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San Francisco Potrero District


SuzySushi
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We may be in San Francisco for about a week at the end of March, staying with my stepson who recently moved into the Potrero District.

Any recommendations for interesting places to eat, shop in the neighborhood? (He's a vegan, so we can't go completely by his tastes.) Asian foods are readily available to us in Hawaii, so we'd prefer something we can't get here -- South American, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, etc.

Thanks in advance!

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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There's a nice (if a bit outdated) neighborhood writeup on SFGate.

Potrero Hill standout restaurants include Chez Papa, Aperto, and Bakara. The Ramp is a nice place to go for happy hour, if you come during a warm spell.

Depending on what part of the hill your stepson lives on, you're also close to South of Market and/or the Mission District, both of which are teeming with dining and shopping options.

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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I second Baraka, good Mediterranean food.

I also really like Eliza's. It's a "Chinese" restaurant, but really more Chinese/Caifornian fusion like.

Goat Hill Pizza has nice pizzas. Nothing fancy, just solid pizzas and great meatballs. Monday is all you can eat pizza and salad for $9.95.

Hard Knox Cafe serves up some awesome Southern food. Prices are great, portions are huge, the corn muffins are a must. It's my favorite causal place for comfort food.

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Potrero is a largely residential neighborhood, so there's not a huge selection of restaurants there.

All those mentioned are good.

If you have time, and any of you like beer, I do recommend the Anchor Brewing Tour. It's free and seeing those big copper kettles in action is pretty cool.

Tour Info Webpage

I used to work near there and enjoyed the sandwiches at Klein's Deli for lunch.

I also like the breakfasts at Mabel's Just For You Cafe.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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One of my new favorite lunch/brunch places is Platanos in the Mission.

It's on 18th and Guerrero and was dinner-only until fairly recently.

They have a number of interesting options such as an open-faced chicken mole sandwich, pupusas, and a skillet of creamed corn with eggs.

I think the cuisine is Salvadorian, but don't quote me.

Also, friendly service and a relaxed pleasant cafe-like atmosphere.

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A nice place nearby (far eastern Mission; next to Potrero Hill) that I haven't been to in awhile is Universal Cafe.

Has anyone been recently? I saw a recent review on PBS' "Check Please" and all three diners enjoyed it very much. They also mentioned that they have good weekend brunches. The restaurant is a small, chef-owned, neighborhood place, stylish and comfortable with rustic Cal/Med food. I remember that they had particularly great salads and lots of interesting dishes. It's back on radar screen to try again, soon.

Here's their website: http://www.universalcafe.net/universalcafe.html

I see they describe their menu as "richly organic"...

2814 19th (b/t Bryant and Florida)

closed Mondays; all other nights for dinner

lunch on Friday and brunch on Sat/Sun

The menu still looks good and it appears that there are some vegan friendly dishes or ones that could be converted relatively easily.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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A nice place nearby (far eastern Mission; next to Potrero Hill) that I haven't been to in awhile is Universal Cafe. 

Has anyone been recently?

My wife and I used to go quite a bit before it changed owners and closed for a while.

We have reservations in a couple weeks, and I will be sure to report back.

-Erik

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I would also stop by Tartine Bakery in the Mission; especially nice if you have some time free in the middle of the day. Excellent pastries and baked goods; among the best in the city.

edited to add: It will be nice to hear your update on Universal Cafe, eje.

Just remembered another thing to do in Potrero Hill--tours of the Anchor Steam Brewery. The tours are free; you just have to sign up in advance to get a space. The Brewery is in a beautiful old brick building, you get an overview of the whole facility from it's gleaming copper kettles to the bottling section and they give a tasting of all their brews at the end of the tour.

Eliza's is fun for good, simple, Cal-Chinese food with a beautiful interior design and I've had a nice meal at Aperto, although it's been a long time since I've been there. The Ramp can be fun for a weekend brunch; sitting outside next to the Bay with views of the dry docks. It is kind of a funky/semi-industrial setting on the water. Brunch food is basic; I've gone more for the atmosphere than the food, but it's pleasant on a sunny day with a Bloody Mary in hand.

oops... I see eje already mentioned the Anchor Steam Tour above...

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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One of my new favorite lunch/brunch places is Platanos in the Mission.

It's on 18th and Guerrero and was dinner-only until fairly recently.

They have a number of interesting options such as an open-faced chicken mole sandwich, pupusas, and a skillet of creamed corn with eggs.

I think the cuisine is Salvadorian, but don't quote me.

Also, friendly service and a relaxed pleasant cafe-like atmosphere.

Pupusas are Salvadorean. Platanos sounds great. I'll have to check it out. Good papusas are hard to find!

