Kyoko had two friends visiting from Denver, John and Sean, so we thought it would be fun to have dinner and drinks then visit the California Academy of Sciences afterwards. On Thursday evenings the Academy turns into NightLife – think of it as a science museum for adults! With that in mind, we dined at Maven, which was perfectly located to accommodate such a plan. Maven is a cool, trendy, yet down-to-earth, two-story bar and restaurant in SF’s Lower Haight.


Maven’s Chinatown Duck Sliders are #38 on our 7×7 list. One order comes with two sliders, so we ordered a few! These sliders were definitely on the 7×7 list for a reason, the duck was perfectly glazed in a slightly sweet hoisin sauce, topped with shiitake mushroom and bok choy. All the delicious flavors of a traditional Sunday morning dim sum were captured in this trendy, palm-sized slider. The duo, and our two visitors, give the chef eight thumbs up!


Chinatown Duck Sliders ($10)

To accompany the sliders, and of course we couldn’t resist, we ordered the fries which came with olive aioli. Fries are one of those foods that seem to taste good everywhere. Maven’s fries were no exception – perfectly fried with a great house-made dipping sauce.


Kennebec Fries ($6)

The guests sitting at a table next to ours ordered oysters. Since oysters are not on the menu, we had to ask our waitress how we could get our hands on them! They looked too delicious not to ask. Who doesn’t love a fresh oyster?


Oysters ($17 per dozen)

To keep with the seafood theme, we also ordered the Penn Cove Mussels, made with Korean chili pepper and absinthe and served with garlic bread. Our favorite part was using the bread to soak up all the delicious broth at the bottom of the bowl!


Penn Cove Mussels ($11)

We loved the atmosphere that Maven provided and its proximity to Golden Gate Park. We would suggest that if you want to plan a date night, or host friends, or just explore the city, that you dine at Maven on a Thursday night before visiting the Academy, and be sure to get tickets ahead of time!

Until next time, cheers!


Corpse Reviver #598 ($11)

The Duo

A Little BIX Of Heaven

Sometimes the best discoveries are made in the most unassuming alleys. That was certainly the case for Bix Restaurant! It’s located in Jackson Square on Gold Street, a narrow walkway sandwiched between charming old brick buildings. To know that you are heading in the right direction, walk towards a tiny neon sign that reads “Bix”…

Bix Restaurant alley entrance

Bix Restaurant alley entrance

Greeted with live jazz music the moment we walked in, this elegant 1930’s themed restaurant was full of surprises! The large, two-story, dimly-lit dining space was decorated with artwork, dark woods, plush booths, and perfectly polished silverware. If you happen to look up you will find amazingly beautiful crown molding, a true SF trademark. To the right of the entrance was a long and grand bar, a perfect place for us to grab a drink while we waited for the remainder of our group to trickle in after work. There was nothing “trendy” about this place, and we loved every classic detail.

Bix Restaurant is known for its live jazz music.

Bix Restaurant is known for its live jazz music

On this particular adventure we dined with our favorite group of French friends. Since most of them only had a limited amount of time in the city, we decided to show them what we know best – delicious food.

Dining with old and new friends visiting from France

Dining with our new French friends

To start the meal, we ordered “Potato Pillows” to share, or as Angie likes to say, “for the table”. Potato Pillows are lightly fried potatoes topped with crème fraîche and caviar. Needless to say, and as you can probably judge by the photograph, it was quite tasty. To put it in elementary terms, they were like a richer, classier, and tastier version of tater tots.

Potato Pillows with Crème Fraîche and American Caviar, $15

Potato Pillows with Crème Fraîche and American Caviar ($15)

Following the potatoes, we had the Steak Tartare, numero 92 on our list. The dish was prepared tableside by our waiter who mixed the raw beef with shallots, capers, parsley and mustard. Our eyes lit up with excitement as our waiter set the dish on the table. Without wasting much time, we tasted the tartare and loved it. One of our visitors exclaimed that it was very good, a huge compliment considering that his grandfather has a restaurant in Italy where he makes the best foods using the freshest ingredients. As you can imagine, this friend of ours has high standards when it comes to food!

We recommend ordering this dish if you ever find yourself at Bix, especially if you are a steak tartare fan. If you have never had raw beef, we definitely recommend trying it because, well, there’s a first for everything!

Steak Tartare with Shallots, Capers, Parsley and Mustard, Prepared Tableside, $15

Steak Tartare with Shallots, Capers, Parsley and Mustard, Prepared Tableside ($15)

The Black Truffle Cheese Burger came highly recommended. It was perfectly cooked and of course, the truffle made everything just that much better.

Black Truffle Cheese Burger served open face on Rye with Truffle Fries, $28

Black Truffle Cheese Burger served open face on Rye with Truffle Fries ($28)

The Lobster Spaghetti was served with cherry tomatoes, jalapeños and basil. The spaghetti was al dente, the lobster was amazingly sweet and generously portioned, and the sauce was light yet flavorful. A must-try if you are in the mood for pasta, we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Lobster Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Jalapeños and Basil, $34

Lobster Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Jalapeños and Basil ($34)

To top off the meal, our waiter brought us coconut pineapple sorbet. Just the right amount of sweetness to finish another great dinner with great French company.

Coconut pineapple sorbet

Coconut pineapple sorbet

This city is truly filled with so many opportunities to enjoy the good life! Bix Restaurant is another example of this because we were able to enjoy a delicious meal in a great atmosphere with a diverse group of friends. Although our ultimate goal is to taste all 100 dishes on the 7×7 list, we promise that we’ll never forget to enjoy the journey. Cheers, the Duo.

2011 Birgit Eichinger, Riesling, $52

2011 Birgit Eichinger, Riesling ($52)