Picture it, San Francisco, 2013!
If anyone knows me, they know I’m a huge fan of The Golden Girls.
I’ve probably seen every episode a hundred times and laughed out loud every single time. I’ve even told family and friends that should I be blessed to live a long life, I’d live a Golden Girls life!
So of course, when the Golden Girls Kitchen experience finally arrived in San Francisco, my friends and I jumped at the chance. As we were a group of six initially, our dates were difficult to align without the day being sold out. The reviews kept coming in that the space, experience, and the meals that came with the almost $100+ per person ticket were “amazing!”. When five out of six of us were able to get together on a Sunday, all the brunch hours were sold out but dinner at 7pm, which we decided to go for.
The space was much smaller than anticipated, no wonder it was always sold out! You walked in to see the merchandise booth and the Rusty Anchor bar to your left and Sophia’s kitchen to your right. A few tables were lined up leading to Blanche’s bedroom with one side leading to the back end kitchen and another leading to the makeshift lanai. From the lanai, there was a second door to the hall with restrooms before heading to the makeshift living room where there was a larger bar and about ten tables for two lined against the wall. From there, you were led back towards the kitchen and the Rusty Anchor.
The staff seemed annoyed by our presence and ready to call it a day. We were not aware we would be the last guests of the day when the other two tables of guests on the lanai left. There was no one in the indoor tables or bars which we thought was odd considering how we struggled to get tickets on any given day.
The background music was not related to the show whatsoever. Every so often the theme song played but the playlist itself was not relevant to the show or even the 80s. Nonetheless, us gals were occupied in conversation and selfies to mind.
We had pre-ordered, as part of our ticket purchase, five vegetarian lasagna (as the majority of the group is Muslim who don’t eat pork), three slices of chocolate cheesecake, and two slices of strawberry cheesecakes. Drinks, sides, and additional cheesecake flavors were to be ordered day of and charged separately. At the table, we ordered three sodas and mocktails, truffle parmesan fries, regular fries, and fried cheese balls.
The lasagna was not good at all. I think I was the only one hungry enough to begrudgingly finish my serving while everyone else barely ate half of theirs. The fries and cheese balls were very good, the highlight of our meal to be honest. The drinks were small for the price but my mocktail was pretty good.
The cheesecakes were a whole other song and dance. Before we were served our mains, our server came back to let us know they were all out of strawberry cheesecake and they would get us blueberry cheesecake instead at no extra charge. That comment rubbed us the wrong way as it was not our fault the venue ran out of what we had pre-ordered so many weeks prior. She came back again to state that they no longer had blueberry cheesecake and only had chocolate, Oreo, and vegan left. We agreed to one Oreo and one vegan in lieu of the strawberry initially ordered.
We did ask for some of our sides to be discounted since they didn’t have the cheesecake we pre-ordered and they just kept stating that we were already getting it for free. We didn’t push for it further as we had read the reviews that the cheesecakes were so good. Disappointment doesn’t even begin to describe our feelings as we all dug into the cheesecakes. The vegan slice, as one of my friends described it, tasted like candle wax. The rest were completely and utterly warm, almost inedible. After a couple of bites, we either left our slice or packed it to go (my hope to salvage mine after it was refrigerated worked but wasn’t worth it).
The additional costs for the sides and drinks totaled $100 before the enforced gratuity ($50, about 20% of our total costs) that was not included in our ticket purchase.
We did ask the staff to help us take group pictures, which they seem to be annoyed to do. I asked one staff member to take a picture of me by the poster only to have him zoom in on me. Defeats the entire purpose of pictures with the poster but I digress. The group pictures by the poster came out much better. We then as gals took turns taking pictures of each other rather than ask the annoyed staff. Isn’t the picture taking a huge part of the experience? I did get a $30 puzzle before having the doors slammed locked behind us when we walked out.
As I told the social media team who has yet to respond to me that our experience was lackluster. For the price we paid we expected an experience, good food, and a staff friendly enough to not see us as a chore. The Golden Girls Kitchen is indeed overhyped and underdelivered. Maybe something happened in the hours prior to our visit, I don’t know. I just can’t find any justification for our mediocre experience.
Luckily, my gals and I always make the best of our time together and for that I am grateful. Thank you for being a friend!