Hello dear readers! It is I, Mo, your favorite wanderer here to report on newly discovered vittles and libations in the City of the Bay. Sorry for my silence last week. I was ill, causing me to miss out on the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park (which I’m pretty sore about, I hate missing free music events!). But then last weekend rolled around, and my sister Mel, her boyfriend Scot, and one of our best friends Jill were all in town for a few days! And you know what that means: there was some good eating and drinking to be done. I present my findings for you below.
1737 Post Street, http://www.isobunesushi.com/
Mel and Scot had been to this sushi place years ago on a road trip, and have told me again and again how awesome it is, so I couldn’t wait to try it for myself. And as you all know Japantown is one of my haunts, and I was excited to share it with Jill, who loves random Asian stuff. Isobune claims to be the original sushi boat restaurant. If you’ve never done sushi boats, its a lot of fun. The sushi chefs prepare the sushi in the middle of the restaurant with the sushi bar in a ring around them. Between the diners and chefs is a water-filled canal with little Japanese style boats bearing sushi plates on them. Instead of ordering, you just grab what you want and eat it and are charged by the plate at the end. I love watching the little boats go around, and you end up being a little more adventurous because you don’t always know what is in each sushi.
Isobune had some specialty rolls that were really yummy and I also indulged in an oyster. The food was good and the place was cool, but I have to admit I felt slightly dissapointed because Mel and Scot had talked up the atmosphere and made it seem like it was more of a party place with loud music. Even though we went on a Friday night the music wasn’t super loud or crazy and it was just kind of a normal sushi boat restaurant. But it was still an excellent dining experience and satisfied my sushi craving nicely.
Boom Boom Room
1601 Fillmore, http://www.boomboomblues.com/
The Boom Boom Room is really more of a music venue, but I’ll mention it in this review since I did have a beer there. Our friend from high school, Kyna, lives up in San Francisco now and her band Jesus and the Rabbis were having their record release show and party! After stuffing our faces with sushi, Jill and I walked over to take in the concert. I’d already seen Jesus and the Rabbis a few times, and they are freaking fantastic. Seriously, if you like funk or rock and roll check them out right now. I promise you won’t be dissapointed!
The Boom Boom Room is a cool place. It has a pretty intimate feeling, and is part of San Francisco’s historic Fillmore street, where all of the soul, rhthym and blues, and jazz go down up here. They have a great bar and lots of interesting beers on tap, including the Dead Guy ale that Jill and I tried. Even though we’d both been up early and kept saying we’d leave after the next song, we stayed for nearly the whole show and rocked it until almost 2:30 am. That’s rock ‘n roll for ya!
478 Green Street, http://www.boccecafe.com/
I’m pretty easy-going and have never written a bad review before, but this place was dissapointing. To be fair, it was a busy Saturday night, with a lot of tourists in town for a breast cancer run last Sunday, but still. Mel wanted to go out to North Beach, the Italian section of San Francisco since that is the part of town where she and Scot usually hang out, and had found Bocce Cafe on North Beach. It is a beautiful restaurant, with a fireplace on the inside and a covered patio with plants and fairy lights. But it’s pretty big, and I think they were understaffed.
It took forever to get our food. We sat down at 8:15 and were served around 9:30. During the wait time, we kept asking for more bread, but it took the sole busser a long time to fill it or fill our water glasses. Jill and I split a tricolore pasta dish that had ravioli with pesto, fetticini alfredo, and gnocci with marinara sauce. When it was finally served though, the gnocci was cold! We were so starving that we wanted to grin and bear it, but we actually sent it back. I’ve never sent anything back before in my life and neither has Jill, but after such a wait cold food seemed pretty sad. It came back nice and hot, but it was just ok. Really normal, run of the mill Italian food. Not worth such a wait or poor service. Ah well, you win some and loose some.
La Trappe Cafe
800 Greenwich Street, http://latrappecafe.com/
After our long Italian supper, Mel and Scot took us to this Belgian bistro with an incredible selection of Belgian beers. From the outside, it looks like nothing much, but after descending the spiral staircase to get down into the bar one is transported to a cozy European bar. I love bars where you have to go downstairs underground. It feels like a really cool underground club that only you and awesome people are allowed into.
We occupied a cozy booth in the corner and studied the beer menu, which was really more like a novel. I don’t know how I finally settled on something, I was so spoiled for choice. I splurged and went for the My Blueberry Nightmare. Beer and blueberries sounded like an interesting combination and I hated the film My Blueberry Nights even though I love Wong Kar Wai (why did you cast Norah Jones in your first English speaking film?!?!?) so it was calling to me. It was. . . probably the weirdest tasting thing I’ve ever drunk. It was inky black in color, and tasted like a strong Belgian brew mixed with a sweet, acidic, berry wine. Not bad, not really good, just bizzarre. But definitely worth the experience.
255 Columbus, http://www.vesuvio.com/
Vesuvio Cafe is classic San Francisco history. Founded in 1948, it was a haunt of Jack Kerouac and other Beats in the ’50’s and ’60’
s and attracts a diverse clientele. It is a tiny, cramped place brimming with history and ambiance. We tramped up to the tiny second floor and found a great booth in the corner where we could both watch the people in the bar and the action out the window on Columbus Street. I loved this one old African American Beat guy near us, perfectly decked out with a striped shirt, round glasses, and a black cap on his dreadlocked head. Jill remarked that it seemed like kind of a Lonely Hearts club, with many single guys and gals somberly slumped over drinks at both bar and tables. Unsurprising, really, since the location is only a block away from the majority of the strip clubs in the city. Nevertheless, we had a few beers and it was a great place to pause, talk, and laugh.
And that concludes my adventures of last weekend! Tomorrow I’m going to the Bridge School Benefit, a huge music festival featuring (who else?) Jack White. I am beyond excited and can’t wait to tell y’all about it!
Good Luck and Happy Travels