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Chowing, during the holidays, in San Francisco

toitoi | Jan 14, 201009:04 AM

Driving from LA on December 23rd, we settled into our hotel in Chinatown and immediately took off to HANG AH, a tea house I’ve been eating at, off and on, since 1959. Their Hot and Sour Soup has the bite it needs. Har Kow had tender shrimp in filmy dough. Crispy Shrimp is a wonder and the Beef Balls were meltingly tender.

Dinner was at THE SLANTED DOOR, always the arrival night – a 4-year tradition, The BBQ Pork Spare Ribs were delicious. Mesquite Grilled Sausage with Kusshi Oysters was interesting. The sausage disappointed, but the oysters (love ‘em) topping had a smart I hadn’t expected. My dining partner had Shaking Beef, me, the Branzino – don’t fillet it, please, I’ll deal with the fish – love to pick up the bones; search and nibble. We added the Spinach, unfortunately, it was greasy – too much oil. Paris-Brest was dessert – awful! Spoke to a rep to comment on the dessert. Has it changed?

Christmas Eve day breakfast – GOLD MOUNTAIN – yum to their freshly made dim sum.

Lunch - TAYLOR’S REFRESHER – Ahi Burger is so good !!

Dinner was at FIOR D’ITALIA, a restaurant we’ve eaten at regularly. A homey place was called for Christmas Eve, not a sleek establishment... Osso Buco for me, DP had the Rack of Lamb – sorry I hadn’t ordered that, not to say anything was wrong with the OB.

Christmas Day, after a morning movie, we rode the “F” to the Wharf, and then walked among throngs of other folks. Were they locals or tourists? CIOPPINO’S appeared new to me; had Steamed Mussels – an iffy choice, but they were great.

Dinner – RUE ST. JACQUES, lovely atmosphere and polite service, however here is where the soup bowl presented its ugly face for the first time. See my post:


DP had Escargot Catalan with chorizo, an unusually offering. I had Harris Ranch Tartare – love raw beef. Mains: DP had Venison with Fois Gras Sauce, me – Maple Duck with Mushroom Risotto. The Venison was ordered medium rare, it came rare – sent back. The duck was tasty, but that g** d**m soup bowl it was served in – sucked. An ordinary Buche de Noel was eaten by DP, I had the Chocolate Mousse – refrigerated chocolate!

It’s now the 26th; FEERY PLAZA SEAFOOD served us a great Crab Louie and a Shrimp Louie.

TADICH GRILL was the evening meal. A dozen Bluepoints and the Calamari Appetizer – neither something to write home about. However, my Cioppino was fantastic, DP had Half a Chicken – how do you talk someone out of what they order, which wasn’t liked.

Next day, we’ve come to my favorite place in the Ferry Building, HOG ISLAND OYSTER, but, unfortunately, only for me. I had a dozen mixed. Friend had grilled cheese and chowder.

Back in Chinatown, YUET LEE was dinner choice. Super pork spare ribs, pea shoots and mango chicken.

After a movie on Van Ness, we had, always dependable, sandwiches at TOMMY’S JOYNT. They were serving Oxtail Stew with noodles, and I regret, as I write this, not ordering.

The evening meal, Monday the 28th, was at ROSE PISTOLA, a favorite of ours for four years. DP had a sliced pear with cheese – couldn’t stop raving about it. Me, Octopus Salad – ho-hum. We shared Porcini Mushroom Ravioli, Crab Cakes, and the Grilled Prawns. Dessert was Toffee Budino – a rave from the DP, one spoonful for me.

Lunch Tuesday, was at WOODHOUSE FISH CO. A salad, ½ dozen Fanny Bay, Fish and Chips, and their wonderful fried soft clams.

CAPP’S CORNER disappointed me. Watery Minestrone, Iceberg lettuce salad; DP had pasta with alfredo sauce – really ugly. I had Sausage and Peppers with a slice of polenta topped with red sauce. Won’t write home about it, nor go back.

De Young Museum was in the morning, and here was another soup bowl experience which I reported here.


Dinner at PLOUF. The best mussels in San Francisco !! To start, I had their light-as-air Quenelles. DP had the Calamari, I think.

New Year’s Eve – Lunch, another Ahi Burger at TAYLOR’S REFRESHER. Dinner, prior to Thelma Houston and Taylor Dayne at The Castro, was at 2223 MARKET. I had Angel Hair Pasta with oysters, and N.Y. Strip Steak, DP had Sweetbreads, and their Chicken. Bread Pudding was recommended for dessert – I had a bite. DP thought it awesome.

Coffees throughout our visit were confined to CAFE TRIESTE or PUCCINI.

And, breakfast on the trip back to LA was at a DENNY'S on the 5 - Guess only once a year won't make it a habit.

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