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You pick 2!

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Sorry, this isn't a lottery ticket...

Anyway, my wife and I will be visiting the Bay area later this year for our 2nd anniversary and I was interested in trying some Asian cuisince, but I didn't want to overdo it. I'm interested in three places, but I think we'll only be able to check out two of them. So, from the following list please choose two and tell me your reasons for doing so.

The Slanted Door (lunch)
The House
Mission Chinese Food

Thank you!

-----
Slanted Door
Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

Mission Chinese Food
2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

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  1. Well, two of them are more "upscale" locales - Slanted Door and House. So... even though I'm not a huge fan of Slanted Door, I think I would tell an out-of-towner to pick Slanted Door and Mission Chinese Food. You get to see the Ferry Building and the Bay if you eat at Slanted Door (hope your lunch is on a Saturday, when the Farmers' Mkt is in full swing and should not be missed for all the other food delights); and with MCF you get to visit the Mission, which is a completely different scene - you know it's in an old, pretty run-down, Chinese restaurant, right? And not on the greatest block, but that area is beginning to gentrify, and the rest of the Mission (e.g., Valencia Street, one block away) is good for walking, bar hopping, snacking window shopping.

    -----
    Slanted Door
    Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

    Mission Chinese Food
    2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

    2 Replies
    1. re: mariacarmen

      Plus, you could stop by Hog and Rocks before or after Mission Chinese Food for a cocktail and perhaps some oysters.

      -----
      Mission Chinese Food
      2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Hog and Rocks
      3431 19th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      1. re: mrs bacon

        Hog and Rocks is fun. Combined with a trip to Mission Chinese Food it would be a very different experience than going to Slanted Door (not better or worse, just different).

        -----
        Slanted Door
        Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

        Mission Chinese Food
        2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Hog and Rocks
        3431 19th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    2. We just dined at Slanted Door, for lunch on a Saturday, after not eating there since they were on Valencia. Overall a good experience. Everything we ordered was good to very good (sugarcane shrimp being the best dish). Atmosphere and service were both great on a very busy, rainy day. We were meeting relatives from Santa Rosa so all-in-all it worked perfectly for the occasion.

      On the other hand, if it was just us, we would go to Turtle Tower or Bodega Bistro. The food would be at least as good, and at a significantly lower price point. And we wouldn't have a waiter explaning just how their menu was supposed to work. Everything is "to share". Which is good, except they only sell their rather small bowels of soup ($6 each) as individual servings. Being a cold day we would have each liked a cup of hot soup, but logistically that wasn't going to work.

      But I really don't want to sound too negative. If you haven't been before, definitely go, just be aware it has a higher price point than your normal Vietnamese place. You're paying for the location and level of service, but that's ok.

      -----
      Slanted Door
      Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

      Bodega Bistro
      607 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

      Turtle Tower Restaurant
      631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

      1 Reply
      1. re: Calvinist

        That's how I feel about Slanted Door too. The food is all very nice, but as a local I'd go elsewhere. You can't beat that location and view though, and they lave lovely cocktails and wines (which most Asian restaurants don't)

        -----
        Slanted Door
        Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

      2. None of the places you've listed serve Asian cuisine; they're all fusion restaurants. The food there is Asian-influenced, but it isn't the "real" stuff. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but San Francisco has great traditional options that you'll miss out on if you do fusion food twice.

        Slanted Door has a great setting and very good food. But then consider looking for something that's closer to its roots; Cantonese would be a natural choice, but there are plenty of other options from Shanghainese to Burmese to Thai. Korean and Japanese are also available, although they don't get as much love here. There are also plenty of great Vietnamese restaurants, but then you're back to doing something twice (Slanted Door is Vietnamese fusion).

        If you decide to go that route, there's tons of info on this board. If you look around and have more specific questions about where to go or what to order once you get there, the folks here can point you in the right direction.

        -----
        Slanted Door
        Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

        28 Replies
        1. re: alanbarnes

          Yes, I mistakenly left out the word "Fusion" from my original post.

