Bastille Day at Sous Beurre? Oui, oui!

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I'm sure all the travel stories in this week's issue are making you jealous, especially when it's raining fog outside and acting rather un-summery. But I have a secret to tell you. One of the best things about traveling is the food, and if you can find a restaurant here in San Francisco with authentic enough dishes in their kitchen, eating out can be almost as good as getting a new stamp in your passport. Here is one of them.

My husband and I just got back from our honeymoon in France a few weeks ago. It was not your typical French honeymoon, strolling around Paris. We spent it mostly in the country, hiking more than 100 miles, from tiny village to tiny village -- and then in the evening, gorging ourselves on decadent three or four course meals, made with more butter than anything else. The other night, back home and back to the grind, I did a Yelp search for a French restaurants, thinking I could take my hubby on a buttery date, and a place called Sous Beurre Kitchen popped up, with one, five-star review (it now has two). Somehow, a tiny French restaurant has just appeared inside Sugarlump Cafe on 24th street and based on that one review, I knew we had to go there.

Sous Beurre's name means "in butter," which sounds incredibly true to the French way of cooking. We found the chef, Michael Mauschbaugh, behind the counter, in a new tiny kitchen that he built all on his own. Everything on the menu is made from scratch (except for the dairy items) and Mauschbaugh told me that he's a big fan of making his own sausages and liver pates. Homemade pate? That was one of our favorite discoveries in France, the way they scooped it out of gigantic ceramic bowls, wrapped it in paper, and then sent you on your way to slather it on warm baguettes while picnicking along a river. Just the mention of pate made us drool.

But then it came out, slathered on crispy pieces of toast and topped with balsamic roasted figs and we knew that, yes, reliving our French foodie fantasies was not such a far off dream. It was delicious. And so was the hearty cassoulet with home-made juniper berry sausage, the perfect antidote to the chilly evening outside. Not only is the food perfectly French, it's also local, organic whenever possible, and always served with a big smile. And for something even more fun, Mauschbaugh has created a special prix fixe menu for Bastille Day ($26), that will not only add a little culture to your life, but might even make you feel like you've traveled to that beautiful far off country where butter is truly king.

Bastille Day Dinner
Thu/14, 5pm-10pm, $26
Sous Beurre Kitchen
inside Sugarlump Cafe
2862 24th Street
San Francisco
www.sousbeurrekitchen.com

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