Wednesday, March 25, 2009

2009 March 25 - Original US Restaurant (San Francisco)

2009 March 25 - Original US Restaurant (San Francisco)

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Today only three will take the trip to San Francisco. Gobo has his Grand Jury every Wednesday this year. Patti refuses to skip her personal trainer session. So Elsa picks me up and we head to Grandma's at 8:00 AM.

Grandma will drive us to the North Concord BART Station for our trip into San Francisco.

Grandma's back yard

Grandma's hubby eating breakfast. He is a Cracker Barrel type from Tennessee and does not like the food places that we chose :-)

We are riding into San Francisco fairly early to see if the Orpheum Theatre has at least three tickets left for today's 2:00 PM matinee of Wicked.
{Wicked - Wicked tells the story of Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West and her relationship with Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Their friendship struggles through their opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, their reactions to the Wizard's corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba's public fall from grace. The plot is set mostly before Dorothy's arrival from Kansas, and includes several references to well-known scenes and dialogue in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz as a backstory.}

Elsa notarizing a document

Of course, we are on our way to lunch at the Original U S Restaurant in North Beach. Wednesday Specials include Stewed Tripe or Baked Short Ribs. We will catch BART at the North Concord Station. The Pittsburgh Station is closer, but there will be no parking available since we are embarking around 9:30 AM.
Approaching the BART Station

Entrance to BART

Elsa has put her new Senior Citizens BART Ticket in her purse {$24 Ride Ticket cost $9}. Anyway her ticket loses its coding on the magnetic strip. So we are delayed while the BART Agent sets up some paperwork for her to get a replacement Ride Ticket.
Hey my new ticket doesn't work

The train

We get to the Orpheum Ticket Office early and buy three tickets. The tickets are not contiguous, but the show is so popular tickets are hard to come by. We buy our tickets and head off to lunch. We have 3 hours before the 2:00 PM Show. Plenty of time to travel to lunch and back.

Orpheum Ticket Office

We catch one of the Muni street cars on Market Street and pay our $0.50 each and get a Transfer good for any Muni {except the Cable Cars} until 3:00 PM. I screw up and we get off the street car one stop too soon. But we walk the distance to our 30 Muni bus to North Beach.

Inside the 30 double bus that goes through Chinatown to North Beach

Chinatown - Stockton Street

We get off the bus at Columbus Avenue - North Beach. The Original U S Restaurant is less than 100 yards from the bus stop. {U S stands for Unione Sportiva, and it’s also the Italian name for the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club}

A 30 Muni headed back to town

Here is the Original U S Restaurant

Let's go in

Inside the Original U S

I order the stewed tripe. The girls ordered one each of the stewed tripe and the short ribs and will split the two entrees.
My stewed tripe with mashed potatoes and veggies

The girls' stewed tripe with pesto arrives first

Then come the short ribs with red beans

We ask for the short rib bones with gristle. It turns out that all the bones are given to our waitress for her little dog or else they are thrown away. My favorite part of the short rib.
They are very good about getting us the bones.

Our waitress takes this photo as we are finishing lunch

This is the aftermath of our eating frenzy

During my after meal smoke break I take a few photos along Columbus Avenue.

Peroni's has 1/2 rabbit special today

from Frommer's Review:
Across the street from Washington Square is one of North Beach's most venerable neighborhood hangouts, Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe. The century-old corner cafe -- small, well worn, and perpetually busy -- is one of the oldest and best original cappuccino cafes in the United States. I stop by at least once a month for a meatball or eggplant focaccia sandwich and a slice of Mario's house-made ricotta cheesecake, and then recharge with a cappuccino as I watch the world stroll by the picture windows. And no, they don't sell cigars.

After paying our bill it is two doors over to Mara's Bakery for dessert. Elsa and I have a cannoli each.
Grandma who has had a stomach operation last year and has not been the same eater since passes on dessert.

The cannoli's and a few other pastries

We walk north a block and catch the Muni next to Washington Square Park.
Washington Square Park

We are taking another route back to the theater and will need to transfer to the 19 Polk across the street from the recently opened Ghirardelli Fairmont time share building.

Scooters abound as a way to get around the City and its parking problems

View Larger Map
Our bus route for today

We get back downtown and adjacent to the theater is a Farmer's Market held on the United Nations Plaza.

