The Melt – San Francisco

The Melt

Rated: ♣♣

What do you get when you bring together a high-tech inventor and some comfort food? Apparently, grilled cheese sandwiches! Jonathan Kaplan, founder of the Flip Video camcorder, has jumped out of the tech industry and opened The Melt. Since its inception in September, they already have 4 locations in the Bay Area! Too soon too fast? Only time will tell…

The Melt Mission

The standard at The Melt is to get a combo – a sandwich, soup and a little bag of chips. They have some set combos on the menu, but you can also create your own. I ordered The Mission combo, jalapeno jack cheese on sourdough with a sweet corn tortilla soup. The sandwich was warm and gooey in the middle and crispy on the outside. It’s obvious they’re not afraid of butter. The spice from the jalapeno gave it a good kick to break up the richness of the sandwich. The soup was thick and sweet with a smooth consistency. They seemed to have thrown in all the ingredients and pureed everything together which I was not a fan of. There were no kernels of corn in the soup and I didn’t sense any tortillas in there either. I would have appreciated a more hearty soup with identifiable ingredients.

Overall, I think The Melt is a solid 2 clubs. Their selection of sandwiches aren’t too creative and the soups are disappointing. However, if I were to rate on taste alone, I would definitely choose The Melt over the American Grilled Cheese.

The Melt
115 New Montgomery St
(between Minna St & Mission St)
San Francisco, CA 94105
Neighborhood: SOMA

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Outerlands – San Francisco

Outerlands Lunch

On a sunny summer day in San Francisco, what’s more perfect than brunch by the beach? I can tell you, not much. I first heard about Outerlands from my good friend Tye who heard about this place through her boyfriend who is friends with friends of the owner. And boy, I’m so glad I received the tip!

Outerlands has an uber hipster vibe. I’ve been told the hipster crowd is slowly migrating over to the Outer Sunset, and by the looks of this restaurant and its clientele, I would say that’s accurate.

When the menu hit the table, my eyes were drawn to the fried egg and bacon open-faced sandwich. It was so delicious! A thick and chewy slice of sourdough topped with crispy bacon, cheese, and two over-easy eggs. I popped my eggs immediately so that the yolk dripped into the crevices of the bread like a thick and creamy sauce. Oh so good.

Outerlands Fried Egg Bacon Sandwich

After our sandwiches, we nibbled on their homemade soft-chew caramels and sipped on some Sightglass Coffee which they served in a neat looking carafe. The caramels was such sweet buttery goodness, good thing I only had one otherwise I wouldn’t be able to control myself.

Outerlands Caramels

Outerlands Sightglass Coffee

I can’t wait to come back to Outerlands to try more. Everyone around our table seemed to be ordering the grilled cheese sandwich that is pan fried in butter with a side of soup. Seems like the perfect brunch this July 4th weekend!

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I Left My Stomach in San Mateo… or Top Peninsula Eats

Farewell upper peninsula. I’ve taken a position in SOMA San Francisco, and will be leaving Foster City. When people ask me what I’m going to miss, I am always going to tell them the good, cheap lunch spots within driving distance. So, here’s a list of top 10 Peninsula Eateries according to Kingston in no particular order:

Jersey Joe’s Hoagies & Cheesesteaks
21 El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 592-7317

If you are looking for the best cheesesteak sandwich in the Bay Area, look no further than this San Carlos Cheesesteak establishment. “THE BEST CHEESESTEAK SANDWICH IN THE BAY AREA.” There I said it. For around $10 you get a delicious, mouthwatering cheesesteak, fries, and a medium drink. This establishment will be the one I miss the most. Make sure you put some Buffalo Hot Sauce on your Mushroom Cheesesteak. Oh… Man. In fact, this will definitely be on my weekend Peninsula visits. (BTW, for all you Philly freaks, they have the traditional Cheese Sauce.)

Ike’s Lair
555 Twin Dolphin Dr
Ste 115
Redwood City, CA 94065
(650) 637-8903

So, you get all the hype from the San Francisco Ike’s Place, and realize, that waiting 2 to 3 hours is really not worth it. Now for Peninsulites (Peninsulans? Peninsuli?) all we have to do is make a phone call at 9:00 am to pick up our sandwich at 12:30 pm. I mean, it takes all the guess work out of figuring out which restaurant to go to for lunch. My office did several 15-20 orders of sandwiches to bring back, since there’s no seating there. My favorite is the Not A Reuben (Paul Reuben for my SF Place homies) with Mustard around $9.50.