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Okay, several of you have mentioned the beer brewery tours at Anchor Brewery. I checked out their website and my question isn't answered -- are children allowed? (Not to taste the beer, of course.) Our 9 year old daughter will be with us. She's been welcomed at the wineries in Napa/Sonoma valleys, but what about Anchor?

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Okay, several of you have mentioned the beer brewery tours at Anchor Brewery. I checked out their website and my question isn't answered -- are children allowed? (Not to taste the beer, of course.) Our 9 year old daughter will be with us. She's been welcomed at the wineries in Napa/Sonoma valleys, but what about Anchor?

Lilnk to info on their tours

The walking tour of the brewery lasts about 40-45 minutes. The tour guide will give you a brief history of the brewery and walk you through three floors of our building. Children are welcome to come on the tour, but of course may not taste the beer during our tasting session, which follows the walking tour. Altogether, the tour and the tasting last for about 2 hours, and tastings are only available to those who take the tour.

Anchor Brewing is pleased to offer this tour to our guests free of charge. However, there is quite a demand for our tours and we suggest that you call us about a month in advance to secure a date. Unfortunately, due to the popularity of our tour, combined with the small size of our staff, we will not be able to accommodate you for a tour without reservations

Currently we offer one public tour each weekday afternoon, by reservation only. We recommend that you call us as early as possible to make reservations far in advance so that we may accommodate you and your party on the day of your choice. You may have up to ten in your party, depending on the availability of space.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Duh!!! I must not have been reading the same line you were! :wacko:

Okay, several of you have mentioned the beer brewery tours at Anchor Brewery. I checked out their website and my question isn't answered -- are children allowed? (Not to taste the beer, of course.) Our 9 year old daughter will be with us. She's been welcomed at the wineries in Napa/Sonoma valleys, but what about Anchor?

Lilnk to info on their tours

The walking tour of the brewery lasts about 40-45 minutes. The tour guide will give you a brief history of the brewery and walk you through three floors of our building. Children are welcome to come on the tour, but of course may not taste the beer during our tasting session, which follows the walking tour. Altogether, the tour and the tasting last for about 2 hours, and tastings are only available to those who take the tour.

Anchor Brewing is pleased to offer this tour to our guests free of charge. However, there is quite a demand for our tours and we suggest that you call us about a month in advance to secure a date. Unfortunately, due to the popularity of our tour, combined with the small size of our staff, we will not be able to accommodate you for a tour without reservations

Currently we offer one public tour each weekday afternoon, by reservation only. We recommend that you call us as early as possible to make reservations far in advance so that we may accommodate you and your party on the day of your choice. You may have up to ten in your party, depending on the availability of space.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I loved loved loved my dinner at the Slow Club http://www.slowclub.com/slowclub_01a.htm on Mariposa. I think they do a new dinner menu and special cocktail everyday. Only thing is that it's loud. But the food is so good I put up with it -- roasted blue nose bass in a beurre blanc on French lentils with a shaved fennel and red onion salad.

My fantasy? Easy -- the Simpsons versus the Flanders on Hell's Kitchen.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My wife and I had a nice dinner at Universal Cafe on Valentine's Day.

This was the first time we had been there since the restaurant changed hands a couple years ago. The space hasn't changed at all.

It was Prix Fixe for $65 per person.

To start they brought us an amuse of poached salmon on brioche toast with a touch of creme fraiche and a bit of caviar.

For the first course I had a dungeness crab and belgian endive salad and my wife had a garlic soup scented with perigord truffles. The salad was quite tasty, though I was a bit disappointed that they chose to fine matchstick shred the endive. Just my preference; but, I like the big oblong leaves. I was afraid the garlic in the soup would destroy the truffles; but, it was very mild and delicous and the scent of truffles dominated.

For main I had a lamb chop with arugula salad and gratin of winter vegetables. The lamb was fantasticly flavored, but closer to Rare than the mid-rare I had ordered. My wife had a beef tenderloin and some sides which escape me now. Hers was also on the rare side.

For dessert I had a rose scented creme brulee and she had a huckleberry tart with some sort of gelato. Both desserts were delicious. Again, restraint was practised with the flavors, so instead of overwhelming the brulee, the rose scent was only hinted at.

They delivered the bill with a few more cookies and a home made caramel.

For wine, we ordered a Bucklin "Mixed Blacks" Zinfandel blend. It was a complex wine which stood up nicely to our big meaty main courses.

On the whole, service was friendly and attentive. There was a bit of a lull between the soup/salad course and the main course and we felt a bit like they were rushing us through our dessert course.

On the whole I would class it as a very good meal. There wasn't really anything about the experience that really blew us away; but, it was all very well done and I'm sure we will be back before too long.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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