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Chowdown Lunch Report: Farewell to Capp's Corner in SF's North Beach

Thank you, Melanie, for organizing this farewell to an institution that none of us had been to, and for sharing the delightful bottle of Pinot Noir. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the four main courses, the calamari steak and the sole being the standouts -- perfectly prepared, tender, with the lemon caper sauce nicely complementing the delicate flavor of the seafood. The service was so welcoming that it made me feel guilty for not patronizing the restaurant over the years, despite having read frequent mentions of this old school moderately priced Italian restaurant in North Beach. I also enjoyed the minestone soup served family style. The fact that it was included with our meals made up for its mildness, and each of us served ourselves seconds. The spumoni was a nice retro throwback, with chunks of pistachio or candied fruit in almost every bite, and I gladly ate most of it as a couple of our party seemed satisfied after a taste.

My excuses for not going to North Beach have been that it's too far, the restaurants are too touristy, and it's impossible to park there. The fact that each of us drove and found parking in time for a noon meal belied my last two excuses, at least in the daytime on a weekday, and our delight in this authentic institution in its final days has made me rethink my aversion to one of the more touristy corners of our City.

Your Favorite $5 or under bites in San Francisco

Loi's (aka Pho Hang Dieu) on Irving between 23rd and 24th Avenues has medium pho or beef noodle soup for less than $5, and many other options for slightly more.

Dungeness Crab Prices 2013/2014 Season

Sun Fat on Mission St. usually has live crabs in season at a good price.

New chicken struts into Chinatown [San Francisco]

I bought a Loong Kong (uncooked) at King Poultry on Broadway in SF Chinatown today, planning to salt it and cook it Judy Rodgers/Zuni style. Do you think it will be too lean to roast? What preparation method would you recommend for it? They did not have Qing Yuen chicken.

The man working at King Poultry spoke no English and did not understand my efforts to ask for the two types/brands of chicken, but brought me next door to another store for translation assistance, where the translator told me, without asking the man from King, that they no longer carry Qing Yuen chickens.

Jook - SF Dish of the Month December 2013

I used to get my jook fix at Sun Hong Kong on Columbus and Broadway in San Francisco (where it was ( and may still be) served late at night through early morning), and more recently (but not for a couple of years) at Porridge King at Skyline plaza in Daly City. I usually go for the pork and preserved egg, and have enjoyed it at both places.

Usually, when I'm in the mood for porridge, I make Filipino arroz caldo, which is made with chicken, short grain rice, fish sauce, fried garlic, ginger and onion, as taught to me by my Filipino partner. When I don't feel like cooking it, the version at Tselogs (better known for their excellent breakfasts with fried eggs, garlic fried rice and a choice of meat) on Mission St. in Daly City is as good or better than what I make myself. I'm also rather fond of the arroz caldo at Red Ribbon bake shops, a Filipino bakery chain, although my partner insists that shiitake mushrooms, which they include, don't belong in arroz caldo.

Best Khao Soi in SF?

I've eaten khao soi in Chiang Mai as well, after being introduced to the dish at Thai House Express in the Castro, where it is still one of my favorite dishes on their menu. I have not tried any other versions in San Francisco. The version at Thai House is not the same as the versions I had in Chiang Mai -- it is made with boneless breast meat instead of whole bone-in wings or thighs, the curry sauce is not as spicy, and the condiments (fried shallots and pickled mustard greens) come already mixed in -- but I still enjoy it. I'll have to try some of the other versions mentioned in this thread and see how they compare.

Chilaquiles - SF Dish of the Month (Feb 2013)

I'm chiming in a little late for dish of the month, but thought that this was still the best forum to comment on Chilaquiles at San Jalisco. I had the regular Chilaquiles today, with scrambled eggs (would not have known they were there, but for the menu description), onions, peppers, and red sauce. I liked the flavor and the contrast between crispy and chips softened by the salsa and other ingredients they are scrambled with. My one complaint was that I found the dish a little too salty, not so much in terms of flavor, but in the feeling one has after eating such a meal. The salsa served with the chips was too salty for me. My DH enjoyed his huevos divorceados, served with chile verde and chile colorado, including large pieces of very tender pork covered with each of the two sauces, but also found his dish a bit too salty. The fresh homemade tortillas were delicious.

