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Mike and The Wife Do California, Part II: The San Francisco Treat

San Francisco.

I love San Francisco.  It is one of the few places I’ve been to where I instantly feel home, Las Vegas being the only other.  New York makes me gag, Chicago makes me bored, Los Angeles makes me cringe…but San Francisco…I love San Francisco.  I don’t know what it is about the place.  There’s a certain vibe, a certain energy that is palpable, simpatico with my own.    San Francisco is the most European of the American cities, I suppose. There’s a focus on the good things in life; food, drink and culture.  The frantic pace of “work work work”  isn’t felt here like other major American cities.  It’s a city that lends itself well to The Hang.

On the Bay Bridge to San Francisco

On the Bay Bridge to San Francisco

San Francisco was my part of the trip, The Wife gets credit for the big ass trees I talked about last week.  I’ve only been to San Francisco once before, almost 9 years ago.  It was when I was living in Salt Lake City (yes, really. Don’t ask.) and was at the point where I couldn’t take…it…anymore.  I hopped in my car and just starting driving west on I-80 and before I knew it, after a liver abusing stay over in Reno,  I was in San Francisco.  I only spent a few days, not knowing anything about the city, driving around aimlessly, literally sticking my head out the window to smell something good for a place to eat. That’s how I first discovered the wonders of The Stinking Rose.  I walked into bars that looked inviting, ate at restaurants that smelled good from the outisde and lived for a few days as an actual San Franciscan.

Ever since that fateful voyage there has been a tug on my heartstrings to go back.  After far too long an absence, I was back in my happy place, and with not much more knowledge than I had my first time around.  I knew ahead of time a few places I wanted to hit up, of course all of them being food related, but other than that I was happy to wander like a blind idiot again.  San Francisco is good for that, there seems to be something worthwhile at every corner. The hills suck ass though.

We stayed at the Hilton in Union Square.  A nice hotel with nicely appointed rooms and very comfortable beds, but in retrospect not necessarily the location I’d pick again.  It was a few blocks away from the closest Muni Station which was our preferred method of travel, even though we had our own car.  One thing Vegas has over everyone is FREE PARKING! With each garage you need to park in being $15 or so on their own, it’s cheaper to cab it, or even more economical (and much more entertaining) to take public transportation.  New York’s subway system is still the most idiot proof for clueless tourists such as ourselves, but the Maps app on the iPhone was brilliant in letting us know how to get to where we wanted to go.

We got to town around 3pm and quickly hit the streets.  Not having a clue where the hell anything was, our sense of direction completely in the shitter, we looked up and down O’Farrell St. and decided to go down…or at least what we perceived as down.  Not really having a game plan for anything, we were just playing it by ear and it was wonderful.  So many vacations are wrecked by having a mapped out schedule of events.  We went to San Francisco knowing we couldn’t do everything, we didn’t really want to do everything. We want a lot of reasons to go back and go back often.  San Francisco certainly doesn’t disappoint in that department.

D & G Lounge in Chinatown, San Francisco

D & G Lounge in Chinatown, San Francisco

We were hungry (surprise, surprise), and Chinatown was the first thing to spring to mind.  I remembered there was a place in Chinatown that Bourdain visited on the San Francisco episode of No Reservations, so after a few quick searches on the iPhone, I found out it was the R & G Lounge.  I don’t know much in life, but one thing I know is that when you go into a Chinese restaurant and have to walk downstairs to get to the dining room, you’re in for some good food.

Salt & Pepper Dungeness Crab from D & G Lounge

Salt & Pepper Dungeness Crab from D & G Lounge

Combination Chow Mein

Combination Chow Mein

Good-But-Not-As-Good-As-First Walnut Shrimp

Good-But-Not-As-Good-As-First Walnut Shrimp

Tank O' Shrimp at R & G Lounge

Tank O' Shrimp at R & G Lounge

R & G’s signature dish uses the signature ingredient of San Francisco, Salt & Pepper Dungeness Crab.  Beautifully fried and elegantly simple, it was a real treat.  One of the toughest things for me is to not be disappointed by crab that doesn’t have Alaskan King on its birth certificate.  The Dungeness is certainly no Alaskan King, but R & G did their product proud with expert execution and fun presentation.  We also had a Combination Chow Mein that was fine, and Walnut Shrimp that were also fine, although made me puff with pride as First Food and Bar here in the 702 is still the Grand Champion of the Walnut Shrimp.  One thing about R & G is the supreme freshness of their seafood, as we were seated next to a tank of still smiling, still unsuspecting prawns.  Oh, the fate that lies before them. Yum.

