Back in June of this year I had the fortune of being able to travel to San Francisco for a project. What made the trip even better is that I was able to bring my wife out as well. What a great city. We had a blast running around SFO over a long weekend. So many things to do including checking out Fisherman’s Wharf, walking the whole embarcadero, taking a ferry over to Sausalito, hitting up Chinatown and trying so many great places to eat.
Speaking of places to eat – We were taking a bus up Columbus Ave. north towards Fisherman’s Wharf when I look out the window and see a restaurant called The Stinking Rose. I am fairly sure the lady next to me didn’t appreciate the fact that I exclaimed “Holy Shit” out loud. An obvious priority had been spotted.
The following day we went to the restaurant early evening to beat any crowds. The look and feel of the place? Let’s just say that The Stinking Rose is the Willy Wonka land for garlic lovers. Garlic everywhere – not just in the items on the menu. Vats of pickled garlic on the bar. The worlds longest garlic braid spanning the ceiling and all around the walls. Murals and eclectic garlic decor. Signed photos of all the celebrities that have dined in the establishment. Even their tag line is impressive – “We season our garlic with food”. I almost teared up reading that.
We saddled up to the bar, ordered an Anchor Steam and had pleasant conversations with the bartender. On the recommendation of our new drink slinging friend, we ordered the garlic, spinach, fontina fondue. To say it was delicious is an understatement. It was so good we ate it and I totally forgot to take a picture of the dish (my bad). The fontina cheese has the saltyness , the spinach adds some texture, and the garlic brings it all home. Served with their house made focaccia bread, I highly recommend the dish. Another popular item is their iron skillet of mussels and roasted garlic. Our neighbors at the bar ordered that and it smelled intoxicating. I’ll assume it was good as they went into neanderthal mode and made primal noises as they fought over the last few mussels and who got to sop up the aus jus at the bottom of the skillet. The rest of the menu looked equally awesome from 40 clove chicken to garlic encrusted prime rib to garlic ice cream.
The Travel Channel happened to be there when we showed up early at the restaurant They were filming for an episode of “Food Paradise” where this particular show would be all about Garlic. We met the director, who was a super nice guy, and he gave us the ins and outs of what it takes to produce this kind of show. They may have several hours of film that they then edit down to the appropriate 15- 20 minute segment featuring The Stinking Rose. We sat and watched the show from out prime bar seat location. That is my beer in the photo above, so there is no doubt that if the crew was filming a wide shot we are totally in the background (autographs available on request). Be on the look out for Garlic Paradise on the Travel Channel and check it out. I am constantly looking for the air date and will obviously post a follow up after it hits the air waves.
If you are a garlic geek and find yourself in San Francisco (or Beverly Hills, CA), you gotta try out The Stinking Rose!