Tuesday, April 8, 2008


My sister, the same one who introduced me to Aliens, also introduced me to San Francisco, my current home. Around the time I finished up college, she and her husband moved to the city by the bay. After I graduated, I spent 2 summers sleeping on their couch before I finally settled out here myself 10 years ago this summer.

That first summer I visited, we all went out for drinks with some tangential acquaintances. With my sister and her husband new to the city, some friend of a friend had set us up with some locals for a social evening aimed at introducing us to the city. These acquaintances recommended a Chinese restaurant up Hyde Street from where my sister lived on Russian hill called U-Lee. A week or so later, we went.

Had it not been recommended, I doubt we would have ever eaten at U-Lee. The sign is old and faded. The inside is small with a few old tables crammed in it. The place felt like a hole in the wall. The kind of place you’d expect to more likely get botulism than a good meal, but oh was that not true. Not only was the food excellent, but U-Lee boasts the best potstickers I’ve ever eaten. They are literally as big as your fist. Seriously. Ball up your hand right now into a tight fist and imagine that in potsticker form.

We immediately became regulars. My sister and brother-in-law soon became known by the staff by face, name, and order. After my niece was born, a friend stopped by to pick them up dinner and bring it to the hospital. The staff, recognizing the order but not the person picking it up, new immediately the baby had been born. They had a picture of her on the wall for years.

I haven’t gone much in the years since my sister and her family moved back to the Midwest, but recently I returned. The place hasn’t changed much. My niece’s picture is no longer there and neither are the hundreds of old business cards that once lined the walls. (While they made for fascinating reading, I’m sure they were a health and fire hazard.) The food’s still the same though. Most importantly, the potstickers are still huge and delicious.

Mmm… just looking at my fist makes my mouth water.


  1. "Mmm… just looking at my fist makes my mouth water."

    ...You CANNOT write a sentence like that and expect me NOT to make a lewd comment.

  2. WHY are you giving culinary delights away?!

    Now we'll never get a table at 6:30 on a...whatever day it was.

  3. Nice to know it's still there. Will have to make a pilgrimage one day.


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