The Wife in Chinatown

The Wife in Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinese Dick Figurines

Chinese Dick Figurines

Not found in Walmart - $95,000 Hand-carved Elephant Tusks

Not found in Walmart - $95,000 Hand-carved Elephant Tusks

Homeboy rocking out American Folk Songs on an Erhu

Homeboy rocking out American Folk Songs on an Erhu

After our very satisfying meal at R & G Lounge, we hiked up the hill to the heart of Chinatown, you know, where all of the junk shops are.  I absolutely adore Chinese junk.  This is what a Chinatown is to me; a crowded city street filled with junk shops, exotic markets, ducks hanging in windows (although I don’t remember seeing any) and massage parlors oozing from happy endings.  I love it. While our Chinatown in Las Vegas has some fabulous restaurants of all Asian persuasions and its fair share of shit stores, it’s still a strip mall Chinatown, thus losing the vibe that a “real” city’s Chinatown has.

Café de la Presse

Café de la Presse

With last minute reservations at Chef Chris Cosentino’s Incanto for that night still a few hours away and since we just ate a late lunch, of course we should stop at the cute little Parisian café on the walk back to our hotel and eat more.  We desperately need places like Café de la Presse in our neighborhoods here in our Little Twinkle in the Desert.  Yes, Starbucks and the Coffee Bean have a place in life, but don’t come close to filling the void created by not having a kick ass daytime hang spot like Café de la Presse.  A big newsstand of an international assortment of magazines, premium coffees and a whole assortment of the standard French café light fare to nibble on, this is a place that I would love to spend all day, every day at.  Unfortunately we don’t grow these in Green Valley.

Macarons and Café Americano from Café de la Presse

Macarons and Café Americano from Café de la Presse

Eyeballing some delectable looking macarons, The Wife and I sat at a table and had a conversation about the world, exactly what needs to happen in a place like this.  Not some fucking sales pitch or other irritating business meeting, but a conversation about life and love.  From our table I heard at least French, German and Spanish being spoken elsewhere.  Not once did I see some eager douche with a calculator stuffing figures down his companion’s throat.  It was nice.  Also nice were the macarons; we had an assortment of Pistachio, Strawberry and Mandarin Lime.  A very fine Café Americano to sip on as well, the atmosphere was perfect.

Chris Cosentino's Incanto

Chris Cosentino's Incanto

From a brief aside in Paris it was time to make our way down to Cosentino’s House of Pig Entrails; Incanto.  It’s almost funny to witness chefs on Twitter like @AndrewZimmern, @tom_colicchio and @Rick_Bayless continuously rub one out to the pictures that @offalchris puts up.  Incanto is the ultimate of food porn for chefs; impeccably prepared parts of tasty animals that no one should ever want to eat.  When eating at Incanto, one must come with an open mind. A very open mind.

Hanging Meat.

Hanging Meat.

Located in the unassuming neighborhood of Noe Valley, it’s a substantial but easy Muni ride from downtown.  It reminds me a lot of Soyo here in Vegas in the light that you wonder why the hell a restaurant like this is in a neighborhood like this, but you’re thankful that it is.  Cosentino also runs a very popular salumeria in the Bay area called Boccalone. At Incanto, you are greeted with some of the fine hanging meat from Boccalone as you enter the restaurant.

Wall-Sized Pig Asses at Incanto

Wall-Sized Pig Asses at Incanto

Incanto is a beautiful space. Rustic stonework along with large photographic murals of odd animal parts.  Any restaurant with a wall-sized picture of pig ass is my kind of joint!  The hard stone does create for a lot of sound reflection, and with a jam packed floor, it made for a very high volume level, so don’t go to Incanto for intimate conversation, but go to have your mind blown away with some food you’ve probably have never even thought about eating before.

