Thursday, February 19, 2015

USA - San Francisco, To Eat (The Cheese Cake Factory, The Blue Bottle Cafe, Fog Harbor Fish House, Boudin Bakery and Cafe, In-N-Out Burger, Shalimar Restaurant)

San Francisco - To Stay
San Francisco - To Do

San Francisco - To Eat
The Cheese Cake Factory
Located on the Top floor of Macy's
Open 7days Mon-Thur 11:00am to 11:00pm
Friday and Saturday 11:00am to 12:30a.m.
Sunday 10:00am to 11:00pm.

ABBATip: their Sunday Brunch! Amazing menu that's absolutely worth the breakfast/brunch.
 Complimentary servings of warm brown bread. Really popular and so good tasting. One must restrain from over indulging in this great bread roll or risk having no space for the main course.
Ordered On:

 Napolian on the left, an egg gucamoli in the center and chicken and waffles eggs bennedict on the right. Their potato hashes are really crispy and well done here!
 Ordered On:

Chicken and Waffles Benedict USD15.95
*Finally getting a chance to try this classic pairing. Its usually had with maple syrup, a balance of the sweet and salty, however they use the runny yolk of the egg as a sort of binder. A nice dish, if you haven't tried this classic southern pairing. Duck and Waffle in London takes it to a more chefy level. Click here for full write up of this amazing place to eat in London.* 
Bruleed French Toast With Ham USD13.95
 *It looks really pretty and was the bread was surprisingly really light and airy. A real treat really! Looks so simple but and absolutely great way to start of the morning! Its all in the light airy bread I tell you! This and the Monte Cristo Sandwich reviewed below are a sure re-orders from the Brunch menu.*
From their main menu
Crispy Crab Wontons USD11.95
Crabmeat blended with cream cheese, green onions, water chestnuts and sweet chili sauce fried crispy in wonton wrappers

*Interesting good! The crab flavor thou not really strong, but its a nice starter. However, the description ingredient of water chestnuts and onions were in all honesty non-detectable.*
Garlic Noodles with Shrimp USD18.95
*Nicly done. Pasta was cooked nicely and had its good share of ingredients. The asparagus worked really well with the relatively light cream sauce.*

 Chocolate Tuxedo Cream USD7.95
 *Its the cheese cake factory. Almost every single cake is a hit!*

Total Fed 3 USD25 Each with tips. 
*I usually skip Cheese Cake Factory entirely but for the good Brunch menu only avail on Sunday, I'd make the exception to have a lovely Sunday Brunch.*  
Ordered On: 

Monte Cristo Sandwich. USD11.95
Pictured above is the Monte Cristo Sandwich. USD11.95. Grilled ham, scrambled eggs and melted Swiss Cheese, Dusted with powdered Sugar and Served with Strawberry Preserves. The perfect balance of sweet and salty. Their hash was amazing, probably twice roasted and then fried.
A must order and ONLY available on SUNDAYS from their SUNDAY Brunch menu!

Ordered on:04Oct2013
Chicken Madera USD17.95
(Our most popular chicken dish! Sautéed Chicken Breast Topped with Fresh Asparagus and Melteted Mozzarella Cheese, covered with fresh mushroom Madeira sauce and served with mashed potatoes.)
*Still never fails to disappoint. As good as remembered when ordered in another chain outlet in Las Vegas. Breast meat was sweet, juicy and tender. Their Madera sauce was leaning towards being overly sweet but delectable non-the less.*

 Jamaican Black Pepper Shrimp USD17.95
(Sautéed Shrimp with a Very Spicy Jamaican Black pepper Sauce. Served with rice, black beans,
plantains and cool mango salsa with Chicken 15.95 with chick and shrimp 17.95.)
*Sauce was not so spicy that it needed cups of water to sooth the heat. However, it was heavy on starch with the rice as well as black beans compounding it's carbo-loading attributes. Unfortunately, the great
mango chutney and sweet plantains, not to be mistaken for bananas, outshone the dish.*

Miso Salmon USD19.95
(Fresh Miso Marinated Salmon Served with Snow Peas,
white rice and a delicious Miso sauce.)

