after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Posts Tagged ‘Sausalito

Revisiting with Family

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t says:  g’s mom visited in January, which was a ton of fun.  In between all of the cooking we made her do (that’s right: meatballs, lasagna, chicken parm – all the classics) so she could stock our freezer, we also went out a few times.  And when we have family in town, we like to deal with “known quantities” – no crazy-new adventures – just the greatest hits!


One of the first places we dragged g’s mom to was Nopalito.  Oh. Em. Gee.  It’s still just as good as it was years ago.  Because I have such terrible grasp of Spanish, I cannot recall the names of any of the dishes – but I think that’s the point – you can do no wrong at Nopalito.  Pork, veggies, beef, whatever – the only “loser” is the person who dares to try and be bashful while sharing plates family-style …   I know the above pictures is under-whelming – I know that a and v back in Philly are probably thinking: “that doesn’t look that good” – but it is – we promise.



What is the only thing better than Bi-Rite’s creme brulee ice cream?  Bi-Rite’s creme brulee ice cream with hot fudge. Once again: the picture sucks, but the food is insane.  g’s mom fell for the salted caramel.  I think g went for the roasted banana.  Damn – I have to work out more if I’m going to eat like this …



One delightful morning, we took g’s mom to Plow in Potrero Hill.  We knew we liked it once before, so why not try it again?  So yea: the Plow potatoes and pancakes are still crazy-good, as was everything else.  So why take a picture?  To remind myself that they make their own sausage, and it, like the rest of the breakfast was precisely perfect.  The more I think of it, the more I appreciate Plow’s reliability, even if they’re not redefining brunch as we know it.



We did venture out to one new eatery with g’s mom and that was a pizza spot in Sausalito.  And while the town wasn’t exactly as she had remembered it, g’s mom was still happy to enjoy the clear skies, the small shops, the thin crust pizza at Sandrino.  I felt that the crust was a little too thin to support the weight of the cheese/sauce, but I was happy with the additional shaved parmagiano reggiano they used.  All in all, it was “pretty good”, but not as good as what we had but a few days later …



… when we hit up Piccino.  After our pretty-darn-good previous meal there, we knew the key was to just order a bunch of courses and share.  We started the meal off with some respectable spinach Arancini.  It’s hard to go wrong with fried rice balls, though.



This was the star of the show.  It was a sausage and red onion pizza.  Sounds pretty easy, right?  I was actually a little disinterested when g suggested it, but because I got to choose another one of the dishes for the table, I acquiesced to her choice of pizza.  Boy am I glad I did!!  It had just the right amount of onion-y punch and flavorful ?fennel?-piggy sausage, with a perfect crust.  It totally killed the pizza we had in Sausalito.



So what was this black blob?  It was perhaps the most unctuous piece of short rib I’ve ever had.  I’m so glad we split it three ways because this beautifully braised, well-glazed piece of meat was super-rich.  Served with a wine reduction, carrots, and celery root puree, it was the perfect way to crescendo towards the end of a meal (salad, pizza, meat).  Wonderful.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

5 February 2016 at 12:38am

Napa/SF Recap: Day 4

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t says: So … our last day in Napa … I remember it was kind of sad! But, on the bright side, it was like we had a whole second trip in front of us! So, we packed up Mustang Sally (for our last voyage), dropped by Bouchon Bakery for some breakfast, and set out to do one last thing in Yountville …  For some reason, we just couldn’t figure out precisely where The French Laundry was.  We drove by the address numerous times but just couldn’t find it!  We kept seeing dressed up people walking in the area but we couldn’t figure out which door they were entering.  Well, this morning, we found it!

It turns out that the sign was really low to the ground – so low that Mustang Sally’s doors got in the way (we were low-riding … yea … we’re gangsta).  Mission accomplished!  Some day, Mr. Keller.  Some day …

Next, we set our GPS for Sausalito. Why Sausalito? Well, if you remember from Day 1, I had sinned against g … You see, I promised g when we first arrived that I’d take her to Sausalito via the Golden Gate Bridge. But, when we put in Napa as our destination, it took us over the Bay Bridge and a boring highway that, to be honest, reminded me of route 55. g was not amused. Her mom hyped up Sausalito as the best place in the world [to live]. And, what I didn’t know, was that g was really in to Full House and wanted to go over the Golden Gate Bridge just like at the end of the opening sequence. (g says: not just go over – go over in a convertible. With the top down. Singing the Full House theme song in my head.) Result: I was going to get us to Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge if it killed us (or Mustang Sally … we got the extra insurance).

Actually, getting to Sausalito was easy as pie. Mustang Sally’s sense of direction (i.e. GPS) was spot-on. And it was beautiful. Not bad for the second-most-expensive county in the US …

We dined at this peculiar little fried-food place that was run by Asians.  The receipt claims it was called Fish and Chips.  Guess what I ordered?  Fish and chips.  (g got the mini-burgers).  Apparently, in Sausalito, you are allowed to serve food without having a restroom for customers to use … How odd. Maybe it was just them being mean. On the other hand, the fish-and-chips was actually quite good! And it wasn’t just hunger talking, because I had a Bouchon muffin as backup, in case it sucked.  g’s burgers were unremarkable burgers … just miniaturized.  As you can see, neither of us remembers what the place was called, but it’s not like we’d actually go back to that same place in the future – there are lots of little cafes and pizzerias in the area, but we were short on time – Mustang Sally needed to be back by 12:30!!

