Date Night is about the food and the man

Traveling so often for work, having our four-legged third, wanting attention along with both of us having demanding work and social time – –  getting time out with just the two of us alone isn’t always easy. So when we can do it, we take it. Last week we wanted to go see the new Meryl Streep’s new film, Florence Foster Jenkins at the CineArts at the Empire and had time to eat at one of my  favorite West Portal resturant; Trattoria da Vittorio. 

I really can’t say much more about them except “just go already”. If you want authentic italian foud with a Calabrian influence you can’t go wrong. 


150 W Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA 94127

Patxis Chicago Deep Dish Pizza – San Francisco Style

I finally got a chance to try Patxi’s last weekend.

I will have to say – from the moment we walked in – until we left – the service and attention they offered balanced any minor challenges we experienced due to the abundance of screaming kids that night.IMG_1435

One of the things I liked right off the top was that in addition to a vegetarian option -they also offer dairy free “cheese” for those for whom dairy may be an issue. I blogged about the Daiya brand line of cheese and its one that I often use at home and its the same one they use at P for those not wanting the real stuff.

On this visit we went full out and got full cheese. Ordering the Matt Cain and the BBQ chicken. IMG_1436Both were good – I tend to not like sweet style pizza sauces that San Francisco shops favor, so the smokiness and bite of the jalapeños on the BBQ chicken one ended up as my preferred version.

I think when we go again I will need my red pepper flakes to balance the sweetness. But over all great food, and even greater staff.

Especially the ever sexy Erik who worked the front bar with all the skill one should have when one is the first you see.


Patxi’s Pizza

4042 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
b/t Noe St & Castro St in Noe Valley
Get Directions
Phone number (415) 285-2001
Business website:

Hole In The Wall; Road Trip

We did a “jump in the car” roadtrip to get out of the city today. First stop was the always friendly Hole In The Wall. It continues to be one of our favorite “go to” spots.

Friendly staff & good solid food makes for a destination worthy meal or while spending time in the Northern California region. Known for a great breakfast; biscuits, gravey and hash rock thoseorning branches, but the hamburger & sandwiches make for a full belly. On this trip I tried out the ground duck burger on server recommendation, and will say- it was right on the money.

We did an jump in the car roadtrip to get out of the city today. First stop was the always friendly Hole In The Wall. It continues to be one of our favorite “go to” spot.

Friendly staff & good solid food makes for a destination worthy meal or while spending time in the Northern California region. Known for a great breakfast; biscuits, gravey and hash rock thoseorning branches, but the hamburger & sandwiches make for a full belly. On this trip I tried out the ground duck burger on server recommendation, and will say- it was right on the money.

Our new pals Adrian & Julie stopped to swap food dish in between serving up our meals.

Sometimes you just have to go “Greek”

My always ready to grab a meal out pal,  Ralph and I  decided to hit Orexi over in the West Portal. We’ve walked by several time and had heard good things about it – so after a rough week, and Paul being out of town – we figure why not.


We are sure glad we did. From the moment you walk in, the experience was welcoming. The smells rich with grilled meats and herbs, friendly people and very welcoming hosts.


We started with some of the starters that just looked too good to ignore; grilled Calamari (squid), Greek Sardines and of course Saganaki (grilled cheese) – these each were so good that we could have stopped there. Each had its own distinct flavor and richness that essentially made for a lot of bread dipping afterwards.


For our main course Ralph opted for the chicken (which he raved was amazing!), and after spying someone else eating it – on site alone, I went with the lamb chops.  Again it was a win win.

We had heard that some folks felt they had a tendency to rush courses – which I hate, so we mentioned up front that we were not in a hurry and to place the entree order accordingly. The server was happy to oblige and followed through as promised.

While not cheap – I do think the food is well worth it and when you want a nice atmosphere or a date night or a special occasion that allows you to have some fun in.

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Orexi 243 W Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA 94127 (415) 664-6739


Dinner at San Francisco’s Grand Cafe

Great meal and service last night. Love the fact that the waiter didn’t have to be told we are on our way to see a play and just initiated that he would let the chefs in the kitchen know after he placed our order.


Both the appetizers and the entrées selected came out hot, rich and flavorful.


I opted for the duck entrée which I have to say had all the meaty flavor of a steak but truth be told, its power overme was the bed of ingredients that the duck lies on. The “roll around on” could have been a great meal in itself- pieces of cauliflower, herbs, greens and fiddleheads just excells. The steak and chips – always a good classic and of course the ever solid cassoulet; which is always a favorite; rich and creamy with its melting succulent meats and beans blending a nice smoky flavor dish.



