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Wandering Chefs: Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman in San Francisco

When Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, chef-owners of the Memphis restaurants Hog & Hominy and Andrew Michael Italian, found out they were doing a cookbook signing in San Francisco, they immediately started planning an ambitious eating itinerary. “We love to go eat and take away those experiences and bring them back to Memphis,” says Michael. “That is how we rationalize eating so much.” Here, they chronicle their meals:

Day One: “We immediately went to Swan Oyster Depot (1517 Polk St, San Francisco, (415) 673-2757). In our three previous trips to San Francisco we never made it there and we knew we had to go. We waited outside for 45 minutes before we got seats at the long bar inside. We got a ton of oysters as well as the Crab Louie salad, which was awesome, and the clam chowder. We were in town around crab season so we got two orders of the half cracked crab. Everything they did there was just so simple but so good. We washed it all down with a bunch of beers.

Swan Oyster Depot

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A friend of ours is in the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and we went to see the Christmas performance, which was a blast. Before the show we went to Absinthe (398 Hayes St., San Francisco, (415) 551-1590) for cocktails. It reminded me of an old, French-style brasserie and it is right around the theater district so it was really busy and fun with an upbeat vibe. We ordered the steak tartare, which was classic and tasty, and done very well. For dinner that night we went to Rich Table (199 Gough St, San Francisco, (415) 355-9085). It’s a small space where a lot of industry people hang out. Everything was good. You can go there and know whatever they send out will be excellent.”

Day Two: “Friday morning we had a radio interview and straight from that we went to Cotogna (490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, (415) 775-8508) for lunch. That restaurant is phenomenal. We ate almost the entire menu. The pastas are so beautiful and appear simple but then you taste them. Cotogna’s sformato dish—an Italian recipe that is a cross between a soufflé and a custard—inspired a version we put on our menu. That night for dinner we went to a newly opened restaurant from the AQ team called TBD (1077 Mission St., San Francisco, (415) 431-1826). The menu is all based on open-fire cooking and is divided into sections like smoked, hearth and embers, grill, and plancha.”

Day Three: “Sunday we woke up and drove to wine country. We stopped at Louis Martini Winery (254 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, (707) 968-3362), Rodney Strong Vineyards (11455 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, (707) 431-1533), and a small boutique winery called Blue Rock (75 Spring Ln, Belvedere Tiburon, (415) 435-1946). We went to Gott’s Roadside for lunch and cleansed our palettes with some beers, and burgers and fries. (933 Main St., St. Helena, (707) 963-3486).

Bouchon Bistro

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That evening we went to Bouchon (6534 Washington St., Yountville, (707) 944-8037) for small bites and then Redd Wood (6755 Washington St., Yountville, (707) 299-5030) for pasta and really good pizza.”

Day Four: “We spent our morning walking around St. Helena and that night we were eating dinner at The French Laundry (6640 Washington St., Yountville, (707) 944-2380). We had wanted to dine here ever since we first started cooking and this was by far the highlight of the weekend. It’s such an experience. The meal is a four-hour commitment, but a good four hours. Everything is over-the-top. When we sat down at the table there was a hand-written note from chef Keller. He doesn’t miss a beat. The service is perfection and it’s fun to see that perfection is attainable. We strive for that at our restaurant. Chef Keller’s oyster and pearls dish lives up to the hype. And he does a quail with bacon that was unreal. All of the wine pairings were out of this world. It happened to be truffle season so we had the white truffle service. The waiter would come to the table and start shaving truffle all of your plate and just didn’t stop. We had a black truffle ragu with a really soft egg that was super elegant and delicious. It was an unbelievable evening.”

State Bird Provisions

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Day Five: “The next morning we drove back to San Francisco and went to the Ferry Building and we had some oysters from Hog Island and snacks from Boccalone. Chris Cosentino owns Boccalone and our other San Francisco staple, Incanto (1550 Church St., San Francisco, (415) 641-4500). Later, we hit up State Bird Provisions (1529 Fillmore St, San Francisco, (415) 795-1272), which was one of the best restaurants we’ve been to. It far surpassed our expectations. The service is dim sum style and the food comes around on a cart. We ate everything that came by and it was all delicious. We made our way to Trick Dog (3010 20th St, San Francisco, (415) 471-2999) for cocktails and then for our final meal we went to Flour and Water (2401 Harrison St, San Francisco, (415) 826-7000). For the past three years we’ve been following this restaurant. We love what they do. I’m pretty sure we ate every pasta on the menu.”

Title photo courtesy of Olive Press