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Sep 15, 2006 05:45 PM

Dommy & P. in SF Pt.1: Friendly Fred’s, Old Port Lobster Shack, Frjtz and Citizen Cake

Alright, I admit, it’s taken me a little bit to start up these recap posts from our trip to the bay area, but ever since my SO, P., the former SF Hound, ratted me out here on that Mission Burrito post before our trip, I’ve been kinda worried about how these posts might be received. So lets just get it all out in the open, shall we...

NO. I put my foot down. I did not eat a single burrito the entire trip! HA!

But I was more open minded about a bunch of other yummy things, so let’s start these over due recaps... one day at a time.

We left Los Angeles in a rush and EARLY. We had hoped that Evian and some farmer’s market pulots might to tide us over till lunch time. Well our tummies had different ideas. So close to our destination, but yet to far, we were starving. . So we pulled over randomly, found a Safeway shopping center and upon a quick scan found our unlikely savior, Friendly Freds Hot Dogs in Morgan Hill.

That image you have in your head is pretty much it... it was your typical after the little league game sorta place. I walked up to the counter and saw in the honored front and center position, a Fresh-O-Matic 1000, I pointed it out to SO and said, “Welcome Home”. He smirked...

We ordered a Chili Dog and a Chicago Dog. The Dogs and buns came fresh from a steamer (The type with the bread box doors) and properly dressed. Chili and onions on a plain bun. Tomatoes, Sport Peppers, Celery Salt on a poppy seed bun. The dog were a good size and girth and meaty. It didn’t have the snap, but as we ate they got a fresh delivery and saw they were from a local processor. The overall taste of the dogs were great. The careful balance between the condiments and the dog was perfect on the Chicago dog. The Chili on the Chili dog was meaty and not too watery. We were much happier with these dogs than the dogs we’ve recently had at the Stand in Encino.

With our bellies quieted, we happily continued on our trek up to Redwood city and or originally planned lunch stop, the Old Port Lobster Shack!!

Located in the middle of a nondescript strip mall, we found it only because they were smart enough to have their delivery truck parked on the street! Upon walking up, we knew we hit the right place because there was a line out the door and the inside was bustling, especially for a Thursday afternoon!

The whole place has a casual almost kitschy vibe. Decorated with fish nets and maps of Maine.

They have the lobster tank in the back and the menu made my New England Raised SO utter happy sighs, especially when he saw the Fluffernutter on the kids menu. As for me, I was charmed by the Lobster Cookies...

Since this was our first trip trip, we decided to keep it simple and ordered:

* Clam Roll: SO and I have been on a mad hunt for fried clam bellies in L.A. for a long while. We’ve found some good ones, but none as good as these. The batter was heavy, the clams done perfect, not at all too briny and the serving was MORE than generous. Supposedly they were REAL Ipswich clams

* Maine Lobster Roll: Of course this is what I really came for. Out of desperation and insanity, we recently made our own Lobster Rolls with Rolls we imported from Boston. We wanted to see if these measured up or were better than the ones we had made (Which were AWESOME, if I may say so myself.... ;)) Well, I am happy to report that it was VERY close. The only thing missing on these rolls was the old bay. But the meat was plentiful, well cooked, not ‘Scraps” and flavorful. Next time we’re going for the plain one with butter... YUMM!!

Both Rolls came with plain fresh potato chips which were good and Coleslaw which had an interesting strong malt vinegar taste. Very unique.

* Finally, we had to try their Clam Chowder. We ordered a cup and got a HUGE steaming mug. SO, a traditionalist, was very happy with it. It was on the thin sized, flavored very well.... The Clams were soft and chunky. I would have perfered a little bit more buttery taste or a little more bacon taste. But it was a great cup O’ Chowdah.

Stuffed, we made it safely to our hotel in Downtown Oakland and went into SF for some sight seeing. We started to get peckish again around 8pm, so we headed over to SO’s old favorite hang outs, Frjtz Frites on Heyes. It was insanely bustling inside. We were lucky to find a table JUST as our order came.

Our order was simple, the Duchamp Crepe with chicken and mushrooms. It was large, but horribly bland. :P SO’s salad was equally unmemorable. The frites, as you could see from my recent General topics board post, weren’t exactly what I expected. They were bigger, more potatoey than I would have liked, so when they blended together with the Strawberry Dijon dipping sauce (Which I had hoped would be sweeter), the blending of the flavors was muddled. Overall the space is indeed a pretty cool hang out, but that is pretty much it...

