Monday, December 22, 2008

BIN 38

3232 Scott St (between Chestnut St & Lombard St)

In my opinion it is hard to combine elegant as well as somewhat "homey" but BIN 38 manages to pull it off. If you're in to wine, this is your place. The food also lives up to expectation. The french fries are excellent and while I am not really a steak person at all, even I have to admit that the thin kobe strips are out of this world. I can't recommend it enough. One of the best wine bars in San Francisco, though I will admit, it does tend to attract something of a yuppie clientele so just something to keep in mind. Excellent nonetheless.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Stinking Rose

I'm sorry, but this place is terrible. My H had some old friends in from out of town and they really wanted to go here and in the end, I was out voted. Tourist trap aside, you must really, really love garlic to even have half a chance of getting through a meal here but even then, the food just isn't good. I mean garlic ice cream? I love garlic but yeah. Not here. The service sucks and you may as well end up at Olive Garden or something of the like. The place was crowded, the wait was long and the waitstaff were all inattentive and completely indifferent. Simply put, more proof of the tourist trap that it is. I've even had better service at some restaurants in the Wharf area which is saying something.If you really hate the party you're going with or, god forbid, your date, take them here. Why tourists flock to this place and say that they MUST try it is still beyond me. Of all the great places in the City, why this one?!

Kan's Restaurant

Screw this place. Take my advice and RUN far away as fast you can! I came here for an early lunch and only because I work nearby and just wanted something quick. Since you're visiting, there is a very good chance that you'll find this place because a) it is on Grant Avenue and b) they often have people out front luring you in for food. It wasn't busy so I braved it even if it was smack in the middle of Grant Ave. Big, big mistake! Food is very, very greasy and unmemorable. I expected the unmemorable, but the grease was extreme. Ick. I had a stomach ache after that. The worst was that I ordered take out. Thought everything had gone smoothly, paid for it and left a very small tip (in cash though I'd paid with a card) and started on my way. One of the minions that works there had the audacity to chase me on my way out and when she finally caught up to me, she said, "Was something wrong? You didn't leave a tip. Gratuity is NOT included!" Uh... I ordered take out. You didn't do anything other than take the order and bag up my food. On top of that they were rude the entire time and acted like I was putting them out. I explained that I had left a tip on the counter, in cash. I was about 2 seconds away from walking back in and taking their "gratuity" with me. The jerks who work here don't deserve your business. I definitely won't be back, no matter how close my office is. Avoid at all costs.


Simply put, this is the land of STUFF. The clothing is just packed in and it's always busy beyond belief. I find the staff to be pretty pushy and I feel as though Ambiance can't decide as to what type of store it really is. There is quite a range of clothing, some very expensive, some cheaply made stuff that you could buy at H&M or Forever21 for a fraction of what they're charging. There is just way too much stuff to go through and (never thought I'd say this!) too much of a range. It's almost overwhelming to attempt to shop here. I'll stop in every now and again, but in general, I think I'll pass.

Bar None

1980 Union St (between Buchanan St & Charlton Ct)

If you want to relive your college days of never ending frat parties, this is your place. Beer pong? Uh, no thanks. Maybe I've just gotten too old for this crap but jesus, it's just not fun. I suppose if you really want someone to hit on you in hopes of boosting your self confidence, you may also check this out. If you're a cougar, you'll probably love this place. I think I'll leave it. I have to say, that staff here must have a high pain threshold because I sure as hell couldn't put up with half of the stuff that goes on here. My hat is off to you.

Yountville Clothes For Children

2416 Fillmore St (between Jackson St & Washington St)

I am not a parent, but I'm at that age where it seems like most of my friends are having kids. I like to come here for really cute, fashionable kids clothes. So much better than places like the freaking Gap or Old Navy. The fact that people seem to love my gifts doesn't hurt either.

The Marina Safeway (aka Dateway)

15 Marina Blvd

Yes, I know this is an odd review but I just have to do it. If you live in San Francisco, you'll get it. And yes, for those who don't know, I really do mean Safeway... as in the grocery store.

It is fun to come to Dateway and make up stories about your fellow shoppers. After you know about the rep of this place, you can't help but see it as a meat market (and no, I'm not talking about food.) You always feel there is some type of ulterior motive on the part of everyone in there. Don't come here for food. Come just to people watch. I swear, this is a bigger pick up spot than most bars. I keep wanting to talk my H in to having a psuedo fight with me in the middle of this place just b/c I think it would be funny... according to him, I'm not funny. :*(

Cielo European Clothing

2225 Fillmore Street (between Clay St & Sacramento St)

Expensive but very much worth it. Great Dries Van Noten selection. Sales staff is professional and friendly, no snobbery here. Great from the aspect that it just isn't ridiculously trendy. It is pricey, yes, but if you love fashion and you're willing to pay for great clothes, come here. Cielo is awesome. If nothing else, I think it is worth it to come in while you're on Fillmore shopping in other places. Just a lovely place to browse in.

Heidi Says

2426 Fillmore Street (between Jackson St & Washington St)

If you're looking for designer clothing but also prefer a more intimate shopping experience to that of Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus, Heidi Says is your store. Plenty of DVF, Milly, Philip Lim, etc... Yes, these are brands that can be found elsewhere, however, if you're more in to supporting local stores rather than large department stores and crave a more intimate experience, this is your place.