          Foodwise our itinerary is looking something like this:

          Arrive Saturday mid-day split a burrito at Paplote and El Farolito (not entirely set in stone, still researching which burrito places to hit). Surprise my wife by checking out the original house from the Full House intro. Check out Golden Gate Park. Grab a margarita or three at Tommy's.

          Sunday it's brunch at Foreign Cinema. We might head back up to check out the Fisherman's Wharf and the Ferry Building. Touristy walking around. Definitely doing the night tour of Alcatraz that night and then the plan is to have dinner at The House.

          Monday and Tuesday itineraries are up in the air. I know we want to get in some beach time and walk the Golden Gate Bridge. I also want to check out Land's End Trail. I will most certainly be touring Anchor Brewing Company because I love their beer.

          In terms of food I'm interested in nabbing a burger at the up and coming Umami Burger SF location. Slanted Door, Mission Street, may be options if we decide not to check out House. As you mentioned I'm not really sure if we want to do Asian Fusion twice, I'm just having a little bit of trouble finding other moderately priced places that are unique to SF.

          We definitely want to check out some ice cream too, Bi-rite, Hump Sloc, and Mr. & Mrs. Misc are on my radar.

          The reason we're trying to keep our time in SF semi-cheap (not dirt cheap, mind you) is we're heading up to Napa for a few days afterwards and I'm hellbent on getting reservations at The French Laundry.

          -----
          Slanted Door
          Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

          The French Laundry
          6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

          Foreign Cinema
          2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. re: sixteenbiticon

            >>"I'm just having a little bit of trouble finding other moderately priced places that are unique to SF. "<<

            IMO that's the area where San Francisco really excels. Seriously, there are too many great options to even start a discussion without more parameters.

            Throwing out a few random thoughts, just off the top of my head: if you're going to Tommy's, Aziza (Cal/Moroccan) is on the next block. You seem to be in the Mission quite a bit; Incanto (Cal/Italian) and La Ciccia (Sardinian) are nearby. Closer to the city center, one of my all-time favorites is Canteen (New American). Other places that might fit the bill include Beretta, A16, Delfina, Nopa, Bar Crudo, Range, Zuni Cafe, L'Osteria del Forno ... okay, I'll stop now, but suffice it to say that this off-the-cuff list barely scratches the surface.

            -----
            Aziza
            5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121

            Zuni Cafe
            1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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

            Incanto Restaurant & Wine Bar
            1550 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

            A16
            2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

            L'Osteria del Forno
            519 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

            Canteen
            817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

            Delfina Restaurant
            3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            Bar Crudo
            655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

            Range
            842 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

            Nopa
            560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

            Beretta
            1199 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            1. re: alanbarnes

              Can you expand on Canteen a bit? The menu tells me nothing and blog sites and such are blocked here at work. How does dining there for dinner work exactly?

              Most things I've read have pertained to their brunch. I might be interested in doing Canteen over House.

              1. re: sixteenbiticon

                A few years back Dennis Leary left his job as the chef at Rubicon (a well-regarded fine-dining restaurant, now defunct) and rented a coffee shop in the lobby of an SRO hotel. The place consists of a few stools along a lime-green formica counter and four or five tiny booths. Total seating is probably 15-20.

                There he serves top-quality ingredient-driven food at very reasonable prices. The a la carte menu is limited - typically about four each of appetizers, entrees, and desserts - but everything is perfectly prepared. Aside from the brioche rolls (drool) and the vanilla souffle (ditto), the menu isn't determined until the chef gets back from shopping each day. The wine list is also very limited but thoughtfully chosen and reasonably priced.

                I've heard a rumor that they're expanding the prix fixe dinners, which used to be just on Tuesday nights, and which consistently get rave reviews. On weekends they also serve what is arguably the best brunch in town.

                These posts might give you a sense for the food served there:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/307161
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/562290
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/680461

                Dinners are done in three seatings (6, 7:30, and 9:15). Reservations are a must.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  Slight change in the otherwise exceptional account of Leary's restaurant; the menu is devised once a week, not each day.

