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Funky,Strange, Cheap, out-of-the way

Carnivore Jun 25, 2007 06:15 PM

i'm looking for diners in industrial areas, taco trucks in parking lots, places you are scared to venture, unlikely and hidden store fronts, old tiki lounges, trucker or biker spots,dive bars with a good burger, strange combinations, down-home, or out of control. Give me your strange, funky, grimey and cheap. I want to throw together a real FOOD ADVENTURE that will take me somewhere I have never been, or never thought to go. I don't care how far away it is.it can be anywhere in Nor-Cal. Thanks. Places like (the now gone) Mike's at the yard in Petaluma...

  1. n
    NoeMan Jul 17, 2007 09:40 PM

    Hogan's Diner/Bar in the Sotuh City produce terminal:


    Monte Carlo cafe at 3rd and Yosemite in the Bay View for Lousiana home coooking par excelence:


    1. LikeFrogButOOOH Jul 13, 2007 01:35 AM

      You probably know, but I wanted to know in case you didn't that Mike's at the Crossroads is still in Cotati. I haven't ever been to Mike's at the Yard, so I don't know how it compares, but the Cotati location still cooks up a mean burger.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LikeFrogButOOOH
        Carnivore Jul 17, 2007 03:44 PM

        Mikes in Cotati is bomb. I just tried it for the first time today. Reasonable prices, not as cool as at the yard, but definatly a mean burger. Really top notch. I mean the best i have had in Norcal. grilled onions are key

      2. wolfe Jun 26, 2007 06:09 PM

        Where is Juanita now that we need her?

        Ah Juanita's. I first met her in the early 70's when she was in Glen Ellen. I had the opportunity of waiting on tables because she was not there yet. I made $4 and when she got there she chewed me out bad!!! In only a way Juanita could chew someone out. I was a CHP officer and she did love cops. Her residence(?) in Aqua Caliente was on my beat and I would stop in and see her once in a while with all the ducks. She moved to Vallejo, then I want to say Fairfield (?) and then to Port Costa. PC was also on my beat and we stopped many times for coffee after our briefing but you could not walk in and just have coffee...she fed you like a king and made you take food home! As I recall from a conversation we had one starlit evening in PC, she was from Oklahoma and moved out here to Sausalito. She started feeding some fishermen in the morning before they went out. Then it got so big she opened the restaurant. I still have a pic somewhere's of her lying tummy down in a four legged bath tub full of bubbles with her tiara on and her large fanny sticking out of the water, and an autographed copy of her book. She was the Martha Stewart/Emeril of her day and if you ever had her prime rib (the size of a cow) dinner you would know. I could write a book on her! DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE SHE IS?

        6 Replies
        1. re: wolfe
          Lori SF Jun 26, 2007 06:14 PM

          it seems you are not the only one

          1. re: Lori SF
            wolfe Jun 26, 2007 06:52 PM

            I am sure that is not the same Juanita. She was an ebullient, large framed woman with
            a really kinky sense of humor. Her place northwest of City of Sonoma in a run down
            funky house. Several incarnations later she made it to Port Costa. I am afraid she is no longer in the restaurant business.

          2. re: wolfe
            rworange Jun 26, 2007 07:01 PM

            There was a roast for her this year. She is 83. Pictures in links

            The Chowhound Trail ... last mention 2004

            Is Santa Cruz burning? Where is Juanita?

            Juanita Musson need your help!

            1. re: rworange
              Carnivore Jul 10, 2007 02:29 AM

              any more ADVENTURES in the East Bay area? Im really trying to explore that area. BBQ? Ribs? specific taco stands? Thanks for all the help so far.

              1. re: Carnivore
                gordon wing Jul 13, 2007 07:27 AM

                How about the New Zealander for a unique hamburger? (and HUGE) I'm sure I'm leaving something out but here's a list of ingredients: melted cheese, grilled onions, tomato, pickled beet, ham, burger, pineapple, etc.... Here's a link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/34076

              2. re: rworange
                Carnivore Jul 10, 2007 02:31 AM

                any special things happening, or good places to go on Tuesdays?