Mapo Doufu - SF Dish of the Month November 2013

I actually tried the mapo doufu at Z &Y this past weekend, along with the dan dan mein. Of the two dishes, I liked the noodles better. I'm not sure whether it was pork or beef in the mapo doufu, but it was not at all crispy. There was less of the numbing pepper and more of the hot pepper flavor present, although it was not overpowering. I'll try Spices II when I get a chance, and will try Mama Ji's (which I've had before) again.

Shandong House rebrands itself as Xi'an Gourmet [San Francisco]

Shandong Deluxe on Taraval, which I tried first on soupcon's recommendation, had a special lamb noodle soup with wide flat noodles when I was last there a few weeks ago. It was listed on a piece of paper on the wall, perhaps with just the word lamb in English. I had to ask the waitress what it was. The noodles were nice and toothsome -- I believe soup├žon taught me the term que que -- although the broth and lamb were nothing special. The special was a dollar or two more than their other noodle dishes -- $8.95, I believe.

Mapo Doufu - SF Dish of the Month November 2013


Mapo Doufu - SF Dish of the Month November 2013

A couple of pleas here from an irregular reader and contributor to the Bay Area Chowhound board that I believe will increase readership and contribution to threads: 1) When mentioning a restaurant for the first time in a thread, please mention at least the city where the restaurant is located, preferably the street and neighborhood. Since Chow did away with the location hyperlinks, some of these discussions can be impossible to follow without multiple Googling or Yelping of restaurant names. I still can't find a location for K&L mentioned in a post here. 2) A translation of foreign language terms would also be welcomed the first time they are used in a thread. Yes, I could Google, but that's not always easy when one is using a smart phone. Perhaps I'm just lazy, but I still don't know what the four supposed essential ingredients of Mapo tofu are, and I'd bet that's true of most readers of these posts.

Otherwise, these discussions may become simply a learned discussion among a few cognoscenti. I do appreciate the effort and wisdom in many of these posts, but much is lost to most readers.

Why is this dish so greasy?

I suspect that the oil in your takeout stir-fry just had more time to settle to the bottom of the carton, and was more visible than it would have been if plated in a restaurant, or served over rice.

Although I was always a little disgusted by the pool of oil at the bottom of my takeout shrimp fried rice at Tu Lan before it was closed by the health department, I was actually a little disappointed with the same dish at the newly reopened Tu Lan last week, which was missing its sheen of oil.

Oct 25, 2013
johnrsf in General Topics

Chowdown @ Brother Seafood 10-22-13 [San Francisco-Irving & 19th]

I was also at "table 2". The beef shank with seaweed and picked vegetables, the first of the dishes to arrive, was my favorite of the day as well. The contrast between the sweet pickled cabbage and the salty five-spice flavored beef made for a great combo. The bamboo shoot with oyster sauce roll, which was rolled in tofu skin, was a surprisingly tasty dish, although I had no idea what the filling was when I tried it. Other dishes I liked were the siu mai, the spareribs, the pot stickers, and the sesame seed dumpling (covered in glutinous rice and dusted with crushed peanuts).

I was not impressed by the shrimp and spinach dumpling (it seemed bland), salt and pepper squid (a little overlooked and under seasoned), the lobster turnover (deep fried in a pastry crust seems a waste of an expensive ingredient, if it really was lobster, as I couldn't tell), the haslet (tripe) with turnip (the tripe tasted a little too much of barnyard for me, although I like the idea of pairing it with sweet turnip), the turnip cake (usually a favorite, was a little bland), and the pumpkin with salted egg yolk, which just tasted like deep fried pumpkin, with no hint of saltiness.

The rest of the dishes were either OK, or I hadn't tried them elsewhere to compare. I would not go out of my way to have dim sum at Brother Seafood, and their preparation of the seafood dim sum dishes I tried makes me wary of trying it for dinner, despite enthusiastic CH recommendations.

