Restaurants & Bars

San Francisco Bay Area

Thanks S.F. Hounds! Here's a little report.

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Thanks S.F. Hounds! Here's a little report.

Slow Foodie | Aug 24, 2004 07:42 PM

I posted a query about staying in Union Square with the pups and got some really helpful and typically bay area literate replies. Thanks a million!
Here's our culinary itinerary:
My husband and I fell absolutely in love with Kuleto's when it first opened, and even though your board had suggested a decline in recent years, we were starving, staying at the Villa Florence (rooms the size of thimbles, if anyone asks) and I wanted the pups to try it. A very forgettable lunch I'm afraid, although very polished service. I had ricotta tortellini which was bland, one pup had a strange and grisly steak sandwich and the other a rather acrid tasting vegetable soup. Tragic.

We did however visit the Ferry Building that afternoon and the apricot cabernet from Ciao Bella got the nasty taste of Kuleto's out of our mouths.

My pups, being Angelino chillins don't cotton to public transportation nor do they much like walking. I'm a wuss with regard to driving in S.F. so we stayed pretty close to the hotel for most meals. Our first dinner was at Ponzu, which we all loved. Fun decor, good tropical drinks and delicious small dishes. Loved especially the pear salad and the roti bread. The pups sucked down the flank steak before I even got a taste and (a first!) were too full for dessert.

The next morning we had breakfast at Pier 39--the Eagle Cafe. It was way better than most tourist destination meals. I had a good omelette, one pup had good pancakes and the other enjoyed corned beef hash. The coffee was kind of icky and served with non-dairy creamer. The hot chocolate was made from packets, right before our eyes. I would say, a really good choice, and very very friendly, if you're at Pier 39 but not a destination. I loved the fresh fruit stand there with the biggest cherries I've ever seen and a nice little area to wash fruit so you can eat it on the spot. Overall, it seems like Pier 39 has much better food offerings than the typical tourist venue.

My kids love the Metreon although I find it kind of creepy in a Blade Runnerish way. We had lunch at the Long Life Noodle and Jook Joint there. I have to say that on the menu, everything sounds fabulous. In reality, nothing to write home about, but again, way above average for a tourist destination. We had pan fried noodles with chicken and broccoli, chicken "tacos" in lettuce cups and beef buns, which reminded me of banh mi, except on a sort of fried bun thing. There was unfortunately an abundance of a kind of icky plum sauce on the beef bun and the same was served with the chicken tacos.

For dinner, again, a quick walk for my lazy pups, we tried the Grand Cafe, a gorgeous room. The service was fantastic but my duck and one pup's mashed potatoes were total salt bombs. I sent the offending duck back; it was quickly replaced with a less salty quacker and all our desserts were comped as an apology. I'd try it again--on rabbit special night--because it's such a lovely space and the staff was so incredibly gracious.

We wanted to get out of town quick on Sunday so we ate breakfast at Kuletos. Again, ho hum. But this time the service was a bit curt and way less friendly than when we lunched.

On the way to the bay bridge, we made a final stop at the Ferry Building. I bought a ton of stuff to take home (apricot conserve, olive oils, pasta, wines...) and we had another Ciao Bella (mine fromage blanc and cinnamon--Good Lord!) and hit the road.

Thanks a million for your great board, and again, if anyone needs any L.A. advice--especially the eastside, please drop me a note. Am happy to help.

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