Monday, August 22, 2005

Be Rachael Ray for a Day: Dine & Dish #4


Food Network star, Rachael Ray. Some people love her, some people hate her and some people positively love to hate her. She's perky and cute or goofy and annoying. But regardless of how you feel about Rachael Ray and her seemingly never-ending television shows and books, she has some very good ideas. In the kitchen her suggestion of using a garbage bowl has kept my kitchen floor much cleaner than it used to be. And the idea of a $40 daily dining budget when traveling is a noble endeavor. So I jumped at the opportunity to Be Rachael Ray for a Day: Dine & Dish #4.

Most of my day puts you way, way, way under $40. My first two picks were so cheap that I could really afford to go a bit fancier for dinner. In fact I have divided my day into cheap, steal and splurge. This turns out to be a lot of food for one day! For those late-risers, I suppose if you decided to eat a late breakfast and skip lunch you could have a glass of wine with dinner...

CHEAP
Breakfast at Pastores
$5.75 Huevos Rancheros with tip and tax $7.38
A real sweet neighborhood spot. Chef/owner Irma will make you feel like family and frequently offers up specialties not on the menu.

What's it like? Two sunny side up eggs in a warm homemade tomato sauce flecked with cilantro, rice, beans, a big basket of chips, avocado salsa and a killer cup of coffee included. There are several other breakfast options here if you'd prefer Eggs & Chorizo or Huevos a la Mexicana for instance. Same cheap price.

STEAL
Lunch at Saigon Sandwich
$2.25 Banh mi with a drink $3
Always a line and no seating here so grab your made-to-order sandwich and head out the door.

What's it like? A roast pork sandwich on a crisp baguette stuffed with pickled carrots and onions, fresh cilantro and jalapeno chilies. You can order the roast chicken sandwich, but it will cost you a quarter more.

SPLURGE
Dinner at Isa
$22.25 Prix fixe (before 7pm Monday through Thursday) with tip and tax $28.59
One of the best restaurants in San Francisco; it has been listed in the Chronicle's list of top 100 for the last five years running. Great French and Mediterranean small plates that will knock your socks off.

What's it like? Choices vary, but we chose a butter lettuce salad with bartlett pears, roquefort and candied walnuts and a pan roasted Fulton Valley chicken with herbs under crispy skin served with mashed potatoes and a natural jus, for dessert a passionfruit soup with mango and mint. Also on the prix fixe menu a baked goat cheese, truffled pasta, mushroom risotto and local calamari (I love the calamari but didn't order it because I had it last time). For dessert a flourless chocolate cake, creme brulee, semifreddo or grapefruit granita.

Grand Total $38.97 for the day (including tips and taxes) Or as Rachael Ray would say, "beau-ti-ful!"

details:

Pastores
3486 Mission St @ Cortland
415.642.5385

Saigon Sandwich
560 Larkin St @ Eddy
415.877.1039

Isa
3324 Steiner St @ Chestnut
415.567.9588