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Dinner suggestions-Near Larkspur Landing/Marin County

Farmshop, mentioned previously, is right across the boulevard from the ferry terminal in the former Larkspur Landing mall (now Marin Country Mart). Very mixed reviews from the locals. Sushi Ran, in Sausalito, terrific--great sushi and Japanese influenced non raw dishes. Across the freeway from Sausalito itself, is the previously mentioned Murray Circle: not so fine-dining an attempt as when it opened ,but no more gorgeous setting anywhere. In town of Larkspur itself is Picco which I have enjoyed several times, especially crudo, other seafood and vegetable dishes. And farther north, in San Anselmo, is Insalata's, a locals favorite, with an eastern Mediterranean influence. I have lived in Marin a long time and while dining options are steadily improving, it is not a place known for cutting edge dining. Beautiful though.

Apr 17, 2014
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Around Inverness?

Has anyone tried Saltwater? My frequent trips through Inverness are never at hours allowing stop there. Oysters a logical must, I am sure. http://www.saltwateroysterdepot.com/

Mar 24, 2014
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Muir Woods to Napa winery

Your route selection is most efficient from Muir Woods to Napa. You will pass Fremont Diner on Hwy 121. My regular visitors insist we stop there on every trip to Napa, it has been mentioned frequently on this list, and features local sources. Always fun. http://www.thefremontdiner.com/

Mar 24, 2014
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Cooking Seared Duck? Help and ideas!

I prefer duck breasts more on the rare side, but any way except dried out is good. Two recipes I used with happy results were one with green peppercorn sauce (pretty simple, and I think from Gourmet many years ago); and another with tart cherry sauce--you could use dried, which was a more complicated recipe with many herbs and other ingredients and takes several steps. Then guests preferred the green peppercorn version. Of course. I liked the tart cherry sauce myself. (hey! I am from Michigan, whaddya expect?)

Feb 25, 2014
alfairfax in Home Cooking

Top Chef NOLA - Ep. #14 - 01/15/14 (Spoilers)

I was responding to the many 'Choi is a dick' comments above. Is he still a dick if he was only following Elves script? And yes, they do get paid to produce a piece of entertainment, not to elevate the creation and appreciation of food in America except as a basis for that entertainment. Plus, of course, to provide an opportunity for lucrative product placement. They are so proficient at that.

Jan 17, 2014
alfairfax in Food Media & News

Top Chef NOLA - Ep. #14 - 01/15/14 (Spoilers)

Pardon me if this was already pointed out (trying to read 82 posts at a sitting is way too hard on eyes, mind and butt for me), but can it be coincidence that theme of Elim Challenge (discover your voice) was verrry close to Roy's blanket criticism of po' boy chefs in Quickfire? Is Roy above following a script? I mean I don't believe in coincidence in something as carefully staged and edited as Top Chef. Good though.

Jan 16, 2014
alfairfax in Food Media & News
1

Farm raised salmon Whole Foods or Costco

I am a firm subscriber to the 'support your local fisherman' policy, but have heard that Loch Duart from Scotland is supposed to be environmentally best farmed salmon choice. Anybody have taste reports? Or know about environmental claims?

Jan 13, 2014
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Who is Fred Harvey and why should we care?

And then of course there is The Harvey Girls with Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Angela Lansbury, an incredible supporting cast of the best character actors of the 40's including the fabulous Virginia O'Brien and Johnny Mercer songs. "Atcheson Topeka and Santa Fe" anyone? It is vaguely about the Harvey restaurants and girls heading west to work in one. Evidently the female wait staff were one of the draws along with no other dining choices in the parks. Not much about food unfortunately.

Dec 15, 2013
alfairfax in Food Media & News
1

Last Chance Kitchen 12/11 spoilers

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Travis's bloody nose. And it seemed to be from before the competition. After we might have expected.

Dec 14, 2013
alfairfax in Food Media & News

Chef Judy Rodgers of Zuni Cafe, RIP

Another Judy note: She and I were on the board of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association together in the 'oughts'. She resigned from the board and I asked her why she was leaving us. She said she went to markets every morning to shop for Zuni and morning meetings were taking time from that. Before she left she did a fund-raiser dinner for us. It was held at the Sanctuary headquarters in what had once been a Coast Guard boat house, at the end of a long dock surrounded by Bay but with no kitchen and no running water. All cooked food was prepared on grills and dirty utensils had to be carried off the dock to be cleaned. She arranged for that. Judy provided the food, the grills, the dining and prep tables, the flatware, glasses, serving and dining dishes and I think even the candles. It was the first time I had eaten grilled sardines. Gilbert Pilgram, her chef, did a fabulous paella-like seafood dish in a wok on the grill. Judy made a salad with wonderful ingredients, making a vinaigrette with several olive oils and several vinegars, mixing them, tasting, adding another, tasting. A great salad. I will try to add some of my pix but am clutzy at it. She was really a terrific person, as all these postings demonstrate. I am fortunate to have had this bit of contact with her.