2056 Polk Street (between Broadway St & Pacific Ave)

Cris is a consignment store that carries many designer clothes. Finding a good consignment store can be hard to find but I definitely recommend this one if you're a brand whore. They carry shoes that are in nearly new condition and you can score big on a worn once Oscar de la Renta gown. Now that said, if you're looking for more contemporary designers like Marc by Marc Jacobs, while you'll find it here, prices generally aren't that great. It is an interesting place to browse nonetheless. I personally come here on my quest for an impossible to find vintage bag and while I've not had any luck yet, I thought I would pass this along to someone else.


1815 Union St (between Laguna St & Octavia St)

Lovely little local boutique which carries a good percentage of local designers. Many of the clothing sold at Mingle are one of a kind or produced in very limited quantity so you won't see many people, if anyone wearing your new dress. Most pieces are more casual and kind of have a hipster vibe. If you're looking for fairly inexpensive yet high quality gloves, this is your place. I purchased a pair of long fingerless gloves here and they have held up beautifully. The owner, Mimi is very sweet and this is just a great business to support.


1896 Hyde Street (between Green St & Vallejo St)

A nice neighborhood gem with a good local crowd and consistantly excellent food. Most recently while dining here, I tried their ahi tuna tacos (app.) and they really exceeded my expectations. Risottos here have always been wonderful as well... and trust me, I am a huge fan of risotto. The menu does change, but if they have the scallop and truffle ravioli, it was probably the best thing I've ever experienced at this restaurant and others for that matter. Just a good local place. Like other restaurants in the area, take the cable car to save yourself from the madness of getting a close parking spot. You can be dropped off virtually out front.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sushi Groove

1916 Hyde St (at Green)

I love Sushi Groove. It is just a tiny little place in Russian Hill. The fish is always very good here. If you're in to specialty rolls, you must try the "High Roller" roll. It is extremely good. They use a wasabi creme fraiche sauce that I have every intention of attempting to replicate. The sasahimi is always excellent and it really isn't all that expensive. Only thing I've ever been disappointed with here is the eel but everything else, I recommend. Oh! And the butterfish is delectable. Good for a moderately priced dinner out. I personally enjoy sitting at the bar. The one thing I will warn is that if you want a quiet night out with your significant other, this is not the place. It gets extremely loud. Parking in Russian Hill is next to impossible and there is not a valet at this place so if you're visiting, I recommend taking the Hyde Street cable car. Ask the operator to drop you off at Green. They will usually announce the stop, but just to be on the safe side, I would ask.

Fog City Diner

1300 Battery St (on the Embarcadero)

If nothing else, here is a photo op for the So I Married An Axe Murderer fans. Or you could eat here. In all honesty, while they serve diner food, they try to fancy it up a bit. It really isn't bad, though it is a bit overpriced. That said, you must try the truffle fries if you decide to eat here. They are my favorite thing on the whole menu. The rest of it I can take or leave. You get a huge portion with the fries so you could just come here and have them as a snack depending on what you're in the mood for. There is also a really peaceful park next door where I like to sit and read should I find myself craving fries from them on a nice day.

San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade

1800 Market Street

Pride is celebrated in SF every June and is really quite disverse. Obviously you have the GLBT community but many straight people also come out to support it and to just be with their friends. Pride in SF is definitely a crazy, one of a kind experience. Dykes on Bikes. The San Francisco Bears, Gavin Newsom... you get the idea. I have to make it clear that I understand not everyone is comfortable with this, but I thought it was worth a mention nonetheless and if you are, I recommend it if you're in town. Granted, leave prudeish-ness at home because as I said, this is definitely an experience!

For more information see

Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Okay, it is kind of dorky but it is fun to try to spot these little guys. They may look like someone's pet but they are wild parrots as the title may suggest. It wouldn't be anything special, however, these types of birds really aren't something you would expect to encounter in a city like San Francisco. They annoy the heck out of some locals who live on the steps and in the area but since I don't, I retain the right to think they're adorable... and since you don't live here, I'm sure you'll feel the same. ; ) Just a simple pleasure to watch these little guys.

Hog Island Oyster Company

Yes, I know I'm talking about oysters but this is one of the highlights of the menu: the grilled cheese sandwich. That is my sandwich in the photo... yes, I took a bite before I thought I should photograph it. I was hungry. If you like cheese, you must try this.
That said, the seafood is also fresh and fantastic. They have some good happy hour stuff if you come in the evening. The oysters have always been fresh and fantastic. Keep in mind that the happy hour line gets insane but still worth it. And yes, I come here for grilled cheese and oysters at least once a week.

Quickly Part Deux

This is one of the menus in Quickly. Yes, I took a picture with my camera phone specifically to post on this blog because I am a dork. You can't read it but it gives you an idea of the large selection. All of those are just the drink menu, no snacks.
Oh and if you're a fan of Biazzar Foods with Andrew Zimmern and you saw the episode when he went to Asia and ate durian, they sell fried durian here if you're brave enough.


1170 Powell Street (location pictured)

Many people have a love it or hate it attitude when it comes to Quickly. I have quickly (lol) become addicted to their strawberry rose tea with tapioca. Boba teas (bubble tea) is really popular in SF in this is just one of the many places you can go to get it. Quickly is all around the city. There are many other boba places in Chinatown so don't feel limited to this one. Other great flavors are thai milk tea, ginger milk tea, taro milk tea. Quickly can be hit or miss but I love their greasy snacks like popcorn chicken and fried mini octopus.

Another fun thing to do is read the menu just b/c the spelling/grammar is terrible. Yes, I'm a nerd.

If you want to avoid this place, check out the Sweetheart Cafe on Grant Avenue