A few of my friends have headed to San Francisco lately so I’ve been copy/pasting an email lots. I figured I’d just put it on the blog and point folks there. So here goes – some of my favorite places in San Francisco.
- Toronado. One of my top 5 beer bars in the world.
- Rosamunde. Awesome sausage stand next to Toronado.
- Hama Ko. Tiny sushi place that’s celebrated for its food and atmosphere.
- House of Nanking. Chinese place in Chinatown that will make you feel like a local.
- Stinking Rose. Garlic themed restaurant, if you’re into that.
- Bourbon and Branch. It’s a speak easy. The password is “books”.
- Go see a SF Giants, Oakland A’s or SF 49ers game. I wouldn’t recommend going to see the Raiders, though, unless you’re a big fan.
“We got red and white. Which one you wont?” Not what you want to hear at a bar in the heart of America’s wine country. Must have winced. “They’re Mondaby.” I didn’t ask if she meant Mondavi.
“I won’t. Beer?” I said, playing off her mispronunciation of “want” earlier. I didn’t expect her to catch the subtle jibe. I was rewarded when she didn’t miss a beat and described their selection of bottles. Sometimes it’s little games that get you through.
I settled on a local brew I’d never heard of and sat back to imbibe the local flavor. Of the brew and of the bar. The Green Door is definitely a townie spot. Those are hit-and-miss affairs depending on the night. Mondays are a miss.
So I continued to trek toward town. Over the interstate. Past the Butter Creme Bakery, closed but still fragrant from a day of pumping out pastries. Heading toward downtown Napa is a sprawling series of sleepy little streets that look residential but which host professionals 9-5 during the week and silence on the weekends.
The downtown area is alive like a resort town tends to be on any given night. Mid week, not on or off season, a mix if full and part time locals and tourists sit and stroll along the sidewalks.
Downtown Joe’s Brewery beckons me in for a pint (12oz really) and to soak in more atmosphere. It’s a lite version of the last place. More upscale, the locals aren’t as drunk and are younger and there are a few fresh faces who don’t spend every hour and dollar here. Some in this room will doubtless end up at The Green Door someday.
The town reminds me of many I’ve visited. Older place that has seen a revival in recent years. Quaint redone buildings downtown, new places built to strict codes, gorgeous restored homes from the turn of the century or before, upscale restaurants, suburbs inside the official outskirts. And more police than crime.
Old women and girls on bikes populate the dimly lit street I’m walking along. A testament to the town’s safety. Mostly quiet and dark excepting the occasional car, the skies are alight with twinkles of suns whose light may have been snuffed out millions of years ago. Trees as dark silhouettes against a slightly brighter sky. This is Main Street a couple of blocks from the city center.
I was in San Francisco – one of my favorite cities – this week and went to a Filipino restaurant out there. I had no idea what to expect from the food – I was guessing pork-based or heavy on the seafood with Spanish influences. But beyond that I wasn’t sure.
If you can read the menu you can see that it is pork and fish based with Spanish influences. But they’ve also got some stuff that I’ve never seen on a menu before. Like paella with squid ink rice and squid flakes. And grilled cuttlefish stuffed with a fresh salsa-like concoction.
Everything was excellent. My favorite was the cuttlefish. It was less chewy than squid typically is with a little more flavor. You could taste the grilledness in it and the salsa fresca was excellent. The squid ink gave the paella a slight sea taste, though not quite fishy.The squid flakes were dried tentacles and were slightly crunchy.