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Goat Cuisine in the Bay Area

I hadn't realized that gongura is also known as red sorrel. Funny, because the first time I tried it, at Taste Buds, I thought it *was* sorrel. It has the same sort of flavor and texture, at least cooked. IIRC, they brought me a little piece at my request and the leaf was not as thin or soft as the sorrel I'm used to.

Taste Buds' gongura goat is well worth eating when it's around, as are all their gongura dishes.

I5 [Dunnigan to Oregon]

A year and a half later...

Dogwood Diner is outstanding. Mountain town casual, high quality healthy ingredients, superbly executed, friendly workers and patrons. If it were in the Bay Area where I live, I'd be a regular.

Jan 06, 2015
maigre in California

How often do you get a bad meal in the SF area?

People who participate here take their eating seriously enough that, over a little time, they're going to know how to avoid getting an outright bad meal almost 100% of the time. So the many restaurants that would qualify never get a "chance."

Disappointing meals aren't quite so hard to come by, though, particularly if one's budget has boundaries. It's pretty easy to get a meal that doesn't feel like it was worth the money spent, even if it wasn't bad, sometimes even when it's pretty good.

Oct 06, 2014
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

Long cooked, but disappointing soup stocks

I made a chicken stock last week and went back to cooking it for less time, about 4 hours. It was far better than when I cooked it for two days. I bought some necks, backs and feet at the farmers market yesterday, the same ones I overcooked when I started the thread. I'll make them this week. I'm optimistic that with that shorter cooking time, they'll be much tastier.

Oct 06, 2014
maigre in Home Cooking

Long cooked, but disappointing soup stocks

Thanks again, for the added comments.

This is only the third time I've tried this, where I've cooked my stock into oblivion. But only now did I start thinking that all those hours were doing more harm than good. The affirmation of errors of my ways are satisfying. ;)

I'll buy some more bones tomorrow and do it right.

Sep 13, 2014
maigre in Home Cooking

Long cooked, but disappointing soup stocks

Thanks everyone. This is very helpful feedback. Next time, I'll go back to a shorter cooking time and will only cook the veggies and aromatics for a couple of hours.

There is some meat in this recent chicken stock. It's not all feet. And there's been plenty of it in my beef stocks. So that's not the culprit.

Sep 12, 2014
maigre in Home Cooking

Long cooked, but disappointing soup stocks

I've made beef and chicken soup stocks (not together) for years. Lately, I've taken to cooking them for a long time. Like 48 hours or more. The idea is to cook the s*%t out of it and make a rich, tasty stock. At the beginning, I add onions, garlic, celery and carrots along with maybe some herbs or ginger on occasion. It used to always come out nicely, cooked for less time.

But now that I've cooked for so long, the flavor hasn't been as good. I just did a chicken stock with lots of bones and feet. When refrigerated, the soup doesn't even gel like it normally would with feet. It doesn't really even taste like chicken soup. I've had the same problem with beef stock where it loses its character. Both end up tasting similar to each other, sort of bland and with a kind of overcooked onion flavor.

The farmers market vendors I've bought the bones from insist that they cook their stock for days and it turns out great.

What's going wrong? Am I overcooking? Is 48 hours too long for onions to stew in a stock? Is going back to half a day or so of cooking with beef and less for chicken a better way to go?

Sep 12, 2014
maigre in Home Cooking

San Francisco weekend

Thanks for the pointer. I'll have to give it a try one day soon.

Mar 10, 2014
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco weekend

I noticed that Lahore Karahi was open not too long ago. Hadn't it closed at one point? Is it the same owner as it was a few years ago?

Mar 09, 2014
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

South Bay: where to buy fresh red jalapeƱos or Thai bird chiles?

Borba at the Mountain View and various other farmers markets has a variety of chiles and peppers. They have some long, wrinkly, narrow chiles that can be slightly hot, though only slightly. I think he calls them Portugal peppers. They're similar to what are sometimes called chilacayote (sp?) chiles in Mexico, though maybe milder. His jalapeƱos today were mostly green, but some were partly red. But I think the rest were sweet. They're worth checking with and asking if they don't have what you're looking for.

