Eating My Way Through San Francisco

San Francisco is a great city for a conference. It’s also a pretty good place to get lunch. The following is poorly written and incomplete. Well, at least it’s something.


I was a little surprised to find Johnny Rockets on Jefferson St. serving breakfast, but they did a fine sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich all the same. After visiting Alcatraz, I had a delectable rueben at The Buena Vista on the corner of Beech and Hyde, where they’re known for their Irish Coffee. David’s Deli had real Hungarian goulash up as a dinner special, which I topped with a remarkably rich raspberry chocolate cake for desert. There’s some truth to this review, but the meal was good and we ended up coming back another night for more deserts. Later on I found the a sign in Chinatown warning that playing & jumping are dangerous.


Lori’s Diner on Mason St. served up an okay omelet for breakfast. Cafe Mason, between Geary and O’Farrell, introduced me to the concept of gorgonzola ravioli, but it turned out to be factory-made raviolis in a light gorg sauce. But others liked their burgers, and it looked like it might have been a good spot for breakfast. Dinner was good, but we found ourselves wanting to polish our sweet-tooths. It took just a quick glance at the cakes in the window at David’s to get us back in for desert.


I was more than surprised to present XML Server Applications at 4:30 to a packed room of about 200 people. The questions went late and I wish we could have all continued the discussion over dinner, but I had plans to meet my sister.

Medjool, near Mission and 21st, serves what I’m told are tasty little dishes, but the real reason to visit is the roof-top bar. Though closed for construction now, my sister treated me to a private tour to show me this rare view of her colorful home-town neighborhood. Next door is Foreign Cinema, a tres chic restaurant/movie theater/gallery combo. Lis and I ate tres cheap at La Altena, a little further south on Mission, where a filling and tasty pile of beef burritos, fish tacos, and a couple beers rang up at under $25 bucks.

A solo acoustic guitarist was working the scene at Revolution Cafe, around the corner on 22nd and Bartlett, where most of the light shown in from streetlights out front. The bar was illuminated by little more than a nightlight, and conversations wafted between the closely packed tables. I was too full to try a slice of the plump pies they were serving for desert, but I found it easy to put down a few pints of Anchor Steam, the most emblematic local brew.

The Shotgun Wedding Hip Hop Symphony was playing at Bruno’s, back on Mission Street, a classic-looking jazz club with deep round booths and lots of Eames-inspired wood and curves and where the bar-staff know the only way to serve three fingers of Dalwhinnie is neat.


I was treated to a well prepared duck-something lunch at the Top of the Mark on the 19th floor of the Mark Hopkins Hotel on the corner of California and Mason. Thanks to Richard for recommending a complementary wine, it was the best of a number of fine meals I enjoyed during the conference.

I was again surprised to find a packed room for the Portal Integration presentation on the afternoon of the last day of the conference. Again, there were a lot of good questions and I started to wish there was an IUG track/SIG specific for integration.

Much later, I knocked back a number of drinks at the bar at the Rex on Sutter St., where the barman knew how to mix a drink and the bar knew how to call a happy hour. I wish I could remember the name of the pizza place on the corner of Sutter and Taylor, where Kris and I enjoyed one of the meatiest pies I’ve ever had (the pancetta was a nice touch). The barman at Red’s Corner on Ellis and Mason was among the funniest characters I met during the trip. He could occasionally be heard to mutter lines like “I didn’t leave Jersey for this” or “I didn’t do two years for this,” but that was part of his charm.