Saturday, November 2, 2013

San Francisco

For my fifth time to San Francisco, I was able to enjoy the smaller restaurants and nooks and crannies of the city.  I have now mastered the MUNI system to a point where I can help misplaced tourists get on the right bus or trolley.  First time visitors can get very disoriented (I did) since the Embarcadero curves around the Bay side going from a northerly direction to a westerly direction and vice versa, while Market Street runs on an angle.  It's even more of a challenge to those who do not speak English, not counting the "millions" of Chinese residents. It's interesting to note the many El Salvadorian and Mexican workers do not find this an issue.  Another interesting story is that of a airport shuttle van driver who has lived in San Francisco, coming from Vietnam over twenty years ago, swears that San Francisco Bay is the Pacific Ocean!!...OK....

Following up on the TV show, United States of Bacon, I visited The Seven Mile House in Brisbane.  This is actually two blocks south of the city line south of San Francisco and has been in operation since 1853.  It's off the radar for the tourist crowd unless you follow all of the tv food and travel shows as I do.  I went with the 7 Mile 
House Burger since the Cow Palace Burger was too huge for me.  The oysters as an appetizer were good.  I'm finally getting 
adventurous and trying oysters other than
Louisiana's Gulf and Apalachicola's.

Very Fresh Northern California Oysters

Their Famous 7 Mile House Burger with GARLIC FRIES.

Swan Oyster Depot on Polk Street is another San Francisco institution that has been in continuous operation since 1912.  The rather small restaurant is always busy and has been visited almost every TV host of ANY food or travel show...including ME!
The marble or granite counter with it's accompanying chairs of unmatched heights has witnessed all varieties of California seafood; oysters, clams and any variety of fish enter countless mouths of hungry, seafood loving patrons.  It's interseting how the waiters shuck their own oysters, rather than a full time shucker, as in many seafood cities.  If you're really hungry for shell fish, plan a short wait.  You will most likely have to wait on line to claim a seat, but once you're in, prepare for a joyful "fish-fest" and your wait will be forgotten.  An Anchor Steam must be ordered to accompany the meal.  I ordered Clam Chowder.  As I stated an an earlier post, San Francisco "chowda" is Boston style with the exception that the clams a very finely chopped.  On the East Coast, not so fine, enabling the feel of a piece of clam on your tongue.  I've experienced this at two restaurants so far. 
That's the way they do it in San Francisco, unfortunately.  Don't get me wrong, it's still good.  Second course ordered were a half dozen Miyagi oysters.  Described as Briny, not salty, were very good.  Third choice was the smoked salmon with a small shrimp salad.  Unfortunately, Swan does not do in-house smoking, it's brought in from a local source.  It was OK.
 1517 Polk Street

 Click to enlarge menu

Miyagi Oysters from Northern California

Smoked Salmon with Small Shrimp Salad.

There are many choices on the breakfast trail both good and bad.  If you're staying in a hotel, ask the front desk person what is good in the area that is NOT TOURISTY.  I've walked past one place many times at night when they were closed, not realizing for a minute it was a breakfast and lunch place.  The restaurant is Pergamino Cafe, 1323 Columbus Avenue in the Fisherman's Wharf area.  
I wrote on a Yelp review, "Who still does this?" making light of their homemade whipped cream.  The sourdough french toast with pecans, BACON and a dollop of whipped cream was outstanding!  By the way, the bacon is not on the side, it's chopped upand mixed in with the pecans...reaaaallly gooooood!  I went back again the next morning for scrambled eggs with REAL HOMEMADE corned beef hash, with of course, sour dough toast.  A selection of at least six types of coffee was available too, self serve.  Pergamino also has outdoor seating to watch the tourists trying to find Fisherman's Wharf and walking in the wrong direction to the F Line trolley or Cable Car.

Sourdough French Toast

F Line Trolley at Ferry Plaza

Millers East Coast Deli, copied from my TripAdvisor review.

Maybe I'm a jaded East Coast person or maybe too critical. I ordered the corned beef on rye. Interestingly, the waitress asked me what kind of bread I wanted. Keeping a straight face I told her white bread and mayonnaise on the sandwich! She didn't question it. I told her that I was kidding and never accept anyone ordering it that way. The sandwich was pretty decent, the bread very good as was the deli mustard, although I've had better mustard. The sandwich itself was on the small side I thought, certainly not Katz's or 2nd Avenue Deli. Also ordered was a cup of chicken noodle/matzo ball soup. The ball was extra. Tasty. Overall review, I would say acceptable for San Francisco, but not New York.


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