Showdogs

I was so super excited for this lunch at Showdogs.  I’d wanted to go since I’d heard it was opening because I love hot dogs and I like fancy new stuff.  Also, I was meeting up with friends, and that’s not always as easy as it should be.  I biked from the Fidi to 7th and Market in a state of high anticipation.

It was a pretty gorgeous day.  I say that now, though I’m pretty sure at the time all I did was complain about how hot it was.  I’m so delicate.  I can appreciate though that conditions lent themselves perfectly to my activities that afternoon, those being eating outside and drinking cold drinks.

The outdoor eating area is pretty roomy, though a little narrow, and preferable to the indoor seating situation.  The interior dining room was kind of dim, despite the restaurant having floor to ceiling windows nearly all around.  Inside is also not as good for people watching, which you’re going to want to engage in if you’re here in the daylight hours.

The promise of a variety of well made sausages is enticing enough, but what I’d heard about the wealth of beers available at Showdogs was equally intriguing.  They also offer an opportunity each day to get beer free!  It’s practically unheard of.  I certainly couldn’t pass up such an offer.  I produced my work badge to get a baby 8oz glass of Hell or High Watermelon, and my friends shelled out for their beers and lemonades.

Enough setting the scene, huh?  What’d we eat?  Well, Sarah ordered the Wild Boar sausage.

Which was topped with a cherry apricot chutney, arugula and a pickle.  Bryan got the chili cheese dog

Which was probably the most delicious looking thing that was ordered by our table (Justin had one too).  They shared an order of onion rings; I tried those and they were pretty good, crispy and not greasy.  I think in the overall scheme of things though I’m not crazy about the thinner cut onion rings.  I like a bigger burst of onion flavor.

I had the merguez with fig chutney and that same arugula and pickle that were on the wild boar sausage.

I had never had arugula on top of a sausage before and really wasn’t sure how I would find it, but I liked it a lot.  The slightly crunchy texture was nice with all the softness going on in the sausage and the bun, and the fresh flavor offset the greasy and more mellow qualities of the meat and bread.  The bun was very good, firm and with a nice crust and a fair amount of chewiness.  I love the way a normal hot dog bun steams and melds with the hot dog, but I also love me some good bread.  The fig chutney was delicious as well, the only thing I was really “meh” about was the merguez.  It was not the most flavorful iteration of the sausage I’ve ever eaten, in fact, it was pretty forgettable.  I wished that I had tried the 4505 hot dog or the pickled hot link, I doubt that those would be lacking in the spice department.  Oh well, it gives me a good excuse to go back!

Probably the most exciting thing ordered was Jessie’s corndog.  Mostly exciting because it had to be the biggest corndog I’ve ever seen.

The photo doesn’t do a good job of expressing that unfortunately.  It looked scrumptious and made me rethink my stance on corndogs (my stance, by the way, is that I hate them).   It came with a house mustard, and Jessie also ordered these fries;

Which he said he didn’t care for, but I found to be pretty good.  This is a meal I would consider ordering if I went back.

If you’re down near Civic Center and you’re looking for a place to get a moderately priced lunch with outdoor seating where you might even be able to get a free beer, this is the spot.  Our group sat for some time just watching everyone walk by (we saw one Grizzly Adams-looking dude who was using a large antler as a walking stick; I tried to get a photo but he was across the street and none of them came out, and that is a tragedy) and I could have sat there a lot longer.  Certainly on a lazy sunny day I can see myself sitting at Showdogs, drinking beer and eating fries for an hour or two.  That sounds pretty nice right now actually…I think I know what I’m doing this weekend.

Showdogs

1020 Market St

http://www.showdogssf.com/

Old Chelsea Fish and Chips

I was at the Edinburgh Castle for one of my sporadic entries into their Tuesday night pub quiz.  I decided that it was probably time that I ticked the Old Chelsea Fish and Chips off my list, because you never know, maybe I’d never be back to the Castle.  There was a time that I sort of liked this food, I thought it was neat you could order it in the bar and they’d bring it from around the corner all wrapped up in newspaper and I could eat it while I drank my pint of whatever was my current favorite beer on tap.  The novelty wore off after a period, but every once in a while fish and chips would sound good to me again, after I’d had time to forget why I stopped eating it once a week.  I guess it was one of those days when I couldn’t remember. 

I used to like to get the scallops and the shrimp, but this time I decided to keep it simple and just get the 2 pieces of fish.  I also got half onion rings and half fries because I just couldn’t choose between them. 

After you order, the waitress at the bar brings over your condiments.

