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Frozen take out in East Bay?

We have friends who just delivered a baby in Berkeley and want to take them some good frozen, or long-keeping, food so they won't have to cook much the next few days. Any suggestions on where to go, preferably in Berkeley or north Oakland? We've already raided the freezer at Poulet.

May 21, 2008
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

chocolate covered espresso beans

I had some from Charles Chocolates last week. They were the best chocolate-covered espresso beans I've had--the chocolate was not too sweet and the bean was still oily. You might be able to get a discount if you order directly from the factory store in Emeryville.

Apr 04, 2008
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

What to order from barbecue menu at Ohgane?

If you've never had it, try the juk suck seng: cubes of unmarinated beef cooked rare on a hot ceramic stone. It has a nice fresh beef flavor which constrasts the marinade and charcoal in regular Korean barbecue. It's also hard to find at other Korean restaurants in this area.

Apr 02, 2008
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Sketch ice cream

If teenagers at the TCBY in the mall can coax their machines into producing approximately equal shares of product, I don't get why Sketch can't.

Apr 01, 2008
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Sketch ice cream

I concur. I've been a few times since they switched to the soft serve machines, and I think it's definitely worse than before (although still not bad if you're already at 4th Street). The only thing that improves is the vanilla with olive oil and salt is better with the soft serve than with the old ice cream.

Mar 25, 2008
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

ISO Temescal Farmer's Market Rec's

Is that the same guy who sells the pretzel bread (next to Bay Bread and where Bakesale Betty used to be)? Because that pretzel bread is really good, and he sells the best cinnamon raisin bread my wife and I have ever tasted.

Mar 07, 2008
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area grocery shopping rant - is something missing?

I was going to suggest Bi-Rite, which I used to go to a lot when I lived in the city. Maybe too small, too crazy, or too expensive... but other than that, it's exactly what you're describing!

Feb 26, 2008
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Visiting SF with infant -- great dining recs?

As a father of an 8-month-old, I sympathize. If you can get over the bridge, Pizzaiolo in Oakland is very accommodating of children--the owner live above the restaurant with his two small children and loves having babies there. I've also been to Firefly, Liberty Cafe, and Chow in the early hours and they were all OK with babies.

Feb 13, 2008
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Eel banh mi at Sea Salt

Like rworange, I'm hardly expert in eel. The texture and size of the pieces were very similar to the way unagi is grilled for donburi, so I'm guessing it's unagi, but only because I have no idea what the alternative would be.

Mar 05, 2007
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Eel banh mi at Sea Salt

it was sliced into big pieces about a half-inch thick and then straight pan-fried, like trout, no breading or flour.

Mar 02, 2007
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Eel banh mi at Sea Salt

I tried a new sandwich on the menu at Sea Salt in Berkeley today, a banh mi sandwich made with fried eel. It was great! It was big fatty oily pieces of eel next to standard pickled banh mi condiments inside the same buttery roll they use for the lobster sandwich. It's easily my favorite sandwich there now, even better than the trout BLT, and maybe the best thing I've had there.

Mar 01, 2007
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Knife Sharpening in East Bay?

I sharpened my knive's recently at Saucy Joe's, which is the mobile knife sharpening truck that comes to the Temescal Farmer's Market. I was a bit disappointed that the knives weren't razor sharp, but they were notably better than before and he didn't take much metal off. I think a better place is the cutlery shop on Telegraph just south of 51st, near Pizzaiolo, but you'll have to wait a few days to pick up your knives there.

Feb 13, 2007
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Oliveto's Whole Hog

We went to Oliveto on Saturday, when they were still serving a pork-intensive menu (the menu was headed "Coda to the Whole Hog"), We started with the large salami platter, which was excellent, especially the chunkier and spicier ones, and had lots of variety (there were a dozen different kinds of sausage). Like always, the pastas were perfectly cooked. My favorite dish was the zampone, which is a pork trotter that is gloved, so the skin is rolled down to the ankle in one piece, then the meat is prepared and spiced and then stuffed back into the skin, then the whole package is braised. The skin had a wonderfully thick and rich texture. It was one of the most unique dishes I've ever had.

Feb 13, 2007
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Swan's Oyster Depot [SF]

I stopped going to Swan a few years ago. I think it's becoming more and more a caricature of itself and a tourist trap, like Tadich.

Dec 10, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Zachary's Pizza

I don't like the deep dish so much in the restaurant, but I like ordering half-baked pies and taking them home and cooking them a little longer than they suggest.

Sep 16, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

ISO Delivery pizza in north Oakland

Can anyone recommend a good pizza place that delivers in north Oakland / Temescal?

Sep 16, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Sea Salt . what to order?

We literally just got back from dinner at Sea Salt tonight. The nectarine-frangipane tart was the hit of the night. I had the opah, thought it was good, but not as much as the other entrees I've had there. We ordered the crab cakes, and actually thought they tasted fine, but I hardly ever eat crab and will like basically anything fried (but the sauce was really good).

Sep 09, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

New Tacubaya at 19th/Telegraph?

