Kids (and a Puppet’s) Review of Rain Forest Cafe

Rainforest Cafe is a well-known kids institution, with a location in Washington state and Florida, at least four in California and Texas each, plus Colorado, Nevada, the northeast, and I think they’ve got one on the moon. They’re pretty much everywhere.

We’re cardholding suckers since back in the day before they made us switch to the parent company to get no rewards. Back then we got small discounts on things we didn’t want, or smaller ones on things we might someday maybe want (our choice) but still, we always loved it. Continue reading Kids (and a Puppet’s) Review of Rain Forest Cafe

Kids Go Crazy for Red Robin – Review

We went to the Tukwila location, just south of Seattle, but we’ve been to many from Vancouver, BC to San Francisco to… I don’t recall, but we’ve easily been to over a dozen locations in the last 30-years. That’s the parent’s 30-years, not ours. We don’t have that much time between us.

Us kids wanted to go to Red Robin, but dad said he had to work, so we reached a compromise. Let’s write a review of Red Robin, but not just based on this one trip, but all the many trips we’ve taken over the years. Continue reading Kids Go Crazy for Red Robin – Review

Golden Gate Bridge a True Wonder of America

The biggest icon (by height, weight, length and cinematic popularity alike) is the Golden Gate bridge, and I’ve seen it, touched it, even smacked it with an open palm to test its metal, but I have to say I’m not impressed. It’s big, sure, but I have to beg the powers that be (and were a hundred years ago), isn’t it perhaps a bit too big? Continue reading Golden Gate Bridge a True Wonder of America

San Francisco Invokes Serious Rice-a-Roni Cravings

As any fool (who has been reading our Perplexing Times as of late) can tell you, we’re out on our latest vacation, and this time our “pop in” is to San Francisco. This is no surprise to anyone but me, but what is surprising has been my in-outing cravings for Rice-a Roni. It’s weird, really, I don’t even like rice. Continue reading San Francisco Invokes Serious Rice-a-Roni Cravings

When in San Fran, You Must Check Out the Trollys

San Francisco is rich in cultural heritage and history, at least inasmuch as it may be accredited to a city with less than three hundred years history. I’ve seen places in China with 6,000 years of history, but don’t take that as any discredit, the ding-ding-dinging trolley cars of San Francisco represent something more than an ancient and forgotten (or best forgotten) history, and therefore, when the trollies go ding-ding-ding, so goes us tourists. Continue reading When in San Fran, You Must Check Out the Trollys

Alcatraz Can’t Be Missed, Even in Poor Weather

As any smart tourist would, we took a half a day out of our hectic trip to San Francisco to see its second biggest tourist icon: Alcatraz. It’s a great place, really, even though it was a prison where unspeakable injustices surely occurred — if you ever saw that one Kevin Bacon film, you know what I’m talking about — but to use the prison island for timeout is too much for even a seasoned kid of discipline such as myself to endure. Continue reading Alcatraz Can’t Be Missed, Even in Poor Weather

Park Chalet Has Great Food in Family Friendly Setting

So if you’re going to see the sights and sounds of the fantasticity of San Francisco, you have to take the 20-minutes to head out to the coast. If you’re an inner-continental American and have never seen the ocean, this should be reason enough alone, but if it isn’t, for some strange reason I can’t fully comprehend, consider that there’s cool stuff out there to see, as well as hot as heck food to gobble-all-gone just as much.

We’ve only covered a handful of restaurants in the entire heritage of our nearly-thousand-article history, and we’ve never covered a single restaurant twice… but today might just be the exception, and only because we hit the same spot twice, and both times had a fantastically delightful experience.

I’m talking, of course, about the Park Chalet, which lies along the California coast, about half way between the Cliff House (and ruins of Sutros Baths) and the wonderful San Francisco Zoo. The coast is no place to be missed for sure, and if you’re out there, human, and need the sustenance that perpetuates humankind, you simply have to take in a snack at the Park Chalet.

This is rare because, not only does it exceed our typical (admittedly McDonald’s grade) budget, but because it’s in the very most convenient place, and even with price taken out of the equation, you can easily assume you’ll get 5-star service and lunchstuffs at two-to-three star prices.

