San Francisco Guide to Eating Out: Part OneJune 26th, 2012 by Michael Kwan
Today, I turn to some of the culinary delights. San Francisco is arguably just as much of a “foodie” city as Vancouver, offering a wide range of high quality restaurants and eateries. Of course, I didn’t have the time to sample them all, but I was reasonably pleased with where I did go.
336 Mason Street
This was my first stop after dropping off our bags at the hotel. Located near Union Square, Lori’s Diner is a retro eatery decorated with images of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and other notable figures in the history of American entertainment. Not surprisingly, items like the milkshakes (shown at the top of the post) and burgers feature prominently.
What you see here is the patty melt: a hamburger patty with melted cheddar and Swiss cheeses between two slices of toasted rye. It was crisp, greasy and delicious. The fries were tasty too, but they should have been crispier.
And here is the California Omelet: three eggs with smoked apple sausage, green onions and cheddar cheese. The omelet (or omelette, as I prefer) was stuffed with goodies, but the hash browns left something to be desired. It was just hard and under-seasoned.
If you’re looking for a retro diner experience–this felt similar to Lucy’s in Vancouver–Lori’s isn’t a bad choice, but you may be able to find better food at better prices elsewhere.
Boudin Sourdough Bakery
160 Jefferson Street
I didn’t have a chance to really sample any of the sourdough from Boudin, but it’s incredibly popular and busy all day long. When you stroll along the Fisherman’s Wharf area, you can see right into the bakery. In fact, a baker was mic’d up, talking to passers-by about what she was doing. In addition to regular loaves, Boudin also has some artistic creations like this giant gator. I also saw crab-shaped sourdough. Boudin supplies baked goods for many of San Francisco’s eateries.
Pier Market Seafood Restaurant
There are many restaurants in Pier 39, but one of the most famous is Pier Market. It was opened by a man who dared to turn the area into a tourist attraction and he certainly succeeded. If you happen to be in the area, visit the visitor’s center in Pier 39 and get the map. It contains a coupon for a free cup of clam chowder at Pier Market (with the purchase of an entree). The clam chowder, which I unfortunately neglected to photograph, was rich and creamy, filled with all sorts of good stuff.
Shown above was the special of the day: a stuffed salmon. And when they say stuffed, they mean it. It was served with potatoes and some vegetables.
When I go to most seafood restaurants in Vancouver, like The Fish House, I get a relatively small cut of fish. That’s not the case at Pier Market. This was a huge filet of mahi mahi, easily double the size of what I would normally expect. The outside had a nice char while retaining the juiciness of the inside. It was served with a mango BBQ sauce, rice and coleslaw.
This was one of the many varieties of mesquite grilled seafood at Pier Market, including snapper, trout, swordfish and ahi tuna. They have the mesquite grill on display by the front window if you want to see some of the action. As an aside, it’s cheaper ordering from the takeout window out front than it is dining inside. That’s a good option if you want a more casual meal, like the New England clam chowder in a (Boudin) sourdough bowl.
More San Francisco Eats in Part Two!
Today’s post highlighted what I ate on the first day of my trip. Stay tuned for the restaurants I visited on my second day, including one of the better food courts I’ve ever visited.