Arived in SFO nine days ago, and have been too, um, occupied to blog. So here's a run-down of what I've been not blogging about the past few days.
Day 1 onwards: My Mom's home cooking-- Yes, I only get my childhood comfort food when I'm on vacation in SFO. After all the countries, cuisines, and restaurants I've tried, nothing beats Mom's cooking. So far, I've had pork sinigang, garlic-fried salmon belly, soy-marinated catfish, linguine in meat sauce, and lots of fried rice. Looking forward to the stuffed cabbage, beef mechad or nilaga, etc. Michelin and Zagat have nothing on this.
Day 1: Masu (3rd Ave., San Mateo, CA)-- This is a Japanese restaurant specialising in the quick-fire production of California sushi rolls. It features an all-you-can-eat lunch for $12/person, which of course we availed ourselves of. There is no buffet table here; rather, you order each dish you want after you finish the last one you ordered. As far as sushi craftsmanship goes, Masu will not exactly please the aesthetic sense of the shogun-- the rolls look like they were haphazardly done (something to be expected here) and the rice sometimes falls as soon as you dip into the soysauce. Flavour-wise, it isn't bad with its varied selection of sushi rolls, and the raw fish are fresh enough for the average Joe (i.e., no fishy smell). Aside from sushi rolls, you may also order tempura, ramen, and teriyaki-- the salmon teriyaki is actually good. Service is pretty fast and efficient, and your order usually comes within five minutes, longer if you order cooked stuff. Bottomline, Masu isn't haute Japanese cuisine, but it offers superb value for money and is much better than the average buffet lunch in its price level.
Day 2: Godiva Chocolates (Hillsdale Mall, San Mateo, CA)-- Godiva makes some of the smoothest chocolates I've eaten. Quite pricey, but good. As usual, I prefer the white and milk chocolates over the dark. They also make blended chocolate shakes in this store, which for me defeats the purpose of going to Godiva.
Day 4: Marina Food (Norfolk St., San Mateo, CA)-- No this isn't a restaurant, this is one of the many Asian supermarkets in the Bay Area, and a very well-stocked one at that. The reason Marina made it to this post is because of what it sells-- Victorias Spanish Sardines and Bangus. After weeks of looking for them in Manila (my folks wanted be to bring some to SFO), this is where I find those orange-and-yellow cans. For those who don't know, Victorias are a Filipino company selling goods manufactured in the Philippines. A stocker in Landmark Supermarket (Gateway Mall, Quezon City) told my Dear and me that Victorias have stopped delivering their products to local stores and instead export practically all their stuff. Well, this confirms his story.
Day 6: Copenhagen Bakery & Cafe (Burlingame Ave., Burlingame, CA)-- I've been going here since 2001 usually for coffee and desserts, but this is the first time I had breafast here. People here will find this weird since Copenhagen has been a breakfast institution in Burlingame for decades, with many people walking here from church on Sunday mornings. I got the Veracruz omelette ($8.95)-- roasted peppers, avocados, sour cream, and cheese-- which was that day's special; my Dad got the Popeye omelette ($7.75), which had spinach and cheese; and my Mom got blueberry pancackes ($6.95), which always seem to come in threes. All omelette orders come with country-fried potatoes and buttered toast, which makes this a very hearty breakfast indeed. Copenhagen has a relaxed and casual atmosphere, and, despite its brisk business, has managed to keep its neighbourhood feel. And yes, avocados are a good filling for omelettes, depending on what goes with it.
Day 8: Noche Buena-- I'll have a special post for this. Eventually.
Day 9: Carl's Jr. (Triton Dr., Foster City, CA)-- I got the Portobello Mushroom 6-Dollar Burger. It was very good, I should say. Much better than the restaurant burgers I get in Manila. For one, you can actually taste the beef here, which is thick and juicy, not the anemic and shrivelled patties in most burger places in Manila. They are also generous with the lettuce, tomatoes, and mushrooms (of course). And to think Carl's Jr. burgers only rate 18 out of a possible 30 in Zagat surveys, so at most it is above average and in no way an outlier. So yes, the Americans make a pretty darned good burger.