            2. m
              ML8000 Jun 26, 2007 02:27 PM

              Top's Cafeteria in SF (near the old Goodman's Lumber), off Bayshore, on Dorman Avenue near Barneveld. It's totally hidden in an old industrial park. Old school lunch counter type place. Food's okay...some very good, some not.

              If you want "real" adventure go to the Hell's Angels clubhouse in Dog Patch proper, ask them where they eat and follow them.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ML8000
                larochelle Jun 26, 2007 02:47 PM

                Or go to the San Francisco Motorcycle Club on a Thursday night which is when they let non-members in. Its really cool space and the drinks are tasty.

                1. re: larochelle
                  Carnivore Jul 9, 2007 10:22 PM

                  thanks for all the information, I have got a lot to explore. The Bay area rocks

                2. re: ML8000
                  Carnivore Jul 10, 2007 02:19 AM

                  perfect. I used to work near tops. I love all the little places around there

                3. Ruth Lafler Jun 26, 2007 01:58 PM

                  If you do a search for "taco truck" you'll find dozens of posts. What you really should do it drive around a likely taco truck area and discover one yourself.

                  1. sgwood415 Jun 26, 2007 12:45 PM

                    Go to the Mission and look for the tamale lady.



                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sgwood415
                      larochelle Jun 26, 2007 12:59 PM

                      Talk about a Emperor without clothes!

                      Virginia's tamales are no better than any other place in SF. The only difference is that she wanders the city's nightlife areas, selling them from her cooler. Yet for some reason, people constantly give her rave reviews. I assume its because most of her patrons are drunk, don't know what a good tamale tastes like or simply, are taken in by the "romance" of buying "underground" food.

                      Well, I know tamales and I've eaten Virginia's tamales sober. So I'll say this "They make great drunk food."

                      1. re: larochelle
                        psb Jul 10, 2007 12:20 AM

                        I agree with you 1000%.
                        Alcohol and cognitive dissonance *have* to factor into any
                        explanation of her popularity (and possibly "the munchies"
                        for her Zeitgeist customers).

                        If memory serves, they are also overpriced.

                        Good Job!

                    2. p
                      potatoe Jun 26, 2007 12:21 PM

                      the front porch in the outer mission. carribean food, converted garage.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: potatoe
                        NoeMan Jul 17, 2007 09:33 PM

                        Converted latin tavern actually

                      2. Glencora Jun 26, 2007 12:01 PM

                        Try the Temple Bar on University Ave in Berkeley. A funky tiki bar with Hawaiian food and music. The real deal, not a parody. Very nice people, too.

                        1. Lori SF Jun 26, 2007 09:56 AM

                          For funky -Vladimir's Czechoslovakian -Eastern European cuisine in Inverness, CA.. this place is a real treasure..the bar scene during that late afternoon is something out of a movie..

                          Radio Habana Social Club- on Valencia..the size of a walk in closet, good sangrias..just entertaining kinda place

                          Truck- bar with good burgers SOMA on Folsom and 15th.. it's just a cool spot and has a story.

                          Best Breakfast on Sat.- and some of the best Mexican food- el huarache loco stand alemany farmer market

                          Serenader- on Lake Park in Oakland to get funky, live music, bar.

                          Many more outdside the area just can't remember the names.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Lori SF
                            Lori SF Jun 26, 2007 09:58 AM

                            oh Hard knox cafe in Dog Patch was doing free lunch on Tuesday.. not sure if they still are but good soul food.

                            1. re: Lori SF
                              Carnivore Jul 10, 2007 02:00 AM

                              ooh ya, im always looking for live music and /or free food. Thank you!

                            2. re: Lori SF
                              chaddict Jun 26, 2007 11:28 AM

                              I love Radio Habana! I'll add for sheer quirkiness but good food, Yucatasia, Mission between 18th and 19th, SF. A Vietnamese couple selling banh mi, running a Yucatecan restaurants which sells pizza:

                              1. re: Lori SF
                                sgwood415 Jun 26, 2007 12:44 PM

                                Vladimir's is totally funky. Just don't try to bring a child or Vlad won't let you in. Seriously, I've seen him do it.

