Monday, February 23, 2009

Ladies Lunch in Fillmore and Japantown

A few weeks ago, I met with a friend of mine for a leisurely lunch. We deliberately left our schedule open, for we planned on doing nothing except enjoying each other's company. We wanted to spend our day aimlessly browsing the designer shops, contentedly window shopping, and delightfully gazing at the idyllic scenery in hazy San Francisco.

My friend and I met at one of my favorite San Francisco restaurants, La Mediterranee. There, I ordered the lunch special, which came with a creamy, silken yogurt soup to start. The decadent and lemony soup invigorated my palate, and whetted my appetite for more. The taste and consistency of the soup reminded me of a homey cream of broccoli soup. For my main dish, I enjoyed a protein trio consisting of (1) chicken pomegranate, a fall-of-the-bone dark meat drumstick marinated, basted, and slowly baked in a sweet and slightly acidic pomegranate sauce with wild herbs, (2) a crisp filo levantine meat tart filled with lean ground beef and toasted pine nuts, and (3) chicken cilicia seasoned with cinnamon-spiced chicken and served over golden rice pilaf tossed with crispy almond slivers, chickpeas, and raisins. The chicken cilicia also came in a golden-brown filo wrapper, and exhibited a perfect balance of complimentary sweet, sour, and savory flavors with the hot chickeny interior and sweet dusting of powdered sugar. I also enjoyed the pillowy wedges of warm pita, which I dipped in a small mound of tahini-rich hummus.

After our filling and satisfying meal, we stopped by Dosa, a trendy and new Indian restaurant, to appreciate the luxuriously designed restaurant space, which oddly was once occupied by Goodwill. The vividly colored hanging chandeliers glittered and sparkled with their feathery and beaded outgrowths. We decided to order some refreshments, and I went with the sweet mango lassi, which had a hint of mint and a rich, smooth, custardy consistency.

As we wandered from shop to shop, we made our last stop in Japantown. First, we visited the Hotel Kabuki, to visit their beautiful tea garden and watch the peaceful koi fish eagerly encircle the whispering waterfall. Next, we stopped by San Francisco's Benkyodo Co., where we snacked on their "manju of the month," a sticky rice flour mochi cake filled with supple marshmallow and chocolate filling. As we dusted the sweet manju flour from our lips, we took a last stroll around Japantown, and a few hours later, concluded our restful and enjoyable mini-tour of San Francisco.

I hope my day gave you some ideas of where to visit if you ever come to San Francisco. All of these places are within walking distance of one another!


  1. Oh, how fun!! I wish I were there, everything looks wonderful!! Bet you had a blast!

  2. Indeed, that looks like a lot of fun eating! MMMM....

  3. As soon as I saw your picture, I recognized it immediately! I love La Mediterranee, I go to the one in Berkeley.

  4. I love la mediteranee too, especially the chicken cecilia! Sounds like a great afternoon.

  5. oh, this isn't fair. La Mediterranee, Dosa and Benkyodo are some of my absolute favorite places in SF!

    you need to try the white bean mochi with a fresh stawberry in the center.

  6. I love spending time with lady friends Donna-FFW, I wish you were there too!

    We literally just walked about and ate Sophie!

    I love La Mediterranee Sara!

    Yes, it was gorgeous and delicious Rosa!

    The afternoon was filled with great food Foodhoe!

  7. Sounds like good fun and good food!

  8. Oops, I just missed your comment Alex! Thank you for suggesting the white bean and strawberry mochi, I will have to try that!

    And it was great times Tigerfish!

  9. I hope you visited my favorite olive oil shop right next door to La Mediterranee after your lunch! Sounds like such a fun leisurely day!

  10. I have to go back and look for Chef Ben's favorite store tomorrow!

  11. great food, great company great surroundings. what more can one ask for? Great Mochi!!

    neki desu

  12. Haha, you're right, I can always ask for good mochi Neki Desu!

  13. What on earth is that lovley drink that looks like caramel!!

  14. It is pureed mango with yogurt and a touch of mint Mommy Gourmet, and it is called a mango lassi!

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