Dim Sum Chowdown at Hong Kong Lounge II [San Francisco]

Thanks, Melanie, for organizing the Chowdown. I sat at table 2 with Melanie and her mom. We definitely over-ordered, but we got a good feeling for their menu. All in all, I was impressed. Everything was well prepared and flavorful, with a few dishes that were especially memorable. Fried foods were not too greasy, nor were the steamed dishes too gummy.

My favorites, in the order they are listed, were:

pork ribs in candy sauce, which were not too sweet, and had a nice spice that someone else thought was cinnamon and I thought might be star anise;

Coffee pork ribs, a flavor combination I hadn't tried (though challenging to split!);

Salt and pepper PI-pa tofu, a dish I'd never tried that was very delicate and perfectly fried;

The baked pork buns had a delicate crunchy exterior that contrasted nicely to the sweet pork inside;

The deep fried water chestnut cake was another new taste sensation for me, with sweet gelatinous interior and delicate crunchy

Other dishes that I like a lot and would order again (although there was nothing we ordered that I wouldn't eat again!) were the braised pork belly, the Chiu Zhou dumplings, steamed chicken feet, deep fried taro dumpling, pan fried turnip cake, and steamed egg yolk buns.

It is nice to know that there is another excellent dim sum option in the City!

New thoughts on the Tenderloin? [San Francisco]

I agree that Lers Ros is probably the best and has the most interesting offerings of any Thai restaurant in the City. Among the Vietnamese places in the Loin, Turtle Tower has outstanding north Vietnamese style beef and chicken pho. Their fried imperial rolls are excellent as well, crispy without being too oily. Hai Ky also has excellent chicken pho (not worth waiting in line at TT if I'm planning to have chicken pho, IMHO), and their braised duck leg soup is tasty and cheap. Saigon sandwiches makes great banh mi, though a bit too filling for me. Lee's sandwiches makes a fine sardine banh mi and has a great selection of che, warm sweet desserts made with coconut milk. Ngoc Mai, on Hyde, has excellent banh xeo, creeps with shrimp, pork and bean sprouts, along with many other Vietnamese specialties not available at some of the other places in the neighborhood. A personal favorite of mine is Mung Tho on Hyde, where the owner has created a tiny oasis of cleanliness, beauty and peacefulness in a very rough neighborhood. I usually go for the BANH UOT CHA LUA & TOM CHIEN, a fried shrimp crepe served over rice noodles with sliced pork and vegetables, but I have not been disappointed with any of the items on their limited menu of noodle dishes, with or without soup and banh mi.

Any place new and wonderful in the Castro? [San Francisco]

I realize I'm replying to this thread after the OP left San Francisco, but there are a few places I didn't see mentioned in the thread.

Queen Malika creperie (on 18th between Douglass and Eureka) has been bought by a Chinese woman who has added dim sum and a few other Chinese dishes that are made on the premises and quite good. My favorites are the rice noodles with shrimp (just don't expect big shrimp, or very much shrimp) and the sticky rice steamed in lotus leaves. But everything we tried is good. Prices are only a but higher (and portions a bit smaller) than in the Sunset, Richmond or Chinatwon, but it's the best Chinese food I've eaten in the Castro. Crepes and pastries are still available as well.

I didn't see Thai House Express mentioned in the thread. It's our favorite Thai place in the neighborhood. A couple dishes not found on every Thai menu are their Kao Soi, chicken and noodles in a yellow curry, and Kao Moo, a braised pork leg served with pickled cabbage.

I also like La Tortilla, the taqueria on the east side of Castro just north of 18th street. I'm particularly fond of their sopes (not listed on the menu, but always on display in their glass case), a thick cup shaped piece of masa that one can order with any of their meats. I usually go for the chicken mole, on top of refried beans, with the works on top -- guacamole, sour cream, cheese and salsa.

Finally, does anyone know whether M & L Market on 14th at Church will reopen? I miss Judy's roast beef sandwiches!

