San Francisco Home Exchange

Aug 16th, 2012, 10:39 PM
  #1  
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San Francisco Home Exchange

We've swapped homes with strangers to travel 90 minutes north and experience city livin'.

Now we find ourselves in a very nice Victorian near Dolores and 28th Street.

Using Stu's guide to SF, we are hoping for a fantastic five days. Tomorrow we'll check out Ocean Beach and see what else happens. Tartine will happen, that I know. And pizza from Flour and Water.
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Aug 17th, 2012, 10:10 AM
  #2  
 
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Fantastic - I used to live in the neighborhood.

For your pizza fix, try Delfina (about 1/2 block in different direction from both Tartine Bakery and Bi-Rite Ice Cream). We were there last night and waited 1/2 hour for a table (2 of us). People with larger groups waited an hour. The place is tiny, the wait is long, but the food is fabulous.
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Aug 17th, 2012, 10:26 AM
  #3  
 
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be prepared for a LONG wait at Tartine...if you want same quality and deliciousness, go to Thorough Bead on 16th and Church down the street. Line moves VERY fast and the staff is much friendlier.

Ocean beach - not sure why, it's cold and not always that pleasant. Unless you are having a cocktail at the Cliff House
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Aug 17th, 2012, 11:17 AM
  #4  
 
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As long as you're going out to Ocean Beach, though, consider a walk on the beautiful Land's End Trail, which starts to the north of the Cliff House.
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Aug 17th, 2012, 12:23 PM
  #5  
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I'm with you mztery--if there is fog (as there is today) the last place it burns off is Ocean Beach. I remember taking my sister for a drive on the Great Highway on a rare sunny day. She said something to the effect that this must be a very popular place to live because of the ocean views. I almost ran the car off the road laughing!!
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Aug 17th, 2012, 12:41 PM
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This weekend it's Paella on Fri, Sat, & Sun at Pomelo on Church St, just north of 30th. We'll be there Sat night !!! I think Paella is called "Pacifica" on the special "card" menu they will hand you. Best Paella in the City, IMO. Not 100% sure it is available on Sunday (we've never been there on a Sun dinner).

Stu Dudley
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Aug 18th, 2012, 05:41 PM
  #7  
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Pomelo's on our list! Thanks for the suggestions. We will keep them all in mind.

We got too late a start Friday for surf, so we walked the mile to Tartine's. There was a line out the door and down the sidewalk, but not quite past the bakery building yet so we waited. The line actually moved really fast, in about 10 minutes or so. However, no tables were possible, so we took our bags of precious pastries and walked a block to Delores Park. I was surprised it was so unbusy and figure it must be a weekday mid morning lull. The pastries were good but we both knew of numerous places we can get a decent croissant these days without facing a line like that. After a long spell of daughter playing on the playground, we walked home. We loved the neighborhood walk and plan to do much more of it!

Next we drove to Golden Gate Park to go to the Calif. Academy of Sciences. I balked at the admission price ($30) but we got our money's worth. A smart thing to do is go to the planetarium counter and get passes for the next available show since they run out.

When we left, we were all starving because we hadnt eaten since breakfast so we picked Emily's Spaghetti Shack for dinner. It's tiny and popular, so getting there by 5:30 when they open is recommended. I thought value for money was good, and they had a great selection of drinks.

Our place was only a few blocks away and the walk took us by Mitchell's icecream, known for its tropical flavors.
Bi Rite will have to wait.

As the day ended, I took one look at my husband ...and knew he was very sick. Crap. We can't catch a break this summer. And we can't just go home since someone is staying there. We'll have to make the best of it tomorrow.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 05:43 PM
  #8  
 
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told ya - shoulda gone to Thorough Bread...

Hope your DH is better soon.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 09:20 PM
  #9  
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Yeah, mztery, but some lessons must be self-taught. For breakfast, husband informed me he wasn't leaving the house. I'd seen a cafe nearby on my dog walks, and took the kid to go foraging for grub. It turns out that Noeteca is a wine bar that has a few things for breakfast. I ordered a couple bagel sandwiches, said "don't do that," and "stop touching everything" a few times to my kid, and took the stuff back to the house. The food was actually good in that way food can be when it's all of a high quality.

After realizing I was on my own for the day, I came up with the plan to walk the kid to Dolores Park again, and on the way back take a stroll on 24th street. It worked pretty good. I got to see a lot of restaurants firsthand like the Toast Eatery, Lovejoys Tea Room, and Chloe's Cafe. We shopped, and my tween daughter proved a very good companion. We climbed neighborhood hills and took pictures. We stopped at an open house for a 3/3.5 with an actual backyard and two car garage for $1.595. My daughter kept periodically exclaiming, "They did *such* a nice job with this place!" We stopped in Whole Foods for a bathroom break and an impulsive gelato popcycle purchase. My daughter salivated at the rotisserie chicken. Sorry kid. Not lugging that back.