ABBATip: If to share, or other wise, they had no problems switching the carb portions of rice into something else easier for share, such as fries.
*A star. Though fish, in my opinion was over cooked, the salty miso glaze and cream sauce was smooth and delectable. Presentation did lack though.*

Cajun Jambalaya Pasta USD16.95
(Our most popular pasta dish! Shrimp and Chicken Sautéed with Tomato, Onions and peppers in a very spicy Cajun Sauce. All on Top of Fresh Linguini)
 *Though in its write up, it deemed to be the most popular dish, it didn't seem to be a hit at the table. I
would summarize it as wok fried Chinese vegetables with cut up chicken in a pseudo black bean sauce with linguini that tasted store bought than freshly made*

Chinese Chicken Salad USD14.50
(Sliced Chicken Breast, Rice Noodles, Lettuce, Green Onions, Almonds, Crisp Wonton Bean Sprouts, Orange and Sesame Seeds, Tossed in our special Chinese plum dressing.)

*Perhaps winning the award for least popular dish. Largely consisting of fried crispy noodles, this 'Asian' inspired, sweet dressing with canned oranges/peach salad was just weird.*

Quesadilia USD9.95
(Grilled Flour Tortilla Filled with Melted Cheese, Green Onions and Chiles. garnished with Guacamole, Salsa and Sour Cream with chicken 11.95)

*Simple. More street food standards than top restaurant.*

Kobe Burger USD13.95
(American Styke Kobe Beef with Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions.)

*Amazing. To have the ability to taste marbled fat in a burger is a skill I do not possess, but the amazing char, juicy, succulent patty, with onion jam was a big hit! Too bad it was almost impossible to split it 9ways... Equally that is. A winner!*
BBQ Chicken Pizza USD12.95
 *Better of ordering from pizza hut/dominoes and you'd get about the same standard for less.*
Desserts Ordered:
Godiva Chocolate Cake USD7,95

*Super heavy, dense, rich, milky chocolate cake. Definitely to share. Truly chocolate decadence.*
Ultimate Red Velvet Cake USD7.95
*The cake itself was light and fluffy, but the sweet/sour layered filling that went along with it were to die for. A perfect pairing and absolutely delectable. Also heavy and needing a two-three man or woman team to take down.*
Total: USD218.22 Fed 9
Always packed and needing to wait approximately 30 to 60mins for a table. Returned for dessert on a separate night at 10.30pm and still for a party of two it required 30mins before a seat could be made available. All parties being present would speed up in getting a seat. Restaurant does not take reservations.

Food wise, it really depends on what you order. There are sure hits and some misses. But with a name like Cheese Cake Factory, their desserts didn't fail to disappoint. Some better than others, but always great to have at location. Atmosphere wise, it was nice at first, but as the night went on, the place was relatively under-lit.

The Blue Bottle Cafe
(Located behind San Francisco mint)

Judy's Organic Sonoma Farm Eggs USD12
(Poached with Piquillo Pepper Polenta, Prather Ranch Hot Italian Sausage, Country Line Baby Greens.)
*Simple fare. I've never had or tried Polenta before but it maybe best described as, very mild, slightly gritty, mash potatoes? The rest of the sausages and salads were decent and fresh*
- Cafe Late USD4.25
*Am in no way a connoisseur of coffee, nor able to pick up the faintest of details between nespresso pods without having the discriptive text before me, but the constant queue of locals for this coffee place speaks
for itself.*

Raved online to have the best coffee. Tucked behind the San Francisco Mint, this corner coffee shop looked, felt and was popular with the local java hunters. A constant queue and a short wait gets you into this large windowed, open space with free flowing air. However seats is limited to about 20odd. Negligible seating available outside.

