USA Day 18.2: San Francisco

After we left our Duvine tour, we checked back into The Argonaut Hotel.  Luckily, even though it was only just after 12 noon, our room was already available and waiting for us. What do you know – requesting early check-in works!  Given we were only going to be there for one night, and leaving pretty early in the morning, we had decided to scale down our accommodations from the suite to the “standard” room (which to be honest, was a bit of a shock to the system after such lovely accommodations).

Not to worry,  we had to hurry out anyway – because we had booked lunch at the Slanted Door. Only the most talked about restaurant on UrbanSpoon – and a restaurant that a lot of people said we had to visit (Kathy & Max, Ray and Janet, the waitress at Zazie, and a few others).

Who am I to fight destiny?

The Slanted Door

1 Ferry Building #3
San Francisco  CA  94111
(415) 861 8032
Open: Lunch  Mon – Sat  11am – 2:30pm;  Sun  11:30am – 3pm  
Dinner Daily  5:30 – 10pm
Website

When I had tried to book online the week before – the only time we could get in was 2pm on Saturday, after our tour.  So, wanting to give our legs some (more) exercise, we walked the 2 miles there and settled in. Boy, it was busy and extremely popular!!  Clearly, the talk of the town.  In terms of the restaurant itself, it’s very modern, very slick, and very happening.

We studied the menu and decided to order a starter and a main dish each, and see how we went.

Hawaiin Kampuchi with crispy shallots and thai basil

I love raw food – and this dish was absolutely gorgeous. Very simple, just slices of fresh fish with a small amount of dressing, which was complemented by the crunch of the crispy shallots and the zesty bite of the thai basil.  Just lovely.

Undoubtedly – the best dish we had – barbecued wallis ranch pork ribs with honey-hoisin sauce.

Apparently this is a real favourite with customers.  And I can see why – the meat was so tender, it just fell off the bone, and the sauce was a beautiful balance between sweet and salty.  Amazing!

 Grass-fed estancia shaking beef,
cubed filet mignon, watercress, red onions and lime sauce

Chue farm japanese eggplant with coconut milk and roasted chili paste

This was a half serve – how great is that?  When we were ordering, our server asked how hungry we were – and suggested that a half serve might be better!!   That’s something to remember! That you can actually order half serves of the dishes. It might only apply to some, but it’s worth asking if you wanted to try more dishes, or aren’t that hungry.

Rice noodle stir-fry with chicken, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, bean sprouts and egg.
It looked really plain – but boy, it was soooo tasty!

It was a fabulous meal – if you’re planning to go – make sure you book ahead! It’s very popular!  They also have a bar for walk ups – where you can try your luck.

The Slanted Door on Urbanspoon

We caught a trolley back to our hotel – and just vegged out.  Alas – there was a crying baby in the room next to ours!  It did not bode well!!  On our way out to dinner, we asked if there was any chance we could change rooms – unfortunately, that wasn’t possible because the hotel was fully booked!! Let’s hope that baby’s a good sleeper!

The rain was pouring down outside – so we joined the queue to get a taxi.  Good luck on a wet and rainy Friday night in San Francisco!  Even the hotel manager was out the front, calling restaurants on behalf of people, and working with the doorman to hail taxis for the guests.  Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait too long before it was our turn – so we hopped in the taxi and made the cross town journey.

Marlowe

330 Townsend Street
San Francisco  CA  94107
(415) 974 5599
Open: Lunch Mon – Fri  11:30am – 2:30pm;
Dinner  Mon – Wed  5:30 – 10pm;  Thu – Sat  5:30 – 11pm

Website

I had chosen to eat at Marlowe, because it had been profiled in an article about San Francisco in the Delicious magazine.  The restaurant has also been awarded one of 2010′s top 10 best new restaurants in San Francisco, and recognised as one of the top 100 restaurants in the Bay area.  Fairly decent accolades I thought.

We were pretty full from our late lunch – so we skipped starters and went straight to mains.

Anson Mills polenta with wild mushrooms, truffled pecorino, and poached egg.

I love polenta – so had to have this dish. It was nice – however, the polenta was quite dry and stiff.  My personal preference is for a wetter, silky polenta that is quite loose.  The mushrooms were fantastic though, and it was lovely to break the poached egg and allow the yolk to become a gorgeous sauce for the dish.

The Marlowe burger – with caramelised onions, cheddar,
bacon, horseradish aioli and shoe string fries!

Andrew had the Marlowe burger, which is apparently a favourite of the locals, particularly at lunch time.

Tcho chocolate cream pie

And I had to have the chocolate dessert – as this had been particularly highlighted in the article. It was such a simple dish – but was so delicious.  The chocolate and graham cracker cookie crust had been seasoned with sea salt. I have loved the recent trend of salting sweet dishes – it just works!  And in this dish, it worked really well – the salty, crunchy chocolate base beautifully contrasted with the smooth sweetness of the tcho chocolate cream – utterly divine!   And the cocoa nibs scattered on top just added that bit of textural bite to the dish.  Definitely dish of the night.  So good!! And so simple!!

Marlowe on Urbanspoon

Very happy and very full – we decided to live like a local and catch the bus back to the Hotel – except the bus stopped and made us all get out at the Mission market – so we had to catch another one which was packed.  But we got home – and that’s the main thing.  We found the San Francisco bus service a little confusing!  Although, I have to admit we only had a couple of days to get used to it.  Perhaps if we’d been there longer we would have felt more confident with it.

On the first bus home, there was a homeless person sleeping on the bus – right at the front, near the driver – taking up 4 seats, with his booze hanging out of his pocket!! Even as the bus took on more and more people, and the aisles were full of standing passengers, this person stayed where he was.  Of course, he didn’t know the bus was full – he was out of it. But the funny thing was, no-one (not even the driver) tried to rouse him, even though he clearly wasn’t popular. This illustrates the one of the things about San Francisco that didn’t really sit well with me – which was the number of homeless people around.  Apparently, having a warm climate most of the year tends to attract more homeless to that state.  I know this will be politically incorrect – but it really detracted from the groove of the place, and at times (like in the Golden Gate Park) made me feel a little unsafe.

However, we did make it back to the hotel – in one piece – and we were very happy and satisfied.  It was time to go to sleep – tomorrow we had to get up early and pick up our hire car.  We were starting our 2 day road trip – taking in Yosemite and then going on to Vegas!

See my next blog for the next exciting instalment!!  And to see if that baby cried or not…. !!!

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