We came home hours later to find my husband dressed, downstairs, but still horizontal. We talked about what to have delivered for dinner (ahhh man! there's a hundred other places I wanted to try!) and I left to walk the dog. I walked across 29th towards Mission and saw "Good Fricken Chicken. " Who could possibly resist? So I got some rotisserie chicken for my girl, and some good comfort food for me and sickee. The chicken really was fricken good, although the chicken kebabs were a little dry. The pita and hummus was really yummy. Mitchell's ice cream (purple yam for me) rounded out the night.

This is not the trip I planned, but I think we're doing ok. More wine would help. My sister will come tomorrow and hopefully I'll get to go to a sit down restaurant! Exciting!
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Aug 19th, 2012, 06:38 AM
  #10  
 
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Try Savor on 24th for breakfast, brunch, or lunch. There are outside tables in the back covered by a "tent", where you can sit with your dog & eat. I like the St Tropez (or something like that), Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, sauteed red onions, and nice roasted potatoes.

Last night at Pomelo it was foggy, cold, and windy. That's why we ended up moving from the Noe Valley to a warmer/sunnier area 20 mins south. Pomelo does carry-out - so does Harry's Hunan. Nice produce market on 30th & Church, XO coffee/food on 30th & Church, & Drew's meat market on Church near Day. There is a Noe Valley recreation center on 30th between Church & Sanchez.

Stu Dudley
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Aug 19th, 2012, 08:08 AM
  #11  
 
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Here are some "family friendly" restaurants within 3-4 blocks of your house.

Pomelo - Church near 30th
Paella is only available once a month. If it is not paella night, I almost always start with the fantastic fish tacos (shared with my wife - stay away from the green peppers unless you like hot). We've had fish tacos at other restaurants - but these are the best, IMO. Then I order the Havana - wonderful skirt steak with avacado, plantain, and other wonderful stuff - google the restaurant for a full menu and description of Havana. They had beef goulash on the 2012 Summer Menu for the first time - we think we'll take my wife's father there soon - he is half German.

Eric's Chinese - Church & about 27th
In an old storefront where you can sit at a window and watch the world go by. Very nice "upscale" Chinese. Service a bit quick, however. I recall some 'review" saying that their lunch is the best bargain in town (we've had several lunches there)

Harry's Hunan - Church & about Day St
In the mid 70s, New Yorker magazine declared this to be the best Chinese restaurant in the world. At the time, it was a hole-in-the-wall place on Columbus. Me and a friend frequented it for lunch when I worked downtown. Line out the door unless we got there early. VERY hot food (especially the harvest pork). We ordered beers so we could hang our lips in them to cool things off. The restaurant moved elsewhere in the neighborhood (had a Fodors GTG there about 5 years ago), and then they recently opened a branch on Church. Good food if you stay away from the hot stuff.

Alice's Restaurant - Sanchez & about 28th.
Traditional Chinese - lots of food - you won't go hungry. very "neighborhoody" pace.

Fattoush - on Church next to Lovejoys
http://www.fattoush.com/
Great Middle Eastern. We dine here about 2-3 times a year. Ate there last Sat. Start with some Pita bread & dips - we like the roasted eggplant (Babghanouge on the menu). We almost always order the Mansaf - tender chunks of Lamb cooked in aged yoghurt and then mixed with rice - wonderful. Smaller eaters can split one order.

Chloe's - Church close to Lovejoys
Great casual breakfast or lunch. I love the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. Good rosemary toast

Toast - two locations - Church & Day, & 24th
I am not a pancake or waffle fan. I had the worst-ever omelet there.

We've dined at La Ciccia and Incanto. I would not call either of them "family friendly". Both are quite popular, but we were not fond of the menu choices at La Ciccia and it was too noisy. I love Incanto because the menu selections are "different". My wife is not fond of it because the menu choices are "different".

Farther away

Fresca on 24th serves Peruvian food - but your daughter may not want cheviche (prevalent on the menu) and it can get a little noisy.

Savor on 24th.
Our favorite for breakfast or lunch.

Stu Dudley
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Aug 19th, 2012, 08:59 AM
  #12  
 
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few note4sw

You are making the best of a difficult trip and so congratulaitons! You are seeing hte rttrue Sanm Francisco!

Good Frickin Chicken is one of our go to places when we have time to cross town - amazing that you found it just walking around. If by any chance you go back try the fried cheese. Yeah fried cheese.

The Chinese restaurant is Henry's Hunan. Very good , huge portions, but Alice's is a tad better with a few more distinctive dishes (mango chicken, sunflower beef) . Eric's is good but much less consistent.
Chloe's is awesome. Toast is horrible.

Incanto's chef is famous for bringing back "offal" meats to the American menu. Just be warned.

The Front Porch is a neighborhood restaurant/bar near Good Frickin Chicken with great comfort food southern style. A little bar-like for children but not gritty.

If you want something really different Try Zante's Indian Pizza...also near Good Frickin Chicken. You can get indian Food, Pizza, or Indian Pizza which is pizza with indian food on top like tandoori chicken. It's really, really great and is one of our go-to group places.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 09:27 AM
  #13  
 
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>>>Chloe's is awesome. Toast is horrible.<<

Clarification mtzery's post:

The toast at Chloe's is fantastic

Toast restaurant is horrible.

