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Where I can I get good dry aged steaks?

FWIW I just had the $24/lb dry aged rib eye from Oakland WF and it was good. I don't think they are aged for a very long time, but enough to get some of the intensification of flavor, and either young enough or well trimmed to minimize the funkiness.

Jul 29, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Not Dim Sum brunch after getting off plane

Sorry about that. It is the major surface road (CA highway 82) running north-south on the Peninsula, crossing through most of the towns along the way.

Jul 22, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Not Dim Sum brunch after getting off plane

I would trust the city building garages, especially Embarcadero plaza, more than I would the open lots, though no place would be risk free.

In this case you might just drive to El Camino Real, just west of the airport running north-south. Lots of restaurants, many with parking out in front, surburban style. I don't really eat there, so have no specific recommendations though. Maybe some people can chime in. I see diners, Chinese, Viet, Mexican amongst others.

Pickings are thicker heading south, but it's a quick jaunt back to the highway.

Jul 22, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Not Dim Sum brunch after getting off plane

If you click your own username it will bring you to a page of posts you made.

Saturday morning Ferry Plaza Market might be enjoyable, although later in the morning it's pretty crowded. I would recommend parking in the Embarcardero center parking lot and get validation. Or Golden Gate plaza. I would say most areas in SF, Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond it is not a good idea to park on street with visible luggage.

Jul 22, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

best dimsum in oakland?

I go to Happy Valley all the time because my wife likes dim sum and finds it satisfactory to good. Easy to park and very cheap. It get slagged a lot in these threads; I am highly aware that there is better dim sum available, but I like it enough that I don't have strong urges to go elsewhere. It's also the kind of place that you can go to in running clothes after a morning workout, which is a big +++ in my book. Sounds like Peony is worth a try again; I go to Emeryville East Ocean once a year or so and it's always good quality stuff but comparatively expensive.

Has anyone been to Joy Luck recently? It used to be the winner in cheapness and always seem to have enough good items to make it worth it to me, but once I started going to Happy Valley the relative ease of going to that side of the lake won out, and it was sometimes just as good to better.

My Taiwanese born mom and aunts visited recently and enjoyed it, even compared with the more expensive places they frequent in the Rockville, MD and Northern Virginia region. Not that they're experts or anything.

Probably depends on what items you prefer too. Har gow in particular have too thick skins here.

Jun 20, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

East Bay BBQ

BBQ Hut in Oakland opened a few months ago, Shattuck at Alcatraz. I was very impressed at about a month in; very high quality meats, consistently smoked, and a good portion for the price. More recently, the portion size has declined. Everything well smoked and seasoned, which is a big thing for me. Brisket generally not too lean. I enjoy the links and ribs. Solid ketchup based sauce, better spicy. Clearly they cater but they don't seem to have any particular catering menu, so best call in.

I did have a disappointing 4 meat combo recently, where the brisket was all dried out and oversmoked.

Don't care for their baked beans, potato salad or collards.

May 27, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

East Bay BBQ

I like Smoky J's and their distinctive sauce, though the brisket and ribs were not as good on a few visits over the last 6 months. Not bad, just not as good as before. Hopefully a temporary dip.

May 27, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

East Bay BBQ

Stopped in recently while in the Concord area; had links and beef to go. Links were a pretty tasty spicy smooth (red) ground. In general I prefer coarse, mixed, but these were pretty good. Hot was hotter than most. Was provided with both a red and a brown sauce, like many of the "Hickory Pit" style places in the East Bay, though here both were distinctly barbecue sauce, where the "Brown Sauce" at the other places is more like gravy.

Brisket was too lean and underseasoned for me. This was in the evening though; many places are only good for brisket at lunch. Smokiness mild but present.

Single visit review.

May 27, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

East Bay BBQ

KC's is solid for catering if you like the style; we've used them pretty regularly over the years. It used to be my favorite 15 years ago before I converted to Texas gospel. I still go from time to time; links are some of my favorite. Everything is sauced unless you specify otherwise, beef is often too lean for me. Ribs solid.

May 27, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Hip, casual place for a small celebration in Oakland?

Hog's Apothecary- awesome CA beer list, food way better than it has to be, excellent really.

Hog's and Ramen Shop are no reservations, if that matters.

May 27, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Ruth's annual birthday dinner dilemma -- 2014 edition

Not to mention casual

May 21, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Any Good Coffee in Downtown Oakland?

Modern Coffee on thirteenth, weekdays til 5 pm

May 16, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Grilled Lamb Skewers / Kabobs (Chinese Islamic / Muslim) in East Bay?

The cumin version is very nice, but they are tiny skewers, the total amount of meat maybe equal to one skewer at a lower end place. That said, they are very well done, well seasoned with a good amount of both salt and cumin. The soy-scallion version is also good.