A bottle of something red that’s either a mild cocktail sauce or ketchup that’s started to turn, a bottle of malt vinegar, salt and little plastic packets of tartar sauce.  Shot of Jamesons not included.

Ten or fifteen minutes later someone from Old Chelsea brings your food.  Like I said, it’s wrapped in old newspaper.

Don’t worry, when you open it up there’s a protective sheet of waxy paper between your food and the newsprint.  All the paper creates a sort of plate for you to eat off of.

As soon as I opened the package up, I was hit with a little tinge of regret.  Everything is balled up tight and shining with grease, and the soggy breading is separating from the oily moist fish.  It’s not an appetizing presentation.  With a little (well, a lot really) vinegar, salt and ketchup this stuff’s actually not that bad.  The fish is fresh and the onions still have a little bite to them, but the fries are terribly limp, and the oil tastes a bit old.  It’s enjoyable for at least the first half of the meal, then the grease starts to build up in your stomach and coat the inside of your mouth and Budweiser is not enough to cut through it and you have to stop.  Probably it’s better to order after you’ve already had a couple beers.  I’ll remember that next time, if there is a next time.

The Old Chelsea Fish and Chips

932 Larkin (also available at the Edinburgh Castle)

Their Yelp Page

Piccolo Pizza

I’m pretty disgusted how much I let my life be dictated by the rain.  I don’t know exactly when I started hating the rain so vehemently, when I was much younger I loved it.  Now though, I am utterly disgusted by the very thought of rain.  I guess it’s a matter of choice; before it was my decision to go out and splash around and get soaked, now that I’m forced to find a way to transport myself to and from work everyday without a car taking me door to door it’s a different story.  Anyway, this is the story of yet another meal that was planned around the fact that it was a rainy night.  Yes, that means delivery.

Piccolo pizza is a mostly delivery and takeout place; they do have seating there, but I’d wager that’s not how they do the vast majority of their business.  When Steve and I lived out in the Richmond we ordered pizza once and the guy who delivered it (or the guy who took the order, I can’t remember) was our neighbor, which was a funny coincidence.  Unfortunately we didn’t like the pizza that well and never ordered from the place again, which apparently caused Steve to feel guilty.  He says that Piccolo was the place from that story, and I don’t remember so I’ll have to just believe him.  The reason I’m telling you that story is to explain why we didn’t order pizza.  I was a little confused myself when I was downloading the pictures; I thought to myself, “could I really have forgotten to take any pictures of the pizza?”  Steve had to jog my memory.  He’s pretty helpful to have around. 

We started off with the Mediterrean Salad, which is just a basic green salad with olives, carrots and onions.

I was glad to get a nice fresh salad, I’m so tired of getting the ubiquitous spring mix from a bag with the ineveitable slimy bits.  The Italian dressing they provided was also surprisingly yummy, very cheesy. 

N0t that we were lacking for cheese, since we also ordered garlic bread with mozarella

This is the half order.  Of course, this was fucking delicious.  It’s hard to screw up garlic cheese bread, you know?  It came with a ranch dipping sauce, which was totally unnecessary, but if you put a ranch dipping sauce in front of me I’m not going to be able to say no. 

Really though, I probably should have refrained from the dip because the hot wings we ordered also came with ranch

Not much to look at are they?  But they were surprisingly good; I was pretty worried because when I picked one up and bit into it, the only way to properly describe the texture I encountered is flabby.  That is pretty much never a good thing, especially for hot wings, which you would generally like to be a little crisp on the outside and meaty of the inside.  The flavor, though, was great, and the meat ended up being very tender and juicy.  I would probably have to say that these were some of the best wings I’ve had in some time. 

My enjoyment of this meal made me rather anxious to try their pizza again.  I guess, really, it would be like trying it again for the first time, since I truly have no recollection of eating it before.  The high quality of the food I ate makes me dubious that their pizza could be really horrible.  Plus, their yelp reviews are fairly stellar for the type of joint they’re running.  I don’t have much else to say, so let’s end with a photo of my greasy fingers clutching a hot wing soaked in ranch, shall we?

Piccolo Pizza

799 O’Farrell

Website with Online Ordering

Indonesia Restaurant

Another rainy night, and another dinner with Sarah, so Indonesia Restaurant was another choice of convenience, born out of the desire to stay as dry as possible.  I put on a dress and boots because I figured that was the best rain gear I could put together, boots would keep my feet dry and I wouldn’t have heavy jeans soaking up every drop of water.  It turned out to be a pretty good plan, except the under-skirt slip thingy rode up and made for an uncomfortable skulk to the bathroom to adjust myself, where I accidentally opened the door on somebody.  But I’m getting ahead of myself a bit.