Piglet Salumi Platter from Incanto

Piglet Salumi Platter from Incanto

We started with a salumi platter which immediately  made me see why Boccalone is so beloved.  This was some of the finest salumi / charcuterie / cold cuts / whatever the hell you want to call it, that I’ve had.  The platter made me see proscuitto in a different way, with this offering having a much thicker slice than what is the norm.  Over two weeks later and I’m still thinking about the flavor of the pistachio studded mortadella.  The accouterment were a perfect compliment; pickled beets, gherkins and house made whole-grain mustard.  This was one fine plate of pig.

Pig's Blood Pappardelle with Pig's Head Ragout. Yes...really.

Pig's Blood Pappardelle with Pig's Head Ragout. Yes...really.

While there was a salumi of heart, kidney and liver included in the platter, something I never thought I’d ever eat in my life was the next course.  Pig’s Blood Pappardelle with Pig’s Head Ragout.  No…really.  Have you ever heard of Pig’s Blood Pappardelle? I sure as hell haven’t.  This is the part where I usually like to be a dick and say, “Well, there’s a reason.” , but I can’t in this instance.  It was delicious.  The pig’s blood was present more for unique color than actual flavor, there was still just the faintest hint of minerally flavor that blood-related foods are known for.  I almost felt like a Cullen eating this thing.

The Pig’s Head Ragout was spectacular.  Head braised down until it falls off the skull and in a fabulous reduction of the tasty juices that come with such braising, it was a full blown porkgasm (patent pending).  I’m pleased to say that even The Wife, while squeamish at first, also greatly enjoyed it.  It made me think about food.  I personally know about only four or five people that would ever order such a thing, and it’s a shame.  If I didn’t go with the specific intention of expanding my palate, I might not have ordered it either.  While most of this offal craze is utter bullshit with a bunch of jabronis serving up organ meat because it is the countercultural hip thing to do, Cosentino and crew work magic with it.  I ask myself the question with the obvious answer; “Why can’t anybody do this in Las Vegas?” Then I think about the only four or five people I know that would actually order it.  I think about that in a restaurant that couldn’t possibly fit another soul in the room. On a Wednesday night.

Cornish Game Hen Fra Diavolo with Zucchini Waffle

Cornish Game Hen Fra Diavolo with Zucchini Waffle

We finished up our mindblowing meal at Incanto with a mindblowing spin on Chicken and Waffles, Cornish Game Hen Fra Diavolo with Zucchini Waffle. It, like the rest of the meal, was perfect.  Succulent Game Hen that brought just the right amount of heat was perfectly balanced with a pillowy soft waffle and drizzle of honey syrup.  Unfortunately with all the food we already ate that day, there was no way in hell dessert was going to happen at Incanto.  Also unfortunately, I didn’t get to chat with Chef Cosentino as the kitchen seemed to be in the weeds with a full house and I didn’t want to be the unimportant pain in the ass from another town interrupting his expediting duties.  With the outside chance that Chris reads this, thanks for one hell of a fucking meal!  I now know why people like Colicchio, Bayless and Zimmern spill their seed at the mere glimpse of your menu.

Bad

Bad

Waddling out of Incanto, we jumped (more like fell) back on the Muni and returned to our hotel for the evening.  This wasn’t before stumbling across a jazz club about a block or two from the Hilton.  My intention was to completely avoid live music on this trip, but some of the contents of my stomach jostled around just enough to make room for a taste of dessert. We saw Les Jeoulin’s Jazz Bistro and I wish we didn’t.  The only shitty place we went to in San Francisco.  The service was appalling, if not offensive.  You’re running a jazz club, it’s well after what Americans consider standard dinner hour, so don’t be a dick when a patron is up front with you and saying they’re only getting drinks and dessert.  Douches.  What the fuck were they expecting at 11pm? A five-course order?  In a huff they left The Wife and I stranded, being subjected to shitty smooth jazz interpretations of fucking Watermelon Man.  Yeah, yeah…I know most jazz makes me gag, so why would I go to a jazz club, but the music I can excuse.  The Hostess-quality shit cake in plastic cup drenched in Well-Grade rum I can not.  Hideous.  As soon as I could convince some asshole at that place to come to our table to bring us our check, we paid in full and got the hell out promptly.

