The San Francisco eating journal

A dream vacation is always with the people you love

FAMILY THAT STAYS TOGETHER… The author with his growing family

SAN FRANCISO, CALIFORIA—My dream vacation with my kids continues. Simple but great food, beautiful scenery, grocery, Costco, etc. Put me anywhere and, as long as I’m with the people I love the most, I’ll be happy. But we not only have great food, the place we have chosen is my most favorite city outside Manila.

Last week, we went to a Vietnamese seafood place called Boiling Crab in San Jose and Little Lucca, a superb sandwich joint as well as an institution in the area.

This week was my favorite steak place in the whole world—The House of Prime Rib. The first time I ate here, it was so memorable I wished my loved ones were around to experience it with me. I remember taking my first bite and, involuntarily, my eyes closed and I was in heaven. That was over 30 years ago.

SOMETHING TO REMEMBER: The roast beef from the House of Prime Rib

Last Monday, my dream came true and the people I love the most in this world, my kids, were all there with their special someone, including my daughter-in-law. I couldn’t stop saying thank you to God. When it comes to food like this, I become “makulit” and tell them how I attack this meal. I share my plan. We start off with a most delicious salad, which I skip. I want my first bite to be the steak. It is a USDA Prime grade roast beef. On their roasting cart are huge slabs of this roast beef cooked for 12 hours, cooked in various doneness—Well done (who gets this?), medium well, medium, medium rare, and rare. I’ve tried all the various doneness and I’ve made my choice. Sides are a choice of mashed potato with gravy or baked potato with sour cream, chopped chives, and bacon. There is also creamed spinach, as well as creamed corn and Yorkshire pudding.

This is what I get: The biggest cut called “King Henry Cut,” done medium with piping hot au jus. The sauce just complements the meat flavor. It doesn’t mask it. On the side, I ask for half a portion of the spinach and corn. I also ask for the baked potato with everything. To this piping hot potato, I insert a slab of butter and drizzle some house seasoning over it. I mash and mix everything together and make my own mashed potato. The steak is still the most delicious I have ever had. I hope I can someday find something better than this. Each and every one on the table told me this was the best steak they had ever had. Happiness and joy was all I felt. The place has three sittings and all those sittings are full every single day of the week.

THE AKRON HAMMER Lebron James in his ritual before a game

As if this wasn’t enough, my kids surprised me with an NBA game between the Sacramento Kings and my favorite team, The Los Angeles Lakers. My basketball idol is Lebron James. And this was the first time I saw him in person. He is huge and, to me, the most talented basketball player who ever played the game. The vibe in the coliseum was different. The excitement and energy were palpable. It was a close and exciting game, but I couldn’t cheer so much as we were in Sacramento. It was super fun just the same. Food was also amazing. I had a huge foot-long hotdog only found in these venues. We rented a van and drove for two hours through a storm to watch the game. A most memorable day, especially since my team won!

FAMILY FUN The author and his family at a NBA game between the Sacramento Kings and The Los Angeles Lakers

Our dream of a vacation is coming to an end. When you’re having fun, time does fly. I have a few more days and I will make the most of them because as soon as I land in Manila, diet galore!

I still cannot believe all this is happening. What a blessing really! I will report to you where else I will go or go back to in the remainder of my stay. Even my kids are sad that it’s almost over. But building memories with your loved ones is priceless. Salamat, Lord!

Happy eating!