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4 days next week in SF

k
kayla8 Feb 7, 2008 02:06 PM

Hi,

I have searched & armed w/a list of dimsum, places to eat in Richmond area ( Clement & my favorite dimsum Ton Kiang) but still needs some recommendation for:

1. Good breakfast anywhere betw Holiday Inn SFO and SF city, or in Golden Gate Park, Union Square area?

2. Lunch around Fisherman Warf, Place of Fine Arts?

3. Any good family dinner, kid-friendly?

4. Good Asian-style lobster place?

5. Bakery?

5. Good breakfast nearby Holiday Inn in SFO airport area for the last day.

We have car rental to get around. Please include parking tip.

TIA.

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  1. k
    kayla8 RE: kayla8 Feb 8, 2008 08:33 AM

    Come on, we need some local experts here! Especially some good breakfast to start the day.

    Thanks!

    1 Reply
    1. re: kayla8
      hill food RE: kayla8 Feb 8, 2008 09:37 AM

      jeez, you've already covered most of your criteria, kid-friendly asian lobster is to be found somewhere around Clement if not Ton Kiang itself. Nuthin' much directly around the Palace of Fine Arts (good you have a car) the wharf - amusing, but largely tourist crap - hit Cow Hollow or North Beach for a nearby food-fix.

      Art's Diner was always my fave for breakfast, but parking at 9 and I is a bitch and it's just a counter. with a kid you may have it easier at a place like Mel's.

      remember there are plenty of Denny-Dumps near the airport and if you're going from the Richmond to SFO 19th Ave pretty much turns into 101 with stuff along the way.

    2. Shane Greenwood RE: kayla8 Feb 8, 2008 03:54 PM

      You might get better responses if you narrow down what you're looking for in your posting. Just your first item covers 3 suburbs and about half of SF. There are several posts every week like yours, so if you use the search feature on chowhound you can easily find the most popular recommendations. Then try reposting more specific questions to get the Hounds to help.

      It also helps to know if you have a price range and where you're from so we can help recommend things you might not get where you're from.

      1. daveena RE: kayla8 Feb 8, 2008 04:47 PM

        Breakfast:
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/487410

        Fisherman's Wharf:
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/484291

        Kid-friendly:
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/381874

        Bakeries:
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/393232

        1. m
          ML8000 RE: kayla8 Feb 8, 2008 06:40 PM

          Sorry for the standard SF CH grumpy crew welcome -- the question, even asked nicely, gets asked 12x a week...okay, that's on the high side but you you the point. The part about half the city is correct however...and it's all subjective. No one wants to point someone to a bummer...so there's questions.

          For breakfast near GG Park - Park Chow, Howard's or Art's (the last two greasy spoons)...Park Chow and Howard's are both family friendly. I'd pick Park Chow.

          Family/kid friendly...every Chinese restaurant in the City, 50% of all others..if you have a couple of easy kids.

          Asian lobster...crab is currently in season but look at Koi Palace (mucho $$$) or Yuet Lee (dive).

          Breakfast near SFO -- that would be Burlingame or San Mateo

          Parking tips -- http://www.sfmta.com/cms/pgar/indxpkg...
          Or take public transportation...it's very easy, esp if you're staying downtown.

          23 Replies
          1. re: ML8000
            k
            kayla8 RE: ML8000 Feb 8, 2008 09:41 PM

            Thank you all for being kind & patient w/ repeated question. Specially thank ML8000 for the recommendation of the parking site.

            After extensive search/reading many long posts & compiling a long list of restaurants, I was not satisfied w/ the findings-- especially for the breakfast places. I don't think we can eat dimsum 4 days in a row. I want more! Give me more! :> No, I think, we are OK w/ the list now. I love to eat in SF! On those BC ( Before Children) days, my husband & I used to fly up there just to hang out, shop, and eat. There are so many choices; there is so little time!

            Our plan is 2 dimsum, 1 Chinese lunch, 2 Chinese dinners. That is good enough of Chinese taste in 4 days.

            We'll skip North Beach this time; parking there is a challenge for dinner. I don't think we have much energy left to search for parking & stand in long line after strolling the 2 young kids ( <4 yrs old) around town all day.