So, we came, we saw Sausalito, and now we had one more lion/dragon/ogre to slay (a liodragogre!) … the Golden Gate Bridge. So, I present to you now … the world’s first ever slain liodragogre …

Mission 2 accomplished!

We returned the car and set out to get to downtown SF from the airport. It would have been easy to get a cab, but we wanted to keep it real … so we took the BART. This was our first reality check that San Francisco, although it’s sometimes painted as a city in which it rains gumdrops, is a city … like every other city … and like every other city, they sometimes do stupid things … like put fabric-upholstered cushions on mass transportation systems … Who does that? First off – it’s gross. On a NY subway, where they use nothing but hard surfaces, I still know the subway is gross, but at least I feel like I am making as little contact as humanly possible. But in SF, when you sit down, you feel the cushions mold to your body, essentially giving you a warm hug of sweat and microbes. True, soft seats are on chartered buses, airplanes, Amtrak, etc. But I have never run into a seat as gross-feeling as the ones we sat in that very day. Second … they look ugly.

Ok, so we got to Union Square, hiked a few blocks north, a few blocks west, and voila! we arrived at our destination: Hotel Beresford. I really didn’t have any issues with the general appearance of the hotel or our room. Things seemed in order and reasonably clean (e.g. I wasn’t afraid to lay on their sheets or shower in the bathroom). But, later on, when I was using the internet in the lobby, someone came in looking for availability, and his girlfriend took one step in and immediately said “Oh no – we are NOT staying here – it’s like a creepy hotel from a horror movie.” I’m not exactly sure what horror movie she’s talking about … It wasn’t a run-down, seedy motel, it wasn’t an abandoned, palacial mansion, it wasn’t even dark! I stand by our choice (not that I’d do it again). There were some issues, however …
1) No A/C … which is ok except during a SF heatwave … which was occurring while we were there … but it’s nothing compared to a Philly heat wave, so a fan is good enough to compensate …
2) … except that our fan jumped off of the dresser we put it on (we were watching tv, we heard a crash, and the fan was on the floor – no idea how it happened) – but it was replaced with a gigantic box fan, so that’s ok …
3) The lack of hair dryers in the rooms – but we got one from the lobby.

g interjects: Oh, really? That’s it? Allow me to complete the list:
4) The bathroom smelled like sewage on random occasions.
5) The shower was GROSS. I had a serious problem with that one. Showers (especially small stall showers) should be spotless in every hotel every time. Period.
6) They must have bought their dressers from a yard sale because all of the drawers were broken. If you opened them more than 2 inches, they fell out of the dresser and ontop of you. This was difficult for me because I actually unpack at hotels and use the drawers.
7) The remote control for our tv was on its last leg. Buttons worked 1 out of 10 times they were pushed, on average. And the channel up and down buttons were completely kaput. This would not have been too much of a problem except that most of the channels consisted of that awful tv snow, and the channels that did work were far apart from each other numerically.
8) The free breakfast? Free for a reason. Really bad. I don’t think I need to go into detail.

End rant.

t says: whoa whoa whoa there!  I believe that the bathroom smelled like raw sewage because our neighbor had a super-foul bowel movement and it worked its way through the ventilation.  That’s my working hypothesis.

The shower wasn’t gross!  The shower we had on Cape Cod was gross.  I’d say that this was a step above dorm room showers!

The dressers sucked – I forgot about that.  I don’t unpack completely at hotels – I live out of the suitcase, so this didn’t affect me.

I unfortunately cannot defend the tv or the free breakfast …

Ok … so we unpacked … one of us was a little happier than the other one of us.  But we put the hotel behind us and got down to the first order of business: check out Chinatown. It was nearby and it was too late in the day to take a bus tour of the city. The thing is … we didn’t know precisely where in Chinatown we should go – we just saw the letters on a map, but that doesn’t mean that the entire area is a great place to visit. Well … we were unlucky … we ran into real Chinatown far before tourist Chinatown. What’s the diff? Real Chinatown has a lot of Asian people around (I daresay Chinese people, but I don’t know if they were all Chinese), including very slow walking old ladies and stoic, loogie-spitting old men. Kind of gross. But we eventually did get to tourist Chinatown, which was full of … white people. All those caucasians were walking around, taking pictures, and generally getting in the way. It was fun to see all of the stores peddling their trinkets and restaurants advertising their dim sum.  It was in Chinatown that I found out my new favorite way to take pictures … I like taking pictures of people taking pictures!

We were hungry but were unsure which one of the restaurants to go to – there were so many! Then we turned the corner, and I recognized a name. cm and drb both recommended the place and we just happened to find it (seriously! I know that cm won’t believe me because I did so much planning for the trip).  Here it is:

How was the food?  Take a look for yourself:

I’ve heard that this place is not so authentic. But who cares – the food was as delicious as everyone said! The above picture used used to be pork dumplings in black bean sauce and some kind of other fried appetizery shrimp dumpling dish (we had dinner plans that night). It was great!

I’ll finish off Day 4 at my earliest convenience …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

19 October 2010 at 8:18pm