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Taylor's Automatic Refresher


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Molto e and I tried to sample as many different quality food sources as we could during our brief visit to the Bay Area. Since we would be having dinner later that night at The French Laundry we wanted to be careful not to overdo it or have too late a lunch. We also wanted to try Taylor's beforre we left San Francisco as it was just a few steps away at The Ferry Plaza Market. We decided to have a very early lunch at about 10:30 AM. We were the first customers of the day.

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The place was spotless and gleaming. It had a nice somewhat retro feel to it.

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We ordered a number of items not so much because we were incredibly hungry, but because we were incredibly curious.

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Making chili cheese fries.

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Our order coming up for service. Unfortunately it lingered there a little too long and some things that shouldn't have got a little cold perhaps taking away a little bit from the ultimate effect. I could have done without the chili cheese fries. They didn't do anything for me. I wish I tried the fried calamari and a shake though.

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The Ahi Burger. This was my favorite andquite good. While not cheap fast food at $13.99 it was a pretty exceptional sandwich. The menu description reads: "Fresh ahi tuna seared RARE with ginger wasabi mayo & asian slaw on a toasted egg bun".

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California Chicken This sandwich was ok, but I wouldn't order it again, It came with guacomole, jack cheese, romaine, tomato, red onion & mayo on a toasted egg bun.

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Western Bacon Blue Ring described on the menu as "a burger topped with an onion ring, crumbled blue cheese, bacon, pickles, reed onion & BBQ sauce on a toasted egg bun" for $8.99. This was one hefty burger. It was this sandwich that probably suffered the most by waiting for service as some of the crispy elements were just a wee bit soggy by the time we bit into our halves. How do we know this might have suffered a bit? Well because we stopped at the original Taylor's up in St. Helena when we got upto Napa. :wink:

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John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Docsconz,

I recently ate at Taylor's Automatic Refresher and really liked the feel and look of the place. Luckily we had a gift card, because two burgers, one order of fries, one order of rings, a soda and a float set us back $30!

There is definitely quality to be had, but I have to agree with you on the timing of the meal. We were also there at a time when there was almost nobody else in the place. They make the root beer float first and put it into a reach-in refrigerator. Then they made the burgers, then they made the fries, then they made the rings. We sat at the counter, so I could see the progression. As I am a restaurant person, it sort of gets my goat when they are clearly slow (no business) and have about five to six employees working the line and they can't coordinate their efforts enough to have the food come up at the same time...hot and fresh. Particularly for the prices they charge.

For all of that, I prefer to spend my money at In-n-Out Burger...the price is right and the quality is good...always hot and fresh!

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Of note - the timing of service is decidedly better at the St. Helena location; as soon as the drinks are ready, they are served. There is no waiting for your food to be ready to be given your shake or float. Also, I believe the costs a bit lower. The Ahi Burger is my favorite (along with the onion rings which are just about the best I've every had) but the last time I ordered it in St. Helena, paid nine or ten dollars -- not fourteen.

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I had heard about Taylor's for quite some time so this was as big of a "must try" as some of our other stops for me. Taylor's is very good high-end fast food. This is not cheap fast food, but given the quality of the ingredients used not out of line. I liked Taylor's and would return anytime.

Molto E

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Taylor's at the Ferry Building is fine, if expensive, fast food.

However, at their prices, their use of pre-made items and approach to service has always bothered me.

I think they are the only restaurant in the whole of the Ferry Building to sell the disgusting syrup based minute maid lemonade and lipton iced tea. Is it that much work to squeeze lemons for lemonade and make some sort of half way decent iced tea?

I also dislike their fries, which are clearly made from frozen product, not fresh potatoes.

They're just details; but, to me, they prevent Taylor's from being a real destination. Especially with places like Lulu Petite, Mistral, Delica rf1, and the take out sandwiches from Golden Gate meats available.

~Erik

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Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I had heard about Taylor's for quite some time so this was as big of a "must try" as some of our other stops for me. Taylor's is very good high-end fast food. This is not cheap fast food, but given the quality of the ingredients used not out of line. I liked Taylor's and would return anytime.

Molto E

This is why I would stick with In-n-Out. It is cheap fast food, but good quality as well. Meat is never frozen, french fries are cut and fried within minutes of your order...decent service (considering the age of the employees).

For variety, Taylor's wins...can't get an Ahi Burger at In-n-Out! Also, I think they serve wines and beers at Taylor's. It is definitely a "special occasion" fast food joint. Besides, they have to pay the rent (which must be considerable) for their space in the Ferry Building.

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This is why I would stick with In-n-Out.  It is cheap fast food, but good quality as well.  Meat is never frozen, french fries are cut and fried within minutes of your order...decent service (considering the age of the employees).

For variety, Taylor's wins...can't get an Ahi Burger at In-n-Out!  Also, I think they serve wines and beers at Taylor's.  It is definitely a "special occasion" fast food joint.  Besides, they have to pay the rent (which must be considerable) for their space in the Ferry Building.

I would put Taylor's a notch above In-n-Out Burger. I do not love the In-n-Out fries. I think that they could use the twice frying method.

Molto E

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Taylor's has some nice shakes with different fruit flavors. I've enjoyed the green tea shake that they offer as a special sometimes at the Ferry Bldg. location. I think I had a blackberry shake up at the St. Helena restaurant.

"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 surprising number of high-end places serve frozen fries. In-n-Out's fresh fries taste awful, I agree with Eliot when he says that they need to be fried twice. What makes the St Helena location of Taylor's so good is that they offer simple honest food where no other similar options exist. I don't find the SF location very appealing because I've got a huge number of other options for a simple lunch.