            1. re: kayla8
              rworange RE: kayla8 Feb 9, 2008 12:14 AM

              Why don't you post the names of the restaurants you are planning on. That usually gets more response. Don't go to Mel's though. It hasn't been good for years.

              1. re: rworange
                k
                kayla8 RE: rworange Feb 9, 2008 07:09 PM

                Thanks for the note on Mel's; I left it out already after reading many latest reviews about it.

                I think we have on the list more than we can go to now! Here is my latest update of dining plan:

                Dinner: Yaya, Coriya Hotpot City ( w/ the jackets left in the car & a thorough shower after chowing there), Cafe Maritime/Aziza, Cafe Argruello
                Lunch: Tajine, Rainforest/ Chiangmai Thai, Lee Hou (crab)
                Breakfast/Dimsum: Koi Palace, New Asia, Howard's Cafe, Crepevine ( Burlingame)

                I need the tips of avoiding the long line ( beside reservation, dining early @5-5:30PM or peak time of breakfast), good parking site, favorite dishes fr. these places. EX: I heard that Aziza is not really kid-friendly place?

                No North Beach, no Italian food this time. I had enough authentic Italian food fr. a cruise in the Mediterranean 5 months ago. :>)

                Thanks again for all the great suggestion!

                1. re: kayla8
                  Robert Lauriston RE: kayla8 Feb 10, 2008 08:06 AM

                  At last report, Yaya moved to Burlingame.

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/471022

                  Helmand Palace, in their old location on Van Ness, is very good Afghan food.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    k
                    kayla8 RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 10, 2008 09:35 AM

                    We fly in Wednesday afternoon so just want to eat nearby the Holiday Inn @ SFO airport; don't want to drive up to SF w/ the traffic on 110 or 280. That is the Yaya in Burlingame we plan to try. :>)

                    Thanks for the location clarification.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      k
                      kayla8 RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 12, 2008 09:06 AM

                      Their menu looks good. I wished I could eat here. Oh well, next time.

                    2. re: kayla8
                      susancinsf RE: kayla8 Feb 10, 2008 08:32 AM

                      Again: more specificity will get more replies: if your slash means you are trying to decide between Cafe Maritime and Aziza, pick Aziza.(IMO). I am not sure what you mean by not kid-friendly but I've certainly seen children there. It isn't exactly sedate, except perhaps the back room, so ask for a table in the front room. I doubt if your children would disturb other diners assuming they are reasonably well-behaved. Whether they have booster seats or high chairs I don't know. Ask me again in a few months when I am a grandmother.

                      Parking tip for Aziza, since you ask: shell out the $10 for the Valet or be prepared to spend a lot of time circling and looking.

                      While I've never tried Lee Hou, I am glad to now see it in your list: Regarding your lobster request, and to perhaps give a bit of insight into the lack on initial response and grumpiness you may have perceived: San Francisco is NOT about lobster. There is virtually no local lobster (certainly nothing commercial), prepared in an Asian style or otherwise. You can get it of course, but it will have been imported (and often disappoints in my experience). San Francisco is about crab, and especially in February. The fact that you asked about lobster may have discouraged some folks from replying to you, because people on the board do get a bit cranky, as you can see, from folks who ask questions before doing a bit of research, and if you ask about lobster, you either don't care about eating locally (and one of the joys of eating in San Francisco is eating locally), or you haven't done any research.

                      Breakfast can be problematic, especially if you don't want to wait and are looking around Union Square. There is a very recent thread on that exact topic, just do a search for Union Square and breakfast.

                      Isn't Rainforest a chain? Best Thai in the City is Thai House Express.

                      1. re: susancinsf
                        Robert Lauriston RE: susancinsf Feb 10, 2008 09:23 AM

                        Spiny aka rock lobster (French langouste) is native to California and turns up occasionally on menus, but it's not the same fat-clawed delicacy as Maine aka Atlantic lobster (French homard).

