Chick-N-Coop – San Francisco

Chick N Coop Menu

Rated: ♣♣♣

I’ve been driving past Chick-N-Coops around the city for years and I’ve never got myself to try it until recently. I have to say, it was really fun! My dad comes all the time for lunch, so he took K and I to introduce us. Walking into the hoffbrau was like walking into a time warp. The customers, the employees, the decor – it felt like nothing in the restaurant has changed in the last 40 years.

I got the corned beef sandwich “wet” on a roll. Wet means au jus on the bread, nothing else. So simple but so very tasty. The roll is so soft and chewy, a perfect match for the briny corned beef.  This also passed the day after test.

Chick N Coop Corned Beef Sandwich

My dad had his usual wet turkey sandwich. Mm, juicy turkey.

Chick N Coop Turkey Sandwich

And, K got the wet pastrami sandwich. We all agreed the corned beef and the turkey were the winners of lunch.

Chick N Coop Pastrami Sandwich

We got the cole slaw as a side, but I wasn’t a fan. Too watery and too much mustard.

Chick N Coop Cole Slaw

Chick-N-Coop was a fun adventure and I’d definitely come back again for the wet corned beef sandwich.

4500 Mission St
(between Excelsior Ave & Harrington St)
San Francisco, CA 94112
Neighborhood: Excelsior

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One Market – San Francisco

One Market Rice Crusted PetroleOne Market
1 Market Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94105
Neighborhood: Financial District

Rated:  ♣♣♣

Yet again, I had another work meal, and yet again, it was satisfying. With no reservations, we ordered a dozen oysters to accompany our main course. Salty, briny, fresh – just as oysters should be. I had the rice-crusted petrale sole with a carrot-ginger emulsion. The dish was very light and mild. But then again, you really don’t want a strong sauce to overpower such a mild and tender fish. I also had a raspberry lemonade, but I wasn’t a fan because it was waaayy too sweet.

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The American Grilled Cheese – San Francisco

American Grilled Cheese MushroomThe American Grilled Cheese Kitchen
(at 2nd St)
San Francisco, CA 94107
Neighborhood: SOMA

Rated: ♣♣

A grilled cheese sandwich has to be THE #1 comfort food. If I take a WFH (“work from home” for you noobs) day, all I want to do is stay in my PJs and cook me a toasty grilled cheese with a side of tomato soup for lunch. Well, it’s obvious the guys behind the American Grilled Cheese hit a goldmine when they opened their shop in the South Park district of SF. If you couldn’t guess, they exclusively serve different variations of grilled cheese sandwiches.

The scene:

The restaurant has limited hours and it gets packed so come early. It’s more of a workday lunch place, so there’s not much seating other than a few barstools.

The food:

Mushroom Gruyère sandwich with fontina, gruyère, roasted wild mushrooms, gold potatoes, melted leeks and thyme butter – Sounds delicious right? But as much as I love gruyère and mushrooms, I found this satisfactory. The flavors were amazing; it was the texture that was off. Rather than sliced mushrooms, leeks and potatoes, everything was chopped finely. It bugged me so much because I couldn’t tell what kind of mushroom they used. Also, I actually had no idea there were potatoes and leeks in the sandwich until I looked back at my photos.

Don Gondola sandwich with provolone, sopressatta, salami, roasted tomato, pesto and garlic butter – I didn’t get to try this one, but my good friend T loved it. So, I can’t say anything more.

Verdict? I was disappointed with my sandwich at the American Grilled Cheese, but not so much that I won’t come back. I’m eying the Jalapeño Popper next.

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Five Guys Burgers and Fries – Vacaville

Five Guys BurgerFive Guys Burger and Fries
1651 E. Monte Vista Ave.
Suite 102
Vacaville, CA 95688

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

Sorry In-n-Out. It’s been a good decade, but now it’s time for a new guy to wear the crown… make that five guys. Five Guys Burger and Fries is an East coast burger joint slowly making it’s way to the Bay Area. Never frozen, the hamburger patties at Five Guys are hand formed for every order to maintain its backyard BBQ freshness. Randomly, they have all-you-can-eat peanuts. I don’t understand the combination of peanuts and burgers, but hey, it’s free!

The scene:

The award-winning burger joint is slowly creeping its way to the Bay Area with locations in Vacaville, San Jose, and Fremont. The interior is reminiscent of In-n-Out with the same 50s-style and red and white color scheme. The peanuts really are the gimmick though. No need to be hungry while waiting for your food, just snack on a bowl of peanuts.

