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/

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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/

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/

Sing Sing Sandwich Shop

I was meeting friends for a long, late lunch on a Friday afternoon, which is just the perfect thing sometimes.  I was the first to show up so I lurked around outside the place taking a bunch of photos,

then I wandered off for a bit to check out another Vietnamese sandwich shop down the block.  When I got back Jessie was waiting outside, and soon after Sarah and Justin arrived and we headed inside. 

I liked the look of Sing Sing a lot, the red checkered table cloths, the towering plants,

and the flat screen tv showing some sort of Vietnamese karaoke extravaganza.

The place was totally empty when we were there, at least the front room; I think Jessie mentioned that he went into the backroom and there were some people doing some gambling.  That’s what Sing Sing is known for, according to Yelp anyway, indoor smoking and backroom gambling.  We probably missed out on this because we were there so late, that sort of stuff is more of a morning activity.  A few days ago when I walked by around 10 am on a Saturday there were guys just spilling out of the place. 

Anyway, we ordered at the counter from a guy who didn’t speak great English.  I am really terrible at communicating with people with accents or a poor grasp of my native tongue, which makes me feel really bad and racist but I try really hard, I do.  I’m just a little hard of hearing and not good with visual cues.  To be fair, I’m not so great at communicating with people who speak English as their first language who have no accent.  So.  There was a little confusion since Sarah and I had both read that they only serve one thing at Sing Sing, a combination Vietnamese sandwich, but when we tried to order just that we were told that they only had pork sandwiches that day.  So we ordered four pork sandwiches and four iced Vietnamese coffees.

The coffees were delicious and strong and refreshing, and we were also given a pot of hot tea which provided a nice contrast.  Jessie said something great about the flavor of the coffee (or was it the tea…) that was so great I had to write it down so I wouldn’t forget to put it in this post.  Of course, I’ve misplaced where I wrote it, but as soon as I find my notebook I’ll update it for you all to enjoy. 

The sandwiches came out and looked so beautiful I could hardly stop taking photos long enough to eat.

Before this it had been a while since I’d had a Vietnamese sandwich, so I don’t know if this was a particularly outstandingly delicious sandwich, or I just forgot how much I like them, but dang, it was good.  It was a masterful combination of textures.  Fresh, crusty bread, it cut the roof of my mouth of course but sometimes that’s the price you have to pay, with a soft inside.  Crunchy and cool pickled vegetables, tender roast pork, thinner cartiledge-ey slices of pork and a creaminess that didn’t taste overpoweringly of mayonnaise all melded together into perfection.  We were, again, a little confused since we’d been told that this wasn’t a combination sandwich, but it was similar to combination sandwiches I’d had in the past, with the different types of pig meat and what looked an awful lot like pate…

Maybe their combination is more than one type of meat?   My one beef with this sandwich was that it had pretty large slices of raw jalapeno, but it’s a pretty meaningless complaint because they are easy to pick off if you’re a wimp like me.  I should also note that I was the only one to take the jalapenos off my sandwich (after I ate one, thinking I could handle it but I totally couldn’t).  Like I said, I am a wimp. 

So Sing Sing sandwich shop, who knew?  For whatever reason this place is not mentioned in discussions of great Tenderloin Vietnamese sandwich shops, those in my experience are limited to Saigon Sandwiches and Baguette Express.   They are vastly more popular ( Saigon sandwiches has 1098 Yelp reviews and Baguette Express has 125, to Sing Sing’s 40), and I guess I would venture that it’s because they are on the less scary Larkin Street and they are both more obviously places to get food.  I mean, neither of them from the outside seem to just be a room full of plants.  And I have actually never been to either of those spots (I know, sacrilege) but I think it’s pretty safe to say that neither of them display their slices of pork in a refrigerated case like this

With a cherry on top. 

Sing Sing Sandwich Shop

309 Hyde Street

Their Yelp page

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