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Once more unto the Bay, dear 'Hounds: Vancouverites looking for SF bites

We are booked for our fifth jaunt to our favourite place for a gastronomic getaway (Thur-Tues end of March, five dinners, many snacks I hope) and I've been trying to think of a way to ask for help that will be a bit more interesting for the Bay Area 'Hounds who get questions like this about every 10 seconds. So here's my attempt at variety: instead of asking for recommendations of a type of restaurant, I'll list places/foods that have intrigued me in poring over your board. Full disclosure: we're staying at Bush and Powell but love your transit, we have no major food hatreds/allergies (omnivores) and budget is not a major issue but clothing could be as we don't bring "dressup" clothes and long waits/lineups are a dealbreaker. If you have opinions pro or con (or better ideas), please do tell! Anticipating your thoughts, I remain your servant here in Vancouver and thank you kindly in advance.

Beretta for caponatina with burrata

Coffee-rubbed pork shoulder at Range

Cheeseburger at Taylor’s Automatic Refresher or burger and fries at O-Izakaya

Pho ga at Turtle Tower (sfbing says don't ask for basil, good tip!)

Meatballs with grapes at Aziza

Los Pastores for chicken flautas, chilaquiles but I fear the heartbreak of a closed sign

El Buen Sabor for carnitas tacos

El Delfin for a sitdown Mexican dinner with the volcán en molcajete front and centre

Seven courses of beef at Pagolac

fried buttermilk spring onions ($5.00) at Magnolia Pub

shrimp hush puppies at 1300 Fillmore

izakaya night at Sebo

Jeanty at Jack's or Restaurant Jeanne d’Arc

Canton Seafood & Dim Sum (SOMA) or City View (Chinatown) for dimsum or Yank Sing for xlb and sesame balls just to see what the fuss is about

Maverick for brunch

Nob Hill Grille for breakfast

Café Zitouna for breakfast

Cento for BB coffee and a breakfast polenta

Yellow Pa Taut, Mandalay or Pagan for Burmese -- I'd really love your thoughts here as I've read every report I can find and I still can't decide

Lers Ros for reportedly very authentic Thai dishes

Bund Shanghai for braised pork belly/butt, rice cakes with spinach and bacon

Basil Canteen for duck curry

Da Beef for a Vienna beef dog

Sentinel for chai/sandwiches

Liguria Bakery North Beach for focaccia

XOX for a cup of Graffeo and a free truffle

Cavalli Books and Cafe for filled to order cannoli and grilled sandwiches

Sotto Mare for sand dabs

an early 52nd floor view cocktail at the Carnelian Room (but note lack of dressy clothes?)

pint o' Guinness in one of Johnny Foley's snugs

Mission Pie for (duh) pie

Citizen Cupcake for (duh) cupcakes

Spiced-chocolate doughnut at Dynamo Donut with a Four Barrel coffee (or should we go to Four Barrel and get a doughnut?

Vanilla ice blended from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (I know, not an SF chain...)

Golden Boy at Grant and Green for Sicilian pizza slices

I may be on my own for one day in which case I will try:
Burmese By The Bite stall in the “food dungeon” , Holly Li's tamales at Sutter Café and look at Le Sanctuaire molecular gastronomy store because I'm intrigued and the SO would be oh-so-bored :-).

Tried and true favourites:
Café de la presse
Poc Chuc
Larkin Express Deli
Roli Roti

And here's some links to give you an idea what we liked from our November trip:
Tadich Grill http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573854
Blue Bottle http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573858
Lime Tree http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573860
Canteen dinner http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573864
Farmers Markets http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573868
Mission http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573869
Bar Tartine http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573872
Canteen and Café de la presse breakfasts http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573873
Bodega Bistro http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573874
La Ciccia http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573876
Fruitvale http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/571843

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  1. A couple of quick notes:
    Zitouna is no longer open for breakfast. It's closed Mondays; other days it opens at 11:00, but on Fridays, for some reason, not until 1:00 pm.

    The "food dungeon" has been closed for at least 6 months.



    1 Reply
    1. re: lmarie

      Many thanks for this intel, lmarie, duly noted.

    2. Impressive, well researched list grayelf. As my wife and I will also be visiting the city soon, I'll look forward to your always interesting and detailed trip report.

      1. Rosamunde and Toronado tandem. See prior discussions.
        House-made sausages (Rosamunde) can be carried next door to Toronado.
        Good happy hour pricing for an extensive selection of beers(many/most not available in Canada)

        Toronado Pub
        547 Haight St, San Francisco, CA

        Rosamunde Sausage Grill
        545 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

        4 Replies
        1. re: tranewreck

          Thanks, tranewreck, maybe the Haight for Magnolia, Toronado and Rosamunde (be still my arteries)? What do you love at Toronado?

          1. re: grayelf

            I'm partial to the Russian River concoctions and cask conditioned ales. There are always Magnolias on tap if you want to consolidate your visits. Rosamunde's sausages marry well with the potables next door. I go for the wild boar, beer, lamb, but have had them all and they all work.

