Top Chef Master winner and noted chef Rick Bayless paid San Francisco a visit recently. But Mr. Bayless was not tickled by the food found here -- specifically, at several noted restaurants (e.g., Local’s Corner, Flour + Water, Slanted Door, Aziza, just to name a few).
When asked by Zagat for his impressions on the San Francisco food scene, Bayless bemoaned:
Well, I haven’t been to San Francisco in a couple of years so there’s a lot that’s different. I have had great food on this trip but what’s interesting to me is that there is a real similarity from restaurant to restaurant. Of course, all the restaurants are doing the seasonal thing and getting the same ingredients from the same farms and what not, but it’s all a little bit too alike. Even at the Slanted Door. When the Slanted Door first opened, I recall the flavors were a lot more edgy.
Interesting. And accurate. Somewhat. First, you can't find any good nachos in San Francisco. So there's goddamn problem numero uno. Nachos are way boss. (Why, just today we asked readers, via our Facebook page, to divulge their favorite nacho spots. We only have one -- one! -- response as of noon.) And second... hmm, good question. While this city loves to beat a good trend into the ground, there are also a lot of options out there, varying ones at that.
Now, had he bitched about the similarities in decor, he would have been spot-on. All that reclaimed wood and Edison bulb shit, while pleasant, should die a painless, quiet death at this point.
Anyway, later in the interview, Bayless goes on to read our city's lack Mexican food tradition (save for cheap taqueria fare), noting:
[...] San Francisco doesn’t really have much of a Mexican food tradition aside from the taquerias in the Mission, which is a fairly limited thing. I am curious to check out Nopalito.
And there you have it.
Back in 2010, if you recall, Bayless and Jonathan Gold went at it after Bayless claimed that, quite foolishly, not much good Mexican food could be found in Los Angeles or SoCal.
UPDATE: A peeved Rick Bayless sent SFist the following: "Please stop making things up just to grab readers. I never said or implied that." We assume he's referring to the headline. Or the bit about Gold and Mexican food, an issue which he later clarified. As for the rest of the piece, we stand by it. His choice of words in the aforementioned Zagat interview were, alas, poorly chosen. He admits as much in the comment section of Zagat, which you can read here, and via Twitter.