Monday, May 31, 2010

Late Night in SF: Sparky's 24 Hours Pizza and Diner

Mr. G and I were starving when we got back from the concert.  It was only 11 and we didn’t actually eat dinner.  I went on a quest for food, thanks to the internet I was able to find  That led me to Sparky’s Diner.

We ordered Spaghetti, Chicken Wings and a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  I wouldn’t call it gourmet, but it DEFINITELY hit the spot. 

The Spaghetti I could have made in our kitchen had I planned ahead and bought some groceries.  I don’t eat Grilled Cheese but this one had 3 cheeses and put a big smile on Mr. G’s face so I assume it was pretty good.

We both agreed that these wings were fantastic!  They were well cooked in the buffalo sauce but did not appear coated in the wings.  Not as messy as most wings but definitely as tasty as could be.  We went to bed with big smiles and were satisfied that we found late night dining in SF.

Sparky's Diner on Urbanspoon

BBQ, The Very Best and Black Nature @ The Independent

One of Mr. G’s college friends lives in the SF area.  He invited us to a Memorial Day BBQ at the house of a couple of his colleagues.  Upon entering their home on Broderick, I realized that San Francisco has amazing homes.  Although I’ve heard it’s just as expensive as New York, if not more so, I have noticed that the spaces are much larger.

On to the food...Mr. H was working that grill.  

Although I don’t eat beef, I was very impressed to see that he made blue burgers (hamburgers with blue cheese in the middle).  They looked very juicy and Mr. G, as well as many other BBQ attendees, noted that the burgers were amazing.

I stuck to the BBQ chicken.  Wowee! Very well seasoned and grilled to perfection!  It was still juicy, which isn’t always the case when you get food off the grill.

Mr. H also hooked it up with corn.  It was very sweet and did not require any condiments.  

The chill started to set in and the party was dying down so Mr. G and I headed to Café Abir on the corner of Divisadero and Fulton.  The Cafe is very chill and it's the kind of place where you can have one cup of tea or coffee and then stay and work for the rest of the day.  I saw a lot of people with laptops and even a couple of people studying frantically for the bar exam.  Eeek!  The cafe is also connected to a wine shop and sushi restaurant.  We stayed in the Café area.  I was very happy with the black tea with honey.  It warmed me up just right for the walk to The Independent.

Mr. G scored concert tickets to The Very Best (TVB) at The Independent.  I had never heard of them, but was down to try something new.  We arrived while the opening act was still on.  I’m not certain, but I think their group name was Black Nature.  The lead singer is from Sierra Leone and definitely enjoyed hopping and dancing around the stage.  He had a pretty good voice and the band sounded very energetic.  Great stage presence.  They had a slightly Bob Marley-ish reggae sound, but obviously not as great as the man himself.  

Next up TVB!  The lead singer Esau is from Malawi.  The DJ and the man in the dredlocks may or may not have been part of the band, it was unclear.  I wondered how they got together, thankfully there’s Wikipedia.  They definitely have a following and there were many people who were very hyped to be there.   I was quite shocked that most of the lyrics were not in English yet so many people were about it.  The band sounded great and it was like a big dance party.  At one point, they invited people on stage.  I of course decided to go up there, I mean why not?!

The band closed out with a song that used the song from Free Willy.  You can’t go wrong if you close out with Michael Jackson.  Everyone loved it and I was happy to be a part of such a feel good atmosphere.  I will likely be listening to the many tracks featured on their My Space page.  Enjoy!


After not eating dinner last night, I was surprised that I was only moderately hungry when I woke up.  The person who owns the house we're renting recommended that we should some time on 24th street because there were a lot of restaurants and shops.  I located Fresca and though that would be a good place to enjoy a morning meal.

Fresca is a pretty large restaurant, but only the front area was occupied.  The brunch menu had a number of options.  I was unsure about what to get, but decided now was the time to try something new.  I ordered the marisco omelette with sweet potato fries.