            1. re: tranewreck

              and if you decide to do both it is an easy walk, about 10-15 minutes and downhill if you hit Magnolia first.

        2. Wow. I'm impressed. I'm planning a trip to NOLA and haven't gotten nearly as far as you.

          Just some notes:

          If going to turtle tower, go to the one in the tenderloin and wait to eat in the main room. The branch in the richmond doesn't rinse their noodles enough (kids these days) and the back room in the tenderloin can get stuffy.

          Try a cocktail at Aziza--they're very original. But then I'm a girl. If you want manly classic drinks, go to Bourbon and Branch.

          I'm a pig at Pagolac--in addition to 7 courses of beef, add the sugarcane shrimp and get the hot taro pudding. I prefer Pagolac's 7, but sometimes it is inexplicably jammed with people and when it is crowded service is still sweet but flaky. Anh Hong is an alternative 7 courses place which is preferred by my Vietnamese relatives, but trickier for ordering especially with just two people. If you're interested, I could elaborate on Anh Hong (but the beef in their sausage preps isn't quite as fresh--there. I've said it.)

          The bitter melon stirfry is very good at Sebo. Four people can allow you to try the entire menu, but I should mention that it may not be the best place to go to if you are watching your blood pressure.

          If you're from Vancouver, skip dim sum here. Really.

          Don't skip the donut holes if you go to Maverick for brunch. And eat them hot.

          I like Yellow Pa Taut because the food seems very homey, but if you're taking public transportation, I would go in the daytime. Pagan is a safer choice for night time dining. I think both are much better than Burma Superstar.

          There are vicious cupcake wars around here and a branch of Kara's Cupcakes (which I think is less sweet and frosting crazy than Sprinkles) is in the Marina if you want to participate.

          5 Replies
          1. re: sfbing

            I'm also a fan of Pagolac's 7, I enjoyed it more than Anh Hong. My favorite course was the beef carpaccio, very nice harmony of flavors.

            Berreta usually has a wait, but if you go early you can snag a table easy. My favorites there are the chicken liver crostini and the sardines en saor. Nice cocktails there as well.

            1. re: sfbing

              Thanks, sfbing, for another good TT tip -- I've gotten so many great ones from SF Bay Area 'Hounds I suppose I shouldn't be singling you out but what the heck :-). I am going to try to keep track of who recommends what so I can give proper credit in my report (famous last words).

              Since we're hoping to hit Aziza this time, we'll definitely try the cocktails or at least I will as I am a female elf.

              Anh Hong sounds cool and I would love to hear more about it but I'm kinda stuck on Pagolac for this trip -- we missed it last time because it was closed the only day we could go IIRC. My BIL lives in SF so we sometimes have an extra stomach with us and I know he loves the 7-beef at Pagolac so I'm sure we could convince him to try it elsewhere.

              Never developed a taste for bitter lemon, more's the pity, but I'd try it again for sure. I take it you are talking about the Sunday menu at Sebo.

              We've been for dimsum a few times in SF and in fact had the best dim sum of our lives in 2003 before I got into taking notes etc so sadly no name (though I believe it was on Geary, not that that narrows it down much) -- I've certainly never been offended by the yum cha experience in your city but I take your point.

              I'm so at Maverick if there's doughnut holes -- how did I not know this??

              Thanks for the heads up on Yellow Pa Taut. Is the nabe sketchier than the Tenderloin? We've only been spooked once and it was going to that Vietnamese place that Julia Child liked back in 2003 -- same area?

              I am a peacenik when it comes to cupcakes; I suppose one of the reasons I wanted to swing by was I met Elizabeth Falkner once at the FPFM and she was just so darn nice. Is that a dumb reason to go?

              Dezzer, you've really convinced me about Pagolac by mentioning the beef carpaccio in particular. Thanks also for the warning about lines at Beretta -- I take it they don't do resos. Will definitely try the cocktails if we make it there and the SO is a chicken liver fiend so thanks for that too.

              1. re: grayelf

                If you start to feel stuffed at Pagolac, wrap your rolls up for later. They make an excellent midnight snack or if you're in a movie theater. Anh Hong's service is more brusque but also more efficient (it doesn't take forever to get more herbs, rice paper, water, etc. and they are more generous to begin with). In order to get the grill at Anh Hong, you have to order separately (beef and shrimp is a good one).
                Raw beef salad-Pagolac is much better.
                Vinegar fondue-Anh Hong has a tastier broth.
                banh hoi dishes (try shrimp wrapped in beef), grills - better at Anh Hong
                Sausages and skewers-fresher at Pagolac (although they don't do the labor intensive meatball that Anh Hong has, which isn't my favorite anyway).
                Porridge--definitely Pagolac wins here.

                The bitter melon at Sebo has made a convert of me, a bitter melon hater from childhood. And yes, that is the Sunday menu. No sushi available on Sunday!

                Yellow Pa Taut is totally fine in daytime and the location itself is ok. The problem is getting there from downtown. At night, it is definitely sketchier than the Tenderloin. I wouldn't have a problem hanging out in the Tenderloin, but I would never let someone go south of Market down 7th on their own on foot at night.

