Chef Charles Phan’s restaurant Slanted Door helped elevate Vietnamese cuisine in the United States, introducing it in all of its nuance and complexity to diners who may have tried pho soup only once, if that. When the original location closed in 2002, it came as a blow to the city’s dining scene, but fortunately Phan reopened at a new space in the Ferry Building. What also distinguishes Phan’s cooking is the use of products from local purveyors (lamb from Anderson Ranch, beef from Prather Ranch) and the occasionally surprising ingredients that would shock the purist (candied pecans in a grapefruit-and-jicama salad, roasted clams in a soy-milk broth).
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Who says you should celebrate your birthday with cake?