Crab and garlic noodles with chopsticks. Chic n' Time.
Chic n' Time's crab garlic noodles. Photo by Annika Hom. Taken June 2022.

Annika, 20-something, and Mark, 70-something, are out to find the Mission’s most noteworthy noodles.

Annika,

Thoroughly bummed out by the Dubs’ disintegration in Game One of the NBA Finals, I was desperate for comfort food.

Since you introduced me to the world of noodles, I’ve discovered the subtle pleasures that noodles provide, especially garlic noodles.

So I ordered the peppercorn chicken wings with garlic noodles from Chic n’ Time. 

With my mind overwhelmed by a Brute Fact of the Dubs’ loss, I had no interest in socializing, or any real world experience. I needed fiction, so I decided to watch the docudrama “Winning Time.”

First things first! 

What fantastic garlic noodles! 

Maybe because these are egg noodles infused with garlic and butter, rather than coated or drowned for days in a garlicky sauce. The noodles were thick, proud, chewy (in a good way) ropes of inner flavor that stood out as individuals as well as a collective. And very garlicky.

National Geographic calls noodles “the ultimate global comfort food,” and the health benefits of garlic are well-known. Not only does Chic n’ Time infuse its noodles with garlic, little garlic bits stick to the outer skin.  

Backing up the garlic are scallions and parsley (or something else green).  A few peppercorns are strategically added for some heat. Not a lot, but some. The result is a taste with depth and endurance.

“Winning Time” has little depth, and is an inaccurate portrayal of a minor historical event, the birth of the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers, which became the template of the modern NBA production. The show boasts a number of outstanding performances, some eccentric characters, and if not great drama, at least a narrative that deals creatively with the contemporary American casino psyche.

The real NBA eschews anything remotely comfortable and/or healthy. A good fiction always helps my mind cleanse reality.

Or maybe this is the effect of noodles. And garlic.

I liked the chicken wings, moist and tasty, but the noodles were so good, I had a tough time paying attention to the bird.  

The only downside to the meal was a few broccoli shoots thrown in. They didn’t add anything other than a reminder of the hated Celtics. Is there a Boston fan behind the counter?

By the end of the meal and a couple episodes, I had chilled out. The modern NBA has been designed to serve as an escape from the doldrums of daily existence. If you find yourself in need of an escape from the escapism, I suggest you order the garlic noodles from Chic n’ Time.

Chic n’ Time is winning time.


 Mark,

I apologize for the late response to your review, but I’ve just been so busy lately. It might be hard for you to comprehend, but while you’re lounging around watching games, some of us are accomplishing real work. 

catch up:

When I read your review, I was shocked. I’ll admit, in some recent articles you’ve managed to throw some zingers, and what better time to dunk on me than basketball season? But no. No sass, no digs, no verve. You know, you’re supposed to bring it in the Finals. 

I wanna know if whoever said women couldn’t hold political office during their time of the month has ever met a straight man during any sports playoff season. Talk about an emotional creature who has suddenly lost all mental ability. Was your description of the NBA as an “escape from the doldrums of daily existence” code for “my mind has reverted to its primitive capacities and can only think two thoughts: Orange ball and Tall man”? 

Okay, to be fair, you wrote your last review when the Warriors lost. Naturally, you were distressed. Like many fans, you act as if a game that you contributed nothing to somehow has everything to do with you; as if spitting facts and cheat-sheets was as crucial to the team’s success as the player’s individual athleticism.

I can’t believe you can’t handle your professional duties while watching a game every other day. Let me ask you Mark: Can you chew gum and walk at the same time? 

All right, all right, let’s talk about the noodles. Full disclosure, Chic n’ Time is a tried-and-true favorite of mine and Yujie’s. Your take that the garlic noodles are “fantastic” is as spot-on as Steph. Ayesha’s not behind the counter, but whoever is can cook. 

I will say, though, for this review I tried a dish other than my go-to of fried chicken steak and garlic noodles. The office ordered in this time, and I picked the Garlic Butter Crab noodles. First off, the noodles are arranged in a colossal mound that, at first, appears overwhelming. No surprise here; since Chic n’ Time usually fills me up before I can finish the meal, I expected as much. Besides, Drunk Annika gets to benefit from the leftovers later. 

Individually, the noodles are of medium size and hearty. And I’m pleased to report that Chic n’ Time seems to spare no expense when it came to the crab meat, which was liberally spiced and buttered, and liberally interspersed throughout the noodles. 

Nevertheless, I found that not ordering my usual filled me with regret. The crab garlic noodles were delicious, don’t get me wrong, and I’m still a huge fan of the restaurant. Yet like the Celtics in the Finals, they didn’t quite measure up against the best in the game: Chic n Time’s fried chicken steak and garlic noodles. 

Why? Well, the sauce didn’t hit the usual marks. (Glad that your dish did.) For the garlic crab noodles, the creamy and buttery sauce actually drowned out the strong garlic flavor that normally makes Chic n’ Time noodles so delicious. It resembled an Italian pasta dish more than the San Francisco Asian classic. And San Francisco just always wins. 

Chic n’ Time is located at 807 Valencia St. near 19th Street.

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Follow Us

REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

Mark Rabine has lived in the Mission for over 40 years. "What a long strange trip it's been." He has maintained our Covid tracker through most of the pandemic, taking some breaks with his search for the Mission's best fried-chicken sandwich and now its best noodles. When the Warriors make the playoffs, he writes up his take on the games.

Join the Conversation

7 Comments

Please keep your comments short and civil. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Good review, the one-sided aggression had me imagining Annika with her arms up to the crowd yelling “are you not entertained?”, Gladiator-style

    For completeness – a scoreboard update is missing! It feels like chic’n time cracked top 3?m for both?

  2. Yay, I’ve been loving the garlic noodles at Chic ‘n Time for a while now! And the owner is so nice!

  3. Oooh garlic noodles.. but are they as good as Thanh Long’s? I haven’t been there in some years but I remember the noodles as being like crack. Thanks for the heads up in any case on this place. I will have to check it out.

      1. yes – I read about that recently! who knew? (well obviously, some people knew, just not me)