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Help My Mechanic Tony Eat Something

I hate to be a downer, but one of my best friends (my mechanic Tony, whose mother - an astounding cook - I've profiled on the site in the past) has a brother in very very bad shape in SF General. He's flown out to SF, and has lost 15 pounds in three weeks because he's too frantic and upset to eat, and doesn't know where to go. This is a job for Chowhound.com

He's staying on Masonic, in the 1200's. And his brother is, again, in SF General.

Tony likes inexpensive places where people are kind and the food is fresh. He's got a good palate for shortcuts and compromises (his mom's fault), sort of a princess-and-the-pea type. He likes anything good (though is very tough to please on Italian), but has a health food side to him.

Anything in either locale?


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  1. Near SF General, I had a great burrito al pastor at Taqueria San Francisco, which is on the corner of 24th and York (only 3 blocks from the hospital). In fact it is up there on the list of best burritos I've ever had (but I've spent most of my life in the Northeast). My DC had a veggie burrito that she really liked.

    There are lots of great places on 24th for snacks, burritos, tacos, tortas, juices, bread.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dave MP

      I recently tried this place out. Good carnitas and salsa verde but the pollo asado was pretty bad, very dry and hard.

    2. "There are lots of great places on 24th for snacks, burritos, tacos, tortas, juices, bread"

      He's not in a state of mind to explore. Anyone have specific guidance? Of the "go there and eat this and you'll feel better, guaranteed" variety?

      I'll pass on the taqueria sf tip, thanks!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jim Leff

        Another specific rec: A chicken torta (be sure to ask for spicy) at La Torta Gorda.

        2760 24th street
        San Francisco, CA
        On the same block as Manivanh Thai and Taqueria San Francisco.

        Here's a post about it from 2005


      2. Yesterday I visited the Poleng Lounge on Fulton and Masonic and I was impressed with the food. It's pan-asian - I had a papaya salad (really fresh and delicious) and a bowl of curry, along with a pot of lychee black tea. Thats comfort food for me.
        Their tea selection is great, displayed on the bar in little metal tins so you can see and smell them. It just opened -
        the prices are right, portions impressive, and the staff couldnt be nicer.

        I would also tell him to drink a few beers at magnolia pub on masonic and haight - they have great food too.

        Near the hospital, i would recommend Manivanh Thai, which is 2732 24th street (At Potrero Ave). Last week I had the pad gra prow with pork, which comes with rice for $7.05. It was really fresh and delicious, I've also had the pork prig-khing there, which was also great. It's nothing pretty inside--so I get take out and eat in a park.

        also, el toyanese taco trucks on harrison street and 22nd street. carnitas tacos all the way.

        1. 1200 Masonic is near Haight St. so that might help with searches. (San Francisco
          street address numbering is totally screwed up, so you always need a cross
          street for reference. ) I really like the Pork Store for breakfast. Right there near
          the corner of Haight. Good basic breakfast in a sit-at-the-counter setting.

          There's been a decent, recent thread about Chinese in Mission/Potrero, which
          is the area the hospital is in. Although the immediate hospital area is pretty
          bleak (where *do* all those doctors eat???) pretty much everything mentioned
          in that thread is a lunchtime walk away.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

            My husband works at General and he insists there is nothing worth eating right close to it. Believe it or not - I pack his lunches!

          2. The location is close to the upper Richmond and Sunset. It will require a short bus ride.

            San Tong on Iriving is a great dinner option. While other place have seats this place has a waiting line.

            There a lot of interest Aisan places on the same street. Have not tried them all but have only driven by.

            1. Does he have a car or is he on the bus?

              1. It's been a couple of years since I've been to either of these, so please correct me if I'm
                out of date, but for dinner both the Universal Cafe and the Slow Club might be
                good choices for a single diner looking for a nice tablecloth-y place where they
                wouldn't feel out of place eating alone.

