I Left My Fart, Part II
In case you missed it, Part I of Eating Our Way Through The City That Brought Us Steve Perry involved farmers markets, the Patriots losing to the Giants while I gorged on brie, and a fake plaster head in a bed. Part II will hopefully be just as exciting.
I had the idea to go to Berkeley. We got up and grabbed the train and off we went with the sole intention of going to the Cheeseboard Collective, a cheese counter-slash-pizza shop recommended to me by former SF resident and my Brooklyn food guru, Tracy. By the time we got there it was about 12 or 1pm, and as Cheeseboard-Trekking Companion will tell you, I am the type to wake up and eat breakfast immediately, that’s just how I operate. He is the type to savor one cup of coffee till 4pm when he realizes he hasn’t eaten yet, but not me. So for me not to eat until 1pm (which was 4pm EST if you look at it that way, which we did because we never adjusted to the time change) was madness. You know what else is madness? The Cheeseboard being closed on Mondays.
So we found a small brew pub, got burgers and cheesesteaks and that was that. Since my main purpose of going to Berkeley was to get food, we decided to go back to the city and chill out until our dinner reservation (At 6:30pm! The witching hour! If you are 80!) at The Slanted Door, a Vietnamese-California fusiony place also located the The Ferry Terminal building. Are you sensing a theme? I couldn’t get enough of that place. Also, when we arrived at the Ferry Building, news crews abounded and there was a private event in one of the entrances. We were like ok, who is a BIG DEAL in San Francisco that could warrant this? Robin Williams? We look up and see “HILLARY 08” posters everywhere and realize Bill Clinton is like 50 feet from us but he was doing some pre-Super Tuesday campaigning for the Missus. Not to let that overshadow our BIG MEAL…I had made a reservation at The Slanted Door because a) I had just read about the chef a few weeks ago and b) Chowhounders are so hilarious about it that I really had to try it. The people who comment on Chowhound are sometimes spot-on and sometimes ridiculous, and I choose to seek out the ridiculous ones and defy them by actually enjoying my food. Most comments about the SD are like “Food has really gone downhill” or “is NOT authentic Vietnamese food” and my favorite was someone who wrote “Vietnamese food is traditionally peasant food. How can you charge this much and call it Vietnamese?” How about just telling me how it tastes? That’s all I care about, not if the food is faux (pho?!) Vietnamese. We tried it and short version: it was amazing. Jeff got some crazy tuna sushi thing (obviously I am well-versed in my sushi knowledge..he got tuna, it was raw but came with stuff on it), I got Imperial Rolls that were peanutty spring rolls, and we split Claypot Chicken with Caramel, and Shaking Beef which was rare filet mignon cubes with vegetables. Holy crap. (i know this is not a food blog, obviously, but all the food we ate on the trip was so good that it is all worth mentioning and discussing, don’t worry, I will discuss my new favorite show Jon & Kate Plus 8 soon. Thanks, Reece. Thanks a lot.) We got desserts too, but by this point I went Violet Beauregard and was too fat to actually see what they were and had to be rolled out. I did snap this blurry shot of my Handsome Dining Companion who just bought a coat at Nordstrom from Gary, the chatty suit salesman who in the course of 5 minutes gave us a brief history of the San Francisco fire, directions to Golden Gate Park and told us what kind of wood the men’s department’s displays were made of.
Severe digestive distress. But like Starship…Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us Now!
Tuesday was the day to tie up loose ends and do everything we hadn’t done. We had bought some pastries in Berkeley and ate those for breakfast, then went for a walk thru Chinatown, then up through North Beach where we stopped at the City Lights Bookstore. When I came to SF with my parents in high school, the City Lights was the only place I wanted to go and there’s a picture of me in my best overall shorts and tattered cardigan standing in front of it. This time, we meandered through and, whether or not it was genuinely old, I found a sign stuck next to a shelf that I like to think some crazy Beat poet painted while trying to take down the Man…man.
We walked down to the Cartoon Art Museum and took in their exhibits (remember how we went to Berkeley on Monday and the cheese place was closed? Well, we went to the Cartoon Museum on Tuesday, one day after their Edward Gorey exhibit closed. Slightly better planning may have led to two slightly more eventful days). After the museum we grabbed a train over to the Mission to complete my main mission, eating a San Francisco style burrito…this is where I coined the potentially racist phrase “The Gringo Swindle” because despite the big board saying that burritos were $7, somehow, 2 burritos and 2 drinks cost me $32. I was concerned that I was being had, but then I just thought to myself, there’s enough food here to feed about 6 people so I won’t stress. We then walked for about 6 miles throught the Mission and the Castro, up and down Haight, through Pacific Heights, down Union Street and down the Fillmore Steps, and we were so very tired.
It’s a good thing this is not a food blog because if it was, I would not be telling you that the final meal we had on our trip was at the Cheesecake Factory. And yes, it was my idea and it was initially opposed by Dining Companion, but honestly I was tired of walking so much. Dining Companion objected strongly, never having been to a Cheesecake Factory and likening it to a Spaghetti Warehouse – the industrial-style name didn’t sit well, nor did the 3 page list of “Our Specialties”. “If your whole menu is specialties then nothing can be THAT special!” He has a point but friends…he enjoyed his assembly line chicken and dumplings! Also, our waiter had Zac Efron hair and talked like Spicoli.
Wednesday we flew home but not before buying a loaf of sourdough and eating it on the plane! Yay!
In short, No Cal was not Lo Cal, we are very probably diabetic and on our way to obesity but it was worth it.