Posted in Food, Peninsula, San Francisco

I’m Just Not That Into You

Ike’s Place has gotten plenty of hype lately.  It’s been on the Food Network, it was mentioned on 7×7’s list of things you need to eat before you die, and now they’re expanding like crazy.  So much so they actually ended up opening one in the Redwood Shores area.  Close enough for me to visit during my lunch break.

I visited them on two occasions.  The first time, I tried the “Name of the Girl I’m Dating” (#9).  It’s chopped Halal chicken breast with avocado, pepperjack cheese and honey mustard, dressed with their famous dirty sauce (which is a mixture of mayo, garlic, and herbs).  It was good, but way too over the top.  It was total excess.  It was not the kind of good you’d tell your friends about or dream about going back for.  I felt like telling them, “Stop trying so hard!”

So I went back for something I usually crave: Chicken Fried Steak.  They have a sammie called “Forty!?” that has chicken fried steak, dirty sauce, and cheddar cheese.  Can’t go wrong, right?  Wrong!  The meat was greasy and flavorless.  So greasy that the oils had soaked into the bread, mixed in with the oils in the dirty sauce, and became one big gloppy mess.  It wasn’t worth ordering again, for sure.

So this is a classic example of hype over substance.  There are far better sandwich joints in the area (Lorenzo’s), or even out of the area (Bakesale Betty, Roli Roti, Kitchenette).  Now, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps I need to go to their flagship restaurant to get the true experience.  But if you’re going to expand like gangbusters, you’d better make sure your product doesn’t suffer.

Ike’s Place – 555 Twin Dolphin Dr., Redwood Shores – Other locations throughout S.F. and the Bay Area

Posted in Food, San Francisco

Oysters, Anyone?

Courtesy of

So my recent fabulous excursion with my regular group of “Foodinista” dining pals (@lickmyspoon, @joanneisafoodie, @istelleinad, @veradevera, & Nicole) inspired me to write about a couple of stellar San Francisco deals for those of you who love downing oysters like I do.

We ventured to Zuppa Restaurant on 4th Street in the city where they have a fabulous menu of happy hour specials (M-F, 5-7pm), including their ridiculously affordable deal of 50 cents an oyster (with the purchase of one drink minimum and no more than a dozen per person). The girls and I ordered a dozen each. Yup, we had 60 oysters at the table and we weren’t shy about it. That’s what happens when you eat with the Foodinistas. We know what we want and we eat what we like.

We also shared an order of the Salsicca ($5), Rigatoni ($10) and a couple of Margherita Pizzas ($7 each). They’ve also got $4 beers and $5 margheritas, pinot grigio and chianti. All the food was pretty good and a definite deal for the price. We were definitely a very lively and happy bunch of foodies that evening. 🙂

Another joint making news for their oyster specials is the Waterbar, also in San Francisco. Their “Come Unhinged” happy hour specials run from 11:30am-6pm, everyday. What can you score? Try $1 oysters! I have yet to go, but trust me, it’s on the list. And M-F, 3-6pm, you can enjoy special $5 cocktails, featured wines, and $3 featured beers.

This is definitely a good time to be an oyster-lover. And if you’re not, get on board!

Zuppa Restaurant – 564 Fourth St – San Francisco
Waterbar Restaurant
– 399 The Embarcadero South – San Francisco

Posted in Food, Peninsula, Street Food

The Chowdermobile Rolls On…

Courtesy of

Sam’s Chowder House is one of the many restaurants to jump on the street food bandwagon. Their “Chowdermobile” (@chowdermobile) travels to Brisbane, San Mateo, and Redwood City on a regular basis. I decided to give these guys a shot since I was in the mood for a nice bowl of chowder on a winter day.

Their menu is a truncated version of their restaurant’s. And like the restaurant, it’s also a bit overpriced. Between myself and my dining partner, we ordered their famous lobster roll, clam chowder, fried calamari, and fish tacos.

