My brother and his girlfriend were in town this past weekend, and needless to say we ate very well.
They arrived on Thursday and left on Tuesday, so they had lots of time for some great food.
They came into San Francisco early in the evening, and we had dinner with another friend at El Delfin. We shared an order of guacamole - excellent as usual. I had a chicken soup, which was pretty good (and nice for my cold that I was developing) but not as good as I remembered. Tasted a little too salty and lacking in other flavors/complexity. Still, not bad, with a generous portion of chicken and pieces of chayote. The other three shared tamales w/ mole (I didn't taste this, but they looked good), shrimp w/ chipotle and shrimp al ajillo. The shrimp al ajillo was spicy (as requested) and good. Service was very sweet (as usual) but quite slow since the restaurant was very busy and there was only one server! She seemed quite overwhelmed - not sure who or how many were in the kitchen, but it wouldn't surprise me if they were overwhelmed too. The guests were very happy with the meal.
I had work all day, so the guests explored San Francisco w/ another friend. Non-special breakfast at Dolores Park Cafe, followed by a good lunch at that sub place out in West Portal (what's the name of that place? they liked it) and then onto Assab for Eritrean for dinner. Five of us went to Assab - it was crowded and we snagged the last unreserved table at about 7 PM. This was my second visit, and I think this place is very good. We ordered a lamb dish and a beef dish, then also two veggie dishes. I think the most impressive at Assab are the two types of daal that are served w/ every meal - red and black. Both are really delicious and are probably my favorite on the plate. Other veggies are great too - we had the mushrooms which I liked, but didn't love, and the veggie combo, which I guess included lots of other dishes. I was less impressed with the meat dishes (sadly I don't remember which we had) but they were pretty good. I think I will stick w/ veggie at Assab from now on though.
Brunch at the Ferry Building! We opted for Primavera, which I had never had before. My bro and I both had chilequiles - awesome. This version has much less sauce than the version at Pastores - this was neither negative nor positive. Served w/ excellent scrambled eggs, delicious blackbeans, and sliced avocado and queso fresco. Really just excellently scrumptious.
Picked up some navel oranges from the stand in the front of the building (Twin Girl?) which are super sweet. Now that I have them at home, I'm not sure I like them. They were so sweet that we squeezed a lime on them the other night, and it made them taste more like normal oranges.
After Ferry Building we walked up Telegraph Hill, down into N. Beach and then into Chinatown. By that point it was time for a snack at Golden Gate Bakery - two pork buns and one sesame/bean donut. My pork bun was good, but I find their pork filling to be a bit too saucy - I guess I prefer them a bit drier and w/ more pork. The bread part was excellent.
For dinner, we ended up eating at the new Burmese restaurant in the Richmond - Pagan Restaurant at 33rd and Clement. It was excellent, and I already posted about it here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/478792
Sunday we began with dim sum at Hong Kong Flower Lounge. We all enjoyed this meal, it wasn't too crowded and five of us enjoyed several items - it ended up being a bit pricier than other visits, probably due to a special order of rice noodle rolls w/ fried shrimp. They had dofu fah - I've asked every visit and this is the first time they've had it. Sadly, it was pretty bad - not firm enough and not very flavorful. This had to be special ordered as well. Standouts were the scallop dumplings, the shrimp wonton cart and regular rice noodle rolls w/ shrimp.
After a visit to Marin Headlands, we were back in SF in the early afternoon, and I decided we had to get serious and start eating. Three of us shared a pork banh mi at Latte Express near Powell, then immediately boarded BART and went to Taqueria San Jose at 24th Street for tacos al pastor and strawberry agua fresca. Then we proceeded to walk up Bernal Heights, which resulted in a belly ache for me (but I guess good exercise). After that we went shopping at Manila Oriental Market to buy ingredients for homemade pork dumplings (since we clearly hadn't eaten much pork yet that day) which we made. They were good, though I don't feel great about their 99cent per pound ground pork - is there a better place where I could buy affordable fatty ground pork? Hopefully somewhere in between the prices at MOM and a high end butcher or Whole Foods....
I was at work again, and my brother and his gf went to Sultan for lunch buffet. They went on the later side, and said it was just OK. I was dismayed to hear that they weren't impressed - my brother compared it to the lesser of the two Indian restaurants in Saratoga Springs, NY. Maybe going later at lunch is less good, since I have been super impressed w/ both visits. Hmm
On Monday evening we went with two other friends to Pizzeria Delfina - my first visit. We waited a while for a table, which was no problem, and service was very friendly and professional. We shared several items:
broccolini w/ anchovies and capers - very nice, though I felt I could make this dish at home (and I intend to try). But it was very well done and the vegetables were cooked perfectly.
salumi (large) - For 10 dollars I was expecting a bit more salumi on the platter (the 18 dollar salumi platter at Incanto is about 3 times bigger) but what I tasted was very good. Nothing wowed me though.
I am completely going blank on our third appetizer. Maybe someone else will remember (or I'll remember tomorrow).
Calzone w/ two types of mushrooms and cheese - excellent. Served very hot and puffed up - when cut it collapsed and oozed melted cheese. One friend commented that she could easily eat a whole one herself. I would have to agree.
Clam pizza - I was very hungry when this pizza came, and it looked great. However, we all agreed that it was much much too salty. We ended up sending this pie back unfinished (although I was tempted to eat it anyway - the crust was still great) but in the end we were not charged for this pizza, which I thought was very appropriate. Some of the people at the table had had this pizza before, and reported that it had never been nearly that salty before.
Meanwhile, we ordered a sausage pizza, and I thought this redeemed them very nicely. This was great, and I think it was the best thing we ordered. Crust is crispy and delicious, sausage was full of rich fennel flavor. Now it makes sense why there's always a line.
For dessert we went to Bi-Rite Creamery where my brother had the coffee ice cream (which he liked) and the rest of us shared two banana splits. The bananas are caramelized on the spot before they are added to the sundaes - one sundae had vanilla ice cream, which I thought tasted somewhat icy, and the other had the malted vanilla w/ peanut butter brittle and chocolate, which I thought tasted more like toffee (not peanut-buttery at all), but both were very delicious. I like their hot fudge and whipped cream a lot.
While I was at work, bro and gf headed to Larkin Express Deli. They enjoyed their meal - I believe they had fish cakes and pork curry - they remarked that the meal was somewhat heavy, which makes sense given what they ordered. But they liked it a lot.
This evening it was off to the airport....it was an excellent visit with some excellent food. The visitors were excellent eaters (they made me proud) and I will be sure to report again next time they are in town!
3639 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Hong Kong Flower Lounge
51 Millbrae Ave, Millbrae, CA 94030
Larkin Express Burmese Kitchen
452 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Taqueria San Jose
2830 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Golden Gate Bakery
1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
3611 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
3066 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Capay Organic - consolidated in Ferry Bldg #9
1 Ferry, Bldg San Francisco, CA
2845 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118
48 5th St, San Francisco, CA