Sausage flatbread & octopus salad started us off. Here the octopus shined and really was a meal on its own.


Overall a great dining experience.

Grand Cafe
501 Geary St
San Francisco, Ca



Any one can knock out a lava cake these days.

My Pal Jacque found an organic mix for Molten Lava Cake by Wildtree that allows you the ability to toss some of these babies together in

less than 15 min. The recipes is easy and as is comes out good. I altered the recipe a bit and added vanilla and a splash of espresso to make the chocolate taste more chocolaty.. The package comes sized for 6 small ramekins – so you may need to purchase them as well. Bake time says 12 – 15 min. I suggest you check them at 10 min, then take them out by 12 min to really get the gooey center. Otherwise you will end up with a pretty nice brownie cake. The cost of the premix box is around $9 makes 6.




Scala’s is like coming home – you know what to expect and it’s just what you want!

With tickets to see Napoli ( a period story set in the 40’s during the war years in Italy) at the the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco last week -we decided to make a night of it and grab dinner at Scala’s BistroIMG_9650Frank and Gram

Scala’s is a well known and beloved restraint in San Francisco at the Sir Francis Drake. The  Sir Francis will also have a special place

in my heart because it


was the first hotel my grandmotherand I went to on a trip when I was young after my grandfather had died. In fact if you have seen the play – this image isn’t far from what you would have seen!

But Scala serves up its own history and special place – because it continues to earn it.

Having been one of my favorite traditional style restaurants here in San Francisco for well over 15 years – I continue to go for celebrations and when I want memories to be made. Not only has it been home to some great chef’s over the years, it offer great servers who know how to work its menu to ensure a perfect dining experience to match any palette.  Much of the menu is solid, good prepared dishes that glen richness, texture and flavor – while leaving you feeling like you have been well fed.IMG_9647IMG_9640

This trip we opted for the Pork Loin with cabbage and the New York Strip

The risotto is some of the best, the meats all come with rich flavors and combinations you can want. Another must try is the cured meat starter – paired with some cheeses and toast. Its well done, nicely portioned, simple and yet has all the richness I like with cured meat plates. I think I have eaten one version of this almost every time – in fact the only dish that used to knock it off the pedestal for me was the watermelon, feta cheese salad that sadly is no longer on the menu for some years now.

Note: When crowded don’t overlook eating in the bar – you get seated and served often quickly and can usually get in that way with out a reservation.

432 Powell St

San Francisco, CA 94102

b/t Post St & Sutter St in Union Square

Phone number (415) 395-8555


The Daily Grill still serves up a good solid menu

Last week I was able to get a few hours off and Paul and I figured we would head downtown to pick up one of my computer systems that I had dropped off at Apple for some adjustments. While out – we decided to hit Macys (and managed to get in for a one day sale – SCORE!). While out were hungry so decided to grab lunch at one of the local “steak” houses that do a lot more than just steak.

The Daily Grill has been a constant in San Francisco and caters to a mix crowd of business folks, theater people and tourists. We’ve enjoyed the entrees and main dinner menus on a few occasions so this trip we went for lunch. The food and service is old school – lots of “al a carte” and all the amenities that go with that traditional professional server style of dining. This trip we opted for the Crabcake BLT – we while pretty good as is – personally I think that by using the peppery arugala as lettuce – it ended up falling flat against the other flavors and really needed a lemon vinaigrette to balance it with the rich crab and bacon. On  the other hand the grilled asparagus rocked the meal when paired with the chicken burger which was a clear winner for that day.

The Daily Grill still serves up a good solid menu
347 Geary St
San Francisco, CA 94102b/t Mason St & Powell St in Union Square, (415) 616-5000

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Vietnamese at PPQ, 2/8/14

On Saturday I got the urge that Vietnamese was in order. I put the call out on Facebook to see who my peeps thought were venues worth checking out.

Keeping in mind a few variables – 1) the place needed to offer more than just Pho, 2) it couldn’t be too exotic (not everyone in my dinner family is adventurous – and some have “food issues” I won’t go into) and 3) as much as I like the TL in SF – with the crappy weather last night – I wanted to stay out of the downtown and TL or new my office (those places I can get to for lunch)

So the trending recommendations are listed below- with PPQ being our choice for the night. (note – I will most likely try all them on the list eventually!)

  • PPQ: 2332 Clement St (between 24th Ave & 25th Ave)   San Francisco, CA 94121


Of course, without thinking – we arrived around 6:45 with-out reservations – – the place was hopping but the very efficient host, once we asked, put us on the list and we were seated about 30 min later. Hint – there seemed to be an early crowd then a around 8:30/8:45 lull in the crowd, with another hit coming soon after. 

