I discovered a hidden talent tonight, for Skeeball, at the welcome back/goodbye party for another Rachel. She’s briefly back from a year’s teaching in Japan to move her stuff to Sacramento.
A house nearby held an estate sale. Curiosity drove me inside, though I didn’t buy anything. Turns out, this house has not been on the market since 1940. I’m glad I stopped in — it was a time capsule.
I’ve been to San Francisco several times, but somehow Alcatraz never worked into my plans. Today, I changed that by visiting with another friend who’s lived in Berkeley for 3 years but never made it herself. It was a a classically foggy San Francisco Day.
A set, here:
Afterward, D headed home & I met up with Kate at Rickhouse, an exceptional cocktail place near Union Square.
We followed that with Smuggler’s Cove, a rum tiki bar (in honor of Rocky) where we synced up with Mr. T before running to our Cafe Zuni reservations. Roasted chicken with bread salad: WORTH THE HYPE. And the 45 minute minimum wait. Note: I tried calling ahead to order this, but they were no go on this. You must be seated to order. There were a few service delays and it was hard to wrangle our check.
This delay became an annoyance only because we arrived late at our next destination: Bourbon & Branch. 8 minutes and we heard about it from the front door man. Well, okay, our bad. Otherwise, service at the bar was also top-notch. And now I know why the Tenderloin district has its reputation, so that was educational.
It was a long way back to Silicon Valley.
Then, I decided it would be very Californian to visit the Reflexologist before an El Salvadorean dinner.
And I thought of my Dad, who used to joke that he hailed from the Cereal State (California): land of fruits, nuts, & flakes.
A trusted friend (gfrancie) recommended The Butler & The Chef in SOMA for a new love of mine, eggs benedict, so we made an early beeline to beat the brunch crowd. This restaurant was a little piece of France in SFO’s South Park. I went for classic benedict with Niman Ranch ham. Mr. T got a crepe which led to a half-hearted discussion about the authenticity of buckwheat in crepes.
We checked out of our hotel, packed our luggage into storage, and wandered over to Union Square to kill time before plans with my friend Deborah.
Starbucks in Union Square was hopping — the Nike Women’s Marathon wrapped up shortly before, so runners, their support, and tourists escaping the drizzle packed the place. We found a window-seat to peruse the NYT. Soon, it was time to catch the BART to the Mission for brunch at Foreign Cinema.
Sadly, the main draw for me — their Persian Bloody Mary — was all sold out (signature?! how could that be?), but I drowned my sorrows in a Sunday Bloody Caesar. I got my RDA of Cali-Mexican with the Rajas Scramble: roasted pasilla peppers, tortilla chips, salsa fresca, and queso fresco. Mr. T was all about the Yellowtail Tartare & the Caramel Sticky Bun. (Who says things have to match?) Fine brunch, and fueled some odd shopping through the Mission.
We killed more time, then took the BART back out to the airport for our car rental & transfer to Silicon Valley, where In-N-Out awaited. Huzzah.
Mr. T & I arrived in San Francisco mid-afternoon today. We dropped our bags off at the Hotel Vitale, then hiked up to North Beach/Nob Hill for a midday repast at The Comstock Saloon. It was a strange hour to be there, but seemed pretty full so we grabbed a seat at the Victorian Bar. I ordered the Barkeep’s Whimsy — something akin to a Sazerac — while he ordered the Martinez. Spectacular. Then, some other patrons vacated a booth, so we moved into their place before ordering the Little Gems Salad & Fried Tater Boats with Cheese Curds & Gravy. Ying & Yang! Delicious, is what it was.
We wandered back to our hotel to discover our room was ready with a fabulous view of the Ferry Building (pictured above). I marvelled at the mini-bar, with its odd assortment of snacks and my own personal oxygen canister. (What.) I still kinda wish I’d checked out the oxygen, but couldn’t get over the feeling I was being put on. It was $15 a hit; $65 to take the canister home with me.
We laid low ’til dinnertime, where we had reservations to Prospect, thanks to Rocky. Dinner was early-ish at 6:30. It was so filling despite deceptive small portions, we were done with any notion of food exploration & retired to our fancy hotel for the rest of the evening. This is my 3rd trip in a row to San Francisco, where there’s been a meal that kills my appetite DEAD. The cocktail, quail & JB’s French Toast were worth it & unlike my Town Hall experience of ’09, I was fine by morning.
Pleased to find they avoid In ‘N Out’s great mistake — 5 Guys has excellent fries. Tip: order the small fries to share for two people. The overflow of fries in our carryout bag was more than what was in the container to begin with. Also, the regular burgers come with two patties, the “Little” comes with one. Perfect.
Two Eastside appointments put me in the perfect location to check out a Thai restaurant recommended to me, months ago: Nibbana-a Thai Cookery. I beat the Microsoftie lunch rush and was seated in a sunny window. I ordered Crispy Garlic Chicken. While delivered quickly, the chicken was on the over-cooked side. I gather this is a common feature of the dish, as other restaurants’ efforts produce the same.
Lunch date with the Gastrognome & Misty today! We hit up the new Seatown, Tom Douglas’ latest seafood-focused venture at the Pike Place Market. Ironically, I think Misty’s pork sandwich was the best of what arrived at our table, not that the Salmon Sampler I ordered (pictured) was bad. I guess it’s the Southerner in me.
The buckwheat blinis served alongside the delicious salmon are not my usual cup of tea. If they’re yours, order this, because they were well-executed.