This nicely appointed San Francisco eatery serves up some pretty fun grub.
We tried a bunch of stuff, so let me get right down to business.
These brick-like tots were stacked, Jenga style. They had an awesomely crisp outside and a soft, mashed potato-esque inside. Topped with cheddar, chorizo and cilantro. Perfect.
Seven Spice Chicken Slider
These were pretty good. I really liked the Alabama white sauce and dill pickles.
This wonderful mashup between a Cuban sandwich and a hot dog was my favorite dish of the meal. Slow roasted pork, swiss cheese and spiced relish.
The Saratoga Burger
This baby was served with taleggio cheese and slaw on an onion bun. Pretty good! But after coming off of a Causwell’s burger high, we weren’t blown away.
Dry-Aged Flannery Beef NY Steak
For years I’ve heard great things about Flannery Beef. I had high hopes. This was really tough. I think they served us a hanger steak too – not a NY strip (I even asked and they confirmed NY strip). No way. I know beef texture and this was more like hanger and not remotely like striploin. The sauce was good but the beef was difficult to eat. 4/10.
Tomato Braised Tuscan Kale
Not my cup of tea here. Probably should have ordered the mushrooms or spring peas instead. This tasted like heartburn in each bite.
These were fun! Definitely tasted just like a classic ho ho, but much better and elevated. Winner.
The staff was awesome here. The owner saw that we were all taking pics for Instagram so he gave us a round of yellow and green chartreuse on the house. We barely touched them, however, since none of us particularly liked either of them. Bitter, and tasted like cough medicine. I realize this spirit is an acquired taste though, and I respect that this joint has one of the largest collections of chartreuse available in the world. Pretty cool. Just not my taste.
Their cocktails, however, are delicious. Here’s a shot of the Vieux Carre, which was delicious:
1000 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Before heading to San Francisco my friends and I poked around and did some research on where to get a good burger. One place that kept popping up was Causwell’s.
Our research proved correct: this places serves a great burger!
Their Americana burger is a nice Big Mac style double smash that really satisfies. The fries are great too.
We also tried their Loco Moco burger, a nice tribute to the Hawaiian ground beef, rice, onion, cheese and gravy plate.
This was really great, and it embodied all those flavors that you expect from the Hawaiian classic. I just wish it came with a cup of gravy for dipping with each bite. We had fried onions with this, which were really nice and crisp. Shredded style.
I highly recommend this if you find yourself in that beautiful disaster of a city known as San Francisco.
2346 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
I finally tried In n Out, the craze of the west coast!
I went with the double double, animal style.
I approve! The burger has an awesome classic roadside style, but the sauce is what really sets it apart from others. The fries need some work, however. They just lack crunch and depth. They taste like cheap frozen fries that you baked in the oven instead of fried. A little dry. A little unseasoned. A little boring.
All in though, I really dig In n Out. It’s on par with Shake Shack.
IN N OUT
333 Jefferson Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
Over the course of a few days, some Instagram pals and I were able to get a sense of their operations, how they raise their animals and how delicious their proteins are.
The camp itself was pretty awesome. Home base was a nicely appointed “glamping” style tent that can sleep two, outfitted with extremely comfortable beds.
I was more comfortable here than I was in the hotel that I stayed at in San Francisco prior to the drive up. There are nice modern bathrooms with hot water showers near the tents too, so you’re not roughing it in some outhouse or washing up in a lake.
Here’s the event barn and main lawn, where most of the action took place:
Okay so let’s get down to business:
Belcampo Meat Co. is a 100% grass fed and grass finished organic beef producer. They also raise lamb, pork, chickens and turkeys, but they run about 3200 head of cattle total, including their cows, calves and bulls.
The animals are generally about 24 to 30 months old when they reach market weight, after which they go off to Belcampo’s processing plant in nearby Yreka. Most of their beef grades out at USDA choice or select in terms of marbling. However since intramuscular fat (marbling) isn’t a priority for Belcampo in the way that it is for traditional beef producers, the grading almost doesn’t matter.
This was the best tasting grass finished beef I’ve ever had. Truly outstanding!
As you can imagine, at a place called “Meat Camp” your daily scheduled activities are pretty awesome if you’re a raging carnivore like me.
We broke down a beef forequarter, which included the chuck and rib sections.
We also broke down a lamb shoulder, pork shortloins/t-bones, and chickens.
We portioned out chops for grilling, as well as ground up various meats for burgers and sausages.
Yes, we ate LOTS of it.
We even made sausage and tasted several of their incredibly delicious cured meat products with a charcuterie and wine pairing lesson. I think these bites were my favorites of the entire trip!
One of the many impressive things up at Belcampo is the fire wagon, which they use to develop embers and natural charcoal for cooking on their Argentinian style grills, their huge cauldron, and their “Asado Crucifix,” (all of which are made by NorCal Ovenworks).
Another fun lesson was about how they make their “bone broth” and sauce bases, like ragu and soffrito.
When we weren’t cooking, eating or butchering, we toured their farms, fields, and animal paddocks, which consists of about 5,000 acres of grasses and alfalfa.
We also visited the farrowing barn where newly born piglets were nursing from sows.
Just nine months later those babies are pushing 500-600lbs from eating a mixture of pasture, grains, acorns and nuts on the farm.
We saw their chicken train cars and barns, with the animals truly “free range” feeding on bugs, seeds and grasses.
I even got to see their turkeys along the road when I was out for a morning run.
Belcampo goes above and beyond to make their animals comfortable, and they exhibit the utmost respect for the environment. The farm is run like a family, and the love and care they give to their animals translates directly into a high quality product at the end of the animals’ lifecycles.
I think my biggest takeaway – and by far the most important one – is that not all grass-finished beef is the same. I had it in my head that I wasn’t a huge fan of the taste of grass-finished beef, but Belcampo’s product is truly amazing. They definitely changed my mind on that, but their other proteins and products are outstanding as well – especially that charcuterie!