There’s a couple cool things about the Park Chalet that makes them as memorable as they are “must see” and I can say this with authority since it’s the only place I ate twice in my entire visit to the great city-state of Francisco de la San. Snark aside, it’s not just that they offer foods most tasty to kids and parents alike at reasonable (though not cheap, per se) prices, but rather that the experience of it all more than makes up for the difference.

If you want beach front food as close as can be (without getting sand in your fries) and still want a great time, the Park Chalet is the place to go.

And I know this may sound like a shill promotion, but let me tell you this without any doubt or deniability, we’ve never seen so much as the first nickel from San Francisco’s Park Chalet, nor any sort of discount off of any meal tab we may have incurred. No, we paid a full-rate on our visit to Park Chalet, it’s just that the food, people and overall experience was so spectacular that we’d be a pack of jerkwads to serve them anything but glowing reviews… but why, you might rightly ask?

The servers we met (and there were two because we changed tables) both seemed to know the menu inside out. That’s good, but what’s better was that, when we wanted to deviate from standard menu offerings, they were absolutely accommodating. Beyond that the environment was great, the prices were good and they food was as delightful as we’ve ever had, and we’ve had pretty good food when we were nearly starved, but this was every bit as tasty.

The Park Chalet have a smattering of family friendly offerings including a kiddo-comfortous concert series throughout the summer, but there’s just so much more than that which is offered.

Try the fingers, try the fries, or try the grilled cheese sammich. No matter what you try, I can promise you (from my own two-fold experience, for which I was not compensated) that your patience will not be tried.

What you’ll experience (based on my own encounter) is a good place in a great location with spectacular foodstuffs. You can pretend you don’t dig killer foods if you like, or that you don’t care if a place is convenient, but if you head to the crazy great city of San Francisco, and hit places as critical as the zoo, you can’t pretend that you’re not already in the area. Since you’re already there, don’t be a meany, take in the sites, tastes, smells and 5-star service of the Park Chalet. It’s unassuming, really, but having experienced it myself, I can tell you I’ve got pretty big assumptions of it for my next visit. It’s a 100% recommendation with what I consider to be 50% prices, with about 200% service.

Hands down (and I mean it because I fell asleep halfway through my meal — what can I say, it was a busy day and my hands fell limp to my sides, or so I’m told — this was the best food, best location and best overall experience (whether with the price in mind or not) that we encountered in all of our trip’s experience.

Park Chalet is located at 1000 Great Highway @ Ocean Beach in San Francisco, CA 94121 or find them online at their website.

Park Chalet by day
Above – Given a choice in table almost overwhelmed me. The sun was shining so we got to pick whether we wanted to dine inside or hit the patio so us kids could frolic away.

Winchester Mansion a Must-See American Icon

If you are going to take a trip to San Francisco (or live in the area in the first place), you owe it to yourself to take a quick trip down to San Jose. Not just because it’s a funny name for a city, because the city itself isn’t as funny as the funny sounding name might lead you to believe, but because it’s got almost as much history as San Francisco has itself, and there’s no greater history (or mystery) to be found than the architectural singularity of the former home of the reclusive plutocrat Sarah Winchester who built the fabled Winchester Mystery House, formerly known as Sarah’s house. Continue reading Winchester Mansion a Must-See American Icon

Lombard Street Steep as Stairs, Crooked as Politics

I’m not normally one to speak out on the matter of politics, in fact, the one time I did I got more than a mouthful from more than a handful of our troops serving overseas, but I have been known to speak out on both stairs and inclines, so that’s what I’m being critical of in this piece.

If you go to San Francisco, there are two things you simply must do. Continue reading Lombard Street Steep as Stairs, Crooked as Politics

Musée Mecanique’s Old Fashioned, New Fangled Fun

Right in the heart of tourist-central, waterfront San Francisco, there are tons and tons of attractions that beg you to visit, and typically charge you a hearty fee to do so. It was refreshing to find one different one, Musée Mecanique, which is right on the tip of pier 43, and it’s free for admission to anyone and everyone. Continue reading Musée Mecanique’s Old Fashioned, New Fangled Fun