Down the street from the yard in SF. I used to love to eat at Tu Lan. You can see their sign on the left side of the picture, just above the guy with the bucket on his head. I'm really surprised to see cops on Sixth Street. Not that they aren't there. They're all over that block, but they're in cars. There's certain neighborhoods that cops use to corral criminal activity. They know it's there. They have informers all over the place and they like to drive through and take a look, but when it comes to the people on the street, their attitude is mostly, "Let the animals kill each other."
Tu Lan may be the dirtiest restaurant in all of SF. The smell of burnt grease is overpowering, but somehow that makes the food tastier. No matter the weather the front door is always open. I think that's partly to lure in potential customers with the smell of ancient grease heated to within a degree or two of bursting into flames. Also, the place is so packed with all maner of (paying) humanity that any little bit of air is welcome inside. If you are claustrophobic I can't reccommend the tiny upstairs dining room. The only way out is the narrow stairway to the back of main dining room. I always used to picture flames racing up the stairs and the sudden realization that the downstairs is engulfed in flames.
Then there's (non paying) humanity. SF has gotten so expensive that the bums have to commute from the suburbs. Every time you hear about an arrest for some stupid and ugly crime in the neighborhood the perpetrator gives an address in Oakland. I know people in Oakland like to claim that Oakland is just as much a city as The City, but they're wrong.
Anyhow, the other place you don't want to sit is near the door. For one thing you might witness something. When the shooting starts, why stop at one? Even if you're minding your own damn business- got your nose pointed straight at your pho- a seat near the front makes your more likely to intersect the line of fire.
So, now that you know where to sit in Tu Lan, I'll tell you why I won't eat there anymore. One time I ordered my fave. I think it's the #47 and said could I please have a glass of water right now? The waiter sneered at me. Restaurants supposedly make the long dollars on drinks. Water is not a money maker. I, however, was very thirsty, and water was what I needed.
After a considerable wait, my meal arrived, but my water had not. Could I please have a glass of water?
"Yes, yes. Glass of water" and I was dismissed with a wave of the waiter's hand.
I was very hungry, but I was even thirstier. My friend dug into his food, but I waited for my glass of water.
The waiter came and went past our table several more times. My friend was half way through his food and mine was pretty cold still no water. I mentioned water to the waiter again and he yes yessed me again.
Finally I picked up a piece of yummy grease encrusted pork and took a little bite. I was still feeling parched. I swallowed and the pork stuck, painfully, in my dessicated throat. The only liquid on the table was soy sauce.
I got up and approached the waiter. "Listen, I've asked you several times for a glass of water. Now, if you don't bring me one right away, I'm going to follow you around until you do. I know I'm not the only customer in here, but I'm definitely one of the customers and I'm asking you one more time for a glass of water." My friend looked embarrassed. The other customers looked at me like I had just shit on the floor. What the fuck was wrong with them?
The waiter walked over to the counter and took a small glass of water from a tray of glasses. He handed it to me. It was warm and there were little blobs of grease floating on top. I did not give a shit. I sat down and took a sip. I felt an immense sense of relief as the the little chunk of carbonized pig meat was washed down. Just then an enormous cockroach took a stroll across the table. He did not appear to be in any hurry.
I decided that I wasn't as hungry as I thought. We paid our bill. I did not leave a tip.
I hope that my experience with a bad waiter did not discourage you from eating at Tu Lan. I hope everything I've written discouraged you from eating at Tu Lan. In fact, just stay off of Sixth Street between Market and Mission. People shit on the sidewalk in broad daylight there.
If you want a nice meal prepared by lovely people walk down to 9th just East of Harrison and go to the Little Piglet Cafe. I'm looking forward to seeing them.
After that I might walk over to 4th street and kick some techie butt at the offices of imeem. I had four downloads mysteriously fail. I'm certain not all of them were in Apple's protected format. Maybe I'm wrong, but I should probably kick some techie butt on general principle.
I might, on the other hand, catch BART over to Berkeley and look at a beautiful Ukulele for sale. More as the situation develops.
In the meantime, pause to consider the wonder that is Joan Jett. Back when feminist folk music was supposed to save the world, Joan had already begun saving the world, if only for a few seconds at a time. If all of us did as much, the world would be a better place.