Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the SF Chowhound community.
Jess Leber loves Bluebottle coffee, but prefers coffee roasted by a guy named Wayne.
You acquire this coffee by searching on Craigslist (try terms like “coffee,” “bean,” and “roast”) and e-mailing the guy your coffee needs. He then roasts it to your specifications. The procedure for acquiring it is a bit weird–you slide your money through a mail slot, and Wayne has your coffee waiting for you in a box outside. “Last time, I found myself humming ‘Waiting For The Man’ by the Velvet Underground,” says Jess Leber.
Wayne the Passionate Coffee Roaster
contact through Craigslist
That Coffee Guy in Rockridge
East Bay coffee to rival Blue Bottle
The food at Cerrito Speakeasy Theater is two levels above other theaters in quality and one level below in price, making it a very chowish place, says EdwardAdams. Enormous nachos are topped with real stuff, not fluorescent orange cheese product like in other theaters. Grilled beef sandwiches (“Zombie Cow”) and slices of chocolate cake are tasty, and everything is served on real plates, not paper. Even the popcorn comes in a real bowl. rworange notes that you can also buy bottled and draft beer like Trumer Pils, and wine like Ile la Forge viognier, so you can feel like you’re in a real speakeasy.
Cerrito Speakeasy Theater [East Bay]
10070 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito
Cerrito Speakeasy Theater
Seoul Gom Tang makes excellent Korean soups, specializing in oxtail soup. The amount of care taken in making the broth is clear from the taste. However, there’s a newcomer in the Korean soup department–Seen Chon House, with an even more stripped-down menu than Seoul Gom Tang. Seen Chon House only makes soups, and the specialization results in an extremely refined broth. Try the wul sul (beef tongue) soup and you won’t be disappointed. al88 also thinks they have some of the best napa cabbage kimchi around. Feel free to toss some kimchi into your soup for a little spice–but it’s not the kind of soup to dump half a cup of chili paste into.
Seen Chon House Restaurant [South Bay]
1066 Kiely Blvd., Santa Clara
Seoul Gom Tang [South Bay]
3028 El Camino Real, Santa Clara
Sean Chon House
For every need, there is an appropriate fondue restaurant. Robert Lauriston faintly praises Fondue Fred as “fine for the low price.” They even serve all-you-can-eat cheesecake–after the fondue. “I can’t believe I ate that in college,” says Glencora.
On a more sophisticated note, anna loves the fondue at the Matterhorn, and The Dive likes the fondue at Cav, served with bread, apples, and walnuts.
And MSK admits (with a measure of embarrassment) that chain restaurant the Melting Pot in Marin is completely enjoyable. Kids love it, and even though the menu lists prices per person, you may order one massive serving for two to share. Enjoy!
Fondue Fred [East Bay]
2556 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley
Matterhorn Restaurant [Russian Hill]
2323 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
Cav Wine Bar [Hayes Valley]
1666 Market St., San Francisco
The Melting Pot [Marin County]
125 E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Larkspur
The Melting Pot [South Bay]
72 S. 1st St., San Jose
Fond o’ Fondue
jimzk initially suffered from feelings of shock and betrayal upon discovering that the luscious, perfectly-spiced baba ganoush at Haig’s Deli comes out of a can–at least, the foundation of eggplant puree does. That may be part of what gives the baba ganoush its unquestionable authenticity–the cans do come from Lebanon, and are of a very good brand. And, of course, the kitchen at Haig’s dresses up the canned base with their own spices. rworange notes that people love the clam chowder at Swan’s, even though it comes out of a can–it’s all about how the restaurant doctors it up. “There’s stuff lovingly made from scratch that is tasteless,” she says.
Haig’s Delicacies [Richmond]
642 Clement St., San Francisco
The inconvenient truth about Haig’s Deli
Just a heads-up–G&G Supermarket sells fresh duck livers (and gizzards) at the reasonable price of $1.19 per pound. They only have them on Wednesdays, and they only have a small amount, says brocante, but they are of good quality.
Manila Market also carries duck livers at a reasonable price, says Zeldog.
G&G Supermarket [Sonoma County]
1211 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa
Manila Meat Market [Mission District]
987 Mission St., San Francisco
Fresh Duck Livers @ G&G Market
No, you are not hallucinating–that sign really does say “Sausage Factory Outlet.” It’s a warehouse with no sign indicating openness or hours, but inside you can buy Schwarz sausage, as well as all the other sausages manufactured by Engelhart Gourmet Foods, for $3.05 per pound, says Melanie Wong. The sausages usually retail for around $5 or $6 a pound, so this is a sizeable discount, says ML8000, particularly if you’re grilling for a crowd.
Schwarz Sausage Factory Outlet [Mission]
1726 Mission St., San Francisco
Sausage Factory Outlet
Hacienda Grill serves simple food deliciously, and also has the best aguas frescas in the Bay Area, says rworange. The jar of orangeade is filled with thin slices of fresh orange and has a great fresh orangeade flavor. Watermelon agua fresca has a slushy texture, and it has a sweeter and truer watermelon flavor than most actual watermelons. Horchata has a lovely touch of cinnamon, though it’s slightly on the sweet side. House-made sangria ($2.50) is a pleasantly fruity, grapey drink, full of chopped orange–you have to finish it off with a spoon! A sip of sangria improves the experience of the excellent tortilla chips.
Hacienda Grill [East Bay]
1000 Nevin Ave., Richmond
Richmond–Hacienda Grill–Thanks J T … Rosemary chicken enchiladas & flank steak w/chilaquiles
Doña Tomas is still making excellent food, says deelish–especially the terrific huitlacoche (corn smut fungus) quesadilla that one could eat at every meal, every day. Chiles rellenos are also excellent, not breaded or deep fried, just stuffed with smooth, meltingly yummy goat cheese and roasted. The masa is fresh and tastes of sweet corn. Earl Grey feels the service is sloppy, and the food is only very good, not great. And Mari likes the juicy, crispy carnitas, despite the fact that they are rubbed with Mexican oregano.
For dessert, try ice cream served with baked apples, raisins, and pecans, sprinkled with cajeta.
Restaurante Dona Tomas [Temescal]
5004 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
Doña Tomas–Recent Reviews?
5-Star Truffles and Coffee is a charming, unassuming place, offering excellent house-made truffles, along with espresso drinks and other beverages. The owner makes the chocolates from Cacao Barry chocolate, says larochelle a box of 20 truffles runs $7.99. Also, you get one truffle free when you purchase a beverage. Flavors include hazelnut, espresso, Earl Grey, and wine. Many flavors are quite subtle, but the caramel is unctuous and buttery. Definitely worth a visit, says Absonot.
5-Star Truffles and Coffee [Western Addition]
411 Divisadero St., San Francisco
5-star truffles and coffee on divisadero