Long time browser, first time reporter
I just spent a week in SF. Matching the sunny weather were the great eats. Prior to the trip, I spent a lot of time on this board, so thanks to many of you. I'm from Vancouver so I tended to avoid Chinese and Japanese, but I did have some Filipino food with the family in South SF. I was also a solo diner at all these places and was always treated well either at the bar or table.
Canteen: went on a Wednesday prix-fixe night with the theme of lobster and corn. Started with a tuna tomato salad. Main was a polenta with lobster and corn. Tasty. Enjoyed the rice pudding with raspberries and peaches. Great wines by the glass. And that bread--ahh. I sat at stool closest to the kitchen, and I would see Chef Leary again.
Burma Superstar: 'nuff said about the Tea Leaf Salad and Chicken Samusas. I wanted to try other things, but knew I wouldn't finish them alone and had to leave room for the next place...
La Ciccia: Scenic ride on the J-Line to a nice little place. After being warmly greeeted by the owners, got a seat by the window. Began with heirloom tomatoes, pine nuts, cubed peccorino, and olive oil. Then had some seared tuna with an olive tapenade atop cabbage. The server suggested a glass of red off the menu, but I forget the name. Finished with the ricotta cake with saffron, almonds and honey. Very light and good.
Fish: about a 30 minute walk from the ferry landing in Sausalito. Able to snag an outside table. Had their Saigon Salmon Sandwich. The grilled salmon was moist and had the right amount of carrots and cilantro. I guess it was their take on a bahn mi. Wished the Acme bread could've had that crisp crust like the better bahn mis. Nice fries and slaw.
Ferry Building Sat AM: This is a stunning market. Got there early for the porchetta sandwich, which was insanely good. Was it Homer Simpson or Anthony Bourdain who said, "The pig is a magical animal." It's so rare to eat pork from a spit. The skin is so different and tastier. Rosemary potatoes were good too. Bought rose and lemon sugars, as well as Marshall's Farm Honey for gifts. No room for any of the food at Pistahan (Filipino fesitival at Yerba Gardens) or the Nihonmachi festival in Japantown. All I got were the aromas.
Larkin Express Deli Kitchen: I was the only person in this place on a Saturday night. The owners Dennis and his wife were so nice and explained a lot of the dishes. Enjoyed the tea leaf salad here than BSS. Also had a small portion of the ginger salad. The yellow-pea tofu is different from soy-bean tofu and came with a light chili dip. Got the combo of fish in tamarind sauce with rice. The cold and hot Burmese teas were refreshing. We need a place like this in Vancouver; it would do very well.
Town Hall: Buttermilk denched fried chicken that was injected with tobasco sauce. Moist inside and with a nice crunch outside. It came with a succotash and mashed potatoes and gravy.
Mission day: al pastor taco at Altena Taqueria, shrimp taco at Taqueria Guadalajara, an arepa at the place across the street from Taqueria San Jose. Great ice cream at Humphry Slocombe (Secret Breakfast and Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee). But ever since I had the cardamom at Bombay Ice Creamery two years ago, I knew I had my fave. It still tastes good. I went back the next day for more and tried the fig. Cardamom rose was gone by late afternoon. I've searched for the cardamom flavour here in Vancouver, and even with a sizeable Indian population, I still can't find it.
Zuni Cafe: Good timing for a late dinner (10 pm) since they just put the burger back on the menu. The blue cheese, grilled onions, portobello musrooms, plus the meat and bread made things very tall. Now this was a burger. Wish the bread could've been a bit bigger.
Sentinel: Again, got here early enough to avoid the lunch-time rush. Ate my pork with figs, havarti and frisee sandwich at the Ferry Building, along with the ice coffee from Blue Bottle. (Had their drip-coffee a couple of times already this trip, along with some pastries. Still can't tell if it matches 49th parallel coffee at home.)
Mission afternoon: Finally got a taste of the pizza at Delfina. Watched all the hipsters from my sidewalk table while I munched on the margherita. Yum again. Stopped by Bi-rite and got a white corn salad with peppers and tomatoes and a half-bottle of red to have later with the leftover pizza. I also learned my lesson from New Orleans earlier this year, where my last meal was at the airport sucked after a week of delicious food. So I got spinach salad with blue cheese, grilled apples, cranberries and candided walnuts with a balsamic vinegarette for SFO. Popped some pluots into the bag too.
That's just the food. Can't even begin on the wonderful wines I had in Sonoma and Napa. The only disappointment was my failed attempts (3 x) at getting the special red velvet cheesecake at the crowded Cheesecake Factory. It was only on the last try did I find out the supplier's delivery time is essentially random.
A lot of these places would've been unknown to me if it weren't for this board. Thanks again to the posters.
Was it Homer Simpson or Anthony Bourdain who said, "The pig is a magical animal."
Funny ... and nice report. However, now I want red velvet cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory.
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131
Larkin Express Burmese Kitchen
452 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102
817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Town Hall Restaurant
342 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105
350 Harbor Dr, Sausalito, CA 94965
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
One Ferry Building, 200 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA
Bombay Ice Cream
245 South Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94110
55 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Hey e_l_s, you really get around -- and to many of the places we have tried and loved on our trips to the Bay Area. We haven't made it to a prix fixe night at Canteen yet because we go Thurs to Tues -- that may have to change.
Re your 49th Parallel ponderings, I share them. FWIW Blue Bottle in Hayes Valley produces my favourite caffeinated beverage, the Gibraltar, using their eponymous espresso blend. The other stands do this drink as well but not with that particular coffee. Give it a try next time you go in the name of further research :-).
re: Offal Lover
I like Ebisu in the north side of the international terminal - it's really only a 3 minute walk from the United terminal. And Burger Joint on the south side, thus close to the south terminal. Neither one do I consider mediocre - for airport food especially! In-terminal, past security is spotty, I'll agree. There's one good dim sum place and the max's, both of which are on the greasy side.
Re: the OP, I am also in the habit of trying to grab something to-go before the airport, and learned the same lesson years ago with New Orleans. When I unwrapped the Muffelata on the flight home, I could track the dispersion of the smell by people turning around in their seats.