Darya Pino Rose

I'm Darya Rose (formerly Darya Pino) and this is my personal blog. I'm a neuroscience PhD, San Francisco foodist, food and health writer, and proud geek girl. This is where you can find my latest obsessions, adventures and ramblings.

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Foodist: My first book coming May 2013

Coming May 2013

By an incredible act of will I've managed to keep it a secret for the past two and half year that I was working on my first book. As of last week the news is finally public, and it will hit book stores May 7, 2013.

I've worked hard all my life, but I've never worked as hard on anything as I have on this book. I hope you enjoy it, and please share it with anyone who still thinks dieting is the answer to their problems.

You can read more about Foodist at foodist.com

P.S. I'm also getting married this weekend, hence the new name on the cover. w00t!


I'm a covergirl!

Experience Life (April 2013)I'm thrilled and honored to be on the April 2013 cover of Experience Life Magazine. It was so much fun and such a privilege to work with people who really understand the value of health and the role food plays in it.

Pick up a copy if you can!


My Favorite SF Restaurants


Best burger in SF @ Bar Jules

Besides, "What's a healthy snack I can eat every day?," the most common question I get asked is, "Where should I eat when I visit SF?"

This is a difficult thing to answer because the list is long and constantly changing. So to reduce the number of unanswered emails sitting in my inbox, I'm going to make this post a running list of my favorite places to eat in the city.

The only criteria I'm using is that a food or drink experience I had was good enough to tell people about. By no stretch of the imagination are these recommendations for healthy eating (though some of them may lean toward the healthier side).

The prices range from extremely low to extremely high, so if you're going to book a reservation I recommend reading up on the atmosphere and prices. I've also separated these into basic categories for clarity's sake.

The most recent additions will be at the top of the list. Stay tuned.



Coqueta - Amazing Spanish food. Beautiful cocktails. Lovely atmosphere. I adore this place.

Akikos Restaurant - Now that Sebo is gone, this is by far the best sushi I've had in SF. Spectacular fish and preparations. It'll save me a lot of money on trips to Tokyo. (BTW, this is the Akikos on Bush street, not the one in Union Square).

The Restaurant at Meadowood (St. Helena) - I recently ate the best meal I've ever had at the chef's counter here. Truly incredible from end to end. Worth the 1.5 hour drive from the city on the most special of occasions. 3 Michelin stars, with a matching price tag, but I liked it a lot more than a nearby place that rhymes with Wrench Quandry.

Boulibar - My new favorite place for lunch at the Ferry Building. Beautiful space too. And yes, the pastries and pizza are worth it.

St. Vincent - I'm upgrading this review since realizing that the bone marrow from here is what I would want to eat on my death bed. If you haven't been here you have no idea what you're missing. Go. Now.

Ichi - Incredibly delicious, casual sushi. Some of the best fish I've had in the city. Delicious, innovative food without resorting to squirt bottles and mango rolls.

Cotogna - Spectacular Italian food, probably my new favorite in the city. Very difficult to get a reservation, so start early if you want a seat.

Benu - Like The French Laundry, only better.

Izakaya Yuzuki - Wow, this place is so legit. Every bite reminds me of Japan, the food is amazing and totally affordable. What an awesome addition to the Mish.

Namu Gaji (Mission) - Absolutely delicious Korean/Japanese fusion. It's casual and there's nothing bad on the menu.

State Bird Provisions - One of the most innovative restaurants I've ever tried. Michelin caliber food on dim sum style carts. The type of place that makes me want to never leave SF.

Bar Jules - My favorite casual restaurant by far. They cook exactly like I would if I had all day to prepare dinner. Oh, and on Tuesday nights (and any lunch/brunch), they have the best burger in the city. I feel strongly about this. Order it medium rare with cheese.

Range - Consistently amazing food, even the chicken will blow your mind. Fabulous cocktails (some of my favorites in the city). 

Aziza - Really high-end Morrocan food that brings a tear to the eye. Definitely worth the trip to the outer Richmond.

Commonwealth - Innovative and delicious food. I love how they play with flavors from various cuisines.

Dosa - By far the best Indian food in the city. It's South Indian style, so don't expect tandoori. But the ingredients are all very high quality and the dishes are seasonal and consistently awesome. Great drinks too.

Coi - Chef Daniel Patterson is a culinary genius. The food is very intellectual, but not in a way that detracts from the taste. Very fancy, so expect to drop some cash for this special occasion spot.

Locanda - I don't often eat pasta, but when I do I prefer Locanda.

Bar Crudo - Probably my favorite seafood restaurant in the city. The crudo plates are fabulous, as is the seafood chowder. Come to think of it, it's hard to go wrong.

Nopalito - I thought all SF Mexican food was a disappointment until I found Nopalito (I'm from SoCal and part Mexican). Amazing sit down Mexican food. Carnitas and mole should not be missed.

Nopa - Always a win. This is where I send people who don't have much time to spend in the city. Everything on the menu is fabulous, it's trendy but not too pretentious. Great burger, rotisserie chicken and seasonal food. Brunch is good too. Oh, and order a Blue Bottle Martini.

Saison - I've eaten at a lot of 3 Michelin star restaurants, but the meal I had at Saison was the second best of my life. Expect to borrow from your children's education fund to eat here though.

Contigo - Seasonal, organic Spanish tapas and cava bar! One of my favorite spots in the city.

Hog & Rocks - This place just keeps impressing me with their food. It's super casual and you can almost always get a table. What's not to love?