                Very old Slow Club reviews:
                2501 Mariposa St

                Ditto, Universal Cafe:
                2814 19th St

                1 Reply
                1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                  Slow Club would be a great place, I think. Tasty food (always a homemade pasta with meat sauce), great lunches, good bar, and nice staff. It is definitely walking distance from SF General.

                2. How is he getting around? Car, cab or public transportation?

                  In a real pinch, the sandwich shop right across the street from General has decent, if not amazing sandwiches. After all my years visiting General, don't know the name, but it is right across the street from the emergency room entrance.

                  Unfortunately, as he probably already knows, there is nothing edible at the General cafe except the frozen yogurt. That's not even in a food snob way, so the sandwich shop can be real welcome.

                  Is this a situation where he's also going to need recs for late nite or 24 hour eats? If he has access to a fridge where he's staying, Whole Foods has good take-out meals and soups if coming home late. Lamb shanks are particularily good.

                  Open to delivery at the hospital or home? Then hounds could make some suggestions for the best of Waiter on Wheels.

                  1. i would direct him to bravo pizza, mission and geneva, where the entrees are humongous and fela will treat him as her favorite son.

                    1. I should note that Tony likes to spend under $15. He's pretty cheap!

                      1. The Upper Haight is full of relatively cheap places. I think there was a thread recently, try a search, but here are a few of my faves:

                        As others have mentioned, Magnolia has good pub grub and beer.

                        For super quick and easy, Best of Thai (near the corner of Haight and Masonic) has comforting noodle stir-fries and soups. The spicy beef noodle soup is very satisfying.

                        Similarly, the Citrus Club down the street towards the park has good Aisan soups and stir-fries. Go for Vietnamese chicken soup with rice noodles or the stir-fried chow mein with prawns and shitakes.

                        I like Balazo for mexican in that area.

                        Asqew Grill is cheap, easy, and healthy.

                        If you go over to Cole Valley, you've got a bunch of additional choices: Burgermeister for (duh) good burgers (including chicken and veggie options), a great sushi place in Grandeho's, upscale food and wine at Eos, and a surprisingly ambitious menu at the Kezar Bar and Grill. Also, Bambino's turns out decent italian standards and better pizza, and Zaze serves good solid french.

                        1. Hukilau is a Hawaiian place that serves good portions at a reasonable price. They were picked as a bargain bites last year in the SF Chron. They have a restaurant at Masonic and Geary. Plenty of food for the price and a nice place to chill out..except maybe on live music days (fridays) which can get loud.


                          1. $12 three course Italian Dinners Tuesday on Cole and they will deliver. Haven't tried it but thumbs up from Chowhounds

                            Actually Cole has a couple of good joints. Kezar Bar and Restaurant was a comforting after hospital dinner spot for me ... different hospital, but near MasonIC. Yeah, Masonic not the street with the shorter name. Never mind that other, sorry.

                            1. Jim, naturally you've sent him to La Palma Mexicatessen which is walking distance from the hospital, right? And, he can get Mitchell's ice cream at St. Francis Fountain in the same area.

                              1. He can get latin-style marinated (in juice, garlic, spices) grilled chicken at La Parilla on 24th St. at Folsom. They sometimes overcook the chicken, so I'd recommend dark meat, but even the white meat is tasty. I like the sides, too -- beans (three kinds,) rice(three kinds,) salsa, tortillas, plantain, yucca. Also good aguas frescas, flan (never tried it.) There's another one at Columbus and Broadway.


                                1. Oh, that address is near La Palma! Ok, then he's got to get those great cocadas, too http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                  Thanks, guys, I don't have time to research this myself, am big-time occupied doing this ChowTour http://www.chow.com/tour
                                  ...but I didn't want to let Tony down.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Jim Leff

                                    The hospital is at the east end of the 24th st latin american zone. Maybe 3 short blocks
                                    from La Palma.

                                    Anyone tried Papa Potrero lately? On the corner of 24th and Potrero directly
                                    across from the hospital. When I had a doctor friend there, we would regularly
                                    have lunch there of some sort of pasta. Never awesome but cheap-fast-good.
                                    Again, this was probably too long ago to reliably make a recommendation.