Fuji apples from Stockton at twice the price I pay in Stockton

City Hall in the background

Wicked is a prequel to the "Wizard of Oz".
The Broadway's Wicked musical is a loose adaptation of Wicked the novel by Gregory Maguire. In 1996, songwriter Stephen Schwartz heard about the novel from a friend and immediately thought of adapting it for stage. The musical offers a "backstory" to The Wizard of Oz, in other words a buoyantly creative version of what happens to Elphaba, the supposedly 'wicked' witch and Glinda, the reputedly good witch during the college years. Their buddy story is only one of several storylines and subplots in a carefully constructed, surprise-filled musical adventure.
A sign on a wall of the Orpheum

Because Wicked is about the witches of the Wizard of Oz many children will be attending today's matinee. I think the entire Balcony was sold to children and their chaperons. There were small groups and groups of 50 children gathered at the entrance to the theater as I watched while waiting for Grandma to get her Carmel Corn at the Farmer's Market.

Note how easy the BART entrance is to and from the Orpheum

We are not allowed to photograph or record anything inside the theater. It is a quickly moving, interesting, and well put together musical. One that I would highly recommend seeing.

An interesting side light is that Carol Kane, who I remember as Latka's {Andy Kaufman} wife in the TV sitcom Taxi plays Madame Morrible, the rather horrible headmistress at Shiz University. Her replacement for a few performances including today's was Patty Duke.

The performance ends just before 5:00 PM so we scurry the few feet to the Civic Center BART Station to catch our train back.
Waiting for the BART train

The end of another Lunch Bunch tale.


2009 March 5 - Harry's Café (Sacramento)

2009 March 5 - Harry's Café (Sacramento)

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Today I pick up Gobo and Patti and drive us over to Elsa's. Grandma is driving straight to Elsa's. Elsa will be driving her Honda Pilot to Sacramento today.
Where in the heck is the middle seat belt?????????????
Elsa lives in a suburban, rural area that once was a long way from Stockton. But the town has expanded closer to her now. Her neighborhood still has a bucolic look to it though.
We head over to Hwy 99 the old north-south mother road of California. We pass right through Lodi on our way to Sacramento.
We arrive some 45 minutes later just past 11:00 AM at Harry's Café. After a couple of round trips around the block we find a suitable parking space just up the block and across the street from Harry's. You can see Harry's green awning on the far right center of this pic.
Harry's is an honest to goodness hole-in-the-wall restaurant. There are only 6 tables inside and a few outdoors.
This is how small the inside is.

We are here especially to eat the item #85 - Harry's Ox Tail Stew Over Rice (Wed, Thurs only).
You should have heard the groans from five Senior Citizens when Harry announced that they were sold out of the Ox Tails................. It seems that the Wednesday customers had wiped out the entire supply.

So we all had to look over the enormous menu to find an alternative.
Patti settled on the Eggplant. But she thought that it was going to be sauteed, not breaded and deep fried, so her dish was not completely satisfactory.
Gobo had the Chicken Fried Steak. A staple in this Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant. :-)
Elsa and Grandma both wanted the spareribs in black bean sauce, but they were undecided on having it over rice or over noodles. So they ordered one each and split and shared the two.

I had a staple of Chinese-American restaurants when I grew up. Scrambled eggs with peas and Chinese roast pork over rice. But they forgot the peas.

Next door was a tiny Chinese market where Grandma got ripped off on her Garlic peanuts. The sign said each bag was $1.20, but the clerk charged her $2.40. I would not have paid, for sure.

It was just a little after Noon. So we headed over to the Café Rolle for dessert.

View Larger Map

We finally got the rear center seat belt figured out. Grandma was assigned that seat since she had lost so much weight in the past year.

The Café Rolle is another hole in the wall way out in east Sacramento. Point B on the map.
Decorated like the tiny French Bistro {well it really was a tiny French Bistro}.
The dessert special of the day was the Raspberry Brulée. Since I had eggs for lunch I decided that more egg yolks would not be good for me, so I had the Chocolate Mousse. :-)
The desserts were wonderful. And I ordered a Chive smoked salmon sandwich to go for my dinner later that evening.
Notice the refrigerated display case that had patés and foi grois as well as cooked smoked salmon, smoked salmon and gravlaks salmon.
Our waiter took this picture of our whole Lunch Bunch.
Café Rolle's web site

After dessert we headed to the European Bakery - Ettores in Fair Oaks. Yeah more pastries. :-)
Point C on the map.

Patti and I grabbed a loaf of bread each.
Elsa bought a lemon cake and other goodies which she said were for her husband... Right..
Ettore's European Cakes photo gallery

Returning home we had to pass through Lodi again.

Elsa's man-in-the-tree to welcome us home.
Unpacking our stuff that we bought and heading home.

Another Lunch Bunch trip in the books.

The chive, smoked salmon sandwich was awesome. I could only eat half, too much dessert. The following are photos of the other half that will be tonight's dinner. :-)

On an European baguette.