Mayday, mayday, grayelf on a collision course for SF Bay Area in... May
Once again turning to you lovely Hounds to avoid any crash landings, as you've so generously helped me before. We'll be in town for a week, Wed to Wed. I have a fairly solid draft plan I think but could use a tweak or two, indicated by ** (but feel free to wax horrified by anything you see and don't approve of, please).
Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions, ideas, additions, subtractions and multiplications!
Dinners (7 available):
Baker and Banker or Cotogna
**Hi Lo BBQ
I need somewhere else for the Monday night besides Hi Lo, in case we get there and the line up is legion. Would love another seafood option (I know, not the same as bbq at all, but it's another area we lack in Vancouver). Doesn't have to be in the same hood.
We're a bit heavy on Italian but I just can't help myself, you have so many great options (and we don't at home).
Lunches/brunches (7 available):
Bodega Bistro (still thinking about the bo luc lac)
Le Truc for the tri tip sandwich
new Naked Lunch
Any duds on here? Gotta narrow it down by five places, doh!
**Machine -- any good?
The Mill (gotta see the buildout)
Flour and Co
Reveille (the new digs)
**De La Paz (what's up since the sale to Four Barrel?)
Blue Bottle Mint Plaza
Cafe de la presse
The Lookout (pulled pork tacos)
La Fajita (fish tacos)
Lers Ros (catfish dish)
**nem nuong banh mi (would love a recco specifically for that filling)
El Calamar Peruvian Cuisine truck, if you can catch it at SoMa StrEat Food park at lunch or dinner. Owner formerly cooked for Michelin-starred La Costanera, and his whole family is involved. I've had the Jalea, Carapulca (pictured), and Lomo Saltado, all good.
If you're in the Mission around dinnertime on Thursday, get a tub of ceviche from Shrimp & Love at Mission Mercado to enjoy at one of the tables by the music tent. Several varieties, but I'm partial to the spicy shrimp aquachile. One tub is a big enough appetizer for two.
El Calamar has only been in operation for a month, and so far has mostly appeared only at the SoMa StrEat Food Park. They were there at lunchtime today and I went there planning to check out more from their menu, but it was so damned hot I went for a papaya salad from Phat Thai instead.
if you are looking for a BBQ alternative, try CatHead's BBQ in Soma, I'm going to Hi-Lo on Monday so I can't compare them yet but so far Cathead's has been the best BBQ I've found in San Francisco.
Front closes early around 4. I would do a late morning coffee at Front, brunch at Plow and then maybe walk to Chocolate Lab or Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous for sweets. Also on the same block as Chocolate Lab in Dogpatch is Piccino's coffee place and Little Nib, the chocolate store.
re: Ruth Lafler
Yes. Definitely. Though it might be more crowded since Bauer's writeup. But it's open for lunch as well as dinner.
I love Skool for a drink and a snack (and uni flan), but it's not really necessary to give up a whole dinner. I've had good house cured sardines there. Open for lunch or hit happy hour.
The Mill is very pretty, but it's packed on weekends. b. is always packed, but lovely. A friend wants to work our way through everything they bake.
Heath is my current favorite Blue Bottle incarnation on 18th Street. And you might want to visit MoMA before they close for two years (June 2).
Have you been to Dandelion Chocolate yet? Single origin bars from Ecuador and Madagascar and pricey drinking chocolate. On Valencia next door to Craftsman and Wolves, where I'm still in love with the carrot cocoa muffin and the shoyu caramels.
Damn, you eat well.
If Cotogna, kick off Baonecci. Also, Baonecci is only open for lunch on Saturdays.
If Padrecito, try Ice Cream Bar for a shake after. They serve alcoholic drinks now too.
SFGate just had a positive writeup of Naked Lunch, including the burger offered only on weekends. Wish I'd read that before having a less exciting North Beach lunch over the weekend...
We did the Tuesday Sally Hurricane's Fried Chicken Dinner last night $35 and it was a feast of delights. DH proclaimed it the best fried chicken ever. I've just had my take-home cold fried chicken for brekkie and it was even better than the delicious hot-crispy-juicy-perfectly-seasoned serving at dinner. Loved the Dirty Hippie.
Service was attentive and sweet. Full house, not noisy - we were all too occupied with eating. My rave review.
menu here: http://sanfrancisco.grubstreet.com/20...
two changes: snowpeas with wasabi dressing and the salad was Romaine lettuce with croutons
It's been years since I've been at Catch, but it was mediocre when I went, with pricing on par with non-mediocre restaurants. It might be okay for a random tourist from Podunk, but not for grayelf, who already knows SF's restaurants quite well and probably has a much higher bar. Even Woodhouse ranks above Catch in my book.
