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Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

GraTRUEities in SF – Nob Hill Cafe

Posted by gratrueities on February 13, 2010

After an amazing late afternoon bike ride, a friend and I had dinner at Nob Hill Cafe in San Francisco. This is a classic neighborhood Italian place; small, cozy, crowded, great food and wine at a reasonable price. The portions are large so we shared a classic Cesar Salad and the Pizza special–buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil. Thin crust and delicious. We opted for a Napa Valley Pinot instead of an Italian wine.

My friend, and all the other neighborhood regulars, know the wait staff on a first name basis. All of the staff, front of the house, bussers and table servers were absolutely delightful, even on a very crowded evening. 

We left a GraTRUEities card to complement our monetary gratuity: “A sense of timing is a mark of genius.”

In addition to great service and good, homestyle Italian cuisine, maybe  it was the invigorating bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and into Marin that made this dinner so memorable!


Posted in Dining experience, GraTRUEities In Use, Tipping, Travel, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Top Ten Lists

Posted by gratrueities on December 10, 2009

This is not only the season for giving…but also the season for reflection.

We make lists of the year’s best – and worst – movies, songs, fashion trends, restaurants and so forth.  So…along those lines, let’s explore service experiences! What were your most memorable of the year – good, bad or just plain weird?

There must be moments that stand out…one way or another. David Letterman does not hold an exclusive on Top Ten lists – please help us create ours here!

*Update 12/10 – Speaking of Top Ten lists, Open Table has just come out with a December update of “Diners’ Choice” lists.  Sample a few here: San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles. Be sure to note the links to Best Service.

Posted in Dining experience, Pet Peeves, Pop Culture, Service, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Orson: Gold-Worthy

Posted by gratrueities on December 31, 2008


Yesterday evening friends and I dined at a relatively new San Franciscan restaurant called Orson. Orson is one of chef’s Elizabeth Falkners restaurants, the other more famous one being Citizen Cake, also in San Francisco.  Although Chef Falkner is most famous for her desserts , we had read the reviews of Orson and were excited to give it a try.

As we were dining on Dec 30, the night before the BIG NIGHT, the restaurant was quiet. In fact, there were only a few other diners during the whole three and a half hours of our stay. Orson’s is built in an old steel warehouse so it could have been drafty and lonely, but no, even with very few diners, it was warm and cozy thanks to lots of candles, great music and a cool digital video wall to keep the atmosphere buzzing.

Well, really this post isn’t about the food (although it was all delicious) it is about the amazing waiter that absolutely doted on us throughout the evening and made our experience a total dream. His name is Gabriel, and Gabriel, if you are out there please respond so we can give you more kudos.

From the minute Gabriel first approached our table we were delighted. Firstly, my friend Shannon brough a bottle of wine for us to share during dinner. No problem. Gabrial immediately decorked it (which wasn’t that easy because the cork was soft) and then went the extra step to decant the wine in a beautful glass decanter. He also complimented Shannon’s wine selection (made us feel good) and demonstrated his considerable knowledge of wine.

As we got to know Gabriel, we found out that he had previously worked for chef Nancy Oakes at Boulevard. He is clearly a pro. We ordered a trio of appetizers (called “shorts” at Orson) and a wood-fired pizza to share. After our appetizers were finished we began to wonder where the pizza was. A few minutes later, as if sensing our growing curiousity, Gabriel showed up with little tastes of the evening soups–a delightful cream of fennel and a more fiery roasted red pepper soup.  The soups are not on the menu, but made by the chef  “just in case” a diner is in the mood for soup.

Lastly, Gabriel put the icing on the (cup) cake. We all knew that Chef Falknew was famous for her baking but none of us had ever tried the cupcakes at Citizen Cake.  And, earlier in our evening Gabriel had explained that since the Orson kitchen is so large, a lot of the baking is done at that location. So, we began teasing that we would love to taste a cupcake. Low and behold, as a pre-cursor to our fabulous dessert course, he shows up with, not one,  but three cupcakes that were to die for.

Suffice it to say that at that point, we knew which GraTRUEity was the perfect fit for Gabriel: “You’re  Worth Your Weight in Gold”. We had struck gold at Orson.

P.S. Do you get the connection between the two names, Orson and Citizen Cake? Yes, Chef Falkner is a great admirer of Orson Wells and his landmark movie, Citizen Kane. We were lucky enough to meet the chef on our way out of the restaurant but we forgot to ask why she likes Mr. Wells and his work so much…

Posted in Chefs and Cooking, Dining experience, GraTRUEities In Use, Pop Culture, Tipping, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »