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Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the SF Chowhound community.

Put On Your Crabby Pants

It’s local crab season, and Woodhouse Fish Company serves feisty, incredibly fresh dungeness crab, says SteveG. And check out the amazing fries. They change their frying oil so often that all their fried stuff always tastes super fresh.

Duarte’s Tavern is another great choice for crab, in the form of the succulent crab melt. “It is a thing of beauty,” says Melanie Wong. And after, try their ollalieberry pie, recommends Cynsa.

Ferry Plaza Seafood in the Ferry Building is serving a half crab in the shell for $15, and it rocks, says sgwood415. The sweet, juicy meat renders the butter and cocktail sauce totally superfluous.

Woodhouse Fish Company [Castro]
2073 Market St., San Francisco
415-437-2722
Locater

Duarte’s Tavern [Peninsula]
202 Stage Rd., Pescadero
650-879-0464
Locater

Ferry Plaza Seafood [Embarcadero]
One Ferry Building, #18, San Francisco
415-274-2561
Locater

Board Links
An ideal crabby lunch-Woodhouse
Crabs Half Moon Bay
Crab at the Ferry Building

Baked BBQ Pork Buns

Excellent pork buns of the baked variety are to be had at Golden Gate Bakery. They’re rworange’s favorite, with the perfect ratio of pork to bun. The bun has a touch of sweetness, and the saucy pork filling has a bit of an edge, as if there were a touch of alcohol in the sauce.

You’s is favored by CYL and roster. Yimster likes Red House Bakery for its generously filled buns–however, other hounds are concerned that the filling level is inconsistent. However, definitely check out their “old wife cake,” says Melanie Wong, with flaky pastry that tastes of lard and a tasty, complex filling of nuts and coconut.

Cafe Bakery makes a great baked barbecue pork bun, favored by many hounds. But go early–they’re usually sold out by early afternoon.

Golden Gate Bakery [Chinatown]
1029 Grant Ave., San Francisco
415-781-2627
Locater

You’s Dim Sum [Chinatown]
675 Broadway, San Francisco
415-788-7028
Locater

Red House Bakery [Bay Shore]
2818 San Bruno Ave., San Francisco, CA
415-656-0128
Locater

Cafe Bakery & Restaurant [Sunset]
1365 Noriega St., San Francisco
415-661-6116
Locater

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Baked BBQ Pork Buns in SF Chinatown?
Red House Bakery & Cafe in San Francisco for Baked BBQ Pork Buns

Chowish Lamb Options

Chowhounds weigh in on their favorite moderately-priced lamb dishes in town.

david kaplan likes the lamb burger at Bocadillos; two of them with a garnish salad are only $8. The cumin lamb at Old Mandarin Islamic, peppery and strongly cumin-y, is also recommended.

Another option is Woodward’s Garden. The braised lamb shank with melted gypsy peppers, braised endive, couscous, and cilantro oil tastes amazing and is a great value at about $20, says chefinthecity.

Chez Nous, a small plates place on Fillmore, serves simply-prepared lamb chops served with rosemary salt, perfectly cooked, says laaronson.

Helmand has one of the best racks of lamb in the city for only about $18, says Joan Kureczka; stonefruit also likes their seekh kabab, cubes of lamb not served on skewers.

Morton the Mousse loves the stewed lamb with charred eggplant at Aziza for $19.

The barbacoa at La Gran Chiquita is very tasty if you’re a lamb fan, says jmarek.

Bocadillos [Financial District]
710 Montgomery St., Washington, San Francisco
415-982-2622
Locater

Old Mandarin Islamic [Sunset]
3132 Vicente St., San Francisco
415-564-3481
Locater

Woodward’s Garden [Mission]
1700 Mission St., San Francisco
415-621-7122
Locater

Chez Nous [Fillmore]
1911 Fillmore St., San Francisco
415-441-8044
Locater

Helmand Restaurant [North Beach]
430 Broadway, San Francisco
415-362-0641
Locater

Aziza [Richmond]
5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
415-752-2222
Locater

Taqueria La Gran Chiquita [Fruitvale]
3503 International Blvd., Oakland
510-533-6484
Locater

Board Links
Best place to have some Lamb in SF, non-curry, non-expensive? POSSIBLE?

The Sweetest Thing

Rajjot Sweet & Snacks in Sunnyvale makes its own jalebi, a super-sweet Indian confection. They’re so fresh that they’re still crunchy, and the rosewater-perfumed soaking syrup is still liquid. Melanie Wong likes them very much. They also have a full chaat and snacks menu.

This place is Bengali, says howler, so try for Bengali specialties, like ras malai.

Rajjot Sweet & Snacks [South Bay]
1234 S Wolfe Rd., El Camino, Sunnyvale
408-730-5510
Locater

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Jalebi from Rajjot Sweet & Snacks in Sunnyvale

Fresh Anchovies, or Let Them Eat Bait

The San Francisco Fish Company has fresh anchovies lately, reports MuppetGrrl. They’re delicious and only $3.99 a pound. Anchovies are plentiful this year in the waters outside the Gate, says TomG; he recommends them grilled with salt and pepper. Ask any fish supplier. For you more adventuresome souls, just go out there and buy them live from a bait supplier at the Berkeley Pier. Alan408 says they’re fine for human consumption, but might be expensive compared to dead ones. (Tip: don’t eat the ones that are already on somebody’s hook. It’ll be bad for all concerned.)

