"Every restaurant is a theater, and the truly great ones allow us to indulge in the fantasy that we are rich and powerful. When restaurants hold up their end of the bargain, they give us the illusion of being surrounded by servants intent on ensuring our happiness and offering extraordinary food. But even modest restaurants offer the opportunity to become someone else, at least for a little while. When you walk through the door, you are entering neutral territory where you are free to be whoever you choose for the duration of the meal."
I had planned to write a restaurant review for this post, but alas, it was not to be! Gaspare's Italian Dinners have been on my culinary bucket list since last summer! It was one of the places featured in Woody Allen's film, Blue Jasmine, although you probably wouldn't know it from the scene it was in. There is no shot of the outside of the restaurant, no tell tale signs inside, but prominent are the dark green leather booths, and the fun little mini- jukeboxes that are affixed to the walls, just above each booth table. 3 musical selections for a quarter, according to a Yelp reviewer! The pizzas themselves have mixed reviews, apparently they are considered "old school" Brooklyn or New Jersey style, which might mean that Californians simply don't get it! One thing is for sure, one likes what they like, so I was planning to make up my own mind.
Now, if I can only find a place to park.
The parking on Geary Boulevard leaves a lot to be desired, so as such, Friday was not the time to try and eat there! In fact, every time I have tried to eat there, I have been unlucky about finding a place to park. It's typical of San Francisco, so we always go prepared to have a Plan B. On Friday our Plan B became Plan C! But first things first. Our second choice was to grab a couple slices pizza at North Beach Pizza, on Grant in North Beach. The parking there was worse than Gaspare's. At least Geary Boulevard is a nice wide road, lol, Grant is very narrow, and yes, one wrong turn and you find yourself on the hill from HELL!
On to Plan C!
Our Plan C, is usually our Plan A. Hunan Cafe #2, in the Outer Richmond, is our favorite Chinese restaurant in San Francisco! The food is always delicious, I haven't had a bad meal there yet, and freshly cooked when you order it! No steam tables. It is close to Golden Gate Park, and Ocean Beach, so when we are in the park, it's our go-to place for a reasonably priced meal in a hurry. Lily, the owner, always greets you with a big smile, and her husband cooks the food. I swear, his hands have been touched by God! The food is just that good! And it's just this little spot, in the middle of the neighborhood, that you might miss if you didn't look closely. It is a cute little San Francisco gem to be sure!
We found Hunan Kitchen #2 last year, when we got to the filming at Gaspare's too late to see Woody filming! The "No Parking" sandwich board sign was still there, but there wasn't a Woody Allen in sight! We were disappointed by not seeing him, and hungry, but Gaspare's was closed! So we checked things out on Yelp and came across the delicious Hunan Cafe #2, right in the neighborhood! I am not very brave when it comes to trying new restaurants, but on that day it just seemed like fun. It was cold, we were disappointed, and starving... not a good combination... and I am so glad we gave it a try! It was delicious! Since then, we have tried a couple more places in the neighborhood, Gordo Taqueria, also on Geary, and Sushi Bistro on Balboa. And just last week we found a fantastic little yogurt shop near the corner of Geary and 33rd... Happy Yogurt! The Peanut Butter Cookie yogurt is AMAZING! I have a couple more places I want to try soon, and when I do I will do a proper restaurant review of those places both here, and on Yelp. It's the thing to do, if you want to keep your favorite place in business! Right?
Oh, that and "Tip big boys" as Jasmine would say! :)
Maybe someday I will get to eat at Gaspare's. At this point, its not just a goal, it's a QUEST!
I am going to do a more in-depth review of these restaurants as we move through autumn. Alan is taking his usual 5 weeks off, and we plan to be in San Francisco a lot, so STAY TUNED!