Jan Norris: Food and Florida

Food, Restaurants, Recipes and Pre-Disney Florida

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Heading to San Francisco – Suggest Eats

October 20th, 2008 · 7 Comments

I have much to report about Houston, mostly involving beef, more beef, barbecue, some fabulous Indian and Asian food, and some great beers.

Still working through this “flight flu.” Tell me where to get the best chicken soup in town — I don’t feel like making any! TooJay’s is OK, but surely there are others. (Leave a comment below!)

Meanwhile, planning my vacation that was interrupted by the food editors’ conference, and so am off soon to San Francisco. I welcome your suggestions to eat there — just leave a comment below so everyone can see your picks and get some discussions going about dining there. (Diners, cafes, shops and any non-chains are welcome; I won’t eat in places I can eat at elsewhere.) Specifically looking for great oysters and good dim sum.

Grow Your Own Tomatoes

Back in West Palm: Are you checking out the Greenmarkets that opened this weekend? It was odd, hearing from other food editors about theirs shutting down now. I told them it’s time for me to get my tomatoes in the ground if I want some for Christmas, and they raised their eyebrows.

But the time to plant was last weekend at the full of the moon, but you can still do it in time — just hurry. Get beefsteak tomato plants at the garden store or even Lowe’s or Home Depot – but plant them in buckets (drill holes in 5-gallon plastic ones) or sterile soil, not in the ground, to avoid nematodes. Mix half manure and half soil and set them in the sun. Tend them and you’ll have tomatoes for your table Dec. 25. Even you condo-dwellers can do this!

Tags: Off Road

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jordan // Oct 21, 2008 at 12:16 am

    I am so jealous you’re going to be in the Bay area.

    I would recommend you try Citizen Cake or Orson, Elizabeth Falkner’s restaurants. She has an amazing palate and a unique way of combining savory and desserts. I understand she also has several types of unusual ice creams, and if you just need a snack, she has several desserts to go.

    I haven’t eaten at her restaurants, but was able to enjoy her food when she was one of our distinguished visiting chefs a few months ago.

    If you’re looking for good pizza, I have always enjoyed Golden Boy in the North Beach area. Also a few good restaurants in Chinatown.

    Have fun!

  • 2 ksteinhoff // Oct 21, 2008 at 1:08 am

    I posted the question to the phreds (bicycling tour group) because nobody knows food better than cyclists. http://www.phred.org/ A touring cyclist can burn as much as 6K to 10K calories a day.

    Here’s the first suggestion:

    Duarte’s is just inland of Highway 1 in Pescadero. She’ll turn onto Pescadero Road and ride about a mile inland, to the stop light. That’s
    the tiny town of Pescadero. The bakery there is good, but Duarte’s, a restaurant, is better. They serve diner-style food. The artichoke soup is fabulous, as is the olallieberry pie.

    As good as Duarte’s is, Gayle’s is better. It’s south of Santa Cruz, in, I think, Capitola. She’ll be heading south (which at this point is actually due east) on Soquel drive. She’ll turn right on Old San Jose Road and follow it almost to the ocean; Gayles will be on the left on a corner. If she likes cookies and pastries made with the finest butter and chocolate, she’ll be in heaven.

    The savory side–sandwiches, barbecue, salads– is also nothing to sneeze at. Gayle’s is well worth a trip from my house; after all, it’s only a ninety mile round trip over the mountain, and on the trip back I bring along a few extra pastries to fortify myself.

    (Actually, Duarte’s has earned two votes already.)

  • 3 Ben // Oct 21, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    The Palace in San Francisco is a beautiful hotel and their restaurants are all excellent… organic, fresh and creative fusions.

    I have been to San Francisco twice – for work – and my sightseeing was basically the cab ride to/from the airport. However, I understand some great places exist just north of the city en route to Carmel.

  • 4 Ben // Oct 21, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Believe it or not, The Southern Kitchen has a great chicken n’rice soup. It is thick, hearty and full of chunks. Not much broth and I prefer it this way.

