Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Alphabe Thursday - "U" Is for Unexpected - March 3, 2011

It is wonderful living in the San Francisco area.  When one least expects it, the most
delightful things can happen.  Today, I finally got around to going to in to have lab work
my doctor ordered almost two weeks ago.  It was nothng urgent, really, just annual
studies that needed to be done.  I had to be fasting for them and, since I didn't go till
nearly noon, I was ravenous after the long wait while a dozen or so people went ahead
of me.

When I left, I turned around in the St. Francis Shopping Center up the street and, in the
far corner, I  noticed a sign that said, "Dim Sum Specialists."  That sounded like a perfect
solution for lunch so I joined the line at the counter.  What a disappointment.  Nothing
looked at all appetizing.  In fact, most of the choices seemed rather dry and shriveled up.
I mean, how dare they advertise like this in an area where dim sum really is almost on a
par with the best offered in Hong Kong!!  Totally annoyed, I left, enduring the rain again
and got back in the car.

As I put the key in the ignition, directly in front of me, I saw another restaurant, the
Burma Cafe.  I figured it would be as bad as the other place, in the dilapidated shopping
center and almost left.  However, my curiosity - and the fact that I had never eaten
Burmese food in my sixty-six years - got the better of me. I got out of my car and went
inside.  What an unexpected surprise!

The setting was lovely and serene, with statues of elephants and various deities and
flowers that brightened the setting.  While only one couple was dining when I arrived,
several tables were occupied by the time I left.

Connie, the young woman, who was the only one serving during the time I was there, was
very attentive and friendly.  She explained the dishes and made helpful suggestions.  She
explained that there were similarities between Burmese, Thai, and Indian food but said
that Burmese food was, traditionally, not very spicy hot.

Intrigued, I ordered much more than I could finish, knowing that my sons would be
more than happy to finish anything  brought home.

For an appetizer, I chose aloo puri, fried puffed whole wheat bread ( I had eaten that
before in Indian restaurants ), served with curried potatoes.  That was absolutely

Aloo puri

Next, I had tea leaf salad!  Connie told me that was their most "exotic" salad.  It consisted
of marinated fermented tea leaves, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onion, fried broad beans, split
peas, peanuts and sliced jalapenos.  Connie brought it to me, beautifully arranged on a
plate to see before she mixed it up.  I had to restrain myself from finishing it all because I
wanted to save some for my boys to try. 

Tea leaf salad, before mixing

Tea leaf salad, mixed

I also had garlic noodles, some of the best I've ever had, with lots of garlic, scallions and
BBQ pork.  The lamb curry with potatoes were fabulous - not spicy - but in a wonderful,
fragrant gravy which both sons deemed delicious. 

Garlic noodles

Lamb curry

I had no room for dessert though I did drink two cups of Burmese milk tea, a sweetened
tea - no spices like the Indian chai ( which I actually prefer ). 

The menu for the Burma Cafe is very extensive and there are many more dishes that
I hope to try in the future.  It is definitely a place that would be fun to try with a group.
That way we can all order something different and share!

Who would have thought that a rather dowdy shopping mall like the St. Francis would
have such an unexpected gem like the Burma Cafe.  I am so lucky to have stumbled
upon it!

I am participating in Alphabe Thursday - check out the site and join in the fun!


  1. oh that sounds like such a yummy little food exploration! good for you for trying something new ... it's always fun to try!

  2. A great entry for U day! And yummy! All those nice dishes made my mouth water;o)

    Have a nice day****

  3. Hi friend, I like your way of photography. Those have been made me happy.

  4. It sounds like you have found a great place to eat a wonderful meal. The food looks amazing.

  5. A very tasty post and I'll bet the research was very flavorful LOL

  6. We will have go try this restaurant. I love Thai food, but always have to order it mild. Seems like Burmese will be right up my alley!


  7. Ooooh, you're making me hungry! I love finding little places like that. We just found a Thai/Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood that looks very unassuming from the outside but had really great food.

