Posts Tagged ‘Yank Sing’
April 3, 2011
Slept in a bit and, as if the impending end of the vacation wasn’t enough inspiration for melancholy, did the final Dynamo run of the trip.
I decided I needed a bit more seafood, so we head to the wharf where we visit
Nick’s Lighthouse – Clam Chowder, Crab Cakes, and Crab Sandwich
We’d had good luck at Tarantino’s before, but I wanted to stop somewhere in that main glut of stands on Fisherman’s Wharf, figuring that the competition would mean better food and lots of turnout. And, while Nick’s was doing brisk business, it wasn’t a great meal by any stretch of the imagination.
The chowder was, unfortunately, fairly tasteless and watery. The crab cakes were far from fresh and were like a mouthful of sand in consistency. The crab sandwich was passable, if a bit heavy on the mayo, and suffered from the same bread overload that most sandwiches on the wharf do. We stumbled back to the trolley stop, defeated.
It was only an hour or so before we were looking for a late lunch/early dinner. We took a leisurely stroll up Mission to
Yank Sing – Deem Sum
I’d grabbed a large takeout order from the Rincon Center incarnation of Yank Sing during our last trip and noticed the carts laden with bamboo trays wandering the dining area. We’d vowed to do that version of the dim sum experience on this trip. And it is quite the experience.
We arrived about an hour before closing, so there crowd was spare. Our table was literally descended upon by cart after cart filled with dumplings, fried items, and other food. Our only request during the meal, baked BBQ pork buns, had sold out earlier in the day, unfortunately. But there was plenty of other choices.
The meal was fast. It probably took us longer to walk to the restaurant than it did to eat. It’s easy to see how this kind of dining would be popular for a busy lunch crowd. It’s also easy to see how it could quickly become expensive for people interested in trying one of everything: our meal was no cheaper here than at Wayfare or any of the other higher end establishments we visited, and I certainly didn’t get the feeling like I’d been any more copiously fed than I had elsewhere.
And I have to admit that, having done both now, ordering off the menu is probably my preference. I felt like I got more of what I wanted that way, and didn’t feel as likely to make a $10 mistake like the shrimp balls we ended up with. It’s my fault, really, since I was blithely pointing at things that looked good without looking at a price list or asking. But having a menu in front of me to order from would have definitely avoided the issue.
My favorite dish was the Shanghai Dumpling which featured minced Kurobuta pork and a small splash of broth encased in a dumpling. The waitress was kind enough to walk us through the traditional way to eat it, and it was outstanding. Probably should have stuck with a plate full of those.
April 4, 2011
Our flight left late in the afternoon, so I called the night before and asked for a late checkout, planning to sleep in.
My back had other plans. I was up at six and, after all attempts to calm it down failed once again, I was off to Dottie’s to see what baked goods they were offering. I remember buying several, but only the much beloved whiskey blueberry crumb cake stands out. It was every bit as good as I remembered.
As our thoughts turned to lunch, we agreed that it needed to be a return to Spice Kit. While Loria fed and clothed the baby, I nearly sprinted up the street to grab a couple of sandwiches to go. Thanks for the introduction to the bánh mì. We’ll be back.
It was a great trip for food. I’m quite appreciative of the many compliments we got about Ainsley, but I’m most proud of her restaurant manners. She was almost uniformly angelic, and it was a great first family vacation.
April 2 – Day Four
Out the Door – Shredded Chicken Salad, Steamed BBQ Pork Bun, Caramelized Chicken
Tucked in the far corner from the Bloomingdale’s entrance we frequented, Out the Door has both a very busy takeout counter and a sizable dine-in area – especially for a mall. Though I have to admit that there is nothing about this place that says mall food to me. The first meal I ate there, my poor digestive system was feeling a bit abused from days of donuts and ice cream, so I figured I would go light and get a salad and steamed BBQ pork bun. The prices, on first glance, seemed a bit steep, but no other salad options were speaking to me, so I took the plunge.
I’m so glad I did.