Il Cane Rosso - My favorite spot to grab lunch at the Ferry Building. Perfect food made from all the goodies you find at the farmers market.

Thai Time - Most authentic Thai food I've found in SF, like stepping into Bangkok for dinner. You can even order online now.

Jai Yun - Crazy bizarre but fancy and tasty Chinese food in Chinatown. Service is absolutely terrible and the menu is confusing (e.g. "tell me how much you want to pay and I'll make you food"), but it's an experience worth having. Bring cash and, if you're smart, your own booze.

Zuni Cafe - A city favorite that keeps putting out fabulous food. The oysters, the rabbit, the burger, all fantastic.

Sushi Ran - Popular sushi spot out in Sausalito. Fabulous food and great place to impress out of town visitors or a date. Don't miss the salmon skin and spicy tuna rolls. They also carry fresh wasabi. After dinner get a drink along the waterfront and watch the sunset over the city.

Little Star Pizza - I've never been a huge deep dish fan, but Little Star is worth every buttery calorie. Yum.

Delfina Pizzeria - The closest I've found to legitimate Italian pizza in SF (I lived in Italy back in 2000).

Frances - Hard to get a reservation, but if you can swing it DEFINITELY do. And definitely get the bacon beignets.

Jardinere - I love the ambiance at Jardinere, very classic and elegant. Great romantic date spot, especially pre or post ballet.

Papalote - It's not even close to what I consider Mexican food, but the shrimp burrito is probably my favorite in the city. Even the grilled veggie burrito is awesome (super, sin crema, sin riso).

Slanted Door - Have you ever wondered what pho or bahn mi would taste like if they weren't made with crappy ingredients? They would taste like this.

Hapa Ramen - I adore Hapa Ramen and find it hard to pass up whenever they're at the farmers market. Honestly I didn't have any ramen this good in Japan.

Fatted Calf - My favorite butcher in the city. I swear by their bacon, the Riverdog Farms chicken they carry, and their eggs. Anything they've seasoned or marinated themselves is usually amazing.

Tacolicious - Another place with excellent food that uses ingredients I trust. My favorite tacos in the city.

Samovar - Great spot for tea and healthy food. No internet, so don't confuse this with a coffee shop.

Bi-Rite Market - Best deli in the city. All the prepared foods are amazing, as is everything carried in the store. The world would be a much better place if all businesses were run like Bi-Rite



Central Kitchen - New to the brunch scene, but already one of my new favorites.

Hog & Rocks - Exceptional brunch and doesn't have the wait of some of the more pretentious brunch spots (you know who you are).

Foreign Cinema - Very fun brunch spot, with excellent drinks for the hair of the dog crowd.

Bar Jules - Always spectacular brunch. If they ask if you want a waffle AFTER you've eaten, the answer is yes.

Plow - I secretly hate this place, but the potatoes are so good it's worth mentioning (I don't like the eggs or pancakes or French toast or bread pudding or coffee). Weekend lines are a nightmare, and the menu is way better on weekdays (Chinese breakfast FTW!).


Wine & Beer

The Abbot's Cellar - Amazing beer and food pairings by people who really know their stuff. Beautiful decor.

St. Vincent - This is technically a restaurant, but the wine and beer are so amazing it is worth mentioning here as well. They'll sell you half the bottle of any wine on the menu. Such a great way to experiment with a friend during dinner.

Toronado - Random dive with great beers on tap.

Hotel Biron - Great wines, heavy pours. And dog friendly. Great first date spot too.

Monk's Kettle - All your beer wishes come true at Monk's Kettle.

The Wine Merchant - Reliable spot for a great bottle or glass while shopping at the Ferry Building.


Coffee & Tea

Blue Bottle Coffee - My favorite in the city. I order drip coffee or New Orleans style iced coffee. Gibralter is their specialty.

Ritual Coffee - Also really fabulous coffee.

Samovar Tea Lounge - I've never seen a tea spot with a better selection, particularly for Japanese green teas.

Red Blossom Tea - Best spot to buy Chinese teas (ask about the formosa oolongs and charcoal roasted tung ting), worth the trip to Chinatown.



Tartine Bakery - The only cake I've ever loved.

Boulette's Larder - Mind-blowing pastries. You will be ruined for life. Get there early to get one of the few canales they make each day.

Bi-Rite Creamery - Best ice cream in the universe.



Dalva Hideout

The Alembic

Bar Agricole




Bourbon & Branch


I'll be updating this regularly (and I eat a lot).


Summer Tomato named one of TIME Magazine's 50 Best Websites of 2011

I'm completely blown away by this.

Thank you TIME Magazine for including me in this list of rockstar websites. I'm honored and delighted to see healthy eating starting to get some recognition from the cool kids.




Sex for your mouth (aka my appearance on Epic Meal Time)

Last week I made a guest appearance on the grossly unhealthy show Epic Meal Time. Somehow the space-time continuum is intact.



Geek alert: My thesis work on neural stem cell development is now published

I just happened to be browsing on Pubmed and noticed that my latest paper is finally published. It's super geeky stuff about the molecular control of neural stem cell development in the olfactory bulb, but a lot of you have asked to see my work so here it is. 

You super geeks are extra lucky that you can view the entire manuscript for free. Check it out here.

And if you're wondering how on earth I survived working on something so technical and tedious for six solid years, I can assure you I'm wondering exactly the same thing.