I feel cheated if I don't visit a traditional diner while out I America. That said Mel's Drive-In in San Francisco is clearly geared up to the tourists with its '50s/'60s theme smacking you in the face as you walk through the door like an old fashioned commercial with a dancing, talking hotdog. But I just couldn't resist an all-American start to the day of buttermilk pancakes.
Right in the centre of the financial district in San Francisco (and luckily right around the corner from the conference I was covering), Mel's lights up the street with its fluorescent lighting, jukebox at the threshold and pristine white interior.
Breakfast is a busy time of day for Mel’s, and expect brisk service rather than an American welcome from your waiter who is probably trying to please the other 100 people in the diner at the same time. While it was heaving, there was no 40 minute waiting time like you get in London and my colleague and I were sat almost straight away making our order of juices, buttermilk pancakes and a side of bacon.
They were - unsurprisingly since I was in the USA- monumental in size. Three giant fluffy pancakes the size of my head sat in front of me with a slice of orange and a sprig of parsley. I had a small jug of maple syrup, and then there was the bacon - four slices (we shared, remember?) of perfectly crisp rashers tantalising my taste buds - why can't I ever make bacon like that? Just so good and so American.
Expect to see traditional milkshakes going past, and with a juke box at each booth, I was expecting the cast of grease to pop up from behind the counter bursting into a rendition of Beauty School Drop Out.
So touristy, so amazingly American. I could hardly control my excitement. And if you happen to be passing for lunch or dinner, I can also recommend Mel's chilli, which I had a few days later slathered over a hot dog and coated in onions and luminous cheese – I’m pretty sure I put on about a stone and a half purely from this establishment! Well worth a visit.
LoadingYes this is a hotdog! Or chillidog! #hotdog #americanfood #chillidog #chillie #mels #melsdrivein #melssanfran #sanfran #sanfrancisco #sanfranciscofood #foodie #foodpic #foodgasm #foodporn
801 Mission Street, San Francisco, 94103, USA