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A surprising number of high-end places serve frozen fries.  In-n-Out's fresh fries taste awful, I agree with Eliot when he says that they need to be fried twice.

Dudes! Try ordering your In-n-Out's fries "well done". It makes a little difference.

However, I agree with your assesment of their fries overall. I'd describe them as "they blow". :wink:

 

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not to venture too far off topic, but on Tejon's food blog a couple of months ago, she introduced me to in-n-out fries "animal style"

they make the fries with cheese, burger sauce and grilled onions...quite disgusting, yet tasty at the same time!

other than that, i sacrifice french fries in order to eat two cheeseburgers most of the time :blink:

for the price though, taylor's are just sysco fries, right?

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A surprising number of high-end places serve frozen fries.  In-n-Out's fresh fries taste awful, I agree with Eliot when he says that they need to be fried twice.

Dudes! Try ordering your In-n-Out's fries "well done". It makes a little difference.

However, I agree with your assesment of their fries overall. I'd describe them as "they blow". :wink:

I only order them well done, but that only makes them slightly better than an animal style diet coke.

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The original Taylor's received a distinction from the James Beard foundation as an "American Classic".

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Let's be honest here. In-n-Out french fries suck, and even putting animal stuff on them isn't going to help. I order two burgers if I'm hungry- one with cheese and one without, both with grilled onions. Just personal observations: don't get too excited, it's still fast food, and the pickles on animal style burgers ruin them IMHO.

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The original Taylor's received a distinction from the James Beard foundation as an "American Classic".

An American Classic? That makes me shudder. As far as burgers go, Taylor's is just over-priced. Nothing you couldn't find at any ma-n-pa corner charbroil hamburger joint. Taylor's has an advantage in that there aren't many of those types of places around to compete with them. I'd kill for a Duke's Burger within 50 miles of Napa (is there?). They would spank the sh*t outta Taylor's and at more than half the price.

Since I live up here in the North now, I'd rather spend my money at In-N-Out, minus the fries. I think the fries suck. But you either love 'em or hate 'em methinks.

Devin

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Taylor's makes great (if overpriced) hamburgers imo. They are a great success due to many factors like the protection offered by the business regulations of St. Helena, and the fact that they are well liked in the community. According to Joel Gott, the Ferry building location was the best investment he ever made.

Now, if I could only get them on to my buns...

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The original Taylor's received a distinction from the James Beard foundation as an "American Classic".

An American Classic? That makes me shudder.

Taylor's had been there a long time. I remember when it was a pretty typical but excellent burger place. Maybe that's when they received the award.

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The grilled sourdough burger is really great when you are starving and want a huge juicy burger. Haven't found anything else than the burgers that I like there, except they occasionally have a decent pulled pork special.

I like In-N-Out too, but they don't compare--Taylors is more like real food as opposed to fast food.

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If we're talking about an In-N-out vs. Taylor's comparison, Taylor's will loose everytime for one simple reason. I get off work at 10-11pm and I can still go get a double-double with grilled onions for dinner. Taylor's closes when the tourists leave. Access! A very important factor for the working slob.

Devin

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Agreed, In-n-out fries are not that good but I've enjoyed them every once in a while. Agreed, no pickles please. There's something about the flavor of them that doesn't mesh well with the rest of the burger. Having never eatin at Taylor's I can't comment but it is rare that an established full sized (non-fast food) restuarant will serve an awesome burger. I've had plenty of "established" burgers before and they never gave me the roll-your-eyes-in-the-back-of-your-head-moaning-as-I-eat taste I get when I eat a double-double. I will have to say though, the French Quarter (aka Frisco burger) served at Mimi's is really quite good.

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  • 7 months later...

just to let everyone know, there will be a Taylors next to Copia in Napa, scheduled to open this summer.

yours truly will be in the place next door and the Fatted Calf will be beside me.

for more info google Oxbow project...

happy holidays :)

here's a link:

http://www.oxbowpublicmarket.com/about%20O...ic%20Market.htm

Edited by artisanbaker (log)
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  • 4 months later...

FWIW I recently had the fish tacos at (the Ferry Market) Taylors and they were the best I've ever eaten. My fish taco credentials are admittedly limited but the Mahi-Mahi was really fresh and there was plenty of it. The marinade really elevated the dish. Wish I could replicate it at home. $9.99 for two decent size tacos. Based on this single experience, I'll be back.

As an aside, if there are better fish tacos (not cheaper: better) to be had in SF, I'd love to try 'em.

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FWIW I recently had the fish tacos at (the Ferry Market) Taylors and they were the best I've ever eaten. My fish taco credentials are admittedly limited but the Mahi-Mahi was really fresh and there was plenty of it. The marinade really elevated the dish. Wish I could replicate it at home.  $9.99 for two decent size tacos. Based on this single experience, I'll be back.

As an aside, if there are better fish tacos (not cheaper: better) to be had in SF, I'd love to try 'em.

Tony - can you describe the fish? Was it marinated chunks of fish or were they deep fried? Traditional fish tacos has the fish fried in batter with a traditional white sauce, of a yogurt/mayonnaise blend here in the states and white crema fresca in Mexico. I cut my teeth on fish tacos in Ensenada and TJ and am somewhat jaded and reluctant about ordering them from a burger joint in San Francisco...

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The fish was not deep fried - there was no batter at all. It was marinated and the marinate had stained the fish brown. (At first I thought it was tuna, if that's any indication.) More of the marinade was applied to the cooked fish, I think, and pooled deliciously in the bottom of the taco. The red/brown color might have indicated annato in the marinade, who knows. If you're a taco afficionado - and, more to the point, prefer yours battered - Taylor's might not be for you. But I enjoyed them immensely.

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