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you go away for a week, and the food you miss most is....

Ok, you go someplace for a week and have a fabulous time, but at some pint you miss ..... from your home area of SF and you can't wait to go home and eat there ( or it).?

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  1. mission burrito.

    or high quality, seasonal, local fruit.

    2 Replies
      1. re: rebeccakinney

        Yup. I have this neurotic fear that once I leave the Bay Area I'm never going to see a fresh vegetable again.

        I was visiting a friend in Las Vegas. My last night, she asked what where I wanted to go for dinner. I said I wanted butternut squash soup -- or the type of place that would serve it. She looked at me dubiously, and said "I don't think there's any place like that here." The first day I was home I walked in my local deli and the soup of the day was butternut squash. I laughed out loud.

    1. A good well priced glass of wine. Indian food. Ice cream.

      2nd local fruit.

      1 Reply
      1. re: goldangl95

        I'm with you on wine & Indian food; additionally, tacos from my local taqueria.

        When I went to India last year, ate so many heavy meals that I was craving a nice big salad (which I never do :)

        1. re: mlutsky

          Also available in Seattle, mlutsky, if you find yourself there (we had it at Ba Bar and Victrola Coffee). The SO is now officially hooked so I'm pleased to know it is a "thing" in SF too. Any places you recommend in particular (bonus points if they happen to be in the Mission or near the FiDi)? TIA!

            1. re: sugartoof

              Whole Foods has kombucha on tap! That is crazy. Thanks.

              1. re: grayelf

                It's part of their Local products campaign, and usually kept by the coffee bar. Sold in various sizes from cups to growlers.

              1. re: daisylover

                look at the post that grayelf responded to ;-)

          1. I always miss the coffee the most. Blue Bottle is making its way around the country, but it's pretty easy to get a really great cup of coffee from a random coffee house here. I'm not saying I can't drink Peet's or Dunkin' Donuts (when Dunkin' Donuts finally makes its way to SF, the lifelong locals are going to lambast East Coasters endlessly for our devotion to DD coffee), but you definitely miss it after a while.

            2 Replies
            1. re: dunstable

              Fresh vegetables. Also, sometimes a plate of potentially-cramp-inducing Mexican food. But mostly, vegetables. A big fresh salad.

              1. re: dunstable

                agree. long-time devotee of blue bottle coffee, even longer devotee of dunkin donuts coffee. loving the two isn't incompatible.

                loved this article: http://www.thebolditalic.com/articles...

              2. It depends on where I've been. I came back from a week in Italy and ten days in England, and the first thing I wanted was a bowl of pho.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  I feel that way about pizza, always the first thing I want

                      1. re: soupçon

                        So fortunate to have our water! I'd die of dehydration in Los Angeles!

                        1. re: macadam

                          Exactly. Every time I come home from LA I stand by the kitchen sink & down about a quart of water, first thing.

                            1. re: grayelf

                              Actually I'm in the East Bay, so it's not even as good as Hetch Hetchy! But still like a delicious magic elixir compared to LA.

                              After the water:
                              1) The best fruit & veggies from Berkeley farmers markets
                              2) Tartine bread, or Acme if I can't get Tartine
                              3) Burrito!
                              4) Ice cream. Our local ice cream scene is just so intense. A scoop from Ici makes me feel like I'm home, partly because it's in my neighborhood.
                              5) Depending where I've been, some vegetarian Chinese food :)

                      2. Oakland's Cam Huong BBQ Chicken Banh Mi,fried rice and BBQ Pork Chowmein all for $6 out the door.

                        Plus the Bay Area has really good bread that is not available in 90% of the rest of America!

                        1. local, reasonably priced, seasonal fruit and vegetables. at its peak, you can visit a farmers market every day of the week except Monday.

                          sourdough baguettes (and, as stated above, just good bread in general)


                          dungeness crabs

                          1. hakka noodles and fried petrale sole w/ szechuan peppercorns at Hakkasan...or tatsuta age curry at Muracci's...or beef chow fun w/ black bean sauce and pea leaves ($2 extra) at R&G

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: barleywino

                              Heart skips a beat at prospect of petrale sole with hua jiao... Hakkasan going on the list... if only I could access their SF menu online...

