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Cecelia's Profile

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Bay Wolf to close after 40 years in Oakland on Piedmont Ave.


Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

I drive from Castro Valley to Palo Alto on a daily basis and Lai Young, a mom and pop "factory," is on my commute corridor off Tennyson. It's really tiny and the aunties sit at a table making the dumplings in front of you. Also XLBs and green onion pancakes!

FYI, currently there is a tamale "factory" next door, but that venue changes frequently.

Jeremiah Tower v. Michael Bauer on FB

Full disclosure: The feud IS based on J. Tower's revival of NY's Tavern on the Green, BUT both critic and chef have their bones in SF and the reporter is the SF Eater.

Ghazni Afghan kabob (Hayward CA)

This family owned and friendly restaurant has taken over the Favorite Indian spot on A Street in Hayward. While I was very sad to see Favorite move away, I am thrilled by its replacement. Ghazni offers only five or six kabob choices; we've tried all but the vegetarian option. Chicken, steak, shami, chapli patty, and lamb, they're all well spiced, and cooked to tenderness and not a minute over. There is a nice flavor of garlic from the marinade. I keep coming back to the shami and chicken kabobs!

The kabobs are served with a light green salad with, unusual but tasty, green olives, a garbanzo and potato salad, and a hefty portion of good rice. The sauces are a very hot red whose name I don't know and the more typical cilantro and mint (very good, vibrant flavors) chutney. You can get a single meat or two or three meat combination.

The meal is served with fresh baked bread and more of the chutneys. But order the bolani! Chock full of spinach or potatoes and a perfect introduction to the meal. Some bolani is slightly mushy; not here, nice and crisped. The bolani is served with chutney and crema/sour cream. The portion is considerable; we took home over half and it toasted up well the next day.

No alcohol.

The owners live quite near by and they watched with envy the growing popularity of Favorite Indian Food. They dreamed of opening a family friendly restaurant near by and when Favorite moved on, they moved in.

The service can be slow. Take out is a good option if you're in a hurry and want to call your order.

Love this place. Seriously.

Ghazni Afghan Kabobs
1235 A St
Hayward, CA 94541
510) 398-8940

Ranking of the Best State's in which to Eat

Do you agree? Being from California...

Jul 15, 2014
Cecelia in Food Media & News

Craftsman and Wolves, Happy Moose Juice, Xanath, Zen Yai, Smitten, Tosca, State Bird (San Francisco: Day Four)

I was just going to say the precise same thing!

Mua - Oakland


Mua - Oakland

Mua --> Mwah; Coi --> Cwah...any relation?
(I was humiliated when I pronounced Coi like the fish when I was speaking with Chef Carlos Salgado at Taco Maria in Costa Maria).
To this day, my husband has only to say "Cwah" and I blush furiously.

Fireworks + dinner [San Francisco]

I agree with Carrie. My friends and family take a cruise through Angel Island Ferry (not Hornblowers) every 4th of July. We've done it for four or five years, now. We picnic on board the boat -- bringing our own food and drink. The boat takes you on a short tour around the Bay and then cozies up to the shore right between the two places in SF where the fireworks are launched. Amazing viewing even when there is fog! There are two decks - one inside and one up top and open air. Your aunt could remain down stairs in the (relative) comfort of the inside and still enjoy the show. You can buy wine and beer and hot chocolate on board, too.

Molotes in the Bay Area

Vianey's Kitchen review on y**p also has a picture of a molote - but look kind of pale. You might also search for "dorados" same kind of idea (frying meat encased in masa), but dunked in some kind of meat broth (so amazingly yummy!) prior to the frying.

Molotes in the Bay Area

I don't know if you want to go there, but there is a picture of the Molcajete molote on y**p.

Just Moved to Hayward -- Please Prove This Isn't A Food Desert

B Street Bistro serves a very limited bar menu: excellent cheeses and crackers, some dips, etc.

Help! Are there local u-pick berry farms that are open now?

