What I Ate in San Francisco – A Confession, part 3
April 1 – Day Three
The day starts with a run to Dynamo. They have flavors today that I haven’t tried, and Loria doesn’t really want to go out. I leave her sleeping and brave the SF bus system. Loria’s sister Janelle flies in to set up the convention, and she flew out on the same wince-inducingly early flight that we did two days earlier, so I figure she’s probably not eaten. So, to make sure that each of them get at least a donut or two, I buy a dozen. I arrive back at the hotel, having defended the box against hordes of hungry bus passengers. We leave the hotel room in heavy sugar shock. Great success.
After the show is set up, we decide to visit
House of Dim Sum – Baked BBQ Pork Buns among others
Janelle and Katelyn worked Wondercon last year and found this place and made many returns trips. It is, kindly put, short on ambiance: basically a line of steam trays from which the food is served cafeteria style. I’d heard the girls rave about the baked pork buns as being the stuff of drool-soaked dreams. They ain’t wrong: sweet, radioactive red filling in what is a very light and airy dinner roll, glazed with honey. It’s basically a dessert with a bit of protein in it. The steamed pork dumplings are very good, as is the shrimp wonton soup which comes from the back, made to order. Also important here: this place is dirt cheap. Loria and I eat for $15, and the food is substantial enough that our 4pm meal holds us for the rest of the day.
Well, not entirely. I do sneak out around the corner late and grab dessert from what turns out to be a bad April Fool’s Day prank at
Beard Papa – Vanilla and Pumpkin Cream Puffs
I discover this place while searching online for noodles the night before, and find many raves about their cream puffs. I also discover that there is one next door to the hotel, so it’s a convenient treat.
I cannot imagine what anybody in the US sees in these.
Perhaps it’s due to the Asian population in SF that this chain has flourished, but my first bite of the pumpkin cream puff is the most disappointing dessert moment since the time in Japan that I bought a big pastry and found it was filled with red bean paste. The filling has barely any flavor at all, and is not sweet. Hoping that we got a bad batch of pumpkin, I bit into the vanilla and it was similarly flavorless. I certainly get cultural differences when it comes to the preferences of seasoning, but these were ridiculously bad. So bad that, after having a bite and confirming that Loria wasn’t really feeling adventurous, I threw the rest of them away.
April 2 – Day Four
The show starts late for the girls, so we wander to get breakfast at the Westfield San Francisco Centre, which is situated perfectly between the hotel and the convention center. On the Night of the Deluge and Noodle Run, we popped in here and strolled around on the way back to the hotel and noted something strange in the food court. Here, observe: note the strange, patently un-mall-like names in the food lineup? Sure, there’s a Jamba Juice and Panda Express, but for every one of those there are three names that were unfamiliar to me. We decided to start with
Melt Gelato and Crepe Cafe – Bangkok Nights Crepe
This was a lovely concoction – lightly grilled veggies, chicken, and a peanut sauce and some cheese all folded into a crepe the size of a dinner plate. I enjoyed it so much, I had the same thing for lunch. Unfortunately, in the lunch rush they forgot the sauce, and the entire thing went from a tasty Southeast Asian treat to dry but serviceable.
What came after the crepe was almost as important. I ran around to the various eateries, most of which were still not open, and gathered up to-go menus for the girls’ lunches. In doing so, I spied a Vietnamese place that I had to try. As much as I miss you, Dynamo, I really do mourn that I didn’t have more time with you, Out the Door.
Next time: Really, truly good night, Saigon.