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

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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

Lefty O’Doul’s

I went to Lefty O’Doul’s and Bamboo Pizza on the same day, Bamboo for lunch and Lefty’s for dinner.  What an unfortunate day that turned out to be.  I went to Lefty’s expecting to get some good comfort food but all I was served was disappointment.  Shed a tear for me.

Lefty O’Doul’s is a hof brau, like Tommy’s Joynt, but a little swankier, a little cleaner and a little pricier.  I appreciate their aesthetic, though I prefer the clutter and dim lighting at Tommy’s.

You order at a cafeteria-style steam table counter.  I’ll stop comparing Lefty’s to Tommy’s after this, I promise, but the guys doling out the food here are not as nice as the dudes at Tommy’s.  I imagine this is because, due to their proximity to Union Square, they are serving a lot more tourists, and nobody likes that, am I right? 

Steve and I got our food and paid, and were directed to a table.  A waitress came by to take our drink orders.  I asked her about a happy hour menu that was on our table, and she said, oh, the prices on there are wrong, the cocktails are $6, not $5, and that menu shouldn’t be on your table, I need to take that.  Ok, I said, and ordered a bloody mary anyway.  Steve ordered a beer.  As the waitress started to leave I tried to stop her to give her the happy hour menu she said she needed to take but she got away.  The menu stayed on our table for our whole meal.

Ugh.  This bloody mary.  When I tasted it I figured either they made it with ketchup or there was some sort of mis-measurement of ingredients because it was SO sweet.  It turns out that Lefty’s has their own signature bloody mary mix.  They’re so proud of it in fact, that they bottle it and sell it at the restaurant.  What the fuck?  Who wants a sweet bloody mary?  Isn’t the point of a bloody mary to be savory and spicy?  I just don’t get it.

On to the food I suppose.

Here’s my dinner, roast beef with green beans and mashed potatoes and a pasta salad.  The roast beef was cold and too tough to chew.  Green beans were cold and bland.  The mashed potatoes were warm-ish and the gravy at least was hot.  Actually the taters and gravy were pretty tasty.  The rest of the plate required copious amounts of horseradish to get down my gullet.  The pasta salad was meh personified. 

Steve had a turkey enchilada.  He liked it all right.  I thought it was pretty bland. 

I also ate this cherry pie.  It was fine, a little tart for my palate, but I think that is probably just how cherry pie is, it’s just not my taste.  The crust was pretty tasty.  Also in the above photo you can see probably the most exciting part of the meal, other than the olives in my bloody mary: the assortment of Beaver mustards available.  I love a good selection of mustard.

So, boo to Lefty O’Doul’s.  I’m taking it off my list of restaurants at which I’m willing to eat.  Even beyond the food, they had some weird gathering of old people there that night, and they were managing things very poorly.  Bizarrely they had given people tickets to take up to the counter to get food.  There were at least 80 people in this group if not more.  I can’t imagine anything less efficient for a restaurant that is still attempting to serve other customers.  It was very strange.  So yeah, I’m done with Lefty’s.  Over and out.

Lefty O’Doul’s

333 Geary St

www.leftyodouls.biz

Pizzeria

OH MY GOD I KNOW.  It’s been forever.  I have been treating this blog so deadbeat dad style.  Here’s a treat for you though, a very special trip outside the Tenderloin to start AND later, another post!  Because shit, I have got a TON of restaurants to get through!  Just because you haven’t heard from me doesn’t mean I stopped eatin’, y’all.  Oh, I have been eating up a storm.  Believe it.

Anyway, here’s the deal with Pizzeria.  Yeah, it’s on Valencia, but the owner, Juned, was kind enough to invite me over there for dinner on him in exchange for me writing this post that you are currently reading.  So I was like, sure, why not?  I had been wanting to try this Pizzeria place for a while, I’d read about it being as good as any other pizza spot in the area, but perpetually empty. 

And yeah, it was pretty much a ghost town in there.  But, to be fair, it was Cinco de Mayo, which is not a day when people generally go out for pizza dinners, especially in the Mission.  And though the dining room was quiet, throughout the meal I noticed they were doing a pretty brisk delivery business.  I asked Juned about this and he confirmed that they do a lot of delivery because they are a halal establishment, which mean no alky-haul.  That’s a problem for some people.  Trust me, I know all about it. 

