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San Francisco report - January 2015

Thanks. I'll be riding out that east coast nor'easter in sunny Napa valley.


San Francisco report - January 2015

Monday breakfast

Last meal in San Francisco :-(

After our run, we went straight to the Ferry Building to grab a quick breakfast. The only place open beside Cowgirl was Frog Hollow. So we ate there because I didn't want to repeat. Anyway, we had a nice light breakfast, I had the carnitas empanada And C had the granola. The empanada was flaky and savory. We ordered a peanut butter and jam cookie as breakfast dessert and it was fantastic. Great note to end our short visit.

San Francisco report - January 2015

Sunday dinner - Burma Love and Bi-Rite creamery

We had a fantastic meal with friends at Burma Love. I've only been to one Burmese restaurant in Boston although I have cooked many dishes from a Burmese cookbook. Our friends had never had burmese and were skeptical, so skeptically that I think they had a mini meal before they picked us up.


Tea salad - one of my favorite dishes although the winter tomatoes did bum me out. But the salad is so flavorful that the pale tomatoes didn't detract from the dish.

Salt fried calamari - perfect crisp light coating and tender squid

Dried lotus chips - if I had a huge bag of these with a book, I would be so happy.

Main dishes:
Cod with tea leaves wrapped in a banana leaf - subtle and delicate.
Shrimp with garlic and chili - good sized shrimp with balanced flavors
Eggplant with garlic and chili - the weak dish. I had originally ordered the eggplant curry but the server recommended this instead. This was tasty and well cooked but I should have followed my own instincts.
Jasmine and coconut rice.

Dessert at Bi-Rite Creamery

I was shocked when I saw the line outside. I really wanted to try this but didn't know if I wanted to wait in line. We were going to skip it but then a parking spot opened in front. I was impressed with the staffs' efficiency about moving the line.

I ordered three flavors but asked for the scoops to be placed in a certain order. One flavor went with both but the two outlying flavors might have clashed. My server didn't blink and even put it in a bigger bowl so the scoops wouldn't sit on top of each other. He said he liked my flavor combos. Anyway, all three were delicious. I got orange cardamom, brown sugar with ginger and salted caramel. I would work forward and backwards using the brown sugar as the transitional flavor. I loved the whole thing and am so glad I had the chance to go there.

San Francisco report - January 2015

Sunday lunch -Slanted Door

I enjoyed my lunch there but don't quite see the hype. Happily, I wasn't tempted by the cookbooks.


Imperial fried spring rolls
Wood grilled Manila clams - loved these. The broth was divine. We saved the broth for the rice
Cabbage salad with grapefruit and jicama - also loved this but it was slightly overdressed

Main dishes
Shrimp with rice noodles - tasty but standard
Broccoli with tofu - delicious and a good level of spicing
Pressed tofu - loved this as well.
Cod fillets with maitake mushrooms - enjoyed the subtle flavor of this dish. Great broth.

Dessert: churros with chocolate sauce. No complaints.

As I stated, I had a good meal and liked everything and didn't have any real complaints. I don't quite see what the hype is about. This is well done vietnamese food with higher end ingredients. Service was gracious and not rushed. I'm glad I tried it but don't feel the need to revisit it in the future.

San Francisco report - January 2015

The dates I bought at the farmers market are delicious. It's a date only stand and it's on the on the back right (if you are looking at the building from the front) side of the market. I bought an assortment and am eating it like candy.

San Francisco report - January 2015

Sunday breakfast

C didn't want to go over to tartine so we ran to fishermans wharf and back. We decided to grab a quick breakfast at the ferry building and ended up at the Cowgirl Creamery sidekick.

We both had cheesy goodness for breakfast. One cheese toastie and one baked egg sandwich with cheese. I was also really curious about the poached egg and grits but decided on the sandwich bc of the acme bread.

San Francisco report - January 2015

Saturday dinner - Kin Khao

Another great dinner with friends. I was slightly annoyed when we got there because we couldn't find the restaurant. But once we sat down we had a great time. We were seeing old friends and never felt rushed or hassled. The weak spot was the cocktail. None of us raved about them. They were fine but not swoon worthy.

Now the food, some bites were just outstanding. I loved the mushroom hao mok, the nimprik long rau, charred Brussel sprouts and the rabbit curry. The posh salad was tasty although I'm not convinced it was gem lettuce. It seemed like a romain heart. The pork rib lets, were probably the least favorite.