In Castro Valley off of Ewing Road, before Highpine, a man and his Ollalieberries, as he says. This is a private home with an ugly, army green fence. I don't think he has a "name" for his business and I don't know the address. But, if you Google Ewing and Highpine you should be a-o'k.

My neighbor picks the berries from the vines he has growing in his front and back lots the day he sells them. He is open from 8 -10 a.m. and 4 -6 p.m.. I am not sure if that is only weekends, as I tend to buy only then. He sells out a lot, so the locals come by early. Bring your own containers and you might get a discount. Absolutely delicious. They are the size of one-half my thumb, over an inch. His father used to sell to Knottsberry Farms. His fingers are purple with the juices and he's mighty generous with sample and recipes. Warning: he says he doesn't sell the super ripe ones because they are messy and don't last for the customers. Well, I say bring the juicy mess on. I have no idea if he'd let you pick his treasures, but you can ask; he's gentle and personable. Cece

subtle, wonderful Cafe Campesino in Santa Cruz

How could I have missed this place after the original report? My husband and I were indulging our daugther's fanime obsession this weekend ( and slipped away for a few Giant Dipper rides at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. First, no lines and three rides! Who can't love the nearly two minute ride that doesn't depend on super heights, but an imaginative and well planned flight plan! Afterwards we headed into DT SC to Cafe Campesino. Glorious food. We enjoyed the enchiladas verdes, chicken mole and the Frida Kahlo soup. Service is...leisurely. The food is ...sublime. The soup is a rich tomato broth replete with shredded chicken, avocados and cheese. Steph's favorite, the enchiladas (which I had originally designated as my main dish) consisted of toothsome corn tortillas bathed in a savory tomatillo salsa and completed with queso fresco and shredded chicken. The mole was complex. I don't know the
preparation, but, really, given the depth, I just don't care. Both mains were served with pinto beans, serviceable, and a potato side that I am still pondering, it was that good. We ordered an organic lemonade. Delicious. I wish we had the room to sample the horchata and Jamaica drinks. This is kiosk outdoor dining, so bring a warm sweater. Cece

May 27, 2012
Cecelia in California

Palo Alto Food truck spots

Embarcadero Place on the east end of Embarcadero (on Geng Road across the street from Ming's) has a food truck (varies from week to week) on Wednesdays and Fridays, starting around 11 a.m. Trucks rotate on a weekly basis..

Alameda Acapulco's Reopening

I know many have not missed the closing of the old Alameda standby, Acapulco. But I've got very fond memories of the dank interior, canned chili sauce and gelatinous (but humungous) entrees. Seriously. I grew up in Alameda. During my day, that restaurant was the best thing on the "island" and hordes of people waited outside for a table.

Mike (owner of Paradise Grill and Best Burger in San Leandro and Paradiso at Willow Park in Castro Valley) has purchased Acapulcos and is revamping the interior and the food. He's purchased the recipes, but says that, while he'll use them as a basis, he plans to include homemade sauces, etc.

Planning permits, etc. are troublesome in Alameda, but he hopes to open in March.

Also, NO MORE wine margaritas. He's working on the liqour license, too.


Currently, what is your single most addictive chinese dish to order in SF?

Soup Dumplings at Kingdom of Dumplings... and their delicious green beans.

Kingdom of Dumpling
1713 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA

New Years Traditions

Each New Year my parents would put out a shiny red apple crusted with coins of all denominations for my sister and I, to signify good luck and wealth in the New Year. My husband, sister and I do the same each year for our daughters. Even though they are in high school and college, this tradition is still in demand.

