So, we headed to the venue - the Hemlock Tavern. That was fun loading out. Double parking in an alley, blocking traffic, then driving around and around looking for a parking space. Finally we found a space several blocks away in a sketchy alley. I almost stepped on a needle walking down the sidewalk, for realsies!
So we played to a typical crowd of about 20 - 30 people, all standing or sitting at the back of the room. It was okay. The FP and I both had our volume too loud. Anyway, after that, we hung out with friends. We went to Japantown after and parked the car on the street. Then we went to a nearby bar with Gapguy. It was one of those karaoke bars. Everyone was smoking when we walked in, then a few minutes later all the ashtrays were gone. I'm not sure what the zoning and laws are like in San Francisco, but that was interesting. It sucked because the FP and I had envisioned getting some Japanese food at some late night noodle house. It was a Sunday and everything seemed dead. Gapguy informed us that nothing was open. We should have done the research earlier.
So the next morning, we got up, checked out and headed to Chinatown. We parked down the street at a meter lot. Holy shit those meter spaces are X Pen Sieve! We put all the change we could in the meter - which got us 1 hour. So I said, is that going to be enough? The Food Pimp said, yeah, if not, we'll put more change in. Yeah right. I've heard that before. So we went to get coffee. Starbucks. God, I just hate Starbucks for no other reason then that the roasted coffee smells like ass. There, I said it. The corporate bullshit is ridiculous as well, and the prices suck. Sure, I like frappacinos, though. But I can't afford them like I used to.
So then we walk into Chinatown.
I love it. So many sights and sounds and smells. Junk shops. Antique shops. herbal shops. Lots of them. Then we start getting to the food. Restaurants. Bakeries. We are looking for a more underground low profile place. We didn't research it, but my buddy Macadamia Pie told me to go to one of the basement restaurants. We pass the big places with the fancy signs and big showy balconies, but we're not taken in. They might as well have signs that say american tourists welcome. So we look and look and we don't really know what we are looking for. Roast duck. Razor clam. Roast pork. Pickled vegetable. Clay pot. Oxtail. Just looking for catch phrases that we like. Then after walking around desparately, racing the meter and passing out from starvation, we settle on New Woey Loy Goey Restaurant. The name just has a ring to it...
So we walk down. There's like only one table of two chinese men there. It's a very strange setup with the diner stools and counter, then the large round tables with the lazy susans. My mom always wanted a lazy susan when I was a kid. She would say it over and over. But we never got one. It would have been useful, because it was not unusual to have a chicken dish, a pork dish, a fish dish, a vegetable dish (often flavored with meat), rice, patis and vinegar on the table. So passing dishes around was always kind of like playing tetris.
Anyhoo, New Woey Loy Goey. Some people came in. It seems that some of them just went into the place in the morning to chat. One lady had her dog in her lap.
So we studied the menu. I love the way there are pictures of the animal next to the column. Although the pig looks like a cow or buffalo, and the cow looks like a gazelle. But whatever.
We got a nice plate of bok choy. It was bright green and crisp, yet cooked and tender enough. Very nice. Good chinese restaurants make something as boring as a plate of vegetables very exciting.
Roast Duck. It looked beautiful. It was pretty good. Lukewarm temperature, but that's just what I come to expect of roast duck. It was very...five spicy from what I remember. Very...Christmasy. It was good though, not great. Not old school Ding How in Metairie - those of you who know what I mean...know what I mean.
Oxtail stew. Now, it looks all light and not very impressive. But it was actually quite good. It was like pot roast style with root veggies - potato,carrot, sweet potato. And rice, of course. Meat and four starch. A complete meal. It was really good though. Tender and saucy. Tender and Saucy - maybe that's my new restaurant name for the imaginary restaurant that I had hoped to one day own.....
It was really good for a shot in the dark, although I'm sure there's other way better restaurants. But so what. I had never been there and I was perfectly satiated. Except for coconut bun....
So we walked back to the car.... and a few minutes too late. We got a fucking ticket!! I was very unhappy. $53. Boo!!!!!!! But I had to get over it. We got in the car and moved to a spot closer to the bakeries and restaurants. More change. But way closer. We spent what felt like hours looking for coconut bun. It was hard to find. Pork bun, custard bun, red bean, but no coconut!
Then we found these. Disappointing. The one was with like sweet shortening cream on the inside - no coconut flavor - with just coconut flake on the outside. The other was like a yeast roll with coconut paste on it, not so much like the sweet custard filling we were looking for. So we had to go on. There were one or two more places that we had to check, then we were going to give up. So we had about all lost hope. We went into this relatively busy place, and I didn't see any in the display. But I asked. Coconut bun? Yes. She pointed to the speed rack behind the counter. I lit up. How much? It was like 35 cents. So I got two. We sat at a table.
We laid them out with wide eyes. They weren't much to look at. We broke one open.
It didn't look like much. Then we took bites.
Can you see the pleasure on the FP's face? It was pretty damn good. Sweet and custardy, but not over the top sweet. I really liked the sesame seeds instead of coconut shred. They were a pretty damn good close to our venture into Chinatown. I wanted to get 6 or 12 more to take home, but the line at that point was long...and slow, and our meter was running out. So we went back to the car... and yea! no ticket. So we started to make our way out of San Fran.... TBC
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