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thanks for providing an adventure I wish I had been on (long)

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SF Hounds,

I feel I must pass this on to you. A friend of mine who shall remain nameless is a true hound, but not a visitor to chowhound.com. Knowing that he occasionally goes up that way I have been sending him tips from your board. The result is the following e-mail. So thanks melanie, chowhound x, burke& wells and everyone else.


So, i must update you on my extreme behavior, for which i have largely you to thank (or to blame). So, i was supposed to catch a flight back to Los Angeles on Monday morning. With all the air travel nonsense going on, and the cancellation of baseball preventing me from seeing Barry/PacBell(never been), i decided to just buy a bus ticket and go on Wednesday, after the first Tuesday night game. Decided to go to the recommended best duck place for lunch on Tuesday. This is looking like a nice plan revision. Get to the restaurant, and it is closed on Tuesdays. Can you believe it? i'm pissed. i'm immediately thinking about staying. i stay up late, set an alarm, but decide to let it pass and stay. On Wednesday morning, my buddy's girlfriend says i can borrow her car and should go to Marin or something, and she doesn't care about the mileage.

So, i gather my materials, grab her car and head out. i head straight for Chinatown and get a great spot outside the restaurant with a meter. i go in, check out the specials and start ordering. (They expect you to know what you want before sitting down.) i get the duck, of course, a half. i see some mussels with black bean sauce, and i know they're in season since i just had some awesome ones, so i get them. i then start tooling through the menu -- they actually specialize in seafood aside from also having the best duck in the city -- and i see some fresh and dried squid with long greens in shrimp sauce on the longer specials list in the menu. This sounds even better than mussels, so i ask if i can switch. (It's been a minute and a half.) Too late, already. No problem. Add the squid too. i don't have the mindset right now to describe everything in detail, so let me just say it was all awesome, i ate everything except i also saved some duck for later (planned). The duck was, as expected,awesomely juicy, but also crispy outside, and the flesh was moist throughout.

Very satisfying. i jump in the car, and i head for the Golden Gate Bridge, because i am planning to go to Muir Woods in Marin County. i do an awesome hike all through the trees and over the ridge and back around. Very cool. i decide i am far enough north that Santa Rosa must be attacked. i hit the 101 again, and go for it. It's another 45 miles up, so it's no small task. As i'm going,i realize i'm passing Bodega Bay ("The Birds"), and a part of me wants to go. i stay on task. i search for the tacos and find them despite opposing directions that i just decided to ignore. My nose knows. i hit the strip. i hit it hard.

i wasn't sure how many trucks there were so i wasn't sure about getting three from the first truck, La Texanita, but i did. Tasty, and the cabeza was flavorful. i pretty much just go one by one from there and hit them all. Suadero from Delicias truck was tasty, but not as life-changing as the description i read from Melanie. These trucks are not a breed to themselves unlike any other truck anywhere else in California. i keep going. Now, it's science. i get the torta, as well, at the truck that specializes in them. i choose the torta Cubana out of respect for you. Decent, but i'm just not a torta guy, a flavorful sandwhich with a nicely fried strip of meat, but still a sandwich, with a starch to flavor ratio i am not looking for when eating Mexican. i keep going. i hit the El Tio truck with the nice lawn chairs. It's pretty solid, and has a nice garlicky salsa, though not all that spicy. Also, a number of these trucks were flowing cebollitas, which are nice, but they're not better in quality than any other, even than i might make in my kitchen. i'm realizing that, perhaps due to the hike, i'm eating without any check. i feel as though i've had enough, but i could still eat more if i wanted to. i go get gas at 76, and decide after to hit the last truck. i get three, including a suadero. Sure enough, these are three of the tastiest tacos of the night. i feel satisfied with my research, and now i know this is a night when all things must happen, so i head out to Bodega.

It's now dark, foggy and eerie, and i am in a convertible without a top, and i know that i must press on. i went to see the restaurant and the church from "The Birds." Mostly, it was cool to see that the place was still pretty quiet and not that overdeveloped as you might expect. i take a good turn around the place and head for home. At this point, i was close to two hours from San Francisco. i got hit by a couple fat raindrops, and was sure i was entering a rainstorm, but there was none. i got back dry, knowing i had done good on the day.

Now get this. i decided to just try calling Sawa Sushi to see if i could get in. i told him i had heard that his sushi was the best in the world, but that it is necessary to come as the guest of another. He laughs, asks when i want to come, and says any time this evening would be fine. i'm going. Unfortunately, my credit card just expired, so i'm going to have to go get a boatload of cash.

Let us hope it is worth it. And let us hope you do not similarly entice me in the future.

So, i haven't decided when to leave. i will feel very satisfied after tonight, but my buddy just left for the weekend, leaving me with DirectTV Total Choice Platinum, Tivo, PS2, and a car. What's the rush?

i will keep you posted. Hope all is well with you.

Oh, i forgot to mention that i went to Hama-ko last week. It was quite awesome.

Luckily, i went with my old roommate who had lived in Japan for six years. He busted in speaking strong, and we were immediately seated. We saw two other parties get sushi-Nazied out of there even though there were plenty of tables and the sushi bar was empty. A few days later, i decided to go to the one place that was put up as a potential SF exception to Hama-ko domination, Tekka. It was awesomely small, and also very good, but Hama-ko was stronger on all fronts.

i will be heading out shortly for Sawa. Wish me luck.

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  1. Now *that* is a major chowhound! A point of curiosity--is this guy, like, 7 feet tall and a lumberjack? Awesome chowing and stamina!

    3 Replies
    1. re: berkleybabe

      I'm betting he's one of those wiry guys whose metabolism runs super high, eats and eats and never puts on a pound.

      Thanks for the report -- giving back like that is the chowhound way.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Ruth,

        If he's one of those wiry guys, we'll have to... steal his metabolism.

        1. re: Dave Feldman

          I keep dating guys like that (my last beau "worked hard" to keep his weight up to 120) hoping it will rub off on me, but no luck yet.

          Theft may be the only viable option.

    2. Wow. You surely get a chowhounding medal of honor for stamina, capacity, and proper priorities. What's the name and address of the awesome duck place? And next time, if you find yourself heading up 101 to Marin, get off the Paradise Dr. exit and go to Donut Alley in Larkspur. Best doughnuts I've had in the Bay Area, hands down. But they're only open 6am til around 10:30am, when the doughnuts run out.

      1. I have two requests for your friend:

        1. Please have him file a report on Sawa.
        2. Do not use "awesome" more than once a paragraph.

        Thanks for passing on the great report.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dave Feldman
          b
          Burke and Wells

          Second on that report of Sawa! I want to collect as much data as I can about them, and every other sushi place in driving/flying distance (sure that includes Japan, why not?).

          Thanks in advance to you and your friend!

          Peter
          wells@emusic.com

          Link: http://www.burkeandwells.com