La Vie Restaurant: best Vietnamese + dungeness crab in San Francisco?

Dungeness crab–one of the best dishes in San Francisco

Garlic noodles for dungeness crab

Spring rolls

Resident Foodies say: One of our perennial favorites in San Francisco is La Vie Vietnamese Restaurant on Geary (between 22nd and 23rd) in the Richmond. The small Vietnamese restaurant would be classified as a true “hole in the wall,” but the food is really fantastic and authentic. We are not surprised the Bay Area voted La Vie as the Best Vietnamese restaurant in all of the Bay Area for 2010. It is that good.

The signature dish at La Vie is the dungeness crab, pictured above, called the La Vie roast crab served with garlic noodles. This is one of the best dishes you will find in all of San Francisco. The dish is to die for. One of the best parts is mixing the crab meat stuffing (a dark mixture) with the garlic noodles. It’s a taste that is hard to describe–other than to say it’s heavenly!

Don’t let the hole-in-the-wall looks scare you off. This Vietnamese restaurant is a true gem in San Francisco!

Best grilled cheese in San Fran?: The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen

Resident Foodies says: Who has the best grilled cheese sandwich in San Francisco? It might be The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen on 1 South Park Ave. (cross 2nd St.). We tried out the all cheese Mousetrap, which consists of Tillamook sharp cheddar, creamy havarti, monterey jack, on artisan sourdough, for $ 6.00. See above for a photo (we split it 6 ways–it doesn’t normally come like that). Many of the other sandwiches on the menu are a bit more exotic, but we wanted ours more basic–you know, the classic grilled cheese sandwich. The Mousetrap was, indeed, a warm, comforting sandwich, but we are still undecided whether this is really the best grilled cheese in town. One thing is: we would like to try this on different breads. The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen uses artisan sourdough bread on the Mousetrap. We wonder if a different kind of bread would produce more of a classic grill flavor and texture. The sourdough gives it a SF feel, but it may not be the best bread for grilled cheese.

Spice Kit, best banh mi sandwich in San Fran?

Resident Foodies say: We tried out the banh mi sandwich place Spice Kit, which opened this summer at 405 Howard Street downtown. Will Pacio (pictured above), last from Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry, founded Spice Kit. Fred Tang is the chef and runs the kitchen. Will’s very friendly and the place definitely has a good, inviting atmosphere. We discovered the place after reading American Airlines magazine, which ran a feature on the best banh mi shops in the country.

Spice Kit offers French Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, Korean ssam, and pork belly buns. We tried out the roasted pork banh mi with pate and really loved it. The ingredients (cilanto, pickled carrots, daikon radish, jalepenos, cucumbers) are very fresh, perhaps fresher than your typical banh mi place. The pork shoulder is naturally raised and marinated in lemongrass and spices. The French baguette was perfectly toasted–crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. You definitely can tell that the guys at Spice Kit put a lot of care into the ingredients, while keeping the prices pretty reasonable. We could eat these sandwiches everyday!

We also tried the pork belly buns, which we liked, but not as much as the banh mi.