Sunday, December 05, 2004

San Francisco Report

Well, what can I say. What a city. The night after we came home, I was watching A Cooks Tour on the food channel. It was the French Laundry show. That is one of my favorite episodes. The way his personality is so giddy and goofy, and he is almost shy about meeting Thomas Keller is so sweet. It is totally in contrast to his normal appearance.

Incidentally, Thomas Keller went and did a demonstration and book signing and the Williams Sonoma store in San Francisco that was 3 blocks from our hotel the day after we left, dammit! And Anthony Bourdain was there on the 10th. F**K.

Anyways, so the show starts with Tony in San Francisco. He is walking down the street, and he says how much he likes San Francisco. He says it's a little dirty, and everyone is drunk.

That is the perfect description of the city.

It sure is a crazy place. The traffic! THE DRIVERS! Some of the worst I've ever seen. The hilly streets, some of them are truly terrifying to drive down. But it was beautiful.

We went to Alcatraz, which was much cooler than I thought it would be, Union Square, Colt tower, walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, took at boat tour, and just went every where we could and soaked it all up.

Great weather, nice people, good food.

And that's what this is about isn't it. This isn't a complete list of meals, just some that stuck out in one way or another.

Our first day there, we had a late lunch/early dinner at a restaurant at Fisherman's Wharf that will have to remain nameless, as I can't find the bill. Anyhoo, it was very nice, with an outdoor patio covered in ivy and flowers. Service sucked, but the food was good. I had a crab cake sandwich, something I had never heard of, or thought of, but it was good, served with a remoulade sauce on the side. Scott had a great meal; a baby shrimp and crab sandwich on bannok bread. It was so good and fresh tasting.

That night we found what I think is my favorite bar in the world now, Lush Lounge.

One note I should have written first, we had a terrible time finding places to eat for breakfast and lunch around where we were staying. And to find a place to have a drink after dinner was nearly impossible. Do these people not have pubs? Apparently not.

Lush Lounge was so cute and small and dark. The staff was really nice. We had frozen mandarin cosmos (one thousand thumbs up) and frozen watermelon martini's (two thousand thumbs up). A yummy night.

We had a questionable breakfast at a questionable Jack In the Box. Not a good choice, but we were hungry, and as I said, pickins were slim.

Fisherman's Wharf at lunch. Scott has developed an obsession with said wharf. Went to Gold Rush restaurant. It's like a fast food place. He wanted Fish and Chips. The menu didn't really appeal to me, but they did have calimari, which I have recently learned to love. We got our food, and were immediately unhappy. The fish and chips were out of a bag. The calamari wasn't rings, it was these bizarre pyramid shaped chunks. I barely touched it, so Scott, who felt bad because he had insisted on going there, took me to Crepe Cafe and bought me a beautiful crepe filled with fresh strawberries and whip cream. He redeemed himself.

We had dinner at Joe's Crab Shack which was a silly place, full of goofy decorations and music. Scott had crab, and I had a steak. I also had a Gold Claw Shaker Rita (a margarita) that was so freakin good. It was also $9.00 US. Boo. The food was good though. Down by the wharf they have these stands in front of restaurants that sell crabs and shrimp cocktails and stuff. It's just street food - no tables or anything. I tried so hard to get Scott to have his crab there, because I knew he wanted to. But for whatever reason, he said he didn't want to. His loss, and I got to have a Shaker Rita.

The best breakfast we had was a little place in a Galleria (open air mall) called
360' Gourmet Burritos. We had excellent egg and cheese and black bean burritos called 360 AM burritos. Their salsas were so good too - a really nice mild one and a sweet/spicy one that tasted a lot like pepper jelly.

Two other dinners of note -

Ar Roi Thai restaurant. This one has a short story with it. There were 3 thai restaurants within 2 blocks of our hotel. The first one, which was right across the street from our hotel, sounded good to me. Scott wanted to see the menus of the other 2. Ar Roi was the second. Ar Roi and the third restaurant both had soft shell crab, which we both wanted to try. We decided on Ar Roi. We decided to order 2 appetizers and share an entree, and then if we were still hungry we would get something else. So we decided on the crab and another appetizer of crepes filled with spicy chicken. When the server came (like a lot of thai/chinese/vietmanese restaurants, service is very abrupt.) we asked for the crab. They were out. We asked if they were out of anything else. They said no. We then decided on the crepes and chicken satay. They were out of the crepes. We asked if they were out of anything else. They said no. We then tried to order satay and a salad. No salad. Good God. Finally, we hit on something they did have - satay, spring rolls and pad thai. All were pretty good, the spring rolls were the least best of the bunch. And with a glass of beer for Scott and water for me (they only serve wine and beer) the total was a reasonable $27.00 US.

Ah, dinner at Ruth's Chris. Amazing dinner. We started with a small chop salad, which is probably the best salad I have ever had. I was a little worried about the dressing, blue cheese and lemon basil, because I am not a blue cheese fan, but it was great. I had the petit filet and Scott had the rib eye. We shared a creamed spinach. The steaks were just great, mine was so tender. We had a apple crumb for dessert. With one drink each, our bill before tip came to $110.00 US. Was is worth it? Absolutely. I will go back any time for the chop salad alone.

That being said, I am planning on spending much time in my kitchen trying to recreate the salad. Scott says he will be my taster. What a trooper.

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