New Year's resolution to break out of a dining rut? Checking out the minority Mien cuisine that pops up on Sundays at Naked Lunch might do the trick: Chao Mien is the work of Lao-born chef Sarn Saechao, who highlights local ingredients in Southeast Asian–inspired dishes like salmon-stuffed roti and cilantro-flecked chicken dumplings.
Along the Grant Avenue stretch of San Francisco's Chinatown, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the tourist hordes pushing through barkers flapping laminated menus for unexceptional restaurants. Where can you find good dim sum that's not overrun by tourists? Happy Chinese on Powell and City View on Commercial are two suggestions to add to your list.
When you're dining with someone who finds the idea of fish a bit dodgy (particularly when there's a face attached to said fish), where should you go and what should you order for a seafood dinner that might intrigue the apprehensive diner? Chowhound suggestions include shrimp dumplings at any dim sum spot, salt and pepper squid at a Cantonese place like Yuet Lee, or excellent fish and chips at Martins West.
Rock Bar, from the Front Porch folks, offers the full bag of mixology tricks, from tinctures to infusions, says Chowhound mariacarmen. To set down a foundation to soak up the booze, you can order food from neighboring Front Porch (including shrimp and grits with red-eye gravy) and they'll serve it to you at Rock Bar.
It's too early for a final judgment on Mountain View newbie Cijjo, but one Chowhound member says that the "energetic" and "serious" approach of Chef Ira Siegel results in ambitious dishes that stick the landing. Chowhound member eatzalot marveled at the chef's across-the-board success at an array of international dishes like Alsatian onion-cheese tarts, spicy ahi cones, and roasted marrow.
Departing out of SFO and want to pick up something in downtown San Francisco to eat on your flight? One good option is a stop at the International Food Court on Bush Street and Kearny, where you can grab a to-go dish that's maybe cheaper and definitely tastier than airplane food, like Vietnamese spring rolls from Pho Express.
Though St. Vincent on Valencia Street normally closes on Sundays, it's worth noting that occasionally they open for special dinners advertised on their website and through their email list. A recent prix fixe Sunday dinner featured East Coast–style Italian-American cuisine, with bucatini with red sauce and crab, garlic bread, chicory salad, and tiramisu for $35.
A new combination Lao-Thai restaurant opened in the Excelsior on New Year's Day, and 'hounds are on it. Chowhound member soupçon drops the word that Maneelap Srimongkoun Restaurant serves a satisfying khao poon (spicy vermicelli soup) along with other Laotian standards like Lao sausage and the crispy rice ball dish called nam kao tod. No reports yet on the Thai side of the menu.
PizzaHacker moves from pop-up to perma with a takeover of the old Inkas space on Mission Street. One early report crows that the new location is worth a visit for the chewy pizza crusts, enormous salads, and convivial atmosphere.