OK, Preface: Today San Francisco was paralyzed with happiness at winning the World Series; downtown was blocked off, everyone wore orange and no one was mean, not that they ever are. I put aside my PSG, Brazil and Orioles' hats and bought one in orange. But that meant, because downtown was on lockdown, I ate nearby, no hardship that.
Zero Zero, named for the flour not the sports score, has always delivered for me. I went in and after successfully avoiding a soft-kill-your-back banquette, installed myself on the second (American second) floor. I came for the pizza but I needed a starter while it cooked and my most glorious waitperson, one Mary B., came up with a solution - a small portion of some firey peppery raddicho with EEVOO and Balsamic and pepper - perfetto! Then I had their pizza Castro (named for the gay district not the very un-gay dictator, I'm sure); perfect again with mild cheese, favorful sausage and spicy sotta sopra, plus its burnt outer crust.
With a double ristretto (exceptionally good coffee), a half-bottle of wine but no bottled water, my bill was $53.13 before tip.
Anything amiss John? Yes, the nice music from my era, was deafening.
So, it's Halloween in San Fran, which I always thought was the time that gays came out, I mean strutted, not actually came out, like Tim Cook, bless him. But you know, walking down the street, it was very difficult to tell which folks had put on something for the night and which were, let's say, routinely weirdly attired.
My destination was my old friend Pim's aka Pim Techamuanvivit's hot new resto Kin Khao. It took a while finding it, it being located in some fancy-schmancy hotel, but I did. Wow, it was bursting with loud music, young people (under 45 at least) and energy like the nearby Apple store, whose CEO Tim Cook, oh yah, I said that already, but it repeats saying to Tea Party, Evangelists and anti-Pope Francis folks.
Its logo is a sort of a combination of the swish and the Chinese sign for Fung-u; the sauce is not the ersatz Sriracha made 397 miles from here, but the real stuff from Thailand $1,460 from here (and it tasted realer too). The menu is clear, relatively short, thank Buddha, but full of opportunities and they'll do half-portions if you are alone, crying and fearful. But I had my prejudices and orders (from Colette); Pim had posted stuff on her now discontinued blog Chez Pim about making real Pad Thai so that was a given (although my great Brit waitguy Matt told me it had only appeared today on the menu because it took her almost a year to perfect) and Mark Bittman and Colette turned me towards the sauteed squid.
Order the squid - perfect - but wait - another dish appears - "I didn't order this," "but Sir I'm sure Madame wants you to have it" - a lovely "salad" of apples, persimmon and pomegranate seeds. Thank you Pim.
Then the Pad Thai, like I've never had before (confession, I've only spent a week in Bangkok and that on R&R from the Nam); shrimp almost Inaki Aizpitarte raw, noodles slightly spicy, veggies raw and flavorful - nothing like one gets in the Eastern US or Paris; this is authentic Thai stuff, no fooling around. My thought was of my great pal in Paris who grew up in Hong Kong and SF who when ordering Chinese dishes is told "You not like this" or worse, about her Anglo friends "They not like this." It's real, authentic and unlike what one usually gets, Mark Bittman pinned it.
My bill, with the comp'd salad, no tea or coffee or bottled water but 1/2 bottle of wine, was $39.68 before tip.
But don't go, it's packed and "You no like it."