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Van Hound grayelf returning to Bay Area for spring feeding

After a tough winter (dad's been very ill, poor guy), we are able to sneak away for a few days to our delightful getaway on the Bay. A little later than usual (Apr 27-May 3) but a day longer too. Here's what I've mapped out so far, subject to rejigging PRN. Any and all comments, suggestions, stock tips etc welcomed.

We arrive quite late (10:30ish) on Wednesday night so will just have a snack near hotel (Bush and Powell) if hungry: Chabaa Thai on Geary Street for pad si yu, maybe paenang curry or Katana-Ya for a bowl of ramen

Thursday lunch: Yamo (slowly working our way through all the Burmese in town) or Z&Y (explosive chicken, yum)

Thursday dinner: Canteen (our tradition) then House of Shields (double shot of Leary)

Friday lunch: Shanghai House (order-ahead deep fried salt and pepper pork knuckle with seaweed) -- we had a chowdown here last time and this dish was so good it's haunted me since November

Friday dinner: Off the Grid Fort Mason -- may want alternate plan in case of inclement weather though I understand the new improved setup has a lot more tent coverage.

Saturday visit Bay Model Visitor Center -- anywhere Hounds are loving for lunch nearish by? Poggio, Kissie's (Thai fusion), Fish??? Or should we hit the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market for supplies on the way?

Saturday dinner: Sociale for a quiet dinner with the SO (gotta keep the less Houndy guy happy!)

Sunday lunch: A la Turca pides and manti (only on Sundays) or Shanghai House if not on Fri

Also need your input re your favourite banh mi – if Little Paris is still there, that appeals… we are banh mi fiends at home and have read with interest the many posts on banh mi in SF.

Sunday dinner: Chabaa Thai Outer Sunset branch for Issan "secret menu" or A la Turca (Chowdown??)

On Monday a local Hound has graciously offered to ferry us out to Redwood City for a Mexican fest (possibly with a quick stop for dimsum on the way, and/or Mingalaba in Burlingame for tea leaf salad, LOL). Ankimo noted in another thread to try a taco at Los Gemelos in RWC.

Monday dinner: Sotto Mare (sand dabs!), Barbacco, Basil Canteen (duck curry, lychees in stir fry, whole peppercorns on the branch) or Chabaa if we don’t go on Sunday

Tuesday lunch: the Tuesday burger special at Rosamunde with a Toronado beer for the SO, or Inka's (yellow sauce!), or Wexler's (Scotch eggs!) or Naked Lunch -- depending what we do that day prior to our flight which leaves at 6:40 pm -- we'll probably have an early snack at SFO, Burger Joint or Ebisu, as our "air time" will be over dinner.

If you've read this far, you may be wondering "what about breakfasts?" We've found two meals a day maxes us out but there are so many great breaky/brunches in SF we'll likely pick one or two of the following new-to-us places: Straw, Plow, Magnolia, The Front Porch or the Sycamore. Any faves in there? Other ideas?

We're also looking forward to expanding our coffee drinking experiences at some combo of the Grand Prix Café, Caffe Pascucci, Contraband Coffee Bar, Jane, Ma*Velous, Mirtille and Hooker’s Sweet Treats.

Other random things to try if they fit into the "program" include: Rocky's Navajo Frybread, El Gallo Giro Taco Truck, Gussie's Chicken & Waffles (Buttermilk Fried Chicken Livers for the SO), Showdogs or Zog’s Dogs or 4505 Golden Dog at FPFM, K K Cafe for peanut milk, Heaven's Dog pork belly sandwich,
Magnolia buttermilk fried spring onions and of course, FRENCH FRIES! Starbelly, Marlowe, Chez Papa Bistrot and Flora are all in the running to try.

Whew! We'll be lucky to get half that done, right? I really need to find a way to spend more time in your area :-). But I have faith, and we'll walk a lot. Let me know if there's any duds or swapouts you recommend, and TIA for any feedback. Can't wait!

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  1. A while back another visitor noted that for various reasons (sick child) they didn't get out to eat much but happily ate food from Lers Ros in their hotel room. They're open late and they deliver. You probably could get them to deliver to your hotel....

    No Oakland love this trip?

    1. the Bay Model rocks..NB it is not open on Sundays. Le Garage in Sausalito is nearby and high on my "to try" list. A French Bistro aficionado friend of mine likes it very much. Just to add more fuelk to your food fire-if the SO loves chicken livers see if they are on the menu at Eureka! The Exec Chef-Gaines Dobbins-ex BLVD- is a great cook with deep south bona fides and rocking good Fried Chicken Livers.

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      Le Garage
      85 Liberty Ship Way Ste 109, Sausalito, CA

      1. Saigon Sandwich for banh mi. Long recent discussion:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/764559

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        Saigon Sandwich Shop
        560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

        1. Whew! As always, a well researched list.

          I have only a couple of notes: on your coffee list, Grand Prix is part of a mini-chain of independent shops that serve Blue Bottle coffee--that chain includes Special Xtra, Grand Prix and Vega.

