Eating the Bay 5

The B Star Bar, San Francisco, CA

It was my good fortune that my shakuhachi teacher’s daughter has moved to San Francisco from Japan to attend University. That meant that Kaoru combined a teaching trip to LA with a trip to SF to see his daughter. He was staying with one of his students, Karl Young. I had been invited to have dinner after my lesson.

Karl and his wife Sue live in the Richmond District in a nondescript apartment building; until you enter the lobby. It’s all restored 1940’s architecture. A hidden jewel.  Sue and, then, Karl, then Emi (Kaoru’s daughter) arrived during my lesson. Karl ‘s lesson followed mine.  After lessons, we all sat for a while in a very lively talk about art while sampling an excellent chocolate beer.

Primed and ready to go, we are led by Karl and Sue a few block way to the B Star Bar. A small Burmese restaurant. We’re lucky in that there is one table available for the five of us. Karl and Sue give us advice, starting with the Tea Leaf Salad. We also order various dishes that we share or not. The restaurant stocks a Belgian Chimey Beer. A marvellous complex mixture of flavours. I need to do a beer tour of Belgium some day! The Tea Leaf Salad is mixed at the table. A few bites and I know why they insisted that we order it. Everything is superb. So many flavours mixed perfectly. I am swooning. As we are leaving, I say to the waitress, “I didn’t think food could taste this good.”

Five stars, must go!

PS- Up the street is the original Burmese Superstar that the B Star Bar is spun off from. Same food.

http://www.bstarbar.com/

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Eating the Bay 4

Hotel San Remo, San Francisco, CA

When I had breakfast at the Venus Cafe, I was on my way with my bags to San Francisco. I had arrived in the Bay Area in the belief that I only needed the two nights couch surfing accommodation that I had arranged. The day of my arrival, I had received information that meant I needed to stay another night. A quick hop on the web and through a Fodor’s recommendation found and booked at the San Remo Hotel in the North Beach neighbourhood of San Francisco. Other budget hotels I had tried were booked out. I’m glad that was so.

The San Remo was built one hundred years ago by the founder of the Bank of America after the 1906 Great Earthquake.  It’s located a few blocks from Fisherman’s Wharf, occupying the second and third stories of the buildingl.  You are buzzed into small foyer on ground level and then ascend a one and a half person wide staircase to the first floor of the hotel. It is beautiful with restored Italianate Victorian fixtures and architecture. You will not find a phone or tv in your room. There is wireless in the main hallways. Some rooms have a sink but the showers and toilets are located separately from the rooms on each floor as in a European pension. Here’s a photo of one view inside of my room.

The View From My Bed, San Remo Hotel

You can see the period furniture and the light from the central air shaft. It was comfortable room. The hotel was very clean, quiet and tidy with a welcoming feel. The staff were a very happy group who obviously enjoyed working in such an establishment. When I think of the concrete bunkers that so often pass as hotels these days, I appreciate the San Remo even more. Sure, the walls are thin and you have to go down the hall for the WC but for at least one night, as a special treat, I would recommend San Remo Hotel to anyone who is looking for a unique experience in San Francisco.

An interesting history page.

http://www.sanremohotel.com/san-remo-hotel-history.php

2237 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA