Kingdom of Dumpling in San Francisco, which moved last year to Taraval from Noriega, sells frozen dumplings and potstickers that you can turn into quick, easy dinners at home. What are the top picks of the Kingdom's many offerings? Pork potstickers, radish cakes, and pork and shrimp wontons are some favorites; note that the dumpling shop's website includes instructions on how to cook each item at home.
For a quick bite, a New York–style slice satisfies the taste buds and the wallet, but too often slices in the Bay Area taste like oil-soaked cardboard. An early report from the Mission says that the Pizza Shop on 24th Street serves a reputable cheese slice, neither under- nor overcooked, with the right cheese-to-sauce ratio.
For an exemplary croissant that feels like a taste of France, follow this tip from Chowhound. Drive to the Redwood City Sofitel hotel, park near the entrance, and tell the doorman you're picking up pastries in order to avoid the parking lot fee. You can find plain, chocolate, and almond croissants for sale in the gift/snack shop, but if the display case is empty, ask if there are any squirreled away in the kitchen.
San Francisco's Hayes Valley neighborhood is a convenient walk from events at the symphony, opera, or Nourse Auditorium, and according to one Chowhound member, the unpretentious chow at Dobbs Ferry merits a visit. Save room for dessert: The zeppoli (Italian fried dough) with dulce de leche is a luxurious end to the meal, with a large enough serving to share.
With two outlets open in San Francisco, Pizzeria Delfina has burst onto the Peninsula scene with a new restaurant in Burlingame. This is the first PD to offer pasta; chewy orecchiette with broccoli rabe pesto and fennel sausage earns high marks, while spaghetti with plum tomatoes and pepperoncini fell short of perfection on some visits.
Verbena, the offshoot of Berkeley's Gather, may require your patience in parsing the menu: Some 'hounds say it's difficult to determine portion sizes and assemble a meal. One satisfied diner sings the praises of sardines piled on a cloud of mashed cauliflower, and "cioppino verde" with butter-poached fish swimming alongside mussels, clams, and octopus in broth.
Mountain View's Bierhaus, formerly SteakOut, has had more identity crises than a character in a made-for-TV movie about multiple personality disorder. Now the restaurant amplifies the meaty menu with German twists. Among the potato pancakes and bratwurst, seek out the best-in-class spätzle tossed with mustard greens and chunks of smoky ham.
With proximity to the 101 and 280 freeways, the Dogpatch neighborhood is an easy spot to grab a bite before spending an hour in gridlock. For a satisfying dinner in the area, locals propose a quick stop at Gilberth's Rotisserie & Grill, fried chicken at Hard Knox, mushroom lasagna at Marcella's, or a meal at Chocolate Lab (which is changing its name to theLab as of February 17 to highlight savory offerings).
A conversation about the best Korean in the East Bay surfaces several enticing suggestions from Chowhound users. "Refined" Bowl'd prepares high-quality renditions of classic dishes like kimchi jjigae, FuseBox offers "ambitious and precise" cooking but limited banchan, and Jong Ga House impresses newbies to Korean cuisine with warm service and an abundant banchan spread (pictured).