"Restaurants" Database To Be Eliminated

I'm not sure I entirely understand how the elimination of the restaurant pages is going to affect the Chowhound experience, but if it makes it harder to find restaurants mentioned in discussions, then it will make me less likely to visit Chowhound when trying to decide where I'm going to eat. Researching a restaurant on Chowhound had always been a confusing experience for me, and anything that makes me more confused will make me more likely to use Yelp or Urban Spoon to read listings and reviews, even if those reviews are not as discriminating as Chowhound discussions have been. If Chowhound loses some of those discriminating reviewers, then the Chowhound experience will not be worth the effort. I would think that Chowhound should try to improve the restaurant pages rather than eliminate them. Compared to other restaurant review sites, Chowhound is much less user-friendly site, especially if one tries to access it by mobile. Efforts should be made to make it easier to look up restaurants and read discussions relating to that restaurant.

Feb 08, 2012
johnrsf in Site Talk

Lunch at Easy Creole (North Beach)

My partner and I tried dinner at Easy Creole at the Residence Bar on 14th at Church last night, and I described my experience in a new topic, as this topic referred to lunch and North Beach. For a complete report, see the link above, but my condensed review is that I loved the gumbo and the chef's enthusiasm for his food, but wasn't a fan of his chicken creole.

Easy Creole
450 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

Easy Creole at the Residence
718 14th St, SF, CA 94114

Dinner at Easy Creole [San Francisco]

Following up on the posts by Melanie Wong and Windy on their lunch at Easy Creole in North Beach, my partner and I decided to check out Easy Creole for dinner at the Residence last night. I had the chicken and sausage gumbo, and my partner had the chicken creole. I thought the chicken and sausage gumbo was delicious. It was a generous serving, with plenty of chicken and sausage, and had a rich complex sauce. I could taste the roux, which was offset by pleasant acidity that the Easy Creole's chef said was due to extra tomato. It was served over white rice, which the owner said could be served on the side, along with with tasty toasted buttery bread on the side. Although the gumbo flavor might have been more intense without the rice, it made for a filling meal with the rice, as it is traditionally served. It needed additional spice for my taste, but that was easily remedied with the hot sauces that were provided -- Crystal hot and extra hot, as well as another unnamed sauce brought to our table in a plastic cup that Easy Creole's owner said was the best in New Orleans. We were glad that the food was not heavily spiced before serving, as my partner had a canker sore and couldn't eat heavily spiced food. I spiced my gumbo after giving him a taste and selfishly ate the rest of the bowl myself.

Neither of us thought the chicken creole was very good. I though it too sweet and gloopy -- perhaps too much tomato. After my partner couldn't eat any more, I added hot sauce, which improved the flavor, but it still was too sweet for me.

We were both impressed by the attentiveness of Easy Creole's chef, who came by a few times to check on how we liked our food and to answer questions. He told us that he was originally from New Orleans, but had grown up in the Bay Area. I must admit that we did not have the heart to tell him that the chicken creole was not a success. I could tell that got pleasure from his guest's enjoyment of his cooking, an essential quality in someone who cooks and serves food for a living. We enjoyed our pop-up experience, which gave us an opportunity to share the chef's enthusiasm for Creole cuisine.

Easy Creole is currently serving dinner on Wednesday night at the Residence, a bar on 14th near Church, and on Fridays at La Victoria Bakery on 24th Street in the Mission.

La Victoria Bakery
2937 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Easy Creole at the Residence
718 14th St, SF, CA 94114

Foodie from Chicago needs to know what SFO Neighborhood to live in.

I'm a former Chicagoan myself, and I'd like to speak up for Potrero Hill, where I first lived in the city. The freeway access is great for the peninsula (the 280 extension is almost empty southbound, giving you a chance to sip your coffee before you decide between 280 or 101). You can walk to Caltrain. Street parking is easy in most parts of the neighborhood. There are several good restaurants to choose from in the neighborhood itself, although you'll probably head to other parts of the city for true foody destinations. Most importantly, it has a lovely feel, floating above the city but still a part of it. Weather is the best in the city as well. The Castro, where I live now, is a good option as well, with a number of good restaurants, easy access to the Muni metro, central location for access to all neighborhoods in the city. The Castro also has great dog parks (Corona Heights, Buena Vista, Dolores Park, Kite Hill, Duboce Park), and a nice mix of straight and gay.

