Friday, May 21, 2010

San Francisco: A Drinking & Eating Tour (part 2)

Been so busy I forgot to write 'part 2' of my SF trip. I was reminded by an article I just read by Bill @ Pub Night. Santa Cruz is a place I need to get back too. Anyway... On with it!

What's a trip to San Francisco without hitting some of the legendary stops? The Buena Vista Cafe, a small cafe and bar across the Street from Hyde Street Cable Car turn-around has been a historical stop for one classic drink.... The Irish Coffee! Although the original was first made in Ireland, the Buena Vista introduced the beverage to the Americas back in 1952.

It was a packed house and hot! People stood like statues at the bar waiting for a drink, a table, movement... anything! Apparently when enough Irish Coffees are ordered the bartender goes to work....

Hands of a master!

After our morning Irish Coffee mood adjustment we strolled through the touristy Fisherman's Wharf area and were back on the road.

Hey! Wantza matter wit you? We're in North Beach! You gotta problem with that? North Beach... otherwise known as Parking Hell! We managed to find parking..... This city boy knows where to look and go. ;-}

At the North end you have Kennedy's (MEH!) tourists and fools go there! It's just a curiousity, Irish and Indian. Yea, big deal, it's San Francisco, we're a big melting pot. Woo hoo! Maybe shit wits from Pigs Knuckle Arkansas are impressed to see Indian food and a Irish bar? The South end you have the Trans-america Pyramid. West, Broadway and it's strip joints. East, Chinatown. All together it was once known as a big chunk of the Barbary Coast. Don't know what that's all about?

You could spend an entire day in North Beach checking out the shops, nibbling on different gastronomic pleasures and bar hopping. Evening entertainment could be found everywhere in North Beach.... Great Italian Restaurants, Bimbo's Night Club, Fugazzi Theater, Broadway and so on. This is a place to EAT and DRINK! The aromas are intoxicating!

After a quick laugh as I point out Rogue's Pub, we find ourselves at La Trappe. Upstairs/Downstairs? Downstairs with it's European cellar-like groove.

Beer? Oh yes, my friends! Belgians! Many, many Belgians! Probably 100+ bottles and about 20 taps. Some taps are reserved for the less sophisticated and serve up West Coast Ales. ;-}

After a short session we managed to quaff down a Affligem Dubbel, Bornem Double, Triple Karmeleit and Boon Gueze. The Bornem and Triple were on tap!
Within the Belgian flair we noshed on Pajottenland Toast (Sliced Pumpernickel with fromage blanc sweet watermelon radish and crisp scallions)

Still feeling hungry we walked up Columbus for some samples at an old North Beach stand-by Classics, Molinari's Deli. Long time Deli and Italian Charcuterie, since 1896. I have fond childhood memories of this place and their House made Salami, Coppa, Mortadella and the like. We acquire a variety of slices from the deli. This only increases the hunger for more....

Golden Boy Pizza is an institution. An Sicilian style Pizza maker, served by the slice.... a square slice. The place is small, cramped and hot! The pizza oven takes up the back 1/3 of the space and we find ourselves sitting next to the oven! HOT!! Pizza can be purchased to go too.

After chowing through a Combo that's washed down with a silky smooth Trumer Pils, we see their Garlic Clam pizza wonderment come out of the oven. I ooed and aahed as the pizza cook cut me a slice and said, 'Just pay for it as you leave.' Heaven..... I'm in heaven!

Time to walk off some this food and drink! We stroll past North Beach Shops and then up and around Chinatown with its hordes of people and funky shops. We look in wonderment at some of the Chinese herbs and other far east imports. Some pretty wild and cool foodie stuff.

Back into North Beach we make our final stop at The Saloon. San Francisco's oldest bar and the 6th oldest in the nation. 1861. Today, it's a dusty and funky Blues club. The old bar is worn, but still standing to serve it's purpose. Locals and neighborhood folk hang out and stop for a drink along their day. An Anchor Steam please!

By the end of this day we manage to get back to the waterfront and then over to Treasure island. My gust would like to take some photos.

I thought of bill Night when I took this photo, then turned 180 degrees and took the following photo. It may be a yuppie hangout, but it has a hell of a view. ;-} I didn't partake at GB, I prefer Sudwerks, but that's another article.

Other day..... A tour de Food and Beer Force.

Toronado! What can you say about Toronado that hasn't been said. It's the original beer mecca. It's a bar for everyone, it's meant to be diverse for the diversity of all beer lovers and snobs. If the crowd became a singularity of social status or social group the bartender would probably start throwing people out to balance the groove and vibe. Too many hipsters.... Sorry! Go across the street to Mad Dog in the Fog! This is a serious beer bar for serious beer drinkers. Don't go wasting your time asking stupid questions about IBU's, price or the beers history! You want a beer? You better know what you want and order it or the bartender will pass you by. Plenty of paying customers who know what they want!

Toronado is crammed into a small space in the Lower haight. The more gritty, lower Haight. On a block lined with GOOD EATS, there is no problem finding something.

