Wednesday Food: Dining out in San Francisco Pt. 1

San Francisco is a food nerd's paradise.  Whether it's a cheap taqueria or a high end white tablecloth restaurant, the delicious food is endless.  For the 2 1/2 years that Eric and I lived there (late '03-early '06), we got a good sampling of all the city had to offer.  Although we missed a few things, I think we made a decent dent into the restaurant scene.

Being that we moved out there right after college, we weren't always in the position to go out all fancy like.  We quickly found some great cheap places to get our grub on.  Just two blocks from our house was a greasy spoon diner called The Grubstake, which was open till 4am.  It was a paradise for us when we worked late and were starving after sweating in a hot kitchen all night.  Their menu was complete with different burgers, all with San Francisco appropriate names like The Strike, The Gold Rush and The Claim Jumper, along with a selection of Portuguese specialties.  And of course breakfast is served all day long!

San Francisco is not short on taquerias, not even by a long shot - there are tons of them!  Everybody has a favorite and far be it from me to say one is better than the other.  I am not an expert in what makes the best taco/burrito.  I know what I like, and it may not be what everyone else likes.  I found my favorite burritos to be at Nick's Crispy Tacos.  Located nowhere near the Mission District, their burritos were not too spicy and super sloppy and saucy.  I found them to be ridiculously delicious.  Not only did I enjoy the burritos (and the Coke in the glass bottles, which is the only way Coke should be consumed), but it was located in a building that was half taqueria and half night club.  So you are having a burrito in a big round booth across from a darkened room, with a disco ball and tons of ornate nightclub-like decorations.  Sadly, we never got to the nightclub - but nonetheless we enjoyed the burritos.

A staple restaurant in a big city is always a good cheap Indian place and we found that with our friends Stephen and Jill at Naan n' Curry.  Eric and I never spent more than $20 on the copious amount of.....well naan and curry.  We went there very often and not just because it was cheap, but seriously addictive!  It was hard to stay away!

And lastly, a gem that we discovered alittle later in our stay in San Francisco was a place called Suppenkuche.  I was so happy to find it because Eric really fell in love with this traditional German restaurant.  I could tell when we went there he felt at home.  He said it was the closest thing to his Oma's (German for Grandmother) cooking.  It was my first introduction to so many different German dishes, and also how to pronounce all the words.  Which was very helpful because after we moved away from San Francisco, we took our first trip to Germany to visit Eric's grandparents.

They set the dining room up in a traditional bier hall way, where they have very large tables that could seat multiple parties.  We would end up getting to know your neighboring dining party and it felt more like a community.  It also makes you realize how much Americans like their privacy and how it makes people uncomfortable to sit next to someone they don't know.  Sometimes when we would go there, our neighboring party would be lovely to chat with and sometimes they would ignore us completely.

To say the food was great, is an understatement.  It was some of the best spaetzle I've ever had!  And anytime we went there I felt like I could see a twinkle in Eric's eyes.  He would tell me what everything was, how to pronounce the big German words and tell stories about his times in Germany as a kid.  Fancy, high end restaurants are great but until you see how happy someone is to have food his Oma made him when he was a kid.....that's priceless.   And by the way if you go their website, definitely check out their "tradition" page.  Many of the stories there are what Eric would tell me about German history and the origins of the culture.

These were a few of our favorite restaurants on the lower end of the price scale.  Next time we visit this trip down memory lane, I'll chat more about the higher end restaurants and the community that Eric and I experienced while we worked there.

Until next time.....


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