Cheap eats in Castro after 9-9:30PM

I realize I'm writing after the OP's date at the Castro theater, but as a Castro resident who frequents all of the cheap eat places mentioned, I thought I'd chime in in case someone else looks at this list. My first choice would have been Thai House Express as well, although Super Duper and Dinosaurs are also good options. I've had decent food at Criolla Kitchen, but service has been spotty and they left out key ingredients from our orders last time (no shrimp in shrimp gumbo!). Chow is one of my favorite places in the greater Castro, but a bit of a hike after a late movie, and not as cheap as it once was. A couple of options not mentioned: I'm a big fan of the pozole at Taqueria Zapata, which is available any time. The seating isn't the most comfortable, and the pozole isn't one of the best in the city, but it hits the spot on a cold day. I usually prefer La Tortilla for tacos, sopes, burritos and other taqueria staples, not to mention chairs with cushions!. They have pozole on weekends as well.

Hatch Chiles back

Apparently I missed the availability window for Hatch New Mexico green chiles. I found some "New Mexico" green chiles at the Civic Center farmer's market that, according to the rules of the farmer's market, are presumably grown in California. I'm not sure how these differ from Anaheims. I made one batch of green chile pork stew that passed muster with an El Paso-born friend who just returned to the Bay Area after three years in Albequerque. I don't have much experience with real Hatch chiles, so would be interested in hearing from anyone else who tries the California grown green chiles. The vender is on the south side of the Civic Center market near the Muni/Bart escalator. He sells a variety of other kinds of pepppers as well as tomatoes and melons.

Need great Green Chile Stew recipe

I just made your green chile stew recipe with "New Mexico" green chiles purchased at the Civic Center farmers' market in San Francisco. Since anything sold at the market must be grown in California, I'm wondering how close the chiles I used are to chiles grown in New Mexico. The stew was delicious and had the right amount of heat, to my taste. A friend who grew up in El Paso, Texas and just spent three years in Albuquerque tasted it said it was good, although he would have preferred more green chiles, and likes bigger chunks of green chile.

A couple of questions, alanbarnes, if you're still monitoring this thread. I realize proportions in your recipe are approximate, but did you mean a pound and a half of whole chiles, before roasting and seeding, or a pound and a half measured after roasting and seeding? Also, do you think it makes any difference if I roast them under the broiler of my gas oven, as opposed to over the cooktop flame? My gas grill is not functioning right, and it would take forever to roast them over the cooktop.

If any of you reading this thread live in San Francisco (and I seem to remember meeting alanbarnes at a chowdown here) and want to give the California grown New Mexico chiles a try before they're gone for the season, the guy who sells them is near the Muni/Bart escalator, on the south side of the market. He also sells melons, tomatoes and a variety of other peppers (non-organic, I assume). I bought a whole bunch yesterday for a dollar a pound.

Oct 17, 2011
johnrsf in Home Cooking

Seeking unique breakfast in San Francisco (see wish list)

If you like Filipino breakfasts (silogs, a word that describes a combination of garlic fried rice, fried eggs, and breakfast meat), you should try the aptly-named Tselogs on Mission Street in Daly City, just across the border from San Francisco. They have delicious silogs -- I've tried the longanisa, tocino, sisig, bangus and beef tapa, and have heard that their fried chicken is also wonderful. Very friendly, very clean and very reasonable, with silogs costing 4.99 to 5.99, and they have had a special from 9 am to 1 pm with all silogs 3.99. Only one small egg is included in their silogs, so I'd recommend paying an extra .75 to get an extra egg. Sisig, made with marinated bits of chicken, onion and garlic is my favorite, served in a sizzling mini-skillet, but I haven't been disappointed by any of their offerings yet. Their skinless longanisa appears to be homemade. They also serve very good pancit bihon, pancit palabok, and arroz caldo. I haven't yet tried their filipino spaghetti, with sweet meat sauce. They're not open Sunday mornings, but they are open late on Friday and Saturday nights for late night breakfasts.