                              1. re: grayelf

                                i like the nuggets of roasted garlic in the dish ($24 iirc). Noodles are thin like angel hair, stir fried w/ mushrooms and a touch of heat ($9 iirc, possibly more)

                            2. Really depends where I've gone. Most generic business trips, I miss spicy food, and come back craving a nice chettinad chicken or szechuan fish. Unless I'm coming back from china, then I want a decent burger --- few parts of the world do the meaty greasy portion size that is an american hamburger (and cook it pink in the middle). Coffee, again, it depends. Manhattan, which I've complained about before, seems to have enough good coffee sprinkled about that one can get a decent cup (found a recently opened place near canal st on the last trip, randomly). Recent trip to western Mass & NH: GIVE ME COFFEE coming home (almost had a fight with a "barrista" at a small mom & pop who was pulling a 2 second shot, water torrenting out).

                              1. Acme bread, guacamole (unless I've been in Mexico).

                                1. After a couple of weeks in Italy eating fabulously delicious foods, we came home craving American junk food like hot dogs (of all things), hamburgers & french fries (ala MacDonald's)....

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: RWCFoodie

                                    Did you try the Italian McDonald's? I don't like that stuff, but the burgers and fries looked and smelled exactly the same to me.

                                    The German and Belgian beer bars in Italy have hot dogs.

                                  2. No matter where I go other than the west coast, it's a big salad that I want to have the minute I get home. With quality lettuce and other veggies.

                                      1. usually sushi unless I've been in Vancouver. But most of the other places I live in and travel to have either horrible sushi or really expensive sushi. Currently in Berlin where the sushi isn't very good or cheap.

                                        Also seasonal produce. I was almost in tears last January in Sweden looking at the sad selection of produce knowing how good it was in SF.

                                        My return home to SF meal is always sushi even if the trip was only 3 or 4 days long.

                                          1. I agree with others that the answer depends upon where you've been. What I always miss is sushi from Ariake on Geary. But after a two-week business trip to India, I am craving a cheeseburger. Not McDonald's, mind you -- that's not a real burger. This is a real burger:

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: DimSum868

                                              ooo, sexy, where from, DimSum868?

                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                This burger is from Original Joe's in North Beach. No gimmicks, just meat and cheese on fresh-baked sourdough, with fries that are absolutely perfect: crispy and salty on the outside, hot and fluffy on the inside.

                                                It's too big to finish in one sitting, but it is definitely a thing of beauty.

                                                1. re: DimSum868

                                                  Serving it on a sourdough, and cooking in the onions are gimmicks to some extent, but they're good ones.

                                                  1. re: DimSum868

                                                    Charcoal broiled, which makes a difference.

                                              2. Decent produce
                                                Ethnic food options
                                                Artisan stuff

                                                Any one food in particular: Mission burrito

                                                1. Presently in Geneva, what I miss is wild salmon and Meyer lemons.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: kzukor

                                                    Yes, but there must be some awesome fondue in Geneva...

                                                    1. I think what I actually miss most when I'm away is the random, never-to-be-repeated juxtaposition of leftovers from various cuisines that I often eat at home.

                                                      1. Cheap carnitas tacos, Shanghai dumplings, and tactfully made cocktails with chunks of sourdough. At least when I fly back to Canada.

                                                        If I'm away for longer periods (2 years ago it was a full month in the Middle East) then I typically head straight for the local specialties: louies, dungeness, etc. That, Asian (specifically Chinese and Thai) along with Mexican are the shining culinary stars of San Francisco for me.

                                                        14 Replies
                                                        1. re: OliverB

                                                          Thai a shining culinary star of SF? Please reveal your hidden gems

                                                          1. re: davidg1

                                                            I don't have any hidden gems but just about every restaurant in Little Saigon rates in my book.

                                                            1. re: OliverB

                                                              With a miniscule number of exceptions, Thai food in SF is totally sub-par.