Dec 11, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area
6

ISO Dungeness Crab in Marin

Live or cooked?

Dec 09, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Chinese Chicken Nomenclature

Except these chickens labeled Qing Yuan were uncooked. But perhaps intended for a particular prep? Melanie's earlier post mentioned it as a dish she was served in a restaurant but did not discuss Qing Yuan as an uncooked bird. Hey Melanie: help!

Nov 30, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Chinese Chicken Nomenclature

I was on Clement Street the other day and stopped in at Cheung Hing for a duck. While I waited I looked at chickens in the refrigerator case and got curious. What is Loong Gang chicken? Googling only gave me many entries on its use as contest food on the Asian (better) version of Iron Chef. It was priced at $10.50, I assume per bird. Then there was Qing Yuan chicken at $2.19 a pound. I know Qingyuan is a place but what is the chicken? I have seen silkies there in the past which may be wu gu ji according to Google source. And there is gui fei in their cooked items which I see from long ago Chowhound discussion is poached with ginger but that is all I know of it. Any description as to taste would be appreciated.

Nov 26, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Corte Madera/Larkspur - is there much going on there Chow-wise?

About M.H. Bread and Butter: I believe baker worked with Chad Robertson at Tartine and fine bread shows its lineage. Croissant and scones also fine. I have not tried lunches but Chowhounds have had good things to say. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/903956
By the way, it is in San Anselmo not Corte Madera or Larkspur, or the Twin Cities as they are known (by some). Also in San Anselmo are Lincoln Park and Insalata's, both recommended. And regarding farmer's markets: also not in "Twin Cities" but very highly recommended are at Marin Civic Center in San Anselmo on Sunday and Thursday mornings. World class.

Oct 31, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

A day in Chinatown (I'm a local)[San Francisco]

There is no Border's anywhere now.

Oct 31, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Does good food exist at a sports arena?

My favorite way to have good food at AT&T is to get it at the Ferry Building. Finding the that direct-to-ballpark ferry from Larkspur arrives too close to first-pitch time for me, I began to take the regular ferry and walk to ballpark. This allows me to get something much better to eat than ballpark fare. It is just over a mile to the park from the ferry building (and a mile back). Only proviso: great Cane Rosso sandwiches can be a bit sloppy to eat during the game. Bring many napkins. Anyone whose route to the park is near the Ferry Building might consider it.

Oct 30, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

NY Times on Chowhounds

Sorry for dupe posting. I think I thought "We're Famous" referred to poster so I skipped it. Well, maybe OP is famous, how do I know?

Oct 21, 2013
alfairfax in Food Media & News

NY Times on Chowhounds

Surprised that no one has yet posted about the article linked below. It focuses mostly on LA (goat stew search) but comments on Chowhounds which was impetus for his quest were entertaining and apt. Worth a read.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/20/mag...

Oct 21, 2013
alfairfax in Food Media & News

Looking for somewhere for a birthday meal but disappointed n Marin restaurants

Sana Marin is closed. For lease sign in window.

Oct 14, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

1760 Restaurant in San Francisco

We stopped in for dinner, an early one at just before 6, so it was not yet full but was when we left. Definitely not quiet but we could hear each other while we were there despite hard surfaces, in answer to previous query. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/917047
Service was excellent. Wine list impressive (no surprise given 1760 relationship to Acquerello). Small plates menu perfect for two to share. We had Torched Hamachi Tartare, the only minor disappointment: what was torched? why tartare when hamachi was diced? and fish overwhelmed by cucumber puree on which it sat and which I could have eaten a bowl of. Grilled Brussels Sprouts were salty and oily (in a good way for me) and the dish was highlighted by great crispy onion strings. Cavatelli with pork shoulder was perfectly al dente as mentioned above by huckleberry, pork pleasing and the tomato sauce was really fine and not overly applied. The grilled hanger steak was done sous vide and had the usual softness of meat done that way; also a bit more done than I would prefer, although tasty. It was served on a caramelized onion puree which was a highlight of the entire meal--give me a bowl of that too. My wife had a milk chocolate ganache for dessert which I only tasted; it seemed fine although dark chocolate would have pleased me more, but then I am not a dessert person: vin santo and a cookie is my idea of dessert. In short, it was an enjoyable dinner with many good tastes, even when the background might have been more satisfying than the main element in some dishes we had. These plus four glasses of wine and the total came to $144. Seemed like a bargain to me.

