Dinner at Chouchou in San Francisco

by jenna on August 7, 2010

Tonight I had a date with the wonderful (and very pregnant!) BethT.

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I was itchin’ to get out of Santa Rosa for the night and we decided to hit up a neighborhood French bistro, ChouChou, for dinner.
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How adorable is this place?! It was actually right around the corner from Beth and Corey’s apartment so we braved the cold rain and fog (it was cold enough to see our breathes–crazy!) and walked it. I swear, I would never work out if I lived in San Francisco—just walking the hilly and windy roads is better than any stairmaster I know.
I loved the quaint and intimate feeling of this bistro. It long and narrow, just like the bistros in Paris, and was decorated with vintage French posters.
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We took the only table left, which was right next to the door, and immediately ordered. You get a pregnant woman together with a starving food blogger and it’s a combination never to be reckoned with!
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I ordered my very favorite thing to start, a bowl of the French onion soup.
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If you know me at all, you know how much I love French onion soup. I more than love it, actually; I’m completely obsessed with it. While living in France, I went on a complete French onion binge and ordered it at every restaurant that I went to. I was on an endless quest to find the very best in all of Paris and I was victorious in the end (and five pounds heavier). If you care to know, the best I found was at a restaurant called “La Caveau de L’isle”, which is on Ile Saint-Louis.
The French onion soup from ChouChou though tonight was great, too! It wasn’t one of those soups where all you could detect was beef broth; it had a lot of flavor complexity to it and you could really taste the caramelized onions, the wine and the rich stock used. Yum.
I also ordered the wild mushroom tart, which was on the appetizer menu.
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Another winner! This was a flaky puff pastry topped with a layer of delicious cheese and then a thick layer of smoky mushrooms. It had a really rich and earthy taste to it, and the small portion size was perfect.
After we ate we inspected the dessert menu but nothing was calling out to us…
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It all seemed a little “meh” to me. When I order dessert at a restaurant I want something that I wouldn’t normally make for myself at home. For some reason “Strawberry Bruschetta” just sounded gross to me. I mean I’m sure it was good, but in my mind I’m thinking of a strawberry topped crouton and that just doesn’t sound very appetizing. Beth said that this place is known for their tarts (they had a bunch of different varieties), but we both weren’t in the tart mood.
So instead, I drove home and had some tea. Sometimes all you need is a good cup of tea anyways.
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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Allie (Live Laugh Eat) August 7, 2010 at 10:17 pm

I am on an indefinite carrot cake binge and must order/buy it whenever I see some. So far the best was at a sandwich shop in Stockholm, Sweden. Despite my entire body being frozen (yes, we went in December) it was the best stinking CC I’ve ever gobbled down.

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eatmovelove August 8, 2010 at 5:51 am

Me too!

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Nancy @ The Wife of a Dairyman August 7, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Gosh, I haven’t eaten French Onion Soup in a very long time. Do you make it for yourself? Sounds good for the approaching fall:)

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Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun) August 7, 2010 at 10:50 pm

I’m sure by now you’re familiar with the Mark Twain quote, “The coldest winter I ever experiened was a summer in San Francisco.” The temperature in the city has a mind of its own during the summer months.

That restaurant does look adorable, and your french onion soup does look delicious.

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Shelley (Pink House) August 7, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Oh, I love French Onion Soup too! Once when we vacationed in Mexico, it seemed that every restaurant had “french onion soup” on the menu which was strange. But I ordered it every day anyway. It’s a good fall back order.

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Simon Food Favourites August 7, 2010 at 11:22 pm

i’ve never had French onion soup before but love visiting French restaurants so i might have to give this place a go when i visit San Fran this October :-)

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Gavi August 7, 2010 at 11:33 pm

This place is about a mile from my apartment and I’ve been meaning to try it for years! Thanks for the recommendation–now I feel that extra pull. I hope you enjoyed the city tonight despite the horrible weather!