May 01, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

China Village (Albany) is open!

So I've been about three times since it reopened. Each time I would say that I've had a good Sichuan meal though few of the dishes were outstanding. I still think back to the golden days of 2002-2003 with some fondness.

I almost always order:
1) fu qi fei pian aka husband and wife combination aka beef flake and tripe
Sauce is one of the better versions around; Ancient Sichuan (Golden Bowl) is comparable.
2) If not that dish I get numbing spicy tendon; last time was pretty good. The current version seems to be less spicy hot and more numbing which is an acceptable variation.
3) Dry fried green beans have always been good whenever I order
4) Wok charred cabbage. I frequently order this and although usually good it's never been as good as it has been up to the late 2000's.
5) West style spicy fish soup. This is consistent, but I'll complain again about use of basa vs. firm white ocean fish.
6) pork shoulder, either mild or spicy version, is consistently excellent.

So overall, your description sounds like pretty much of a disaster, and I find it hard to understand why, though I don't really doubt that that's what you got.

To provide some general color, I've found the service overall to be consistently off-putting in that there's always at least one note or interaction that is borderline rude from the waitstaff, often from one of the otherwise friendlier servers. I find the runners and bus staff consistently fine. Also, I've always found Mr Yao kind of curt, so I don't really interact with him much. I've never had the kind of involved discussion that others have described.

Nowadays I slightly prefer Ancient Sichuan though that place definitely has its own problems.

Apr 30, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Secret Menu at Zen Yai? [San Francisco]

It is generally beef blood, even if you order the pork version. I've been eating this stuff for years and in general I've never noticed the metallic taste you get with any congealed blood cake.

Apr 21, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Ran Kanom Thai Noodle - San Pablo

I noticed that there's a change of ownership application in the window. Different waitstaff this time, but I saw one of the same ladies in the back as on my previous visits.

Boat noodle still good, though maybe less strong herby-hot-sour than my last try.

I also noticed the new menu and look forward to trying additional dishes. The additional dishes make it more like my Hollywood favorites.

Apr 17, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Pakistani restaurants: any regional specialties?

I feel like Kabana and Indus Village are comparable in taste to Lahore karahi and Tayyab's in London.

Apr 10, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Pakistani restaurants: any regional specialties?

I went to a place in Dublin called biryani pointe that may be hyderabadi. It's part of a national chain of 15 or so restaurants, two of which an Indian from India friend likes lot. It was good, about half the dishes I thought were excellent. There's another in Santa Clara and a similarly named but I think unrelated Hyderabad biiryani pointe in Milpitas.

I particularly liked the chicken 65 and gobi manchurian and the goat curry.

Apr 10, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

The Punchdown - Oakland "natural" wine bar

There is a wine bar there now but it's called 1621 or something like that. Haven't been.

Apr 02, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Is it true that SF restaurants barely make profits?

Or the crowdfunding sites where money is "invested" for no interest in the business, and little or no real obligation from the funded.

Someone should start a funding site that actually can handle true equity interests. Does that exist? Too much lawyering, maybe.

Apr 02, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Ran Kanom Thai Noodle - San Pablo

Made it up here a few times. Very promising, thai noodle dishes v. Similar to my Hollywood/San Fernando Valley favorites. Beef boat noodle excellent, I like that they have large and small size. Zen Yai in the Tenderloin may be slightly better due to broth complexity and meat/offal selection, but this is a close second. Balanced hot/sour flavones without adjustment. Chicken tom yum noodle v. Good, again close second to zen Yai. No other close version I know if in east bay/sf.

Enjoyed the flavor and consistency of the kao soy "gravy" but could have been slightly thinner and more voluminous. The opposite problem of most bland soupy versions around here. Did not like the dry egg noodles. I can accept it as a garnish, but the bulk of the noodles were also quite dry.

Packed leftovers from the steam table $5. Really like the morning glory with pork, in a sweet sour coconut milk sauce, slightly spicy. Jungle curry was good. Turmeric and pork stir fry also had good flavor but a little too salty for me.

Store sells Thai lays potato chips. 4-5 flavors including (I think) nam prik pao. I think there's also nam kao flavor bu I'm not sure.

Neither google maps nor apple maps could find it for me but it's in the same center as Sam Pablo Supermarket. Beware apple maps on this one.

Mar 31, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Souk Savanh Restaurant, lao and thai cuisine [Oakland]

I think there was a management or at least staff change, including cooks, over the past year, but it has been still as good as before, at least for the things I always order. See the other posts.

This is a place where "medium"is plenty for me 90% of the time.

Mar 31, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Is it true that SF restaurants barely make profits?

I certainly agree with this post.

Mar 31, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Is it true that SF restaurants barely make profits?