Awful

Awful

Even if you might not make a fortune off a particular table some night, treat your table well.  You never know when that person at your table is some asshole with a blog that can send more business your way.  The worst part is that this was the end of an otherwise incredible day.  It’s was like a rancid fart after a basking in the glow of a good run in the sack.  Ugh.

Ok…so I’m already 2,300 words into this pig, and I have yet to get to Day 2 in San Francisco.  I’m going to keep it all here, but now might be a good time to get up, stretch, take a piss, run some errands and come back.  Sorry this thing is so long (that’s what he said) but I’m not only using this for your enjoyment, but also something to use for personal memories (that’s what she said).

Heaven: Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco

Heaven: Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco

Day Two in San Francisco was magnificent.  I finally got to go to one of my life’s destinations, the Ferry Building Marketplace.  When I put the call out to Twitter and Facebook of where to go and eat in San Francisco, the Ferry Building Marketplace was confirmed as a number one destination, as well it should be.  An amazing marketplace of all sorts of restaurants, shops and other food stands, the Ferry Building is the place I would go everyday should we ever move this operation to the City By The Bay.

Good Coffee Made Here

Good Coffee Made Here

Mocha from Blue Bottle Coffee Co.

Mocha from Blue Bottle Coffee Co.

Highly recommended by many and now also by myself is the Blue Bottle Coffee Co.  Anyone that is a coffee nerd is going to love their custom drip process, suspending a filter in the air, directly pour the perfect temperature water over it and letting the good juice drip into the cup.  It was like a standard drip married a French press. So. Good.  The Wife got a Mocha (specifically recommended by follower on Twitter and soon to be a San Franciscan once again, @GeriJeter) and it was as beautiful as it was tasty.  Got to love coffee houses that take so much care in the craft of what they do. There’s so much more to coffee than waking up.

Good Meat Served Here

Good Meat Served Here

SAUSAGE ON A STICK!!!!

SAUSAGE ON A STICK!!!!

I almost walked by the Golden Gate Meat Company stand before I caught the Organic Sausage on a Stick out of the corner of my eye.  Organic. Sausage. On a stick.  How the hell could I turn that down?!?  It was so good.  When animals are left alone to be the animals they are supposed to be, man do they make for some tasty eats.

Ciao Bella Gelato in the Ferry Building Marketplace

Ciao Bella Gelato in the Ferry Building Marketplace

A pleasant surprise was a lemonade drink with a scoop of Blood Orange sorbet from Ciao Bella Gelato, directly across from the Blue Bottle Coffee Co. stand.  They call it something Italiany sounding, but I can’t remember what it is.  Mouth-puckering and sweet, it was a boldly flavored drink that was remarkably refreshing.

Good Bread Made Here

Good Bread Made Here

Assortment of Bread from Acme Bread Co.

Assortment of Bread from Acme Bread Co.

One of the must eats in San Francisco is the Acme Bread Company, nationally recognized as one of the best bread makers in this free land of ours.  I tried an assortment of their breads, finding all of them to be just as good as advertised.  Crusty, rustic and fresh, this is the place to cheat on your diet should you be terrified of carbs.

Not a bad place to chow

Not a bad place to chow

Ferry Building Marketplace

Ferry Building Marketpace

Lucky Bird

Lucky Bird

Full from a bounty of foods, I was sad I wasn’t able to try more.  I guess that’s why people go more than once.  By the time we left the building, the outside was bustling with activity, with phenomenal smelling food stands lined up with droves of people waiting in line to sample their wares.  Everything from Organic Hot Dogs to Grilled Pizzas filled the lot.  If there was a heaven, this would be it.  The next time we go back, there is a Hyatt Regency right across the street from the Ferry Building Marketplace and the venerable One Market Restaurant, as well as right by the Embarcadero Muni station.  Although the Hilton we stayed at was just fine, I think future operations will be held at this Hyatt to be the Official Hotel of My San Franciscan Gluttony.

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf

The Wife and The Noodle

The Wife and The Noodle

From the Ferry Building we hopped onto a cable car and went up The Embarcadero to Pier 39.  Yeah yeah yeah, I know it’s a tourist trap, but we were tourists and consider us trapped.  Pier 39 is a decent tourist trap though, and  exposed The Wife and I to a new favorite candy, candy-coated chocolate covered sunflower seeds, affectionately known as Crab Poop.  I will go on record and say that a man hasn’t lived until he has eaten Crab Poop. Crab Poop can be purchased in the store with all of the crab related t-shirts.  I can’t remember the name of it, but you’ll know it when you see it.