                1. re: grayelf

                  Beretta only takes resos for parties of 6, I believe, and their bartenders are from Bourbon and Branch. If you can't make it to Beretta, I just read about a chicken entrail dish at Lers Ros Thai (the fiend in me talking)!

                  1. re: DezzerSF

                    I can already see us whipping out the leftover rolls in our hotel room later :-). Thanks for the comparo btwn Anh Hong and Pagolac, sfbing. Will ruminate further (I do love those meatballs if they are what I think they are -- pork based, right?) but it is the 7 beef I am really set on.

                    One thing we don't pursue in SF is sushi as we have so many options here. Dim sum I'm still willing to try as it can be a snack or a lunch...

                    YPT intrigues for some reason but will take your caution under advisement for sure.

                    Dezzer, I read that post too and I fear I am a bad 'Hound offal wise -- my parents are offal heads and forced kidney, liver, tongue, heart, head cheese etc on me as a child so I'm going to claim early childhood offal trauma as my excuse. Having said that, Lers Ros is heavily in the running for one of our five precious dinners as I have been reading about many other dishes there that appeal (the trout with mango sounds right up my alley).

              2. Not Taylor's.

                However, if it is one of those places you must try like visitors who insist on eating at In-N-Out ... you gotta do, what you gotta do. However, IMO, it is a waste of a SF meal.

                I was at the St. Helena location a few Sunday's ago, and you inspired me to finally post about it.

                St. Helena: No longer a Taylor's Refresher's virgin ... I feel defiled

                3 Replies
                1. re: rworange

                  Laughed out loud at your title, rwo -- I think I will take your advice as you've not steered me wrong before. I don't feel that compelled, and actually like the sound of the O-Izakaya burg more. I think Carrie218 is quite a fan of that one, IIRC.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    I think the timing may be off but near O Izakaya, is May's coffee shop which sells tai yaki, fish-shaped dessert waffles.

                    Don't know if they are common up your way or not. There's a link to a good article about the two places that sell them in the Bay Area in the Place record. I haven't tried them yet, but they are on my to-try list.

                    It might make a nice dessert as these aren't very big from my understanding. However, they are best hot, as is any waffle, and I'm not sure if the hours they come hot off the griddle line up with the hours the burger is available.

                    I suspect May's is worth a special trip, but if you are in the area it might be interesting.

                    1. re: rworange

                      I have heard of tai yaki but never tried them -- duly noted.

                2. Pretty good. I absolutely cannot recommend Canton for dim sum, though. Avoid!

                  I'm not a fan of City View -- I'm still smarting from the "gringo treatment" I got there many years ago. I think it's built its reputation mostly on Financial District types who aren't very knowledgeable about dim sum and/or who like a more Westernized atmosphere. In other words, there may be dim sum maven quality dim sum there, but I'm not sure that a non-Chinese person will get it.

                  Grayelf drop me a line at the email in my profile, will you?

                  1. not Canton: a complete waste coming from Vancouver. Not sure I'd even go for Yank Sing for xlb.

                    Pastores, alas, has been closed when I've been by the last two or three times (daytime, various days of the week, most recently Thursday).

                    I am not a fan of the cupcakes at Citizen Cake. But then, I am not a huge cupcake fan in general.

                    Why Jeanty at Jack's? (not a fan, think it is overpriced and only average food). There must be better French in Vancouver.

                    Aziza definitely, and have a cocktail.

                    Cocktails are also a highlight at Range. However, I am not at all sure the coffee-rubbed pork shoulder is always on the menu there, though I haven't been in a while, you might want to call and ask....(it isn't on their current on line menu).

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: susancinsf

                      Okay, okay, I get it -- no dim sum for the Vancouverites :-). I actually forgot to check if City View has carts anyway. I find carts are one way to avoid the dreaded gringo treatment, at least in Vancouver, because you can physically chase them down if you see "the good stuff" making a wide berth past your table.

                      JatJ has been vaguely on my list for ages, partly because it is quite near our hotel and there always seems to be one meal that we just don't feel like schlepping too far for (usually our last night in town). I also noticed it got some good writeups during this year's DAT. I don't eat enough "traditional" French food to know if it is better here, though I do think we have a few moderately priced options that are worthwhile which is maybe a bit unusual for French.

                      I did notice that the pork shoulder seems to drift on and off the menu at Range, susan. I think it was on when we were there in November but we opted for La Ciccia instead which as you know turned out to be a very good decision :-).

                      1. re: grayelf

                        I am just not convinced you will enjoy JatJ. I really didn't like it, and was surprised at how expensive it turned out to be..... There must be something else that isn't too much of a shlep, will think on that....

                        1. re: susancinsf

                          Much obliged. As an example, we were plumb tuckered out on our last night in November and when we realized Asuka was only a few blocks away, imagine our delight. That was a perfect combo of tasty food and convenience.

                        2. re: grayelf

                          Grayelf, fantastic research: my compliments! I'll echo rworange and susanincf: you've got better dimsum in Vancouver. I'm always falling over myself trying to get to Sun Sui Wah and Kirin when I visit your fair city. As for French food, your Crocodile is so very much better than Jeanty at Jack's or Jeanne d'Arc!

