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Trip Report (aka the SF Tip Sheet Tour) - Loong

bk | Apr 16, 2004 06:48 PM

Started off the trip with real meals and ate on the fly as time ran short but here goes:

Thurs Breakfast: Dottie's Tru Blue Cafe (Jones St) Great overall experience with both food and service. Got there @9am to a decent sized line. A single opened up at the counter and I grabbed it. A waitress was pouring my coffee before I even took my coat off and sat down. Turns out I couldn't sit down as the counter spot was only big enough to fit my elbow. Here's where I was really impressed with the staff. They totally understood that the space I had agreed to really sucked and were more than willing to reseat me when a table opened. One bummer though, they wouldn't let me keep my coffee while I sat & waited. Since the crowd only grew, I agreed to share my 4 top table with another couple. Still, the wait staff did not make me (a solo diner) feel rushed in any way.

Ok..the food I ordered the black bean cakes with eggs (over), fresh salsa, sour cream,hash browns & grilled corn bread. My first taste of the cakes and eggs did not initially impress and had me reaching for the salt & pepper. Luckily before the s&p were passed to me I tasted the salsa. That fresh salsa is spiced just right and really made the whole dish come together.

Lunch: Debated over Sam's or Taditch and Taditch won out. Enjoyed a late lunch of cioppino that really hit the spot. There was more than enough for 1 meal and I only wished I could've taken the rest with me. Loved the atmosphere and the long wood bar. Makes me want a martini or scotch just thinking about the place.

Fri Breakfast: Stayed in and enjoyed a coconut scone that I got the day before at Dottie's. Still fresh and tasty a day later.

Fri Lunch: Joined y'all for the Chinatown lunch (reported on earlier) and afterwards was escorted to the Golden Gate Bakery where I was sagely advised to try the egg custard tarts, coconut tarts, savory (pork) pastry and a moon cake with 1 egg yolk. Sadly, they just ran out of macaroons. Having never had any of the above all I can say is that I am now addicted to those tarts. I doubt it but will have to see if nyc has anything that comes even close.

Fri Dinner: Bypassed Anchor Oyster Bar (Castro) for La Taqueria (25th & Mission). Got the carne asada burrito with the works and a horchata. The burrito was great and the added guacamole was far superior to anything I've had as a side/topping in nyc or tuscon. Wanted to go to Tartine afterwards but had to run & catch a play - wrong move on my part.

Sat AM: On a mad dash through the farmer's market & ferry building. I ate a Frog Hollow blackberry tart (good pastry but the berries were a bit too tart for my liking), coffee from Bluebottle and a donut muffin from Downtown Bakery. Both excellent. Also scarfed down some fried asparagus (didn't catch the stand's name) I also picked up some Taylor Farms honey, June Taylor Pear Butter and more treats from the Downtown Bakery (berry scone and sticky bun) & a tip to visit a nearby Greek place, Kokkari for great lamb.

Sat Dinner: Cold & exhausted i stopped by Naan & Curry and picked up some Palak Ghost(sp?) - lamb w/spinach, rice and naan to go. The lamb had a few more bones than I was expecting but other than that the flavor and spice level were perfect.

Sun AM. Had the leftover Downtown Bakery scone and sticky bun. The scone still fresh was fine - the stick ybun, while tasty really doesn't keep well.

Scone comments- both Dottie's and Downtown's were similar type standard dense scones. Both were good, especially considering they both eaten the following day. Still, neither (or any in nyc) can compare to the ethereal scones made by Raging Sage Coffee Roasters in Tuscon, AZ.

Mon Brunch: Corned Beef Hash, eggs and Hash Browns at the Eagle Cafe (Fisherman's Wharf). Again, first bite was okay but the taste just kept getting better the more I ate. The crispy chunky potatoes along with the view really were the highlights.

Last Night in SF was topped off with an Irish Coffee at you guessed it...The Buena Vista. Hey i'm a tourist after all.

Sundry snacks and drinks were had at: Ginger's Trois, Sparky's Diner, Delores Park Cafe, Harvey's and Mecca.

On to Napa where I was hoping to breakfast at the Soscal Cafe. Unfortunately, the cafe was closed and a local directed me to Nation's Burger's. Not quite the same idea - Nation's seemed more like a local Denny's. Still the coffee was very good and the bacon & eggs were ok.

Sipped some wine at the Reynolds Family Winery and St Clement and then had to haul butt back to SFO.

Biggest regrets to be rectified on next visit - not visiting Tartine, Hog Island Oyster Bar Happy Hour and sitting down to a real dinner at any one of a zillion places.

Thanks again all for the tips and a great trip!

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