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San Francisco Bay Area

A visitor's report. (long)

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Restaurants & Bars

A visitor's report. (long)

cjla | Aug 1, 2003 01:39 AM

Hello all--

I'm a chowhound orginally from the Midwest, and now living in Los Angeles. Last weekend I made the drive up the coast, and stayed in Union Square for four days. I had a fantastic time, I only wish I could make a return engagement to catch the picnic!

To the chow!
On the drive up, we stopped a few times. (The drive was beautiful, however there were three of us, so the person in the back seat was always feeling a little green.) My husband and I had been in Cambria about two years ago and had dinner at Mustache Pete's. My husband fell in love with their clam chowder, so we stopped there for lunch. Since I'm allergic to shellfish, I'll pass on his continued affection for it. The rest of the food is unmemorable, and overpriced.
Mustache Pete's
4090 Burton Drive--across from Robin's

We got in quite late on Friday night, and were surprised how cool it got at night. Nine o'clock, trying to think of something near the hotel, not knowing where we were going, and I could feel my fellow travelers start to yield to the siren song of the chain restaurant. We were standing on a street corner, trying to figure out the map and keep our civility, when a homeless guy asked if we needed help. I said yes and asked if he knew of any Indian places. He responded immediately with walking directions and names of three or four places. We tipped him and went on our way. We found ourselves at Marrakech restaurant. It was dimly lit, with low tables and couches and pillow to sit on. You can order a la carte, or a multicourse dinner. Two of us just got the a la carte action, and one of us got the complete dinner, which the table shared. The food was pretty good(except for my lamb kebobs, the meat was almost too tough to eat). Marrakech has great atmosphere, sure, it's a little over the top, but sometimes that's all I want. The staff came over with a large pot sort of shaped like a kettle with warm water to wash our hands. There was a dj, who enthusiastically introduced the bellydancer. The bellydancer seemed accomplished to me, and its a small enough place I had a sudden irrational fear she was going to pluck me from the table and cojole me into dancing alongside of her. The food? We got bread, soup, which was hearty, with beans, kind of like minestrone. We had a type of pastry filled with ground pork or beef, but the top of the pastry was sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. This was followed by kebabs, couscous, baklava, and mint tea to finish. There weren't any leftovers. For the three of us, without drinks $90.
Marrakech
419 O'Farrell

Saturday found us at Farallon for dinner. It's a gorgeous room, with those squid light fixtures. We had reservations for 9:30, we arrived a little early and spent time at the bar. When we were seated we ordered the goat cheese tart salad for an appetizer. As entrees I got the tuna, my husband got the whole red snapper, and our friend got the salmon. I enjoyed both the salad and the tuna, but didn't love either. We had spent most of the day wandering around, going up and down all the hills we could find, so it was nice to sit in a nice setting and eat slowly. For dessert the table got custard with fresh fruit and a plate of small wonders. I also ordered a cup of decaf coffee. Now we get to one of my small annoyances in life. Has all of my time at diners raised my bar of expectation too high? My water glass was emptied several times, as was my coffee cup. I asked on seperate occasions to get one or the other refilled, and they both ended up empty. It irritated me. I liked the food and the setting, but I know there's better out there.
Farallon
450 Post

Sunday morning we had dim sum in Chinatown. We ducked into a place, sorry didn't get the name. The boys seemed very, very happy, but most of the dishes had shrimp, so that ruled me out. I did eat more than my fair share of steamed pork buns and Chinese broccoli. Yum. For dinner we went up to North Beach in search of a neighborhood to explore, and Italian food. We ended up at Original U.S. restaurant. My husband got a half plate of ravoli and spaghetti, I opted for three appetizers. I got the caprese salad, the mushroom and eggplant plate, and fried risotto balls. The fried risotto balls reminded me of potato balls available at a Cuban bakery near where I live. They were okay. I really liked the eggplant with mushrooms. The caprese salad? I give up in my quest in trying to cultivate a taste for raw tomatoes. I tried some the ravioli, and found them to be very tender. We stopped at a bakery down the street from the restaurant. We got hot chocolate, a macchiato, a cannoli, and some kind of cookie. The cannoli was great. The filling wasn't too sweet, and the shell was nice and crisp. I'm so glad I got to go to an Italian bakery.
Original US restaurant
515 Columbus

The visitor's tipsheet was invaluable. Thanks to Stanley Stephen for creating it, and thanks to the many, many hounds who posted enough passionate opinions to create it.

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