          If I wanted to do a coffee tasting, I'd go to Vega on Folsom because it's just a block or two from Sightglass Coffee (and also near Terroir, the biodynamic mostly Euro wine shop that also serves cheese plates), which I think would give you more coffee bang for your blocks.

          I live near Straw and went for brunch once--didn't like it enough to rush back, and probably wouldn't recommend it to an out-of-town visitor.

          Good luck!

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          Blue Bottle Cafe
          66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

          Sightglass Coffee
          270 7th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

          Special Xtra
          46 Minna St, San Francisco, CA 94105

          3 Replies
          1. re: pane

            @ruthlafler -- great idea for takeaway from Lers Ros. I loved their "appetizer" type dishes when we went which would also be good for a late snack. RWC won out over Oakland this time :-).

            @artychokeasana -- thanks for the headsup on on Bay Model. I believe it is also closed Tuesdays. Will call ahead regardless as they are doing renos too. I hadn't heard about Eureka so ta for that too. It's the place on 18th in the Castro, right?

            @Robert Lauriston -- I had checked out that thread and chuckled a bit over the NYT brouhaha. SS does seem like the go-to rec, for sure. We eat a lot of banh mi at home and the jalapeno is indeed essential, though everywhere I go they ask if I want it here :-).

            @sfbing -- I probably should have added to my already epic length post that we are not looking for the "dac biet" banh mi combo of head cheese, pate, etc. Instead we crave the garlicky "pork skin meat" sausage like stuff and/or grilled pork or beef. Tu Kim is on my (big) list partly because of the report from Melanie you mention which highlights their banh canh http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/587734 Alas I think avoc shake will be too filling though I love them (SO doesn't so no sharing option), especially mixed with pandan leaf, drool.

            @Pane -- I did know that Grand Prix was a part of chainlet serving BBC, shoulda said. It's for the SO's benefit as good coffee within easy walking distance of the hotel early in the a.m. has been hard to come by in the past. We enjoyed Sightglass in Soma last trip (good baked things too). Will keep Vega in mind and those cheese plates sound tempting :-). Thanks also for the Straw info.

            @artemis -- mussels for the SO at Fish, tra la! Thanks for the warning about the crab tacos, I believe I saw that from another poster too (or maybe it was you!). I loves me some good f&c, so we may go that route.

            1. re: grayelf

              Yup!-18th between Castro and Noe. Terrible neighborhood for parking-be forewarned. You'd be close to BiRite Creamery for dessert....

              1. re: grayelf

                I was at Fish again yesterday, prompted by your inquiry. This time we ordered two daily specials. I had the spot prawns over their housemade pasta. They were sweet and fabulous, charred and served on top of a parsley-garlic-chili flake pasta. My SO had the olive oil poached halibut in a fennel-onion-potato broth. The fish was meltingly tender and the broth so tasty that he went back to get some extra bread to sop it up. We also ordered the beignets, which I do not recommend. It was a gorgeous day, and very pleasant to bring books to read while we enjoyed our leisurely meal.

            2. I'm not a huge fan of Saigon Sandwich--possibly b/c I only order combos and their combo seems unbalanced to me (too savory? not enough tart? and their headcheese doesn't appeal). You should go, though b/c everyone else seems to love it.

              Avoid Lee's for sandwiches. The bakery smell is attractive but they aren't very good at sandwich making at this location. Good for their avocado shake though.

              One of the best banh mi combos I've had in the Tenderloin is at Tu Kim. But you almost have to force them to make anything, because they are too busy hanging out. The sandwich was so good that it outweighed the annoyance factor. I think Melanie wrote a report on them for coffee you should look up if you plan on going. It is best to be prepared.

              If you are in the Sunset (for Chabaa), check out Irving Cafe. They use a French baguette without rice flour (which is what we made do with back before Vietnamese ingredients became more available) but their sandwiches are quite good. (Better when the older owner was running the shop, but the apprentices seem to have largely corrected their sloppy ways. They are a little too enthusiastic with the pate still.)

              Don't forget you can ask for the sandwiches to be spicy, which basically means the insertion of several slivers of jalapeno. To me, an essential ingredient.

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              Tu Kim Cafe
              609 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA 94109

              3 Replies
              1. re: sfbing

                I've never had to ask for jalapeños. Some shops they'll ask me.

                1. re: sfbing

                  I'm into the dac biet combo as well. Have you tried the version at Sing Sing Sandwich Shop made with barbecue pork belly? Here's more on Tu Kim, Sing Sing, et al.
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/588771

                  And I'll mention that on two other visits to Tu Kim, the porky banh canh has not been available, so I've not ever had it again. If I hadn't taken the photo of it, might have thought it was a dream.

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                  Sing Sing Sandwich Shop
                  309 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I've seen people eating all sorts of things at tu kim that are not available. It is an odd place. Kind of reminds me of when kids have members only treehouses in their yards.

                    Will have to try Sing Sing, although the headcheese is my favorite part of the sandwich!