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Trip Report for SJ and SF (long)

caitlink | Feb 23, 2010 05:44 PM

My first trip last fall did not fare well. This time, I read the recommendations carefully and had a great time. Thanks, everyone.

1) Wanted to try the Michael Mina restaurants. Off to Arcadia in SJ. The bread was very good. Passed on the lobster pot pie at $70 since I was alone.

Loved the foie gras slider although portion was small. The fish entree was perfectly done. But the big hit was the truffled mac & cheese. My daughters would have loved it as an entree. Will try the duck fat fries the next time.

2) Next night, I drove along El Camino in Santa Clara. Loved the fact there were so many Korean and japanese restaurants and markets. Finally settled on Orenchi ramen based on recommendations from this board.

Loved the ramen. I would eat this everyday. The soft boiled egg was perfect as was the ramen. Drank every drop of the soup. Only wished my husband was with me. We eat ramen in Shinjuku at 1am every night whenever we are in Tokyo.

3) Next night it was off to the city. Stayed at Westin St Francis and had dinner at Michael Mina ordering off the bar menu.

Foie gras terrine was my favourite. So smooth and flavourful. Finally tried the mini lobster pot pie. Disappointed that it was only 2 bites of lobster with some puff pastry. I would rather eat at Lobster Royale here back home in TO.

But service was great and had good conversation with local customer and bartender. Did not realize Michael Mina was standing right in front of me all along until someone pointed him out!

4) next morning. I went to Ferry Bldg for breakfast. Did not realize there were more food stands in the back on my last visit.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see a stand selling rotisserie chicken and pork sandwiches. I ordered the pork knuckle. this was the best breakfast I ever had. The skin was crispy like chinese roast suckling pig but not overly salty. The meat inside was so tender and flavorful. When I cut into the knuckle, the steam and juices even had the ladies at the next table salivating.

then it was off to Hog Oyster for oysters. I think I liked Swan Oyster Depot better. Inside to Acme for bread. Scharffen berger for chocolate tasting. Ended up buying lots of chai chocolate and blueberry lavender chocolate to take home.

further along to Boudin for chowder and sourdough bread. Not a big fan of bread but sourdough was pretty good. Liked the chowder a lot. much better than swan oyster. And much much better than SF soup company - their soups are overly salty.

Then it was off to Beard Papa - liked the pumpkin cream puff but don't think I would line up for it. Did want to see what the fuss was about since we do not have it here at home in TO.

Disappointed with Out the Door pho. pricey and not the best I had. So far, our favourite has been Lac Bao (?) in Orlando based on recommendation from the Orlando board.

5) Ended up going to Grubstake for dinner based on feature i saw on Guy Fieri's triple D. Had the kale soup and pork chop. After whole day of eating, no room for boiled cod. The owner was very nice.

6) next morning I went to Dottie True for breakfast. Had the Open Road. Eggs, sausage, potatoes and pancakes. Sausage and pancakes were great. With coffee and tip, came to $20. A little pricey for breakfast. Pancakes were good but I prefer Hyatt's buffet and fresh blueberry pancakes for the same price.

7) Full from breakfast and therefore, passed on burger bar at macy's. Will try on my next visit.

Fared much better this time. Would love to have more time to try out more Korean and Japanese places on El Camino. Definitely going to Sawa the next time. Also Tadich Grill, Tartine and maybe more time in Japan town.

Thanks everyone. More tips for my next and third visit welcomed.

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