In a city that is one of the country's culinary capitals, the restaurant scene has produced a number of chefs of almost legendary stature. One of them is Nancy Oakes, who for more than 20 years has presided over the kitchen at Boulevard, located at the base of Mission Street in the Embarcadero. In Oakes's trailblazing footsteps, a number of disciples—and imitators—have followed. Her signature approach helped shape what we think of as contemporary California cuisine, using the freshest ingredients, simply prepared, and in unusual combinations that somehow never feel contrived. You might never have considered pairing grilled salmon with a nettle-and-leek salsa verde or roast pork with pickled peaches, but you will be glad that Oakes did.