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Pub to sample California Microbrews

if your spouse can tolerate you taking a solo trip, hog's apothecary is about a ten minute walk on flat ground from a BART station. as noted, their list is calif exclusively.

about 4 hours ago
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

M. H. Bread & Butter in San Anselmo

welcome to Calif, Stefan. the local tomatoes have just begun to hit their stride, along with the stone fruits. thank you again for your hospitality. let us know via e-mail if there's something we can help you find in the area. au revoir.

Jul 12, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Unique to SF or Cal - Must eats for out-of towners

when in season, the local lobster is quite good in Santa Barbara. ripe ollalieberrys are softer and more fragile than many of their similar cousins, like blackberries or marionberries, and if a food can't travel well it won't be served fresh in a wide geographic area.

Jul 07, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Swedish Food? Where?

thank you again, xiao yang. sausage and mashed potatoes combined in a flat bread wrap w. a salad -- sometimes it's shrimp salad apparently -- sounds like another variation of the 'new Scandinavian cuisine '.

the tunnbrødsrulle appears to be well engineered for a hand held food that includes plenty of carbs, protein, fat, even veg, that people who drink all night (long nights up there in Sweden ?) can count on to keep them going.

Jun 30, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Swedish Food? Where?

thought it was clear that my description and impression came from fictional portrayals of folks in Sweden, but o.k. if you wish to think that differentiation is beyond my feeble means.
met chef Terje at a benefit for the tsunami disaster, enjoyed his food very much.
only mentioned Samuelsson because he was fairly unique in NY in the late 80s and quite successful -- and his success might have encouraged others, because there seems to be more places with 'new Scandinavian cuisine' now, Plaj possibly one of them.

Jun 29, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Swedish Food? Where?

my limited understanding of Swedish culture comes from reading Mankell and seeing some television programs produced and filmed there. the Swedish people portrayed therein don't seem particularly attached to their own foods -- popular choices portrayed include sandwiches, pizza, Thai and Indian foods.

what is their cuisine noted for ? pickled fish, or is that in the other countries in the region ? the noted chef Marcus Samuelsson started his U.S. career auspiciously in NY, the youngest chef at the time to get three stars from the nytimes, at Aquavit, but it appears his restaurants here after his debut stayed away from what he termed 'new Scandinavian cuisine'. of course that might also be different than what you're searching for.

Jun 29, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria (Geyersville)

for the folks who aren't familiar with the Dry Creek region of Sonoma County, or ignored the signs on the way to the casino, the name of the town is Geyserville.

Diavola is probably our favorite calitaliano place in the state. thorough farm to table approach, everything made from pork or offal is top notch.

Jun 27, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area
1

to chez panisse or to not chez panisse, that is the question

again, tried to keep things succinct and didn't clarify that the reinforcement of one's identity or 'hipness' doesn't have to come from recognition from the staff or others -- the sanctuary, whether c.panisse or the favoured watering hole, becomes a reflection or projection of how one feels about oneself.

you have clearly observed and understood the diversity of food obsessives. the mind is quite powerful, and there really is no objective,standard criteria that fits all, in terms of 'the food sends them.' if .88 of respondents say c.panisse's experience is not to be missed, we have no standard to distinguish how many were influenced by their dining companions or waters' reputation. there's also a sampling bias at work -- someone who goes there once or twice, enjoyed it in moderate proportion but wasn't sufficiently moved to comment one way or the other, or was left indifferent, simply doesn't register.

Jun 26, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

to chez panisse or to not chez panisse, that is the question

cioppino has versions with and without Dungeness crab, probably the most notable native edible arthopod, but those are out of season and you'd be eating stuff from Alaska or frozen. there are probably good non crab versions around, it is such a popular local dish.

vibrantly fresh seafood, simply prepared, no table service, right on the water, Fish in Sausalito. about 20 min. north of SF (plus the time you need to get through SF itself to reach the bridge, itself a tourist attraction.) most other seafood places will serve a mix of local and non local stuff.