San Francisco Fish Company [Embarcadero]
1 Ferry Bldg. # 31, San Francisco
415-399-1111
Locater

Berkeley Marina Fishing Pier [East Bay]
160 University Ave., Berkeley
510-981-6720
Map

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Chowcooks: Fresh anchovies at the Ferry Building!

Grits, Crab, and Sweet Corn Porridge

Absonot loves porridge made from grits, crab, and sweet corn at The Front Porch, a brand-new restaurant. It’s an exceptional dish, prepared with habanero and green onion; it manages to be hearty, intriguing, and refreshing all at the same time. potatoe seconds the recommendation for crab porridge: “My toes were tapping.” Hounds also like Front Porch’s moist, buttery yellow cake, with a nicely balanced, sweet chocolate frosting. bernalbump says it’s just like your idealized grandmother’s cake.

The Front Porch [Mission]
65A 29th St., San Francisco
415-695-7800
Map

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The Front Porch Opens —(long)

Holy She Crab! Whole Fresh Crab Soup Dumplings

I know you hear constantly about Koi Palace, but news of their whole crab shanghai dumplings had me crawling under my writing desk and crying with need. They take an entire dungeness crab, pick out all the meat, and stuff it all into xiao long bau, a.k.a. soup dumplings, except there’s no soup inside–only the sweet, steamed juices of the crab. You also get the legs and claws, served deep fried. These pure crabmeat dumplings, with their thin, chewy skin and succulent meat, are even better than Koi’s whole lobster dumplings, says Porthos. Twenty-eight bucks gets you 10 or 11 dumplings, plus the rest of the crab.


Koi Palace Restaurant [Peninsula]
365 Gellert Blvd., Daly City
650-992-9000
Locater

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Whole Crab Dumplings at Koi Palace

La Fonda Has Its Act Together

Initial reports on La Fonda Taqueria said the place was disappointingly poor–all the food was either too salty or too bland. But give it another shot, says China–they deserve it. The sope with chicken tinga ($3) has a handmade, fried-to-order masa shell. This shell is crispy on the outside, but tender and just slightly sweet on the inside, and nearly greaseless. It’s filled with well-seasoned pinto beans and spicy, smoky chicken tinga with a touch of cinnamon, and topped with lettuce, avocados, and crema. They also have freshly fried tortilla chips, a nice salsa bar, and an excellent limon agua fresca with tiny slices of lime floating in it. China will still skip the oversized burritos–“I just get sort of overwhelmed trying to eat something the size of my upper arm.”

La Fonda Taqueria [Sunset]
712 Irving St., San Francisco
415-681-9205
Locater

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La Fonda Update

Fleur de Sel Gelato

Bacco has an incredible dessert: toasted olive oil cake with fleur de sel gelato and caramel baked pears. The fleur de sel gelato is amazing–smooth and distinctly salty. That gelato is, by itself, worth a special trip, says Robert Lauriston.

Ristorante Bacco [Noe Valley]
737 Diamond St., at 24th St., San Francisco
415-282-4969
Locater

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Fleur de sel gelato at Bacar

The Great Chorizo Caper

The great, noble rworange is still eating her way through every chorizo she can find from Richmond to Pinole. She’s finding hidden artisans–folks without PR, without hype, putting their souls into excellent chorizo. Each market typically makes at least two types of chorizo–dry and fresh–in-house. The best time to hit most of these places is the weekend, when there are all sorts of extra goodies available.

Her very favorite chorizo so far is at Carneceria en Valle, inside Valley Produce. Their chorizo maker is truly an artisan, turning out lots of different and unique sausages, including jalapeno, Central American, all-beef, mild, and hot chorizo. The chorizo is medium grind, with very little fat. There’s fresh chorizo only.

In second place, a tie between La Guarecita and Carnecieria Mi Tierra. La Guarecita makes beautiful fresh chorizo–an elegant, delicate brick-red, fine-grind chorizo in a micro-casing, with just enough spice to give it flavor and color. Carnecieria Mi Tierra has gorgeous chorizo. Their fresh chorizo is fat, juicy, and mouth-tinglingly spicy. It’s medium grind, and it oozes half an inch of red oil while frying. Their dry chorizo is medium grind, and packed with porky pleasure. It’s deep red with a respectable level of heat, a touch of cinnamon, and some pepper seeds. It’s not as oily as their fresh chorizo, but it’s just oily enough to fry an egg. Carneceria Mi Terria also has top-notch meat, lovingly cut to your specification.

El Porvenir is in third place. Their fresh chorizo is majorly hot–habanero hot. It’s a very fine grind with a strong vinegar taste. It’s not too oily, with a nice dark brick-red color. Their dry chorizo is fine grind, with a texture like dry sawdust. There’s no complex spicing, just heat and a strong vinegar flavor.

Carneceria en Valle [East Bay]
in Valley Produce Market
1588 San Pablo Ave., Pinole
510-724-2787
Locater
Amazon Locater

La Guarecita [East Bay]
1848 23rd St., San Pablo
510-236-1644
Locater

Carniceria Mi Tierra [East Bay]
516 23rd St., Richmond
510-232-0333
Locater

El Porvenir Produce Market [East Bay]
1537 Rumrill Blvd., San Pablo
510-234-4524
Locater

Board Links
Chorizo Crawl Recap – What’s your favorite chorizo?
Chorizo crawl–Mi Tierra Supermercado (Richmond)
Chorizo crawl–La Guarecita (San Pablo) & homage to a chile verde burrito
Chorizo Crawl–Valley Produce (Pinole) – jalepeno, Central American, all-beef, mild & hot chorizo
Chorizo Crawl–El Porvenir Produce Market, Carniceria & Panedria