We started with this Greek salad, which was as delicious as it looks.  Everything was impeccably fresh and the balsamic dressing was sweet and salty and rich.  I have to admit, I was pretty relieved when this salad came out.  I was starting to doubt a little, to think that maybe this place stank it up and that’s why it was empty.  This salad reassured me that that was not the case. 

I was having trouble choosing a pizza because they all sounded really good (especially the Philly Cheesesteak, wow) but Steve was immediately drawn to the Chicken Tikka Masala and I certainly wasn’t going to argue with that. 

Oh man.  This was a pretty good pizza you guys. The crust was crackly and the flavor was robust and developed.  Juned told me this is because they let the crust rest for a day before they use it.  The extra time is totally worth it.  I appreciated that, though the crust was awfully thin, there was still a raised edge and that the sauce and cheese and toppings came right up to that ring.  Do you find that with a lot of very thin crust pizzas these days the toppings are just kind of sprinkled over the center and not spread out well?  I feel like I find that to be the case.  Not so cool.  The sauce here was applied with a light hand, and had just the right amount of sweetness.  The chicken was still tender and the Indian spices were subtle but definitely there.  There was a soft but lingering heat. 

Steve and I didn’t order wings because we try to be kind of healthy, and usually when we go for pizza we get a salad and a small and we are stuffed.  Maybe Juned sensed how tempted I was by the mention of wings on the menu because he brought us some after we finished our pizza.

Holy crap you guys, these wings.  I mean, I’ve already said how delicious everything else was, but these were definitely the highlight of the meal.  So. Freaking. Good.  They use free range chicken and that, plus whatever else they do to these wings, make them so chicken-y tasting.  I’m used to dry, sort of flavorless chicken under all that sauce.  These wings were juicy and bursting with flavor.  And they make up their own sauce here, starting with a base of Frank’s Red Hot sauce, then adding their own touches.  These are what will bring me back.  Well, these and that Philly Cheesesteak pizza.  I have got to try that. 

So that was my dinner at Pizzeria.  It was awesome.  Now, you might be saying, oh, it was just delicious and awesome because they invited you there especially to wow you and they won you over with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.  But that’s just not true.  I was won over before the cookies came.  Also, I don’t think the treatment I received was especially preferential.  I think anyone who went to Pizzeria would have a similar experience, because Juned is a really nice guy who’s really excited about pizza.  He is super enthusiastic about the food he is making; he gushed about going to buy fresh basil and showed me the container they use to keep it fresh, and talked proudly about using only California garlic and real fresh pine nuts in the pesto.  He is just a dude who thinks he’s making really great food and wants to share it with people.  And he’s right, he’s making good food with lots of love.  I guess I should say something sort of negative so I don’t seem like a crazy shill, huh?  Well, if I have to, I would say that Pizzeria could do with a remodel of the interior.  I think they are trying to reflect the quality of the food and their desire to separate themselves from slice joints in the decor, but it comes off as uninviting.  More light I think would serve them well, and maybe white tablecloths.  The combination of leather chairs and shiny dark wood tabletops comes off a little cold.  If they could warm the dining room up, I think more people would be drawn to eat inside.  But then again, I’m not an interior designer, so what do I know?

I think you should try Pizzeria if you’re in the neighborhood.  If you really need a drink, there are tons of bars around that you can visit before or after you eat.  Or, if you’re not in the neighborhood, think of them the next time you’re contemplating delivery.  And don’t forget the wings!

Pizzeria

659 Valencia

http://www.sfpizzeria.com/

Shalimar

Shalimar is famous for serving what many consider the best Pakistani/Indian food in the city while being located in a marginal neighborhood and being the diviest of dives.   I mean, I’m pretty sure it’s famous.  I’d heard of it before I moved here, but that could be just because my dad was obsessed with the Zagat’s Guides.  Regardless, Shalimar is extremely popular.  The Jones Street location is the OG; it preceded the slightly nicer location on Polk and was, you could say, the founder of what is now known to some as the Tandoorloin, having opened about 15 years ago.  I’ve been to both Shalimar locations in SF several times, with experiences that range from good to fair, but this trip would fall just on the inside of the unpleasant category. 