It was great to have a counter seat as you watch barristers brew coffee with their science experiment-like equipment, just to brew you the perfect cuppa.

Fog Harbor Fish House

(Located at Pier39)  
Fog Harbor Fish House is committed to the preservation of the oceans and it's fisheries. First restaurant on fisherman's wharf to offer a 100% sustainable seafood menu based on recommendations by Monterrey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch. Program and Aquarium of the Bay.
Ordered On:
Round of Draft Beers and Spritzers

Garlic Bread with Blue Cheese
 *Really nice. The blue cheese isn't overpowering and the bread nice, crispy and hot*
 *Oysters were of good standing and fresh.*
 Espresso Tiramisu

Banana Apple Crumble
 *Needs more ice cream! But its got that nice crisp exterior.
But the filling is a little on the tart side.*

Clam Chowder *Not Pictured* *Still one of the best clam chowders to be had over Chowders or Boudin (reviewed further down) both located at Pier 39.*
Snaked 8
Ordered On:
Fog Harbor Clam Chowder 

USD4 for a small bowl

- The most creamy, clam and I think crab filled, chowder dish I've ever had. Absolutely fantastic with salary and spices. My new must order, along with the always home run Seared Ahi Tuna reviewed below! 
on 06May2014
*Pictured left Ahi Tuna ordered the thrid time and a home run once again! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Center, Seafood Penne USD19 A creamy-tomato hybrid based sauce which really went down well.
Right, A Crab and Risotto Fritter USD15 *Spring Special* Nothing really outstanding here, in fact it taste like cheap frozen re-heats.

A third visit to the fog harbor restaurant. Apart from the Ahi Tuna, it would seem, the rest are nice overall dishes with some misses as listed above. Nothing so far tried that has that wow factor that the Ahi Tuna has. Still a great place to enjoy the sunset with company after a long day's road trip, with Vern and August.
on 05Dec2013

Ahi Tuna

 *A second time ordering it and there's no denying. Seconded by Calvin as a highlight in the gastronomic trail this time round. Seared perfectly, with a lovely fatty piece of Tuna. Thumbs up and highly recommended for you to try it!*
Swordfish - Grilled and served over ratatouille and roasted fingerling potatoes, with pesto aioli and chimichurri sauce. USD24
*A juicy piece by sword fish. Some may find the meat a little chewy, but its a good piece of fish steak. Pretty good overall in flavors, but lets put it this way, was picking at the Ahi Tuna across the table because that tastes sooo much better. Its good... but just not better than the seared Ahi Tuna.*
 Dungeness Crab Cakes Served with Cajun remoulade.

*A total disappointment considering the fish orders tasted fantastic. The crab cake seemed packed more with flour and fillers than with crab meat. We weren't fighting to finish these off.*
Fed 2: Total 68.17
Cracked Dungeness Crab 1/2Crab USD18
*A local crab that's popular in San Francisco. Crab was simply boiled and served cold. A fair supply of meat in the legs as well as a meaty center. Texturally firm, with a salty-sweet flesh. With all that, felt that one could pass on Dungeness crab. Nothing distinctively different but the novelty to know what this local crab taste like.*
Ahi Tuna - Seared "Rare", sesame seed crust, ginger soy glaze. USD23
*Ammaazzinnngg dish. Ahi Tuna, from Hawaii was fantastically prepared. Served either with rice or with garlic mash. The glaze was just the right amount of sweet and salty. The really kicker was the flash sear on the tuna, leaving a beautiful rare interior. With good fat distribution, that when slicing through, it looked like a piece of steak. Even bar patrons to the left and right of me were queried what I was having and were planning to order the same. The fried rice with the crisp sweet vegetables were done just right.
The plate was completely empty after dinner. Looking forward to try their sword fish or salmon next time. Really good!*
A great location, especially with a seated window to wine and dine. A view of the setting sun, painting the bay area, and Alcatraz island in the background. Could have given the cold crab a miss though. 
Total USD 34.85 (With 15% discount) 

GET YOUR 15% Discount cards  at the tourist information counter! 
- Go to the tourist information counter on the second floor at Pier 39 to get discount cards (up to 15% discount) off the bill at the participating restaurants.