As you can see, the jack cheese three-egg omelette was topped with goodies.  Shrimp, mussels, clams, calamari, and fish cooked in a tomato sofrito.  It was definitely a very large meal and could easily be shared.  

The sweet potato fries tasted really good when dipped in the tomato sofrito.  I would eat this same meal sans eggs at any time of the day!

Fresca on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 30, 2010

We Biked the Bridge!!

Mr. G and I had the great idea to bike the Golden Gate Bridge.  After we left Castro, we rode the trolley to Union Square.  Walked around for a bit, then hopped back on the trolley towards Fisherman’s Wharf.  When we arrived on the Wharf, we decided to stop at Knuckles at the Wharf.  We didn’t select it for it’s great cuisine, but rather for its convenience and Groupon ;-)

Knuckles is a sports bar in the Hyatt Hotel.  It was pretty empty and the waiter was very attentive.  I ordered chicken sliders with sweet potato fries.  YUM YUM YUM!  The buns were very soft and the chicken was pulled from the bone and topped with bbq sauce.  The sweet potato fries were amazing.  In all fairness, it’s hard to mess them up. 

After fueling up, we walked to Blazing Saddles.  We were greeted by a very cheerful and enthusiastic group of employees who asked, “You ready to bike the bridge?!”  We followed the trail out of Fisherman’s Wharf, a quick pit stop at the first park we saw.

Nay the cleanest bathrooms, but what do you expect?  

We continued our journey another couple of miles to the Warming Hut.  We grabbed a bottle of water and got ready to make it up a couple of hills to the bridge.

After riding up those hills, or in my case walking my bike, we arrive at the entrance.  It was extremely windy on the bridge and there were a lot of bikers.  Some of the professional bikers were like me in Times Square, angry that tourists were crowding up the place.

Once we got across the bridge, we made our way to Sausalito, a quaint little town across the way from San Fran.  To reward ourselves for the bike ride, we stopped at the local creamery.  At Lappert’s ice cream, I treated myself to one scoop of chocolate and one scoop of cookie dough in a waffle cone. DELICIOUS! 

We ferried it back to San Francisco and took a cab to our apartment.  Incredibly sore and unable to move for a while, we laid about for a bit before heading out.  Unlucky for us, we were unable to locate any credible late night food.

Café Flore

We’re off to a good start this morning.  Thanks to Groupon, Mr. G and I snagged an excellent deal at Café Flore.  We walked from our apartment to the Café in Castro.  Café Flore is on the corner of Market & 16th.  It has indoor, patio and sidewalk seating.  We arrived just in time, because after we ordered a long line formed. 

I enjoyed the scrambled eggs, hash browns, chicken apple sausage and egg muffin.  I have to say, one of my favorite parts of breakfast in San Fran so far is the prominence of chicken apple sausage.  New York would do well by adding chicken apple sausage to more of its brunch menus.

This was the perfect morning fuel and all I really needed.  I didn’t actually finish my meal because the portions were quite large. 

Cafe Flore on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 29, 2010


After telling people we were going to San Francisco, we received many restaurant and activity recommendations.  One such recommendation was Crustacean.  I surveyed the menu several times before arriving in San Fran and was really looking forward to the crab.

We were a little late to our reservation, but luckily we were still able to be seated.  Our waiter was extremely enthusiastic.  He recommended that we start with the Crispy Rice Paper Roll filled with chicken, mushrooms, carrots, mint and vermicelli served with daikon cole-slaw.

It was very flavorful.  And although it looked like an eggroll, it was much meatier and tastier. For our main course, we wanted to order the Drunken Crab an entire dungeness crab simmered in a broth of three wines, cracked black pepper and scallions, but he told us the Roast Crab an entire dungeness crab roasted with garlic and spices was the most popular dish, so of course that’s what we ordered. 

Look at that sucka!  We initially wanted to order two, but thankfully our waiter advised us to only order one.  We also ordered the garlic noodles, egg noodles infused wiht garlic sauce. 

