Monday, October 10, 2005

Regrets, I've had a few

Went for a long bike ride around the city yesterday. Over Diamond Heights and down to the Marina to take in the air show, then off to the Presidio and the Great American Highway. It was a perfect San Francisco day: cloudless and temperate. Your body never has to work very hard to keep a steady temperature here.

Before the air show, we biked to Chestnut St. in the Marina, dodging SUVs and Bugaboo strollers, looking for lunch. Does the Marina really exist in this city? Such a pretty spot by the water, but now I know why my old college friend got very quiet when, early in our housing search, I announced that I wanted to live there. It's hard to get past the impression that everyone is a recent graduate of the exact same college.

Scott got excited, though, when he saw Andale Taqueria, where he had eaten once, years ago. "Oh, this place is great!" he said. A few bites into his fish taco, his shoulders sagged and he announced dejectedly, "I guess this only seemed good because I hadn't been to La Corneta yet."

We haven't had many bad meals here, but there have been some clunkers. Here's my list of outright failures and minor disappointments:

Flat-out bad meals
1) Andale Taqueria
2) Shalimar (last mention, I promise)
3) Bistro Zinc - 2 bad meals, actually, because I didn't want to believe it the first time)

Places I just expected to like more
1) Yank Sing dim sum - this feels like sacrilege, but I was only wowed by the soup dumplings
2) Alice's Chinese restaurant, Noe Valley - great flavor, too oily
3) Manresa, Los Gatos - I can only believe that it was an off night. Too many great reviews elsewhere.
4) Pauline's Pizza - Did I miss something? I loved the Indian toppings, but the crust was your basic puffy Greek-style bread.

That's a pretty short list, considering.


Anonymous said...

Have you tried Erics in Noe Valley? Much better then Alices (anyway it used to be). Yum...I get hungry just thinking about it!

emma said...

Wow I think that your job is very interesting,I see that you try a lots of different foods but did you have a chance to eat anything from Bosnian cuisine

The Obstreperous Coder said...

Some other places to try:
House of Nan King on Columbus St.
If you stand in line, the owner comes out with Tsing Tao beer. The place is as small as a closet, but TERRIFIC food.

Mom is Cooking Mexican Food way over on the "bad" side of town, always crowded, always great. When you are hungry and/or eating, nobody will bother anyone...

Tu-Lon's (spelling)off Market St., close to Powell (cannot think of street) very small authentic Vietnamese restaurant.

SFChick74 said...

I thought Andale was pretty good last time I ate there a couple of years ago. Maybe they have a new manager or something.

I've never been to House of Nanking (a friend ate there once and got ill), but Chef Ghia's next door to it was great. I miss all the great little restaurants in San Francisco.

Erin Ptacek said...

When Yank Sing first opened on Spear, it was truly fantastic. But over time the quality of the food began to decline (and the dumplings became smaller). The environment was so noisy that it was impossible to speak to the ladies pushing the carts.

Did you try the noodles in XO sauce? I seem to recally Yank Sing puts a little cilantro in theirs. Or used to. Only available on Sunday, if memory serves.

Now that we're in Chicago, we visit the Phoenix for all our dim sum needs. Conveniently right off the el.

joyfish said...

Have you tried El Metate yet at 2406 Bryant Street? Wonderful Mexican food, amazing sauces, friendly service.

BullBunky said...

What I like to say to my friends about Andele is "Well, its 100-times better than Taco Bell." And that is true. It is fresh and simple and fast. But no, it is not exciting. 100% agree with the La Corneta in Glen Park. Also fresh and simple and fast, but FULL of flavors. I'm a fan of carnitas and prawn quesadillas.