San Francisco – home away from home
[Note – I posted this to my wrong blog yesterday. I’ll blame it on jet lag. Went looking for it on this blog and saw it was missing.]
San Francisco was my home before Bangkok so I thought that coming back here would be a homecoming of sorts. Well I was wrong about that. I’ve been in Bangkok so long that San Francisco is just another city, although with lots of fun things to do and very good food. And great opportunities for photos.
We flew into San Francisco yesterday. It was a long day, what with a 6 1/2 flight from Boston to SF. Although my seat was in first class, the seat could not be compared to an international first or business class seat. It was a very uncomfortable journey. I did develop empathy for the economy passengers. They must have really suffered.
Anyway, after checking into a hotel by Fisherman’s Wharf, we went to Cioppino’s Italian Restaurant. Most locals avoid Fisherman’s Wharf restaurants like the plague but when you’re staying there and are starving after your flight, you make the short walk to the nearest restaurant.
Cioppino’s is an average Fisherman’s Wharf Italian Restaurant. I tried the spaghetti with meatballs and the linguini with clams and both dishes were good. The clams were slightly firm, not rubbery, full flavored with just a hint of white wine. The meatballs were also good, although I prefer just a hint of parmesan cheese in the meatballs. The tomato sauce was light but it did not give me the impression it was made with fresh tomatoes. I also liked their sourdough bread, which I considered the highlight of the meal. I’m not demeaning the pasta dishes, just that with good bread, I can eat anything.
We then drove around San Francisco. First we went to Fort Point, which is located below the Golden Gate Bridge. Later we drove to Golden Gate Park. Both locations are picturesque with the park evoking a peacefulness that one occasionally needs when one travels. It was very refreshing. On the other hand, the Fort Point area is magnificent, what with views from the Golden Gate Bridge to Fisherman’s Wharf and beyond. It’s quite jaw dropping in beauty.
Afterwards we went to Henry’s Hunan Restaurant. I’ve eaten there for about 20 years and always enjoyed their very spicy Szechuan and Hunan style cuisine. At one time, the Sansome Street restaurant was described by the New Yorker magazine as the “best Chinese restaurant in the world”. I wouldn’t go that far. I do think the food is good, sometimes outstanding. On this particular night, we visited the Bryant Street outlet. We had the Henry’s Special, the Hunan smoked ham and dry-braised string beans. I have to say that although we asked for “very spicy”, the dishes came out slightly spicy and not as fiery as the food at the Sansome outlet. The dishes were just a little disappointing. Also, the string beans were not up to the standards of the Sansome branch. They had been boiled or steamed and that was the predominant taste. There was no sense of “dry braising”. I am fond of the dry braised string beans at the Red Pepper Restaurant, a Sichuan restaurant, in Hong Kong and these did not compare now.
All photos were taken with a Leica M8 and Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens.