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Category Archives: Expensive $$$

Joe Convenes at Town Hall

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Town Hall is a very fancy restaurant in the heart of San Francisco. It may be the fanciest place I’ve been to yet.

Their menu is rather limited. But the taste behind each dish definitely makes up for it. The setting in and of itself is pretty spectacular. ‘Bon Appetit’ magazine had this to say about the restaurant in their June 2004 edition, “Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio has become a veritable culinary college, and the latest three to graduate are the Rosenthal brothers, Mitchell and Steven, and cohort Doug Washington. The trio recently opened Town Hall in an old ship engine manufacturing building in the South of Market neighborhood. ‘It resembles a New England schoolhouse, redone stylishly with fanciful light fixtures,’ says Sens, who likes the menu’s wide range of American regional cooking, particularly the southwestern gumbo.”
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Even the SF Chronicle’s Michael Bauer got up in arms when Town Hall first made it’s move into the culinary world of San Francisco. He was impressed with everything (like I was), from the chefs, the location, and even to the same dessert that I had, “The most memorable is the layers of butterscotch and chocolate in a pot de creme topped with a thin blanket of butter crunch”.image_2

Now let me tell you, my meal was amazing, almost every aspect of it was perfect, but the pot de creme just wasn’t my cup of… mousseyness. I was already quite full before dessert came, and wasn’t really feeling up to it (which may be the reason why I couldn’t fully enjoy it). When the butterscotch and chocolate in a pot de creme came to our table, I knew I was not going to be able to finish what I was about to start. It was one of the richest desserts I’ve had in some time, which is saying something. It did have what I thought might be a redeeming quality in that it had some toffee stuck lightly into the top layer of the mousse, but it wasn’t nearly like mom used to make.
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Overall, everything was pretty nice as most other reviews concluded with Town Hall. I got the soup special of the day, which was a sweet corn soup.
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It was decent, I don’t really ever have corn soups at restaurants. SF Magazine said, “This food come from our memories. It’s what we grew up with and what we’ve learned over the years as cooks”. I guess my childhood was vastly different from this writer, because this soup and all of the food in general is nothing like any mother I knew ever cooked! Not to say it wasn’t delicious, but much of this was Greek to me!
I happened to be with my boss, who got the Lemon Cucumber and Heirloom Tomato salad, Feta Cheese, Nicoise Olives, Tomato Crostini, and Lemon Vinaigrette to start off with. She said she was quite pleased with her starter. I was pretty happy with mine as well. They both went great with the whole grain bread that they brought out as an appetizer (although it could have been warmed. Who doesn’t like warm bread?)
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For my entree I got the Beeler Farms pork chop, fingerling potatoes, Fuji apples, peanut tasso butter, and apple cider jus for a mere $27. This was probably one of the best dishes I’ve had in San Francisco yet, and definitely the best pork chop I’ve ever had in my life. They even utilized applesauce, which I didn’t seem on par with the classiness. Maybe they wanted to do it more like Mom did (I know mine did) by using  applesauce on their porkchops. They even threw in some Fuji Apples, which was a great choice.

Everything was great. To top it all off, when they brought the check, they brought it in an old book. Many other people who had previously been to the restaurant had written all in the pages with some crazy, some nice, and some pretty down-right odd comments. Before I left, I was sure to leave my unrefined mark in the first few pages, where hopefully it will serve to entertain the socialites that frequent Town Hall.

Town Hall on Urbanspoon

 

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Cafe Museo

Cafe Museo is a fairly small cafe over on 151 3rd Street. It’s connected to the SFMOMA, so people will usually stop by the cafe after their long walks through the museum exhibits. Their website makes such boastful statements as, “We specialize in edible art created with the finest local ingredients”. image_2 (1)

Now I know the MOMA is a very refined place, with many quality pieces of artwork housed inside, but when I traveled to the cafe with a friend, we found something entirely different.

We arrived with almost literal black holes in our stomachs (I had only eaten a blueberry muffin from Costco earlier that morning). So, we walk inside and glance over the menu, trying to decide which fancy plate might fancy our taste buds. My friend decided on the sweet corn gnocchi, while I myself was feeling more like the roasted chicken Panino.

I made both the orders and I was surprised to find, right after I ordered my $11 plate it was ready to go… This made me wonder where my sandwich had been sitting moments before it magically apparated in front of me. It was warm, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t sitting under a heat lamp, or had not just been nuked in a microwave. Contrary to the website’s claims, my food did not look the least bit like art.

Funny enough, single guy chef, a fellow blogger, came to the same sentiment in his his critical review of the cafe, “The space is a nice environment with the jazz music flowing, but the food, while decent, doesn’t match the same sophistication as the art on the walls.”
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However, maybe I’m being too hard on the Panino. It wasn’t that bad, just not nearly $11 good. Many other people both on yelp and other restaurant review websites say that the prices are quite ridiculous for what you get. For example here’s one reviewer’s take,  “If I didn’t have to pay $20 for a turkey burger for lunch, this would have been a 4 star. I guess you have to expect a high tag with museum fare..” & “$2.25 for a micro-sized coffee? Are you out of your fucking mind? Too late, you already poured it, and I paid because I was too lazy to haul my ass to the Peet’s on the corner, and then I’m so bored with that stupid piece of foccacia I could only choke down two bites”.

Cafe Museo needs to liven up their menu to keep their food on par with the artwork!

 

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My First Review, Scoma’s

Often times I’ll be trying to find the cheapest and most delicious places in San Francisco to eat. This entry however, goes against that outlook, because Scoma’s is definitely not cheap, however it does adhere very well to the later part of my usual requirements. Scoma’s has a great location overlooking the bay. They even have a virtual tour of the premises on their website here. Be sure to check out the “AutoDrive” feature that automatically takes you in and around the restaurant. 
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I wasn’t quite sure what to order when I first sat down, I was too entranced by all the famous people that had their pictures adorned on the walls. Once I had got past the setting, I took a deeper look at the menu. Now, I love clam chowder, but I didn’t want to get something so simple at a restaurant so elegant. I decided instead on the Lobster Ravioli. I’m glad I decided to get something I normally wouldn’t, because it was no less than spectacular. Considering the pricing at Scoma’s, each and every plate should be up to par with mine. I had a cup of clam chowder as an appetizer and I believe it lived up to the pricing as well. The portions were a great size. Occasionally restaurants and in particular the fancier ones like to short you on food to better their presentation.Luckily,  they make sure you won’t go hungry Scoma’s! I was full of the lobster ravioli before I could see the bottom of the plate.

I would have to say Scoma’s is one of the best seafood restaurants I’ve been to so far in San Francisco. If it’s a nice day and you’ve got the money, I would recommend you check out this famous San Francisco landmark.

 

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