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…

Meaty New Year! 17 March,2008Stephanie Lucianovic


Stephanie Lucianovic

A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for CNN.com, MSNBC.com, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED’s Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED’s Emmy-award winning show “Check, Please! Bay Area.”

Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater’s Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called “hilarious” and “the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn’t think he or she wants to read a popular science book.”

Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade.

Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport

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