I don’t get to San Francisco’s Fillmore Street as much as I’d like. I think of the area as a little too homogeneous and wealthy and it just doesn’t have as much edge as it does in funkier parts of the city like the Mission, the Haight or even the urban warehouse-y feel that Portrero Hill and the Dogpatch is sprouting up (see Yield wine bar on Third Street, which I’ve yet to review ‘properly’).
Yet, Fillmore and surrounding streets are full of great design, shops I tend to have a hard time leaving without buying something, and great restaurants and wine bars. I had heard of Citizen Cake, which sounds more like a cake shop than it does a restaurant, and even passed it a few times, but never had a meal. (On Twitter @CitizenCakePRB (I guess they couldn’t get CitizenCake on its own)
The chef is a woman and hey, I have to admit, I’m fan of female powerhouses because frankly, there still aren’t enough of them….period. Enuf said. And, Citizen Cake Owner & Chef Elizabeth Falkner is definitely a success story. As a recognizable faces in the Bay Area culinary world on Bravo, Food Network and beyond, she has been a frequent contestant, judge, and guest on Top Chef Masters, Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Sugar Rush, Tyler’s Ultimate with Tyler Florence, Rachael Ray’s $40 a Day, Martha Stewart Living, and others. That said, I personally had never sampled any of her masterpieces. (note: she’s also the owner of SOMA restaurant bar and lounge Orson as well which I’ve never been to either).
She started out in the pastry world – translation (loved all things sweet, hence the name Citizen Cake). So, what happened along the way then since the menu was certainly a far cry from all things sweet?
Citizen Cake began as a retail bakery in San Francisco’s South of Market in 1997 until she moved it to Hayes Valley three years later, where it became more of an elegant restaurant/bar, and yes, patisserie. Now in trendy Pacific Heights, Citizen Cake has taken off, received awards and acclaim, including Best Dessert for several years from 7×7 magazine.
I’m not a huge ‘cake’ person was so thrilled that there was a ton of savory items on the menu, including the one I just had to have, the Morrocan spiced lamb meatballs, served with millet, baby artichoke, kumquat, walnuts and hibiscus lamb jus. Here’s my original tweet about the experience on the ground. (also pasted below).
We had a couple bottles of a Kermit Lynch import, the 2008 Château La Roque Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St. Loup – France, Languedoc Roussillon, which because it was a Monday night, was half off, so well priced at $23 a bottle. Apparently they do half off wine nights on Mondays however it isn’t their whole list, just a few that they select for the evening.
Below is the Lamb meatball dish as tweeted about above:
Raw and roasted carrot salad, avocado, walnuts, cumin-coriander vinaigrette
Special chicken dish on the menu
Wild arugula, fava shoots, citrus, almonds, bergamot vinaigrette with chevre crostini
The first four shots were taken on my iPhone and the last one taken from their website. (I’d love to return to try the latter…). Also what we didn’t try but I’d love to give it a shot next time around is the dorade royal, caramelized cauliflower, flame raisins and meyer lemon beurre blanc, the pork schnitzel, butter bean-radish succotash, strawberry mustard and possibly the pot roast stroganoff served with egg noodles, carrots, turnips and mushrooms. My only wish is that there were a few more selections to choose from on the ‘special wine Monday nights’.