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The Commissary (San Francisco)

So glad to see your mother looking so good and at lunch.

Lake Tahoe in the summer

Aerial tram at Squaw Valley is great ride with long view walks at the top. Food up there mostly is of the burgers/chili genre. We have done tram ride and then lunched at Plump Jack down in the Village for something closer to fine dining genre.
Terrace Cafe:

Apr 18, 2015
alfairfax in California

Basik Cafe: Acai Bowls | San Francisco

Surprise! There is an acai place here in Fairfax which I only noticed a week ago. I had to look up what acai is and now that it is the subject of Chowhounds postings I feel really out of touch--still trying to figure out what kombucha is and now there is acai. I will get there eventually. If you are heading to Pt. Reyes from civilization it will be on your right as you pass through town on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. (which is the only way to pass through town). Here is address but in our town address is superfluous.
1930 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Fairfax, CA 94930

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #15 – Finale - 02/11/15 (spoilers)

Competition becomes collaboration. EaterSF notes upcoming dinner by Top Chef contestants Melissa King and Mei Lin. The event management website Eventbrite is the co-host with Melissa who is listed as chef. It is being held at a year-old San Francisco neighborhood bistro called Nico which has developed a happy following. The meal is five courses for $175 dollars. Nico is quite small so I am guessing the reservations were gobbled up as soon as the word got out. If not before. Eater SF also has a prominent feature with Melissa giving her list of favorite Japanese places in SF & Berkeley. So third place ain't bad.

Where can I find Zabaglione in San Francisco?

Marin Joe's, unchanged since started by Orig J's relative in the 1940s, has zabaglione which is one of the best things there. Food not the draw at Marin J's as much as stepping back in time might be. Cooking and grilling done behind the long bar as always (before I ever heard term "open kitchen") and you might expect to see Frank and Dino having whiskey and veal piccata in a red leatherette banquette while the click-click of the zabaglione being whipped in the copper pot can be heard behind the piano player's rendition of "Ebb Tide". Nostalgia meal: liver and onions for the main--spaghetti as side if you want--and of course the zabaglione for dessert. Plaid pants and white shoes may be seen.

Food Enclaves in the Richmond and Sunset [San Francisco]

Still there but with different name. Same menu. One brother now exclusively at Fillmore Troya, other brother running Clement restaurant now called Kitchen Istanbul.

Rate my Dinner choices in Healdsburg

Went to Mateo's for lunch Tuesday last week and found it closed that day and Wednesdays till spring. Barndiva likewise Mon and Tues. Instead went to Bistro Ralph for first time in years, remembering it fondly as one of the first "fine(er) dining" spots in then still-lovely agriculturally-oriented Healdsburg. This will be our last time. Maybe it needs to be sold.

Northern Sonoma Cty wine festival Jan 17-18, 2015 travel from winery to winery..
Yes and you need to be very careful while en route on narrow roads full of wine tasters.

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #9 – 12/17/14 (spoilers)

Not only is Stephen King from Maine, not Boston (but just up the coast and was once part of Massachusetts) but a more serious gaff is having Edgar Allen Poe in the group. Born in Boston, left when he was but a toddler and most famous for his connection with Baltimore. Ahh, my first chance ever to use former high school teacher snottiness regarding Top Chef. I agree that all dishes looked terrific and connected to the source. But not looking so terrific was Katsuji's which looked like...well, like a plate full of bloody vomit. His usual odd but entertaining sense of humor was just too odd this time. His comments will be missed.

Hayes Valley Seriesously [San Francisco]

Muka did have game on tv I noticed when I passed by.

Hayes Valley Seriesously [San Francisco]

Good suggestions. Walked to Dobbs Ferry expecting full house. At 4:55 bar had full house but dining area empty. Got seats at bar in front of tv. Had some nicely done grilled sardines, salad and beer. Watched till time to go to opera house with Giants in control. After 1st act, final score of game flashed on supertitle screen to much applause. Go Giants some more, and by the way opera was good too. Thanks for the tips everyone!

Hayes Valley Seriesously [San Francisco]

I am going to 7:30 opera performance Tuesday. Where in Hayes Valley area can I grab a bite & watch World Series until last minute before I have to dash to opera house? Suggestions received with thanks.