It wasn’t terribly busy when we got there, there weren’t many open tables, but we were able to sit without a wait.  Steve grabbed a couple menus, which are one of the more charming things about Shalimar; they’re laid out sort of like a newspaper on large sheets of newsprint paper.

And for some reason they call beverages “mind blowers.”

So we picked three dishes, Steve went to order and when he came back the four top next to the two top we were sitting at opened up.  I said let’s move over there, because when you’re eating family style, a small table can be a real annoyance.  So we switched tables and Steve started freaking out.  “I told the guy we were sitting at that other table.  I think he’s going to give our food to someone else.”  I told him to relax, but he was watching the food running dude like a hawk until our first dish came out. 

Of course it was wrong.  This was chicken boti, Steve had ordered lamb boti.  We flagged down the food runner and gave him the sitch, and he said there was no lamb boti.  So chicken boti it was, and we were going to have to like it.  Which we did, actually, it was the best thing we ate that night.  Very juicy chicken, with a nice smoky flavor.  Though, it must be noted, it was the skimpiest portion I’ve received at an Indian restaurant in, well, probably forever.  Not that we left hungry, we certainly ordered enough dishes to make sure that wouldn’t happen, and not that I am against small portions, provided the price correlates, which in this instance I don’t think it did.  Sorry for the run on sentence!  The point is, normal prices, less food than normal.  Our next dish was something we had ordered

Mattar Paneer, cheese with peas.  It was tasty enough, but probably should have been called “oily sauce with 4 chunks of cheese and a smattering of peas.”  Again, this was a pretty chintzy serving.   The worst was when this arrived at our table

and we didn’t know what it was.  Steve had ordered a chicken curry, and we were pretty sure this wasn’t chicken, the meat was pretty dark.  I figured it was lamb, because of the appearance of the bones, but it didn’t have a distinct lamb flavor.  Steve supposed it was beef, but I guess we’ll never know.  At this point we didn’t bother to flag the dude down again, we’d already had to grab him a second time to ask for the raita we’d ordered, so we just said “fuck it,” and ate the whatever it was.  It tasted ok.

We also ordered a regular naan for Steve and an onion naan for me.  I have been onion obsessed lately, but this was a bad call.  The naan was undercooked and extremely floury.  The regular naan was better, but still nothing to write home about. 

We didn’t have any trouble wolfing every morsel down though.

All in all, a pretty disappointing trip to Shalimar.  Beyond the food, there was also an awkward situation with a woman who came in with a rather large group of women and children.  I don’t know exactly what went down, but shortly after they came in she was yelling at a man to get the hell out, then she chased him out the door and didn’t come back for a good long while.  I was relieved when she came back because I was a little worried the guy was going to attack her or something, but I also kind of wish she hadn’t come back because she was acting very strangely.  Not that that will happen if you decide to eat there.  The chances are better that you will get some mediocre food though.

Shalimar

532 Jones St

http://www.shalimarsf.com

Village Pizzeria

It’s getting down to the nitty-gritty in terms of Tenderloin pizza places.  Not that there was too far to go to get there.  The neighborhood is certainly not known for great Italian food.  What it could possibly be said to be known for is a lot of slice places that you’d only eat at if you weren’t sober.  Village Pizzeria ended up on the last-ditch list because Steve thought the pizza at the other location, on Clement street, was bad.  I was willing to give this location, on Van Ness, the benefit of the doubt.  Especially after looking over their menu, which had so many tasty sounding special pizzas that it was really difficult to choose just one to order.  It’s nice that they have on their online ordering menu a half and half pizza choice, and for each half you can choose from a drop down menu of all their specialty pizzas.  There’s no hemming and hawing and/or having to call and ask whether they’ll do half and half.  It’s a small thing, but it made me pretty happy.

We ordered the fresh garden salad

which, to be honest, we chose because the rest of the salads seemed outrageously expensive.  The Greek salad was more than 9 bucks.  I suppose it’s possible that the salads are meant to be meals on their own, but still.  They seem a little overpriced.  The green salad was more reasonably priced at $6.25, and it was good.  I liked the combination of romaine, red leaf and butter lettuces, all of which were crisp and fresh tasting.  I got the house vinaigrette dressing, which was a little overly oily, but still tasty and cheesy. 

