SF report from an East Coast hound
Just came back from a week in SF (interrupted in the middle by two days in Yosemite) and thought I'd share a few eating experiences.
We got there at noon on Saturday and since we were both starving we set out in search of food. We were staying at the Courtyard by Marriott on Second and Folsom, and we were idly drifting towards North Beach when two short blocks down I saw the words SATURDAY BRUNCH. This was in front of Eddie Rickenbacker's. We peeked in, saw the motorcycles hanging from the ceiling, and said "sold." I had the ham omelet, which was more of a western but still great (and not overcooked!) and sided with a load of fresh fruit while my husband had the burger. Good service too, although the owner creeped us out a bit and we were amused by the old guy who wandered in playing an acoustic guitar and singing old country songs.
Sunday we ate garlic fries at AT&T Park during the Giants game, prompting a serious conversation on whether or not they were better at Safeco Field in Seattle. Safeco's fries use close to raw garlic and not as much parsley, but both of them are still good. We went out with friends from San Jose Sunday night, and they took us to the Beach Chalet at Ocean Beach. I had the roast chicken which was decent, but my husband was disappointed with his seafood pasta dish, mostly because the portion size was ridiculously small. We got the idea this was kind of a tourist trap, but our hosts made up for it by getting us stupid drunk at Dimples in Japantown.
Monday morning, thanks to a few recommendations from 'hounds we hit Cafe Bean on Sutter Street. My husband had the apple Dutch pancake which he loved and I ordered the Dutch Smasher, which I enjoyed although if one claims that the dish is served on toast the bread should actually be, you know, toasted. We went back to Eddie Rickenbacker's for a bite before heading out to the Raiders game. My husband got the burger again while I went for the BLT, which was outstanding--served on sourdough grilled in real butter, thick-cut bacon, butter lettuce, good tomatoes and gobs of mayo (there's no such thing in my world as too much mayo). The steak fries accompanying the sandwich were cooked perfectly as well. The owner was asleep but we did get to visit with the resident cat, Mr. Higgins. God, that's one humongous cat.
After returning from Yosemite on Thursday we trekked to Caffe Macaroni Scuie Scuie on Columbus Street--we'd been there when we'd taken a "culinary walking tour" through North Beach and loved it so that was the only place that demanded a return visit. Both of us had pizza margherita--being an East Coast girl I adore thin crust pizza and this was the best I've had this side of the Mississippi--as well as pasta alla Genovese and their fantastic tiramisu. We bought another pizza and a box of cookies to take back to the hotel with us. The pizza tasted just as good cold!
Friday started on kind of a bum note--we decided to play tourist and ride the cable car to Fisherman's Wharf (on our last visit the car broke down on Taylor Street). My husband wanted to eat a chocolate croissant at Ghiradhelli's shop in the Square. Ugh--cold greasy croissants with horrible burnt coffee. However, we did get to In-N-Out Burger there as well. Great burgers, meh fries, but now I can say I've been there.
We also took advantage of the Whole Foods on Fourth Street for a couple of meals. Good salad bar and healthy stuff.
The owner of Eddie Rickenbacker's is Norman Hobday, a.k.a. Henry Africa, who is credited with inventing the Fern Bar (not Eddie's). He is a little peculiar in his dotage and seems to make a hobby of being un-PC. Sitting in one of the seats with a motorcycle hanging directly over your head doesn't exactly put you at ease, either.
FWIW, a "Western" omelet out here is called a "Denver" omelet.
The best thing about the Beach Chalet (apart from the view) is the WPA murals, IMHO.
Nice report especially about Eddie Rickenbacker's. Good to know about the Saturday brunch.
Well, you are now an honorary San Franciscan ... stuck on a broken cable car.
Previous Eddie Rickenbacker report
Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant
1000 Great Hwy., San Francisco, CA 94121
Caffe Macaroni Sciue Sciue
124 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94111
133 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94105
800 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate
900 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109