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Quick trip report - San Francisco

  • phee Apr 10, 2009 11:38 PM
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Well, my daughter and I had a great time in your beautiful city. As always, there wasn't enough time to do all we had hoped, and that included eating at your suggested restaurants. Though we went to look at colleges (which we did), we spent too much time shopping! Regardless, we had some good meals and some grabbed on the fly. Monday evening was spent at Westfield in Union Square, so we wound up getting food at Bristol Farms.

Tuesday morning we headed to Dottie's, only to find it closed. We found Moulin Rouge on Geary quite by accident (while trudging along in the rain), and that's a separate report under "Moulin Rouge" (mostly because I was rather surprised to find it as its own topic!). No ambiance, but wonderful service and good food. We headed to Japantown, but found quite a few of the stores closed to prepare for the upcoming Cherry Blossom festival. We decided to head west, as my daughter had plotted out several boutiques and resale shops she wished to visit. We wound up at People's Cafe for lunch, where she had a Boca burger on a wheat bun with what she described as "an awesome side salad. I had the fish burger with sweet potato fries, which was good, though they put a little too much tartar sauce on the sandwich. One disappointment - no real chai tea (they use the syrup). One big plus - fresh pineapple juice. After more shopping (the girl has never met a boutique she didn't like or a resale shop she could pass by), we headed back to the hotel on the muni, cleaned up a bit, and headed out for a nice dinner. We decided on Ponzu. Oh, HUGE mistake! Now, this is Spring Break. There are hundreds of young people and tourists in the city. So we really didn't feel like we needed to dress to the nines. Apparently we didn't look worthy (her - grey flouncy skirt, Docs, pleather jacket; me - jeans, boots, sweater) because two employees saw us and completely ignored us. That is, until two gentlemen came in behind us. Then the bartender came up and said "four for dinner?" We repled, no, just two. "Do you have reservations?" When we said, no, he said, "excuse me, I'll have to check with someone." Now, I realize just because place is 3/4 empty, that doesn't mean they don't have impending reservations coming in. But it was the attitude, the fact that we weren't acknowledged until two guys showed up - and here we were, ready to blow some serious cash as a treat to ourselves for hoofing it all over the city all day! Bless her heart, I raised my daughter right. She looked at me and said, "what kind of a statement would it make if we left right now?" And we did. We headed to a little Thai place called Muang Thai because we were starving. What a contrast. We were greeted warmly, seated, and quickly brought tea. The food was pretty darned good. We shared a bowl of their hot and sour chicken soup, which was delicious. She had the ginger chicken and I had the dancing prawns, and we both finished all but a about half of our rice.

Wednesday morning, we took the muni up to Washington Square to have breakfast at Mama's. We waited about half an hour, but, man, was it worth it! Service is like a well-oiled machine here. Orders are taken pretty quickly, and, if there are any delays, the waitstaff is quick to let you know. While having fresh squeezed orange juice and good coffee, we watched while the assembly line of three prepared plates to be served. The young woman would occasionally turn to take a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven. My daughter opted for the apple yogurt cinnamon french toast dipped in egg whites with fresh berries, and I had the french toast sampler (three breads - banana walnut, cranberry orange, and cinnamon) with bananas and berries, and a side of chicken turkey sausage. We were both pretty sure we died and went to heaven. My daughter had researched this place, and stated that it exceeded her expectations. If you go, try the ollaliberry jam - way better on french toast than syrup!. After doing our tourist bit by visiting Fisherman's Wharf (it was my daughter's first visit), we headed down Chestnut Street (more shops - oy!), then back to town to take a tour of the Academy of Art (one of our REAL purposes for visiting!). While waiting, we realized we were hungry, so we stopped in Specialty's Cafe across the street. The young man who took our order was from New York, and one of the happiest guys we'd encountered all day. She ordered a vegan salad, and I had the organic spinach and bacon salad. They include a small square of foccacia bread, which was quite tasty. Good cookies (I couldn't resist!) here, and, boy, they're thick! It was a fun place to sit and people-watch while we ate. Now, I'd like to say we were done shopping, but, after the tour, I think any money she had left was burning a hole in her pocket. So off to Westfield we went once again (*sigh*). The upside of all this is we ate at Out The Door, which was very good. She had the claypot chicken (nice gingery spicy sauce) and I had the cold sesame noodles. We shared an order of fresh spring rolls, and we both enjoyed our food.

Finally, our day of departure came, but we couldn't leave without visiting Dottie's. I'd been once before, so my daughter knew to expect a wait. I must say, both times now I've met lovely folks while waiting in line, which certainly makes the time pass quickly. And, once again, the wait was well worth it. Again, this is a small place, like Mama's, that has their service down to a science. My daughter had scrambled egg whites, potatoes and plain wheat toast, while I opted for one of their specials (spinach, roasted tomatoes, basil scramble with potatoes and toast). Now, their bread is homemade - again, we're watching one gentleman pulling loaves out of the oven - and thick-sliced and delicious. Good coffee, fresh-squeezed juice, great food, and attentive service. And I just had to take a cranberry orange scone home for good measure.

We'll be back up this summer. This time, it's MY agenda, which, as a long-time hound, will be more about food. Thank all of you who provided suggestions!

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  1. Nice report. I especially like that you were able to go with the flow, find some surprises and not get too wrapped up *the* plan. There's something to be said for spontenaity and not letting the misfires -- like the Ponzu rudeness -- get in the way of a good time. I know so many people who would have bristled, made a scene, and spent the rest of the night in an uproar. You played your hand well.

    1. Very nice report. When you come back be sure to link to it so we have a feeling for what you like.

      -----
      Mama's On Washington Square
      1701 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

      Dottie's True Blue Cafe
      522 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      Out the Door
      845 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

      Specialty's Cafe & Bakery
      101 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA

      People's Cafe
      1419 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

      Muang Thai
      385 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      3 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        Thanks so much for providing the links. I was going to go back and do this, but laziness set in after all that walking we did!

        I can't wait to go back up, and neither can my daughter.

        1. re: phee

          I didn't mean the restaurant links. I just mean link to this entire thread. Then we can give it a quick read and see what you liked and why.

          1. re: rworange

            Ahh, yes, will do. As you can see, I'm only back to work physically. Mentally, I'm still a few hundred miles away (*sigh*).