  • 5 ksteinhoff // Oct 21, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    I just remembered that I was in CA back in 99 for some voice mail training. Here’s an account I filed for friends and family. It DOES mention food.

    Well, I’ve seen the Golden Gate Bridge and had squid in Sausalito.

    This afternoon after work, five of us piled into my Lumina and headed off towards the big city.

    We were an interesting group.

    My class partner, Tina, is a gal from Houston who came from Panama City, which is much closer in all respects to Alabama than
    Miami. Like George W. Bush, she admits to being young and irresponsible when she was young and irresponsible. That’s why she’s a
    church-going single mother with an 8-year-old today, she says.

    Dave is a 24-year-old son of a preacher from Santa Fe. He lives in the center of a 40-acre square spread that’s about all desert except for 50 bushes.

    This boy ain’t seen the big city much. He kept saying the he couldn’t understand how people could live so close together. The biggest thing that’s happened in town recently was that
    they got a new Home Depot. “I was the eighth person to walk into the store,” he bragged. “I didn’t buy nothing, but I sure liked the idea
    that I could have.”

    Kim isn’t really a telecom person. She’s got an MBA and several other degrees, an alphabet soup of Microsoft certifications (“Tell your kid just to take the tests. You don’t have to go to class if you have anything on the ball at all.”

    She’s just marking time in Telecom to add a few lines to her resume. I gather that she thinks
    she’s better than us dialtone guys.

    The other old man of the group works for the phone company out of Cincinnati. Nice guy who’s been there and done that for years. He’s
    paired with the guy from Japan who can barely speak English. “He’s gonna go back to Tokyo saying, ‘Howdy, y’all’ by the time I get through with him.

    Traffic wasn’t too bad, but it was dark by the time we got to the bridge and the famous rain / fog had rolled in and we couldn’t see much of anything. We were moderately hungry when we started out, and by the time we go to San Francisco, we were feeling like the Donner

    Dave kept wanting to stop and take a picture of the gas signs that said that premium was 1.99 per gallon. We voted him down.

    We exited at Sausalito and by accident or design headed down a hill with curves that make Snake Hill look straight.

    Tina and Kim alternated screaming, “We’re gonna die,” depending on whose side the
    curve was on.

    Dave only commented, “I guess they don’t have many curves in Florida, do they?”

    I said that SR 80 had a 20-Mile Bend, an
    11-Mile bend and a 6-Mile Bend, which indicates that curves are so rare that they name them as landmarks. He got real quiet after that.

    We finally found a an Italian joint to eat at.

    When we walked in, the guy at the door said that he was expecting a large party, so he would have to seat us in the rear.

    Much to our surprise, the large party actually DID appear, but I suspect that we would have gotten the table in the rear even if the place had been empty.

    Dave thought it was odd that we had more than one fork.


    The trip home was uneventful.

  • 6 Joyce // Oct 22, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Hi Jan —

    Well, I was just on the phone with my sister in San Francisco and asked her for some restaurant ideas. Here’s what she had to say:

    “Hmmm…Well, I’m not huge on dim sum but the Hong Kong Flower Lounge is good. Zuni Cafe is always a fabulous staple, and she can have oysters and bloody marys at the bar.

    “I love Bar Tartine and Maverick (in the Mission)…Farina is a good restaurant. Oh! Foreign Cinema is also really fun. The food is really good. Think they might have oysters there, too. On certain nights they have a movie and there’s a wall outside they project onto. (There are heat lamps!) Each table has an audio box…neat decor.”

    When we visited SF in the summer of ’07, we had breakfast at Tartine nearly every day! (Also had dinner at Bar Tartine, which truly was fresh, unusual and yummy.) If you get to Tartine, be sure to try the fruit bread pudding — to die for!

  • 7 zbell // Oct 24, 2008 at 10:30 am

    I Love CA – you have to go to Piperade – a great tapas restaurant near the financial. Get the ham terrine and garlic soup – and then everything else:)
    Also in the ferry building – Miette pastry shop plus the other great shops there, Cowgirl Creamery has an outpost there! – zach

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