Jun 26, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

to chez panisse or to not chez panisse, that is the question

didn't intend to imply that every regular customer of revered institutions keep going to have their self worth burnished, should have made that clear. but of those who do, some aren't self aware sufficiently to see it, or be able to admit it. if person x is proud to consider itself a food cognoscenti, it is probably also convinced of its objectivity -- most of us don't see all of our own biases.

some folks go drink at regular watering holes though they know another spot has a better mixologist, or serve the same booze at better prices, but their regular provides reassurance and psychological benefits.

Jun 26, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

to chez panisse or to not chez panisse, that is the question

to expand a bit on your characterization of those who do or do not 'connect with the vision' -- regular customers of revered institutions either in berserkly or Paris (Tour d'Argent enjoys a spectacular setting among other attributes) usually omit a significant, personal aspect of their attachment. those restaurants reinforce their personal identity and self worth, a sense of well being beyond whether the meal was satisfying or delicious.

a regular at Tour d'Argent might admit they love being reminded they're well off and pampered and can pay for the beautiful view -- might be more difficult to get a c.panisse regular to confess, 'love having my status as a food cognoscenti confirmed and rewarded'.

Jun 26, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area
1

I think I got myself a plan- now which of these 3 wine itineraries would you choose? :)

there are at least four or five places to eat in Healdsburg or Geyserville that we find much more interesting than Farmhouse Inn, and most of them are less expensive. what led you to choose Farmhouse Inn, and what meets your criteria for 'nice place' ?

Jun 25, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

LA to SF Weekend Trip Report

thanks for reporting. you're in a very small minority with me and mi espousa querida who've been underwhelmed by the pizza at Cotogna. for that style of wood fired pizza, we've liked versions at two places on Melrose (Caffe Angeli now closed of course), and one in Costa Mesa more.

consider the lines of people as a sign that SF isn't quite the city of free thinking non conformists it used to think it was.

Jun 24, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Trip report - first visit to Bay Area

without the written Chinese, just a guess, treasure/precious bun -- two different words that would be transliterated as 'bao'.

Jun 24, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

to chez panisse or to not chez panisse, that is the question

here's a minority report, and be free to disregard it and go along with consensus. what is your general response to understatement and minimalism ? if you feel they allow ingredients to speak for themselves, you are likely to enjoy c.panisse. if you prefer some original flourishes (yes of course they were original-ish thirty years ago), bolder, creative touches when you go to higher end establishments, you'll still enjoy the food but might want more. they're reliable. you won't get an ill conceived or poorly composed dish there, part of the virtue of understatement.

there's another element that might be in play for visitors -- it's a famous institution and deserves a pilgrimage. if that is the only way to satisfy one's curiosity or yearning to pay homage to the institution, one does what one must.

Jun 24, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Bagels in Sonoma County

the chewiness of the crumb and of course how the crust responds to heating and its flavor are for me the 'tells' on the bagel maker's technique -- traditional, no cutting corners, or not. thanks for the feed back.

Jun 23, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Four Days in San Francisco-- Please Critique (apologies for the long intro)

those were the days. could stay for the final set at Barkan's club Keystone Korner and catch some flamenco in the early a.m. a few doors away.

Jun 22, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Day 1 San Francisco Reviews - Griddle Fresh, Mitchell's, Mission Chinese Food, Quince, The Square

have read and enjoyed many of your reports, Michael. don't recall that you've visited too many conventional southern Chinese restaurants. the bacalao fried rice sounds like a variation of dried fish or dried scallops fried rice. the dried scallops variation usually has egg whites, and compared to Sichuan or Hunan dishes, it would indeed seem bland. it does not resemble other fried rice dishes either, 'cause it's usually very light in color rather than a shade of brown from soy and/or oyster sauce. thanks for visiting.

Jun 21, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Four Days in San Francisco-- Please Critique (apologies for the long intro)

one option for Mexican food with SF specificity would be Nopalito. typical dishes, executed at a high level, with top quality fresh and local ingredients. the ingredients used set it apart from most other SF Mexican spots -- basically the same stuff as the Calif cuisine affiliated restaurant Nopa.