                          (My sister and BIL live in Vancouver, so I'm also trying to remember what excites my sister when she comes down here.)

                          If you don't mind driving out of the city for an hour, I think you might enjoy Manresa. The food is delicious, innovative, and you did express an interest in molecular gastronomy. And even if it rates 2 Michelin stars (deserved, IMHO), you can go in jeans and a decent shirt and not look out of place.

                          Are you going to the Ferry Plaza Market on Saturday morning? You must go by the La Cocina stall (I think it's outside Sur la Table) and get a pack of the alfajores. Please, please, don't miss the alfajores! (Take that plea as a token of my gratitude for your great suggestions when I last visited Vancouver.) And the chocolate covered espresso cardamom cookies by Kika's Treats are worth every calorie. For savory food, try Primavera, the Mexican food stall outside (way back). If they have the tacos el pastor, don't miss them, but their other offerings are good, too.

                          If you do go to XOX for that cup of coffee, take the opportunity to have more than the one free truffle. Try the cognac, champagne, caramel, and lemon ginger. They're very small anyway. . . I can promise that I've done a good deal of research on local chocolatiers, and XOX is definitely among the very best.

                          I hope you enjoy your stay in San Francisco as much as I enjoy visiting Vancouver!

                          1. re: pilinut

                            I just did a quick search to see what I might have recommended to you pili but came up empty but glad you were satisfied . I will look for the alfajores -- there is a pasta store two blocks from my house that also makes them and I've never tested them there. The FPFM is a must visit for us (we've been four times now) and I am a convert to the Primavera chilaquiles. Never a bad thing to eat a taco al pastor though :-). The only issue will be if we can control ourselves at Roli Roti as that porchetta sandwich is heaven on bread. Which leads me to a perpetual dilemma: do you as an aspiring "good" 'Hound only try new places/eats or do you allow yourself the luxury of revisiting and enjoying past favourites again? That to my mind is the true Omnivore's Dilemma :-).

                            1. re: grayelf

                              Hi, Grayelf, I tried to track down the inquiry I made re Vancouver, but it seems that it was so far back (pre-2006) it doesn't show up anymore. But I remember people who give good advice :-)

                              Don't forget the alfajores!

                              1. re: pilinut

                                You are very kind but I cannot tell a lie: I only discovered this board in 2007 so it must have been some other elf that helped you :-). I look forward to the chance to make up for that next time you are visiting, though. And thanks for the alfajores reminder!

                          2. re: grayelf

                            Hi grayelf, just got back from a weekend in SF! Had a fanastic dinner at La Ciccia (I remember reading it in one of your posts from a while ago - big thank you to you and whoever recommended La Ciccia to you!) on Saturday night - gizzards with prosciutto and mushrooms to start, linguine with petrale sole, gnocchini with pork sugo, and lamb with mushrooms. This place is as good or better than La Buca! Friday's dinner was at Canteen (fantastic as always), Saturday's lunch was roast chicken, porchetta and pork knuckle from Roli Roti at Ferry Market. Snacks in between included a croque madame from Cafe de la Presse (we usually stay at the Orchard Garden across the street), egg tarts from Golden Gate Bakery, napoleons and cannolis from Mara's, tacos from La Taqueria, bread pudding and croissants from Tartine. Our last meal was an unplanned walk up at Delfina yesterday. Not bad ,but I much preferred my meal at La Ciccia. Included in my carry-on to Vancouver? Trail mix and almond brittle from G. Alfieri, a dozen egg tarts from GG bakery, and coconut and banana cream tarts from Tartine (a very nice waiter at SFO's Mission Bar stashed my tarts in the bar fridge during the 3-hour delay!). Hope you have a fantastic trip next month! :o)

                            1. re: im_hungry

                              Ooooh, I've seen the pork knuckle at RoliRoti, but I've never tried it. Can you tell me more about it (especially since I was the one who insisted grayelf had to try La Ciccia)?

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                Thanks so much for the recommendation for La Ciccia!!! I loved the food there and will definitely be heading back there the next time we visit SF.

                                The pork knuckle wasn't bad. I have to admit that I was a tiny bit disappointed b/c it looked so good rolling around on the rotisserie. In the spirit of full disclosure, I think the knuckles were *just* about ready when I ordered mine. The guy had to stick the thermometer in a few of the knuckles before he found one to his satisfaction. I loved the crispy skin and sticky fatty underlayer. I tried to let the knuckle rest for a while, but the skin was too tempting and ended up burning my fingers a couple of times. The meat was a bit tough, but I think this had to do more with the "just ready" factor and would probably have had better texture had I ordered the knuckle an hour later. Let's just say that a hot pork knuckle isn't the easiest to cut with a wimpy plastic fork, and it's too large to gnaw on like a drumstick. The knuckle wasn't very seasoned and didn't taste all that different from the porchetta. I think I was also a bit disappointed b/c of my high expectations...I was hoping the knuckle would have the same sort of crunchy, sticky, fall apart goodness as a roasted pig's foot. All in all, I think I'd try the knuckle again for the crispy skin, but if I only had $10 in my wallet, I'd spend it on chicken :o)

                                1. re: im_hungry


                                  La Ciccia
                                  291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                              2. re: im_hungry

                                Thanks, i_h. It sounds like we have similar tastes for SF food! I'm dying of jealousy that you had linguine with petrale which is one of my two favourite fish thanks to prior trips to the Bay Area (sand dabs are the other).

