Restaurants & Bars

New Yorker in San Francisco - comments

John Francis | Nov 8, 200403:26 PM    

Hadn't been there in a long time, but remember liking the city. Like it even more after last weekend.

Sources of information and recommendations for restaurants were chiefly Vindigo (the service for the Palm PDA), Zagat (also on the Palm), a few guide books, and not least Chowhound.

Breakfast--On Saturday I went to Sears Fine Foods, on Powell near Sutter. Swedish pancakes (18 small ones), lingonberry preserves, their own sausage, first-rate. Arrived at 7:15; by the time I left at 8:00 there was already a line stretching out onto the sidewalk and up the block, and it was there all morning and Sunday morning too, so it's good to go early. On Sunday I'd planned to take friends to the amazing brunch at CityScape in the Hilton, but in the event we went instead to the Daily Grill on Geary just off Powell, near our hotel; pleasing ambience, good service, conventional breakfast menu but well prepared and in big portions.

I scouted some other places that are well recommended, and may hit some of them on the next visit. Probably not Dottie's True Blue, which is small, full by 7:30, and on the edge of the unsavory Tenderloin.

Lunch--Friday lunch at E&O Trading Company, an eclectic south Asian place on Sutter St. near Grant Ave. Fine mushroom and ginger soup of the day, nan with a zingy tomato and onion topping, and their signature corn fritters with a dipping sauce. Turned out to be a vegetarian meal (I'm not sure about the broth), though I only realized it afterwards, and a very good one. On Saturday, sightseeing at Fisherman's Wharf, we had lunch at the Blue Mermaid Chowder House in the Cannery. They have 8 different chowders and we had the crab & corn chowder, which they feature, and the mussels & sausage chowder, in sourdough bread bowls; the bread bowl soaks up much of the liquid but is still full of the good stuff, and when you've eaten all that, you get to eat the bowl. We didn't try anything else on their menu.

Dinner--We were in San Francisco for some performances and our dinner restaurants had to be within a few minutes' walk of the night's theatre. For opera night, Absinthe at Hayes & Gough Sts. Provincial French cuisine--two of us had cassoulet and coq au vin, another had grilled sturgeon, but the actual Frenchwoman among us had a dozen oysters. Very tasty and satisfying. We like to gather for coffee etc. after performances and reserved for 10:45--a good idea as when we got there the place was jammed with Friday night party people. Some original items, including lavender creme brulee and a pear tart with thyme ice cream (you read it right).

Saturday night, La Scene on Geary at Taylor (in the Warwick Regis Hotel) in the same block as the Geary Theatre, where I was going. Pleasant New American place (not particularly French, despite the name) with sepia portraits of theatre people on the walls, a nice corn and potato soup but nothing special about the scallops or pork loin entrees we had, though nothing wrong with them either. The next time, if any, I'll try another place; Pacific has been recommended.

Actually, next time I probably won't repeat any of these, as there are just too many other inviting possibilities to explore. As in New York, where I live, you never need to get bored or in a rut with the food in San Francisco

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