Uncle Roger's Gastronomic Gallavanting

Our minds are like our stomachs; they are whetted by the change of their food, and variety supplies both with fresh appetites.

-- Quintilian

I like to travel and I like good food. Combining the two makes an ordinary trip a great one. Here's some of the better restaurants I've discovered at home and abroad.


The three blocks of Ocean Avenue between Junipero Serra and 19th avenue known as Lakeside Village is really turning into quite a little gourmet gulch. Three of my favorites are located there.
Taipei Chinese *

Surprisingly good for a neighborhood restaurant. Nice people and great food. Occasional problems with pick-up and delivery orders, unfortunately. Try the Lemon Chicken or the Walnut Prawns. (Lakeside Village, San Francisco, CA)

Jitra Thai Cuisine Thai *
Good stuff in a small yet spacious restaurant. Small portions and an inattention to detail diminishes an otherwise fine meal. (Lakeside Village, San Francisco, CA)


The San Francisco bay area is home to an awful lot of really great restaurants, though. Here are some more favorites, including a couple of legendary places that you simply mustn't miss.
Schroeder's German * * *

A very german restaurant, and originally a family business. Recently sold, it could still be as good. At least check out the collection of beer steins on the wall. (Downtown, San Francisco, CA)

Yank Sing Dim Sum * * * *

Where worldly business men take hick guests for lunch. Excellent anyway. The crab claws are great. A little pricey, but worth it. (Downtown, San Francisco, CA)

Tung Fong Dim Sum * * * *

My favorite of the zillions of dim sum restaurants in Chinatown. They count the number of plates on the table to figure your total. (Chinatown, San Francisco, CA)

Tia Margarita Mexican * * *

A very nice, sit-down mexican restaurant. Good food and good margaritas. A local alternative to the same old Chevy's. (Richmond District, San Francisco, CA)

Tommy's Joynt Hof Brau * * *

Amazingly cheap for such good food. Lots of character. Many different kinds of beer, but ya gotta try the buffalo. Not for aficionados of "California Cuisine" or the faint of heart. (Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA)

Joe's Cable Car Hamburgers * * *

Joe's is a one of a kind, and his gimmick is that he grinds his meat fresh every day. This is more than just a marketing pitch, however -- it makes for a fantastic burger. You can watch the cooks trim the fat and grind the meat right there, but your time is better spent eating. Joe's burgers are more expensive (around $6 for a quarter-pounder) but worth it. (Outer Mission, San Francisco, CA)

Tani's Kitchen Japanese * * * *

So small you can't order seconds. But that's okay; Firsts are plenty big enough. The food is good, and the price is as small as the restaurant. (It can seat about 12 people.) Excellent Donburi, Tempura, and Sushi. (Westlake, Daly City, CA)

Sargam Indian Cuisine Indian * * *

Good lunch buffet for $6. Pleasant and plentiful staff, and a well lighted, clean dining area. Popular with local office workers for lunch; I'm sure it's just as good for dinner. (Walnut Creek, CA)

Johnny's Burgers Burgers * *
On Irving Avenue, about about 24th, Johnny's offers great burgers in a simple, almost childlike atmosphere (maybe it has something to do with airplane propeller fans on the ceiling.) Whereas many burger joints tend to be greasy and not all that clean, Johnny's is extremely clean. The brugers are not overly greasy, without sacrificing taste. Their chicken burger is also very good. (Sunset, San Francisco, CA)
Star India Indian * * *
Located on Geary Boulevard, just down from the Coronet theatre, Star India offers great food at reasonable prices. They also have a lunch buffet. Probably the best Indian you'll find in San Francisco without selling children. (Richmond, San Francisco, CA)
Fred's Steaks Butcher * * * * *
If you're a vegetarian looking for an excuse to eat red meat, here it is. Not strictly a restaurant, Fred's Steaks are too good not to include here. Fred's special marinade turns them black, but take one home and stick it on the barbeque and you'll be in heaven. Not cheap, but not expensive either. Definitely worth the effort of cooking them yourself. (Stanford Mall, Palo Alto, CA)

Ottawa, Canada's capitol, is home to a whole lotta great restaurants of all kinds. Here's a couple; I'll add more as I think of them. (Actually, Ottawa is a great place in general!)
Da Sergio Italian * * * * *

An experience as much as a meal. This is a small place, but big on charm and personality. You'll really have a grand time in real style. And, the food is fantastic too!