Awesome... I hope they can keep the food as good as the Berkeley location, and I'm really glad to see even more life in that awakening part of Oakland.

Sep 05, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Burger in Bay Area?

I don't know, I have a hard time mixing tablecloths and burgers, so while the burgers at Zuni and Cafe Rouge are probably objectively better, I just can't enjoy them that much. I love the bacon cheeseburger at Burgermeister, which they will cook rare, especially at the Cole Valley location--it just feels like a burger place, and you can add some enormous onion rings and a big gloopy milkshake and be done with all your calories for the week.

Aug 31, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Berkeley Cheap-ish Eats Near Campus - One Local's Ratings

7 Palms is a convenience store on Euclid, across from Hummingbird and past Stuffed Inn and the Thai place. There's a counter in the back to order sandwiches. Cafe Muse in the Berkeley Art Museum is inside, so you have to walk through the building, but it is a charming and isolated place to get away and have lunch, especially if it's a sunny day out.

I think you're referring to the Dutch crunch at Hummingbird, and they always have it at the start of the day, but they do often run out after the first lunch rush. It's really good with their curry chicken salad.

Aug 31, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

North Beach Eats

It doesn't get talked about a lot, but I really love the chicken at Il Pollaio. I have to say, I don't get all the support for L'Osteria del Forno, the room is charming, but I can't pick up what's so special about the food. Am I ordering incorrectly?

Aug 31, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Berkeley Cheap-ish Eats Near Campus - One Local's Ratings

I used to like Gomnaru, but I think it's gone way downhill.

I would add a few more tips. Hummingbird Cafe makes a good eggplant pesto sandwich. My favorite sandwich near campus is the roasted chicken thigh sandwich (I add avocado and have it on Dutch crunch) at 7 Palms (which is recently under new ownership, but the same charming sandwich ladies are there); 7 Palms also makes some nice prepped salads, especially the pasta salad with ham and peas. For something a little nicer, the food at the BAM on Telegraph is good, but in the somewhat overbearing in the typical Berkeley organic ingredients, farming as spirituality way, and they have a nice outdoor patio. A lot of my colleagues like Smart Alec's, but I can't figure out why. To go sit down somewhere, we used to walk to the Phoenix, but alas... and now we go to Adagia. Also, since Adagia opened, the faculty club, which used to be straight inedible, has gotten a lot better, maybe a response to Adagia's competition?

And I love Top Dog.

Aug 31, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

where to Pho in Oakland

I went to a ton of pho places about a year ago in a desperate attempt to find good pho in either Oakland or Berkeley, and I was very sadly unsuccessful. Compared to the places in San Jose, the East Bay really can't hold a candle; a lot of them don't use any star anise or actually cook the rounds before dropping it in the broth (I think because the chefs cut the beef too fast and can't get the slices thin enough). At all the places, I would skip the tripe, mostly rubbery goo. I liked Pho Hoa Lao the best. If you find a place you like, please, please, please post it.

Aug 29, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

teacake bakery in emeryville

A while ago, I had a honey roasted peanut butter cookie there, thought it was so good I bought a dozen to take home and freeze, but haven't seen it the few times I've been back since.

Aug 28, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Al Pastor tacos in Oakland

I had very good al pastor tacos at Otaez a few weeks ago.

Aug 28, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

great for a vegan breakfast?

If it's a bright fogless Sunday, Greens at Fort Mason has a beautiful view of the Golden Gate and I think brunch is now better than lunch or dinner there. Although most choices are egg dishes, I usually notice a vegan option on the brunch menu (like tofu scramble), but I've never had any and can't speak to how they taste. (But the egg dishes are delicious.)

Aug 28, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Pizzaiolo is taking reservations

Now that I can walk there... bummer, more people and now I'll probably have to think ahead. Do you know how much space they're saving for walkins?

Aug 27, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

La Palma - Bad Burrito Report

Perhaps you're overreacting? La Palma makes its money by selling ingredients to Latinos who live in the Mission, and the few burritos they might occasionally sell to the rest of us are hardly their first priority; they might be a bit amused to learn that we constitue the "loyal customer" base which has to go save them. Moreover, even among us dilettantes, I don't think La Palma has ever been known for their burritos anyway, but for their masa, fresh cheese, and fried goods.

Aug 18, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Great food that's cheap by 16th & Mission BART

Have you been to Andalu recently? My visits went downhill about two years ago and I stopped going, but am wondering if things have picked up.

Aug 14, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area

Where should a hound live.. in the south bay?

Sorry, I'm sworn to secrecy on the supermarket, otherwise a good friend might stop talking to me. For Korean: I like Gaesung and Myung Dong for soon dubu, Korea House for straight Korean food, and, if I've saved up the appetite, Palace BBQ is the only all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue place I've been with good meat (for about $20 a head!), Zazang is a decent noodle place with really cheap prices. I also went to an Afghan place a few years ago which was really good, and there are all sorts of Korean bakeries scattered along El Camino. There are also some pretty good Vietnamese and Italian-American places on the parallel strip of Stevens Creek.

Aug 14, 2006
Hungry Hippo in San Francisco Bay Area