hey suzy, i don’t know if you’ll take the time to read all of this crap when you’re back from the playa, but if so,this is for you. now that you’re spending considerable time in san francisco i thought you’d appreciate this writer’s san francisco guide to new york neighborhoods. the writer matches each neighborhood in san francisco with the one that most resembles it in new york. the only neighborhood that is not matched is my dear, beloved tenderloin . . . for its new york equivalent, the writer writes “wherever giuliani put it”. ha!
one reader comment compared the tenderloin to hell’s kitchen, which garnered this response:
hell’s kitchen is the tenderloin? you must be smoking the same stuff all those folks [in] the tenderloin are. at this point, no where in NYC even comes close to the tenderloin, aside from perhaps the A-train around 4:30am.
further down in the reader comments a similar comparison is made between new york and los angeles, then san francisco and boston. interesting stuff for urbanites.
in the first paragraph the writer states “everyone knows there’s no such thing as a good burrito in NYC”. i don’t know if that’s true, but i do know that i am frustrated that i can’t find a good burrito in the tenderloin. in a city that is drenched in amazing mexican food, i have to travel outside of my ‘hood (which has many latin american residents) to get a good burrito. there used to be a place a few blocks away from me that was decent, but a couple of years ago, they closed, remodeled, reopened, nearly doubled their prices, and twice have served me a burrito with obviously spoiled produce in it. i won’t go back.
but the neighborhood makes up for the lack of good mexican food by the plethora of indian, thai, vietnamese, and surprisingly affordable japanese. i’m not here to plug any restaurants, but the tenderloin is solid proof of the ethnic food adage about how the more a type of food is represented in a particular area, the better it is going to be. a mere two blocks away from me is an area referred to as “indian alley” because of the cluster of indian (and pakistani) restaurants that fill the retail spaces. a few blocks further southwest is an area that has been dubbed “little saigon” due to it’s high population of vietnamese families, and, you guessed it – excellent vietnamese food. but probably my favorite would have to be the thai. i can easily walk to at least five places and get excellent thai food.
also sadly lacking in the tenderloin, as well as san francisco in general, is ethiopian cuisine. trips to the east bay are required for that (although there is a place in the mission that i like, but when i’m in the mission these days, i want mexican – and for those of you that know me, i’m talking about the food here!) when i lived in the east bay years ago, i constantly sampled all kinds of wonderful african cuisine that i just can’t seem to find in san francisco.
my favorite sushi joint in the neighborhood is an exhausting two and a half blocks away. it is a tiny hole in the wall staffed by only three people at a time: a waitperson, a sushi chef, and a prep/clean-up assistant. it has two tables for four, two tables for two, and three barstools. i think alexander and i have eaten there on most of his visits back to san francisco. one night when i was eating alone at one of the tables for two, a couple (who i would find out were from upstate new york) came in, sat down, looked at the prices, and almost left, thinking that any sushi you could get for this cheap had to be disgusting. fortunately, they stayed, we had great conversation, and i gave them local tips on what to enjoy in san francisco (they were outdoorsey types – i recommended hiking glen canyon and visiting the arboretum in golden gate park). the place has no kitchen, just a sushi bar and some wonderfully creative salads.
whew! i’m hungry now. i think i’ll go to jack-in-the-box 😉