My fave dishes? The clam chowder would come in first and the fried calamari second.  Both were seasoned well and full of fresh seafood flavor.  I hate when calamari has too much breading or grainy cornmeal in the batter.  This was not the case here.  It was crispy and had great flavor to go with the perfectly fried calamari.

And the chowder wasn’t too thick, floury, or too rich with cream.  It had tons of fresh herbs, clams, potatoes, and great overall flavor.  If anything, it didn’t need the extra pinch of salt that was added.  It would’ve been perfect, otherwise.

Courtesy of

The fish tacos weren’t anything to get excited about, however.  Though the fish was fresh, it was flavorless and the batter added nothing.  The tortillas were cold and bland.  A definite miss.

And surprisingly, I’m not a huge lobster fan, but the lobster roll did live up to it’s “Best Sandwich” reputation (it’s been rated as such by the folks at the Today Show).  They didn’t skimp on lobster meat and it was butter, tender and delish.

All in all, if you’re in the mood for this kind of fare, I’d definitely suggest you pay them a visit if they’re in your area.  However, be prepared to plunk down a pretty penny.  No one can eat just one fish taco and be satisfied.  So if you order just one small fish taco and a small bowl of chowder, that’ll set you back $10 for lunch.  Add an order of calamari and you’re talking $16 for lunch.  Definitely not, “street food-like” at all.

Sam’s Chowdermobile Various locations (original restaurant located in HMB) – @chowdermobile on Twitter

Posted in Events, Food, San Francisco

7×7’s List of Ultimate SF Eats 2010

I usually don’t comment on “Best of” lists, but I made an exception.

“7×7’s The Big Eat SF: 100 Things to Try Before You Die” list for 2010 is intriguing because they single out some of the best dishes they’ve had the pleasure of eating as opposed to highlighting just the establishment.  After reading it, I’ve also realized how much farther I have to go!  I swear, a foodie’s job is never done ;).

Here’s what I’ve been fortunate enough to try and L-O-V-E on their list:

4. Fried chicken and waffles at Little Skillet
12. Porchetta sandwich at RoliRoti
13. Soup dumplings at Shanghai Dumpling King
20. Salumi misti plate at Perbacco
21. Pizza margherita at Pizzeria Delfina
33. Prime rib at House of Prime Rib
47. Ceviche on the patio at La Mar Cebichería Peruana
58. Chicharróns from 4505 Meats
61. Egg custard tart at Golden Gate Bakery
88. Buckwheat crepe and a French cider at Ti Couz
90. Korean taco at Namu’s market stand
95. Ube ice cream from Mitchell’s

Here’s what I’ve tried on the list that’s simply overrated IMHO:

31. Guajillo-braised beef short-rib taco at Tacolicious
40. Cheeseburger with sweet potato fries at Taylor’s Automatic Refresher
62. Dim sum at Ton Kiang
66. Pig parts at Incanto
87. Sesame balls at Yank Sing
89. Lettuce cups at Betelnut

100. Menage a Trois at Ike’s Place

And of course, what I’m dying to try:

1. Roast chicken and bread salad at Zuni
8. Morning bun at Tartine Bakery
11. Pork sugo with pappardelle at Delfina
14. Beef brisket sandwich at Il Cane Rosso
16. Katsu curry from Muracci’s Japanese Curry & Grill
17. Samusa soup at Burma Superstar
18. Oysters on the half shell at Swan Oyster Depot
19. Lobster pot pie at Michael Mina
22. Vietnamese roasted pork sandwich at Saigon Sandwich
42. Fried-shrimp po’boy at Brenda’s French Soul Food
60. The Little Star at Little Star Pizza
71. Scottish egg at Wexler’s
74. Corned-beef sandwich with Gruyère at The Sentinel
75. Fried green beans at Coco500
85. Pulled-pork sandwich at Roadside BBQ
86. A cheese slice at Arinell Pizza

I would LOVE to hear what you’ve tried, want to try, love or even hate on the list…