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Tú Lan – A San Francisco Institution!

Menu Cover at Tu Lan

First, let me say that I am a failure of a foodie...it has taken me 8 years to try this San Francisco institution and now that I have I am kicking myself for the 8 years wasted not eating this amazing (and affordable!) Vietnamese food.  And truly, I'm not just saying that...just because others rave about a restaurant does not mean I agree (take the famed Boulevard for example).  This spot is truly worth a try...here's a quick rundown why:

Tú Lan has been in one of the sleazier parts of San Francisco, 6th right off Market, since 1977 which is a feat unto itself.  They've recently renovated but honestly it's still a dive so I can't imagine what it was like before...I almost gave my out of town friend a heart attach walking the two blocks on 6th to get here and there wasn't much solace once inside.  But for me, that's part of the charm...I've lately been feeling kind of tired out on all of the fancy eating San Francisco has to offer and am really enjoying the many dives and bargain bite spots with character and sometimes surprisingly delicious food, like Tú Lan. The other part of the charm is that Julia Child loved this place, particularly the lemon beef salad.  Just the sheer thought of Julia Child in this neighborhood,  hunkered down and truly appreciating this simple but great food is enough to make me smile.  But the real reason to come check this place out is, of course, the food itself...

Imperial Rolls

First up, #1 CHẢ GIÒ...better known as Imperial Rolls.  I've had my share of Imperial Rolls over the years but these are to die for...and that's coming from someone who typically avoids fried food.  Perfectly crispy and crunchy on the outside and bursting with peppery, pork on the inside. I kept telling myself to not finish these, but we certainly didn't bring any home...oops!

Lemon Beef Salad

Bun Mee: New Eats in the Fillmore

How I love a good Vietnamese sandwich!  I’m embarrassed to say that until I moved to San Francisco a little over 4 years ago I had never even heard of a Vietnamese sandwich, but lucky for me I moved straight into the Tenderloin...right down the street from the famed Saigon Sandwiches (and the infamous Lee’s Sandwiches).  So boy do I know Vietnamese sandwiches now, yummmm-my!

So when Bun Mee  (a phonetic interpretation of the name of the sandwich banh mi) opened up a couple of months ago on Fillmore we were excited to have a Vietnamese sandwich shop relatively close again...but it took a little while for us to try it out, which isn’t always a bad thing with new places!  So upon entering I liked what I saw...cute, simple interior with a nice big menu up on the wall and a sassy poster making fun of the “no jalepeños” crowd behind the counter.  While there is limited seating I do like the counter seating near the back that allows you to be front and center watching the food being prepared right before your eyes (but that’s always my favorite seat in the house).