  8. Carmen, your photos are just wonderful! They have made me hungry!!

  9. You did have a wonderful looking lunch, and your photos are just excellent!

  10. How fun to read your finding of this restaurant, I love the lively way you explain it all and surely the girl serving was so lucky to meet you.

  11. That is the most delicious looking meal that you could ever imagine.
    Hope your test results are fine.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  12. Wonderful! I've had similar experiences (usually fueled by low blood sugar). I've never had Burmese food either, but I am certainly going to look for it!

  13. Yummers I just love all foods of the Asian Descent! I have to be so very careful what I eat because I am a celiac and I can not eat much of anything anymore. =(

    Although you had to go to the Dr. it looks like the day turned out pretty good and what a Mom always thinking of the kids.

    I noticed you were a forensic nurse, how cool. I watch all the shows on TV in that area! Love it!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog I look forward to getting to know you better through our blogs!

  14. Jo -
    I am always pretty game to try most foods, even raw things, except in places where I question the sanitation!

    Cildemer -
    I tell you, I had quite a time making a decision about what I was going to eat. It was hard narrowing things down. I could easily have gotten a couple more things - and probably should have, as Shawn, my older son, got home first and didn't leave much for Jeremy. The tea leaf salad was completely gone!

    Shifan -
    I am honored that you liked my photography. I tried to check your blog and profile but saw nothing posted.

    JDaniel4's Mom -
    I will definitely go to Burma Cafe again. It's times like this I REALLY miss my well paying job. My budget doesn't allow eating out very much - and I could eat out every day!!

    Joe Todd -
    I would so love to be a food critic! I love dining out and sampling new dishes at enw restaurants.

    I know there are a couple of Burmese restaurants in San Francisco as well - I had to laugh when I was reading the Yelp reviews about the Burma Cafe. One lady said she always saw lines at the Burma Super Star and she was hesitant to let people know how nice this Daly City spot is, for fear it will get crowded!

    Nurse Heidi -
    I have loved living in the San Francisco area these 35 years for so many reasons and, right at the top, is the cultural diversity and exposure to all the celebrations, festivals and foods of so many different countries. My boys have grown up being a part of all of it and never hesitate to try anything.

    Judie -
    Come to San Francisco and I'll take you to Burma Cafe and many other wonderful places to eat.

    ~✿~Icy BC -
    The only thing that would have been nicer about my lunch at Burma Cafe would have been if I would have had company with me. It's not nearly as much fun dining alone.

    Josep -
    I wish Jo would have been with me to discover this new place. Though we were both in Santa Cruz Saturday night to see Sony, we stayed at dfferent places and she went down on the bus, so we had no time together. I really missed her company. I was with two dear friends, though, and we had a lot of fun.

    Maggie May -
    I am assuming my blood work will be okay. I am still waiting to hear to hear from UCSF to see when they will remove the basal cell carcinoma from my nose. The pathology report came back last week - though I had already diagnosed it!

    Rocky Mountain Woman -
    I don't think you'll be disappointe in Burmese food, provided you find a decent restaurant in your area.

    Wanda Metcalf -
    I loved my 21 years in forensic nursing and was totally devastated when San Francisco's budget cuts brought it all to an end. My specialty was in th area of adult and child sexual assault and child sexual abuse. I've hated being retired...though I have to admit I don't mind not being on 24 hour call!

  15. For unexpected it was unexpected ! not only the restaurant looks nice, but the food too, so yummy !

  16. Wow! What a fabulous surprise, I love it when you stumble across a restaurant like that. I read on someone's blog that an elephant with an upturned trunk brings good luck, love those photos you took.

  17. Yum, yum, YUM! Thanks for sharing the photos and the descriptions of your food. Made me feel like I was eating them, too.

  18. That's a beautiful restaurant - you're right, very peaceful looking.

  19. Oh Carmen, what a wonderful stop today on my journey through Alphabe-Thursday.

    I've never had Burmese food, either, so would have been totally on board with going in to try it with you!

    Everything sounds delicious...the tea leaf salad is something I've never heard of.

    Your pictures of the food and the interiors were gorgeous. I felt like I was right there with you.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful find with us!