I also really loved the rice pudding. So subtle with different textures.

We had a great time and I would come back.

San Francisco report - January 2015

Saturday lunch - Yank Sing

I love Yank Sing. I loved it when I first went about 15 years ago, I loved it in the subsequent half dozen visits over the years and I loved it yesterday. And it's just so convenient that YS was across the street from the hotel.

Highlights include the fancy xlbs, spinach dumplings and the cabbage salad. I've always loved that cabbage salad and was slightly concerned when I didn't see it on the menu or website. But as soon as I saw someone walk around with it, I was thrilled. Everything we are was delicious including dessert. I'm an unabashed jello lover and theirs was so tasty. The presentation was cute (served like a cut orange) and it tasted like fresh oj. I was also a huge fan of the mango pudding. Not so great was the mango almond ice cream cake. It was too dense and slightly flavorless.

Service, as always, was gracious and I was more then happy with my revisit.

San Francisco report - January 2015

Oops. Thanks for that. Don't know if it was me or auto correct. Regardless, I fixed it. :)

San Francisco report - January 2015

Saturday breakfast.

We ended up sleeping in so didn't get a chance to run to tartine for the opening. Instead, we wandered over to the ferry building for breakfast and snacks. It was really hard to decide what to eat. But we ended up splitting a lox sandwich and a zilla style hot dog. The two stand were at the back of the market, almost kiddy corner from each other.

Lox sandwich - there was so much restraint in the garnishes that it was perfect for me. Usually, there is too much bread/bagel and too much cream cheese. Here, it was a slice of bread and a thin layer of cc.

Hot dog zilla style - I think the meat stand was 4505 or something, like that. Again, not too much bread and just the right amount of kim chee on top.

We also tried gut shots from the sauerkraut stand. I loved the dill pickle one and thought the ginger beet one was only ok. As much as I love beets, I didn't like the sweetness to the shots.

A small part of me died as I looked at all the beautiful produce and knew I couldn't really buy any. But, we did buy some dates, oranges, and Asian pears for the week.

Sweets for later:

Neo truffles

Almond brittle with cinnamon and dark chocolate from Alfieri (front of market)

And chicarrones from the hot dog stand.

San Francisco report - January 2015

Greetings SF hounds. Here is the start of my report. I've been in town for less the 24 hours and my belly is more then thrilled. Plus, the weather here is gorgeous and there is a nor'easter at home.

Here is my earlier query, thanks for all the responses.

We arrived at our hotel later then expected. We wandered over to Ferry Building to get a light snack before an early dinner. We decided to split a sandwich and two meat cones at the salty pig parts stand. I think it's called Boccarones. We got the combo sandwich which consisted of three different kinds of salami, greens and something else. We also ordered two customs meat cones to try out the various cured meats. The salamis and prosciutto stood out. There was one that was almost all fat, and the first bite was fantastic. But, it became the law of diminishing returns after that. Regardless it was a satisfying snack.

We walked to State Bird Provisions for dinner. The stop lights and hill up Geary slowed us down a bit. We arrived in the line at about 4:25 pm. Waiting in line wasn't as onerous as I thought it would be. We started with a good book but ended up chatting with people inline. It was so worth the wait, not only for the company, but for the food. Unfortunately for me, I didn't get to try as much off the menu bc the little plates were way too tempting.


guinea hen dumpling with broth. Should have gotten two instead of splitting one.

State bird with provisions. This may have been my favorite. The quail was perfectly fried and the bit of cheese sent it over the top. I wish we had ordered the full portion instead of the half.

Steak tartare toast

Tuna conserve with homemade chips. They pretty much had me at chips. The tuna was delicious on its own

Chawan mushi with guanicale. Loved this and thought it didn't need the pork. Sacrilege, I know but the chawan mushi with hot sauce was perfect on its own.

Fried pork belly with cilantro and broth. Just a bite of the pork belly was fine. Crisp on the outside, perfect on the inside. What elevated it was dipping each bite with the broth and cilantro. Swoon worthy.


Garlic bread with burrata. I wouldn't order this again.

Dessert was the sichuan pepper ice cream sandwich and the cinnamon rice pudding. Both delicious but they didn't pair well together. The rice pudding was delicate and subtle compared to the ice cream sandwich.

