Friday, August 20, 2010

Delicious! Fun to get there; fun to eat there!

We are lucky this time in San Francisco; it's a destination for us, but we know people who live here and crawl the streets looking for fabulous hole-in-the-wall restaurants and entertainment venues. After reconnecting with my niece, Jeanmarie, earlier this year, we discovered that she and her husband not only work in San Francisco, but they also avail themselves of the many culinary opportunities that this international city offers. One of the places she recommended was Burma Superstar. Here is what she said about it and why we decided to give it a try: "Amazing Burmese food . . . best in town. You stand on the sidewalk to get in during dinner. Honestly, go for lunch . . . same menu, but not so much of a wait. This s a bit of a dive restaurant, but probably one of the hottest places in town. It's a haul from Downtown, but an adventure. Neighborhood staple." (By the way--that's Char in the photo in front of the restaurant.)

So we went for lunch. We did have to stand on the sidewalk and wait for a table (about 1 p.m.), but only for 10 minutes. I guess I'd disagree with that this is somewhat of a dive; it was small, but actually quite well done and very clean. It didn't have a "dive" feel for me; it's atmosphere was more that of a neighborhood cafe. Nothing fancy, but more than adequate. High on one wall was perhaps a dozen framed articles--reviews of the restaurant.

I certainly thank Jeanmarie for pointing us in the direction of Burma Superstar. It is in the Richmond district, which is a ways from downtown. But using our three-day transit pass, we hopped a #30 bus and took it from Union Square to Third Avenue, then walked a few blocks to Clement Street, and finally to 309 and the restaurant.

The menu offers several styles of Asian preparations; we chose the ones marked, "Authentic Burmese Style." Char ordered the Pork Curry with Potatoes, and I chose the Nan Gyi Dok, which is rice noodles with a mild chicken coconut curry sauce. We did the sharing thing and thoroughly enjoyed our lunch. I knew we were in the right place because most of the customers were Asian--another indirect stamp of approval for the restaurant.

And, get this. The bill for the two entrees was $28, and would have been $20 if we hadn't ordered a beer with lunch. Very modestly priced, I thought. That's what it costs for two to go to lunch in Minneapolis.

If you like Asian-style cuisine, I suggest you take the bus ride from Downtown out to Richmond. Lunch at the Burma Superstar is certainly a satisfying experience.

Information about Burma Superstar is available at and on Twitter, @burmasuperstar.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

We went to look at a house but found Amanda

So we went down to the bay to see this thing called Cliff House, but we ended up talking with a street vendor. Her name is Amanda. She sells jewelry that she makes herself. That's Amanda in the photo. When I think of street vendors, I usually do not conjure up the image of a young woman.

In our hotel room, we have a photo of a huge and masterfully built house called Cliff House; but when we got to the house, we saw something quite different. The house has gone through at least three iterations. You can read about it here, if you like: In any event, we were disappointed with Cliff House. Not so with Amanda.

Amanda has all of the markings of a resourceful, enterprising entrepreneur. She has been street vending since January, 2010, she said, but has been doing it full-time since April. She quit a full-time job as a massage therapist and now makes her living as a jewelry artist. This is somewhat impressive. A part-time student considering a health care-related career (either nursing or radiation technology), she has run the gauntlet of becoming certified and licensed as a San Francisco street vendor. Little did I know, however, that vending spots are prescribed by the city; that means you just can't set up shop anywhere--you have to go to an officially designated location.

Amanda makes jewelry from such materials as semi-precious stones and sea glass. She personally gathers the sea glass from the water's edge. She also gathers flat stones, which she adorns with various painted artwork. Her assortment of hand-made work is set on a portable stand, which I was surprised to learn that she takes down every day. It fits in her car--the red one in the background.

I'm always amazed and impressed with people who somehow find the chutzpah to go off and do something like this. They make it look so easy.

If you want to know a little more about Amanda and the jewelry and art she makes, you can find it here:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On The Way To San Francisco

Hey, everyone. We're headed for San Francisco. Had some interesting encounters today--nothing earth shattering, I guess--but nevertheless interesting. I'll get to that in the posts that follow. Meanwhile, the photo you see of me is in the Phoenix airport as we await our connecting flight from Minneapolis to San Francisco. I travel with a Red Oxx ( PR5 Safari-Beanos Bag. No wheels on this one, so some travelers may not like it. But I like it because it is a carry-on and it holds everything I need to be on the road indefinitely. I would like a smaller and lighter computer, however. Anyway, stay tuned. We'll be here for a few days, so I'll have a little to say.