                                                              1. re: davidg1

                                                                House of Thai and Lers Ros on Larkin are above average.

                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                  Lers Ros is among the small handful of exceptions. I've had bad meals at house of Thai.

                                                                  1. re: davidg1

                                                                    You have to order the right dishes at House of Thai, and they sometimes adjust it for non-Thai palates, e.g. toning down the fish paste in the fried rice. But if the stars align you can get a great meal of dishes that you'd never see on the typical Thai menu around here.

                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                      the point is, there are only about 5 or 6 above average thai restaurants in all of san francisco - it's not like you can pick a thai restaurant at random and end up with amazing results as one could in LA's thai town.

                                                                      though if we're talking thai restaurants in the tnederloin, i'd have to add sai jai thai - the menu isn't as comprehensive as lers ros, but they do many dishes just as well, and for cheaper with shorter lines.

                                                                      1. re: vulber

                                                                        I have a handful of favorites in the Tenderloin/Little Saigon that I regularly visit; all of which are very good for certain menu items but only a couple which I'd nominate to represent Thai food in the whole of San Francisco. Apart from LA and pockets of New York, what other cities have you had Thai food in which you felt blew the Bay Area out of the water? Id' say that compared to most other cities and with the exception of the two places mentioned on each coast, Thai food is typically pretty poor elsewhere. In fact, I typically avoid Thai when travelling within the US/Canada because we have it so good at home and I'd rather focus on regional fare. I'm not suggesting SF has it better than LA (they've got the edge on us for most foods and certainly all ethnic foods) but compared to most other places, I'd say that San Francisco has excellent Thai food.

                                                                        1. re: OliverB

                                                                          SF has the edge on a few things, notably Burmese.

                                                                          1. re: OliverB

                                                                            Thai in Portland is also pretty solid.

                                                                            Technically Las Vegas as well.

                                                                            1. re: OliverB

                                                                              San Diego, Dallas, Washington DC all have better Thai food.

                                                                              In any case, I'm not going to miss food that's a 3/10 even if in most other places it's a 2/10, and I wouldn't think of that as us having it so good in the least.

                                                                              1. re: davidg1

                                                                                Well I guess we just have different travel and eating habits because unless I were staying a month or longer, I would never think to eat Thai food in Washington or Dallas. I'd sooner eat at restaurants that are more unique to those cities than bother with food that's arguably just as good here and that I can get five minutes from my apartment. I also prefer to seek out places that are strong on atmosphere and reflective of local charm and culture when visiting other cities. I often try to find restaurants of historic signifigance; menus that are strong on local ingredients, favor interesting or regional preparations, and in certain places, reflect the chef's personality and creativity. Thai restaurants are typically pretty bland and look the same everywhere, so if the food doesn't fall into any of the above categories (which it rarely does anywhere in the U.S.) then why bother. I might go for Thai in L.A. every now and again but that's just because we spend so much time down there. I spend several weeks out of the year in Montreal and the very first thing I go for when I return to San Francisco is Chinese and Thai!

                                                                                1. re: OliverB

                                                                                  i'm not an expert on Thai food but among the dishes I've tried so far at Kin Khao (SF), the Massaman curry beef cheek was unlike any Thai dish I've had elsewhere in the US.

                                                              2. re: OliverB

                                                                I was stuck in Bridgeport (Mono County) during the off-season for three weeks. Very first thing I did when I returned to Oakland was get Thai food.

                                                              3. This time it's empanadas and pupusas, as I've been in Central Europe and Sweden.

                                                                Depends on where I go. I'm almost always overjoyed at cheap fresh local produce, not over dressed salads, vegetables without sauces and raw vegetables.

                                                                Often it's sushi if I've been to Europe.

                                                                1. I would miss eating from one of these places in the Tenderloin: Saigon Sandwich, Hai Ky Mi Gia, Them Ky. The main reason being that all of these places were my favorite as a child and I did enjoy the food when I was younger, so I appreciate the opportunity to eat it again when I am back in the city. The only other thing I would miss is the water from SF. I feel like I've been spoiled with the water we get from SF to the point that I would store the water from tap into a large container, bring it with me, and exclusively drink that water (unless I am in some restaurant outside of SF or run out and need to come back to get more!).