What impressed me was the judicious use of herbs and spices. It was never overdone and always balanced (exception was the garlic bread).

It was a really pleasant walk downhill back to the hotel.

Eta: for small plates, we also had the trout with uni slaw, crudités with dip and hog island oysters with spicy kohlrabi kraut. Off the menu, we also ate the fried quail eggs with green olive salsa verde. These were all delicious but not as memorable as the above and not mediocre like the garlic bread.

Query - Charles Phan cookbooks

Thanks gio, I suspected as such since I could remember any posts of anyone cooking from one of his books.

Jan 23, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Query - Charles Phan cookbooks

Oops. Meant to write, IF I really enjoy the food at SD, I'll be tempted to buy one of the cookbooks.

Jan 23, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Query - Charles Phan cookbooks

Thanks for the input. It's good to know about the SD cookbook.

Jan 22, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Query - Charles Phan cookbooks

Thanks, I have taken them out of the library but nothing grabbed me at the time (it was when the books first came out). But, I know that I really enjoy the food at Slanted Door this weekend, I'll be tempted by one or both cookbooks. I need something to hold me back from buying signed copies.

Jan 22, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Query - Charles Phan cookbooks

Thanks. I checked out VHC from the library when it first came out and nothing really grabbed me either. It's good to know that I wasn't just in a mood. I also like Nguyen's book but like Mai Pham's cookbook a wee bit more.

Jan 22, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Query - Quick SF visit for the end of January, 2015

I'll be on EST. I figured that I would drag C for the two mile run to Tartine. Fuel up with some pastries and walk back to the hotel. Then, browse at the Ferry Building during the farmer's market. I'm sure it will be nap time soon after that.

Query - Charles Phan cookbooks

Hmmm. I'm taking radio silence to mean - hounds have one or both cookbooks, but haven't had a chance to cook from either. Regardless, I'm looking forward to trying the SD restaurant.

Jan 22, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Query - Charles Phan cookbooks

I've looked at both his cookbooks:

Vietnamese Home Cooking

Slanted Door

And, they are both very pretty and the food looks delicious. I've never bought them because realistically, I don't know if I would actually cook with them.

But, I am going to the Slanted Door for lunch this weekend. And, I know, if I love the food, I'm going to be tempted to buy signed copies of one or both his books.

So cookbook hounds, what are your thoughts about his books? Do the recipes work? Are they time consuming? Which book do you prefer and why? Or what don't you like about either book?


Jan 21, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Query - Quick SF visit for the end of January, 2015

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I've revised many of my plans, although some are still contingent on who will be chowing down with.

Friday dinner - State Bird Provisions. We will get there early with a good books to help pass the time.

Saturday - pre breakfast snack at Tartine.

Breakfast and browse at Ferry building (actually, I don't know why I didn't right it down since price and proximity is why I chose my hotel). Although that farmer's market always has me green with jealousy about the year round abundance of produce. Today, here in Boston, it was a balmy 21 degrees compared to the teens of last week.

Lunch - unknown and will I even have stomach space.

Dinner with friends at Kin Khao with either pre or post drinks at European.

I'm still working on the rest. And, of course, I'll post reports once I've chowed down.

: ) Happy dance at the thought of being back in SF.

Query - Quick SF visit for the end of January, 2015

I'm going to be in SF for a quick visit next week. I have about 2.5 days in SF before I meet my parents for a Napa/Sonoma trip. This post is only on SF.

Background. I've been to SF numerous times but I think my last visit was in 2006 or so. I try and not repeat places, although there are certain places that I would like to re-visit, if there is extra time and stomach space. We are staying at a hotel near the Ferry Building.

We have no reservations for SF, but we are early risers and am willing to eat at early off times.

Friday, 1/23 - we will arrive at the hotel around 2 pm. I was thinking that I would try and not overstuff myself right off the bat. Instead, I will attempt to show some restraint and getting something little or light at the Ferry Building.

Dinner - Nopa. No online reservations and it's too early to call them. I was thinking that we would try and get there at 5 pm to grab bar seats. Plus, Bi-Rite looks to be next door. I love ice cream.

