Thursday, September 10, 2015

On the Road: Farm Fresh at Sons & Daughters, San Francisco

Nadine Kam photos
Perfection in an eggshell: Poached Bantam chicken egg yolk topped with honey-whipped cream topped and garlic scape.


Coming back from a vacation in San Francisco, I was asked, “What did you do there?”
In one of the foodie capitals of the nation, I ate.

“Is that all?” came the response.

“Isn’t that enough?”

Now that we have just about all the stores I have use for, I don’t need to shop much during travels, and I’m not the sightseeing tourist type. I just like to travel like a local, doing the things they might do, like browsing farmers markets, participating in cultural activities and hanging out in cafes. When I did shop, it was just because I was told San Francisco is hot this time of year.

For some reason, I was thinking Hawaii hot, which is not the same as SF hot of 70 degrees. I travel light so only packed seven dresses for seven days, and at the last minute grabbed a jacket. So when I did shop for a second jacket, I ended up picking up an anorak jacket/dress from Old Navy.
A leather-bound at Sons & Daughters is your guide to the farm-sourced ingredients that go into the restaurant's dishes.

A leather-bound at Sons & Daughters is your guide to the farm-sourced ingredients that go into the restaurant’s dishes.

When I did go to the DeYoung Museum, I found I had arrived in time for the grand opening of a most Hawaiian exhibition, “Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Nā Hulu Ali‘i,” with examples of Hawaiian capes and feather work from the Bishop Museum, Smithsonian and various London museums. You can catch it there through Feb. 28, 2016, or if you can’t make it, the exhibition is slated to travel here next fall.

My first night’s dinner at Sons & Daughters turned out to be the best of the entire trip. I am most in tune with this type of restaurant, with an approach to food they describe as thoughtful and delicate, displaying clarity of ingredients. In other words, food that is true to the essence and integrity of the individual and exceptional ingredients chosen for the table. Much of what's out there otherwise is just noise.

Non-flash video

In this case, food is sourced from the restaurant’s sister Dark Hill Farm, which covers 83 acres in the Santa Cruz mountains.

“Shades of ‘Portlandia,’ ” I thought when we were introduced to first course, a poached Bantam chicken egg yolk topped with honey-whipped cream. But, they stopped short of naming the chicken our eggs came from.

There is a set prix fixe menu each evening. For $150 per person, our meal was elegant and delicious from beginning to end, and anyone who believes in sustainability and the farm-to-table dining experience should plan a visit the next time they’re in the Bay Area.
Sons & Daughters is at 308 Bush St., San Francisco. Call (415) 391-8311.

Seafood salad of Penn Cove mussels, Oregon bay shrimp, compressed cucumbers, sour gherkins, yogurt and green peppercorns.

Hijiki bread with sea salt and Strauss butter whipped with buttermilk cream.

 Salad of avocado mousse, lentils, quinoa chip and succulents with a pour of tomato water.

Black cod with Japanese eggplant and summer beans.

Paté and dice of apples with second bread course.

Another bread that reminded me of a bird beak.

Guinea hen two ways, with Pink Lady apple gastrique.

 Steak bavette with chanterelle and maitake mushrooms and Romanesco sauce.

Hazelnut cake and ice cream served with cherries and sweet woodruff-infused chocolate and caramel.

Finale of butter brickle, brownie bites and peanut butter jelly.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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