Monday, August 26, 2013

Off the Map: Well, This JUICE is Good

Prime Rib -- House of Prime Rib, San Francisco, CA
House of Prime Rib

Because we are destined to pen the travel brochure, The Lazy Person's Guide to San Francisco, we have thus far managed to spend a whole day in this city without having to walk up or down a SINGLE hill.  We are not even accomplishing this great feat of logistics on purpose -- we simply have an innate sixth sense concerning which blocks to avoid in order to not exert ourselves too heavily.

But this luck ends in a burst of fanfare when we have to make our way to the House of Prime Rib.
We Swear This Hill Was More Fatal to Our Calves Than It Looks
Said "House" is located in San Francisco's Nob Hill neighborhood, which our bus tour guide this morning warned us to "never try to walk in, because no one can handle the hills."

For reasons that remain unknown, we took this decree as a PERSONAL CHALLENGE.
After all, we may have no other physical prowess whatsoever (though Ginger keeps piping in with, "I once ran three miles"), but if there is anything we can do well, it is walk.  We are ninjas of the sidewalk, and if we can't handle Nob Hill, well, no one can.

Cut to: we almost die.
Now Would Be a REALLY Good Time For This Cable Car to Go on Service
We may be being a bit dramatic about this, as in truth, as long as we refrained from using any extra air for speaking ("No talking.  I'll see you at the top"), we made it up and down the hills without much incident (obviously, we do not consider a lot of complaining to be an "incident").  When we reach the House of Prime Rib a full hour and a half before our reservation time, we are heartened to see a large sign brandishing "cocktails" by the front door -- at least if we're not able to eat for ninety minutes, we'll have something with which to occupy ourselves.
Reverse the Priority of These Two, Please
THANK GOODNESS We're Not Too Early for Cocktails
Vodka approaches the reservation desk sheepishly, and she explains to the host that we have "wildly misjudged our day," hence our early arrival time.  Without so much as a sneer, the host says that he will be happy to seat us when the dining room opens at 5:30, and he points us to the bar to wile away a half hour.

Buddy, you don't have to tell us twice.
We Enjoy the Level of Judgment in This Sign
We saddle up to a high-top table and each order a glass of wine from the absurdly genial bartender ("People have been really excellent to us in San Francisco... It's almost disconcerting").  
In Our World, It Is Always Wine O'Clock
The House of Prime Rib looks like something straight out of the 1950s, without the creepy factor which haunts other restaurants that seem to be preserved in time.  We kind of love it immediately, because let's be real -- any place that's called the "House of Prime Rib," with no irony attached, is instinctively hilarious.  
This Sign Looks Like Something Out of Medieval Times
Directly adjacent to our high-top table is a "wine room," which is being arranged for a private party (sadly, not us.  They're not THAT nice to us in San Francisco).  
Heaven in a 10x12 Room
At the stroke of 5:30pm, a hostess places our wine glasses on a menu and escorts us to our table, which is a cozy booth for two.  Being that we are usually shunned from booths due to our lack of friends, we are instantly THRILLED.
We Enjoy Spreading Out Our Wine Glasses
Before we can so much as open the menu (which pretty much only has the words "prime rib" written over and over in it anyway), a gigantic loaf of sourdough bread appears on our table, along with what appears to be homemade butter.  We both groan audibly, which is the opposite of our normal reaction to carbohydrates.  But at this point, we are just SO FULL, that we know this roll of goodness is all but going to go to waste, and it is depressing us more than we can articulate.
Why Must You Torture Us So?!
"I don't say this often," Ginger begins.  "But I REALLY wish I was hungry right now."  Forging ahead, we begin to tear into the bread against our better judgment, and we are even more forlorn when we discover it is warm from the oven ("This is such a lovely piece of bread.  This is a sin").  
Our Usual Ability to Hoard Carbs Has Somehow Forsaken Us
When our (again, extremely friendly without being annoying) waiter appears at our table, we order one plate of prime rib to share, and our waiter begins asking about which sides we would like with it.
"How About If You Just TELL US Which Sides We'd Like With It?"
"Listen," we begin.  "This is our seventh meal of the day, so which questions do we REALLY have to answer?  We're fairly non-functional."  Our waiter, to his great credit, takes all of this in stride, and pretty much makes our side dish decisions for us (mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, and Yorkshire pudding).  
Here's a Hint: When You Come to House of Prime Rib, You're Pretty Much Going to Be Forced to Order Prime Rib
All the while, rather than relinquish the bread, we just keep eating it -- it is THAT good.  
And Did We Mention That They Also Gave Us Cornbread? Because They Also Gave Us Cornbread
Before long, a man who is either the owner or just someone who has worked at House of Prime Rib for centuries (only one of us is capable of hearing his answers at a time, depending on which side of our table he stands on, so most details are unclear) comes to visit us, and he asks how we heard about the restaurant.  
Perhaps He Is the Man Featured In This Little Happy Illustration
Without revealing our larger psychotic mission, we say that we saw it when Brian Boitano featured it on the CLASSICS episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate.  As if on cue, the "prime rib coffin" appears next to our table, and the prime rib man starts sawing off our slices.  
The Rib Coffin at Work*
*Of Note, They Do Not Call It a "Rib Coffin"
Our waiter places the plate with all of the side dishes in front of Vodka, and a plain plate of just meat juice in front of Ginger, along with an assortment of horseradishes in the middle.  
Enjoy Your Meal, Ginger
When the meat arrives on her plate, Vodka proceeds to photograph it at length, while Ginger sits in stoic silence at the other side of the table.