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          susancinsf RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 10, 2008 09:42 AM

                          True enough, but really that is native to Southern California: not Northern: I have never seen it underwater in fifteen years of diving anywhere north of Santa Barbara (but see it on literally just about every dive south of Santa Barbara and in the Channel Islands). When someone claimed on a Monterey divers list serve I belong to to have seen one in Monterey Bay a few years ago, all the other divers demanded a photo as proof, and pooh-poohed the claim without that proof. So, I still wouldn't call it local...besides, when you say occasionally, in my experience you mean 'very occasionally', and even then, it is likely to be imported from the Caribbean, Australia or Mexico, where most of the commercial fisheries for the Spiny lobster are located ...Hint: there is a reason that another name for Spiny lobster is 'warm water lobster'.

                          More about Spiny Lobster:

                          http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                        2. re: susancinsf
                          k
                          kayla8 RE: susancinsf Feb 10, 2008 09:54 AM

                          Thanks for taking time to reply. Also, thanks for the Thai's suggestion. I'm considering to try it instead of revisiting Chiangmai. There are so many new choices;it makes my head spin to coordinate dining & location so we don't drive all over town just for eating. We have only 4 days up there to eat all the great food!

                          I couldn't wait with the lobster crave; we went out yesterday to a local Chinese restaurant & had some delicious lobster fresh out fr. the tank cooked w/ garlic & onion as I requested. It made our day!

                          Since I already covered crab in some of the restaurants on my list & thought no need to post the Qs. There is a big thread re. crab on this board. It was very helpful.

                          For breakfast, we can eat anywhere between the places we plan to visit ( tourist places: Golden Gate Park, FW, Place of Fine Arts, Union Square, China town) and Holiday Inn SFO aiprort. We have only 4 days to reintroduce the city to my parents w/ 2 little ones in tow. No plan to take them to the Cliff House, though. My parents prefer Pho instead of a lavish western style breakfast. %>)

                          My husband & my father can live w/ Chinese food for all week. I like varieties.

                          Rainforest is for the kid; there is some thing for them to wander after meal; their lobster rolls are not too bad.

                          I put a "?" on Aziza since I checked out their web site, read their environment description & looked at the mark" Good for Kids: No" on Yelp.

                          You see I'm trying to balance the dining preference of 6 people here. :>)

                        3. re: kayla8
                          k
                          kayla8 RE: kayla8 Feb 10, 2008 10:06 AM

                          We are replacing New Asia ( old school dimsum) w/ Tonkiang for a different cuisine ( Hakah (sp?)) beside the health violation in Nov. I hope I won't get slammed on this fr. New Asia's fans out there. :>)

                          1. re: kayla8
                            Xiao Yang RE: kayla8 Feb 10, 2008 10:44 AM

                            I don't think New Asia has any fans under the age of 80.

                            1. re: Xiao Yang
                              k
                              kayla8 RE: Xiao Yang Feb 10, 2008 11:53 AM

                              :>) :>) :>)

                              Thanks!

                          2. re: kayla8
                            m
                            ML8000 RE: kayla8 Feb 11, 2008 11:16 AM

                            I like Howard's but it really is a greasy spoon. It's a short block away to Park Chow. I'd suggest a walk by Howards.

                            For parking near 9th/Irving, park in GG Park, at the 9th St entrance, it's free. At night it's one of the best parking secrets in SF, if you're the area.

                            1. re: ML8000
                              k
                              kayla8 RE: ML8000 Feb 11, 2008 04:43 PM

                              Park Chow's menu sounds more persuasive to me. Hm... There are too many choices, now.

                          3. re: rworange
                            hill food RE: rworange Feb 9, 2008 09:56 PM

                            was Mel's ever good? I mentioned it as parking is sort of easy...

                            I always liked Ocean City for dim sum, but if you're bumping North Beach over parking - CTown's worse (but does have garages)

                            1. re: hill food
                              rworange RE: hill food Feb 9, 2008 11:33 PM

                              Yeah, when Mel's opened they were very good. As is often the case, once they expanded the quality dived. Back in the day when they opened in about the 80's(?) the staff had 50's uniforms, girls with poodle skirts and that sort of thing. They had really good breakfasts and the daily special, especially the short ribs, were excellent. They still do a decent enough corned beef and cabbage ... tho it has been about 2 years since I had it so who knows.

