where was i?

coit tower

san francisco? really? sooo long ago, but luckily still on the homepage of this blog. oh my god.

anyway, if you go, i highly recommend hotel tomo in japantown. be forewarned: it's quirky. japantown's quirky. but if you read this blog on a regular basis (ha!) you'll realize i embrace the quirky. it's a best western, but it's run by a pretty cool boutique hotel chain, joie de vivre. so expect a lot of nice upgrades to an older space.

tomo lobby

the lobby. tiny, but functional, with free (?) computer/internet use in a small enclave, and a giant robot vending machine off to one side. the rooms are reasonably priced (for san francisco) , spacious, and the furnishings are simple but suprisingly high quality with good pedigrees (looks like ikea, is actually stuff ikea rips off is inspired by).

tomo 8

tomo 5

tomo 4

modern, with a j-pop/manga vibe. free internet access, mini-fridge, coffee/tea service, very comfortable bedding, free parking, and an igloo in your backyard.

tomo 2

the only down side would be the bathroom, which is very much a reminder that this is still a best western (that and the somewhat thin walls)--grey and utilitarian. but i'm not much of a spa/bath lounger, so functional is okay with me as long as the water pressure is high and the water is hot (yes and yes here). at least the complimentary toiletries smelled great (yuzu bergamot!).

if you have trouble sleeping, there's a sleep disorder center on the premises :)

another down side that is an upside, really: ask for a room above the first floor, because the smells from the kitchen restaurant drift into the adjacent rooms. which only kept me hungry all of the time because the odours were oh-so-delicious.

mums mural

the restaurant, café mums, reminds me of one of my favourite long gone places, le creole in the dai-ichi hotel here on island. it was a late night café with a strong '70s moderne vibe with japanese touches, and the food was sort of a quasi-japanese/euro/american fusion that somehow manifested itself into contemporary comfort food: pilafs, cutlets, and curries. katsu pork cutlet sandwiches with the crusts cut off and kewpie mayonnaise, omurice rice-filled omelettes. you know. that kind of thing. a throwback to a time that never was, in a place that never was (although that probably = guam).


i can't even tell whether they kept the decor from its previous incarnation or if it has always looked like this (sans mural).

mums udon brekkie

breakfasts are typical american standards--pancakes, waffles, typical omelettes--there are some japanese options: udon with egg and musubi, broiled salmon with fried egg, ikura salmon roe rice, miso soup, and pickles.

mums japanese brekkie

lunch and dinner specialty seems to be shabu shabu, which draws in a large local crowd.

mums curry omurice

there are sandwiches and japanese diner food like omurice omelette filled with rice and served with curry sauce and a choice of chicken, beef or fried prawns, and

mums seafood doria

dorias, which are sort of rice casseroles, filled with veggies or meat, covered in a white sauce and cheese, then baked. this one had a nice assortment of seafood include plump scallops and prawns.

totes my scene, quirkiness and all.

game over

hotel tomo and café mums
1800 sutter street
san francisco ca 94115.
tel: 415.921.4000
fax: 415.563.1278


this place is something awesome. i've bookmarked if we ever visit sf.

hey! love your blog!
just wanted to know what camera you use... your pictures look great!

hello missus, oh, you'd love sf, i think. quite a romantic little city.

hi hannah k, thanks! i use three cameras, a lumix LX-2, a lumix DMC-L1, and a lumix DMC-LC1. the LX-2 does the majority of the work, almost 90% of all the food shots and at least 60% of everything else. i highly recommend the lumix line.

Happy New Year!!! I've really missed you.

LOVE IT! Haven't been to the Golden Gate hood in a while (kids came into the picture), but I did used to work near Japan Town (on Pine and Steiner)! Thanks for the info! I'm a Guammie myself, and boy do I love me some Japanese food!Oishii!!!

I would love to taste typical japanese breakfast (in Japan, of course ;)

Doria. DORIA! One of the greatest contributions to comfort food the Japanese have ever made and hardly anyone in the USA has heard of it. I adore doria and wish I could find a place that made it in L.A. I also love omu-rice which is easier to find. All of that food looks delicious and chou natsukashii!

hi RoC! congratulations on your trunk show and henri bendel! i should be here more often this year.

hi dmv, i love japantown. still the same quirky place.

botacook, me too!

hi tokyoastrogirl! so true. you can still get a good doria in a few places here in guam. is there really no place in los angeles to get one? gr/eats should serve them. or somewhere.

I live in the area and now I have to plan a weekend in SF. The hotel looks like fun, I heard they have japanese ofuro too. Hey, so what exactly is that igloo?

foodhoe, kabuki hotel across the way has ofuro. this has motel tubs :P

i think the igloo is for private parties, i couldn't figure out how to get outside :)

looks like a pretty cool place to stay.... will bookmark it :D


i love quirky fun hotels. i stayed in the fox hotel in copenhagen you would have love that too!