Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Burmese Cuisine in San Francisco

One of the benefits of living in San Francisco is being able to sample food from around the world. While there are a few gaps, some quite major, it seems like we have restaurants featuring the cuisine of nearly every member of the United Nations.

Burma lies between India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and China. Its food tastes like a mixture of the flavors you find in its neighbors' cuisines. A wide assortment of curries are featured on Burmese menus. Many dishes make heavy use of coconut milk. Dried or pickled vegetables are quite common ingredients.

One of my favorite dishes is tea leaf salad, a mixture of preserved tea leaves, dried shrimp, chilies, peanuts, ginger, dried coconut, lime juice, and other spices. The taste is exotic, but one that I love. My wife is a big fan of Burmese curried chicken noodle soup. It's one of her favorite lunch dishes.

San Francisco is home to at least four Burmese restaurants. Two of my favorites are in the Richmond District. Mandalay Restaurant has been serving Burmese and Chinese food in the Inner Richmond District since 1984. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.

Pagan Restaurant is a new restaurant in the Outer Richmond, at the corner of Clement and 33rd Avenue, near the Legion of Honor Museum. Since January, Pagan has been serving Thai and Burmese cuisine for lunch and dinner from Wednesday through Monday; closed on Tuesdays.

Both Pagan and Mandalay are reasonably priced and good places to take children if they like Asian food. The easiest way to get to either restaurant from Fisherman's Wharf or Union Square is by taxi.

If you'd like to sample Burmese cuisine on a full-day tour of San Francisco, please call me at (866) 326-4237 or e-mail me by clicking here to make a reservation.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ocean View Restaurants in San Francisco

When you are out at the beach in San Francisco dining options are limited, particularly if you want a restaurant with a view. There are only two restaurants with ocean views: the Beach Chalet and the Cliff House.

The Beach Chalet sits at the western end of Golden Gate Park, across The Great Highway from the ocean. The building was designed by a famous local architect, Willis Polk, and opened in 1925. The first floor lobby houses murals and mosaics that were completed in 1936. The Beach Chalet makes its own beers, which are served in both of its restaurants. Upstairs is the Beach Chalet restaurant featuring typical bar food as well as American standards. The Park Chalet sits behind the main building with beautiful views of Golden Gate Park. The menu is the same for lunch and dinner and consists of a variety of small plates and a few other dishes. Weekend lunch and brunch are often crowded, so reservations are recommended at both restaurants. Getting a table on weekdays is easier, but a reservation, particularly at the Beach Chalet restaurant, can't hurt.

The Cliff House sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific and Seal Rocks. This historic restaurant has undergone many changes throughout its storied history. The third incarnation was renovated a few years ago and is now home to two restaurants: the Bistro and Sutro's. The Bistro is a casual restaurant that offers omelettes, sandwiches, salads, and other casual meals. Reservations are not accepted so expect to wait on nice weekend days. Sutro's is the upscale restaurant at the Cliff House. It's menu has a variety of fish, poultry, and meat dishes. Sutro's accepts reservations, which are highly recommended.

Both the Beach Chalet are Cliff House are great places to lunch during Blue Heron's A Day in the City tour. If you would like to book a private half-day or full-day tour of San Francisco, please call me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.