OK- here is the last of my trip. After driving down highway 1 and crossing the Golden Gate bridge, we finally arrived in the city. My wife wanted to go shopping on Union Street, so we drove over there and looked around. We came upon this really crowded restaurant(the patio next to street was full)and decided to eat there. This was Betelnut (2030 Union St. San Francisco, CA 94123 415.929.8855).
We ordered four dishes- Crispy Tofu Cakes, Minced Chicken in lettuce cups, mongolian hoisin pork w/ pancake, and Pork Dumpling w/ Szechuan broth. The tofu cakes were fried nicely with some kind of coating not identifiable to me but it was not greasy and the chili sauce was hot and tasty. A very simple dish. We saw almost every table order the minced chicken and lettuce. These were heavy on the sauce and salty by itself, but when you ate it in the lettuce cup, the flavors blended nicely and the saltiness diminished. I couldn't taste the lop chong in the dish, but it was fine anyway. The hoisin pork reminded me of deluxe moo shu pork but the pancake was not a thin wrapper but more of a mexican tortilla. The pork dumplings were steamed and served in a light broth with chili, and green onions over top making it look very colorful. The food kinda reminds me of PF Changs (quality ingredients tweaked from original ethnic version) but with a little more imagination. If this is your expectation here then you will satisfied with your meal. If you are expecting authentic traditional asian food, you may be disappointed.
Dinner- Firefly Restaurant (4288 24th Street, SF, CA 94114 415.821.7652) I found this on Chowhound. Thanks. We both had the fixed price 25.00 3 course meal. This is a great bargain and the food was very good. Starters- I had the grilled green beans with trumpet mushrooms and lemon zest. Very flavorful, the beans had grill marks and the zest of the lemon accented the dish well. A nice starter. My wife had the plum salad with goat cheese. The plums were excellent as well as the salad. The next course was the fried chicken with all the fixings. I didn't think this would be on the menu on Sunday night because past posts said that Monday night was Fried chicken night only.The chicken was perfectly cooked, crispy skin and tender and juicy inside. What cracked me up was that the dish looked like a TV dinner. Fried Chicken, Mashed potatoes and gravy, Mixed Vegetables and a biscuit. It was 100 times better than a TV dinner. My wife had giant pot roast with vegetables. Two huge slabs of pot roast slathered in a dark brown gravy, home cooking at its best. For dessert we had a peach tart with ice cream and the fig tart with ice cream. Both very good.
The next day, went to the SFMOMA (151 Third Street, SF, CA 94103 415 357 4000) for the Chagall exhibit(through Nov 4th). Excellent exhibit, a must see. There had to be over 100 paintings on exhibit. Get the audio tour, it will fill you in on all you need to know.
On to lunch at The Slanted Door (100 Brannan Street, SF, CA 94107 415.861.8032). Started off with the daikon rice cakes. A take on the dim sum pan fried radish cakes. These looked perfect and tasted ok. I commented to wife that I can get these for 2 bucks at any chinese restaurant that serves dim sum. Next were the entrees of Shaking Beef, Grilled Chicken with rice noodle and imperial rolls and spicy eggplant with coconut milk. Again, we saw everyone in the restaurant order the Shaking beef. Chunks of cubed filet stir fried with onions and garlic. It was good, but it could have been better. The spicy eggplant was pleasantly delicious. The subtle spiciness matched well with the coconut milk. I wish I could make this at home. The grilled chicken and noodle dish was also very good. The imperials rolls that came with the dish were also delicious. Again, like Betelnut, this is a refined version of ethnic food with high quality ingredients, good service and a nice atmosphere.
Horatios in San Leandro- good food, a little pricey for lunch
La Toque in Rutherford- Excellent in all respects. Treated like royalty.
Bistro Jeanty in Yountville- Classic bistro food, a little loud but food was very good.
Duck Club in Bodega Bay- Disappointing
Seaweed Cafe in Bodega Bay- Suprisingly good, small place
K an L Bistro in Sebastopol- A hidden gem or maybe not so hidden in an out of the way place
Betelnut in SF- Good for what it is.
Firefly Restaurant in SF- A quality neighborhood restaurant and a great value
Slanted Door- Mixed feelings on this one. Good food but..... I can't explain.