Hot!California, Here We Come!

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buffetbuster
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2013/05/06 08:42:37 (permalink)

California, Here We Come!

The best part of choosing that title for this trip report is that I can provide a link to this tv classic. 
 
Cousin Johnny and I recently spent our annual week vacation together, this time in Northern California.
 
Friday April 19, 2013
 
Johnny was still working on this day, but I had a 6:00AM flight from Pittsburgh direct to San Francisco.  The plane wasn't scheduled to land until 8:20AM, but arrived over a half hour early, which is always nice.  The luggage came out quickly, no line at the car rental and the breakfast destination, JoAnn's Cafe in South San Francisco was a very short drive away.  All of this would be great, except I was meeting Roadfooder Loves2Bake at JoAnn's and we weren't scheduled to meet for another hour.  To kill time, I programmed a bunch of destinations in the GPS, got out and took some photos, eventually settling on a bench outside the restaurant.  When I stood up to examine the menu on the outside door, a woman who turned out to be L2B, stuck her head out the door and asked if I was buffetbuster.  She had arrived early to grab us a booth. I felt like a dope for not checking the inside of the restaurant earlier.
 
JoAnn's Cafe

has not appeared in a Roadfood book since the 1992 edition.  In it, they extol JoAnn's for the buttermilk shake, omelets and muffins.  Good advice we mostly ignored during our meal.  The inside

has the feel of a comfortable diner and we sat in the very first booth nearest the door.  Which gave us a great view of those beautiful muffins

in the display case. 
 
Most of the reviews I see nowadays rave about the orange french toast,

which what I ordered.  It was thick, spongy and a quality way to start the trip.  We weren't really sure if that was real maple syrup that came with the dish, but I imagine if we aren't sure, it is safe to assume it wasn't.  L2B chose the migas,

which she was happy to share.  Maybe Loves2Bake can chime in with her opinion of the migas, but I thought it was fairly good, although the tortillas could have been fresher.
 
The best part of dining here was the company.  Loves2Bake has lots of interests, is extremely knowledgable about food and is just a very nice person.  The conversation with her was a real delight!  And she even came dressed in a pie themed shirt!  Before we left, I had one of the waiters take a photo of us. 

On the way out, L2B bought a couple of muffins to go.  She asked if I wanted any, but knowing there was a full day of eating ahead, I declined.
 
JoAnn's Cafe
1131 El Camino Real
South San Francisco, CA
650-872-2810
 
Much more to come.....         
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/05/06 08:49:29
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251 Replies Related Threads

    pnwchef
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 09:10:02 (permalink)
    BB, this looks like your kind of place, if these people aren't Roadfood kind of people, no one is..............have fun, the Restaurant s name is Plow, this pic is from Yelp, the food looks great, even house made country sausage............pnwc
     
     
     
    #2
    buffetbuster
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 09:24:39 (permalink)
    pnwchef-
    Unfortunately, we are already back from our trip.  Looking over the menu, Plow looks like it would have made an excellent breakfast stop.  There is so much great food in San Francisco, it would take a month to even put a dent into it.
    #3
    Sundancer7
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 09:36:23 (permalink)
    BB:  Roz and I have been to SanFran numerous times.  There are so many opportunities for outstanding food that it is impossible to get to very many.  Your stop with L2B was outstanding.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #4
    mr chips
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 09:51:49 (permalink)
    Love2Bake is lovely and I loved the pie shirt.Can hardlywait to read more.
    #5
    EdSails
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 10:35:05 (permalink)
    Wish you had come further south too. So many places.......
    #6
    Ralph Melton
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 10:49:25 (permalink)
    It's always fun to read a buffetbuster trip report.
     
    We ate at Plow in 2011, and it was excellent - some of the best biscuits and gravy I've had.
    #7
    buffetbuster
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 11:43:15 (permalink)
    While driving around, Cousin Johnny and I reminisced fondly about some of our past vacations.  As it turns out, this is our 14th week long trip together.  I did a little research and some of you may be interested in reading where we have gone previously:
     
    2000 - Flew into Salt Lake City.  Visited Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.  Highlights included Yellowstone National Park and Craters of the Moon National Monument.
     
    2001 - Flew into Las Vegas.  Visited Nevada, Utah and Arizona.  Highlights included Zion, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon National Parks.
     
    2002 - Flew into Sacramento.  Visited California, Nevada and Oregon.  Highlights included Yosemite, Crater Lake and Redwood National Parks.
     
    2003 - Flew into San Diego.  Visited California only.  Highlights included San Diego Zoo and tapings of the Tonight Show and Hollywood Squares.
     
    2004 - Flew into Albuquerque.  Visited New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.  Highlights included Mesa Verde, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, plus first visit to Bobcat Bite.
     
    2005 - Flew into Fort Lauderdale (landed day after Hurricane Katrina went through).  Visited Florida only.  Highlights included swimming with dolphins in Key West.
     
