Best of the Bay 2009: Food and Drink - Page 10

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Not only can you get delicious dessert made with live and active cultures (apparently, they do survive freezing) in flavors like green tea and mango (and plenty others — take that, Pinkberry). But the serve-yourself setup means you decide exactly what ratio of yogurt to toppings you want in your biodegradable cup. At 46 cents an ounce, you only pay for what you get, whether it's a mere taste of blueberry yogurt and fresh fruit as a post-shopping refresher or a full serving of New York Cheese Cake with candy toppings as consolation for the crappy movie you saw across the street.

829 Mission, SF. (415) 882-7800, www.icebeeyogurt.com

BEST NEW SPOT FOR GETTING YOUR YAYAS

When Yaya closed, we thought our city's steamy affair with Iraqi chef Yahya Salih was over. Lucky for us, the Middle Eastern gourmet is back with Jannah, a casual new eatery between Poleng Lounge and Papalote in the Western Addition. Under murals depicting blue sea and sky, diners can dig into traditional-sounding food that's anything but predictable — all for under $11 a dish. We love the standards — hummus, baba ghanoush, and kebabs — but are even more delighted with juices made from fresh fruits, raisins, and mint; dips like mama ghanooge (accented with carrot and cardamom) or hudhud ghanoush (turnip and dates); and a savory phyllo dish with seafood, fava and garbanzo beans, and sun-dried lime. Desserts are equally revelatory, like kahi phyllo pockets stuffed with warm cardamom-redolent cream. Best of all? Now that our relationship with Salih is secure, we don't have to roam the city for some embarrassing Yaya rebound.

1775 Fulton, SF. (415) 567-4400

BEST COMFORT CARB

Every culture has their comfort soup ingredient. Jews have matzo balls. The Japanese have miso. The ... well ... everyone ... has noodles with chicken. But when it comes to belly-warming, tear-clearing supper on a spoon, it'd be hard for any culture to compete with that Chinese specialty, the wonton. When the fog rolls over the Richmond, or a metaphorical mist chills your heart, there's no better place to cure what ails you than Shanghai Dumpling King. The steaming bowls of wonton soup are big enough to feed two, which means either a chance to administer a double dose of self-care or an opportunity to share with a friend (misery loves company, as does a good meal). If you're sharing, you may have room for dim sum, graciously served for dinner. By the time you finish the BBQ pork buns and fresh, simple, perfectly chewy wontons in savory broth, you'll hardly remember whatever misery sent you seeking Shanghai in the first place.

3319 Balboa, SF. (415) 387-2088

BEST LUNCH ON A LOADING DOCK

Ambiance is overrated. That's what you learn by lunching at Kitchenette, the new eatery located in the oft-overlooked Dogpatch neighborhood. Instead of spending time and money designing a glitzy post-industrial space, the chef-owners behind Kitchenette opted for a real-deal industrial loading dock with a commanding view of the long-term storage facility across the street, allowing them to spend more time and money on what really matters: the food. A new menu, posted online the night before service, is available Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., or until the food runs out — which it often does, particularly on Taco Tuesdays, when lucky eaters chow down on corn tortillas filled with Niman Ranch pork carnitas topped with guacamole, salsa, and cabbage. Each lunch menu offers a superb veggie option (in the form of a salad, sandwich, or bento box) — as well as one for carnivores — alongside two or three additional snacks and a Cookie of the Moment (Hello, maple bacon snickerdoodles!).There's really only one word that does Kitchenette justice: yum.

958 Illinois, SF.