                                                                  1. A shot of Fernet. Outside of Argentina and San Francisco, hard to find.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: sfchris

                                                                      Not sure i would go that far. Fernet is quite common in Boston, Seattle, and (I suspect) any other large city with a craft cocktail scene.

                                                                      1. re: barleywino

                                                                        I suppose, but it is not in ever single hole in the wall bar like it is in SF, and it never seems to be at whatever bar I visit when I am on the road, so I do miss it. (It's the SF bartenders' drink of choice since it contains stimulants).

                                                                        1. re: sfchris

                                                                          i hear you ;). Maybe if you can't find it out there, you can substitute some other amaro (zucca, cardamaro, mirto...) or have them make you a Trinidad Sour

                                                                      2. Can I play, as an ex-pat? Born and raised in SF (5th and Balboa), in Austin, TX since 1999? So, I go away for 15 years, and the food I miss most and seek on my beautiful vacations home....

                                                                        Mission Burrito
                                                                        Farmers Markets (Alemany was always my fave, now I am happy for the littlest fresh market, especially if they have fruit!)
                                                                        Wing Lee chicken bao & char siu bao (actually, csb from city bakery)
                                                                        Cinderella Piroshki
                                                                        Bread. Acme #1, with every other great local bakery close behind
                                                                        Little gem lettuces
                                                                        A proper sandwich on a Dutch Crunch roll
                                                                        Dungeness, if I am coming in season
                                                                        Joe's Cable Car Burger
                                                                        One of the wonderful, amazing, beautiful Italian restaurants: Bacco, La Ciccia, Incanto (RIP), Perbacco...
                                                                        Coffee - Philz, Ritual, Peet's, Blue Bottle...

                                                                        I had a longer list going, until I realized that most of it was stuff I have learned from you all that arrived after I had left.

                                                                        fun - great thread - thanks for the memories and summer realizations!

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: saticoy

                                                                          Joe's Cable Car closed, the owner retired.

                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                            Ohhhhhhh noooooo....yes, it was overpriced, but there was something about that meat - and the cantelope and pepperonccini. When I lived on Silliman, I used to save receipts to get their merch. This is the spot we always made time for when we came home, for the burger, and the hang. I'm SO BUMMED.

                                                                            It is kind of a beautiful thing that the business retires with Joe, but I was headed there tomorrow with my fellas. Don't quite know what to do now. I know there are many other great burgers out there....but that isn't the point. Sigh.

                                                                            Joe no longer grinds his fresh chuck daily.


                                                                        2. Super Duper Burger. Real sourdough. Blue Bottle.

                                                                          1. Hey daisylover, did you ever make it to San Francisco? I haven't seen any reports from your numerous requests on this board?

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: sunnyside

                                                                              Yes now am in Philly will report when I have five minutes to sit in front of computer

                                                                              1. re: daisylover

                                                                                I think that should be the response of local hounds whenever visitors ask them for advice!

                                                                            2. I just spent three weeks in Bavaria and the surrounding area, and having gone there from my home in the Sonoran Desert, I really missed carne asada tacos, guacamole and avocados in general, and quesadillas made with fresh homemade style tortillas. But there was schnitzel galore. And their salads are good, and varied.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                Who needs carne asada when you can get crackling-skin schweinhaxe from food trucks there ;)

                                                                              2. Also, WATER and ICED TEA! I drink lots of water and even more iced tea, but when you're buying by the half-liter and it costs more than beer, and there IS no iced tea, one has to adjust. Have a beer and then a bvottle of water. Not the same, granted, but it's more like vacation that way. :-)

                                                                                Actually, there is no ice in Europe, period. Am I right about that, my fellow hounds who are better traveled than me?

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                  There's more ice in Europe than there used to be.

                                                                                2. Bread. Bread everywhere else is weird.