                  1. re: CarrieWas218

                    Okay, if we're going to get picky, I'm pretty sure the menu is devised at least twice a week (prix fixe / a la carte). Split the difference? ;-)

            2. re: sixteenbiticon

              Papalote - meh. Too many other better taquerias....

              1. re: mariacarmen

                Taqueria Cancun was up there fighting for a spot. I have to tell you that my wife is OBSESSED with Chipotle and I really want to give her a taste of the real thing. She always orders pollo with guac and extra sour cream, she also likes to squeeze a ton of lime over her burrito. Knowing that, could you suggest some others to check out?

                -----
                Taqueria Cancun
                2288 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Chipotle
                34893 Newark Blvd, Newark, CA 94560

                1. re: sixteenbiticon

                  Will she order pork? If not you need a chicken specialist (great thread: best chicken burrito in the mission)

                  1. re: sixteenbiticon

                    eek, sorry, i don't do chicken burritos (i don't really do burritos, only tacos!) If she loves Chipotle that much then maybe she WOULD like Papalote - and i'm definitely saying they're comparable but Papalote is more Americanized than other places in the Mission.... they both claim a healthier bent, etc. My favorite taqueria is La Taqueria on Valencia and 26th. but i get carne asada tacos exclusively there - it's my favorite carne asada, and i gladly pay extra to have a taco with nothing but their meat and salsa/hot sauce. Next on my list is Taqueria Vallarta on 24th. They have a taco cart inside the front door, serving el pastor, carne asada, chorizo, chicken, carnitas, tongue, buche (pork stomach) and a couple others. and they're CHEAP - like $1.50 each. This place reeks of authenticity to me. They also have a full kitchen.

                    and i'm not a fan of Cancun, but i know other CHrs definitely are.

                    -----
                    Taqueria Vallarta
                    3033 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    La Taqueria
                    2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    Chipotle
                    34893 Newark Blvd, Newark, CA 94560

                    1. re: mariacarmen

                      For me personally I love whatever tastes the best. Traditional Mexican is by far my favorite cuisine. At Chipotle I usually order their carnitas, but I love lengua and chorizo. It's hard for me to comment on carne asada, because it's rare to find a place that does it right. I usually find it tough and chewy. Being a barbecuer I'm a pig man by heart. I would say my go-to taco would be Lengua.

                      So basically the pollo would be her preference and my preference would be the most authentic thing I can get my hands on. Hence why I decided to check out two places and split what we order (she agreed after I gave her the puppy dog eyes).

                      And I don't want to make my wife out to be close-minded, she'll definitely try anything, but I'm just saying that pollo is her go-to.

                      Thanks for the words!

                      -----
                      Chipotle
                      34893 Newark Blvd, Newark, CA 94560

                      1. re: sixteenbiticon

                        Ok. My standard recommendation is *GET THE TACOS*. Locals gringos like burritos because they're filing and cheap, but mexicans prefer the tacos. With tacos, you'll be able to order one of every meat and share them along, have a discussion about the meats and tastes. Usually, a given taqueria is amazing at only one or two meats, so if you order most of them (or a lot of them), you'll get one hit at least.

                        1. re: bbulkow

                          +1 listen to BB, good advice no matter where you are.

                          1. re: bbulkow

                            I agree completely. Burritos, especially the famous "Mission burrito' are just too much of a mish-mosh. Tacos are for really tasting the meat and the salsa.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              I really do appreciate all of the taco recommendations, but you guys have to hear me when I say that while I am a lover of all things food, I love no one thing more than my dear wife. So please, burrito recommendations only, more specifically pollo.

                              I understand pollo may be a "gringo" order, but there have to be a few places that do chicken right. (Wasn't that an old KFC slogan?)

                              1. re: sixteenbiticon

                                My taqueria recs (and you can get burritos at all these places):
                                Taqueria Cancun, Taqueria San Francisco, La Taqueria (no rice means a really juicy burrito). La Taqueria is the most touristy, Taqueria SF is the least (and also the cheapest). If the weather is nice, you can also check out El Gallo Giro which is a taco truck on Treat and 23rd (near Taqueria SF). EGG is my favorite, but I have yet to try the eponymous chicken nor the burritos ($5 for regular unloaded). I can tell you that their salsa is awesomely hot and their cabeza is beefy, fatty goodness.