Crackhouse on Pier 39

Crackhouse on Pier 39

Bag of Crack

Bag of Crack

As many of you know, I am a sucker for donuts and the smell emanating from Trish’s Mini Donuts was irresistible.  A little  miniature production line like you would see at a Krispy Kreme (minus the Kreme), the cake donuts are practically made to order and are served hot and sprinkled with sugar. Pure crack.

Smelly Sea Lions at Pier 39

Smelly Sea Lions at Pier 39

A main attraction of Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf is viewing the sea lions.  They are amazing to behold, but beware the smell of R.C. (that one’s for my boys in SLC) that occasionally wafts in your face.  Hearing the belches and roars, seeing them get in pissing matches and the resulting open wound battle scars of trying to get to the top of the pile, it was something else.

Far from Bruce Lee

Far from Bruce Lee

Another fun thing at Pier 39 was a real life Hall of Mirrors.  I felt very Bruce Lee-ish circa Enter The Dragon as The Wife and I tried to navigate through the mirror maze.  Nothing makes you feel as stupid as when you see a reflection of yourself, yet continue to walk into yourself.

Worst Street Performer. Ever.

Worst Street Performer. Ever.

Speaking of stupid, Pier 39 also features the worst street performer I’ve ever seen.  The worst jokes, the guy can barely juggle.  He’s the kind of guy you’d expect to see on America’s Got Talent.  Even with how horrendous the guy was, maybe even as a result of such horrendification, there was something endearing about the guy.  What was not endearing however was the little shit punk bastard child left unattended by his useless mother.  A 4-year old heckler, I felt sorry for the poor performer.  People, grab hold of your fucking children and make them obey.  Please. Thank you.

Experiencing enough touristy shit, we decided to get us some culture, so a cable car ride down to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art it was. We didn’t stuff food in our face for at least a half hour, so of course we were hungry.  Not knowing anything in the area, we walked around near the SFMOMA, saw a big red sign and walked towards it.  The sign said “Brewing Company,” the sign said “Spanish Cuisine” and that was more than enough to entice The Wife and I to dine at The Thirsty Bear.

The Thirsty Bear in San Francisco. Go here.

The Thirsty Bear in San Francisco. Go here.

To say the Thirsty Bear has Spanish Cuisine doesn’t quite do it justice. Chef Jessica Gorin is kicking ass and taking names putting a serious California spin on Spanish favorites.  I can’t believe I’ve never heard anything about this restaurant or this chef before stumbling in the door out of sheer chance and hunger.  While the execution was absolutely perfect, the ingredients made a desert fox such as myself completely reconsider what food actually is.

While the best restaurants in Las Vegas will rival any of the best restaurants anywhere else in the world, San Francisco kicks our ass everyday and twice on Sundays when it comes to produce.  I’ve never had grape tomatoes that tasted like these grape tomatoes, corn that tasted like this corn, Romano beans that tasted like these Romano beans, shallots that tasted like these shallots. Unfuckingbelievable.  This food tasted like food.  Imagine the concentration, the clarity and the intensity of the greatest grape you ever tasted, multiply that by 4 and this is the experience of all the produce used at the Thirsty Bear.  Words can’t describe, you just have to go and taste it for yourself.

Menestra from The Thirsty Bear. Nom.

Menestra from The Thirsty Bear. Nom.

Seasonal, fresh, organic and prepared in a way where the ingredients are put on the pedestal they deserve to be on, the food at the Thirsty Bear is spectacular.  Take for instance the Menestra, which I think the loose translation from the Spanish is “mixed veg that doesn’t suck.”   Completely blown away, and if it wasn’t for what we were to eat in Yountville the next day, this would have been THE dish of the vacation.  A mixed vegetable dish topped with an exquisitely poached egg. Amazing.

