Jeff and I recently got to go to San Francisco for a conference; and, so of course, we had to add some fun restaurants to our agenda.
We asked friends and family for recommendations and checked-out Urbanspoon to see what was hot. We also read what Patricia Unterman had to say in her San Francisco Food Lover's Guide. We weren't steered wrongly in any case.
For our first dinner out, we decided to go to Bodega Bistro, a Vietnamese restaurant in Little Saigon, which wasn't too far away from our hotel. Wow! What a find! We both loved it.
For starters, we had an order of the cha gio, which are Vietnamese spring rolls. These were stuffed with mushrooms and pork and served with traditional lettuce, veggies, and herbs. As some of you may know, you take a leaf of lettuce, put some of the herbs (mint, lemon balm, etc.) and veggies (cucumbers and carrots) and wrap that around the rolls. You dip them in a yummy sweet/sour/spicy sauce, and it's just an amazing amalgamation of deliciousness.
The book recommended also trying the roasted squab, which it called a "must-order." We got it, and it was great. Here's what Jeff had to say about it: "It was a deep-friend pigeon served with the head and feet intact…the latter of which I of course ate." The meat was delicious as was the crispy skin; both were seasoned really well, and I'm definitely glad we ordered it.
We also had a Vietnamese beer each.
For mains, Jeff got something whose name escapes us. He describes it thusly: "some kind of shrimp/pork combo in a big pancake you wrapped in lettuce, mint, thai basil, etc." He seemed to like it. I had the Bistro's house Pho, and it was really good. It was a ton of food, and all for an extremely good price. We HIGHLY recommend Bodega Bistro!
The next day, after my presentation, we had a nice chunk of time for lunch. We also saw a restaurant recommended as a "value" called Naan-n-Curry, and there was one right across from our hotel! Turns out, it's a chain, but it was still really good and was a nice value.
Our only problem was that it was a bit smokey in the restaurant (not cigarettes, but from the kitchen), and they ended up opening up a door, which happened to be right beside our table. We understood, however, when we got back to the hotel and noticed that we reeked of smoke--and did for the rest of the day.
I'd definitely go back, but they should really get that smoke issue fixed.
For dinner that night we had--you guessed it--Asian food!
We went to dinner with our professor, and, based on SG's tip, we made our way (through the Tenderloin, San Fran's historically seedier section) to Bang San Thai Cuisine.
In additional to good Thai food, this location also offers an Vegan menu.
We all started out with goldn fried tofu.
I got the Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles) with Chicken; MT and Jeff got the Pad Thai; and SG got Pad Ka Na (Chicken stir-fried with Chinese brocolli and black bean sauce).
Everyone seemed to enjoy his/her meal, as most plates were practically licked clean. I actually thought it was the best drunken noodles I'd ever had, and Bangkok Bistro in Boston makes some darn good ones!
I suppose I should stop here and save the rest of our trip for an upcoming post, so stay tuned!