                                I'm not a fan of Papalote.

                                -----
                                Taqueria Cancun
                                2288 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                La Taqueria
                                2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                Taqueria San Francisco
                                2794 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                El Gallo Giro
                                1720 Story Rd, San Jose, CA 95122

                                1. re: sfbing

                                  what about La Taqueria do you consider "touristy"?

                                  -----
                                  La Taqueria
                                  2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                    The prices, mostly. $3.50 for a taco? The price point perhaps explains why most of the customers last time I went weren't Hispanic. On the other hand, it is clean and pleasant. Burrito is slim, tightly rolled with even distribution of ingredients--critical for a meal on the go. (Given the prices, a burrito is a better deal here vs. tacos.)

                                2. re: sixteenbiticon

                                  There are several recommendations for chicken burritos here:

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/422377

                                  1. re: sixteenbiticon

                                    Hey sixteenbiticon, I totally hear you on the burrito quest. The first time we went to SF we HAD to try Joey Ramone's favourite burrito :-). Haven't had one since as they are way too filling as mentioned elsewhere in the thread, but it had to be done. I'm looking forward to hearing where you decide to go. Happy second anniversary!

                        2. re: mariacarmen

                          Too true.

                          Go to El Farolito (Mission and 24th). Skip the burrito, get tacos. Why do you think they call them taquerias? The only reason to get a burrito is to have that SF burrito experience. But, unless you want to fill yourself to the point that you won't want to eat again for a long time, which is what the SF burrito is all about, the tacos are what you want.

                          Recommend ordering three tacos: Al pastor (not everyone's favorite place for this classic, but better by an order of magnitude than anything you'll find in Boston); carnitas; and--go ahead, be adventurous, you're in the Mission--either tongue (lengua) or buche. Eat them in that order. Come back the next day and do it again; it's that good.

                          If the offal cuts are too much for new england sensibilities--my god, you folks invented new england clam chowder and consider it a treat--go for asada for the third one.

                        3. re: sixteenbiticon

                          Tuesday might be better for the Ferry Plaza than Sunday, as there's a small farmers market from 10 to 2.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Ah yes, genious. Maybe we'll push back our "touristy" day around the wharf/embarcadero to Tuesday so we can check that out. Thanks for opening my eyes!

                            It looks like that'll make Monday our day to tour Anchor. Excited about that as well. Still unsure about a few meal choices, still doing my research. Whats the weather like in August? (yes, I plan ahead... hehe)

                            1. re: sixteenbiticon

                              "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

                              -Mark Twain (or not, if you want to get really picky about the facts)

                              1. re: sixteenbiticon

                                Variable. If its hot in the central valley, the fog stays in for a week, and it's bitter cold. If it's moderate in the valley, the fog stays back, and it's glorious.

                                1. re: bbulkow

                                  Again, bb is right on, very rare to have a "cool" day (i.e. <95 deg F) in the central valley in August that would allow for the marine layer to recede providing the beautiful weather that you would experience in late Sep - Nov. BTW, Jan-Feb can be fantastic on the coast in between rain events.

                                  1. re: PolarBear

                                    A favorite local sport is driving around Powell street bart in august around sundown watching tourists in shorts huddled up for warmth against the pea-soup fog and blasting 20mph wind in 50 degree weather. Heh, heh. Fog at that temp just chills to the bone. There's a reason leather is popular in SF - it's OK on warm nights, and turns back the wind on cold nights.

                                2. re: sixteenbiticon

                                  In August, rain is very rare. Otherwise, it varies a lot: cold and sometimes windy if the fog's in, scorching hot if there's an inversion. You can get both in the same day, or as you travel around town, so locals tend to dress in layers. The Mission and Dogpatch are protected by the hills so are often warm and sunny when the western and northern parts of the City are fogged in.