Date of Last Visit: Thursday, 17 July 2008
The Victim: Me
The Damage: $50 USD
The Background: I'm in San Francisco for BlogHer 2008, the conference for women bloggers. I'm dying of jet lag, but I've refused to let myself fall asleep and have booked myself into Canteen for dinner, a place that's supposedly great for solo dining. My San Fran friends are all very impressed that I was able to finagle a booking.
The Entrance: Canteen IS great for solo dining. There's a counter with about seven stools, and then there are four (maybe five) small booths. The staff are really friendly and welcoming and Californian. I'm pleased. Oh yes, and they're playing Cat Power. Old Cat Power. I love Cat Power.
The Food: It's a short and concise menu. I start with the halibut gravlax which is very cooling…this would have been great if it had been 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside. It has to be about 55. I'm serious. (12 Celsius.) Still, it's a nice dish and very well-presented. I proceed to the pork schnitzel, which is comforting and done in Japanese panko–only one of my favorite things ever–and it comes with a soft-boiled egg on the side. It's a generous serving (if haphazardly so), which is good because I haven't eaten since about 9 a.m. California time. (Saving myself for dinner!) I round it all off with a hazelnut chocolate mousse…I should have had the vanilla souffle. The mousse was too soupy for me.
The Camaraderie: Everyone is a solo diner at Canteen. I make friends with the two random strangers to my right. Curiously, we're all from Strong Island. This was nice and made me fall in love with America all over again. Americans are good about talking to random strangers.
The Verdict: I liked Canteen. It was good. And the service was truly excellent…knowledgeable and friendly.