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Apr 15, 2009 08:01 PM

short visit, a few gems and such gorgeous weather!

was in sf over the weekend and had a great time.

we wondered around the haight and needed something light to gulp and chew pre-dinner. the only place with any crowd was magnolia - so we headed on in. we were seated and ordered the beet salad, german potato salad, and sweet potatoes. the beet salad was devine. mostly red beets - but a few golden beets thrown in. shaved fennel. an almost liquid style goat cheese drizzle around the plate. it was really quite good. i'm sort of 1/2 and 1/2 on fennel - not a total fan, but this was just fresh and bright and quite lovely. the german potato salad was like a trip home. my dad made this all the time growing up. it was halved (either fingerling or red - can't remmeber) potatoes, sauteed in butter, onion, and herbs. totally delicious. it was just light and savory and comforting. the sweet potatoes were served like a baked potato - split down the middle with a nice dollop of honey butter on top. these were delicious. soooo sweet - just like candy. beers - we had the lightest one which is only served in a 10 oz glass. this was really a delight. sweet and poppy with just a little bitter in the back. i also had the next lightest and it was solid. i can't remember the name.

perbacco - first of all, the staff were just really nice from the get go. and that made things perfect to start with. ok - so two pastas and i can't remember the exact ingredients: first was some kind of five hour pork that was delicious. it was really a dark stew and pasta. very good. the other was shortrib and horseradish. amazing. delicious. the steak was perfectly cooked and had an amazing blue cheese / butter topping. the cheese at this restaurant is amazing. had the cheese course and that was devine. there was a spicy goat-type cheese - chili pepper and vinegar marinaded soft cheese. the truffle brie (i think) was great. and teh other two were great too . . . but after all the wine, i'm not so clear on what it all was. it was just a really solid and nice meal. total for 4 - $259 (w/o tip). i can't say it's one of the best meals i've ever had, but on the whole it was lovely.

hog oyster co. stopped in here for a bowl of chowder and beer. while i finished it - i was not a fan. the broth seemed like boiled cream with a pat of butter and a little salt, a lot of pepper, and some herbs. then a whole lot of heavily peppered clams are plopped over the top. so, i had to de-shell each clam and then eat the soup. i know it's simple and they used high quality ingredients, but it just lacked depth or soul. it was just too simple. like i can boil a pint of cream too. it lacked a real clam flavor despite all the shells. and it lacked the thickness that i like with chowder. also - while they use bacon to flavor the broth which is nice, they left the flaccid flops of bacon in the soup. this is not appetizing. i only like crisp bacon and that can add flavor too - if you use the fat. this was just floppy fat in the soup. but - like i said, i ate it all and had a nice time sitting by the water. and $13 for a bowl of soup? not so much. glad i know - but i wouldn't go back. the oysters did look great though.

oh - and of course, went to the wharf. i know it's touristy - but i love it. got a crab salad sandwich at alitos and it was great. loads of crab and that's basically it. fresh and yum.

thanks for having such a great city!!! looking forward to next time. . .

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  1. Thanks for the great report. Y'all come back soon.

    It is nice to have someone else who isn't a fan of that Hog Island chowder. I don't like it either. Love your description. It made me giggle that someone else could out rant me on this bowl of clams ... I refuse to call it chowder.

    I like Alioto's too. It is a little expensive. They make a really nice creme brullee. The cappucino is good there also.

    230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    Hog Island Oyster Bar
    Ferry Building,, San Francisco, CA 94111

    Magnolia Pub & Brewery
    1398 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

    Alioto's Restaurant
    8 Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco, CA 94133

    4 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      I'm also not a fan of the chowder at Hog Island for many of the same reasons as bu dat. My favorite item at Hog Island (apart from the oysters, of course) is the grilled cheese sandwich. It's made with three different types of Cowgirl Creamery cheeses on a crunchy, grilled Acme Ciabatta roll. $11 is a lot for a grilled cheese sandwich but it's filling and delicious.

      Incidentally, I tried the crab and corn chowder at the Blue Mermaid, in the Omni Hotel next to the Cannery and thought it was very good, if a bit salty. They make two or three other chowders, as well. Give it a try and tell me what you think rworange.

      1. re: bobpantzer

        Just to clarify, the Blue Mermaid's located in the Argonaut.

        1. re: bobpantzer

          i ate at the argonaut/blue mermaid a few times ago - and had the three chowder sampler. this was soooooooooo freakin' good! i ordered the crab/corn chowder, the new england clam chowder, and i can't remember the third.

          i remember liking all three. don't remember details - but definitely worth it. i still think of going every time i come up there, but there are so many places to go that. . . .it's tough.

          oh - and we ate at the alioto's to go (not inside b/c it's too expensive) ---- so took it to go and sat at a nearby chain-type v. popular chowder/sourdough restaurant . . . .