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A couple months ago I trudged up Russian Hill in search of working wi-fi to Fueling Station. It opened late last year. The space has been transformed from the dark cafe that used to be here to a bright and airy spot serving up beverages and light, housemade fare for breakfast and lunch. The sweet scent of muffins, scones and other pastries baked on site mingle with intense aromas of Vietnamese coffee and savory roasting chicken. Since I like all those things, it smells absolutely wonderful to step inside here.
A shared table in the back had easy access to electrical outlets and plenty of space to spread out my food and my electronics. I ordered the Banh mi salad with roast chicken, $6.75, and Vietnamese ice coffee, $3.75.
While the cafe continues to use Contraband for its coffee drinks, as the earlier occupant did, the Vietnamese coffee is based on a darker French roast sourced from Los Angeles (that's as much as they would reveal). It's quite robust, and well-suited to the blending with ice and sweetened condensed milk. The coffee service presentation was quite nice, arranged on a tray and including a thermos of hot water if the brew turned out to be too strong.
The roast chicken dark meat on the salad looked to me to be about two thighs worth, a generous amount. Roasted fresh each morning, the chicken was juicy and succulent, not dried out from being refrigerated. I quite liked having the tart-sweet flavors of a Vietnamese sandwich on salad greens.
This turned out to be a pleasant lunch at a decent price for this neighborhood and I got my work done. The Chinese matron who is the mother of the owner fussed over me and said, "You'll come back after you taste this roast chicken banh mi salad." She's right, I will.
2436 Polk Street
San Francisco, California, CA 94109
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