    2006 - Flew into Portland, OR.  Visited Oregon, Washington and Idaho.  Highlights included Olympic and Mount Ranier National Parks.
     
    2007 - Flew into Nashville.  Visited Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.  Highlights were eating lots of Southern food.
     
    2008 - Flew into Houston.  Visited Texas only.  Highlights included Central Texas Roadfood bus tour.
     
    2009 - Flew into Albuquerque. Visited New Mexico and Texas.  Highlights included Carlsbad Caverns National Park and White Sands National Monument.
     
    2010 - Flew into Milwaukee.  Visited Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.  Highlights included Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and Smoke Day/PieFest.
     
    2011 - Flew into Denver.  Visited Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.  Highlights included Devil's Tower and Jewel Cave National Monuments, Mount Rushmore National Memorial,  Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt National Parks.
     
    2012 - Flew into Kansas City.  Visited Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.  Highlights included Hot Springs National Park.
     
    The great thing is that we plan to keep taking these trips for as long as we can.  There is a lot of time between now and then, but we are discussing Arizona for 2014.   
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/05/08 08:03:01
    #8
    wanderingjew
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 12:00:40 (permalink)
    buffetbuster 


    On the way out, L2B bought a couple of muffins to go.  She asked if I wanted any, but knowing there was a full day of eating ahead, I declined. 
            

    buffetbuster
     
    I think I heard a groan coming out of the Chicagoland area that day...
     
    Great start and it's wonderfult that you got to meet  Loves2bake -it's always great to meet new Roadfooders
    looking forward to more!
     
     
    #9
    Sundancer7
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 12:35:40 (permalink)
    Roz and I are looking forward to celebrating her graduation from the Ph.D program in a few more months.  We are driving the western USA driving from Knoxville to Chicago, MPLS across North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and into Settle and south thru California.  Perhaps to meet up to L2B and then to Arizona for graduation. Then back to Knoxville through TX where we will get some BBQ hopefully with Bushie.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #10
    buffetbuster
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 13:07:05 (permalink)
    Ralph Melton

    It's always fun to read a buffetbuster trip report.

    We ate at Plow in 2011, and it was excellent - some of the best biscuits and gravy I've had.
    Thanks Ralph!  Coincidentally, I also think we had some of the best biscuits and gravy in a restaurant on this trip.  Who knew California was so good at this Southern staple? 

    #11
    mar52
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 13:08:04 (permalink)
    Shout out HI to both of you!  Great picture.
     
    What fun!
     
    Looking forward to hearing and seeing more of what San Francisco has to offer.
     
    Cliff, I always love your trip reports.
    #12
    buffetbuster
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 13:09:08 (permalink)
    WJ-
    Oh yeah, his name came up several times during this trip as did yours!
     
    Sundancer-
    Wow!  What a fantastic journey that will be!  And if you get to the Bay Area, you really should get in contact with [link=mailto:Loves@Bake]Loves@Bake[/link].
    #13
    buffetbuster
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 13:11:29 (permalink)
    Thanks Mar!  You know I always enjoy your contributions and comments.  But, there will be a bit of a wait until we get to San Francsico, since that doesn't happen until the end of the trip.
    #14
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 13:13:57 (permalink)
    Great start, Sir. I'm looking forward to more.
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 14:04:47 (permalink)
    Friday April 19, 2013 cont.
     
    After parting ways with Loves2Bake, I needed to head south towards Half Moon Bay.  Unfortunately, the GPS in my phone would not accept the address in HMB, so I had to use the crappy little map they give you at the car rental counter to direct myself to town.  Rte. 92 headed for the coast takes you along some beautiful scenery,


    past lakes and switchback roads winding through lush green hills.  Hard to believe this is so close to the hustle and bustle of San Francisco and it's suburbs.
     
    My lunch destination was Barbara's Fish Trap, which sits right next to the Pacific Ocean.  Arriving a few minutes before they opened for lunch at 11:00AM, this allowed me to walk down to the water and snap a few photos from the dock.  


    The water here is perfectly blue!
     
    By the time Barbara's

    opened their doors, there was a small group waiting to get in.  This is obviously a very popular place.  The hostess told us to sit wherever we liked.  I could have grabbed a table by the window with a view of the water, but all of those were for four people and that wouldn't be right if a person by themself sat there. Instead, I grabbed a two person table near the front door.  In just a few minutes, every seat in the house was taken. 

    As you can see, the restaurant is small and decorated with the typical nautical theme.
     
    Reading the Roadfood review, I was set on ordering what the Sterns recommended, clam chowder and fish & chips.  But, the specials board

    on the wall gave me pause.  Although very tempted by steamed mussels or saute garlic prawns, I stuck with the original plan.  First up was the clam chowder,

    which certainly wasn't New England or Manhattan style.  On the plus side, the chowder was loaded with fresh clams.  On the negative, it was waaaay too peppery.  The waitress did explain that it did not contain any milk or cream.  Others may like this style of chowder, but it didn't work for me.
     
