San Francisco Re-cap

Good grief am I behind! I think I’d better just quickly recap the San Francisco trip and move on.

So, I left you all at Cha-Ya and promised Maggie Mudd porn. For the porn, you’ll just have to head over to my flickr account. I had a cup with lychee coconut and tarmack (peanut butter chocolate goodness). Yeah, that’s a strange combination, but I wanted them both and didn’t want a huge amount. That didn’t stop me from digging into Kevin’s waffle cone banana split. But he needed the help. It was HUGE.

Saturday morning, we went to Alcatraz. It’s about the only touristy thing I really enjoy doing in San Francisco. I mean, you get a boat ride, 2 even, views of the city, views of the bridges, views of Alcatraz. Stomping around Alcatraz with your little headset you get all edumacated. Plus there are some amazing photo opportunities.

While we were down that way, we had to check out the sea lions. They’re stinky but really cute! On several of the docks, the males were having wrestling matches. One would stake claim to his dock and challengers would fling themselves up on it and wrestle with him until one of them was pushed off. On other docks, sea lions were just sleeping away ignoring all the barking going on.

Next, lunch at Herbivore, Divisadero where we had a shwarma war. Kevin got the “chicken” shwarma and I got the regular one. I think it was kind of a draw. But I will say that the seitan they used in mine wasn’t very shwarma like. It was cut in strips instead of slices. And it wasn’t seasoned like I would season shwarma. Oh, and of course, there was dessert, chocolate cake.

After that, we went to Zeitgeist to meet my friend Lisa. I hadn’t seen her since ’98. So we had fun catching up and I got a little loopy on 2 margaritas. Oh, and while we were there, someone I used to work with at Kinko’s said “hey.” Wow. So he gave me the rundown on a few people we used to work with. Small world and all that.

Saturday night we went to see Goldfrapp at the Warfield. The sound guy needed to be fired, but even so, it was a good show. And Alison said she was sick but she still managed to belt out a pretty full show. Unlike Elizabeth Fraser back when I saw the Cocteau Twins a million years ago. But I’m not still bitter…

Sunday, we managed to sneak in a breakfast at Herbivore, Valencia, before we had to go to the airport. I had the tofu rancheros and Kevin got the french toast. And we shared it up like we do. Both were great, but I really liked the batter on the french toast. It was a lot thicker than I’ve had it come out for me. I need to play with that because it made it that much better. We got blueberry cornbread for the plane and Kevin also got a doughnut. But since one of the kitchen guys splattered me with ketchup, I got a doughnut too! The cornbread was sweet and almost more like cake. The doughnut was also cake-like rather than, whatever the other kind is called. Good though and a really unhealthy way to end the short vacation.


One of the things I did this trip was reconnect with a couple of old friends. Friday, I spent half the day with Sheree. We met shortly after I moved to California in 1987 and were roommates from 89-92, I think. Oh the tales we have on each other. 10th Street Garage. Wild Irish Rose. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Anyway, Sheree and I lost touch around ’94. So we had a lot of catching up to do. Turns out we were living parallel lives in many ways including when and how our cats died and when we bought our first new car. I also got to hear about how some other old friends are doing.

Keeping stuff in order, I should post Cha-Ya now. Kevin and I headed there for dinner Friday night. Vegan Japanese.  Here’s the menu.


edamame at cha-ya

Senroppon Salad (Shredded Salad) Shredded daikon, turnip, cucumber, and carrots with alsuage tofu, radishes, soybeans, kaiware, pine nuts, Soy-vinaigrette dressing.

senroppon salad at cha-ya

Cha-Ya Roll Tempura sushi filled with avocado, yam, and carrots. The entire roll is lightly battered and deep-fried. Served with a special house sauce. This was AMAZING.  But then you probably knew that once you read “battered and deep-fried.”

cha-ya roll

Soba noodle rolls. These were disappointing. The soba noodles weren’t really flavored at all. And neither were the veggies. Blah.

soba rolls

Taku – Sui (Gyoza and Veggies In Clay Pot) Pot stickers, tofu, zucchini, napa cabbage, snap peas, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, silver noodles, and mushrooms in a light broth and served with a ponzu citrus sauce. This had the most amazing veggie broth I’ve ever had. I could drink it by the gallon.

taku-sui at cha-ya

Meh, I’m running out of time. You’ll just have to wait for the Maggie Mudd post.

cha-ya outside


millennium menuThursday night we went to Millennium for dinner. And yeah, it is all that and a bag of chips. Unfortunately, all the pics are crappy. It was all candle lit and I wasn’t going to be rude and use a flash.We started off with some fried potatoes that were absolutely perfect. Big planks that had a thin and crispy outside and perfectly soft inside. I have no idea what was in the dipping sauce that came with them, but it was brown and yummy. The thing about Millennium is that the food is all crazy complicated. Sometimes, you just can’t figure it out.vietnamese inspired dolmasI also got these Vietnamese inspired dolmas. They were crusted in sesame seeds, had a thai coconut curry sauce and there was a salad with avocado. Amazing with a sharp bite of lemongrass. I’ve never had such a light and lovely thai coconut bean torteKevin got the black bean torte. It was as if that mole tortilla stack I made a while back went to an Ivy League school rather than tech school. Smokey wonderful black beans and several sauces & salsas. Crap we could have stopped here. But no….edamame shiitake cakesI had these edamame shiitake cakes with brown rice and coconut sauce, greens, and then there were a bunch of vegetables up under the greens, mostly asparagus and sugar snap peas.  So good! I did have to walk away from some brown rice though. I mean, had to squeeze dessert in somehow.chard rouladeKevin had a chard roulade stuffed with tofu cheese. It had tiny black beans and asparagus on the side.The dessert picture didn’t come out well enough to consider posting. We let the waitress pick and she brought a small orange bundt cake soaked in more orange, covered in caramel sauce and with mint sorbet on the side. How many times can I say “holy crap that was good?” I ate my half, but I may have lost a few years off my life for finishing it. It may well have been worth it. 

Breakfast at Herbivore

tofu scramble at herbivore

Kevin is going to be soooo mad that I went to Herbivore for breakfast this morning while he had to sit in his class. Hey, I had to eat, right? I chose to go to the one on Valencia, since I spent a lot of time in the Mission when I lived here. It was nice to see some familiar landmarks like that big ‘ol prison looking building, the Bombay Market and Munroe Motors where I threw away a lot of money trying to keep my Triumph running.

 It was kind of hard to decide, but I ultimately went with the tofu scramble with spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms. The scramble was nice and moist from the tomatoes, but not soggy. Nutritional yeast was used, but not with a heavy hand, not that that’s a bad thing. And it was crumbled up really tiny. I don’t care, but some people like it chunky better.

The potatoes were partially mashed redskins. It was almost like they used a panini press on the grill to get the creamy & chunky inside and crisp and brown outside effect. They may have been slightly salty, but overall amazing. Although I really can’t tell you why they were yellow.

The toast was a nice artisan bread with lots of holes and a crisp and chewy crust. It came with a jam that was tart and might have been made in house.

Anyway, no real complaints here. Maybe Kevin and I will try the Divisadero location.