Spectacular Flatbread from The Thirsty Bear

Spectacular Flatbread from The Thirsty Bear

Also amazing was a flatbread.  I can’t remember everything that was on it, I remember quail eggs, serrano ham, manchego cheese, an olive tapenade and some spicy aioli, but I do remember the foodgasm that ensued upon first bite.  Here was one of those rare instances where you had a shit ton of ingredients, yet it worked as a dish.  So many chefs dick that up, not this one.  I couldn’t imagine an flavor missing, and I couldn’t imagine a flavor added; it was a perfect bite.  After several other fabulous dishes like empanadas and flank steak with chimichurri, we headed back across the street to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Henri Matisse ' Woman In A Hat'

Henri Matisse ' Woman In A Hat'

I don't know who did this, but I liked it.

I don't know who did this, but I liked it.

Ass.

Ass.

Remarkable!

Remarkable!

Much of “modern art” is completely lost on me, and the collection at the SFMOMA is no exception.  It was special to experience the Matisse ‘Woman With A Hat’ first hand, but Warhol and Lichtenstein aren’t my bag.  Even worse were these bullshit videos, one of a guy bending over.  Is that really art?  A black and white film of some dumb bastard bending over?  I guess that’s the point of modern art, to expand and redefine the borders of what art “is,” but I am perfectly comfortable in my closed-mindness to tell you that three blank canvasses hanging on a wall is bullshit and it is not art.  Behold…

Art.

Art.

This day was a special day in California, the day where Prop 8 was overturned.  Being in San Francisco, I expected there to be a Yellow Brick Road laid out with full ticker tape parade of Dorothys celebrating.  But there wasn’t.  There wasn’t a fucking peep.  If it wasn’t splashed on the headline of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would never know what happened.  I guess when people are finally given the privilege to be treated like a human being, it isn’t much cause to celebrate.  There was more of a “what the fuck took so long” feeling in the air.  I think being in San Francisco during this major event and advancement in equality and experiencing this reaction was much more special than the Dorothys.  This is the kind of feeling that sticks with you in the important way.

Castro Theater Sign

Castro Theater Sign

However, if you’re going to see an impromptu performance of the Wizard of Oz, the best chance of it happening is in the Castro neighborhood.   Castro isn’t just all about being loud and proud though, Castro is also home to Ike’s Place, maker of ginormous hoagies.

Home of the Ridiculous and the Delicious

Home of the Ridiculous and the Delicious

Kitchen at Ike's Place

Kitchen at Ike's Place

Ike’s Place is an interesting space.  It’s a kitchen, and that’s it.  Your order is taken at the front door and you’re only allowed inside to pick out your drink and chips.  You wait outside, there are no tables to be found and apparently the neighbors bitch about the droves of hungry people waiting in line for a spectacular Ike’s Place sub.  They have over 100 subs to choose from, ranging from the huge to the absolutely ridiculous.  Being the supreme glutton I am, I of course went for the absolutely ridiculous and this was in the form of the Lex Luthor.

The Lex Luthor from Ike's Place

The Lex Luthor from Ike's Place

Chai Cola. Who knew?

Chai Cola. Who knew?

The Lex Luthor is Niman Ranch Hamburger Meat, Chicken Fried Steak, Ribeye Steak, Mozzarella Sticks, American Cheese and all the standard greenery and goop one would expect on such a beast.  It is huge, and I only could get through half of it.  The Wife got the Hot Mama Huda which was Chicken Breast, Frank’s Red Hot, Ranch and Provolone.  Not as big as the Lex Luthor but still fabulously flavorful.  Ike’s serves their sandwiches with Dirty Potato Chips and have the most interesting soft drink selection I have ever seen.  I went for some kind of Chai Spiced Cola and it was ass-kickingly incredible.

Harvey's in Castro

Harvey's in Castro

Tasty drinks from Harvey's

Tasty drinks from Harvey's

As I said before, there are no seats to be found at Ike’s, so we walked up to Castro St., sat in a little public park right next to a cable car track and in the light of the historic Castro Theater sign.  After powering through as much as we could of the delicious beasts, we walked down to Harvey’s, named after a true hero of the gay community, and quite frankly a hero to humanity, Harvey Milk.  I thought it was a nice nod to a remarkable guy on the street where he launched a revolution.  We only got a drink there, I can’t even remember what I had, but I do remember it was good and that there was an interesting mixed drink selection.  The food we saw at the other tables looked like quality bar food, I wouldn’t mind giving it a shot on a return visit.

