Favorite food on this trip was dinner at Lotus of Siam. The khao soi was my favorite - the coconut curry broth was intense but not overpowering, beef seemed like a tender braised cut, and the star was the noodles, which had a nice chew and soaked up all the flavor. The kang hung lay (pork curry) was quite good, an interesting spicing combo that was somewhat unfamiliar (but good). Both were due to recs on this board (thanks!). Also really liked the crispy duck special and northern larb. Only miss was a duck curry with pineapple and cherry tomatoes - odd combo didn't work for me (wouldn't have even thought to order it, myself). I'll be back next time I'm in town - would like to try some of the other recs from here, and probably anything on the northern menu (enjoyed the soup, too, so we went 4 for 4 from that part of the menu).
Had a dismal lunch at Morels. Lunch menu seems pretty standard, nothing too fancy (though certainly not cheap). I ordered a sandwich - the BLAT (BLT + avocado). At least the bacon was good. The avocado was scarce and already brown (not just prepped in advance, but mushy and overripe). The tomatoes were DOA - we're talking pale, cheap buffet salad bar tomatoes. Truffle mayo was MIA. I can't believe I can come up with this many things to say about the sandwich - and I can't believe they would serve it. In addition, there were a couple service incidents that I could relate in excruciating detail, but unfortunately I would have to relive them in order to do so. It's possible we had a trainee or something - it was midweek and our guy was a little clueless and probably unintentionally rude. The awfulness was compounded by my original expectation of eating at Bouchon, except we found that they don't open for lunch (probably due to its out-of-the-way location).
For 1/5 the price I had better sandwiches a few days earlier at Nhu Lan. Not the best bahn mi I've had - in particular, the rolls were oversized for regular-sized filling, and the tofu version was bland. But the classic combo and grilled pork were good, as was the dressing, and everything was nicely toasted.
Also, had some beers at Gordon Biersch and the Freakin Frog. GB had just released their maibock, and this stuff was fresh, strong with big maltiness. I used to live in the Bay Area, and maybe we unfairly ragged on the place for the trendy chain it's become - haven't been to one in ages, not big on German styles, and I routinely ignore their stuff on the shelves at Trader Joe's. I have to admit, this was some good beer. Visited the Freakin Frog, which I hear is the best spot for craft beer despite feeling like a college dive. Got to try the Deschutes Abyss, which is impressive stuff and hard to find.