Karen Solomon

SF Station Writer

Karen Solomon's Articles
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Five-Star, Flavor-Forward Mexican Fast-Food
By Karen Solomon (Feb 16, 2016)
If you were to design a dream taqueria, chances are it would look something like this: Blazingly fresh salsas and sauces, quality sustainable meats and organic produce. While fantasizing, why not ask for housemade everything -- including the cheese, crema, and chorizo. And while you’re at it, throw in masa ground on premises, with a master chef patting out endless shingles of homemade tortillas and tamales? Nopalito, a relative newcomer to the SF Mexican food pyramid and sister to Nopa a few blocks away, is a taco-lover’s dream realized. More »
Revisiting a Hidden Gem
By Karen Solomon (Jan 05, 2016)
If its reputation had not drawn us to its doors, chances are slim that American eatery Fish and Farm would not have even turned our head — and now its great food and outstanding service have us all in a tizzy. More »
Want Community With That Pastrami?
By Karen Solomon (Sep 27, 2009)
Replacing Klein's Deli atop Potrero Hill in May 2007, Jay's is a new sandwich joint/wine bar with a coffee shop vibe, whose owners are doing all they can to please the local clientele. The food is decent coffee shop fare—bagels, sandwiches, soups, housemade side salads, and fair trade coffee, as well as beer, wine, cheese and chocolate. The tenor of the dining room makes it feel more like your own personal living room, with neighbors gathering to think, work, talk, and give their laptops a change of scenery. The eats may be better at Hazel’s down the hill, but this casual seating and meeting space meets a neighborhood need with gusto. More »
Exotic Eats at Bargain Prices
By Karen Solomon (Apr 08, 2009)
Kasa consistently produces outstanding eats, is extremely reasonably priced, and has proven to be nothing but piquant and flavorful. Call it gourmet fast food if you like -- chef Anamika Khanna calls it street food. But it continually proves to be abundant, well-spiced, well-crafted, artfully-presented, and a total bargain, particularly for its locale. More »
Done, but not Overdone
By Karen Solomon (Apr 02, 2008)
Americans have grown accustomed to the politically charged images of Baghdad in flames in recent years. Either in spite of or because of the current military climate, a culture of which we knew nothing a decade ago has been slowly creeping into our own; in media, in language, and -- what’s of most interest to us here -- in food. Does this Iraqi restaurant go beyond the same old Middle Eastern fare that has made hummus as mainstream as salsa? More »
A Legend Continues to Thrive
By Karen Solomon (Feb 08, 2008)
Who am I, mere mortal, to laurel or dart the dining experience of the legendary Chez Panisse? As far as restaurants and food movements go, this kitchen is the Mesopotamia of California cuisine. This is the very birthplace of sparklingly fresh, high quality ingredients coaxed to maximum flavor, and a menu that drops farm names as is they were boutique designers. Chez Panisse is credited with creating the sustainable, farmer-friendly agricultural wheel. Superstar owner and operator Alice Waters has also indirectly sparked some of the nation’s best eats from the kitchen’s Harvard-like alumni. More »
A Finer Diner
By Karen Solomon (Dec 24, 2008)
The corner of 18th and Guerrero has not been kind to the restaurant industry. The spot seems like a shoe-in, due to its proximity to all of the Mission Grande Dames (Delfina, Tartine, Limon, Maverick, Range, etc.), but it appears to be a cruel mistress. It was a decent Eritrean restaurant for a number of years. Then Platanos moved in, and reinvented itself more times than Madonna. Now there’s a new contender in the ring -- a diner, bravely attempted by a San Francisco restaurant newcomer. More »
New Chef at Hawaiian Expense Account Heaven
By Karen Solomon (Jul 02, 2007)
With its beautiful décor doused in soft lighting, crisp linens, and stylish elbow room, Roy's fits right in with San Francisco's downtown restaurant scene, and one might never guess that it is just one of founder Roy Yamaguchi's 20+ dining establishments across the country. More »
Off the Hook
By Karen Solomon (Jun 19, 2007)
I’m always happy to crouch on a rickety stool with a paper plate on my lap if the food is good enough to merit the potential for grease stains on my knees. Take me to that Chinatown back alley with the awesome grub and trash bags for tablecloths any day; it's far preferential to the overblown, posh eatery serving paste on fine china and watery gruel in top-tier Swarovski. Pacific Catch may use real crockery instead of paper plates, but a food-first approach makes for long waits at this always-crowded Marina beehive. More »
The Tide is High -- and Dry
By Karen Solomon (Apr 31, 2007)
I’ve often wondered how restaurants that serve three different menus a day manage not to go manic. How can one be an expert baker in the morning, and then a genius with a quiche come noon, and then follow it all up with a full roster of dinner entrees just a few hours later? This challenge is rarely, if ever, executed well, but I always admire the goals these eateries set for themselves -- and often wish for simpler fare. More »
Karen Solomon's Articles
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