                              1. re: hill food
                                Xiao Yang RE: hill food Feb 10, 2008 06:50 AM

                                In Chinatown, Portsmouth Square offers two hours of free validated parking. Most merchants nearby will validate.

                                1. re: Xiao Yang
                                  k
                                  kayla8 RE: Xiao Yang Feb 10, 2008 09:24 AM

                                  Wow, free parking in prime areas of San Francisco? Thanks a lot for the great parking tip!

                                2. re: hill food
                                  Carrie 218 RE: hill food Feb 10, 2008 08:14 AM

                                  Mel's is good for what it is: Big Greasy Diner Food. Sometimes (late night, for example), there is nothing better than a huge burger, a platter of crisp onion rings (with real onions inside!), and a malt. I'd take Mel's over Lori's for that sort of experience any day of the week.

                                  1. re: Carrie 218
                                    rworange RE: Carrie 218 Feb 10, 2008 09:32 AM

                                    Danming with faint praise. At one time Lori's was good too.

                                  2. re: hill food
                                    s
                                    sugartoof RE: hill food Feb 12, 2008 07:56 PM

                                    Mel's can be good for a Turkey Club...but since most of their food is so bad now it's hard to order anything with confidence. A lot of the safe items (like burgers) aren't so safe anymore. There really was a period when Mel's had pretty darn good food, and really great milkshakes.

                                    1. re: sugartoof
                                      m
                                      ML8000 RE: sugartoof Feb 12, 2008 09:04 PM

                                      There's two things I order at Mel's, the BLT and the burger. It use to only be the BLT but I went once and didn't want bacon and the burger turned out surprisingly well -- cooked to order (med rare) and like $6.50, seemed like fresh chuck as well. Everything else, not so sure.

                            2. Carrie 218 RE: kayla8 Feb 10, 2008 08:17 AM

                              Re: Aziza on being kid-friendly...

                              I think there are two inherent problems; first, the restaurant is relatively dark (no way to give them a book or crayons to amuse them) and second, what makes Aziza really, really good is the $50 five-course meal which most kids don't have the patience for. You didn't say how old the child is. I have known a 10 year-old who adore Aziza but I would be reluctant to bring one in that is four or five.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Carrie 218
                                k
                                kayla8 RE: Carrie 218 Feb 10, 2008 09:29 AM

                                Thanks for the clarification on Aziza as I suspcted.

                                The muchkins are 17 month old & almost 4 yrs old. The little one can sit & eat up to only an hr now. She loves to eat; quietly w/ intense focus on chowing down her food. The chef should see her expression when she likes the food "Yummmm.." w/ her head leaning to the back. Life is wonderful! We had no problem w/ her eating in fine French restaurants in our Denver trip last yr when she was 1 yr old. Now she is 17mos , mobility is her favorite thing; she needs to get up, moving around. We may take her to the chain Rainforest in FW ( Fisherman's Wharf).

                                1. re: Carrie 218
                                  susancinsf RE: Carrie 218 Feb 10, 2008 10:05 AM

                                  I completely disagree that it is the $50 five course meal that makes Aziza so good. I never order that (waay too much food for me, and I am not a light eater), and I absolutely LOVE Aziza. Nor do I think the front room is that dark. It just simply isn't too dark for crayons, in my experience. OTOH, I'd want an hour and a half there, not just an hour. Of course, I would also want an hour and a half at most of the Chinese places in town too. In any event, if OP wants to go to Rainforest for the sake of the kid being able to run around, I'd say food is not the primary criteria here. If it was, the solution would be somewhere with a patio or adjacent outdoor area (especially this weekend since the weather is decent)...certainly not Rainforest. (Further discussions of which belong on the Chains Board).

                                  1. re: susancinsf
                                    Robert Lauriston RE: susancinsf Feb 10, 2008 10:13 AM

                                    I'm a big eater, and thought the five-course meal was a reasonable amount of food. Though you could eat just as well ordering a la carte.

