What Charmin Bears Love: Food|Dogs|Sephora

Our foodie instincts take over when we're out and about.

San Francisco: July 3 – 7

on July 4, 2010

I’m back in San Francisco! It was my boyfriend’s birthday that weekend so I had to make an appearance. The wonderful guy knows I love food so he took me to eat eat eat! According to him every time he sees me he gets a little fatter and there’s a direct correlation between me and his weight *rolls eyes*

Nopalito @ 306 Broderick Street

Our first stop was a restaurant called Nopalito that was recommended by his physical therapist. It’s a cute little restaurant that serves organic Mexican food. Every time I hear the word organic though, it kind of sends chills down my spine. Not because I think it tastes bad, but there’s usually a premium in the price tag and I can never tell a difference in organic vs non-organic foods.

For drinks, I ordered a Horchata. Note to self: You do not like Horchatas. It was a weird sweet almond taste that was not well received by my palette. It’s definitely a personal thing.

Nopalito - Organic Almond Horchata

Organic Almond Horchata

We started off with an Empinada appetizer, which turned out to be a really bad idea because it was huge. I was almost full before I even got to my main entree. I also had something different in mind. I expected a small filled triangle like the ones I had in DC.

Nopalito - Empanada de Picadillo

Empanada de Picadillo

For the main entree the boyfriend got the Carnitas and I got the Enchilada. I had expected the chicken to already be inside the tortilla, but it wasn’t. I’ve also come to realize I don’t like mulato. The chicken was a little dry, but it was white meat afterall. The potatoes on the side were yummy though.

Nopalito - Enchilada Placeras

Enchilada Placeras

The Carnitas was definitely a much better entree. The meat was 10x softer and juicier than my chicken.

Nopalito - Carnitas

Carnitas

Polkers Gourmet Burgers @ 2226 Polker Street

The next day we met up with some friends for brunch at a nearby restaurant. We originally wanted to eat at Pesce but had to settle for Polkers since Pesce was closed over the holiday weekend. It was a crowded cute restaurant with various interesting paintings on the wall. I ordered a chicken sandwich with curly fries. The fries were really good, the boyfriend kept stealing from me. The chicken sandwich was pretty simple: fried crispy chicken with cheese and fresh avocado. Not bad, but I needed to dose it in ketchup to add more flavor.

Polkers Gourmet Burger - Chicken Sandwich

Chicken Sandwich

India Garden @ 1261 Folsom Street

For his birthday, my boyfriend picked this delicious Indian restaurant. It’s a nice restaurant with an area that somewhat resembles a green house so you can sit and enjoy the beautiful sky outside when you’re eating. It was pretty much empty when we got there, which is usually a warning sign. Fortunately the food turned out delicious.

We started off with some Samosas. I have no gripes about this one. I love potatoes and peas, so thumbs up from me!

India Garden - Samosa

Vegetable Samosa

We ordered a variety of dishes since there were over 10 people at dinner. One of my favorites was the Chicken Tandoori. It came out sizzling hot, you can sort of still see the smoke in the picture. Despite the fact that it was white meat, the chicken was far from dry.

India Garden - Chicken Tandoori

Chicken Tandoori

The most memorable was the Chicken Tikka Masala. It was so flavorful and yummy. Tikka Masala is one of the reasons why I love Indian food. I wish I could’ve had the pot to myself.

India Garden - Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

We also ordered a Lamb Curry. Honestly, all I can remember is it tasting wonderful :) The spices definitely mask the normal gamy flavor of lamb.

India Garden - Lamb Curry

Lamb Curry

I really like India Garden. It might be a little expensive. Our Tikka Masala was $13 for a tiny bowl, but it’s well worth it. All the food was good. My only complaint is that, I normally LOVE Nan bread, but the specialty Nan they offered was a little dry and stale for my taste. I like it soft and chewy :T

Turtle Tower @ 631 Larkin Street

Let me start of by saying I’ve grown up eating Southern Vietnamese food. I’ve never had the Northern versions before in my life. This was definitely an eye opening experience. To compare the two, I ordered a basic Pho Tai, just the rare beef soup noodle and that was already distinctly different. The beef was cut thicker and more chopped up than its Southern counterpart. The noodles were thicker and wider. The broth was lighter and only contained green onions. It certainly tasted more healthy.

Turtle Tower - Pho Tai

Pho Tai

We also ordered a side of Imperial Rolls aka Egg Rolls. I didn’t notice it at the time, but these babies were $2.15 EACH. Everything else on the menu is priced reasonably, but why are these egg rolls so steep? I thought $1.50 each was expensive in Boston. It was good, but not worth what they charge.

Turtle Tower - Imperial Rolls

Imperial Rolls

Turtle Tower was definitely an interesting experience. I liked the restaurant, but I prefer the more powerful taste and flavors in Southern Vietnamese cuisine. I wouldn’t mind going again though.