Dec 30, 2010
Cecelia in Home Cooking

Epic birthday dinner at Commis: just jaw-droppingly delicious (and beautiful) food

I think eating at the counter is absolutely the way to go -- if you're not on a date night or other romantic eyes for your partner only kind of evening.
Given the thoughtfulness that the Chef and his crew have devoted to absolutely every aspect of the dining experience, I hope that the problem with the meats will be resolved. Frankly, I could kick myself for not politely mentioning it.
I'm not sure I would go so far as to equate Commis with TFL or Manresa or Cyrus, but only because of the lavishness of those dining experiences (in terms of the number of courses you can opt for). In terms of the quality, as opposed to the quantity, and with the exception of the pork loin, I think a healthy competition now exists. As an Oakland native I have to say, "Go Commis!"

Epic birthday dinner at Commis: just jaw-droppingly delicious (and beautiful) food

Abstractpoet said it so well, I'll just add a few comments.
Professionalism and courtesy -- each and every one of the staff were a delight. I called a bit earlier in the day to see if I could move my 6:00 reservation up to 5:30. I was told that they had a lot of people coming in at 5:30, but if we could be flexible they'd serve us an apertiff and fit us in. As it turns out we were immediately sat at the chef's counter (YEAH!!!!). The wait staff totally knew their food and wine. For example, the differences in the house churned butter v. the butter used in the actual food preparation; which eggs were used for the different dishes; where the pork came from and why Commis purchased from that provider; where the coffee came from and, again, why. Very unobtrusive yet attentive service.
Teeeney Tiny kitchen - didn't seem to inhibit the four gentlemen manning it. What a synchronized dance and I was such an ardent voyeur. Very little talk during the night between the chefs. Chef Syhabout overseeing all of the work, stepping into a plate to garnish, etc. and then waltzing away. The two gentlemen really doing the heavy labor over the fire completely in tune. I avidly watched the preparation of our main dishes (the cod and the pork). Just a few words between them, "are your ready?' "Yeah, let's go." And off they went. Each turning to the preparation of their dish, pulling out the vegetables stored in plastic containers, poaching the cod and sauteeing the pork loin and belly; pulling tweezers from their upper pockets to pluck blossoms to adorn the cod dish and snip off herbs for the pork; dusting the pork with 10 or so salt crystals. Each dish for every customer received this minute sort of attention. I remember one of the chefs positively peering down through his glasses at the plate, gently poking and proding it to suit whatever aesthetic he had in mind.
The pastry chef - he had his own domain off to the side and slightly away from the stove and prep/counter area. My husband ordered the custard, abstractpoet described above. The chef called our wait person over. He pointed to the dish and then to us and then back to the dish again. Steph asked the waiter when the dish arrived, "oh, oh, what's the problem?" She said, "there's nothing behind the scenes here. The chef just wanted to make sure that your dish was presented in precisely this (pointing to the dish) fashion." And that's what struck me about the whole of our experience at Commis - a fabulous attention to the detail of the food, the service and the experience of the client.
A few minuses - and only a few. My pork loin, although flavorful, was tough and chewy - and not in a good way. I was surpised. The wine pairing isn't really a wine pairing. It's a cider, beer and wine pairing. I just really want wine when I order a wine pairing and I don't like beer, period. That's my preference. I don't remember if the menu said simply "pairing" or "wine pairing." However, the red served with the pork and the sauterne served with the blue cheese were a perfect match.
I can't imagine that Commis will be long in this small space. On a Thursday night, from almost the moment we walked in the door until we left around 8:00, the place was full and people were graciously turned away if they had no reservation.

Best dishes in San Francisco with an egg on top?

The app with the egg is no longer on the menu at Commis. However, they serve an amuse with a soft cooked egg yolk only (no whites) seved in an onion cream sauce with house made granola. The yolk was not runny but that combination of textures and flavors was decadent and dream-worthy.

Cyrus dilemma-Wine or Cocktails?

Do both if you have the stomach and the head (and the wallet)! At Cyrus, the wine pairings are thougtful and unusual; the cocktails are adventuresome and tasty.
I remember a sake tasting paired with a fish dish that rocked my world.