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Courtney (Delightful Devours) August 7, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I am in love with french onion soup as well, however I always think it is good (unless it REALLY isn’t). I am quite jealous of your culinary school experiences, I wish I was able to distinguish certain tastes within food. I usually can’t even describe how something tastes!

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jassy August 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm

oh wow…i’ve never had french onion soup…i’ve only known it from cafe world :)

but i love onions in onion rings and caramelized onions…not the smell it creates in the body though :)

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tasha - the clean eating mama August 8, 2010 at 12:44 am

A HUGE French onion soup fan here!!! I love it!

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Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) August 8, 2010 at 4:08 am

I’ve honestly never had a French onion soup that I’ve liked, but that’s simply because I stopped after trying one really bad one. It was awful, and from a chain restaurant.

I know I need to give it another chance though. :D

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Emily Eats and Exercises August 8, 2010 at 4:52 am

Sounds like a lovely evening. I always like the look of French Onion soup (who wouldn’t like all that cheese) but I need to find a vegetarian version to make. I’m sure it’s not the same, but maybe there’s something delicious?

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is August 8, 2010 at 5:12 am

I love french onion soup too. Except I only eat the cheese, bread, and broth. :)

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eatmovelove August 8, 2010 at 5:53 am

Have you ever written about the way you found/or how you did eat in Pairs versus here? I know there’s a book on this already – “French Women Don’t Get Fat”…:)

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MMiller August 8, 2010 at 5:55 am

I’m a french onion soup lover as well! I order it often when we go out! And I so agree with you on the tea! I always sip a cup of tea when I can’t decide what I want or ate too much and need to just be! It makes me feel better!

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Heather August 8, 2010 at 5:57 am

it’s true, sometimes a good cup of tea beats dessert.

sometimes :)

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Marilou @ Mostly Healthy August 8, 2010 at 7:01 am

Hello Soul Mate :) I have a problem with French Onion Soup and spend my time ordering it everywhere we go.

I have no problem eating it in the humid,hot, sticky, middle of summer.

It’s hapiness in a bowl

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Janna (janna's keeping it real) August 8, 2010 at 7:20 am

I feel like I should drive there for the tarts alone. I basically lived on the the 3days I was in france.

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 8, 2010 at 8:33 am

I think I need to hunt down that French onion soup and compare it with my dad’s. So far his is the best I’ve ever tasted! :D

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Suzanne de Cornelia August 8, 2010 at 9:37 am

Love ChouChou, and those posters. I loved living in SF with its feeling of being in France in many areas. Did you know that Paris and San Francisco are Sister Cities? Also love the Ile Saint-Louis–a scene in my novel takes place there.

Here’s Julia Childs recipe for French Onion Soup and with gorgeous French pix! http://tinyurl.com/29ph6wf

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Lisa August 8, 2010 at 9:53 am

That restaurant looks super cute. I love cute restaurants with nice atmosphere.

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alex August 8, 2010 at 10:14 am

Next time you are craving French onion soup, and you are in SF, you should check out Absinthe! The BEST French onion soup I’ve had. They also have pomme frites that come in the authentic paper cone with dipping sauces. To die for!

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Heather @ Sugar & Spice August 8, 2010 at 11:16 am

The french onion soup looks amazing! I have been wanting to make some all summer – but it is soo hot. I am looking forward to fall :)

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Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum August 8, 2010 at 6:19 pm

I wonder what Chou means in French? I was recently at an adorable French bistro in Indianapolis called The Petite Chou. and loved it, of course!

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Suzette August 8, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Jenna! Isn’t ChouChou great? I went there with family and friends during Restaurant Week, seeing as it’s up the street from my sister and bro-in-law’s house! Anyway, how are you girl? I hope we can catch up soon now that I live close by!!

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Evie August 8, 2010 at 10:38 pm

How funny, my boyfriend used to be a chef at ChouChou. I follow occasional blogs (I used to work for Foodbuzz) and I saw that! I’m glad I liked your meal there, they are a nice bunch. I was canoeing in Healdsburg and eating at the Healdsburg Bar & Grill today, so I guess I can’t be too jealous. Cheers!

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