Golden Gate Bakery @ 1029 Grant Avenue

My boyfriend raved about the egg tarts from this bakery when I first met him. I was always skeptical, but after trying one, I have to agree. Golden Gate Bakery always has a long line outside. Some people wait for over an hour only to find out there’s no more. Unfortunately, once they run out, you’re out of luck. It’s probably because some people order dozens upon dozens once they get in. I was lucky enough to wait less than an hour and managed to purchase six to share. These egg tarts are a little over $1.00 each but they are a decent size and extremely yummy. A lot of places skimp out on the custard and give you a lot of crust, but the ratio here is pretty close to perfection. The crust is made up of delicately layered flakes. The custard is light, not too sweet or yolky. When I got it, it was fresh out of the oven. YUM! I hope to take Charmin Bear J here one day!

Golden Gate Bakery - Egg Tarts

Egg Tarts

Golden Gate Bakery - Lines

The Line That Curves

Golden Gate Bakery - Store Front

Golden Gate Bakery Store Front

Eliza’s @ 2877 California Street

After Vietnamese food and some egg tarts for a snack, my boyfriend, his roommates and I made our way to Eliza’s, a nice Chinese American restaurant for dinner.

To start out the night, we ordered some Pork Mu Shu, which was yummy. The waiter put the filling into the wrap before I could take a picture of it. It’s basically a mixture of pork, wood ear and other assorted vegetables tossed in some sort of light oil or sauce.

Eliza's - Mu Shu

Pork Mu Shu

Next up was the Honey Walnut Prawns. Delicious. It was sweet, lightly covered in mayo and shell free. I don’t usually eat the nuts in the dish, but the walnuts were really crunchy and addictive.

Eliza's - Walnut Shrimp

Honey Walnut Prawns

The Kung Pao Chicken didn’t really make an impression on me. The chicken was cut into small bite-size chunks, coated in flour, deep fried to get a crispy crunch and then covered in a spicy Orange Chicken-like sauce.

Eliza's - Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

The Mongolian Beef, a common staple of Chinese American restaurants, also impressed. The beef was tender. The sweet spicy brown sauce made the dish extra savory.

Eliza's - Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef

I always thought that Chinese American cuisine is pricey for the portions they give you, but I do enjoy eating it every now and then.

Osakaya Restaurant @  1737 Post Street

We were roaming aimlessly around Japantown for awhile looking for a lunch spot. There are way too many options to choose from. Osakaya eventually drew us to go in by means of their abundant window displays. The boyfriend ordered Pork Katsu Curry and I got a Spider Maki (for him) and a Special Maki.

The Pork Katsu Curry was okay. I thought the curry was a little bland and not thick enough for my liking. I don’t like boiled eggs either. I think I might have been spoiled rotten by Cafe Mami in Boston.

Osakaya - Pork Katsu Curry

Pork Katsu Curry

I’m not a huge fan of Spider Maki, but it was pretty good. I prefer the special maki I ordered. It had a Tuna, Eel and Avocado center topped with Ikura. Fish was fresh, which is probably the most important thing about sushi.

Osakaya - Spider Maki

Spider Maki

Osakaya - Special Maki

Tuna, Eel & Avocado Maki

Although the food was pretty decent, I probably wouldn’t come back just because there’s such a huge selection of restaurants to choose from. I saw another place that offered Kaiten (conveyor-belt) sushi too. I would want to try every restaurant there before I go back to anywhere twice :)

Nick’s Crispy Taco @ 1500 Broadway

For my last meal, we made our way to Nick’s Crispy Tacos, a favorite of the locals. It’s a casual Mexican joint that looks pretty dingy. More likely than not, you  will have to fight for a table especially on Taco Tuesdays.

We started off with the Nachos. The thick crispy greasy nacho chips with the guac and salsa was so addictive. I couldn’t stop eating them!

Nick's Crispy Tacos - Nachos

Nachos

When my Carne Asada came, I was happy to dig in. I’m not skilled in the art of eating taco (I’m more of a burrito girl) and accidentally dropped food here and there. My boyfriend helped me order it “Nick’s Way,” which is $1.00 extra but you get the works (guacamole, salsa fresca) on top of your meat. It’s definitely worth the $1.00

Nick's Crispy Tacos - Carne Asada

Carne Asada (Nick's Way)

I liked it here and have been meaning to try their tacos. I can now check Nick’s off my list! I thought it was fairly priced, but some people complain that it gets a bit expensive. I got full off one taco since the stuff inside is pretty heavy. Others might need up to 4 tacos, which means they could spend up to $20 on a meal here. Yikes! It was a nice way to end my trip.

My dear San Francisco! You’ve been good to my tummy. Stay well and keep making your delicious food. Until we meet again :)

– Charmin Bear T

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