Operation Embrace San Francisco got off to a swinging start on Friday with a visit to Joe's Cable Car with Jessica and Sarah.
This little diner has tremendous wattage, and it looked like a great, neon beacon down at the southern end of Mission St. on a foggy night. A large yellow sign on the roof announced, "Joe grinds his own fresh chuck daily," which is impressive, since fresh-ground beef is generally considered the key to a good burger (also impressive because the only thing I grind daily is my teeth). And the menu promises equal satisfaction. "We ask a lot of questions that help us to fully satisfy your stay at Joe’s. Please order your ground steak burger the way you would like your steak cooked. Your patience is appreciated and well worth the wait. Don’t worry - same day service! All of our fresh ground steak beef burgers are served open faced for your inspection...Following food critics’ testing method, slice off a small piece of the patty without bread, taste it and come to your own conclusion."
So I was already in love with Joe's before the food arrived. We split a 6 oz. Fresh Ground Beef Steak with grilled onions on a sesame seed bun, and it was tasty and cooked right to order. With all that fresh grinding, it wasn't as densely packed as commercial burgers are. Instead, it was tender and moist. Sadly, sides (fries and onion rings) were merely average, but milkshakes were superlative. They're made with Bud's Ice Cream, a SF classic which is now produced in Thailand? Anyway, we'll be back. It's hard to imagine a more cheerful spot, with all the neon and Christmas lights and a little animatronic stuffed ape that makes kissy noises at you when you walk in the door.