A Taste of America

Bluestem's gorgeous dining room. Photo by Angie Silvy.

Bluestem's gorgeous dining room. Photo by Angie Silvy.

If you've ever thought of exploring the diverse cuisine of America’s 50 states, then you need not go further than the stylish dining room at Bluestem Brasserie in downtown San Francisco. The airy space on Yerba Buena Lane, between Market and Mission Streets, is inviting diners to hit the road with a Thursday menu called, appropriately, American Road Trip, which spotlights a different state each week.

The idea was hatched between Owners Adam and Stacy Jed, and their young and enthusiastic chef, Francis Hogan whose been at Bluestem for a little over a year.

“We were further defining our American Brasserie menu and started asking ourselves the question, ‘What is American cuisine?’” said Stacy. “Unable to come up with a satisfying answer, we decided to create a dish-of-the-week that drew from the produce, livestock and cultural influences indigenous to each state.”

 The answer may not have been satisfying but the menus certainly have been. The “Road Trip” was an instant hit, according to Stacy, and has sold out each week since launching with Alaska on October 11.

Chef Hogan creates the menus no more than 3-4 weeks out, adhering to Bluestem’s commitment to seasonal produce and full-animal utilization.  March menus have been popular:

North Dakota (March 7): A take on Raspeball, a Norwegian dish of potato dumplings and meats. Bluestem’s version will feature summer sausage, smoked trout, braised pork shoulder chops, and grilled spring onions. Dessert: Rhubarb crisp.

West Virginia (March 14): Seared wild boar rack, crispy corn cake, grilled ramps, roasted apple fondue. Dessert: Strawberry buckwheat cake

Colorado (March 21): Fat Tire braised Buffalo short ribs, Anasazi beans, Colorado Mexican rice, green chili relish Dessert: Butter crunch toffee

“We are having an amazing time exploring, learning, and celebrating the diversity of our nation,” says Stacy. “Since we are not looking to re-create dishes, we are finding boundless ideas for every menu.”

Reserve a table for April, and this fall for the inaugural road trip’s last state ----California, of course!

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Kimberley Lovato

Kimberley Lovato has written about travel, lifestyle and food for national and international publications and websites including National Geographic Traveler, Executive Travel, American Way, AFAR, Condé Nast Traveller (UK), Ryan Air, b.there, Easy Jet Traveller, leitesculinaria.com and frommers.com, among others. She is the author of a Michelin Guidebook on Brussels, where she lived for six years Her culinary travel book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, about the Dordogne region of France, won the "Best Travel Book" nod in 2012 from the Society of American Travel Writers, as did her personal essay, "Lost and Liberated," which also appeared in Best Women's Travel Writing, Volume 8. When she's not plotting her next trip or her annual pilgrimage to France, she resides in San Francisco where she is a correspondent for BBC's Passport Blog, a student in Stanford University's Creative Writing Certificate program, and a brave mother of a teenaged girl.