Paninis at Chez Maman

Chez Maman has long been a place for great French provencal food in the Potrero Hill area of San Francisco.  Unfortunately, the only time I had eaten there was for a really bad blind date lunch some years back.  As time goes on, the only thing I really remember about that lunch these days was the delicious nicoise salad I had to eat.

A couple of years ago, Chez Maman opened their “west” location in Hayes Valley.  I’ve been there a couple of times now for lunch before catching the matinee at the opera house.

The first time I went, I got their chicken panini –

IMG_9543  It’s grilled chicken, pistou, roasted red peppers, and aioli.  The bread is a french baguette – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  The pistou is like a pesto with a basil, olive oil, and garlic base.  This pistou with the aioli created a delectable binder for the sandwich and the flavors melded together perfectly!

The second time I went, I got their smoked salmon panini –

img_8062 Sandwiched with capers, herbed creme fraiche, and carmelized onions, this was fantastic.  It’s on the same french bread as the other panini – love the crisp on the outside!  I was so impressed that the cooking process didn’t overheat the salmon and it kept it’s cured state.  The herbed creme fraiche was incredible – I’ve never had anything like it before and would get this again just to eat it!

With so many other options on the menu, including my good old nicoise salad, the flavors here bring back great memories of my own adventures through Provence, France.  Can’t wait to try more!

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