The food:

The burgers are more on the expensive side, but you’re totally paying for the quality. What’s funny is that K, T and I came into Five Guys with the intention of only getting an order of fries (since it was 5pm and close to our family dinner time). We ended up getting a burger, a hot dog and an order of fries. We couldn’t resist!

Burger – The standard here is 2 burger patties with grilled onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, pickles and lettuce. I am such a Five Guys noob that I didn’t realize that all toppings were free and I could’ve had the burger “all the way” with jalapenos, A1 sauce, and hot sauce in addition to what I ordered. Dang! I had been craving a burger for a while and this totally satisfied the need for a fat juicy burger. The meat tasted very fresh and lightly seasoned and the toppings were plentiful. The only set-back was that the patty was so juicy, it soaked into my bread.

Cajun Fries – We got a small order of Cajun fries, but there was nothing small about it. This order could literally feed 5 people. I was in awe watching the guy behind the counter pouring each order of fries into white cups. After he sticks the white cup in the brown paper bag, he takes another scoop of fries and dumps it in the bag. I don’t know about you, but when I used to get fries at MacDonalds, I would get a kick out of the extra fries I found at the bottom of the bag. That was MacDonalds. Imagine getting an extra scoop of fat steak fries covered in some kind of Cajun seasoning. Ah-mazing. Also, you have to love spicy if you get these fries. They are addicting, but hot!

Well, that was my adventure of driving 1.5 hours out of San Francisco just to try Five Guys Burger and Fries. They’re opening 200 storefronts this year, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a San Francisco location. In the meantime, I’ll happily enjoy my In-n-Out.

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Luna Park – San Francisco

Luna Park Anchor Steam ChickenLuna Park
694 Valencia St
(between 18th St & Sycamore St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Mission

Rated: ♣♣♣

My good Canadian friend, Tye, who just moved to America (specifically SF) took me to Luna Park for my bday last month. My bro and sis-in-law tried it out a couple weeks prior and mentioned they had a make-your-own s’mores dessert on the menu. As soon as I heard s’mores, I knew I had to try it out.

The scene:

Like any other restaurant in the Mission, Luna Park is a trendy hot spot for young hipsters looking for a night out drinking or a meal with a group of friends. The restaurant is decked out with red walls, industrial piping on the ceiling and crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

The place is crowded, even until late in the evening, which may explain the poor service we received that night. Anytime we needed something (to place an order, glass of water, check) we had to wail our arms until we grabbed our waitress’ attention.

The food:

Some items were really good, and some I could pass on.

Goat Cheese Fondue w/Grilled Bread and Sliced Apples – This was my favorite part of the night. I’m a huge cheese fan, especially when it comes to stinky cheeses. Take a potent cheese and turn it into fondue with some buttery bread and I am in heaven.

Moules Frites: Prince Edward Island Mussels with Dos Equis, Bacon, Red Fresno Chiles, Lime and Shallots with French Fries – I have never been a fan of mussels, but I do admit these were awesome. They used baby mussels so that the flavor wasn’t too over powering with each bite. It tasted more like clams soaked in a buttery wine sauce. We dipped the bread from the fondue and found that to be sinfully good.

Oven Baked Macaroni & Cheese and Broccoli with Applewood Smoked Ham – Such a disappointment. The mac-n-cheese was pretty bland itself. Seemed like it only had one flavor – rich. It didn’t have much depth to it. I’m not trying to be a snobby critic, but it was missing something. Something sharp. I got it with the ham, but the large cubes of the salty meat were overpowering for the dish.

Beer Marinated Grilled Half Chicken with Brentwood Corn Ragout, Squash, Blue Lake Beans, Gypsy Peppers and Jalapeño – This dish came as a recommendation and it didn’t disappoint. Opposite the mac-n-cheese, the chicken was full of flavor and spices. Spicy, smoky, and sweet. With my leftovers, I ended up cutting up the chicken and throwing it in my mac-n-cheese. That definitely kicked it up a few notches.

Vegetable Risotto – Completely bland. Tasted like the chef cooked the risotto with water rather than a broth. When something is this creamy, you usually need something in there to balance the flavors. This didn’t have it.

DIY S’Mores – These were so yummy. I’m grading this lightly since I did make them myself at the table. The marshmallow sauce and chocolate came on separate fondue burners with a side of homemade graham crackers. The s’mores taste ooey gooey and full of love, but you have to eat it quick or else the marshmallow hardens and sticks to the serving cup.

All-in-all, this restaurant was satisfactory. I wasn’t blown away by anything that would make me want to come back.

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