Mustards Grill: My Theory [Napa]

Maria Lorraine has answered the question I have had about this topic since it was introduced by Jim Leff. That is: are the complaints about Mustards due to the unchanging character of its offerings, or because this fare is no longer executed with care nor ingredients of high quality? When I first began visiting Napa in the late 1970's, I knew of no place offering quality dining. Then in 1983, Mustards opened. It was my go-to for those years and it is sad to think that quality is the source of present complaints. Serving cuisine of nostalgic/historic interest is never a problem for me if still done well.

Yellow corn in Marin?

SOMEHOW THIS DID NOT POST, SO TRY AGAIN: I also prefer yellow altho there seems now to be some white that is not candy sweet. I get yellow at Sunday Marin farmer's market at Civic Center. There is vendor with sign designating picked-that-morning Brentwood corn. They have a lot of white, often some bi-color and, on some Sundays, a small amount of yellow. Usually only one carton. You have to get there early to get it. I was there before 9 last week and there were maybe 2 dozen remaining and people in line. Good corn too.

Yellow corn in Marin?

I also prefer yellow altho there seems now to be some white that is not candy sweet. I get yellow at Sunday Marin farmer's market at Civic Center. There is vendor with sign designating picked-that-morning Brentwood corn. They have a lot of white, often some bi-color and, on some Sundays, a small amount of yellow. Usually only one carton. You have to get there early to get it. I was there before 9 last week and there were maybe 2 dozen remaining and people in line. Good corn too.

Appeals court deals blow to Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

I have hesitated to join in this discussion since a)it seems no longer directly related to oysters as food, and b)since I have a pre-existing bias in the issue. I ate and enjoyed Drake’s Bay oysters only last month, so my bias is not against them as food. Rather, I am in favor of allowing Drake’s Bay to again become a wilderness estuary, extremely rare on the entire Pacific coast, as the founding legislation for Point Reyes National Seashore intended. And as K. Lunny knew when he took over the Johnson’s oyster farm lease, it had only seven years to run and was non-renewable. Where politics has been involved first would have been in congressional debate over creating the National Seashore. DOI actions since have been to achieve that wilderness status as original legislation urged. The current attempt to override those lease terms by the current lessee, however, seems very political. It is to benefit Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm, of course, but also to encourage privatization within the national park system. This is why DBOF pro bono legal support comes from the Pacific Legal Foundation which has an anti-environment history and a pro-business agenda supporting that privatization. I have been a volunteer for the national marine sanctuary system for a number of years, surveying Point Reyes. We regularly find debris from oyster farming washed ashore—thousands of separators from oyster racks, for instance. It is obvious that running boats, other farming activity and structures would have a negative effect on the use of the bay as a seal pupping area, a historic use which precedes oyster farming by some centuries. There are other environmental concerns. The real debate for Chowhounds might be simpler: support the legally agreed upon end of the lease to the benefit of coastal wilderness, or oppose it so we can eat the oysters.

Chad Robertson's influence on SF pizza scene

Is there possibly a place besides Chowhounds for back and forth debates about who ate what, when and how? Couldn't this site be about food now available and where and why the experience seems good/bad to the person posting? You know, such things as taste, texture, ingredients, service? Or is that too extreme a wish?

Restaurant suggestions in Mendocino and Fort Bragg area?

Summer of 2013 four of us had dinner at Ledford House. One thought it was ok, two really enjoyed it, I was extremely disappointed. Of the several things which I found inexcusable, I clearly remember only two. (Hey, it was a year ago.) One was a pizza app which came soggy and undercooked and which I thought would not even be served in a better place. The other was my salmon which came with a sauce of some kind the flavor of which completely overwhelmed the salmon, and after scraping it to the side I found the salmon was overcooked. But good service and great view.

Jul 15, 2014
alfairfax in California

Belcampo - Larkspur

Welll, a bit too much of a splurge for me. I am glad that the withering of Larkspur Landing Mall has morphed into the more pleasant, more serviceable Marin Country Mart (its own Saturday Farmers Mkt, Veronica Salazar's El Hurache Loco and very nice locally owned bookstore, for example) but Belcampo seems far to expensive and I would call it more precious than rustic. I like butcher shops with small heaps of meat trim and fat on a slightly bloody butcher block behind the counter. We already got plenty o' that there precious here north of the bridge. Know what I mean?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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

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.

ISO Dungeness Crab in Marin

Live or cooked?