                            2. re: susancinsf

                              BTW at the time of your post susaninsf, Irma (of Pastores) had been in Seattle for a couple of weeks. We at there the night of Feb 14th., avoiding all the Valentine's evening angst. She s/b open more regularly now.

                            3. A few quick thoughts ...

                              Golden Boy is a fine for locals type of place where it is about on of the few games in town for Sicilian pizza slices but while fine, as a visitor I wouldn't spend my calories there. You might check out Danilo a few doors away. This was a terrific bakery and sold a few years ago. They still have some baked goods but the focus these days is on grilled sandwiches and I'm thinking they have Sicilian pizza too. Really great owner. The sandwiches are on my to-try list.

                              All that being said, some people might like Golden Boy better than Liguria due to expectations. The ambiance alone is worth it at Liguria, since little has changed except the cash register since it opened. Swell neighborhood place with everyone coming together ... the little Asian ladies after their workouts on Washington Sqaure, long-time Italian customers, rich, poor .. love the place. Just know this is all room temperature bread, so the pizza foccacia is not warm. Once I got over that on my first visit decades ago, I was fine.

                              Speaking of which, have you been to Mama's for breakfast across the street from Liguria?

                              I'd go to the Four Barrel store rather than the outdoor counter in the Mission. Then if you are unimpressed with the donut as I was you could trot over to Mission Beach Cafe for some excellent pastries. Not too long a walk to DeLessio's either with great baked goods ... especially the mini cupcakes.

                              If you go to the Mission location ... do not ... do NOT ... miss Humphrey Slocombe ice cream which is nearby. Actually a special trip there is worth it ... don't miss the secret breakfast ice cream ... goes best as a combo with the Blue Bottle coffee ice cream.

                              Citizen cupcake ... not so much for the cupcakes. If you must try their stuff, go to the restaurant which has a better selection of baked goods and the cupcakes are fine, but not the best thing they do. I like the gelato-like ice cream a lot for the seasonal flavors. They make some good chocolates. That area is interesting to wander about anyway.

                              I'd keep an eye on the board about ... gasp .. Sutro's at the Cliff House. In January they got a credible top chef to revise the menu and I'm curious to see if he turns the place around and starts serving more than tourist fodder. The lunch I had during Dining about Town was quite good, but he had only been on the job for two weeks.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: rworange

                                Pizza thoughts duly noted -- I think Liguria for the experience may be the way to go but if we find ourselves near GB/Danilo and snacky we'll have a look see.

                                No Mama's because of aforementioned lineup phobia -- ditto Dottie's, which we've cased several times on our way to other breakfast spots but bypassed due to massive waits.

                                I think I have to research the Four Barrel situation a bit more but I'm sure we will be in the Mission (BIL lives there) so will definitely hit HS for the "peam" as my toddler pal calls it. I can't believe I missed including that on my list as it has definitely been on my radar thanks in no small part to your writeups (I think yours was the first, no?).

                                I did read your comments on Sutro's and it is on my "watch" list. I'm hoping to see other reports before I firm up my eating itinerary, now that the head chef has had a chance to settle in. It is an area we have not spent much time in and sounds very beautiful.

                                1. re: grayelf

                                  No I just jumped on the HS bandwagon due to others reports. No secret breakfast for that toddler though.

                                  Depending on the weather, you might consider Sutro's for lunch and depending how much you like to walk, taking a stroll on the beach up to the lower part of Golden Gate park and the tulip gardens. Then you could take the bus back up geary and have dinner at Aziza which is near-ish the Cliff House. The other two restaurants at the Cliff House have NOTHING to do with Sutro's so they are so not worth it.

                                  1. re: rworange

                                    Aziza is looking more and more attractive, rwo, so thanks for this suggested itinerary. I walked so much last trip I had blisters for a month :-) and we still only saw the upper part of GG Park.

                                    1. re: grayelf

                                      Oh, if you haven't done Aziza yet, you should!

                              2. If Cafe de la Press is a personal favorite, fine. Nothing wrong with it. But if you're looking for similar venues nearby, I recommend Cafe Claude or Plouf. Just a thought.

                                Cafe Claude
                                7 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

                                40 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: BernalKC

                                  Thanks, Bernal, I should have been more clear that we have a little affaire de coeur going on specifically with Cdelap's breakfasts -- though we really should try one of the Belden places for lunch or dinner.

                                2. Thanks for your approach, Grayelf, living only a couple of hours away from the City and having several friends living there, you give a whole new perspective to ferreting out the gems that are available, and more importantly how to scedule them, your Oakland/Fruitvale escapade was classic. It's funny, but I've had an easier time planning my trips to Victoria and Vancouver proper than our basically equally frequent ones to SF. Basically, this is all to say, we hope to head your way this summer, so be prepared.