The cabbage-based salad had a light, crisp mix of vegetables very delicately dressed in a lime and ginger dressing. Simple and delicious. The chicken on top of it seemed a bit skimpy, but then I’m used to eating large homemade salads with 1/3 of a chicken on top of it. The salad ended up being very filling despite looking small. I topped it off with a steamed BBQ pork bun. Costco, of all places, used to sell these and I loved them. I mourn the loss of them. The Out the Door version had a filling that was less of the paste of meat and aromatics I’m used to having. Instead, it was filled with a complex mixture of still-crisp vegetables, cubes of pork, and enough sauce to cover them.
My second meal there the next day, I went for broke and got the caramelized chicken. Suffice it to say that, even though I tend to view rice as a carb that I can easily cut to a minimum (in favor of dessert), I ate nearly all the rice served with this dish in an effort to soak up all of that unctuous, complex sauce.
April 3 – Day Five
It’s our final full day in San Francisco, so I decide to start it off in style. Although neither of the girls are interested in them, I get up very early and go to Dynamo. They are just finishing frying off the hot cross donuts and it becomes clear to me that I either miss the panel with Max Brooks or finally get to taste the cherry cornmeal donuts. Already planning to return next April for the convention, I choose the panel and promise myself the donut on return. Besides, I’ve already eaten five, maybe more…my poor, poor diet.
After the panel, I’m hungry again. So I slog through the rain to the Ferry Terminal to Boccalone for another meat cone, then around the corner to
Yank Sing – Deem Sum Platter and many other tasty Deem Sum treats
I’d read about the baked BBQ pork buns here, so I wanted to give this place a shot. I’d also read that it was fairly expensive for dim sum, which I didn’t find to be the case at all. Maybe a bit more than the $15 for two we’d paid in Chinatown, but the quality of this food was amazing.
Seafood was front and center for most of the dumplings in the dim sum platter. Loaded with scallop and shrimp meat, they were tender and tasty. I’m also a bit amazed that it was all packed so well that it was hot even after my long walk from the restaurant to the Moscone Center. The baked BBQ pork buns were as advertised – simply a step above. I especially liked the onion flavor prevalent in the filling, something missing from other incarnations I’d had before.
I regret both that I decided to hit this one late in the trip, as it would have been worth revisiting, and that I was doing takeout: I’ve never actually had dim sum with the rolling carts piled with bamboo steamers, and they do this at Yank Sing. Next time!
Convention ends, we tear things down, and head back to the hotel with the intention of dropping off the bags and heading to the food court. I have been eyeing Out the Door’s Coconut Pork Riblets. I can nearly taste them in anticipation.
We get ready, head out, and get to the doors of the mall later than hoped to find them locked. I nearly pull a “Khaaaaan” here. Instead, I pout silently as we head to
Mel’s Drive-In – Broiled Chicken Breast Dinner
This place looks horrendous from the outside, so while the girls get seated, I run up the street to look at the menu for Green Papaya in the hope that it’s prices are comparable. It’s more pricey, so I trudge back and face the music.
While the girls work a convention, the business picks up the cost of their food. So when our weary server wanders over, I start by saying “Mine will be on a separate check.”
“Nope, sorry, all one check.”
Um…ok. Eventually Janelle overhears him talking to somebody – he’s finishing up a 13 hour shift. I guess that’ll explain the surly attitude.
I’m too upset at having been deprived of my last visit with Out the Door to argue. The food eventually comes. The girls seem to be ok with theirs. Mine is terrible – dry chicken, gravy that tastes like something mom would have turned in her apron permanently had she made it. The server chides us for not ordering dessert. We pay and leave defeated.
April 4 – Day Six
Our flight is early, so no real breakfast. I wake up around 4am, though, and cannot sleep. So eventually I shower and head to Dottie’s around 7am. I find myself first in line, grab the pastries to go, and return to find the girls getting ready.
My to-do list for the next trip to SF: Sotto Mare, Yank Sing, those Out the Door riblets, as much Dynamo as my pancreas can handle, and some other places we didn’t make:
In my perfect world, we’ll have time the resources to go early and visit Yountville, too. I’ll let you guess why.