Restaurant Reviews Tagged "Conferences"

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The Dining Cryptographer: XYZ and Kokkari Estiatorio (San Francisco, CA)

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Show Daily (2010 RSA Conference Newsletter)
  • March 5, 2010

XYZ is the restaurant in the W Hotel. I’ve been avoiding mentioning it these two years, but it’s across the street from Moscone, and I end up eating there more than any other restaurant in the area. Generally I’m there for lunch, and I usually order a sandwich: either the burger if I’m feeling like a big meal, or the tuna steak sandwich if I’m not. Their pizzas and salads are also good, and their eggs “chilaquiles” is what I generally get for breakfast. I’ve only had dinner there once, and it was quail. Nothing here is fantastic, but it’s all competent and you can’t beat the convenience — it’s either that or Chevy’s across the street. (181 3rd St, 415-817-7836, www.xyz-sf.com)…

The Dining Cryptographer: Pazzia and La Mar (San Francisco, CA)

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Show Daily (2010 RSA Conference Newsletter)
  • March 4, 2010

Three restaurants this time: the first two within walking distance, and the third a cab ride away.

Pazzia is an informal Italian restaurant with really great food at reasonable prices. The thin crust pizzas here are delicious, and far better than any other option near Moscone. Their lasagna is also delicious. So’s their shrimp fettuccini, and their beef carpaccio appetizer. I could go on and on. Service is kind of random, but the food and the prices make up for it. Pazzia is open for dinner, but think about this place for lunch. (337 3rd St, 415-512-1693)…

The Dining Cryptographer: RN74 and Quince (San Francisco, CA)

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Show Daily (2010 RSA Conference Newsletter)
  • March 3, 2010

As much as I appreciate receiving recommendations, all these reviews were written well in advance of this week. But if you’ve got a good tip — especially for good lunch restaurants within walking distance — let me know and I’ll consider it for next year.

RN74 is Michael Mina’s new restaurant. The room is pretty and elegant, and the food is good. My favorite thing on the menu is the clam and pork belly appetizer, but you’re safe trying anything. (The duck confit main dish is particularly good, as are the scallops.) And they have a good selection of wines by the glass, so you’re likely to be able to pair with anything you order. If you want something less formal — or a faster lunch meal — sit at the wine bar and order off that menu. The cheese fondue is both delicious and fun, the mushroom tempura is just delicious, and there are loads of great seafood choices. Plus, more good wine. (301 Mission St, 415-543-7474, www.michaelmina.net/rn74/)…

The Dining Cryptographer: Koh Samui & The Monkey and Ton Kiang (San Francisco, CA)

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Show Daily (2010 RSA Conference Newsletter)
  • March 2, 2010

Another day, another pair of restaurant reviews. As before, the first is within walking distance and the second requires a cab ride.

Koh Samui & The Monkey is probably the best Thai restaurant in San Francisco right now. And it’s cheap, too. The standard Thai dishes, like pad thai and the basic curries, are delicious, but my recommendation is to try something you’ve never had before. The salads are all different, and all really good; my favorite is the grilled beef crying tiger salad. The pumpkin curry is also delicious, as is the asparagus in garlic sauce. The dinner menu has more entrée-sized portions than the lunch menu: the fish dishes are all good, but the grilled meats aren’t all that special. If you go today, the special is soft-shell crab. Dessert isn’t the place’s strong suit; the coconut rice with mango is the best of what they have to offer. (415 Brannan St, 415- 369-0007, www.kohsamuiandthemonkey.com)…

The Dining Cryptographer: Orson and Plant Cafe (San Francisco, CA)

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Show Daily (2010 RSA Conference Newsletter)
  • March 1, 2010

Welcome to the 2010 RSA Conference. San Francisco is a great food town, with good restaurants at every price range. In each issue, I’ll review two restaurants: one within walking distance and one further away. Don’t let distance dissuade you; taxis are cheap, especially if you’re sharing.

Orson — as in Welles — feels as if it’s trying a bit too hard with the movie theme, but if you ignore all that, you’re in for some really delicious food. Start with a foie gras truffle covered in cocoa. Then try the house-made burrata, grilled octopus, the braised short ribs, or anything else that catches your eye. The bar serves the full menu, but pay attention to the cocktail-friendly bar menu. The fries, cooked in duck fat and served with béarnaise sauce, should not be missed. Extra points for the interesting cocktail menu, and the eclectic and reasonably priced wine list. Orson hosts a hip crowd, so ditch your convention badge before you go — and try not to argue about math too loudly. (508 4th St, 415-777-1508, www.orsonsf.com)…

The Dining Cryptographer: Salt House and Yoshi's (San Francisco, CA)

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Show Daily (2009 RSA Conference Newsletter)
  • April 23, 2009

It’s the last day of the RSA Conference, and this is my last column. Thanks for reading; it’s been fun.

