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Aug 8, 2014 04:46 PM

Please help me fill in a few (last minute) itinerary holes.

Hello fellow food lovers, I could really use your help filling in a few holes in my dining itinerary for a trip coming up next weekend. The entire trip was rather last minute, but I did manage to secure a few decent reservations (albeit at hours slightly earlier than I normally prefer to dine). We arrive (3 of us) on Friday evening 8/15 and depart Wednesday morning 8/20. We are staying [in different places] the financial district and union square east areas and would like places that are walkable or a short cab ride. Overall we are looking for moderately priced places, but can balance out with a combo of cheap eats + something a little pricier. Here is what we've got so far:

Friday: need a dinner (by the time we land, taxi in, check in, etc. we
aren't likely to be dining before 8:30, but being on east
coast time are likely to be starving). I was considering
Mission Chinese, but after reading through several posts on
here am now questioning the wisdom of that idea...

Saturday: we will be attending the Street Food Festival (for work and
the reason for our trip), so I think this will cover us food
wise that day, but would love some cocktail reccos for the

Sunday: need lunch/brunch and dinner - considering Ferry Building
Market or Dim Sum (I know, I know the good dim sum isn't to be
had "in the city", but we are just going to have to make do.)

Monday: dinner at Contogna, need lunch - maybe a bahn mi at Saigon

Tuesday: dinner at AQ, need lunch

We may spend Monday or Tuesday afternoon in Berkley, so a lunch spot recco there would be great. We are wide open to suggestions for all types of cuisines, so just go for it! Thank you all, I know that these last minute dinners are an especially tall order, so I am excited to here your suggestions!

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  1. If youre eating late on friday you might actually be able to get into some places that would be full earlier e.g. State bird provisions. For cocktails try the bar at Saison. Dim sum near the Ferry building would be Yank Sing, of course.

    1. If you have time, you could BART your way to Millbrae and walk to some of the Dim Sum places. I mean, it's not the prettiest walk from the BART station, but it's paved and not too far and even with the added BART cost, you'd probably save money than eating at Yank Sing. However if you insist on being in the City that is BART accessible, Yank Sing will do.

      And Mission Chinese is solid if you're not looking for some kind of mindblowing authentic Chinese experience. It's good, if oversalted, food. However, it's the Mission and there are plenty of other good eats that are open fairly late.

      1. Wongmann, which place in Millbrae would you consider better than yank sing? Last time I was at Hong Kong Flower Lounge I had the impression it had gone downhill, but maybe that's just me

        1 Reply
        1. re: barleywino

          Haven't been to Hong Kong Flower Lounge in a while, though last time I was at the Kitchen (a few months ago), it was good. Zen Peninsula, while inconsistent, was quite the bargain. I haven't been to Yank Sing in quite a while, to be honest (back when my aunt and her former husband splurged and took me to nice lunches and dinners while I was in town). Given these disparate experiences I wouldn't necessarily say that Millbrae is better than Yank Sing, but I feel it's similar quality for cheaper and I do love a heavier wallet.

        2. We liked Gaspar Brasserie, which is probably convenient to your hotels. And although I don't always agree with Michael Bauer, SF Chronicle food critic, he liked it also:
 We were there when it was half-full and it was noisy but not ear-splitting, but we noticed the crowds emptied out pretty quickly. A lot of people seem to just come for drinks and a couple of appetizers after work, then leave.

          Gaspar serves until 11p on Fridays. Their lamb sweetbreads, if you don't mind gamy lamb (we love it, but not everyone does), are amazing and few chefs in SF serve them. The duck was marvelous, too. Chris Jones is the chef; Chucky Dugo the pastry chef (altho he may have moved on to a different role in owner LeClerc's restaurant group by now).

          Gaspar (main dining room is upstairs
          )185 Sutter St. (near Kearny Street), San Francisco; (415) 576-8800.

          And there's nothing to apologize for in going to Yank Sing for dim sum. It's one of the better places in the Bay Area, which is remarkable considering I can remember going to the original Yank Sing on Broadway exactly 40 years ago: a plain, basic dim sum place when it was the ONLY good dim sum restaurant, far better than Hang Ah tea room. The owner, Alice, adored my husband when he was a 12-yr old teen and offered to adopt him.

          We have always considered his parents idiots for turning her down, LOL! She later adopted a son who is now the owner of the current Yank Sing restaurants.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jaiko

            Good call on the carts, rudyfoodie! I know people complain that the food isn't as fresh, but I haven't found that and it is a unique experience.

            Thanks for mentioning Gaspar, jaiko, which is work and hotel adjacent for the SO's business trips. The sweetbreads sound wonderful, and I'm also tempted by the duck confit with pork belly (!). May have to check it out on our next food trip. Bauer gave it a bomb rating on noise -- did you find it loud as well?

          2. Thanks all! I've done both Yank Sing and Hang Ah before, good (albeit uniquely different) experiences at each. You certainly pay for the experience and ambience at Yank Sing (vs Hang Ah specifically), the price of a meal at YS really can get out of control quickly! With all that said, I think Yank Sing will be the way to go this visit as my companion has never done dim sum and I'd like for her to have the cart experience.