I don't know a lot about restaurants specifically, but It kind of amazes me that this discussion largely doesn't recognize the difference between net profit margin and return on investment. Someone pointed put revenue does not equal profit, but neither does it equal invested capital. Furthermore, the nature of the invested capital matters. If there is significant debt, that creates additional pressure on the operating margin. An owner-operator, paying herself a salary that is counted against operating costs, as it should be, might be satisfied with a sub-5% profit margin, depending of course on the amount and nature of the invested capital. Here is where discussions of the nature of the investors belong. Equity investments that only draw dividends from profits clearly have different effects than a bank loan or guaranteed investor dividends based on revenue.

There are plenty of going, profitable concerns that get by with operating margins in the 1.5-3.5% range. These tend to be large corporations with very large revenues, but you would be correct to suppose that the 1.5-3.5% would be unsatisfactory if it were ROI or ROIC.

Mar 31, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area
1

BBQ Hut at 6400 Shattuck. [Oakland]

Each time I've gotten them they are large baby back, decent amount of meat compared to say a chain parboiled baby back. Most of the bones more like a smaller St. Louis cut.

Mar 19, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Beer Lao, beerlao in SF

I can't get over how much I like Beerlao dark... I think I was introduced to this at Champa Garden in the early days , 2008 or earlier. Now mostly get it at Souk Savanh, occasionally Chai Thai when they have it. Would still love to be able to buy cases in Oakland, but will check out San Pablo Supermarktet if I get up to Ran Kanom.

The well chosen and medium roasted dark malt, lightened further with rice make this an awesome beer to go with the cuisine. Caramel notes are emphasized in the aftertaste, and it doesn't have any of the smokey notes more common in the current american fashion of dark lagers. Just much lighter overall.

Mar 12, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Ran Kanom Thai Noodle - San Pablo

I think that pad thai and see ewe are normally not hot, though you are always welcome to doctor it up. So when ordered spicy it may not make the most sense. In contrast, pad kee Mao and boat noodle are dishes which are meant to be spicy. In thai town LA I have given up on ordering spicy and stick to medium. Places here I know to be more receptive, including some of the oakland Lao places, I also stick to medium.

I think the thin rice noodle "sen lek" or rice stick, is the most common type in this dish, based on my research ( I've not been to Thailand) but to be offered a choice is common. The other choice would be "wide, flat" or ho fun. Egg noodles do not make sense in this dish. Anyway, I am obsessed with boat noodle, and will have to make a point of getting up there soon. Current fave is Zen Yai in the Tenderloin, but mostly go to. Thai Noodle or Bangkok Noodle in Berkeley, Sawooei in ElCerrito. None of these are top tier, all too mild and without any acidity in the base. Thai noodle comes closest, Sawooei is a v. Good beef noodle soup on its own terms.

Mar 12, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

BBQ Hut at 6400 Shattuck. [Oakland]

I've been here three times now. Really enjoying it. The smoking is skillful and strong, but with a finesse and cleanness that is lacking at smokey j's lately and certainly at Everett and jones Berkeley. It tastes "clean" to me but not in the way that a place like Smoke does.

Brisket well chosen and fatty enough- it makes a difference. I curse the preference for lean that afflicts so many of the places here in CA. Baby back ribs, yes, but smoked to toothsome, not falling off. Was impressed by the mahogany effect combined with just salt and pepper. Links were good, semi coarse. I still prefer KC BBQ for those.

Chicken and rice Boudin, a special , was delicious.

Sauce was very good, fresh tasting vinegar and tomato base in mild or spicy. Spicy not as hot as smokey j's spicy. Tarter than KC BBQ.

Potato sale to me could have used more pickle or acidity. Not my fave. Standard southern "chunky mash" style but with some BBQ rub in it. Collards were plain vinegar cooked, but good in that context. Beans not my fave, but would order each time as a side.

Beer and wine.

I've noted in other BBQ threads that I've become a Texas partisan but this place works for me too.

Mar 12, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Bluebottle Opens new store in Oakland on Broadway near 40th

I have not been a fan of Blue Bottle, preferring Four Barrel, Ritual and even Bicycle and Verve. However, as an Oakland resident I would go to the Jack London cafe/roastery every couple of months to sample. However, I live quite near the new Morse building cafe and have the strong impression that the pour over coffee I've had there 3-4 times now has been better than at their other venues (JLS, mint, ferry bldg.) not sure why this would be since I am sure the beans are the same but maybe the skill level is better, or they are using a different amount of beans per cup?

Anyway, I like it, but their single origin roasts are much more than I want to pay regularly for.

Mar 12, 2014
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area

Jook - SF Dish of the Month December 2013

Are you using medium grain rice? I never get good texture with long grain, but the common calrose variety works great. I always finish on the stove so I can control consistency.

Dec 13, 2013
twocents in San Francisco Bay Area