    The fish and chips

    were much better.  The Sterns describe it as almost a tempura and the texture was indeed both fluffy and crispy at the same time.  The inside fish was deliciously sweet.  They do provide you with tartar sauce, but I ate the fish either unadorned or with a little spritz of the vinegar, provided on the table.  The side of fries, which were thick cut steak fries, were an after thought to fish this good. 
     
    I usually don't go into much detail about what I drink in restaurants (90% of the time it is iced tea), but the iced tea here was truly awful.  It was particularly dark and maybe it was leftover from the night before, but I couldn't drink it.  I stuck to the water instead.
     
    Since there were people eagerly waiting for a table, I ate quickly and got out of the way.  BTW, they have some great signage here,

    highlighting happy sea creatures waiting to be eaten.  Next door, they have a to go seafood restaurant,

    with a giant fish above the roof.  What is written on the fish?  Crabs, of course!
     
    Much more to come.....        
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/08/07 15:00:04
    #16
    mar52
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 14:32:43 (permalink)
    Cliff, I admire your not taking the table for four.  What a nice consideration.
     
    I'm amazed at the level of the chowder and the fact that the rim is clean.
     
    I'm also amazed at those lunch prices.
     
    Your pictures look like postcards!
     
    Sorry your meal wasn't stellar.
    #17
    buffetbuster
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 14:37:42 (permalink)
    Mar, I also thought the prices on the specials board was high. Under different circumstances, I would have ordered the fish & chips, plus the mussels, but at that price, I didn't want to end up wasting a lot of food and money.  Plus, another meal was right around the corner.
    #18
    mar52
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 14:41:13 (permalink)
    Hope the next meal is better!
    #19
    lleechef
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 15:20:08 (permalink)
    bb
    I used to sing that crazy song every time we went to visit my mother's family in California, PA.
    Looking forward to more trip report.......it's been awhile!
    #20
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 18:04:41 (permalink)
    That's too bad you didn't care for Barbara's chowder, BB...based on your photo and description it's something I'd definitely like to try.  At least the fish made up for it!
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    agnesrob
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/06 20:00:54 (permalink)
    Great report so far BB! Anxiously awaiting the rest!
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    Foodbme
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/07 01:14:26 (permalink)
    Sundancer7
    Roz and I are looking forward to celebrating her graduation from the Ph.D program in a few more months.  We are driving the western USA driving from Knoxville to Chicago, MPLS across North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and into Settle and south thru California.  Perhaps to meet up to L2B and then to Arizona for graduation. Then back to Knoxville through TX where we will get some BBQ hopefully with Bushie.
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN

    SunDancer,
    I hope you & Roz would be interested in getting together with me and The Bride when you get to AZ.
    I had dinner this evening, (5/6) with Poverty Pete and we were talking about you & Roz.
    PP & I are going to try to get together again on Wednesday PM for Fish & Chips.
    We had Mexican this evening. 
    We'll be posting a " Poverty Pete & Foodbme do the East Valley" thread in a couple of days.
    Buffetbuster - Great report as always!
    #23
    ann peeples
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/07 06:30:53 (permalink)
    Fun so far,my friend!Looking forward to more!
    #24
    love2bake
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/07 12:13:46 (permalink)
    BB!  Thank you for the kind words--I enjoyed meeting you and wished I could have caught up with you on a couple of your later stops.  Next time, I hope!  There are plenty more regional Roadfood type places in SF and the peninsula, so do come back.
     
    Here's a photo of the apple walnut muffin from JoAnn's Cafe--it's so rare for me to buy a muffin, but the "skirt" on this one was irresistible.  It was very tasty.  I don't remember what the other muffin I got was, but I didn't finish it. (That tells you something!)

     
    What???  No Key Lime or Snicker Bar pie from the fish place??  Maybe I'll have to check it out for you...
    Looking forward to hearing and seeing more about your trip!
    post edited by love2bake - 2013/05/07 12:17:23
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    Davydd
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/07 14:02:39 (permalink)
    Buffetbuster,
     
    I'm not quite the dedicated foodie as you and I no longer fly if I can help it. I just get in a van and start driving. We're up around 120,000 miles in the past 8 years with a singular purpose of finding a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich.
    #26
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/07 14:52:37 (permalink)
    It is not necessarily how many folks are at the table...but how much food is on the table. Order enough to cover the 4-top and you earn the water view! 
     
    What made the chowder so creamy looking?  It looked and photographed well! 
     
    How come there has been no mention of dessert...it is well into afternoon! 
    #27
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/07 14:54:57 (permalink)
    I'm surprised at you. You know very well that BB never eats dessert.
    #28
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/07 16:37:01 (permalink)
    Michael Hoffman

    I'm surprised at you. You know very well that BB never eats dessert.

     
    I had a brain fart! 

    #29
    Davydd
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    Re:California, Here We Come! 2013/05/07 17:54:54 (permalink)
    Pie is a necessary food group, not a dessert.
    #30
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