Meal Plan: Val M. Cantu of Californios

A full day of dining picks from a Michelin-starred chef

By Diane Rommel

Meal Plan: Val M. Cantu of Californios
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11 April 2017

Californios: It’s where David Barzelay — the Michelin-starred chef of Lazy Bear — eats dinner. “It’s like the Talking Heads of Mexican cuisine,” he told us. “The Californios concept is just really amazing and unique.”

So where does Val M. Cantu — Californios’s also-Michelin-bedecked chef and owner — eat? For this month’s Meal Plan, we found out — and below, you’ll find a full day of his dining picks, from breakfast at Tartine Manufactury to drinks at Lone Palm, arguably the Mission’s best watering hole.

Breakfast: Tartine Manufactory or Breakfast at Tiffany's
“I usually don't have time for breakfast, but both of these places are great. Tartine, of course, has so many incredible pastries and options. Breakfast at Tiffany's is a small breakfast place in Portola that serves really simple and comforting breakfast.”

Lunch: Motze
“Motze is the creation of Nick Balla and Courtney Burns. They were previously in charge of Bar Tartine, but have now separated to do their own thing. The food at Motze is impossible to categorize, but it's as if your hippy grandmother, who spent time in Japan and is a master of creating her own ingredients, was cooking for you. It is so ridiculously delicious and complex and nourishing. These two chefs inspire me, and I love seeing what kind of things they are experimenting with.”

Snacks: Liholiho Yacht Club, then Louie's Gen Gen Room
“Liholiho has the best appetizers menu and the best snacks. We have been following Ravi and his wife April around the city since they were popping up and their brick and mortar is even better! When we go, we always stick with the snacks menu. Sneak downstairs for special snacks and drinks in the Gen Gen Room. The Beef Tongue buns and Waffles are killer!”

Dinner: Sushi Wako
“Sushi Wako is a small sushi omakase restaurant in the Richmond that I try to visit as often as I can. Tomo-san, who owns and operates Sushi Wako, is really a master of technique and is constantly refining and changing the menu out. Sushi Wako feels like a neighborhood gem, but also a world-class sushi place — a bottle of Dassai 23 and this omakase will transport you to Japan.”

Drinks: Lone Palm
“Lone Palm is a small, dive-y escape here in the Mission. It has a Miami Beach, 1980s vibe and there is usually room at a table or the bar. Don't go expecting crazy mixology — instead enjoy a Manhattan and bask in the neon light.”

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