BEEN THERE, ATE THAT: WEEK OF JANUARY 27 - FEBRUARY 2

As 2014 starts to heat up so do my dining experiences. This week was busy with a mix of girls dinners, lunches and a night out on the town!

Bite of the Week: Duck meatballs with black mole, collards, hominy and whey from Verbena

Tuesday: Verbena
Girls Dinner. I'm always looking for an excuse to check out a new restaurant and a girls dinner is the perfect excuse! Open since last fall, Verbena is located in the heart of Russian Hill.  Housed in the former Marbella space, Verbena comes from the team at Gather in Berkeley.  The space has been completely gutted and even boasts a small second floor dining space.

Wanting to try a little of everything, that's exactly what we did. We started with the Sprouted seeds with chevre and beet sauerkraut. The dish wasn't exactly what we had envisioned but this did not make it any less delicious, especially since the bread was warm. Next we had the Sardine with cauliflower, horseradish, trout roe and chickweed followed by the Turnips and sunchokes with black trumpet, red hummus and farro. Lastly, were the Carrots with verbena, Aleppo pepper, nettles and cashew and the Duck meatballs with black mole, collards, hominy and whey. Although all of the dishes were great, and beautifully plated, the Carrots and Duck Meatballs were by far my two favorite dishes. I would go back just to have the meatballs!

Wednesday: Koz's Kitchen
Lunch.  With our new office located in Civic Center, we have lots of new lunch places to check out. On Wednesday and Friday there is a farmers market, Heart of the City Farmers Market near our office and on Wednesdays there is a vendor, Koz's Kitchen there. With offerings like fresh corn bread, pulled pork sandwiches, and tacos, it's hard to choose what to get. I opted for the chicken soup that came with cornbread. The soup was spicy with big chunks of chicken and the corn bread was perfectly moist. They also serve breakfast so you know I'll be there this week aiming for their breakfast sando.

Thursday: Smitten Ice Cream
Afternoon Snack. Another bonus of working in Civic Center is being so close to Hayes Valley where there are plenty of great food options to choose from, Absinthe, La Boulange, The Grove, the list goes on and on. But, one of the best food options, or rather dessert options, is Smitten Ice Cream. Each order is made fresh in their special ice cream machines made with Liquid Nitrogen, the final product is one delicious scoop!

I was hoping to get some of their infamous TCHO Chocolate but unfortunately the chocolate machine was down! Instead I settled for some classic vanilla with TCHO Chocolate Sauce. Not a bad afternoon snack!

Friday: Tacolicious
Friday Night. Nothing welcomes the weekend like margaritas and guacamole! Catching up with an old co-worker over copious amounts of margaritas, my personal favorite right now of which is the Margarita Fresca with azul silver, blood orange, cardamom, agave and lime, is the perfect way to start your weekend. And of course you can't have margaritas with out chips and guacamole. If you haven't had the guacamole at Tacolicous, I highly recommend it, it's one of my favorite guacs in SF! Lastly throw in a few Albacore tuna tostadas and you've got yourself a nice little meal. If you like your margaritas more spicy then sweet then try the Pasion Margarita which has tradicional silver, passion fruit and habanero...watch out, that one will get ya!

Saturday: Napa
I spent Saturday in Napa which deserves a post all on it's own so check back later this week for details on my trip north!

Tip: Try and hit Smitten on a rainy day or during an off time, due to the fact that each order is made on the spot, it can take a while to get your ice cream, even if there is a short line.

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