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Get in My Belly!

The weekly digest of the best digestibles in San Francisco and beyond.


In last November's Affordability issue, I declared that the Golden West's smoked trout salad was one of 20 foods under $10 to live on for eternity. After eating it again this week for the first time in months, I stand by that assessment, and then some. While generous quantities of smoked trout can't cure most of our earthly ills, it can brighten a day immeasurably, especially when mixed with shaved fennel, apples, golden raisins, and just enough mayo and deposited on a bed of mixed greens. It's one of those salads where there is good stuff in every bite; it doesn't really feel like a salad so much as a triumph of pescatarian might.

A couple of nights ago I ended up at Belga, the latest addition to Adriano Paganini's swelling empire. It's a raucous place, what with its plethora of hard surfaces and voluble Marina clientele; it's Belgian with a blow-out, but the high point of the meal had an Indian rather than Belgian accent. The vadouvan cauliflower, listed on the menu as a side, was roasted, tossed with chopped almonds, golden raisins (apparently a theme this week), and showered with the curry blend, a French interpretation of an Indian masala called vadavam. It's a warm, earthy dish whose pleasures stem in part from the way the soft vegetable contrasts with its crunchy almond garnish. In an ideal world, it would be sold by the pint.

Are the Pizza Shop's New York-style slices the very best in the city? I suppose that depends on how nostalgic you are for New York. But while the Pizza Shop may not transport me back to the Lower East Side, it does take me to a happy, fulfilled place. I like that the toppings are kept simple and the crust crisp but pliant enough to fold in half like a proper New York slice. And I appreciate the sweet tomato sauce and the cheese that's applied with a sure but measured hand. It's a solid slice that satisfies but doesn't showboat—which, in some respects, is about New York as a slice of pizza can be. 


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