Pliny the Elder, $3.50 at Blackwell's

Otherwise known as liquid heroin,

Oakland: Fenton's Creamery holiday flavors

My family and I have been going to Fentons all our lives. We were devestated after the fire and worried that it wouldn't reopen. Then, we worried that when it did reopen the experience would be different. Well, not much haschanged, except the interior of the building itself.

The Black and Tan, substituting coffee ice cream still rocks. I even like the delicate act of extracting the ice cream without disgorging the caramel and hot fudge sauces.

And, yeah, the food kind of sucks, with one exception not on the menu anymore (I don't think): the tuna and egg salad on grilled sour dough bread. Simple and simply delicious.


Feedback on Food Plans for 11/6- 11/8 weekend

Order ahead your favorite bread at Tartine Bakery as they run out. Also, don't sell the bread until later in the afternoon/early evening. Not sure if that works with your timing. But, my glory, what fantastic country bread, my favorite being just the plain or with walnuts.


Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Chop Bar - Oakland

A group of us ate their this past Monday. VERY good food. We were a fairly large group so we tasted a number of the dishes.

First off, the people who work/own this restaurant are really friendly and warm; good hearted and service oriented. Without a word from us, they brought out platters of tortilla chips and homemade guac and salsa. Very nice way to start the meal. We were also treated to the black pepper popcorn.

Wine is on tap and at least the one that I sampled was surprisingly good and (gasp!) cheap. The Rhone red was 6 bucks a glass. There are supposed to be four local brews on tap, as well. Not that night, my folks could only try two. Because CB's tap focuses on small local breweries the restaurant has to depend on sometimes erratic delivery by the brewers. I believe that several Belgiums in glass are available and at least one person in our group was delighted with his choice.

The food. Now that was fun. I ordered the green salad with goat cheese and a potato gratin with fiscalini cheddar. Both dishes were very good, but the combination of the vinegar based dressing in the salad with the depth of warm cheesiness of the potato dish was nothing short of a mouth miracle.

We also sampled the charcuterie. A nice taste of several meats, particularly a salame and ham. Nothing overly fancy about the dish, but for those meat eaters out there, somthing worth a try. I belileve the pickles and mustard (not hot but very flavorful) were housemade.

Another of the gang tried a sweet potato gnocchi. I was worried that the dish would somehow be bizarrly sweet. Not so. Creamy texture and rich, but not sickeningly sweet.

Besides the potatoes, the star of the night's food fest was the pork shank. Now, there's an amazing dish. Served with some kind of potenta, that pork was REALLY porky with just the right texture - not mushy but not tough.

The last dish that I tried was a warm bean and chorizo casserole. I think I was too full by this time. Lot's of chorizo with the beans but not a standout in either texture or flavor.

Service was casual, but so were we, so no worries there. We were about ten people and our bill came to about 150.00 (without tip) including lots of beer and wine.

Jesse who supervises the house and may be one of the owners hung out with us, talking food and the neighborhood and just being a friendly and informative, but not intrusive, presence.


Chop Bar
247 4th St, #111, Oakland, CA 94607

Brew and Beautiful food at Chez Panisse Cafe

Chez Panisse hosted Sierra Nevada Brewing Company at the CP Café last week. The meal and the beer were absolutely fantastic.

We started the evening with a tasting of Sierra Nevada’s new Estate Ale. The party grouped around Chez Panisse’s small outdoor courtyard and sipped this very light almost airy brew. The Ale is brewed entirely on Sierra Nevada property with 100% all natural hops and barley grown on site. CP had placed out a serving bowl of rosemary-spiced nuts which were a nice accompaniment to the beer.

Upstairs, we broke down into parties of four or six or eight and ate at the regular seatings in the upstairs. The Café menu was the same with three special additions made with SN brew.
Our four ate family style. And thank god for that because the food, almost every dish we sampled, and the beer were fantastic and filling.