Oct 04, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area
2

Where can I get pasta with uni / sea urchin this weekend?

Funny you could not find it at any place mentioned above. I was at 1760 last night (Wed) and it was on the menu (although I did not order it).

Oct 03, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for somewhere for a birthday meal but disappointed n Marin restaurants

Greetings irkedat. Have you seen anything here of interest in the past week?

Sep 28, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for somewhere for a birthday meal but disappointed n Marin restaurants

I like e Garage too and also their sibling L'Appart in San Anselmo (have not gotten to F3 yet) but am not sure it is a birthday dinner location. OP has not described what type of place is appropriate for the event.

Sep 25, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for somewhere for a birthday meal but disappointed n Marin restaurants

Don't know how I forgot this one. Have had many good times there and Dan and Holly are terrific chef/host.

Sep 24, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for somewhere for a birthday meal but disappointed n Marin restaurants

A birthday meal in Marin would depend on what you are looking for--an elegant place for a celebratory meal or a more casual place for a family get-together or something else. As for why there are not more and better restaurants in Marin, after 20+ years here I have some thoughts. First, there are only 250,000 residents in all Marin's 800+ square miles; 20% of these are over 65 and may not often dine out. Then, a great many of the others commute to the city and may not feel like going out again after traveling home. And I find a lot of us love to cook at home and take advantage of a world-class farmer's market and its many satellites across Marin. Finally, the city is just across the GG Bridge and Napa and Sonoma are at most 90 minutes away, the East Bay closer than that, so there are many dining choices nearby.

That said, I would second recs for Poggio and add Sushi Ran in Sausalito. I have not been to El Paseo in Mill Valley since it became a TylerFlorence/Sammy Hagar meat-oriented place, but its ambience is elegantly cozy. I also second Pico in Larkspur (for the crudo especially) and the fine pizza next door at Pico Pizzeria. Also fine pizza in San Anselmo at Pizzalina. And in San Anselmo, I have always had a good time at Insalata's. But as I suggested, for fine dining or rewarding ethnic cuisine, I go to the city. For a great day-long outing, I go to Napa or Sonoma. But then, I have time: I am a Marin retiree.

Sep 24, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Shai Lai Chowdown Report - Sept. 17th, 2013 [San Francisco]

I agree with comments by mmerino and cynsa but would add only that as with Chowhound meals in past, the fine company made up for some disappointing dishes. I would return to Shai Lai if they were going to be there again.

Sep 17, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Saint Angel

Recently tried this cheese which I had never heard of. Googled it and found it is from Cotes du Rhone and is distributed by DCI, a big cheese importer. In their webpage about it they use the term “ultrfiltration” to describe a process in making it. What does that mean (other than something is evidently filtered from cow's milk)? Saint Angel is not a mind-blower, but the piece I had was nicely ripened and made a pleasant lunch. I would get it again.

Sep 11, 2013
alfairfax in Cheese

Dinner Near Civic Center BART? [San Francisco]

If we are thinking Hayes Street and bargain, I would suggest Arlequin, the budget sister of Absinthe. Order at counter and find table. Eating on patio behind can be nice. It fills up with pre-performance diners on concerts or opera nights, which is when I have been, but otherwise seating should not be a problem. Examples: satisfying Indian-spiced lamb burger $12, chicken good for the price $14. Also sandwiches and salads. That burger plus wine from inexpensive list (or expensive--they are connected to wine store next door--plus tax and tip should be around $25. Let us know what you do as there are always questions about Civic Center dining.

Aug 23, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

Cronuts?

Deep fried croissant! Wow. What a concept. I had seen them mentioned several places but never bothered to follow up until now as the name put me off for some reason. Prescience, I guess. Hey, how about slicing one in half, putting in some american cheese and chewy ham before dipping it in hot fat and voila, you have a McFrench Breakfast!

Aug 23, 2013
alfairfax in San Francisco Bay Area

"Minerality": Drilling Down on Wine's Buzzword

Okay Maria Lorraine, here is a query for you (whose entries I value greatly on the SF Bay board): I note your reference to flavors of minerality, including "chalk, baking soda, flint, slate, stone, wet stone". I have often wondered about such descriptors applied to taste. I can see them as aromas, but who has tasted flint? or slate? or wet stone? I could add graphite and gunpowder which I have seen used frequently in wine writing. Have you actually tasted these substances? I ask this purely as a fact-finding question with so criticism intended whatsoever. Your response would be very meaningful to me. Others are encouraged to reply as well, of course.

Aug 03, 2013
alfairfax in Wine