                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: PolarBear

                                    Gosh, PB, you are too kind! I think it is much easier to plan eating trips to Van and Vic -- you don't have to choose from 4300+ restaurants as you do in the Bay Area for one thing. I'm always pleased to be able to offer suggestions to other CH denizens when they head out our way, though there are much more experienced Vancouver 'Hounds at your disposal. I'll do my best to help and by then should have a few more local Chowdowns under my belt (pun intended).

                                  2. Finally was back in the CIty today, and after finally getting my garage cleaned out, the last stage in my official move to Merced, I had what might be a last meal for a while (well, at least for two or three weeks, I won't be able to stay away that long :-)) at Yats. Can't believe it took me so long to get there, but now that I have been: Greyelf: this is your type of place. Forget the shrimp hush puppies at 1300 Filmore. You really need to head over to Yats for an oyster or crayfish po boy. I haven't had a po'boy this good since the last time I was in NOLA. The gumbo was pretty darn good too. As was the corn chaux, which really had some heat; I was a bit surprised that it was hotter than the gumbo. You can go in your grubbiest clothes, and it is open all afternoon, so perfect for a lunch at odd hours. Thanks to Windy for suggesting it today!

                                    Some other reports have said the po boys were dry...or didn't like the bread: I am not enough of a po boy expert to compare the bread to anything, but I can attest that the sandwhich was filled with good size and flavorful oysters (also tried a bite or two of the crawfish, which was also quite good).

                                    Didn't check out the beer selection at the bar since I had a two plus hour drive ahead of me, but I am sure you could find something suitable. If you order ice tea you get sweetened Lipton in a bottle, which seemed right to me.

                                    Highly recommended as an addition to your list.

                                    Yats New Orleans Original Po Boys
                                    1609 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                      Sounds great -- I read Melanie Wong's post on this place and thought it sounded interesting but then the conflicting reports started coming in so I was a bit flummoxed. Will add it to the list, now that we've actually been to Potrero Hill and figured out how close it is to the Mission :-).

                                    2. This awesome event is happening before you're going to be here but since you're a fan of Roli Roti, you might want to find out if they'll be doing any events while you're town.

                                      Piccino is one our favorite places to lounge on Sundays and their thin-crust pizza rocks! We love that they actually season their crust, it adds so much flavor ot the finished pie.

                                      From the Piccino Newsletter:

                                      A Rotisserie Pig Afternoon with RoliRoti
                                      Sunday, March 8, Noon to 5pm
                                      We're pleased to announce that we've finally settled on a date with Thomas Odermatt of RoliRoti and Napa's Oxbow Market. The son of a Swiss Metzgermeister (Master Butcher), Thomas practically grew up in the family's Alpine butcher shop, where he learned proper butchering techniques and the value of pasture-raised meats from his father, Otto. Please join us for this all-day sidewalk event, where (new papa) Thomas will spin various cuts from a whole pig on his mobile rotisserie, while we provide the veggies, salads, pizzas, and vino. No reservations required.

                                      Piccino Restaurant & Coffee Bar
                                      1001 Minnesota St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: larochelle

                                        La Rochelle, that Piccino-Roli Roti event tip seems worthy of a thread of its own, since it may get inundated here by the flood of responses grayelf manages to trigger (she plays the SF board like a harpsichord!)

                                        1. re: Xiao Yang

                                          Larochelle, I am seriously considering changing all my plans just so I could go to that RR event! Deffo should have its own thread per XY's suggestion, methinks. Now I must go practice my harping skills as I still need all your help to finalize my eating itinerary -- stayed tuned for a new post from yours truly :-).

                                            1. re: grayelf

                                              I hear you on that: I have to be in SF the following weekend after the RR event for a dear friend's 50th, combined with dim sum, getting a La Ciccia fix, and everything else I miss about SF, and after reading larochelle's post I keep repeating to myself, "can't come to SF every weekend...can't come to SF every weekend..." :-)

                                              And thanks for Calvinist for the Pastores tip. Glad to hear it is open again. Will put it on the list for that upcoming weekend...

                                              Pastores Restaurant
                                              3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                        2. According to the Citizen Cake website, Citizen Cupcake has closed. This is presumably because its home (the Virgin Megastore) is closing soon. But the website directs you to other locations where you can try their cupcakes.


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: weem

                                            Thanks, weem, I just mentioned it to another Vancouverite who is coming to SF in early March so will now unmention.

                                            1. re: weem

                                              FWIW, There's a sign on the Citizen Cupcake premises saying they would be looking for a new venue.

                                            2. Try Eiji at 16th & Sanchez for Japanese. The house made tofu (ankake for warm savory; or oboro for more traditional) is fabulous. Don't miss the specials on the Board, especially the Black Cod in Miso Sauce. No reservations needed for lunch. DInner gets much more crowded.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: mikeyoke

                                                link 2

                                                Restaurant Eiji
                                                317 Sanchez St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                                                1. re: rworange

                                                  Thanks for that. And I just heard back from Casey at Canteen who was very apologetic for not callling back sooner (I forgot they don't do dinner service on Sunday). I was pretty impressed she was calling back on a day they're not open at all! All booked for March 26th 7:30 seating, and she even found a spot for my friend and her niece on March 10 for their prix fixe. Woo hoo! Dreaming of vanilla souffle tonight...