Recommendation for 3 days (French, seafood)

I'll echo AmbroseBurnside's words which, as he/she pointed out, are not exaggerated. On a recent trip, I ate plenty of good food, but none of it stands out the way that Kedai Makan did.

Jan 04, 2014
maigre in Greater Seattle

One dim sum place -- or maybe two.

We went to the downtown Kirin. I was mistakenly thinking that was the City Square one until I coincidentally happened to drive by the actual City Square the next day. Oops. No matter, hopefully. Our meal there was very good, reminiscent in flavor and style to Yank Sing in San Francisco, to which we are accustomed. Hopefully, I'll get another chance and will get to try more things.

We also went to Dynasty, where we had a bit smaller sampling of their Dim Sum. I thought it had a different flavor, in general, not quite as much to my liking, but very much to my liking, just the same. My one complaint was that I thought they overcooked the shrimp in a couple of dishes. Their sticky rice in lotus leaf, which one of us ordered, was moister and less sticky than any other I've tried. The balance of tastes and textures was a nice counter to the usual sticky, starchy version. It's not something I usually get, but I really liked it quite a bit.

Thanks for the recommendations. Vancouver is a nice city and I enjoyed my time. I wish it could have lasted longer.

Jan 01, 2014
maigre in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

One dim sum place -- or maybe two.

Thanks everyone. You've all been a great help. I should be having this meal(s) sometime soon, in a few days or so. I'll report back.

Dec 27, 2013
maigre in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

One dim sum place -- or maybe two.

I'll follow that XLB advice, grayelf. :)

What are the GP specialty plates?

Is Dynasty the same as the oddly spelled, but apparently correct "Dinesty?"

Dec 26, 2013
maigre in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

One dim sum place -- or maybe two.

Thanks, twinkienic.

Sounds like Kirin fits some or all of what I mentioned above in that they do some of their own thing along with the standards.

Dec 26, 2013
maigre in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

One dim sum place -- or maybe two.

Thanks for those rankings, LR. Much appreciated.

There are four of us, though only three of us will eat much. (One of my kids loves dim sum, the other, not so much.) As a group, we're not likely to order deep fried items, though pan fried are fine. We all like steamed dumplings of various sorts. Notable XLB would be well received, but isn't a must. A place that has some veggies would be preferable, whether they're in dumplings or as sides. A place that's creative enough to do their own items to some degree is appreciated, though I'd rather go somewhere with nothing but the traditional if they're using higher quality ingredients and the execution is better. I'm happy to pay more for better ingredients in general.

Budget. Hmm. For nothing but dim sum (we aren't likely to drink anything), I'd say somewhere around $35 per person tops unless the place is really extraordinary.

Dec 26, 2013
maigre in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

One dim sum place -- or maybe two.

There is a lot of dim sum discussion here that I've been going through. But it hasn't gotten me to where I know where to go as there doesn't seem to be much consensus. That's probably a good thing in terms of the overall set of options.

I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area, so I'm used to what's there, particularly in SF. I've been to some of the Rosemead/Arcadia places in LA, too.

So what I'd like to find is something that stands out above any of that, something that I wouldn't match in CA.

I don't care about whether it's on a cart or off a menu. Upscale is OK, if you get what you're paying for. I don't really have a preference between regions, either, though I might opt for one over another if it's otherwise equivalent.

So far, I've noted places like Golden Ocean, Golden Paramount, Red Star, Dynasty, Sun Sui Wah, Jade Garden and a few others. SSW seems like, at best, it's up there, but that it's not always at its best.

Any thoughts? It doesn't matter whether it's one of the places I've mentioned or not.

Dec 26, 2013
maigre in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Best sausages and cured/smoked meats

I think Bi-Rite's sausage is really good.