I really like the Woodhouse located on Fillmore bet. Pine/Bush. No res. but they don't close in between lunch and dinner so that's a great time to go there.
It's the only place I can find Ipswich (fresh) fried clams. I think their clam chowder is great and recently they had a sauteed halibut with beautiful spring vegetables (no starch) that could not have been better. Love their tartar sauce, too. Reasonable.
Aw, thanks, Dave! I've been swamped but I am trying to get the list together.
Really keen to find a good option for Monday night in case Hi Lo doesn't work out. All the places I am interested in are closed Mondays :-(
I'm furiously jotting down everyone's great ideas so thanks all.
The list of everywhere we've gone on twelve trips is legion so instead an alphabetical list of dinners up to and including Nov 2012:
A La Turca
Bar Tartine ("original" and "Hungarian")
Burmese Kitchen twice
Canteen seven times
Inka's (original owners)
La Ciccia three times
Lers Ros (Larkin) five times
Local Mission Eatery
Mi Lindo Yucatan (closed)
Off the Grid Ft Mason
Pagolac (bo 7 mon)
Poc Chuc three times
Thai House Express (Larkin)
Vientian three times
West of Pecos
re: Robert Lauriston
Yeah, not really comparable at all from what I've read, but it was one of our first trips and we were (still are!) starved for good Thai in Vancouver. We soon gravitated to Lers Ros and continue to find it outstanding, particularly when we stick to the appetizers. It's a perfect place to hit on your way in from SFO as they seem to be able to fit us in on short notice, or move our reso if the plane is late, as it often is.
re: Melanie Wong
We have indeed been to all those lovely places, Melanie, just for lunch rather than dinner. I posted my previous dindins above but balked at putting everywhere we've been as I'd still be typing :-).
I wish Bao Necci was open for lunch another day besides Sat as we would go more often but it made the cut for this trip. We snagged a Cotogna reso as well albeit at 8:30. Very tempted to head back to Little Yangon for lunch but right now Mandalay is in the lead.
Reveille did a nice job, but they're just serving Four Barrel, without anything special going on. You'll cover it with The Mill.
I believe De La Paz is currently closed for the build/rebranding. Not sure if they're doing the cart outside.
Have you visited Contraband yet?
Rickybobby (Chefs originally from Broken Record) might be worth adding for burgers.
I had heard that Reveille was in a bricks and mortar now with snacks available. We've tried the truck before and liked it quite well. I think Machine is Four Barrel too so prolly will only hit one of them.
Thanks for the heads up that DLP may be closed. Will call and see if they are open the 8th to the 15th. Maybe next trip...
We've been to Contraband three times and found it a bit uneven re the baristas. Nice set up though with the little tables outside in the sun.
Will add RB to burger list.
Reveille does have salads, and sandwiches, and that sort of thing. It's about a half block below Naked Lunch. You can also visit Beacon Coffee and Pantry in North Beach which serves Sightglass....but I don't think any of those are worth a special trip alone.
You're right Contraband does at times feel like it's been left unattended, but as a small batch roaster, they're interesting.
You are correct that Reveille is in a permanent spot with counter seating and a couple of tables. It serves both breakfast and lunch at its new location, and I've been impressed with the sandwiches and salads. Most recently, I had a grilled chicken banh mi that was quite flavorful. The salads on an earlier menu were also tasty and interesting: quinoa with persimmon and goat cheese; roasted carrots, cauliflower, and radicchio; farro with roasted brussels sprouts. They're taking a lot of care in the preparations and seem genuinely pleased to know that their customers are enjoying what they serve. Last time I was there, I wanted a sweet afterward, but the cookies I'd seen earlier were gone; I was told they were baking a new batch that would be ready in 15 minutes, so it's clear that they're baking there, too. I recommend the place if you're looking for more than coffee.
I really only drink brewed coffee, but every one I've had from Contraband (in store or brought home) has been a well selected well roasted batch of beans. Smaller sample size, but the average has been higher for me than Four Barrel, which is my current local standby (easier to get, and very good).
I can imagine barista skill might be lesser than some of the other places; despite the slight design-orientation of the shop it has the overall feel of a college cafe. But the roast coffees for brewing are top notch. Recent trips to Portland and Seattle roasters (17 cups/ 12 roasters/ 72 hrs) show it compares favorably, to my taste.