None of the menu appetizers were made with SN beer which surprised me. We sampled four: the Bellweather Farm ricotta with roasted Japanese eggplant, mint and cherry tomatoes (the ricotta and tomatoes were dueling packets of sweet explosions; the eggplant sliced thin and sautéed to a nice softness, but not mushy); the Cannard Farm rocket with smoked Paine Farm squab and persimmons (our least favorite dish – the squab tough and the Persmissons just plain bland); the baked Anedante Dairy goat cheese with garden lettuces (the goat cheese was dusted with mild herbs and then gently baked; so deliciously warm and comforting and the lettuces were young, tender and tossed with a bright lemon dressing. I think the favorite appetizer…except for….) and the pizzetta with gypsy peppers and torpedo onions (thin crust pizza with wonderful burnt edges and topped with angry red but surprisingly mild peppers and thinly sliced sweet onions. Wonderful).

We paired the appetizers with three different beers, one of which I can’t remember. The Estate and the SN Blonde - a very mild, pale-colored ale -- both were perfect for the variety of dishes we enjoyed as appetizers.

We then shared four mains: the Becket Lane Farm pork braised with the Blonde Ale served with a squash puree, fennel and apple relish (I normally HATE HATE HATE fennel but in this dish it was a soothing background note in the relish; the pork was REALLY PORKY which I hadn’t tasted in what seems like eons. Delish. Almost like a belly but with no fat; it turned out to be shoulder and I couldn’t believe it); rockfish fried in SN Blonde batter accompanied with green beans, marinated beets and tartare sauce (the batter coated fish was so light and sweet; the fresh beans and beets a perfectly cooked side – just al dente) sweet corn polenta with grilled peppers;, shell beans and chanterelle mushrooms (cheesy corny polenta, what more can you ask for?) and grilled chicken with mushrooms and rosemary shoestring potatoes (the chicken was not memorable, but honestly those potatoes were shaved, I kid you not, and then cooked to perfection perhaps in butter and oil – we gobbled them up)

We then shared a cheese plate – sumi; herbillette and Comte Reserve des Granges (three great cheeses but typically CP – no accompaniments - no bread, no fruit, nothing but the cheese)

The final was a SN Stout milk chocolate ice cream with cocoa meringue (yummy, but by then I was puffy with good food). I enjoyed a blue bottle coffee and then we trundled out the door and home.


Chowing with the Hounds 2009 Picnic Recipe Requests

Afternnoon, all.

Thank you for a wonderful picnic. Here's the basics for my eggs.

Devilled eggs

Base: 48 hard boiled egg yolks and some whites that didn't peel nicely; mustard of your choice (I use a dry mustard and dijon comination); fresh squeezed lemon juice; salt and pepper :

Traditional; add mayonnaise; some white vinegar; sweet pickle relish and top with paprika sprinkles

Smoked salmon: puree smoked salmon and boiled pototoes; olive oil and diced chives and fresh dill; topping: salmon mousse (more pureed salmon w/ cream cheese, sour cream and diced fresh dill)

Curry: Yellow curry paste; olive oil; sour cream. Toppings: home made garam masala

Caviar: sour cream and mayonaise; green onions. Topping: red caviar.


Oct 04, 2009
Cecelia in Home Cooking

Dinner before Wicked at the Orpheum?

Zuni includes the hamburger on their menu only at lunch. That addition would makes Zuni my luncheon choice.

china village - wow, really?

That post is now memorialized and displayed on a blow up at CV! LOL. Great dinner last night: marvelous fish soup; meatballs (four huge with complex sauce), special lamb chop in clay pot (off the bone tender and marinated in Sichuan peppercorns; wonderful presentation with chopped cilantro and julliened citrus); charred cabbage (!); chive turnover (not good - greasy and dried shrimp very overpowering to delicate pastry); lettuce wraps (nothing out of the ordinary and don't really like iceberg lettuce, but still workmanlike). Only three of us, so we couldn't really order more although I think we contemplated a noodle dish...Owner came out to say hello, always nice.