Off-Convoy: San Francisco!

We went to San Francisco partly for a library conference…but mostly to eat things.

Spoiler: the best restaurant we that we tried in SF was Izakaya Sozai.

The American Library Association’s Annual Conference was in San Francisco this year!  On their Pride weekend, no less!  Excitement.

Miko’s grad school friend Cat was there too, so they caught up over many meals of dim sum, and then we all met up for more eating adventures.  Because we have our priorities straight, and there is nothing more important than food while traveling.

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So excited! This is Cat on the left, btw. She is an excellent travel partner.


“Paul Reubens” sandwich from Ike’s Place — it was giant and I saved the second half, which I was very happy to have when I came back from the hotel…rather tipsy…from a vendor party at the Tonga Room with an open bar and a lackluster buffet:

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Creme brulee and peach ice cream from Bi-Rite (with my charming and elegant college roommate Maria’s coffee almond chip cone in the background):

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Gorgeous pho from Pho 2000 — we were going to go to Tu Lan but there was a huge line, and this place was next door:

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Almond butter, caramelized banana, and bacon toast from the super cozy Grove Cafe on Fillmore St:

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Soft serve from the Straus Family Creamery in the Ferry Building:

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Beard Papa! I miss the SD location 😦  I was excited that their flavor of the week was my favorite, caramel!

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All Cat and I wanted was dim sum.  We were on a mission!  Below: at Hong Kong Lounge II:

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SF 30
THIS PORK.  I’m not crazy about glazed pork usually, since it tends to be too chewy or gristly, but this stuff was crispy and sticky on the outside, super-flavorful on the inside, and magically delicious.

Our hotel wasn’t too far from Chinatown, so two mornings in a row, I ventured out to get take-out dim sum.  The pictures below are from Delicious Dim Sum, which actually wasn’t great.  Good Mong Kok Bakery, where they just throw your selections into a plastic baggie, was way better.

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Burma Love in the Mission

Clockwise from the right, we have:

  1. Tea leaf salad-this is their famous dish but we thought it was kind of…too busy?
  2. Chili lamb, yum. But spicy!
  3. Platha & dip — this was DELICIOUS.

Hotel Kabuki
Hotel Kabuki has a spa attached to it, and it’s like an oasis in the middle of SF.  You make an appointment, and it’s $25 to stay as long as you like.  This was a welcome break from conference craziness.  You feel kind of bashful at first being naked in a public space, but after the first five minutes, you don’t think about it.

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You obviously are not allowed to take photos inside the spa, so all we have is this picture of Miko imitating ukiyo-e.

Izakaya Sozai

We loved this meal so much that the taxi driver who took us home remarked that we were the happiest people she’d seen all night. Pictures below in the slideshow, but here are some notes:

  • Get a ramen egg (or two…or ten!).  You should have seen Miko’s face while eating one.  It was blissful.
  • We were super-excited about the bacon-wrapped mochi, but we weren’t actually that wowed by it.  The bacon-wrapped okra, on the other hand, was amazing.
  • The simmered snapper with bacon broth and pea shoots–I mean, how can anything with bacon broth be bad.
  • The sea bass yakitori — it just melted in your mouth.
  • The caramelized banana was just okay.  Order another fried egg instead.  Or several.

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