Stu Dudley
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Aug 19th, 2012, 09:42 AM
  #14  
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Ok, Toast on 24 th will be skipped!

I thought the Front Porch was a bar bar, not a bar-like restaurant.

My sister is coming today so maybe we'll try to get in at Chloe's.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Toast is in the location of the late Herb's Fine Foods, a greasy spoon of the first order. We ate breakfast there every weekend from the time we moved to Noe Valley in 1978 until we moved out in 1986. (I've eaten lunch at Toast, once. Very nice server, just ok food.)
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Aug 19th, 2012, 10:19 AM
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Yeah we miss herb's...

and no, Front Porch is a resto. They opened a bar next door I think that is just a bar but the restaurant is very good.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 03:43 PM
  #17  
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Today (Sunday) my sister managed to get a parking place right out front. What we didn't notice is that her car was partially blocking the neighbors driveway. The neighbor was nice and just left a note. I apologized profusely but feel like its not enough. The first rule of home exchange is to not piss off the neighbors. Do you guys have any suggestions for what I can do besides apologize? And not let my sister come back? She doesn't seem to comprehend how irritating that was.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 05:38 PM
  #18  
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Never mind. My sister was more aware than I thought and handed me a package she had bought at the new olive oil store off of 24th. The husband next door was chatty and nice, and gave the old quote about "The coldest winter I ever spent...." as if apologizing for the weather. My hubby grew up in Half Moon Bay. The weather is no great surprise!
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Aug 23rd, 2012, 10:06 AM
  #19  
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It turns out my husband had the flu. I got a flu shot, so I was fine. My daughter had just had it and barely slowed down so she was fine. To the good citizens of San Francisco: I apologize for spreading the flu all over your fine city. My husband was quite a trooper, which meant he was out a lot!

Monday we had 12:30pm tickets to a 90 minute sail on the bay I got through Groupon. We planned to meet a friend at the Ferry Building. So took the 24th/Mission BART to the Embarcadero which my daughter loved and found very exciting. We walked the block to the Ferry Building and found our friend at Frog Hollow. She looked across the way at Boulette's Larder and said, "That's unusual. There's no wait for breakfast." So we decided to take advantage and try Boulettes, which I'd been dying to do anyway. The food was very good but pricey (Ferry Building after all). I didn't know applesauce could taste that good. My scrambled eggs ricotta were done perfectly. My friends mixed grain cereal looked yummy and substantial. Weird though: no toast with my eggs. Was I supposed to also order the toast plate? Seems nickley-dimey to me. My husband and I ordered the small french press (only gives 3 cups max) when we should have ordered the large. Our mistake. I tried to order plain scrambled eggs for my daughter, but the server recommended the warmed applesauce. She didn't like it so that was a bummer. And it was very pricey applesauce. But be aware that although they have a very limited menu, there are other items possible if you ask.

We walked the mile and a half to Pier 39. It's been years since I've been here. What a circus! The San Francisco Sailing Company booth was easy to find. We boarded with 3 other passengers so we had plenty of room on the boat. We picked 12:30 because although it might be colder and more fog, there would also be less sea chop. That was true but it was *really* cold. I was glad I had a hat. They had warm jackets and blankets to use. I think layering for this trip is really important. On the sail the captain and first mate described the areas. We got pretty close to the Golden Gate, the tips of the spans enshrouded in fog. Our co-passenger from Atlanta was disappointed about that, but he had never seen fog either, and was pretty entranced by it. We also got a 360 view of Alcatraz. The crew aren't naturalists, but frankly we saw very little marine life out there so that was ok. The highlight was when the America Cup boats came out to do test runs. The USA Oracle boat was out along with the French and Chinese boats. The crew knew LOTS about the boats and the Cup, so that was a great treat. The USA boat was showing off, sailing on one hull most of the time. The trip was good value for the money with the Groupon. $45/person is pushing it.
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Aug 23rd, 2012, 12:46 PM
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After the sail and a diversion into Mirror Maze for our daughter, we stopped at the Hyatt before getting back on BART. They have an amazing lobby, and are currently hosting an Exploratorium exhibit from which we actually had a hard time getting my daughter to leave.

I was very excited for dinner that night because I got to see a friend from my childhood I hadn't seen in 16 years. He runs a business in SF and it's only my lameness that I hadn't arranged to see him sooner. We arrived at Pomelo's on Church St. at almost the same instant and were seated immediately. The food is Californian/Asian fusion and is bright, healthy and tasty. Service was pretty slow which was tough on my fluey husband and my kid. We just had a main plate and it still took an hour and a half. Not that I noticed - I was too busy catching up.

My family perked up enough for a short wait at Mitchell's Ice Cream on the way home.

I forgot to mention a dinner at Liberties Bar & Restaurant (998 Guerrero Street). We weren't terribly hungry, so we shared apps like sliders and calamari and picked beers from their substantial drafts menu. It's family friendly, and all three of us had a great time there.
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