Ciao! to North Beach

June 27, 2011

We loved our week in North Beach and made a valiant effort to do everything we’d planned, despite my being sick all week and Michael being sick the last two days.

The positives:

We loved our loft in the North Beach Malt House. We had a few relatively minor frustrations, like a too soft master bed (we moved to the guest room), very slow internet (we persevered) and a very strange computer printing set-up.

But they were outweighed by the many positives. I love to be lulled to sleep by city traffic noises, but the quiet in the residential part of North Beach was its own pleasure. Having a two-bedroom apartment allowed us to have individual private space, for M. to watch sports and me to write. Now that we are developing a critical mass of friends in San Francisco, there was plenty to do. Watch for blog posts about some of it.

San Francisco is a great city for food lovers. And while we loved our night at Gary Danko, sometimes we just want to throw on some jeans and a sweater, sit in a cafe and eat casually. I thought we could do this easily in North Beach.

And the not-so-positives

One thing I can say for sure (as an Italian cook myself) is that I am very over the tacky North Beach Italian and Sicilian restaurant scene. Take Caffe Sport. It is clearly coasting on a reputation that’s decades old. We ordered two courses that came within minutes of each other, so many plates that they didn’t fit on the tiny table we were crammed into. Apparently, it didn’t occur to them to time main course AFTER the starters.

Although M’s mussels were excellent, they served me a petrale sole completely buried under a bizarre pile of cooked zucchini sticks. When I dug through the zucchini I found the sole was only half cooked.

So I ask: how hard is it to see that fish is translucent, and that means it’s not cooked? No excuse.

I won’t go into the other lousy dining experience we had on Columbus; with so many choices in the city, we won’t be doing that again.

Still, if we have a choice, we’ll be staying in North Beach again. And again. And maybe, down the line, finding a little pied-a-terre here.

Ciao! North Beach … we’ll be back soon!

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