I choose an old favorite and something I would love to see more of in the NW. Middle Eastern Shawerma wrap. Call it a middle eastern burrito! Ali baba's Cave about 2 doors down from Toronado does an amazing Lamb, Turkey or whatever Shawerma. They don't mess around! This is serious eats! Wrapped in a warmed and grilled Lavash bread (where the hell do find that in the NW?) meat of choice, Tzatziki cumber sauce, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, garlic mint spread and then a big blast of hot sauce. Eeee Haaa! That's grow hair on your chest or anywhere else! The Falafel are to die for too.

Back at the Toronado we have a couple beers and move on. I acquire a few I can't get in the NW from Moonlight brewing.

A stop at Tommy's Joynt is a must. The beer selection is pretty good, but the ambiance and Hofbrau food is retro and amazing. Check out the Buffalo Stew, Turkey, Roast Beef, whatever! It's all good... Vegetarian? Sorry... Granola heads can travel to Southern Cal for better pickens. ;-}

Into the Mission for a couple stops..... Beer, cocktails and food... what else?! In my youth, the only reason you would go into the Mission was to get killed. Today, it's gone from rough and dangerous Hispanic nieghborhood to terrifying obnoxious hipsters! Oh the humanity....maybe the killings and violence will return before my leave? Naw, I'm here for fun. No dorky dressed poindexter is going to ruin my time! ;-}

Wonderfully colorful murals have been painted onto sides of houses and businesses. Take time to enjoy these beauties and to enjoy the food!

When I think Mission, I think BURRITO! There are tons of incredible Taqueria's in the Mission. I'm not going to start naming any favorites, but the worse taqueria in the Mission would be like eating juicy Latin Gold in Portland!

We did a little change up and checked out Phat Phillys. Yes, Philly cheese steaks! I've yet to find a decent Cheese steak in Portland. I've been directed to places that I'm told are "Amazing Cheese Steaks. " They all end to be some tough over cooked sliced round steak on a cheap ass Safeway bought roll about the size of the palm of my hand. tasteless and bland. Lets not even start talking about the lack of East coast Hoagies!

Phat Philly's IS A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Traditional and non, they are just out of this world good! Ready for the kicker!!?? They use Kobe Beef raised in Oregon! Yea, you read that right.... Kobe Beef from Oregon! I guess we Oregonians are just producing Beef to be used in quality California Cheese Steaks... Sad, sad, sad! Where the the hell is my Portland Kobe Beer Cheese Steak???? They even have a Veggie Hoagie for you Veggie types! The following "We Eatin" video by local Home-boys pretty much says it all. You eatin? I'm definitely eatin!

Oooooo! We rolled out those doors! A Pilsner Urquell and Cheese steak the size of a tire! Time to do some walking!

We took a little trip down the Peninsula, walked off that PHAT PHILLY and met up with a buddy for dinner at La Morena taqueria in South City. A Negra Modelo was a perfect choice to wash down that huge $5 Chili Verde Burrito. Now don't get me started again on the poor selection of NW burritos... and what's up with the cost of food in the NW. I seem to pay a lot of money for food that should cost half the price! back to my burrito.... Big chunks of Pork slowly cooked in a tangy tomatillo sauce wit garlic and onions... Ooooo... I'm getting hungry again! Firm tasty rice, Guac (That's Avacado Sauce for you NW gringos!), beans, Salsa, cheese and sour cream. All on a thick tortilla that made in the back room! Did I say $5??? Well, how about this.... A 6 inch crunchy tostada with a 3 inch mini-mountain of tasty Ceviche.... $2.75!!!! Fresh and tasty! WTF, NW!!???

After a couple cervesas we were off to meet some friends at an old watering hole Molloy's tavern, est 1881. Smack dab in the middle of Colma, a town known for it's multitude of cemeteries and 3 million populous of the dead. Great old Irish bar with filled with local photos, newspapers and nostalgia on the walls. You can still see the old gas lamps hanging from the ceiling which have been retooled for electricity many years ago. This is a BAR! This is not a pub or a tavern. You go here to do one thing... drink! Molloy's doesn't disappoint.... the drinks are cheap and strong. Even the Irish coffee is strong and tastes like it was flavored with a tea bag dip of coffee. Standard cocktails are booze with a nimble of mixer. No girlie Lemon drops or Appletini's here, this is an old fashion bar with real people and stiff drinks. Beer selection is slim, but some local craft beers make it on tap as well as Bass and Guinness. They pour a mean Black and tan. I remember seeing the last of the Gambling pinball machines in this place.

Well.. That's about it for this business trip! Maybe next time I'll make it up to Russian River Brewing and some of the North Bay Breweries.


Bill Night said...

Haha, yeah I walked past Gordon Biersch, what's the point?

La Trappe was awesome. Wish I had more time there. Thanks for the pointer.

You don't like Kennedy's? They had a decent list, about half of which were Belgian or Belgian-style.

I think you'll find the shwarmas and fresh bread you're looking for in Portland at Nicholas.

dr wort said...

GB.... You made a comment I probably hung out there. ;-}

Kennedy's. It's not the beer selection. It's just tagged for "Tourists." So many better places to drink.

Been to Nicholas. No Garlic mint sauce, no heat, no fried potatoes, no lavash... lacking flavor. Tzatziki & Hummus not as good, etc, etc.... and.... To small for the money.

dining room tables said...

It looks like you had fun! San Francisco has lots of places that has good food.

Mutineer Magazine said...

Wow. Quite an epic adventure and that pizza looks AMAZING!