                                1. re: sgwood415
                                  Lori SF Jun 26, 2007 01:15 PM

                                  yes he is crusty..and I guess that is part of the charm

                                  If up there just continue up Sir Frances Drake to Drakes Bay Oyster Farm - a historical farm with store and place to sit and eat oysters..

                                2. re: Lori SF
                                  Robert Lauriston Jun 26, 2007 05:42 PM

                                  The atmosphere at Vladimir's is sort of fun but the food is awful. I might have a drink at the bar but I hope I never eat there again.


                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                    Lori SF Jun 26, 2007 06:16 PM

                                    never ate there but I was amused by the cast of characters and how he made the bloody mary..

                                3. g
                                  gordon wing Jun 26, 2007 07:27 AM

                                  Mariposa Cafeteria is a working man's favorite. The roast pork was a big hit with hounds .... haven't been there in a few years. You won't go away hungry from this place. The menu has a lot of old Chinese American faves and is open for breakfast and lunch only.


                                  1. r
                                    rosiella1 Jun 25, 2007 09:04 PM

                                    If you venture south...past Gilroy and take the 25 exit then get back on 101N; on the right hand side, you'll see Garlic World. In the parking lot is Lou's BBQ. Basically- some of the best BBQ ... It's real BBQ too; not the fake, lighter fluid stuff. You order at the truck and pay inside at the grocery. He makes his own sauce; good value too!

                                    1. rworange Jun 25, 2007 06:44 PM

                                      Ah ... the story of my eating life ... where oh where to begin

                                      Well, this will get you started ...

                                      House of the Blessed Pupusa

                                      And since this is a Sunday only eating experience for dessert there are churros

                                      Stalking the Wily Richmond Hot Churro Guy

                                      In the area, though the torta report wasn't positive

                                      San Pablo: Food Barn - grocery, panaderia, carneceria ... 80 tortas 80 … with a sami-sosa torta

                                      And in Northern California on the if you are in Salinas there are the trucks ... links in this story will take you to the California board where Salinas info is reported.

                                      Outta the Back of a Truck

                                      There's just so much more my head spins.

                                      1. wolfe Jun 25, 2007 06:24 PM

                                        Out of the way, somewhat hidden, strange combos (peanut butter and steak) and politically incorrect Al the Wop's in Locke.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: wolfe
                                          P. Punko Jun 26, 2007 05:05 PM

                                          My dad's been here- it sounds even stranger than you can imagine when you hear someone try to describe the place.

                                        2. sgwood415 Jun 25, 2007 06:21 PM

                                          Trad'r Sam
                                          6150 Geary

                                          funky neighborhood tiki bar

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: sgwood415
                                            Sharuf Jun 26, 2007 03:21 AM

                                            OMG, is that place still around? How about the "Persian Zan Zan" in the Haight --or whatever it was called -- is that still there, too? Another funky neighborhood bar with a low rent attempt at exotic ambiance.

                                            1. re: Sharuf
                                              adampaul Jun 26, 2007 07:30 AM

                                              Yes, both Trad'r Sams and Zam Zam are still around, although I'd hardly compare the two, what with the former being a cheesy noisy faux tiki place with a young college crowd (at least on the weekends) and frou-frou umbrella drinks, and the latter a pretty mellow place serving good-quality traditional cocktails. Then again I'm biased, as Zam Zam is my favorite local watering hole :)

                                              1. re: Sharuf
                                                larochelle Jun 26, 2007 12:29 PM

                                                The Persian Aub Zam Zam is still there physically but not spiritually - for me, there is no Zam Zam without Bruno who has passed away. The new owners cleaned the place up, offer a full range of beverages (vodka "martinis" - the heresy!), let the place get over crowded (the tables are open, for god's sake!!), ruined the jukebox and can't make a decent Bruno Martini to save their lives.

                                                That said, its cooler than any of the other bars in that neighborhood, if I hadn't been a regular during the Bruno years and experience perfection, I'd be a fan.

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