Mr. G and I started working on that huge crab while eating forkfuls of the noodles.  It was very rich and buttery.  One of the most exhausting meals I’ve ever eaten, but it was worth every last bit of effort.  After we sucked the crab dry and made sure no meat went uneaten, our hands were very greasy.  Thankfully, they brought us some hot towels.  Once we were clean, it was time to handle the dessert menu.  While we would have loved to order separate desserts, we had already eaten more than we should have.

The lemon cheesecake with pineapples and strawberries won out.  It was pretty tasty, but I like my cheesecake plain so I definitely had to eat spoonfuls with fruit otherwise it would have been too tart for my pallet.  I highly recommend Crusteacean.  There are many other options besides the crab, but I think it’s worth trying the crab at least once!

Crustacean on Urbanspoon

Good Day, San Francisco

Despite a very late night, Mr. G and I were able to get up and catch a cab at 7am to head to San Fran.  Our flight left 10 minutes late, but arrived in San Fran over an hour early!! Yippee! We headed to our palatial studio apartment that we rented from Airbnb.  Isn't it amazing?!

Feeling pretty good, we ventured to Chloe's Cafe on 26th and Church for an amazing brunch!

I ordered smoked salmon scrambled eggs which came with hash browns and a bagel.  I was very pleased to see they served it with ketchup and jam.  I didn't have to ask for anything more.  The hash browns were well cooked and full of flavor.  They could have added peppers and onions, but it didn't feel like they were missing anything without it.

Mr. G ordered the special scrambled with goat cheese artichokes and peppers.  Both meals were spectacular.

We then took a walk from Noe Valley to the Mission.  We passed Mission Dolores Park, the sunniest part of San Francisco.

Once in the mission we met up with Mr. D and Ms. B, fellow lawyer and lawyer in training.  We saw some pretty cool graffiti, perhaps Mr. G will share his photos.  We definitely worked up an appetite with that walk.  Luckily Mr. D knew just where to go.

Apparently this little taqueria is what inspired Chipotle.  God bless them.  Their food was amazing.  We ordered 1 chicken soft taco and a veggie nacho tray.

We scarfed that down with a quickness.  I now understand why so many say Chipotle is not that good.  Something tells me I'll still be able to go back.  During our walk, we encountered a second hand store where I scored an awesome cross body bag for less than the cost of a Starbucks Frappucino!  It started getting chilly so Mr. G and I hoped on a trolley and headed back to get ready for dinner.

So excited for the deliciousness that awaits us!!

Chloe's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 28, 2010

Frantic Friday

What a day, what a day, what a day

I woke up this morning and had to run to the office to get out a document before 9.  Next up physical therapy at 9:30.  I found a little bagel shop on 24th and 6th and ordered 2 eggs on a bagel to go less than $3 pretty sweet. Over to brooklyn for a hair appointment.

Then I met up with Ms. G.  We ended up having lunch in the cafetaria area downstairs in Rockefeller Plaza.  I'm embarassed to say I was craving chinese food and ended up getting general-tso chicken and lo mein from Manchu Wok.

I know, nay the classiest, but it hit the spot and sometimes that's what you gotta go for.  Ms. G ordered 1/2 chicken with mashed.  Look how large that chicken is! Needless to say, she didn't finish it.

For dinner, we went to Eatery.  It was quite an intersting dining experience.  Ms. G and I had the displeasure of listening/watching the people sitting next to us as they did a mating dance.  yuck.  The food was surprisingly spectacular.  I wasn't that hungry when we arrived so I had a hard time ordering.  I ultimately settled on the Wok-Flashed Tequila Shrimp with Poblano-Corn Flautas and Sweet Potato Mash.

I wasn't expecting it to taste that good, but it was amazing.  The shrimp were perfectly cooked and left me feeling quite happy.  The sweet potato mash was even better.  I've never had a flauta before.  It looked like a monster sized egg roll, but was filled with cheese and corn.  I could only eat one because it was quite overwhelming.