Barley Mow Pub * * *

A British pub, with good food, but watch out for that nut brown ale. It really packs a wallop! Near all the antique stores, too.

Haveli Indian * * *

Tandoori and Naan Bread to die for, plus you can watch the guys burn off all the hair on their arms as they cook it all.

Horn of Africa Ethiopian * * * *

Sit on the balcony and watch Ottawa go by. Try the sampler plate, but be forewarned, it's a lot more filling than it looks! Great food and great service too.


Moab, Utah is a beautiful place, home to Arches national park, and some great off-highway driving. The people are nice, the views are great, and the food is fantastic.
Rio Colorado Southwestern * * * * *

If you like black bean soup, beware. If you try Rio Colorado's, any other will only taste so-so in comparison. But not to worry, all the food is great.


Colorado Springs, Colorado offers a lot to do and see, including the ANA headquarters and Money Museum, the US Olympic Training Center, and the Garden of the Gods park. And all of this is parked at the foot of Pike's Peak. But ya gotta eat, and I found some pretty good food while I was there.
Mona Lisa Fondue * * * *

Great service, and great food. Ya gotta try all the different sauces; I even liked the mustard one, and I hate mustard. Great for a party too.

Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. American * * * *

Get a sampler of all their great beers, but keep in mind that 7 * 4oz is 28oz (.83l) of beer, so don't let the little glasses fool you. The food was great too. Try the skirt steak and mashed potatoes.


Eugene, Oregon is home to the Oregon Ducks, the sporting teams of the University of Oregon, and the only school or sports team allowed to use Disney's Donald Duck as a mascot.
Moreno's Mexican * * *
Good food, in an historic old house. Within walking distance of the University area hotels, which is just as well, because the Sangria packs a real wallop!

If you're in Portland, Oregon, plan to spend a few hours at Powell's books. Between that and all the great fountains downtown, you may get pretty hungry.
Ron Paul's Charcuterie Yuppie * * *
A bit trendy, but the eating is still good. The cajun shrimp and andouille sausage was excellent. Plenty of decadent desserts if you've already eaten, and they're open late. Surprisingly Affordable.

The Russian River area of Sonoma County is a beautiful place, with redwoods, wineries, antique shops, and excellent boating. All that is bound to work up an appetite, and luckily there are some excellent eateries.
Tupolo's Greek * * *
A beautiful winery plays host to an excellent restaurant. A little empty the times we've been there, but I'm told it gets busy during the summers. Great food, with the wines to match, and they'll wrap you leftovers up in tin foil to look like a swan -- so cute you won't want to eat them. (Forestville, CA)
Pasta Bella Italian * * *
Excellent pasta, salads, and soup, in a light-hearted friendly atmosphere. Not too expensive, but tastes like it should be. Vegetarian options are available, but most dishes are offered with one or two options of appropriate meats. Also offers drive up expresso in the mornings. (Sebastopol, CA)


Carson City is a neat little town, without all the casino-influenced otherworldlyness of Reno. There's lots of history to be found, along with some great food.
Sierra Glen Restaurant Diner/Ice Cream Parlor * * * *
First and foremost, the service here is fantastic. Nothing fancy, just a family that enjoys what they do. More importantly, they're good people. Add to that fantastic Ice Cream (and remember, I'm from a town that is home to Mitchell's, Polly Ann's, Double Rainbow, and three Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops) and excellent food and you've got a winner. (I really enjoyed their signature CrispyCheeseBurger, and I'm not a big fan of cheese.) The prices are good too. (Carson City, NV)

Archives

Alas, alack, the restaurant business is an ephemeral one, and restaurants come and go regularly, even the best of them. What follows are restaurants that once reigned supreme and are now but a sweet memory lingering upon our lips. They remain here as a tribute to the culinary masters who brought them to us, however fleetingly.

Paul's Italian * * * * *

Great food, great service, and great prices. Undiscovered and unpretentious. Don't miss it. Tell 'em Uncle Roger sent you. (Lakeside Village, San Francisco, CA)

Leon's Barbeque * * * *

A San Francisco institution. You're not a local unless you know Leon's menu by heart. Get the sampler for two -- you and a friend will have a great dinner and lunch for the next few days. (Outer Sunset, San Francisco, CA)

Happy Valley Chinese * *
Located in beautiful Levi Plaza, Happy Vally offers good food in an upscale setting. With the romantic granite fountain just outside, and the embarcadero nearby for a moonlit stroll, this is a good place for an intimate dinner for two or a family get together. (Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, CA)

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