CONFESSIONS OF A                                                                  
A San Francisco Girl's Down and Dirty Adventures in the Culinary Playground

Monday, November 29, 2004

Zu(ni) Story (Zuni Cafe -- San Francisco, CA)

Jon and I bought our first home in April. It's just about the only residential structure in our neighborhood. Lucky for us, Zuni Cafe is also in our neighborhood. We can WALK there. Hooray!

Zuni's an interesting place. The first time we went there, several years ago, we didn't love it (the shock! the horror!). I think we went in expecting something different than what it was. But aside from that, we know several other people that haven't loved their first Zuni experience only to return later as die hard fans. Must be something in the water.

Zuni's been around since, well, forever. Not really but it seems like it. Judy Rodgers has been working her magic since the 80's (Come on, sing some Oingo Boingo with me now). It's like the Winchester mystery house with alcoves and nifty little seating areas in hard to reach spots. Fun!

It's hard to believe that we weren't completely enamored on our first visit because it's now one of our most favorite places ever. Here's why:

1. Oysters (and seafood in general). They have about a hundred different kinds of oysters (OK, I'm hyperbolizing but they do have a lot), and it was the first place we ever ate periwinkles (a.k.a. snails), which we loved.

2. The fries. Man do I love fries. They might be my favorite food if I was actually willing to admit it. And Zuni's, called shoestring potatoes, are sublime. They're super duper skinny and come in a huge pile. The pile is so big that you will say "Oh but I could never eat that many fries." Think again, fatty. Before you know it you'll be shoveling them in as fast as you can.

3. The ricotta gnocchi. Gnocchi made of cheese. What more could you ask for?

4. The Caesar salad. The best ever. No contest.

5. Brunch. Especially the fried eggs in chimichurri sauce (when they have it).

6. The burger. Not Jon's favorite, but it IS the favorite of many others.

7. Bloody Marys. Fresh and tasty.

8. The whole roasted chicken for two. Sure, it takes 50 minutes, but really, what else were you planning to do tonight?

9. They are open until midnight. Score. This city sucks for places that are open late. I have spent many a post-rehearsal meal at Zuni.

10. The servers are nice, pretty and fucking good at their jobs. There is one guy (we don't know his name) who just rocks our world. He's funny to boot.

Everything there is fresher than my 8th grade students. I love going there and seeing what's new on the menu. And you can take your cool friends, your dorky friends, your parents, your babies, pretty much everyone short of that homeless guy on the street, and they'll LOVE it (or they won't but then for some strange reason, they'll want to go back and then they'll realize that they DO love it). We were there 3 nights ago with some friends and we're going back tomorrow night with Jon's parents. Makes me want to do a little happy dance.


"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art."
--La Rochefoucauld


Blogger Pluto's Dad said...

Zuni's is awesome, and was one of the best dining experiences I had while in San Fransisco.

The strawberry shortcake dessert, if they still have it, is the best I've ever had.

I also loved the ceasar salad, however, it is difficult to eat due to their use of whole lettuce leaves. It looks nicer, but they could cut it up.

They were very friendly. I had a problem once, I won't say what it was, but they gave me my dinner and dessert free. I would definitely go back the next time I am in San Fran.

12/22/2004 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And Zuni's, called shoestring potatoes, are sublime. They're super duper skinny and come in a huge pile. The pile is so big that you will say "Oh but I could never eat that many fries." Think again, fatty."

At last -- a genuine "laugh out loud moment." Our table of fat whores ordered a second plate of these satan sticks.

6/26/2005 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

barb said the bar is up to no good, the drinks go down way too easy and you just want more. after the fatty finishes the fries it is on to those babolicious drinks.

7/25/2005 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AND they have the most kick-ass Lemondrops I've ever had. I have dreams about their's all I ever get there! + the caesar salad and you are a happy camper...

11/16/2005 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We ate at Zuni once, and once only; here's why. It was lunchtime and we ordered the Caesar Salad that everyone seems to like so much. Having recently eaten a bland Caesar elsewhere (the chef didn't put anchovies in the dressing because "people don't like them"). we inquired about the anchovy content of Zuni's Caesar dressing. Our waiter "wasn't sure" but offered to bring some anchovies on the side as a backup. The totally unremarkable salads arrived with two miniscule anchovies in a ramekin. Now here's where we reached the Point of Never Returning: when the bill came, we were hit $2.50 for the anchovies! Give me a break.

11/25/2005 10:05 AM  

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