                                2. Glencora RE: kayla8 Feb 10, 2008 10:18 AM

                                  Are you going to the De Young museum in Golden Gate Park? The cafe is next to the sculpture garden. Lots of space for the toddler to explore. Not bad food, either. If the weather continues to be this nice, that might work well.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Glencora
                                    k
                                    kayla8 RE: Glencora Feb 10, 2008 10:30 AM

                                    Yes, De Young is on our list. Thanks for the tip of the cafe there. Had not tried it before.

                                    Crossing my fingers; it won't rain-- too much. The low 60Fs is still considered "cold" for wimbies like us fr warm & sunny San Diego. It was in the 80s yesterday & 70Fs today here. :>)

                                    1. re: kayla8
                                      Robert Lauriston RE: kayla8 Feb 11, 2008 09:28 AM

                                      I found the food at the De Young cafe really depressing, especially given the great cheap food nearby in the Richmond.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                        rworange RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 11, 2008 03:42 PM

                                        I did too, but have you been recently? They are doing things like movie nights with dinner and special monthly theme dinners that kind of tie in with exhibits.

                                        That being said, the prices are "are they kidding?" expensive for these event dinners. So I was curious if there were recent changes within the last year or so.

                                        1. re: rworange
                                          Robert Lauriston RE: rworange Feb 11, 2008 04:43 PM

                                          This was last April, just the regular lunch menu.

                                  2. k
                                    kayla8 RE: kayla8 Feb 10, 2008 12:14 PM

                                    See latest list above in the reply to rworange.

                                    Bakery: Tartine

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: kayla8
                                      k
                                      kayla8 RE: kayla8 Feb 19, 2008 04:55 PM

                                      Just wanted to thank again for all the tips! They made our trip much easier w/ the 2 little ones. We got a brand new Grand Caravan SE to get around town.

                                      We were flexible to accommodate to our little girl's nap. We also were lucky w/ the dry weather & parking; usually found parking just 1 block away fr. restaurants; except Koi Palace. Used parking garage twice-- FW ($10 flat rate) & Portsmouth -- forgot to get the validation fr. some of the vendors. My father really spent big bucks on ginseng.

                                      We enjoyed shopping in Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, Burlingame Ave, Union st, and 24th in Noe Valley. Had some good chocolate in Noe Valley; the one on Union is not that great. We had a pleasant stroll on Burlingame Ave & loaded w/ boxes of goodies from Copenhagen after a sumptuous breakfast at Crepevine.

                                      Dining was great except @ La Vie; the 2 beef dishes we ordered were kind of chewy. I guess we did not order the signature one: crab. Their menu seems to be overpriced, especially the crab ($50 for a large one); I don't see any gold plate on the crab. :> I wished we went to Lee Hou ,instead, for the crab. Another note is that they do not have high chair. I could not believe a Vietnamese restaurant has no high chair; their environment doesn't look like a high-end fine dining.

                                      For breakfast, we tried dimsum 2 days in a row @ Ton kiang (Hakkah style) and Koi Palace ( Cantonese style). We like both of them. Had ginger crab at Koi Palace. The service at both places was good & kid-friendly. We ate dimsum on the weekdays-- so no wait at all.

                                      Lunch @ Tajine was a pleasant one; the food was delicious & service was kid-friendly.

                                      We missed dining at Yaya on Burlingame on our first night; we went for a Chinese buffet Bejing nearby the hotel instead. It did not justify >$100 for a car rental or $30-$40 cab rides for 6 of us that evening just to go to dinner. We got a better deal for the weekend car rental for the rest of our trip.

                                      It was challenging/hazardous to take the kids to the Coriya Hotpot City; we managed to have a decent meal, though. The paella @ Cafe Arguello is delicious & big portion.

                                      We had a great trip!

                                      1. re: kayla8
                                        daveena RE: kayla8 Feb 19, 2008 07:00 PM

                                        Man, this seems to have been a bad weekend for my favorite restaurants - Ad Hoc, Incanto, and Canteen got so-so reviews from modernist, and now your report on La Vie - anyway, thanks for taking the time to report back, and glad your overall trip was great!

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