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Tonight!!! Near haight. 1 late dinner 1 lunch [San Francisco]

m
MellyB Aug 8, 2013 10:36 AM

Hi Chowhounders! Hubs and I are headed (as I type!) to San Francisco for 4 nights for work. We'll be working Outdide Lands. We're staying at the Red Vic. on haight. (We'll see how that goes lol. Hippie SIL has stayed and liked it and it was the only reasonably priced accommodation so we'll see!)

We're looking for a decent dinner for tonight not too far from b&b. We may arrive on the late side so need somewhere that serves fairly late, but we have to be up early so not looking to lounge for hours over dinner.
In my quick search I came across Alembic and Magnolia. I realize they're brew pubs (makes hubs happy) but do they have any decent wines as that's what I prefer? Would these be good choices? Or do you have any other suggestions in the area? I read about Little Star in that neighborhood but not in the mood for deep dish pizza (see below)

Sorry for the last minute request. I normally would have researched more but we just returned from Rome (I will be posting the trip report in that forum and I'm STILL full from all that pasta hence not wanting deep dish pizza lol) so I just didn't have the time to research for this work trip. I appreciate your thoughts!

In addition, we'll probably spend such long hours at the festival that we'll just eat there fri-sun. But, we'd like a nice, fun, casual but good place for lunch on Monday before we head home. Any suggestions? Would prefer not to go to a too distant neighborhood as we'll be facing a loooong drive home after lunch.
I appreciate any suggestions! Thanks very much!

  1. DeborahL Aug 8, 2013 11:25 AM

    Cha Cha Cha is maybe half a block from where you're staying, and they're open till 11:

    http://www.cha3.com/cha-cha-cha---haight---about.html

    I've never eaten there but I've heard it's good, and late-night dining options are slim in the city in general.

    This discussion from last year seems to favor Alembic over Magnolia:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/846063

    And here's a thread on lunch options in the area:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/901587

    Hope your trip goes well!

    2 Replies
    1. re: DeborahL
      v
      vulber Aug 8, 2013 12:21 PM

      -cha cha cha is good, somewhat americanized "caribbean" food. insanely long waits and no reservations though.

      -magnolia is the brewpub, but the same people own alembic. the food at magnolia seems to have gotten better based on the last time i went. the alembic though is hands down one of the best cocktail bars in the city (though the famous bar manager has left), along with very creative food. waits can also be long at both places.

      -little star is seriously the best deep dish pizza you'll ever have.

      -but if little star is in your radius, then so is NOPA, which has been written about hundreds of this time on this board, and is an excellent choice for anyone out of town.

      sadly, the haight is a bit of a culinary wasteland, though the place that replaced bia's looks pretty good...

      1. re: DeborahL
        h
        hyperbowler Aug 8, 2013 12:26 PM

        For tonight, chose Alembic over Magnolia--- they've got a better wine selection. Be warned also that Thursdays are fried chicken night at Magnolia. Good stuff as of a visit a few weeks ago, but expect up to an hour wait and a loud environment.

        See also this thread for regular eats more than late night in that area: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/894371

      2. pane Aug 8, 2013 02:15 PM

        We stopped at the (new to me) Great Indian Food on Monday Night after an event in the Upper Haight. It's on Haight between Cole and Shrader. While I don't think it quite lives up to its name, the curries were decent, affordable and already made, so if you're in a rush, it's a good choice for that neighborhood.

        Another good option if you're in a rush is to pick up a sandwich at Haight Street Market.

        For dessert, if you're interested, The Ice Cream Bar is just 3 blocks off of Haight; their sundaes are fantastic.

        7 Replies
        1. re: pane
          v
          vulber Aug 8, 2013 03:40 PM

          totally forgot; the ice cream bar now has a savory menu and it's fantastic

          1. re: pane
            h
            hyperbowler Aug 8, 2013 04:50 PM

            +1 on Haight St. Market. Also, price and quality wise, the OP won't find a better place to pick up foods for a picnic. Get sandwiches on dutch crunch bread (regional specialty, it's usually gone by 8pm or earlier though).