"Well, this JUICE is good," she says, dipping a bread slice onto her plate.

"Yeah, yeah, I'll give you your food in a minute," Vodka states without breaking rhythm with her camera.  

"Wait, no, I -- ," Ginger stammers.  "I didn't mean that passive-aggressively.  The juice really IS good."  
So In Essence, Ginger Has Been Lapping Up Rib Grease for the Past 10 Minutes
Either because we find ourselves to be the two funniest people on the planet, or because we are downright delirious from our day of heavy calorie intake, this exchange makes us both laugh so hard that it is a full five minutes before we recover enough for Ginger to actually receive her share of food and begin eating (and, as a warning, "Well, this JUICE is good" has become our new catchphrase.  So heaven help you if you are ever forced to interact with us).
Even the Prime Rib Has Sought Refuge From Our Cackling
When we actually manage to try to consume our plates of food, we are highly pleased.  The meat is tender and flavorful, especially when topped by dollops of creamy horseradish (of which there are THREE varieties, for varying degrees of horseradish tolerance).  
An Abundance of Tongue-Burning Delicacies
The mashed potatoes are soft and light, and the creamed spinach, well, creamy.  The one outlier on this dish is the Yorkshire pudding, which we don't find all that appetizing, but frankly, the fact that we find anything appetizing at all after the day that we've had is a testament to House of Prime Rib's cuisine.
Proof That Despite Our Great Love of Royal Events, We Will Never Be British
The owner-type man returns to our table yet again, along with our waiter, and it is revealed that not only is it our waiter's first day on the job, but we are his first customers.
We Rolled Out the Prime Rib Welcome Wagon Just for Him
"So thanks for being such easy customers," he tells us, which causes our mouths to hang open in shock.  Never has a member of a waitstaff EVER called us "easy."  At best, we are "not insufferable," and at worst, we ARE insufferable.  Perhaps the San Francisco cheeriness is actually rubbing off on us?
If You Keep Plying Us With Delicious Food, We DO Tend to Become More Affable
"What are you girls in town for?" the men ask.

"Eating," we answer without affect.

"Oh, are you foodies?"

"No," we answer honestly.  "We just eat a lot."
Did You Miss the Bit About How This is Our SEVENTH Meal of the Day?
Overall, we would venture back to House of Prime Rib in a second the next time we find ourselves roaming the hills of San Francisco, if not because of our hidden carnivorous natures, but because we think the whole experience is both inviting and hilarious.  
Only Next Time, We Will Arrive Hungry Enough to Consume Three Loaves of Sourdough PLUS Prime Rib
As we venture back to our hotel, we greet each downhill slope with as much disdain as we do the uphill ones, because we know it's only a matter of time before we'll be walking against gravity yet again.  
It Just Never Ends with You, Does It, San Francisco?
"What goes down must come up again," we mumble, tiptoeing down the sidewalk, all the while hoping that the same does not hold true when it comes to prime rib.  

Or, for that matter, its juices.

House of Prime Rib's Prime Rib: 5 stars*
*Certifiable Best Thing We Ever Ate

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