Nov 19, 2013
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

Bray Butcher Block and Bistro [San Pedro Square, San Jose]

IIRC, they don't. There are some prepared meats that they sell by the pound, but I don't think they're selling raw cuts. I may be around there tomorrow. I'll take a look and get back if I am.

Nov 14, 2013
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

Bray Butcher Block and Bistro [San Pedro Square, San Jose]

That BBQ sauce on the ribs was fine when I had it, nowhere near as sweet as I thought it might be. The ribs were pretty good overall, if not unforgettable.

I had a similar, if somewhat more positive reaction to the pastrami. It wasn't tough or sinewy to where it was unpleasant to eat it, but it wasn't a positive enough experience that I tried it again the next time around. But I would give it another shot.

I'm not a fan of the slaw, which is too bland and watery for my tastes. It took the texture and flavor out of the cabbage so much that I thought it was lettuce.

Nov 13, 2013
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

Last minute trip to Bay Area and have no idea where to eat.

El Molino Central is well worth a visit or two.

Aug 31, 2013
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

Visiting The Bay Area For a Few Days - Any Recommendations?

The little taco truck parked in the evenings in front of the liquor store (I think that's what it is) on El Camino Real near Phyllis is good. At least it was about 6 months ago last I was there.

The Indian recs are worthwhile. I second the gongura at Taste Buds idea. That's one of my local faves. Amber India is more upscale and has been around for a long time. They have a couple of places in SF, now, though. I like Artisan/The Menu, too.

I've never been to Chez TJ, but lots of people like it. If you're covered by work, there's not much to lose.

Castro St. is more quantity than quality, at least in terms of the standout kind of place you're looking for. But it's a local scene and worth a visit. Steakout has a good, grass fed burger and lots of different beers. It's become a popular spot, so you might enjoy hanging out there, especially if you like to drink beer.

Walia, an Ethiopian place in San Jose is terrific, up there with my favorite restaurants in the silicon valley / south bay region. But you have lots of that in DC.

The restaurants in San Pedro Square in San Jose are nothing to get overly excited about, but it's a fun place to go.

There is a huge amount of Vietnamese food in San Jose. Search the boards here for thoughts about that. I don't have a personal recommendation at the moment.

For that matter, there is a lot of talk about eating in all the silicon valley towns on this forum.

Jul 31, 2013
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

Where do you purchase broccoli rabe in San Francisco?

I like Star Route's rapini, too.

Happy Boy has it a good chunk of the year. They have nice, organic produce at various markets, but possibly all in the south bay. I'm not sure about that.

Jul 26, 2013
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

Healthy restaurants in San Francisco Bay Area?

I also agree with estnet and hungree. Getting good quality food and preparing it at home is the healthiest way to go on a number of different levels. And ultimately, it's the most satisfying. But if you're careful, you can do OK in restaurants, at least up to a point.

Otherwise, as mentioned, what that specifically means to you dictates a lot.

Oren's in Palo Alto has simple, healthy, delicious Mediterranean food with lots of organic ingredients.

Walia in San Jose has terrific Ethiopian food with lots of good, healthy ingredients. If you want to keep the oil content down, particularly the butter, just tell them and they'll accommodate you or guide you to the preferable choices along those lines. It's gotten really popular, so weekend evenings can mean waiting for a table.

If quality of oil matters, as the OP suggests (it does to me) a lot of places that use plenty of veggies and such drop a few notches in the level of healthiness. That's something to watch for.

Jul 19, 2013
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

Hummus - SF Dish of the Month July 2013

We tried Falafel Stop recently. It's as different from Oren's as an Israeli falafel place could be. The falafel is unique in my experience, much lighter in color. I was going to ask them about it, but it got really crowded. I liked it. I also liked the eggplant in pita combo of a bunch of things. Their pita bread is clearly better than Oren's for me, a much nicer texture.

I can't compare the hummus, because we got it as part of the hummus plate, so it was mixed with all sorts of other things. Next time, I'll get something more along the lines of straight hummus.