Salt House is great for either lunch or dinner; it’s close and easy, and it’s good. The food is basic New American, and they mix some really fantastic drinks at the bar. Sandwiches, burgers, salads, and more for lunch; all sorts of good stuff for dinner. If you’re French Canadian or want to pretend, they serve poutine. It’s just that kind of place. (545 Mission St., 415-543-8900, www.salthousesf.com)

Yoshi’s is attached to a jazz club, which — depending who you are — is either a plus or a minus. Even if it’s a minus, don’t let that scare you. If you’re in the dining room or upstairs in the bar, you won’t hear a thing. And I think that’s good, because you don’t want to be distracted from the food. Chef Shotaro Kamio serves some of the best sashimi in the city, flown in from Japan, but it’s the modern preparations that make this place a real treat. “Seasonal, simple, surprise” is the motto on the website, and they mean it. Ignore anything you recognize — the sushi is fine, but you want the surprises. (1330 Fillmore St., 415-655-5600, …

The Dining Cryptographer: Yank Sing and Gary Danko (San Francisco, CA)

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Show Daily (2009 RSA Conference Newsletter)
  • April 22, 2009

Is it Thursday already? I know it’s hard to leave the convention center, but the food there just sucks. Here are two alternatives.

Yank Sing is probably the best dim sum in San Francisco, and it’s walking distance from the Moscone Center. For the uninitiated, dim sum are Chinese appetizers. You sit down at your table, and wait for the roving carts filled with dim sum varieties to come by. You choose what you want on the spot, and the process repeats itself until you’re done. This is no fun alone; you want at least four people, so you can try a variety of things. The only problem is that sometimes the things you want don’t show up until you’re full. So ask for the scallion prawn — with bacon! — and the Peking duck if you don’t see it. And the soup dumplings, which are literally inside-out won ton soup. No kidding. Lunch only; no dinner. (101 Spear St., 415-781-1111, …

The Dining Cryptographer: LuLu and Nettie's Crab Shack (San Francisco, CA)

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Show Daily (2009 RSA Conference Newsletter)
  • April 21, 2009

Another day, another pair of restaurants: the first one walking distance, the second one an easy cab ride.

LuLu is in a large 1910 warehouse. This makes it a good choice for a conference lunch, as there’s likely to be a table free when you get there — although, as always, it’s smart to make a reservation. The food is Provençal in style, and generally delicious. The appetizers are usually good, and it’s worth getting a bunch for the table. The pizzas are good, but ignore them in favor of the more interesting options — unless you want to try one for everyone to share. Every day of the week, there’s a different dinner special; go Tuesday for the rabbit or Friday for the squab. Both the rotisserie pork and chicken are good. I especially like the wine list, with over 70 different wines available by the glass. They even have flights of several different wines, so you can try a bunch of things. The only real downside to Lulu is the noise. (86 Folsom St., 415-495-5775, …

The Dining Cryptographer: Ame and Incanto (San Francisco, CA)

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Show Daily (2009 RSA Conference Newsletter)
  • April 20, 2009

If you think about it, providing restaurant recommendations has a bad positive feedback loop. If you all go to the two places below, they’ll be too crowded. So my advice is to hack into the conference’s computers and steal the recommendations for tomorrow.

Ame in the St. Regis is great for both lunch and dinner. The vibe is elegant and sophisticated, but not overbearing or stuffy. You can take either a date or a business associate — but I don’t recommend doing both at the same time. The menu is what I like to think of as New American Celebrity Chef, but with Asian accents. The sashimi dishes are good, but I prefer the more involved fish and game dishes. Actually, ignore the menu and just order “Lissa’s Staff Meal”: cuttlefish noodles with sea urchin, wasabi, and umami soy sauce. And be sure to check out the sake menu. There’s a lot to choose from, and the staff will help you if you’re unsure. This place has won a lot of awards recently, and for good reason. It’s not cheap; though; this place will blow your per diem. (689 Mission St., 415-284-4040, …

The Dining Cryptographer: ThirstyBear and Piperade (San Francisco, CA)

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Show Daily (2009 RSA Conference Newsletter)
  • April 19, 2009

Welcome to the 2009 RSA Conference. There are a lot of places to eat around Moscone Center, more if you realize how cheap a taxi ride is compared to your restaurant bill. In each issue, I’ll give you two recommendations: one within walking distance, and the other a short cab ride away.

ThirstyBear is a combination brew pub and tapas bar. First the food: ThirstyBear serves some interesting Catalan specialties. If you’re a small group, just order a bunch of small plates and share everything. Get a variety: seafood tapas, meat tapas, vegetable tapas. Get some hot and some cold. Really, that’s the way to do it. If you’re alone, their lamb burger is great for lunch: juicy and flavorful. Or their daily paella. Okay, now the beer: ThirstyBear serves seven different house-brewed beers. Personally, though, I’m happier ordering a pitcher of sangria. (661 Howard St., 415-974-0905, …

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.