                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                    Seem to recall, the elf from Vancouver "plays the SF Board like a harpsichord... " this has to be the understatement of the year! OBTW, keep it up grayelf, we are all benefiting from your persistence.

                                                    1. re: PolarBear

                                                      LOL! Is it persistence or obsession? Either way, I can't say enough about the SF Bay Area Hounds and I hope one day to repay all of them when they visit Vancouver. The eatin' is pretty fine up here too, just different :-).

                                              2. grayelf, keep an eye out for what may be a terrific Tenderloin tip. I'm not going to steal anyone's thunder and I haven't checked it out yet. Will link as soon as someone posts.

                                                24 Replies
                                                1. re: rworange

                                                  Waiting with 'bated breath... for your tip and our upcoming trip.

                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                    OK, here it is

                                                    SF: Eden's Restaurant - Chef Vahit Basir found ... heavenly Halal lamb and beef gyros

                                                    I don't know what the Turkish food situation is in your neck of the woods or if you like Turkish food. The brother opened a fabulous restaurant in Petaluma with food that is similar. However the sauce here is different and doesn't travel as well otherwise I'd recommend taking one on the plane to eat. You could consider packing up a combo appetizer plate to go. Those dolmas with pine nuts and raisins have me intrigued.

                                                    BTW, not sure if late March means next week or the week after. If you are here on the 19th Danilo bakery will be making zepolle (Italian donuts) for St. Joseph's Day. I stopped by Danillo today looking for hot cross buns and a special dessert they once made on Sunday. Neither were available sadly. They are getting more and more popular. They were just packed and with many of the Italian locals. They just added gelato to the menu and the owner said the gelato is from Italy. I wouldn't put this place above LInguira, but again, I'd place it way above Golden Boy. I meant to check out the pizza, but they were just so busy.

                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                      If they are called donairs in Vancouver I think she will be thrilled.

                                                      1. re: wolfe

                                                        Cool! And wolfe is right, no really outstanding gyros in Vancouver. They are definitely more an eastern thing (no pun intended) as they were lots in the small town I lived in in Ontario.

                                                        We're going to be in your great city from Mar 26-31 so will be missing the zepolle, more's the pity. I've yet to meet a doughnut of any nationality that I didn't like.

                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                          The sauce though isn't sweet like you seem to be looking for, however, these are so good.

                                                          Emporio Rulli is making Bambolini now. I don't think I'm going to get over to SF for donuts Thursday, but I have Danilo high on my list and will probably be giving their Tuscan foccacia a try soon.

                                                          I always liked Danilo, especially the bread. Looking on the website it seems they have the oldest functioning bakery ovens in the United States. Cool picture on their website under the bakery of the ovens. Very cool photos of the family in the gallery

                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                            Is Danilo the old North Beach bakery that sold only foccacia, wrapped in paper and tied with string?

                                                            1. re: pilinut

                                                              No. That is LIngura. This is near Golden Boy Pizza and they always sold a full selection of Italian bread with lots of baked goods. The new owners added the cafe and cut back on the baked goods.

                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                I tried to make resos for our remaining dinners last night and the reservation gods were against me. Aziza is closed on Tuesdays, Pagolac doesn't take resos, and I had such a bad connection to Lers Ros I gave up. Will try again tonight, but does anyone have any intel on busy times at Pagolac? We were thinking of Friday night -- will that mean big lineups at primetime (7ish)?

                                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                                  I don't think you are going to have a problem at lers ros. It is pretty big, and I've never had a problem getting a table.

                                                                  There is probably going to be a line at 7ish on a Friday for Pagolac. If you can get there at 6, that would be better. Alternatively, you could go at 7, see if the wait is acceptable. If you can't wait, just go across the street to Lers Ros or walk up to Anh Hong.

                                                                  Or.. you could flip flop Pagolac and Aziza.

                                                                  1. re: sfbing

                                                                    Thanks, sfbing, that is a good plan. I've made notes on Anh Hong (which I didn't realize was a chain albeit appears to be run by a family) and of course Lers Ros. We just had bo 7 mon for the first time in Vancouver at Song Huong and loved it (report to come on Western Canada board), so I'm keen to see what it's like in SF. But then again we may opt for Bund Shanghai, our alternate for that night. The rice cakes with bacon and spinach and the braised pork leg are calling me... Damn you, massive resto choices in SF Bay area, damn you :-).

                                                                    Were you thinking Pagolac would be less busy on Saturday which is our current Aziza night??

                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                      My bad--for some reason I thought you were going to Aziza on Tuesday. I think Pagolac is equally busy Friday and Saturday.