The menu is very limited. Don't go there looking for anything other than falafel, hummus, eggplant and very little more.

Unfortunately for me, this place has a lot of cold ingredients in the food, unlike Oren's where nothing is refrigerator cold and lots of things are hot. I don't like cold food, so my meal over all at Falafel Stop didn't really hit the spot, even if I liked aspects of it.

Jul 13, 2013
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

San Jose Fine Dining Scene

There's a place that sells their own bread and a few other pastries in the Mountain View farmers market. I'm not even sure what the name is. It might be Suncoast, but I'm not sure. They're along the corridor nearest Evelyn Ave., if you ever find your way there. It's usually a husband and wife doing the sales. They have a variety of breads, grind their own grains and are trying to make the best artisan style breads they can. I like their breads more than any other I've tried in the south bay.

It may be a family operation all the way, though. Still, they might be worth talking to.

Jul 08, 2013
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

Hummus - SF Dish of the Month July 2013

I lived near Old Jerusalem for years and used to go there some, but haven't in the years since I left. I'll have to do that again.

I'm also big Oren's fan. I like most all of their food quite a bit. It feels sort of like home cooking, simple and tasty with good ingredients. The creamy texture of the hummus works great for me, too. Ask for the lemon juice/garlic condiment to go along with it if you want more of those flavors. I always do. It's a free side.

They have thick, fresh whole wheat pita bread, but I don't usually eat much of it. I've never eaten any pita that I particularly care for, though.

Thanks for the Falafel Stop pointer. I'll check it out soon.

Jul 07, 2013
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

Mexican en route from Oakland to Carmel

There's a somewhat pricey taqueria in the San Pedro Square market in downtown SJ. I think it's called Loteria Taco. It's not the typical taqueria menu. It's a little more upscale than that. I've only been there one time, but what I had was good and what I saw looked worth trying. I'll go there again.

Along similar lines is Zona Rosa on The Alameda, also in SJ, not too far from the airport. It's a restaurant, not a taqueria, and it's more high end. The food is good, not great, lacks a little character for what it costs.

Tu Mero Mole off of Union a little north of 85 in South San Jose is more of a hole in the wall Mexican place, but a couple of cuts above most. Good food, good prices. Been there a bunch of times. I think they're owned by someone in the family of the owners of the aforementioned Andale.

Apr 30, 2013
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

Chicken Pot Pie in The City

I had it a few nights ago at the Liberty Cafe for the first time in a long time. Still delicious, lots of gravy.

Feb 25, 2013
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area

Sat night (tomorrow) with kids in SF

We bring our kids wherever we feel like going and have never had any problems to speak of. We don't do the really high priced spots, but they've been welcome and comfortable most everywhere. Great that you're bringing them with you.

I haven't been to Absinthe, so I can't comment, but from the outside, I could see where the tone might not be ideal for kids.

What about Bar Tartine, at least if you go as early as possible, as soon as they open? That's an easy ambience for kids. That whole neighborhood (around 18th and Valencia) is full of restaurants of various sorts. A stroll up and down Valencia is nice for the family, given the restaurants, cafes, shops, etc. There's an eclectic toy store that's related to and near a place with a similarly eclectic mix of items from nature, including taxidermy. I can't think of the name, but it's easy to find just walking by. Our kids get pretty absorbed there. Be careful if you venture to Mission St. with the kids, though. It's a little rougher around the edges.

There's hope at the high end pizza places if you get there when they open, if that's of any appeal. They're well chronicled and debated here.

Weather permitting, you could go to one of the food truck locations. It's not like going to the most appealing restaurants, but it can be fun and if the right places are in the rotation, you can eat fairly well. There's a place with trucks on 11th St. just to the north of 101. There are a bunch of trucks and a covered eating area. If all else fails, it's a consideration, at least.

Did you check Cotogna? It can be very hard to get in there, but early offers a bit of hope.

Any other kinds of food that interests you? That might help to come up with some ideas.

Dec 29, 2012
maigre in San Francisco Bay Area