Saturday, 1/24 - here is where I start having "problems." I really want to try Tartine, especially those morning glory buns. But, I need something a bit more for breakfast other then pastries. Then, I run into the whole lunch issue.

Lunch - Places that intrigue - Nopa, Tartine (kill two birds with one stone), Bar Tartine, Yank Sing or a mission burrito either at La Taqueira, Taqueira Cancun or El Faro. I haven't mapped or looked on line at any of the burrito places yet. These were the names I gleaned from previous threads. I also have Sunday lunch/brunch open so can go to one of these places as well.

I've been to Yank Sing many times and love the overpriced dim sum there. I really adore that cabbage salad. I've never tried a mission burrito though and even though burritos aren't really my thing, it's something my husband would really enjoy. Also, is walking in to either Tartine or BT at opening reasonable?

Dinner with old friends - I was thinking of Burma Love, Burmese Kitchen or Les Ros Thai. I'm not sure if there kids will be joining us, but it will either be a party of 4 or 7. Wherever I decide, I plan on getting reservations. We were thinking early dinner and then drinks after. For those three places, is there a nice bar where we can hang out and chat post meal?

Sunday, 1/25 - see Saturday's breakfast/lunch. I'm going to choose amongst those. Or Hog Island Oysters at the Ferry Bldg. This may be put on the back burner because there is one in Napa as well.

Dinner - probably one of the choices from Sat dinner.

Monday, 1/2 - breakfast somewhere close by before we head to the airport.

Please feel free to comment, criticize and advise. We may be meeting other friends as well. I'm just figuring out scheduling. This was kind of a last minute thing for us.

Thanks so much.

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month February 2015

Temperatures like last week made me wish treadmills didn't freak me out so much. I saw someone fly off the back end once and that image has stayed with me. It's been 10+ years and I haven't set foot on one since.

But, today, we are having a heat wave - it was 32 degrees F.

I still want soup. On deck is a soup filled with porky goodness (pancetta and ham hock), squash, cabbage and tomatoes.

Jan 12, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Greenspan's Baking Chez Moi and Beranbaum's Baking Bible

Last week, I made the chocolate cream puffs out of Dorie's new book. It was really easy and quick, even with a double batch. The cream was a combo of marscapone, heavy cream (whipped), vanilla and sugar. It was just lovely.

Jan 12, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month February 2015

I haven't cooked or looked at the soup cookbook yet. I nominated it because of the buzz on previous nomination and buying threads. It's also a local restaurant where the soups have been praised. But, I mostly nominated it because it's been an average of 15 degrees F and I'm an outdoor runner. 25 degrees F should not feel like a heat wave. Anyway, my insides are frozen and I thought soup might do the trick.

My library copy should arrive sometime this week. I'm looking forward to perusing it.

Jan 11, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month February 2015

It's freezing in NE and I've been in a soupy mood.

NEW ENGLAND SOUP FACTORY COOKBOOK by Marjorie Druker. I have a library copy en route to me, even as we speak.

Excellent job, QN coordinating. Stay warm.


January 2015 Cookbook of the Month: "THE HAKKA COOKBOOK: CHINESE SOUL FOOD FROM AROUND THE WORLD" by Linda Lau Anusasananan

I go super basic. I usually do 2-3 stir fries for a meal. When I finish cooking the dish, I just stick it into the microwave to keep warm. It's naturally insulated. Sometimes, I'll stick them in the oven (off) and it's still fine. The stir fries are fast enough that they don't lose any heat. Plus, the microwave is behind me and the oven is part of the range so I don't have any wasted movements.

Jan 06, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Maine Meat (aka MEat) in Kittery, Maine

Thanks for posting this. I was thinking of heading up this week. You saved me some major disappointment.

Random (mostly) Rockville eats - December 2014

Joe's! That's it. I couldn't think of what it was called and it was driving me a bit nuts. Well, not too nutty since I couldn't be bothered to look it up. Regardless, bummed we didn't make it there this trip.

Random (mostly) Rockville eats - December 2014

As you can tell, we like to chow down. The only issue? I haven't been hungry in about four days. I don't let that stop me, but the lack of hunger is a bit disconcerting.

Random (mostly) Rockville eats - December 2014

I wish A&J would add some tofu and green vegetables to that noodle dish. It would be a meal on to itself then. Who am I kidding though. It's not like I only order one thing when I go to any of these places.