Sarah had gone to Walgreens before we met and her bag had gotten really wet in the rain, so she asked the waiter who’d seated us for a plastic bag to carry it in, and he very nicely gave her one.  We talked about how the bag could be turned into an awesome tank top very easily, just a few quick cuts.  So look out for that next big fashion thing.

Sarah also thought I should document the hot-kid honey ball cookies she bought at Walgreens and the elegantly folded napkins at the restaurant, so here we are.

The menu is split into Indonesian and Thai sections.   I guess this used to be a solely Indonesian restaurant, but sometime in the recent past they became a Thai restaurant as well.  It’s my understanding that this space has been through many incarnations of Indonesian restaurants of some kind.  Anyway, we ordered mostly from the Indonesian side.  We started off with perkedel,

which was a soft beef and potato cake sort of thing.  It was not like anything I’ve had before, when we ordered it I was expecting something more like a dumpling, but this was like a fish cake or a dry meatball.  Not my favorite ever, but it wasn’t bad.  I probably wouldn’t be in a hurry to order it again though.

I ordered the veggie fried rice with anchovies.  It was pretty good, there were a lot of vegetables in it and not just frozen carrot cubes and peas, there were green beans and peppers and some sort of leafy green.  The anchovies were a tad too salty for me though. 

It looked really pretty though.  Indonesia was pretty big on presentation.

Sarah ordered some sort of coconut milk curry chicken soup.  I can’t remember what it was called, and I’m having trouble finding the menu we ordered from online.  Maybe they’ve changed things up again?  Anyway, I tried some of her soup and I liked it.  Usually I find coconut milk based soups too thick, they coat the inside of your mouth with an oily feeling, but this had the flavor of the milk, but the consistency of the broth was thin and pleasant, and there was a strong spice flavor.  I thought it was very good.

Finally we come to the most exciting thing about Indonesia Restaurant: dessert.

This chocolate roti is probably one of the most indulgent desserts ever.  I’ve had roti at Thai places before, but usually just plain or with a fruit sauce, never with chocolate.  This was so good, kind of like a chocolate croissant, but if you’d soaked the croissant in condensed milk.  Crazy, and again, very pretty.  This is the kind of thing I could eat until I made myself sick.  Is that oversharing? 

So I liked Indonesia Restaurant, it was a pleasant space with nice people and pretty tasty food.  I’m definitely intrigued enough to want to go back, there are so many dishes on the menu I’ve never tried before, and this meal was a good indication that if I do try them I’ll enjoy them.

Indonesia Restaurant

678 Post St

Their Yelp Page

Chutney

Sigh.  I have just not been inspired to write about Chutney.  I don’t know what it is. 

The food was fine.  Some of the food was pretty good.  It just didn’t infatuate me, y’know?  This is my 40th restaurant.  Maybe I’m getting a little burnt out. 

Chutney was like a nicer, cleaner Naan and Curry, with a similar menu and similar price point.  It was even busier than Naan and Curry though, when we were there there was a crazy line up.  I didn’t know that this place was so popular.  I think I was excited by the specials board

But then it turned out they were out of the goat curry.  So instead we ordered lamb with cauliflower.

Which was pretty good I guess.

I’m pretty sure it’s lamb vindaloo.  I don’t know.  The only thing that really sticks out in my mind is this

They call it Tandoori Chicken salad.  It’s a good amount of juicy tandoori chicken on top of some crisp lettuce, onions and tomatoes in tangy yogurt dressing.  This is $4.99 and they throw in an entire garlic naan.  It’s crazy!  I really appreciated this salad.

The Chutney experience was a weird one.  I remember enjoying my meal well enough at the time, though I didn’t especially enjoy the ambience.  The tables were awfully close together and I could overhear several conversations.  The long line to order crept outside and made for an annoying door open/door closed dance, which made the dining room alternately too cold, or apparently too smoky for some people.   I’m not sure why exactly Chutney was so so busy.  Since it’s not the closest Indian food to my house, I don’t see myself going there again, as nothing except the salad stood out to me especially as something I couldn’t get at an equal quality elsewhere.  There seemed to be a good number of family groups, tables with several generations gathered together, which makes me think perhaps Chutney is mentioned in some guidebook or that hotels recommend it to guests since it is, I imagine, the cheapest, cleanest and least threatening Indian restaurant in the area.   If this is your favorite fast food Indian, I can’t fault  you for that.  I really don’t want it to sound like I’m bad mouthing this place, because I’m not.  It’s just not my favorite. 

Chutney

511 Jones St

http://www.chutneysf.com/