Old Port Lobster Shack
851 Veterans Blvd
Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 366-2400
TheCultureBite Bite Back

Ah… yes. The Lobster Shack. Sigh… Where do I start. I’m actually not a lover of Lobster (I’m more of a crab type of guy), but their Lobster Roll is deeelish. I mean, come on. You walk into this establishment as if it were straight off an old port in Maine. Make sure you start off with some Creamy Clam Chowder, order a Maine Lobster Roll (if you don’t like mayo or green onions order the Naked Lobster so you can dip into a side of mayo or butter), and enjoy that side of fries. Can’t say I’ve tried anything else here, but I hear their BBQ is award winning! My meals were usually around $30 here, so take someone special.

Kabul Afghan Cuisine
135 El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 594-2840

I love the lamb here. We used to come here for special occasions, and then we realized we should just come here for no occasion. The Kebabs are delicious, and they remind me of the song from the Flight of the Conchords “Most Beautiful Girl” ( Mostly because they mention kebabs and these are my favorite ones, specifically the Kabab-e-gousfand. Say that five times fast. The Lamb is seasoned just right and juicy. You get such large portions that I always have to take it home. The other dish I love here is the Challaw kadu. It’s a vegetarian dish with pumpkin in it. thdfsdf <–that was me wiping the drool off of my keyboard

Sushi Sam’s
218 E 3rd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 344-0888

This is one of the more expensive lunch dining options in the San Mateo downtown area. I’ve come here for lunch a couple of times, but I’ve come here for dinner a ton of times! S loves getting the Omakase everytime we eat here, but I don’t mind trying all of their other things. The rolls are phenomenal, the Uni tastes fresh, and the service is fantastic. This has replaced my need to return to the Tsukiji Fish Market for my fresh fish. If I were an account manager with a good expense account, I would take all my clients here. My recommendation is to try the Omakase the first time, then try a few rolls. If you feel adventurous they do have some multi-course meals.

Everyday Beijing
637 S B St
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 373-7878

If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for some Northern Chinese food. There are so many different variations of Northern Chinese food, that it’s always fun to try a new one. Some of them may have the XLB’s with the thin skin or the bun skin, some might have fresh soy milk, this one has Cumin Lamb. Yes, people, the lamb is excellent. Also, I love the meaty meat pancakes.

Saffron Buffet Line
Saffron Indian Bistro
1143 San Carlos Ave
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 593-4269

It was always a treat to come here. It’s a really cheap buffet ($10), and there’s such a wide variety of Indian food to choose from. You come in to the joint, and you’ll notice that there are white table cloths on each table. I kept thinking, oh no, Indian food and white table cloths don’t seem to go well together. Then you sit down, and realize, wait, I should just get my food right away. The smell of restaurant is fabulous, if you love Indian food. Once you get your plate, you are greeted by a salad bar. I usually skip this, as I’m here for the main event. I spoon a little bit of rice, then, it time. Time to pour on the different curries on each side, Butter Chicken, Palak Paneer. There are 8-9 different curries to choose from, and they all have their own tastes and textures. The last thing I pick up is the Tandoori chicken at the end and I’m ready to sit back down. Now, once you sit down, you’ll notice that buttered Naan has been magically placed on your table. Oh man, the waiters are wonderful. Sometimes, you can catch a sports game on one of the two televisions if something is on, otherwise, just sit, relax and enjoy the orchestra of Indian flavors.

Jack’s Prime
3723 S El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94403
(650) 638-1479

You want a tasty gourmet burger? Then you better come to this modern diner style establishment. They’ve got all the good stuff you could ask for at a burger joint, milk shakes fries, burgers, onion rings, and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it all. I personally recommend the Angry Cowboy which is a burger with smoked bacon, onion rings, jalapeno relish, cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce. Yeh doesn’t sound healthy, but it’s delicious.

Cha Cha Cha Fried Plantains and Pork
Cha Cha Cha Cuba
112 S B St
San Mateo, CA 94102
(650) 347-2900
TheCultureBite Bite Back

I love this place. The food is excellent, and the service is outstanding! My usual favorites are the Fried Potatoes with Chili Aioli, Fried Plantains, Ceviche, Calamari, and Mussels. Actually, I didn’t find anything I didn’t really like. One extraordinary thing is that I would actually enjoy drinking their Sangria. If you know me, I usually don’t like drinking alcohol. It’s so good here, how could I not? This place was introduced to me by my good friend, Victor D., who introduced us to the owner, Mario. Mario is a very friendly individual who has very interesting tales of the history of his family. You should ask him about the raft that’s posted on the wall. =)

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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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