TenderNights

Something pretty exciting is happening tonight in the TL.  The fine folks over at The Tenderblog are putting on an evening of celebration of our fine hood at that venerable Tenderloin institution, the Edinburgh Castle.  Tonight at 8 pm Loiners with Drinks will take the stage to share memories and stories of their time in the city’s seedy underbelly.  You’re not going to want to miss this, there will be prizes and special cocktails and the chance for you to rub elbows with some of your favorite internet quasi-celebrities.   Even tell a story yourself if you’ve got one.  It’s going to be a super fun night, and if you don’t come you are probably dumb or something. 

Read all about it HERE

RSVP HERE

Jebena

Jebena, Jebena, Jebena…I’ve been saying it over and over in my head and eventually it occurs to me that I could be mind-pronouncing it incorrectly.  I’ve been saying (both in my mind and actually out loud speaking it) Juh-BEAN-uh, but for all I know it could be juh-ben-ah or jeh-ben-AH.  Well.  I was thinking I could research this and get a definitive answer for y’all, but instead I’m going to go with the old adage (cliche) that “ignorance is bliss” and enjoy chanting juh-bean-uh to myself as I sit here.

Moving along to the actual point of this rambling, the story of my visit to Jebena.  I was, if I remember correctly, skipping out on the gym because I am ridiculously lazy.  Steve went without me and I went to find myself breakfast.   I strolled down the hill to the new coffee shop I’d noticed at Geary and Polk.

This being the first few weeks of its existence, Jebena was empty when I walked inside.  Today the place is hopping all the time, but today is many months later.  I ordered a cup of coffee, a healthy looking pastry from among the tempting croissants and slabs of cake, and grabbed a hard boiled egg from the cold case.  The gal behind the counter set about making my coffee, they do individual drip here.

I sat at a table by the window with my food.  Jebena is walled with windows all around and it makes for a pleasant sunny environment.  I cracked open my egg and was happy to find that it did not have the overcooked greyish yolk I am accustomed to finding in hardboiled eggs made in commercial circumstances.  This egg was in fact verging on undercooked, but it was fine, in fact it was very good.  I mean, it was a boiled egg, so as good as a boiled egg can be.  Which I guess would be very good.  Anyway.

The pastry cake thing I ordered…I’m not sure what to call it…as I mentioned before I picked it out for it’s seemingly healthy qualities.  It looked dense and full of nuts and raisins.  And indeed it was dense and nutty and full of dried fruits, but it was also unbelievably rich and buttery, with a syrupy sweetness.  I mean, it was really delicious, but it was almost definitely not too healthy.  It was so rich that it was really too much for one person. 

The coffee here was fairly unremarkable.  It was good, but not memorable.  I would come back and have coffee here if I wanted to sit and linger over it, but only because it’s one of the closest places to my house with palatable coffee that’s good for that sort of sitting and lingering.  And because they have free wi-fi.  But I’m not hankering to go back, the coffee didn’t change my life.

But it’s a nice clean place, and the people working at Jebena seem very nice.  They also have some umbrella-ed tables outside, which is a pretty cool touch, though this corner can get pretty noisy.   I suppose there’s a good chance you might get spare changed sitting outside there as well, or be subjected to some unpleasant odors.  There are pros and cons to most situations, am I right? 

Jebena

990 Polk St

Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box!!!!  Ha ha, remember when you were a kid and you were like “Jack in the crack!!!!! LOL ROFL!!!1!!!!”  What a hilarious jokester you were.

I always seem to get really excited about the fast food places I go to for Goldentooth.  I don’t know what it is, I guess I still have it ingrained in my mind that fast food is this amazing special treat that I can only have once in a while.  So I get my hopes up and, invariably, they are dashed.  Remember the Mexican pizza?  Yeah.  Anyway, I got all excited all over again for Jack in the Box, but I was like REALLY excited.  Because I was finally going to try a JitB Taco!!!!!  I’d never had one before but they are crazy cheap and people love them!!!!  I imagined them to be like tacos from my favorite spot in Sactown, Jimboys, very inauthentic, very greasy, and very good.

Steve was also pretty pumped for this trip because he’d found a coupon for a free grilled deli trio sandwich and for some reason he thought one of them looked really good.  He was so excited he emailed me the coupon with the subject line “free jib yo!”  which is probably the best subject line of any email I’ve ever received.  Anyway, I doubted that his sandwich would live up to his expectations, but I figured, when else will I have Steve excited to accompany me to a fast food place? and just ran with it.