And now time to pack.  San Fran in the morning!  I'll provide updates as often as possible, but it's going to be hard to find time to write.  Apologies in advance.

Eatery on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Terrific Thursday

Although the day didn't turn out quite as I wanted it to, it really was a terrific day.  I arrived at work nervous about what lay ahead because I had at least 3 very active matters.  However, within an hour, 2 of those matters were downgraded in priority and I was told I could wait until after vacation.  Awesome!

So I went to lunch with Y-squared.  Now that he's home from college, he can meet me in the city for a quick lunch and I don't have to take the day off from work.  Although he initially wanted Indian food, once he arrived he decided he was down for anything.  I decided we should go to a midtown eatery that Mr. G introduced me to when we first started work.

Rice & Beans is a very tiny brazillian restaurant.  Their food is on point and their lunch prices are right.  We ordered pretty soon after sitting down. I went with the 1/4 Pollo Loco - Frango Assado Com Molho Picante (1/4 roasted chicken with special hot sauce) and Y-squared ordered Ropa Vieja (Cuban Styled Pulled Beef).  Of course both were served with rice and beans and plantains!!

I was very impressed with the level of spice on my chicken.  It was almost too spicy for me, which rarely happens.  The plantains were sweet and not too greasy.  Yellow rice was great as were the black beans.

Y-squared was happy with his meal as well.  He commented that the meat was just right.  I started getting e-mails during lunch and it became evident the day wasn't going to be what I expected.  Ms. G showed up about 2 hours afer Y-squared left.  I was still working so she went to visit a friend.  Next thing I knew, it was 6:30, I was still in the office and Ms. R was on her way!  I finally made it out of the office around 8:30.

Rice 'n' Beans on Urbanspoon

Ms. R and I went to Saigon Grill and Ms. G joined us shortly after.  Although I was stressed out by the day, I was thrilled to be with 2 of my top 5.  I used to order from Saigon Grill while I was in law school, but it wasn't until February of this year when Ms. O (not the one featured here before) suggested that we go to the restaurant.

They have a VERY extensive menu.  It's pretty hard not to find something you want to eat here.  Since we were starving when we arrived, Ms. R and I ordered two appetizers.  Steamed crystal dumplings with shrimp and Goi Muc (assorted baby greens with calamari with slightly spicy tamarind dressing & crushed peanuts).

We were reluctant to order the dumplings because we weren't sure what "crystal" meant.  They were just regular dumplings.  The sauce was very thin and didn't add much.

The calamari salad on the other hand?! We definitely underestimated it when it arrived.  Once we took the first bite though, it was a wrap.  The tamarind dressing was remarkable.  We cleaned up that salad.  Ms. G arrived right as we were diving into the appetizers so we ordered our entrees.

Ms. G went with the Ga Xao Dau Que (sauteed sliced chicken with string beans in garlic sauce & a touch of peanut oil).  She noted that it was really good.

Ms. R, being the vietnamese cuisine lover, went with Pho Bo.  A hearty ox tail soup with rice noodles thin slices of beef & onion.  It was served with bean sprouts, basil & hoisin dipping sauce on the side.  Although it wasn't as hot as she would have liked, she looked very satisfied at hte end of the meal.

I ordered Spicy and Tasty Chicken, sauteed sliced white meat chicken with bell peppers and onions in a spciy and tasty sauce served on a bed of steamed broccoli.  Although the picture looks a little slimy, I assure you this was not a greasy meal.  The broccoli was still crunchy which was great.  The chicken was well seasoned but not as spicy as I would like, it was very tasty though.

After we finished our meal, we went back to my place to drop off some things then headed out to Hotel Empire rooftop to meet up with Mr. G.  Quality time with my brother, hanging with 2 of my besties and chillin with Mr. G - yup definitely a terrific thursday!

Saigon Grill on Urbanspoon