My housemates and I love each other. This may come as a surprise, considering the mischief we’ve gotten into over the two, three years we’ve been cohabiting. Tensions often run high after the guys finish particularly competitive PlayStation NBA2K tourneys. Sometimes, prank wars escalate into near-traumatic territory involving elaborate hideouts, Halloween masks and surveillance cameras (I wisely choose to sit out as a non-partisan). There’s all the usual roommate drama: dishes piling up, fixtures breaking, bills coming in late. Once, an acquaintance stayed with us and basically took our money and ran, leaving us to pick up the pieces. Despite it all, however, we’ve managed not only to tolerate each other, but to genuinely care for our little family. Our cozy apartment has seen countless family dinners, yoga sessions, Netflix nights, board game matches, and heart-to-heart talks. Even when a few of us left for greener pastures, the ties that bind us stay intact. It’s reeeally cute.
In a truly telling example of our next-level friendship, my housemates forwent birthday presents this year. Instead, they looked deep into my soul to figure out my truest heart’s desires. Somehow, they beat out OpenTable hackers and pulled strings to get me the trendiest table in town: State Bird Provisions. Best of all — the reservation serendipitously fell on the weekend after my grad school decision. I was elated (as was Jay, the lucky incidental benefactor).
State Bird Provisions, from its nondescript exterior to its playful menu, is SF’s current it restaurant. The cuisine defies any neat genre, incorporating Eastern European, East Asian, and New American flavors and techniques. The food is served family- and dim-sum style, with small bites available as they’re fired and larger plates available a la carte. SF’s trademark rustic-hip aesthetic imbues the space, Blood Orange piping over the speakers and aproned, bearded servers circulating the room. As we pulled up at the best seats in the house (at the counter, facing the action), an ebullient Chef Stuart Brioza walked by. Later, he caught me snapping one of the below photos — and, to my relief, winked! Despite it’s larger-than-life reputation, State Bird isn’t frilly; it’s fun.