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SF report -- La Scene, Medjool, Iluna Basque (long)

SLOLindsay | Oct 17, 200404:18 PM

Armed with Chowhound tips (which flew out of my hands as we crossed Geary on the way to the theatre), my husband and I just got back from two wonderful days in the city.

The best part, to me, was the Ferry Building, which overwhelmed my senses. I filled a cloth bag to bursting with fruits and veggies and olive oil, picked up some Neal's Yard Lancashire at Cowgirl Creamery to go with Pain au Leavin at Acme and we ate lunch with flights of wine at the Wine Merchant. A wonderful Chowhound tip that I'm so grateful for. I wish I could visit every week.

We stayed outside North Beach, so we had coffee and pastries at Cafe Roma (pain au chocolat), Cafe Treiste (amazing cappuccino) and Cafe Puccini (plus a filling antipasto plate). All were very good. I had the bread pudding with raspberries and a cappuccino at Tartine in the Mission District as well, worth it just for the amazing smells. I want to live in that neighborhood; it was so quiet when we visited.

For dinner, we made reservations at La Scene. My duck confit with French lentils and cabbage frisee was perfect, but my husband's pork loin had been sitting and waiting for mine to be done, it seems, and so was past lukewarm into almost cold. Eek.
We split a bottle of 2002 David Bruce Pinot Noir that's actually made in San Luis Obispo, where we live, and we hadn't had it before. My husband had heirloom tomatoes in mozzarella for an appetizer, which was well-balanced and wonderful, and I enjoyed my dessert of chocolate bread pudding. I ordered the $24.95 prix fixe, and I'd call it a good deal.
All in all, I probably wouldn't go back, as the service got maybe 2 stars. I felt conversely like we were being rushed into picking a wine and that we were being made to wait so long at times that we almost missed our 8 p.m. show (we had 6:00 reservations).

Dinner Saturday was at Medjool on Mission next to Foreign Cinema. Wonderful! We paid half what we did at La Scene and my husband raved about it. He's not an adventurous eater, so it was a coup on many levels. I wasn't very hungry after my splurge at Tartine, so we split small plates of Zhoug-marinated shrimp with tomato ginger jam, calimari with red onions, lemon, and aoili, grilled vegetables on a skewer with tahini and a side of couscous with the namesake medjool dates. Our waitress was competent and very nice and brought each small plate out in shifts so we had time to enjoy every bit. The space very open with a very cool chandelier of colorful glass balls hanging above us. Made me feel like I wasn't in Kansas anymore. :-)

Finally, we made a short stop at Iluna Basque in North Beach after the theatre and enjoyed some wine, sangria with whole pieces of fruit in it (a nice touch I don't see as often here) and peppers stuffed with salt cod. Very good, and the small plates were just the taste we wanted after the show. We originally had ordered sweet red peppers stuffed with mushrooms and Manchego, but they were out -- we didn't get there until after 11 p.m., so it's forgivable. :-)

Thank you to whomever responded to my many posts and to all who provided fuel for my research and didn't know it. We had a great weekend of enjoyable food and I felt like I had a guide.

Happy chowing!

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