36 hours (or so) of eating in San Francisco again

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I spent the last weekend to paddle at the San Francisco Dragon Boat festival.  It was my team’s 4th visit to the festival and I was excited because it’s always a great weekend away with my team.  The most difficult thing is that I’m so busy dragon boating that it doesn’t leave much time for food exploration.  But because San Fran is a place that’s easy to return to, I’m never that worried about missing out on the good stuff.

7:00am – Early departure from Bellingham meant we arrived early in Oakland, with plenty of time to explore.

11:30am – It’s hard for me to go to San Francisco and not go the Ferry Market building, so that was our first stop.

Ferry Market building San Francisco

After wandering around trying to decide from many amazing choices, a menu item caught my friend’s eye, “bacon meatloaf sandwich”.  Being a bacon lover like me, she was sold.  My brother said he’d order one too (to share) so I was free to order the meatball sandwich.

Ferry Market meatloaf 36 hours
Moist, flavourful but not bacon-y enough to have top billing in the name “bacon meatloaf sandwich”.
Definitely the better choice. Not goopy like some would want, this meatball sub was good!
36 hours SFO Ferry market building
Chili fries are good pre-race day food aren’t they?

Of course I needed to grab a cone of meat from Boccalone.

36 hours SFO Boccalone

And a coffee from Blue Bottle.

36 hours SFO Blue Bottle
*Photo by Vince

 36 hours SFO Blue Bottle Ferry Market

2:00pm – If I wasn’t so tired, this would have been the time I would used to go shopping or explore more sights, but instead I napped.

4:15pm – On my last visit to San Francisco with my team, I discovered a great Japanese curry place.  I wasn’t running back to repeat (because that just means one less discovery) but my brother and another friend convinced me it was worth a return visit.  They were right.

* Photo by Vince
In a hurry to get back to the hotel to eat the curry while it was hot. *Photo by Vince.
36 hours SFO Murracis
I settled on chicken katsu curry because it was the end of the day and they were sold out of everything else. I ordered hot because Japanese hot isn’t as hot as regular hot, or so I thought. Woah spicy, but so complex and delicious.

7:10pm – Admission, hot dog, soda and a bag of peanuts to watch the Oakland A’s take on the Baltimore Orioles in a battle for a wild card spot, all for $16.  How could I say no?

*Photo by Vince.

 Saturday morning & afternoon – Race day 1 and our host team, the Kaiser Permanente Dragon Healers spoil us with food.  Breakfast was warm scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, fruit and delicious home-baked goods.  For lunch we had barbecue chicken and ribs with delicious mashed potatoes.  We are so lucky they keep agreeing to host us.

 7:00pm – Overwhelmed by the amount of planning I had to do for an upcoming trip, I enlisted the help of my food loving team to help organize our team dinners.  I am fortunate that not only did they pull through, I was delightfully surprised by our first team dinner at Anh Hong restaurant.  When I first looked at the website, I was pulled in by the promise of “7 kinds of beef”, I only glanced at the website.  To me, Vietnamese food is about pho, lemongrass and crispy spring rolls.  Boy was I wrong.

Beef salad with carrot, daikon, celery, peanuts and a lemon dressing. I learned you use the shrimp chip as your vehicle to eat the salad. This great advice was just the first nugget of many to follow.
Beef carpaccio
Beef spring rolls, which in America are called egg rolls. Rice vermicelli on the side. I learned you wrap these and all to follow in the rice paper provided.
Shrimp meat packed around sugar cane, this non-meat dish was my favourite of the night.
Steamed meat ball – I was told this would be one of my least favourite dishes. It was actually one of the best. I was afraid it would be like the springy beef balls you get a dum sum, it was more like a tender dumpling filling.
Grilled beef lot leaf and beef sausage. I was swooning over the meal at this point and these tipped me over the edge.
Beef porridge – or Vietnamese jook/congee was a satisfying way to end the meal. Much soupier than the congee I’m used to, this is the heart warming dish I’m always craving, never finding in the cold damp winter.

Even before finishing the meal, I declared this to be the best Vietnamese food I’d ever eaten.  And I’ve been to Vietnam! Thank you Sharon and Jason for organizing this meal!

Sunday morning & afternoon – Again, we were treated to a delicious breakfast by our hosts and for lunch we were served a whole roast pig.  My team won the visitor’s consolation race and placed 3rd in the Competitive B division.  I rewarded myself with a treat that helped soothe my throat made sore by so much jubilant screaming.

Hawaiian shave ice with cherry, mango and passionfruit syrup.

Coming home with hardware makes a fantastic race weekend even better.

7:30pm – On our last visit to SFO, 2 years ago, we discovered a wonderful Peruvian restaurant called Limon with a set menu that accommodated us in a private room downstairs.  We had such a great time, we wanted to go back, unfortunately the room was no longer private, and the food didn’t seem as plentiful as our first visit, but the food was still great and it didn’t stop us from having a great team dinner.

Ensalada Rusa – root veggies, choclo(big corn), peas & green beans in a zesty mustard dressing.
Ceviche Mixto – red snapper, calamari, shrimp marinated in lime, rocoto and garlic.
Tartara de Atun – tuna tartare with pine nuts, rocoto, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and crispy chips.
Chicharron de Pollo – crispy pieces of chicken marinated in soy sauce, garlic, aji amarillo and served with salsa.
Empanadas – crispy pastry with braised beef, onions and raisins.
Lomito saltado – stir-fried top sirloin strips, onions, tomatoes and soy sauce served with crispy fries.
Pollo a la Brasa – savoury free range chicken slowly roasted over open flames.

Monday 12noon – At the Oakland airport, suffering from a night of over-indulgence, I was happy to find something to soothe my ailing.  With only a Chili’s and a bad Chinese take-out to choose from, I was forced to scour the menu.  Luckily I saw “Chinese porridge” which I hoped would be congee/jook.  Made to order, this turned out to be exactly what my weakened stomach needed.

The end of my San Francisco weekend also means the end of my dragon boat paddling season for this year.  And although I’ll be sad not to be on the water at least twice a week with my team for the next “few” months, it’s nice to know I can go on vacation without fear of having to miss a Monday or Thursday practice. Thanks to everyone on Team LifeScan for making this such a wonderful weekend, and for our “best season ever!”.

*Photo taken by Lou, courtesy of Bonnie.

American Eatery – 1 Ferry Building, shop 33

Muraccis Japanese Curry – 307 Kearney St

Ahn Hong – 808 Geary St

Limon – 1001 South Van Ness Ave

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