                                  2. I'm picking up on the healthfood-side comment and will make the following recs:

                                    - Jay's Cheesesteak (one location on Divis at Oak-ish and another at 22nd or 23rd and Mission) has a fantastic seitan cheesesteak. I get mine with cherry peppers and mushrooms)

                                    - Herbivoire (interestingly, their two locales are right next to Jay's Cheesesteak locales- Divis and Oakish and Mission near 23rd) It's all vegan fare, but I love the seitan shawarma and the black bean burrito is a healthier (and, IMO, tastier and more earthy) take on a mission-style burrito with a whole wheat tortilla, brown rice, black beans, for-real avocado. I get both with an extra side of harissa. The shawarma is served with baked fries that can be kind of hit or miss. I tend to order them well-done and it helps some with the soggy/greasy miss aspect.

                                    I know when I'm stressed and enmotionally run down, I like food that makes me feel like I'm taking care of myself/wholesome/sustaining. Best wishes to Tony and his brother!

                                    1. Oh, Cafe Gratitude is not far from SF General. Healthful and spiritually nourishing -

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                                        This is an excellent suggestion. It fits all the criteria.

                                      2. And close to Cafe Gratitude (20th & Alabama) is Atlas Cafe for decent salads/sandwiches/soups/coffee. I wasn't wild about their pizza. Gobs of magazines to read to kill time.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Atomica

                                          A second on Atlas. Homely but cool.

                                          1. re: Atomica

                                            I wasn't wild about their pizza either....lots of sage in the sauce, and the crust was a bit soft for m. Good coffee though, and like Atomica said, nice place to read and kill time.

                                            1. re: Atomica

                                              The steamed eggs on a croissant or bagel at Atlas are an excellent
                                              light breakfast. And the back porch with a book and a cup of coffee
                                              are a nice way to kill some time. Five minute walk from the hospital.

                                              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                I meant to say that Atlas is at 20th & Alabama, not Cafe Gratitude.

                                                I also thought of El Metate at 22nd & Bryant, which I like quite a bit. Last time I drove by, it looked like they were opening a larger place next door.

                                            2. Burger Joint on Valencia and 19th St, I think they have one in the Haight as well. Parking may be a bit tight. Burget Joint also has a website, just search it. Also, at the corner of 19th St and Valencia is a restuarant, makes pizzas, lunch and dinners on weekends, forgot the name. Hope the brother gets well soon.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Chumley

                                                Whiz Burger at South Van Ness and 18th has plenty of parking...not sure how the burgers are any longer. It's been a while. Got some fries there about 8 months ago.

                                                When I drive by I keep telling myself I should stop because pretty soon someone is going to stuff in a buttload of lofts in that corner and that will be that.

                                                1. re: ML8000

                                                  Its one of those places where condos would be an improvement. I've tried that place a number of times over the years and all it has was parking and greasy food.

                                                  Just a note, if for some reason Tony goes to Mitchells Ice Cream mentioned in this thread, Goood Fricken Chicken is a block away. Both are kind of long hauls from General though.

                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                    St. Francis Fountain serves Mitchell's ice cream. I suggested it because it's close to the hospital.

                                                  2. re: ML8000

                                                    I actually enjoy Whiz Burger quite a bit! I've had the burgers, the fries, the onion rings and the cheesesteak. It'll stick with you for a good long time, but it's tasty in that "this'll kill ya" kind of way. Best eaten with a few brews in you late at night. That said, this was back in 2000.

                                                2. Ok, this is only good if he is driving or taking the 22, but for "inexpensive places where people are kind and the food is fresh," I can't recommend Yamo enough. Jim, I know you have heard mixed things but I bet that comes from the Chowdown. Here is a recent report: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: chaddict

                                                    Sorry! Should have entered an approximate location: 18th between Mission and Valecia, literally around the corner from Mission.