- Free Wifi avail: Ask any staff member for password.
- Table seating does get difficult from 6pm onwards. Opens till late. Bar seating which also comes with full service is a quicker alternative.   
Click here for ABBA location of Pier39's Fog Harbor Fish House, 39 Pier 39 Concourse CA94133

Boudin Bakery & Cafe
(Located at Pier 45. There is also an outlet located at Pier39)

New England Clam Chowder in Sour Dough Bread Bowl USD8.59

*Sour Dough Bread as the name suggests, was sour. The bread itself was cold but it accented well with the clam chowder. A chunky supply of clams in the soup with great balance of cream and taste of the sea. However it was a small serving, with more bread than soup. Most patrons couldn't finish the bread bowl.*
- Small Caesar USD5.99
*Simple, fresh salad.*
Claiming to be th e originator of the sour dough bread and clam chowder soup, this much commercialized dish is being sold everywhere on the wharf. Over rated in my opinion and little steep on the price, but to check you have tried great sour dough bread, this would probably be the place to do so. A nice seating arrangement outside to people watch. 

In-N-Out Burger
(Located at Pier 45)
Cheese Burger with onion USD2.70
I've heard so much about it, seen on other friend's posting and to be finally be able to try this burger.
Sweet bread buns, houses this burger. A flat, juicy, greasy beef patty is wrapped by juicy tomatoes and fragrant white onion, fresh lettuce and melted American Cheese. The sauce seems to be a thousand island and pickle pairing. A value for money, great tasting burger. I can see the attraction.
ABBATip:There is a sort of cult following for in-and-out burgers for off menu special burger.
Single, Double, Three by Three or Four By Four, Mustard Grill, Grilled Cheese, Animal Style and more. Do a search online to find out more about these off menu options. 
*Frankie Tan ABBA Contribution*
In-N-Out Burger. Located at Fishermen's Wharf along Jefferson Street. Cheap and good hamburgers. You place your order, customize it the way you want such as onions, tomatoes, mayonnaise etc. Then they start making your burgers. The potatoes are cut fresh(you can see it while waiting for your burger). Always pack. Avoid peak hours. I went there during lunch and waited 25 min for my burger!

Shalimar Restaurant
- Indian & Pakistani Food

Ordered on14Feb2015
20USD Each with tip
Ordered Butter Chicken, Curry Mutton, 2 Garlic Nan, 2 Tikka Chicken, Curried Eggplant


Goat Karahi USD9.95

*Not overtly gamey in taste. Very tender meat and curry was a light spice.*
Naan-A-Akbar x2 USD1
*Huge sized. Light, airy and great for sharing.* 

Chicken Tikka

Daal Masala (Lentils)

Palak Paneer (Spinach and cheese)

Goat Biryani

*Biryani was excellent. Lightly spiced, and even having lemon cooked together, which cut through the heavier flavors. Many layers of complex spices which could be tasted throughout the entire dish.*

Free Flow of great tasting tea. Add sugar as required
Fed 4: Total USD60 with tip.
Crew have said its comparable in flavor to Briyani found in Dubai. You be the judge. Great value, and the food wasn't so spicy that one needed to constantly douse the burning heat with water. The free flow of tea was a pleasant welcome. Cold water tumblers also avaialble on hand.
Click here for ABBA location of Shalimar, 532 Jones St San Francisco, CA 94102
ABBAtip: Come early. Preferably by 6pm as it gets crowded. Image shown above was taken at approximately at 7pm

1 comment:

  1. If someone ask me my favourite place for food, I always say San Francisco restaurants are best!! I can’t forget the taste of grilled sandwich and sautéed chicken breast with Madeira sauce. I love spicy food and I always order Quesadilla every time I go there.