Since the dipping sauce wasn’t sweet and I still was smiling about those Lobster Cookies, I felt like a dessert. Lucky for us, we were just a few blocks away from Citizen Cake!

I had heard SOOO much about it from friends and magazines and such. The space was so nice too. But when I got the counter, I admit, I was a little disappointed in their selection of cakes and pastries. They hardly had any cakes available by the slice and everything was so Chocolate based!!

So we ended up with a Fig Tart, a couple of Peanut Butter Cups, A crisp Chocolate tile, a Chile Chocolate tile, and Lemon Bar.

The Peanut Butter Cups and Crisp tile were horribly ordinary. The Chile one however did pack a nice punch and the marcona almond did add wonderful texture to accent the great dark chocolate that they used.

The Fig Tart wasn’t nearly as flavorful as we hoped. The figs were a little bland. The best thing was the crust. Absolutely flavorful and CRISP. If only I could find a recipe to make crust that great at home...

And of course my Lemon Bar. Upon first bite, I was kinda annoyed at seeing how much Crust was on it. It took like half of the bar. It wasn’t particularly flavorful either. But upon closer inspection, I saw that it wasn’t ‘exactly’ crust. It was like crust, a layer of lemony paste, like a lemon marzipan and then the layer of very lemony curd. I took a slower bite and saw how they played all so well. Very nice...

And yes, that was just our FIRST day.... Whew... And we still had three more days of chowing ahead of us...


Friendly Fred's Hotdogs
(408) 776-0267
409 Tennant Sta
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

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  1. Thanks for the report. I am not a fan of Citizen Cake either, except for their lemon sandwich cookies which are worth every calorie. You could have walked to Delissio if it was early enough from Citizen Cake. It's a favorite on the board and their desserts are very good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Mari

      I had never been and neither had Dommy and when she had a sweet craving, That was the one place I could think of near where we were. We had heard of it before and were curious.

      Take care

      - P .

      1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

        Plus it was late (past 9pm), it really surprised me at how quickly some of the areas of the city closes!! Ah well, I guess it saved me lots of money as all I could do is peek into the boutiques...


    2. ahhhhh why Fritjz!?!? that place is so disappointingly gimmickly and pathetic. It looks so promising and always lets you down.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chefinthecity

        Why Fritjz? Well When I left San Francisco 4 years ago it was a very good place to get a salad, Crepes, Fries and a beer near my nephew's school. It is also something I cannot get near where we live in SoCal. I would agreee it was not up to snuff this time and I was disapointed.

        Take care


      2. Well, I'm glad Old Port Lobster Shack worked out for you. First report of Lobster cookies which sound cute. Good to hear that there was a line for lunch. I don't eat clams & lobster rolls that often, but when you have a craving, it's nice to have a place to go.

        Yeah, that cole slaw seems to remain ... interesting. At this point I'm thinking they should just buy it from Safeway. The clam chowder seems to be a continuing work in progress.

        Woodhouse Fish in San Francisco has the better clam chowder, IMO, but I like the fried clams and fish much better at OPLS. Did you stop by Woodhouse? It seems to be just clam-o-rama around here lately. There's another clam shack opeing ON THE COAST near Half Moon Bay in October. You can watch the waves splash on the shore and eat your clams ... I'm hoping for greatness.

        Yeah, Fritz has been going downhill for a number of years. I think it might be tied into the second location at Fisherman's wharf. Maybe more than they can handle.

        All things are not created equally at Citizen Cake. I love their gelato-like ice creams. Their fruit pates are amazing. Really, people would go on and on about them on the board, and I'm just not into this particular sweet. However, I tried the passion fruit and was just blown away by the intensity of flavor.

        Well, I had what had to be the worst Chicago hot dog in the world today. Lets just say chopped red onions were involved and sports peppers were not.

        I think you have some Fresh-O-Matic 1000 karma going. Maybe the food gods are trying to tell you to open your own restaurant ... hey, I'd buy one of your burritos.

        Thanks for reporting back.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange

          Never had a good Fritz visit. (However, anything that has a Fisherman's Wharf location is rightfully doomed, IMHO.)
          I've so wanted the taste of real frites. However, every time I've been to Fritz I've gotten strange soggy bland bites of fried wallpaper paste, instead of the magnificent, rich, complex creamy-crisp of dutch lore. I was also underwhelmed by the bland sauces with names that promised more. A good mayo is traditional, but not all sauces have to be so close to Hellman's, thank you.
          Gotta try that place in Oakland that you mentioned in another post.