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Lunches and Dinners - Casual but with Good Food, Based at Ferry Building and Can Take Public Transport


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I've been so busy with other things that I've neglected any planning for an upcoming trip, so I need some ideas. Here's the scenario: Mr. P will be in SF for two weeks for work, and will probably be hanging out with co-workers most evenings. I'm flying out to join him on Wednesday and staying for the weekend.  So, I need solo dinner options for Wednesday and Thursday, and "date night" options for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We're staying close to the Ferry Terminal building, but don't mind taking public transport to just about anywhere.

Here's the important thing: l want low-key places. I'm not going to bring any fancy clothes and these days I really don't like formal dining. If my clone was coming to DC I'd tell her to go to Tail Up Goat and Himitsu. I'll consider any cuisine.

Many thanks.

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Get an early dinner reservation at Coqueta (you may need to make it in person), and make sure to notice the plaques outside AT&T Park (even if you're not a baseball fan, it's worth walking by just to honor Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda).

Don't get your hopes up too high for Boulevard (which won the national James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant), but it's certainly worth a lunch or a brunch - think Le Diplomate in terms of style - and you can walk there, too. Some people are disappointed, but a restaurant such as this can hire a lot of depth in the kitchen, and this shows up in the saucing.

Sign up for Caviar, and get a delivery from R&G Lounge in Chinatown - I await my thank you note for your having ordered their Salt & Pepper Squid, Scallops, Prawns, or Spare Ribs (definitely get Salt & Pepper "Something") :), and then whatever else looks good - I remember their air-dried beef as being terrific also.

My last visit to Zuni Cafe was laughably bad, and their vaunted Roast Chicken tasted primarily of balsamic vinegar when I ordered it, long ago - there was *no* seating at the bar area downstairs (I mean, literally - no chairs: You had to stand up), and unless you're a known food critic, you may be treated like a second-class citizen - I certainly was: The entire meal was like some sort of sick joke, from the indifferent service, to the improperly dressed salad, and DIShGo is my witness (although I see you've been before and loved it; in that case, the best I can possibly say is that it's very inconsistent, and unless you announce yourself as a restaurant critic (I know someone who went with a major local food critic, and reportedly had a fantastic meal), you're playing an expensive game of Russian Roulette). The first time I went, in 2005 perhaps, I had some of the best raw bar I've ever had.

Have sashimi at the bar at The Slanted Door - I wouldn't waste a dinner here, but for lunch, the quality of their product is outstanding, and it shows up in the sashimi.

Make a special trip to Swan Oyster Depot, get there early, and wait in line for as long as you need - you'll revel in the experience. God, the Clam Chowder!

Get "The Rebel Within" at Craftsman and Wolves (go early - they run out mid-day).

Above all, write and listen to TrelayneNYC and edenman (both active towards the end of the Dining in San Francisco thread), who are both legitimate experts in the city's cuisine, and much more current than I am. edenman urged me to try the "Dried Porcini Doughnuts and Raclette" at "Rich Table," and it was a culinary epiphany. I wouldn't trust any individual more than I trust either of them.

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21 hours ago, DonRocks said:

My last visit to Zuni Cafe was laughably bad, and their vaunted Roast Chicken tasted primarily of balsamic vinegar when I ordered it, long ago - there was *no* seating at the bar area downstairs (I mean, literally - no chairs: You had to stand up), and unless you're a known food critic, you may be treated like a second-class citizen - I certainly was: The entire meal was like some sort of sick joke, from the indifferent service, to the improperly dressed salad, and DIShGo is my witness (although I see you've been before and loved it; in that case, the best I can possibly say is that it's very inconsistent, and unless you announce yourself as a restaurant critic (I know someone who went with a major local food critic, and reportedly had a fantastic meal), you're playing an expensive game of Russian Roulette). The first time I went, in 2005 perhaps, I had some of the best raw bar I've ever had.

Yes, but that was seven years ago. I don't expect any restaurant to be the same after seven years. Anyway SF has so many new places to try and I only get there every few years, so why repeat anything? Except B. Patisserie.

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1 hour ago, porcupine said:

Except B. Patisserie.

Just a brief note: I've been to both B. Patisserie and Craftsmen and Wolves in the past two years, and Craftsmen and Wolves was markedly better across-the-board (note this was the one on 16th and Mission).

i just asked DIShGo, "Do you remember B. Patisserie in San Francisco?" Her reply was, "Is that the place we went that wasn't that great? It was raining, and we sat at a communal table?" I suspect it was an off-day / off-location / off-whatever, but do at least try Craftsmen and Wolves, porcupine - it was as good as any bakery or viennoiserie I've been to in the states, or at least it was on that day.

I know you aren't much for waiting in line, but Swan Oyster Depot will fill you with happiness.

But the most important thing I can say is to pay attention to TrelayneNYC and edenman more than to me. I've spent a considerable amount of time there lately, and want you to enjoy yourself - I'm not sure you can say it's "better" than New York City, but boy it's about my favorite food city in the U.S.

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On 8/18/2017 at 7:30 AM, porcupine said:

I've been so busy with other things that I've neglected any planning for an upcoming trip, so I need some ideas. Here's the scenario: Mr. P will be in SF for two weeks for work, and will probably be hanging out with co-workers most evenings. I'm flying out to join him on Wednesday and staying for the weekend.  So, I need solo dinner options for Wednesday and Thursday, and "date night" options for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We're staying close to the Ferry Terminal building, but don't mind taking public transport to just about anywhere.

Here's the important thing: l want low-key places. I'm not going to bring any fancy clothes and these days I really don't like formal dining. If my clone was coming to DC I'd tell her to go to Tail Up Goat and Himitsu. I'll consider any cuisine.

Many thanks.

Try The Progress for one of your date nights. It's the sister restaurant of State Bird Provisions. It's good, creative food served in a lively, casual setting. Don and I stumbled upon it one night, and I went back a second time with my kids. Its not inexpensive, but it's served family style and you get plenty to eat. I recommend the Sunny Jim for starters!

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Thanks for the recommendations. Coqueta was lovely, even at 9:00 (midnight body time). My favorite (Mr. P's, too), was SPQR, a Michelin 1-star, California-influenced Italian place in Lower Pacific Heights. Mac Daddy was disappointing. Nopalito (Haight-Ashbury) was great, possibly because it was the right kind of food at the right time. Orenchi Beyond (Mission District) served one of the best bowls of ramen I've ever had; their signature broth is a light version of tonkatsu. All the flavors were in balance and the noodle texture spot-on perfect ramen chewy. Iza Ramen (Lower Haight) was also excellent, the signature broth a melding of several different styles. We met up with friends one night at Monsieur Benjamin (Hayes Valley), a solid French bistro. 

I'm curious what the SF members of this board think of La Mar on the Embarcadero. Two of the three dishes we tried were surprisingly good, given the setting (the place is gigantic, right on the waterfront).

I wanted to do a side-by-side with Craftsman and Wolves and B Patisserie, but never made it to the latter, and only had a taste of a morning bun at the former. The bun was great. If only I could eat all the food...

The find of the trip might have been Dandelion Chocolate, a few doors up from Craftsman and Wolves (Valencia Street).

edited to add: Yank Sing was seriously disappointing.

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