Sapporo is the sushi restaurant’s answer to the overly familiar neighborhood pub. If you need to be greeted warmly by a hostess and have your every need catered to in a reasonable time frame, I’m not sure it’s the place for you. There’s nothing wrong with those expectations, but Sapporo won’t meet them. Instead, the tiny staff—consisting of one waitress and the sushi chef Sam—will get to you in due time, and your drink order will likely be yelled across the restaurant.
As soon as you see the restaurant’s interior, you’ll realize it’s a playful joint. Keep yourself entertained while waiting for service by looking at the polaroids covering the walls and booths.
And keep that playfulness in mind as you realize Sam’s banter with the regulars is far more entertaining than the photos. Otherwise, you may be worried actual insults are being flung around rather than friends skewering each other. Heck, not knowing for certain is part of the appeal.
Sam, the sushi chef.
But I think the existence of a Crazy Sammy roll resolves that question pretty well.
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A few months ago, I came across 7×7’s list of the best macaroni and cheeses in the Bay Area. I’d been looking for a good excuse to try a new restaurant each month with friends, and what better excuse is there than sampling mac & cheese? I dare you to come up with one…and if you do, that’ll be my new excuse once I work my way through this list.
Our first night was at Mission Cheese (736 Valencia, San Francisco), a cheese-based restaurant in the Mission—obviously, they approach naming with laser-like precision.
It’s a busy spot on a Friday night, and you may find yourself waiting a while for one of the few tables after you place your order. But in pursuit of great mac & cheese, sometimes you must make sacrifices of convenience.
Go on, cram in with us at the corner of the bar!
Consider this your introduction to my mac & cheese rating guide. I’ll fill it out for each mac & cheese we sample.
Price: $10, reasonable to me for the size.
Cheese: Cloth-bound cheddar and washed rind cow’s milk cheeses. I didn’t ask particulars. It was too crowded and loud for that.
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The husband and I ended up at Afghan Village after a quick Yelp search from the freeway when our hunger post-wine-tasting had reached critical levels. So that hunger may have influenced my opinion of the establishment, but honestly, I think Afghan Village just plain has amazing food despite mixed Yelp reviews.
It’s located in a dark strip mall, and the restaurant was just starting to get patrons in the early evening, around 6 pm. Traditional, elaborate decorations adorn the walls. Gold, white, and red were the primary colors of the room.
It gave of the vibe of a special occasion restaurant, the type where a large family would rent half the room for a birthday or wedding celebration—the two throne chairs in the center of the restaurant definitely contributed to that effect. The décor made the place seem vast when not filled, but it was pleasant to gape at, regardless.
Service was prompt. Because of our hunger, an appetizer was a must.
Those are potatoes pakora, and I loved them. The spices in the besan flour batter made for an intriguing blend, and the cilantro chutney banished any potential for blandness. It was a healthy helping, too. Despite that glossy sheen, they didn’t taste at all greasy and had a crisp exterior.
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