            Ice Cream Bar's sundaes are great. The shakes are my favorite--- $6.75 for the ice cream based ones (fresh whip cream and malt round these out), and more expensive are the awesome hand-shaken ones. I like that both are too thin to need a spoon, but that's not to everyone's taste. As of two weeks ago, they had really good banana ice cream and pineapple ice cream.

            1. re: hyperbowler
              v
              vulber Aug 9, 2013 10:15 AM

              the market itself is excellent, but i lost a lot of respect for them when they forced out the ethiopian place next door so they could expand.

              1. re: vulber
                v
                virtualguthrie Aug 12, 2013 08:56 PM

                They didn't force out the Ethiopian place, it closed and they took it over.

                1. re: virtualguthrie
                  v
                  vulber Aug 13, 2013 01:47 PM

                  not the case:

                  http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2010/05/massawa_owner_not_happy_about.php

                  http://sf.eater.com/archives/2010/05/...

                  1. re: vulber
                    v
                    virtualguthrie Aug 13, 2013 04:12 PM

                    Neither article is very clear. How does one business "force" another to fold? It sounds to me like they couldn't compete. It's not like Massawa was some treasure that was doing anything special.

                    1. re: virtualguthrie
                      v
                      vulber Aug 13, 2013 04:32 PM

                      for one - it was the only ethiopian/eritrean restaurant that served breakfast - which i always thought was unique. maybe it wasn't the best in the city, but it was still the only place in the upper haight.

                      it looked like they applied to take over the space while massawa was still in business (agreeing to help them find a new place and place employees on their payroll if unsuccessful), and the planning department said yes, and the owner didn't want to go through with the hassle of finding a new place. i would consider that "forced out" http://sf-planning.org/ftp/files/Comm...

          2. m
            MellyB Aug 12, 2013 02:13 PM

            Ok guys thanks so much for your help. Just to follow up. We went to Alembic thurs night and had some great food and great cocktails.
            Shishito peppers w/ -anchovy salt perfectly salty and addictive
            Pork belly slider:perfectly delicious
            Sazerac:very smooth
            Pisco sour: very refreshing but unexpected taste after initial egg smell
            Roasted squid was amazeballs
            Special lamb marguez
            Chickpea falafel, carrot, yogurt, lamb sausage. SOO good but small
            Cavatelli pasta which was surprisingly delicious considering we've just returned from Italy.
            The next night we went to magnolia and had the burger which was a really great late night choice especially after some drinks at the show. I'm not a big beer drinker but one sip of hubby's Working Mans Ale and I was smitten. I ordered one for myself too which is rare. May be my best beer ever.
            Saturday night we headed to Cha Cha Cha. We were pretty tipsy this night so I have a feeling anything would have sufficed but we were happy with it. Hubs had a chicken mole type dish with rice that he enjoyed and I played it safe with a quesadilla. I appreciated the sides of guacamole, sour cream and salsa.
            The last night we just had to return to Alembic. I had an otherworldly corn chowder. (Full disclosure: I don't think I've ever actually had corn chowder before but I'm pretty sure this one has to be the best on the planet!) hubby had a hot dog. I was like what? But then I took a bite. This is way more than your basic backyard BBQ hot dog. Really delicious!
            As far as the comment that the haight is a foodie wasteland of a neighborhood, I've had plenty experience with foodie wastelands. I live in one (palm springs area) so even if the haight isn't the best San Francisco wise, its still San Francisco so I'm always going to eat better there than at home! Cha Cha Cha and magnolia were good but the Alembic was definitely on a whole other level. So thanks for all your help! We ate well, enjoyed staying at the red Victorian, saw some amazing bands and had a fantastic time all around (especially considering we were technically working!) I love San Francisco, its my favorite city in the world and I can't wait to come back! Thanks chowhounders!

            1 Reply
            1. re: MellyB
              Dave MP Aug 12, 2013 04:12 PM

              Thanks for reporting back. It's true that Haight-Ashbury isn't a real wasteland...it's good to have reminders! :)

            2. m
              MellyB Aug 12, 2013 02:20 PM

              Oh and I almost forgot we never did have that Monday lunch as we were still full from the free breakfast at the red Vic that was yummy and served by the friendliest girls you ever want to meet

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