that’s juicy and fatty. It’s all topped with a scattering of pickled red onion to help cut through the unctuousness and a healthy squirt of the sweat-inducing habanero salsa from the bottle.

💰 $4.50
📍 2471 Mission St., San Francisco

Everything at Mijoté

As a roving food writer, it’s nearly impossible for me to be a restaurant regular anywhere. But if there’s one place I wish I could have a standing reservation at, it’s Mijoté, a French bistro in an old Victorian in the Mission that used to house a sushi counter. Eating here is the closest thing you can get to eating in a cool new wave bistro in Paris—likely because chef Kosuke Tada spent years cooking there.

A plate of beef tartare topped with green apple, herbs, edible flowers, and rhubarb, with a drizzle of green sauce.
A sirloin carpaccio dish, also featuring Tokyo turnips and rhubarb, is served at Mijoté. The French bistro offers a four-course prix fixe menu that changes regularly. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard

The four-course set menu changes every day, but meals always start with a little amuse-bouche of a creamy cauliflower soup, followed by some sort of seafood situation—often a crudo. When I visited recently, there was a crab salad generous with Dungeness and towered between thick slices of roasted fennel and thin slices of green apple. Next was a pork chop and beet main with a tableside sauce, but it was the lamb shoulder supplement ($32) that got me: rich and rib-sticking, plated over a puree of potatoes that tasted more like butter than spud, surrounded by a pool of lamb jus and topped with an herby green relish to help cut through the richness. I can’t wait to go back—this is my favorite restaurant in San Francisco currently.

💰 $82 per person four-course menu
📍  2400 Harrison St., San Francisco

A bottle I’m loving 

 From one of my favorite natty wine shops in the city, Gemini Bottle Shop in the Mission, comes a 100% Sangiovese from Podere Casaccia in Tuscany. This wine doesn’t taste like what you’d often associate with "natural wine”—it’s not funky or particularly wild, but it’s certified and made with biodynamic farming practices. It’s just good Sangiovese, and it has energy. Gemini owner Dominique Henderson says she would drink this with a big steak, margherita pizza, porchetta or anything super fatty. I’m drinking mine with a nice dry-aged burger I’m making at home for dinner tonight.

🍷Podere Casaccia - Toscana Rosso IGT
📍Gemini Bottle Shop, 2801 22nd St., San Francisco

And one more thing I'm stoked on

Shio Koji Garlic Paste from Bernal Cutlery. Just a dollop from this 5.29-ounce jar ($14). This adds an intense garlick-y umami bomb to any soup or stew; it’s also great for marinating meats. Warning: Your breath may be potent afterward—maintain a 5-foot distance when talking to people.

Omar Mamoon is a San Francisco-based writer & cookie dough professional. Find him on Instagram.