The Slanted Door

The Slanted Door


The rain pours down in San Francisco as if the sky is slowly creeping towards the ground. It makes the bay look musty –lacking any recollection of colors that aren’t a shade of grey. There was a beacon of spirited joy, however, just feet from the water’s edge on this rainy Friday in January: through the infinitely tall glass windows of San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza, any soaked and unhappy passerby could see the jovial bustle of The Slanted Door.

Charles Phan’s renowned Vietnamese restaurant was packed with what I thought was a lunchtime rush, but Charles said it was a slow day. The calm choreography of the servers’ movements circling around the tables—not one of which was empty– coupled with the precise pitter-patter of the bartenders, busboys, and cooks made the milieu an amazing one to watch.

Todd & Diane behind the cameras in The Slanted Door's kitchen

My colleague Jenny and I were here on this particular day because Diane and Todd of The White on Rice Couple were shooting a promotional video for Charles’s upcoming book, Vietnamese Home Cooking.

The book, which will hit stores September 2012, includes wholesome Vietnamese dishes Charles makes at home, so shots of him and his family in his home kitchen—and in Chinatown–will be added to the footage taken at The Slanted Door, where Charles fired up his famous Shaking Beef at the wok.

Charles Phan making Shaking Beef

Charles Phan at the wok

Observing Charles in the hot trenches of the kitchen and admiring the finished dishes savored by restaurant-goers, we couldn’t resist getting a bite of this authentic yet modern Vietnamese cooking as well. Our lunch from Out the Door, which is—quite literally—a to-go spot outside of The Slanted Door, was a delicious treat. Casual and quick, but every bit as satisfying.

Ready to eat at The Slanted Door

We can’t wait to see the video the White on Rice Couple will create, and will be sure to post it when it’s ready. In the meantime, take a look at some more behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot. Click here to see Diane & Todd’s photos and musings about working with Chef Charles Phan–in addition to their video shoot with the owners of Bi-Rite Creamery for their upcoming Sweet Cream & Sugar Cones!