Saturday, March 29, 2008

Good Eats, San Francisco, A. G. Ferrari Foods

A. G. Ferrari Foods 688 Mission St./3rd St., South of Market, (415) 344-0644; http://www.agferrari.com. On a recent visit here I picked up the perfect quick dinner to keep on hand in my pantry. It consists of a box of Bucatini organic pasta "straws," a jar of pesto alla Genovese, and a 2005 Il Rosso Di Annibale Sangiovese. I plan to repeat this delicious meal many times more. Fortunately, this popular deli has locations all over the bay area; just check their website.

Things to Do: San Jose, San Jose Improv

San Jose Improv 62 S. 2nd St., (408) 280-7475; http://www.sanjoseimprov.com/. Tu-Sun; showtime varies. Cover $10-$45+ 2-item min. Some age restrictions. Performers and audience alike enjoy the cozy ambiance of this beautifully renovated former classic movie house, built in 1904 and the city’s oldest theater. Top comedians are booked, and the two-item minimum can be either food or drink (the fruity vodka-based Sex on the Stage is a satisfying number). Dinner reservations get priority seating; the menu includes well-priced salads, pastas, and a burger. It is interesting to know that The Smothers Brothers comedy duo attended San Jose State and began their career in the town’s small clubs.

More things to do in San Jose.

Even more things to do in San Jose.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways. 

Good Eats, San Jose, Teske’s Germania Restaurant and Bar

Teske’s Germania Restaurant and Bar 255 N. First St./Divine, (408) 292-0291; http://www.teskes-germania.com. L Tu-F, D Tu-Sat; $$. Situated in a historical building, this family-run German restaurant is entered through swinging saloon doors. After passing through an atmospheric dark bar, diners enter two large dining rooms. The one is front has a slightly cozier feel, while the back room features tall ceilings and a giant moose head. In good weather, a brick patio with a big wall fountain becomes a festive beer garden where nothing can be finer than sipping a big stein of Spaten amber lager. The menu offers a plethora of good German dishes—crisp potato pancakes, schnitzels, sauerbraten, and wursts—plus German beers and schnaps galore. Many entrees include housemade spatzle noodles, and all dinners include bread and butter, soup, salad, and apple strudel. Special events include Sommerfest in summer, Oktoberfest in September and October, and Seinfeld-inspired Festivus in November.

More things to do in San Jose.

Even more things to do in San Jose.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways. 

Good Eats, San Jose, Peggy Sue’s

Peggy Sue’s 183 Park Ave./Market St., downtown, (408) 294-0252; http://www.peggysues.com. B-L daily; $. Located just across the street from The Tech, this ‘50s diner grinds chuck daily for what it claims is “just possibly the best hamburger in the world.” Hot dogs, sandwiches, and salads are also available, as are smoothies, shakes, and sundaes. Breakfast is a choice of egg dishes--including a really good spinach and avocado omelette--and pancakes. Diners order at the counter, then settle into one of the cheery cherry-red booths or chrome tables and check out the room-full of nostalgia that includes autographed rock and sports memorabilia adorning the walls and even an old-time gas pump. And all the while, those oldies but goodies play in the background.

More things to do in San Jose.

Even more things to do in San Jose.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways. 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Things to Do: San Francisco, Beat Museum

Beat Museum 540 Broadway/Columbus, North Beach, 800-KER-OUAC, (415) 399-9626; http://www.thebeatmuseum.org/. Tu-Sun 10-10. $5, seniors $4. The late, beloved San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen is credited with coining "beatnik" in 1956 to describe the followers of the Beat Movement who hung out in the coffeehouses of North Beach. This cool museum has existed before in a variety of venues, including a traveling bus. Now in the back of the former Figone hardware store, it displays book collections, manuscripts, and ephemera from Beat legends such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The merchandise in the front retail store is almost as interesting as the museum itself.

Good Eats, San Francisco, Rose Pistola

Rose Pistola 532 Columbus Ave./Union St., North Beach, (415) 399-0499; http://www.rosepistola.com. L-D daily; $$$. Reservations advised. Valet parking. In a modern setting with sleek décor, this comfortable Italian trattoria produces top-notch Ligurian-style fare. The enticing menu changes twice daily and includes wood-fired pizza, housemade pastas such as pappardelle with pork sugo, entrees such as delicate whole petrale sole grilled with white beans and fennel, and vegetable sides such as grilled broccoli di cicco. Appetizers usually include a creative bruschetta, and desserts something tasty beautiful like a blood orange panna cotta atop an oat cake. Meals begin with house-cured olives and ciabatta bread, and sometimes service is by the effervescent waiter, Harry, who brings joy to the experience at no extra charge. Service is family-style. A full bar serves colorful cocktails, and live jazz adds to the atmosphere on weekends.