Ah, the impending new year is all about lists, isn’t it? Well, here’s yet another one.

Recent tragic events, human and animal alike, at the San Francisco Zoo has me doing several things:

1. I’m snatching up my very plump and extremely domesticated cats and kissing them all over, while demanding to know how their sister could behave so much like…well, a tiger.

2. Swearing I will never go to another zoo to gawk at animals. They may be alive and safe from hunters’ rifles, but they are still miserable unless they happen to be lucky enough to secure roams in the spacious San Diego Wild Animal Park.

3. Thinking about primal urges for meat.

While I do live a fairly vegetarian, multi-grainal, or pescatarian lifestyle, it’s more from ease and quickness of prep and less of actual desire. I do love my fish and vegs, but I also love, crave, and need on a deep, dark, and primal level, meat.

When hit with a specific meat need, it’s usually for how a certain restaurant prepares it. Like, if I’m feeling porkish, it doesn’t follow that I’ll be satisfied with any old piece of pig.

My Top Meat Places in San Francisco

Pork: Late-night or middle of the day, nothing beats a burrito stuffed with thick, shaggy pieces of carnitas at El Farolito. Also, because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since Jen reminded me in her post, the shelling beans with Sofrito at SPQR and sweet and smoky Suppenkuche’s cured pork chop.

Beef: I haven’t yet found my designated “favorite steak” place in San Francisco, but the Slanted Door‘s Shaking Beef still makes me very happy; I’m really sorry to see that it hasn’t yet made it onto the menu at Out the Door in the San Francisco Center. When it comes to the ground stuff, Burgermeister is the place I go back to again and again. That said, Zuni Cafe‘s lunch-time burger is pretty spectacular, even if the ridiculously greasy focaccia bun has me wiping my hands down every three seconds.

Chicken: I’m sorry to be predictable, but I’m still not bored nor have I ever failed to reach complete nirvana with Zuni’s roast chicken. However, Ziryab Grill’s sumac chicken with velvety oyster mushrooms and Ton Kiang’s deceptively plain-looking salt-baked chicken run it a very close, very delicious second.

Duck: I’m very choosy about duck and I don’t order it every time I see it at the menu, but Paul K‘s Syrian Spiced Duck with pomegranate molasses and Ton Kiang’s peking duck get my picky vote.

Lamb: This is my favorite meat, but I have yet to find a place that satisfies my need for tender, rare. Until I find it, I have to be satisfied with my own lamb chops: salt and pepper, broiled for 3-4 minutes on each side. Though I haven’t yet been, I have suspicions that Kokkari might scratch this particular itch, however I’m open to suggestions…

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