It is from here that we rolled ourselves into a taxi and returned to the hotel, thus ending a fabulous two days in a fabulous town.  Thus ending this nightmarish beast of a post.  I think if anyone actually made it this far, you really need to leave a comment and kind of sign your name and get the recognition you deserve.  I wish I had medals to hand out.  To everyone that bailed a long time ago, I’m certainly not offended, there’s no way in hell I would have made it.

No, we didn’t go to Chez Panisse, we didn’t even think about going to the O.G. Fleur de Lys or even wanted to step foot in a Michael Mina joint. We didn’t see Japantown or North Beach and we fucking missed out on Alcatraz because it was sold out.  To the bitter disappointment of several friends on Twitter and Facebook, we didn’t get to hit up Molinari’s either (sorry @Chef_RyanR & @TonyJnVegas). But we’ll be back, my sweet love.  Oh yes…we will be back.

Part III will cover the last leg of our journey; The Wife and I’s 5th Anniversary in Yountville and our drive down the coast to Santa Barbara.  I swear it will be nowhere near the size of this pig.

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

Remember, you can vote once per day from now through 9/30/10! Thanks!

Remember, you can vote once per day from now through 9/30/10! Thanks!

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9 comments to Mike and The Wife Do California, Part II: The San Francisco Treat

  • julia

    medal please
    but what’s with the dissing of dungeness crab?

  • Wow! Epic post… looks like you and the Wife had a great time. I love San Francisco too but Vegas definitely scores big with the free parking. Parking in San Fran is highway robbery lol :)

  • Kerry

    It was a great time! I would eat veggies for every meal if I knew how to make them taste like that.

  • SF is fantastic isn’t it? My husband and I visited last November for the first time (we’re going back in Nov). It’s heaven for a glutton. North Beach was my favorite neighborhood, definitely check it out when you return and you should hit up the Petite Deli. The owner Young, is a doll and she whips up delicious sandwiches. I keep hoping Vegas will take a note from SF and create something similar to the Ferry Building. There are a few locations downtown that would be perfect. A girl can dream, right?

  • mike_ch

    Ike’s is actually in the Mission neighbourhood, and was forced out of it’s location by the landlord the other week. Sad.

  • Joy S

    Trust me, you missed nothing at Alcatraz! We love San Fran and surrounding too and I can’t wait to get back and try some of these gems – ESP the pig’s ass! You can add one more person to your list of people who would try pig head.

  • Julia – Your medal is in the mail! Along with the check…ha! As far as Dungeness Crab goes, it’s fine, but every time I eat it I wish it was Alaskan King. Alaskan King is the King.

    Betty – I just realized, I only know you as Average Betty….but I don’t think you’re actually a Betty, right? Anywho, thanks! And yes, the rest of the world needs to learn from our fabulous free parking.

    The Wife – Yay! It was fun, indeed. A December return? Hmmm….

    Kellee – It would be AMAZING to have something like the Ferry Building here. There is so much dead space here, I wish someone would have the balls to do something. Neonopolis downtown or that disaster near Sunset and Mountain Vista where Barley’s is would be perfect if they could actually finally get people to go there.

    Mike Ch – The Ike’s location I went to was on 16th near Market which is about as Castro as Castro gets. I believe the Mission neighborhood is located a bit southeast of there. I think Ike’s was served an eviction notice, but the date of eviction isn’t until the 26th. There can still be a deal struck, I think. Maybe not.

    Joy – Yes, you must go to Incanto! They know what they’re doing with those nasty parts.

  • One of my favorite places in San Francisco is in the Ferry Building. It’s called Lulu Petite. I always get the pastrami sandwich with meyer lemon spread. Best. Sandwich. Ever.

  • Dsn Short

    Well, we were there at the same time and had the opposite experience.

    Hated the weather. I could not be in a town where it is 50 degrees in August.

    Hated the hills. Can’t walk anywhere. What direction am I going in? Turn left, no turn right.

    Loved Alcatraz. But you have to book it in advance as we did.

    One big tourist trap. Are there any businesses in this town other than restaurants and hotel?

    Yes, the food was great.

    Did the wrong things. Fisherman’s Wharf, cable cars (fun ride but crazy wait).

    Maybe next time.

    Dan

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