Thursday, October 16, 2014

San Francisco 4

The best part about my very short trip to San Francisco was the food. I like Chinese food as much as the next person, but sometimes you need a little variety. Hong Kong has a lot more than just Chinese food, but there seems to be at least a hint of Chinese in everything. In San Francisco, I could eat any kind of food I wanted, even Chinese food. San Francisco has one of the largest Chinatowns in the world, but I stayed away. I can see authentic Chinese anytime.

My 2 Canadian roommates wanted to try a popular vegetarian restaurant at Fort Mason. I was expecting the stereotypical California salads and sprouts, but Greens Restaurant had a more upscale menu than I expected. I had the chick pea tagine with potatoes, green olives and pickled fennel. My American roommate had a curry and coconut risotto with eggplant and squash. The Canadians had pasta dishes filled with all kinds of summer vegetables. For an appetizer, we all shared some pupusas with squash and cheddar cheese. They came with a big bowl of avocado, salsa and pickled vegetables. There were nice views of the Marina, but we could see all that from our hotel. The best reason to go to this restaurant was the insanely fresh food. Every vegetable we ate was most likely picked that day.

On the opposite end of the healthy spectrum, our hotel was close to a fast food place called In-N-Out Burgers. Though it looks no better than McDonald’s or Burger King, Californians practically worship the food. In-N-Out is only in a few western states, so we never had any in Minnesota, but I have even heard expats in Hong Kong reminisce about how great it is. I only went in because I was walking by and wanted a light snack. I got some French fries expecting them to be no better than any other fast food fries. I could not have been more wrong. This is a fast food place, but the fries were cut from actual potatoes right there in front of me. I never ate anything else there, but with those French fries alone, I can see why Californians who live abroad miss this place so much.

A few blocks east on the same street is the Boudin Bakery. If sourdough bread is the symbol of San Francisco, this bakery is supposed to be the place to get it. I knew I would be eating lots of bread in San Francisco. When you live in Hong Kong, you take any chance to get good bread that you can find. I absolutely love sourdough, which seems to be impossible to find in Hong Kong, and this bakery did not disappoint me at all.

Across the street from Boudin Bakery is the Rainforest Café, a jungle themed chain restaurant. The food was nothing special, but the atmosphere almost reminded me of Disneyland with all the artificial trees, artificial rocks and artificial ambience.

One tacky theme restaurant I absolutely refused to go to was Ace Wasabi’s Rock-N-Roll Sushi. The name alone told me that this was not the kind of place I wanted to be.

When it came to great American food like pizza, tacos and strudel, I was spoiled for choice. There are two places to get good pizza in Hong Kong, but any kind of Mexican food or pastries have always eluded me. My goal in California was to eat things I can never get in Hong Kong. In that regard, I succeeded marvelously.

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