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SF roundup

bill p | Jan 8, 200408:06 PM

The Chowhound Mssage Board made our trip with a couple of exceptions.
Sunday night wanted some Latino chow so went to La Casita Chilanga in Redwood City. While the tortas per se were nice, the fillings were a little too basic. I got one with several meats one of which looked like a hot dog. Daughter had another item can't recall name began with an "h" and it was not good. This was a bit of a stretch to go to in the evening, is edgy okay to use, and not recommended here.
Monday A.M. to Swan's Oyster Depot in SF Good clam chowder- the milky kind not very chunky - and good crab salad. Great ambience but I was still a bit disappointed. The crab cocktail at Ferry Bldg. Seafood Saturday morning was fresher and more flavorful and no more expensive.
Snack at Juicy Lucy's on Columbus Ave. A must for vegetarians and post-hippies. I loved this place, the proprietor was very well-informed and I had a veggie medley drink (from a bowl with your hands) that was "good for the blood." Full of flavor and though probably placebo effect I did feel better all day. Too bad I arrived on a full stomach. I watched her take 10 minutes to chop and toss what looked like a perfect salad.
Down the block to Graffeos for a present to bring home - excellent fresh decaf beans.
Back up the block to Mario's Bohemian Cigar Bar for a cup of decaf espresso/americano(?) This is a destination corner cafe with what looked to be very tasty paninos in a nice little flat oven. No cigars, nice blend of clientele. Don't let the name fool you this is a cool upscale cafe.
On to the Presidio - too chilly to walk on Chrissy Beach as planned. Went to Desiree and got the egg salad sandwich with truffles. Drove across park to Baker Beach and ate the sandwich and took a walk. This was a first-rate sandwich - easily the best I've had in recent memory - on sourdough bread I think and the whole deal had a little heat in it. Service was contemplative for lack of a better word as indicated by others herein. Still, this is a must for picnicers in the area.
Just as I checked in to my priceline hotel, received word that daughter needed me back south on the peninsula. So my destiny with $1 oysters between 4 and 6 at Hog Island in the Ferry Building will have to wait to be fulfilled.
Dinner at Tamarine in Palo Alto. Daughters roommate and father (who reviews for Zagat) had recommended this as very pricy but excellent. Chowhounders had mixed views at best. For a Monday evening in Palo Alto (admittedly the nite before classes resumed at Satnford) the place was hip and hopping. It was extremely pricey. We found the Squash like soup (kabacho?) to be outstanding, creamy and not overtly squashy. Also, the basil tofu was excellent, flavorful and perfect texture. Other dishes I found disappointing, perhaps on par with your average Chinese place. $22 prawns were dry and nearly flavorless. Northern noodles not anything other than usual fare. Sauteed green bean dish very spicy but nothing unusual at all. Desserts were good, a chocolate cake thing with filling was no worse than what other upscale places serve. Didn't try the chocolate won-tons, but daughter really liked them. She was very enthusiatic on the whole, I was more of the opinion that the same food can be had for 20% or less of the cost. So go on expense account and enjoy. If its your own nickel, get one glass of wine, one dish(they suggest this is alittle like a tapas sharing situation but I wouldn't) each and no desserts.
Breakfast Tues. A.M. - leaving town needed seafood - how bout another try at Swans. This was the fourth time I've tried it, the third in a year. I think showing up for breakfast at 9 A.M. is cool for them and for me. I ordered a dozen Kumamotos (?) and a cup of clam chowder. Did I want a liquid starter - no not today thanks. The excellent server strongly suggested I have the oysters first, then the chowder. These were the 12 best oysters I've I had lifetime. Salty, very fresh, plump. The deep shells had 1/2 inch of juice left in the bottom after pulling the oyster out. Go for it they must be in season. Then the clam chowder was also heavenly. Perhaps my server put some extra stuff in it, but also the milky blend with a salty component and a strong buttery kick was the best I've had. I almost cried. Maybe the soup is just better first thing, I strongly suggest an early date with it at your convenience. Please recall I've been happy but not ecstatic with this place in a couple of recent, later-in-the-day engagements, although Monday had only been at about 11 A.M. The 9 A.M. was great for me. This was the only way to depart SF and a strong consolation for getting skunked on 2 tries for Hog Island at the Ferry Bldg.
The graffeo travels well, the wind chill here was twenty below on arrival. And my STOA, Andalu, Swans, Ferry BLDG Seafood experience continues to keep me warm.
There is a Windy's Chinese on University in Palo Alto. Any relation to one of our posters here? And if so, many apologies for not giving it a try.
Thanks to all for a very successful chow.

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