It was late-ish when we rolled up to the corner of Geary and Mason, and Jack in the Box was glowing like a Greyhound station bathroom.   Like most fast food joints, this place was populated by tourists, teenagers and vagabonds.  We ordered and got our food pretty quickly.  Steve convinced me to take our grub to the second floor dining room, a place that turned out to have a nice view of the street while also being depressing as all get out.

There were plenty of seats up there but there was only us and a largish group of high school girls gossiping in a ear twisting melding of English and Spanish.  Oh, and the intense pounding bass coming from Biscuits and Blues next door.  Anyway, time to dig in!

Again, I was going for a wide variety of menu items, though my lack of hunger pangs ended up dissuading me from going as crazy as I might have.  I ended up with two tacos

Only 99 cents!  And boy oh boy, can you taste that.  These were FOUL.   I am surprised after eating these that people have a tendency to be grossed out by pate, I’d think they’d be accustomed to it if they are fans of these tacos.  A paste of meat resembling nothing so much as cat food was smeared across the insides of a dense, chewy taco shell then sprinkled over with shredded lettuce.  It was, alas, not the taco of my dreams, and I will not be in a hurry to eat one again.

I also got an order of jalapeno poppers, after talking with a friend earlier about how Jack in the Box uses cheddar cheese in their poppers rather than cream cheese.  I love me a cheddar cheese popper so I was all set for a treat.  Of course, I was treated to nothing but disappointment, the poppers were very nearly burnt on the outside and the inside cheese was lukewarm and separated into a mess of oil and cheese-product solids.  There was, at least, a rather pleasant pepper flavor.

Steve and I shared an order of curly fries, the best “dish” of the night because, by God, curly fries are delicious and hard to fuck up.  Alongside the curly fries Steve had a side salad, which I assume was sufficiently salad-like, and the aforementioned (free) deli sandwich (yo!).

The deli trio grilled sandwich lived up to my expectations of being a horrific thing.  I think the words “creamy Italian dressing” sums it all up pretty well.  This was a greasy, slimy mess.  Steve was sad, he thought it would be like a Cubano, I think because there are pickles on it.  Let me set the record straight:  this is absolutely nothing like a Cubano.

So, surprise surprise, Steve and I didn’t like Jack in the Box.  I guess we’re a couple of snobs.  I hope you’re getting excited for our visit to Burger King!  I know I am!

Jack in the Box

400 Geary

www.jackinthebox.com

Sam’s Diner

Sam’s Diner is on Market Street between 8th and 9th, which is like, boom! strike one.   Not exactly a dining destination, not exactly the most picturesque stretch of road in San Francisco.  And from the outside you’d have no reason to think that Sam’s wouldn’t be gross. 

The fact is,  Sam’s is pretty inoffensive.  Nothing to get all excited about, but there’s an ok chance you won’t walk away unsatisfied.  Steve and I met Sarah there for a sort of brunch. 

We sat in a booth in a sunny, high ceiling-ed dining room.  It was busy and service was a little tepid, but, like I said, it’s not fine dining so that sort of thing is to be expected.  The menu was pretty standard San Francisco diner; Benedict specials, loco moco and terriyaki, but extensive.  Also, a little pricier than I expected.  It didn’t occur to me at the time, but it makes sense now that they cater to the theater crowd (the Orpheum is just down the block).  Also, tourists.  Which I should have realized, but me, I’m so dumb I saw this place with the tables all packed and thought, “this place must be good!”  Instead of thinking, “tourists.” 

Well, whatever, it may be a tourist spot, but I thought their chili cheese omelet (they call it a Texas omelet) was mighty tasty.  And their menu states all cheese in the omelets is American unless specified, but they were happy to use cheddar instead when I asked.   Hashbrowns were good too, a little less done than what I prefer, but that wasn’t enough to stop me from stuffing them in my face.

I was so busy wolfing down my food that I failed to notice my companions were less impressed with their meals.

Sarah seemed to be pretty blah about her burger.  Though she was impressed by how bloody it was and made me take this picture of the jus soaking into the bun:

As they say, nom nom.

Steve was even more unenthused by his wedge salad and club sandwich.  So it seems I made a prudent choice in selecting breakfast over lunch.  I win again, ha ha!

I think the main deterrent that will keep me from returning to Sam’s is the price.  My omelet was over ten bucks, c’mon!  The sandwiches were a bit cheaper than that, but there’s better food for less.  Also, there’s better food for more, but it’s a lot better.  See what I mean?  Sam’s is middle of the road tourist food.  Certainly an oasis in the area, and if you’re a tourist at one of the local hotels I don’t fault you for choosing Sam’s over Carl’s Jr or All Star Donuts.  If you’re a local, you can do better. 

Sam’s Diner

1220 Market St

www.samsdinersf.com