After a good deal of back and forth, we decided on a half prosciutto special, half supreme chicken pizza.  The prosciutto special was good, it had artichoke hearts and pesto, which are a couple of my favorite ingredients, but with the sun-dried tomatoes it was a little too sweet for my taste.  Steve and I disagreed on this though, he preferred the prosciutto and I preferred the supreme chicken.  I love green onions and fresh tomatoes on pizza, and as I suspected, I loved the broccoli.  Recently oven roasting has become my favorite method of cooking broccoli, so it seemed natural to make the move to broccoli pizza.  If you are a fan of the cruciferous vegetable and haven’t tried it as a pizza topping, you are missing out.  Anyway, beyond the novelty of the toppings, this was a pretty nice pizza; not too sweet nor overly thick of crust, and good sauce applied with a judicious hand.  I’m not rushing to tell all my friends and acquaintances that they MUST. GO. NOW.  but I am saying that it was a very solid good. 

Village Pizzeria

1243 Van Ness Ave

http://sfvillagepizzeria.com/

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/

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/

KFC/Taco Bell

I headed to KFC/Taco Bell with a pocket full of coupons.  It was early evening and I was meeting Sarah for a fast food feast.  I was a little apprehensive about this particular venture, because I am quite familiar with the corner that houses this restaurant, and it’s a little gnarly.  As I approached the doors things seemed pretty quiet and I looked around for Sarah.  I didn’t see her so I popped into the restaurant.  From outside I saw a tall manly figure in a black skirt and top and from that distance I figured he was just a guy in drag, nothing out of the ordinary, but when I got inside I found that wasn’t exactly the case.

Here’s Sarah’s artist’s rendering

Full gray beard, tank top pulled down under his man boobs, ass drooping below his skirt and what looked like tassels on his nipples, but upon closer inspection were nipple clamps.  Homemade nipple clamps no less, just black binder clips.  Ouch.  I was pretty taken aback by this guy, but Sarah was put in a slight state of shock.  We had lots of time to observe (and notice his leopard print thong) because the couple in line in front of us took an extraordinary amount of time to place their order.  They did apologize to everyone in line afterwards though.  To my surprise, all our fellow customers were very nice.

We ordered a pretty wide variety of stuff from taco bell.

That’s Sarah’s bag of goodies, here’s mine;

Most of what sounded appealing was on the taco bell menu, but I made sure to order one thing from the KFC side.  Most of what I ate was stuff I’d never had before.  I ate a bean burrito, which was pretty normal, it seemed like there was less sauce than usual.  I also ordered a Fresco Ranchero chicken soft taco, which came off the Drive Thru Diet menu.  It was ok, but kind of hot dog tasting.  The biggest disappointment was the Mexican Pizza.

I was so excited for it too, it sounds super amazing right?  A Mexican pizza!  It should be great!  But no, it was weird; weird texture, weird flavor, and look at it, it looks weird.  More gross, it looks gross.  I could only eat a couple bites of this.

From KFC I ordered the Fiery Grilled Wings, which to my surprise were pretty good.   They weren’t too spicy, but the chicken wasn’t the gross greasy mush that KFC’s fried chicken usually is.  It was pretty standard barbequed chicken.  Not too bad.

Sarah also had a bean burrito, and I believe a soft taco, and this slug looking thing

that I’m pretty sure was a meximelt.  Sarah said it was alright.  She had a lot of trouble determining what was in it, but that’s just a fun mystery, right?

The very best thing we ate that night were, shockingly, the cookies.

They were 3 for a dollar, and I joked about the sign on the cookie case that said they were fresh baked daily, but the joke was on me because they did taste pretty fresh.  The chocolate chip was the best, but the sugar wasn’t bad.

Taco Bell/KFC didn’t make me sick like McDonald’s did, but I’m not in a rush to get back.  But if I had to eat there I wouldn’t be sad to eat grilled chicken and cookies.  I’d probably skip the weirder stuff on Taco Bell menu though.

KFC/Taco Bell

691 Eddy St

www.tacobell.com

www.kfc.com