                                                                      Yes, Anh Hong is a family chain although I think branches vary in quality. I know one family that has been known to drive all the way to San Jose and back for dinner, which I think is insane when you consider traffic. If you go, don't forget to order (1) grill dish ala carte and (1) banh hoi dish (I suggest sugarcane shrimp), which will vastly improve the experience.

                                                                      Oh, to answer your question from way back--Anh Hong's #6 is a meatball in which the beef has been pounded into submission and eaten with the shrimp cracker. Connoisseurs (not me) like the tender melt in your mouth sensation and will tell you that it is way more difficult to make than skewers (Pagolac's #6).

                                                                      1. re: sfbing

                                                                        Thanks, sfbing, duly noted. And FYI Aziza is *closed* Tuesdays :-).

                                                                        Slight wrinkle re plans requires a Mission-based brekkie on Sunday morning. I had thought Maverick but it doesn't open till 10:30. Any ideas for a good place, preferably nearish 20th and Mission, open earlier (say by 9 am)? I was wondering about Pastores...

                                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                                          Balompie (18th/Capp) serves Salvadorean fare, and they're open for breakfast at 8am. Pastores sounds interesting though.

                                                                          Balompie Cafe
                                                                          3349 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                          1. re: DezzerSF

                                                                            Another wrinkle: we had to rethink Aziza as they have a buyout on Sat but luckily they are open Mon and can take us then.

                                                                            My Sunday breakfast plans are leaning strongly toward Balompie. I haven't had good pupusas since I was in El Salvador and I won't tell you how long ago that was, even in cat years :-). I seem to recall they make for a very fine breakfast repast.

                                                                            Pastores is just a bit too far out, locale-wise. The other alternatives I've come up with are Boogaloo's and Craig's Place, neither of which appear to draw big raves. Any thoughts on these two, people?

                                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                                              I absolutely do not get why there are crowds at Boogaloo's. I think it is awful. 100% bad. I just don't get it.... maybe its the lack of alternatives in that stretch of Valencia?

                                                                              If it fits in your budget, Foreign Cinema's brunch is in a whole other category. Very nice.

                                                                              I've been meaning to check out Fattoush's brunch. I hear it is good. And I really like them for dinner and lunch...

                                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                                I tried to do a mini-elf tour on one of my infrequent trips to "The City" and passed Craig's Place. perhaps you have already seen the enthusiastic response.

                                                                                1. re: wolfe

                                                                                  Thanks BernalKC and wolfe -- The BIL suggested Craig's but not terribly enthusiastically, citing it as serviceable with large portions. I tried searching on Toast which led me to a mention of Chow at
                                                                                  Church and 14th which might work as it is open early. Foreign Cinema is deffo on my list but doesn't open till 11 am, sadly. Fattoush sounds cool too but like Pastores maybe a little too far out for this particular itinerary.

                                                                                  I am very lineup averse so sounds like Boogaloo's is out, especially if it doesn't even have wait-worthy grub.

                                                                                  Leaning more and more towards Balompie...

                                                                                  PS "mini-elf tour" -- love it.

                                                            2. re: grayelf

                                                              The donair that the folks in that thread are looking for in the style they serve in Halifax (Nova Scotia)...one of those strange Westernized ethnic hybrid foods. Turkish is thin on the ground here.

                                                              greyelf...remember - you are eating for the team. Don't let us down!

                                                              1. re: fmed

                                                                >>> greyelf...remember - you are eating for the team. Don't let us down!

                                                                It's not nice ... or good for the local economy ... to try to killl off visitors ... or good Chowhounds.

                                                                Well, to up the coronary risk a bit more ... IIRC, you signed up for the CUESA weekly news letter. If not, here it is.

                                                                It seems they will be having an nice event at the Saturday farmers market on the Saturday you will be here...

                                                                Saturday, March 28 ~ Hoof-a-Palooza
                                                                11 am - 1 pm - Learn about goat breeds and cheeses

                                                                11 am -1 pm - CUESA will be serving goat tacos featuring pasture raised Marin Sun Farms meat ($1 donation)

                                                                11:00 am - Seasonal cooking demonstration
                                                                Louis Maldonado, Café Majestic (will prepare a goat-centered dish)

                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                  Are there going to be actual goats? I don't know if I could look a goat in the face while I'm eating one.

                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                    Don't know. That would be baaaaad wouldn't it? Oh wait, it is sheep that baa.

                                                                    I don't think anyone would be crass enough to have a live goat sitting in the kitchen watching mom get turned into tacos. The goats, if any, would probably be outside somewhere ... nearer the cheese.

                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                      Thanks for the tip, rw. I did sign up but haven't got this week's yet. We usually try to clear out of the FPFM by about 10:30 to avoid the crowds but may have to hang out and meet the cabritos :-). OOOHH, I just typed "meat" accidentally, how very Freudian of me.

                                                                2. re: fmed

                                                                  True dat, fmed -- I think I mentioned somewhere that we don't really go mad for any style of donair in Vancouver, nor is it a strong suit.

                                                                  I'm not quite sure how to take your last comment; should I start calling you da capo ;-) ?

                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                    Haha...nope. But have fun. I'll be here eating vicariously in SF.