6055 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

Dinosaurs (banh mi sandwiches) in SF Castro District

My partner and I have been there twice, having tried their combination (pate and a couple kinds of pork cold cuts) as well as their meatball sandwiches. While the price is a bit higher than the Tenderloin banh mi joints such as Saigon Sandwich, the quality is quite good, and we appreciate having a quality banh mi place in our neighborhood that has pleasant seating, both indoors and outdoors, with sunny outdoor tables, allowing us to bring our dog. It's also very reasonable for the neighborhood, and no long lines (I don't really get Ike's, having tried it once and found it disappointing.)

The sandwiches are on (what appear to be) toasted rolls that have been hollowed out, resulting in a crunchy crust and a nice meat to bread ratio (closer to what I've had Vietnam, where the sandwiches are more snacks than the gut bombs we get at Saigon Sandwich), with the right proportion of meat, pickled veggies and mayonnaise.. We both loved their meatball sandwich, with a generous portion of nicely spiced solid pork meatballs sliced in half. Both the flavor and the texture of the meatball are different from the ones I've had at other banh mi places in San Francisco (Saigon Sandwich and Little Vietnam, where the meatballs are more crumbly), but I liked it just as much. I don't think their pork combo sandwich is as good as Saigon Sandwich's special combo, probably because they use cold cuts with the pate instead of the roasted pork that SS uses. I haven't yet tried their grilled pork or chicken, or their tuna or fried tofu sandwiches, but probably will.soon.

I'll still go to Saigon Sandwich when I"m near the Tenderloin and want a sandwich to go (the two seats there are often taken and not too pleasant to sit at, with the customers waiting for their sandwiches standing over you) or Little Vietnam, when in the Inner Richmond But I must admit, now that I've had banh mi in Vietnam and at Dinosaur and Little Vietnam in San Francisco, I find the banh mi at Saigon Sandwich a little too much -- too much bread, too much meat -- like many ethnic foods in this country, where portion sizes get expanded to match American appetites. I'm not sure Dinosaur is worth a detour for people who aren't in the Castro already, but it's definitely a nice addition to the neighborhood. The Castro's other banh mi sandwich place, Castro Tart on Castro street, uses soft rolls that they bake themselves -- not a bad sandwich, but not the crunch I expect in a banh mi.

Saigon Sandwich Shop
560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Little Vietnam Cafe
309 6th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

Castro Tarts
564 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Suggestions near 9th and Harrison

Juhu Beach Club, on 11th between Harrison and Folsom, for Indian sandwiches and small plates from a former Top Chef contestant.

Juhu Beach Club
, San Francisco, CA

Tajine is Closed

They've reopened in a much larger, nicer space quite a ways up Polk street near Clay. Same affordable menu, excellent quality and friendly service. Use the link below to find more detailed reports from myself and others.

Tajine Moroccan Restaurant
1653 Polk St, San Francisco, CA

Zitouna v. Tajine

Tajine has reopened on Polk Street near Clay, in a space formerly occupied by an Indian restaurant. Use the link below to find my report and others of their new location.

Tajine Moroccan Restaurant
1653 Polk St, San Francisco, CA

Tajine reopening in The Heights?

I went there today for lunch, and had one of their vegetarian sandwiches, the Casa, eggplant with tomato and peppers on a toasted French roll with delicious fries on the side. All of this for six bucks! And they also gave me a warm flatbread covered with sesame seeds and some olive oil while I waited for my sandwich and a cup of sweet tea after I'd finished the sandwich.

I'm looking forward to trying the rest of the menu, especially the tajines an cous cous dishes. I was the only person there when I first arrived around 12:30 pm on a Tuesday, but received a warm welcome from the owner, who I remembered.from his old location. The new space is quite a bit larger than the old Tenderloin location, with seating for 44, and nicer as well.

Best ham, roast beef, meatloaf, turkey or roast chicken sandwiches in the Bay Area

Do any of them do char dogs (grilled hot dogs)? I failed to get my fix on my last trip back home to Chicago, and now I'm still craving one. The steamed dogs they sell at O'Hare don't quite cut it.