The place has a great casual faced-paced vibe – this is not the place you go to be chatty with the wait staff unless you happen to be fluent in Vietnamese and even then – the side talk we brief. But once seated they pretty much leave you be while you eat – so we weren’t feeling rushed which I liked. We were hungry, so sat and ordered the fried calamari and the fried spring rolls right off. While debating our main meal options – we devided and went with Lemongrass chicken (which has a little spice/heat to it), the 5-spice chicken (which is more deeper flavor but not hot spicy) and the Roasted Crab. We also ordered the garlic noodles (of course) and the string beans  – which were rocken. We had ordered the crab fried rice – but the kitchen never sent it out – so thats on the next try. Oh and we gilded the dining lily and also order the fried Banana’s with the ice cream to share.

The food comes out pretty fast – and is very hot. The Calamari was some of the best I have had. They use the Calamari steaks with the breading – quick fried – they were tender and melted at the bite. The Springs rolls  were dense and chewy  – when dipped in the sauce with the basil and lettuce was a great start. As the main courses came out, we dug in. They weren’t sent out in any order or all out at once – so it was good that we had lots of options. Both chicken dishes were good. Rich in flavor and a nice sized portion. The Crab –  which came out last, was we heard while waiting in line – one of the crowd favorites. Hot, messy, packed with a garlic butter sauce, and just enough of the innards left in that you got the flavors of crab. It comes partially prepped – but you will still need to be prepared to get “as one” with your food to get to the meat.  (FYI -the drunken crab is the version with the white wine). Oh –  there is a reason they call the place PPQ – Dungeness Island – they offer the crab 6 ways. The garlic noodles were good as well – but make sure you specify how many to order -if you are getting lots of dishes start with one order to share – you will find a little goes a long way unless its your primary meal. Over all a good time – the place does well with couples, to groups and is deceptively large with a back room and second floor. While we were standing there at least 5 calls came in for reservations on  valentines day.. hint hint. The prices are moderate – entrees running $10 – $14, the Crab around $38. But we also had enough food to bring home for lunch  – our average price of the meal was about $50 each.

  • Tu Lan:  8 6th St (at Stevenson St)  San Francisco, CA 94103 Neighborhood: SoMa (415) 626-0927
  • PPQ: 2332 Clement St (between 24th Ave & 25th Ave)   San Francisco, CA 94121
  • Hai Ky Mi Gia: 707 Ellis St (between Larkin St & Polk St) San Francisco, CA 94109 Neighborhood: Tenderloin (415) 771-2577
  • Sunflower in Potrero Hill or Mission:  3111 16th St (at Valencia St)  San Francisco, CA 94103 Neighborhood: Mission (415) 626-5022,  288 Connecticut St San Francisco, CA 94107 Phone number(415) 861-2336
  • Jasmine Garden:  708 14th St San Francisco, CA 94114 Phone number(415) 861-2682
  • Tin Vietnamese
  • Mau:  665 Valencia St (between Sycamore St & 18th St)  San Francisco, CA 94110 Neighborhood: Mission (415) 934-8889
  • Vietnam Cafe ( Recommended for late night)
  • Evergreen Garden: 3100 18th St (between Treat Ave & Harrison St)  San Francisco, CA 94110 Neighborhood: Mission (415) 864-1657


Boon Eat & Drink; a new family of quality food & drink at the River

OK – So for years now this part of the Russian River has been struggling to find its own groove and identity. Well with the fast raising trend in Restaurants and venues like what the folks from the Boon family of enterprises is putting out – its found the groove.

Not only have they found a way to be true to themselves but that were able to mix it with quality food, good prices, a great wine list and most of all – they get the service industry. Not once do you ever feel like they are doing you a favor by being open. Boon Eat & Drink never fails. They make the standard fare of burgers and steaks come alive with a reason to order then again – but its the seasonal and weekly specials that make this really stellar – from the produce they grow themselves to the cuts of meat to the combinations they package it all in – it all works.

No way my photos could do the food justice – so these come right from Boon!




Its a small venue and they don’t take reservations – so plan to grab a few glasses of wine while you wait if you go at peak hours. My fav has been the flash fried brussels sprouts, burgers but on a recent trip had the winter squash which was addictive and a pulled port shoulder with creamy polenta that I found my self amazed by. You find details on Boon Eat & Drink here

16248 Main St   Guerneville, CA 95446   (707) 869-0780