Chowing in San Francisco: REPORT
I realized this afternoon that I'll have to break up my chow report into parts or I'll never remember all that I've eaten in town---Here's the partial report from the first half of the week:
PANCHO VILLA----We headed here directly from the airport, for the obligatory veggie burrito and chips. I love this place, can't get anything like it at "home", and I appreciate the variety and the fresh ingredients. It's easy to get to on BART, and they have a lot of variety
DOTTI'S TRUE BLUE CAFE---Went here for breakfast on Sunday morning and waited outside for about an hour before being seated---I expected this, and was prepared. Wasn't prepared to be waiting in front of the "housing" which attracted a steady stream of somewhat unsavory characters, many of whom canvassed the line for money. Once inside and seated, the service moved quickly and I had the black bean cakes, with potatoes and grilled cornbread. Partner had a standard eggs/bacon/toast/potatoes combination. Food was very good---my black corn cakes weren't heated thoroughly, but the grilled cornbread was fantastic.
BETELNUT---This was a last minute decision, although I did call ahead to be sure we could be accomodated. We were steered to Le Colonial, but the menu looked a little daunting, and more expensive than I desired. My choice was BODEGA BISTRO, but they were closed for a private party. I went to SLANTED DOOR the last time I was in town, and while the food was good---the atmosphere was hectic and I was miffed by a roving woman in a poncho who constantly patrolled the dining area while making copious notes on her tablet regarding the status of all the tables. It was beyond obnoxious, and we are quick diners. We would never be accused of "lingering", and her buzzing back and forth, leaning to look at plates was too much for me. So, we landed at BETELNUT---We were advised to choose 5 plates to share, so we did. We started with szechuan green beans (served promptly and they were mouth-watering delicious), then fried tofu cakes. Next we had seared scallops which were INCREDIBLE. I thought they were perfectly prepared, and the sauce on top was just divine. We had two types of dumplings: "little dragon" and one I can't recall, but it was supposed to be "really spicy". It wasn't that spicy, but it was delicious. For dessert we had fried bananas. This meal was quite good, but was not as pleasant as it might have been because we were seated next to a couple who were unbelievably loud. The woman discussed some extremely sensitive matters (boss/affair/salaries at her job---answering every prying question her companion asked, in loud, nasal detail). At one point, I stuck my finger in my ear, to try to drown her out. She was seated next to a wall, and her voice just boomed back into the room. Unfortunate. And, the tables are REALLY small, already crowded with lots of accessory items, and not really designed to hold two dinner plates, PLUS a stream of five ordered dishes. At times, it felt like we were in the circus, passing things around and keeping them airborne waiting for a space to develop.
PERBACCO---What a delightful evening! We had reservations and were greeted with enthusiasm and seated promptly. I had the beet salad, which was beautiful and very tasty, my partner had the fritto shrimp, an interesting plate of fried shrimp, olives, small citrus slices, artichoke, asparagus and onions. This plate was perfect! we then shared the butternut squash ravioli, which I loved, mostly because of the delicate sweet potato flavor. For our main courses, I had the seared salmon, which was cooked to perfection---I didn't care for the bed of assorted greens/citrus that it rested on. My partner had the pork shoulder with polenta, and enjoyed it. We had the three gelato cups for dessert, and they were DELICIOUS! My favorite was the caramel with sea salt, my partner loved the bittersweet chocolate, and the final flavor was something with candied oranges (I think). Everything about Perbacco was top rate, and I'm really glad we had dinner there. The setting is comfortable, and we were able to have a nice conversation while enjoying our dinner. I thought our wait person was really special, he was engaged, helpful and seemed like a fine guy. I plan on writing the owner to commend this gentleman, he was that good.
LULU PETITE: We scooted to the Ferry Building for lunch, and although I was leaning towards grabbing a chunk of bread and a chunk of cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, we stopped at LuLu instead and I had the roasted beet salad, which could not have been better--partner had a humongous egg salad sandwich with twice cooked potato chips. It was a satisfying lunch, in a lively setting.
The rest of the week has us visiting TOWN HALL, YANK SING and a few undetermined spots. I appreciate all the leads I've gotten from CHOWHOUND, Happy Eating!