Jun 21, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

best dimsum in oakland?

did Happy Valley change owners or operators in the past few years, and/or were there any discernible improvements ? went there a few times for dinner, very reasonable of course, but the cooking and general feel of the place was a bit tired. thanks.

Jun 20, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Falafel: SFBA Dish of the Month June 2014

T.Joes frozen falafel patties provide me a regular fix ; w. my dining companion we rarely go to middle eastern spots for lunch or dinner. as pamf notes their texture isn't ideal, but my technique includes both the microwave to thaw and then crisping in the toaster oven. they get dressed with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and espelette or a similar red pepper.

my earliest experiences with falafel were from street carts, fresh made. getting served reheated stuff isn't worth the monetary or opportunity investment for me. these frozen patties are comparable to many of premade/reheated versions at a much friendlier price.

my choice of fresh made falafel in this area, with the ideal choices of veg, pickles, dressings and condiments, would also be the Liba Falafel truck cited by several others here.

Jun 18, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Dock at Linden Street [Oakland]

the glaze is more delicate, spicing/acidifying more nuanced in Fusebox's wings. the style at the Dock struck me as a bit brawnier, heartier. heat level is pretty close, perhaps a bit higher at Fusebox.

Jun 18, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Dock at Linden Street [Oakland]

edit, it's Fusebox's Korean fried chicken wings that the Dock's variation tied for my favorites.

Jun 18, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Dock at Linden Street [Oakland]

would have enjoyed a good socca or farinata more than this waffle, actually, but the waffle made for a very attractive presentation. they do serve more than just Linden St. brews, probably the majority on their list are not their own. their beer menu probably offers less description of the beers than any of the 'beer geek' pubs we've tried in the area, and if our server was representative of the staff in terms of communicating characteristics of the beers, getting samples is about the only way to know what you'd want. service was quite good in all respects otherwise.

Jun 18, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Dock at Linden Street [Oakland]

disclosure -- falafel is a regular part of my diet. this version, other than the vibrant green colour, had the appearance and texture of a crisp, light Belgian style waffle. had a subtle taste of falafel seasonings, but not the characteristic legume (chick pea or fava) flavour. result, tasted much more like a waffle than a falafel to me.

Jun 18, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Dock at Linden Street [Oakland]

we tried the Dock for our first time last night and quite enjoyed the food. the menu has quite a range of temptations considering the modest size of the establishment, and the six dishes we tried made the meal nearly in the same price range as Boxes and Bells, where we also enjoyed the food.

favorite dish for me was the pot of steamed clams in spicy broth with kim chee and bacon ($14), optional side of mini roti ($3) made it the most expensive course we tried. the chicken wings smothered in a spicy glaze were also top notch, tied for me with Hopscotch's Korean fried wings in that category. oysters in the po'boy were perfectly cooked and delicious, but it failed as a po' boy because they served them in two slider buns, and for me the slightly sweet, soft buns detracted both from the taste of the sweet briny oysters and their texture.

not sure if we would return very often, even with how much the food and service pleased us. ordered three different beers, sampled another, and didn't think the range and quality of their list is quite up to the very high standard we've seen in recent times around Oakland. unlike many of the other beer-centric pubs, everything we saw and drank was served in good sized glass mugs, and their prices are generally lower considering the quantity, which makes the Dock's obvious to beer imbibers. for me personally, actually prefer to drink many ales in specialized glassware with smaller capacities. the food at the Dock, o.t.o.h., is quite attractively plated on relatively basic and simple serving ware -- the merguez on felafel waffle (green from the parsley infusing its batter) in particular.

the server we had at Brotzeit was more knowledgeable about their wider range of beers than the very pleasant gal who served us at the Dock. just from the detailed, verbal descriptions at Brotzeit of three different German brews was able to choose one that was very pleasing. the two establishments are quite different in approach of course, and ironically the Dock has no view onto the water -- the outside seating looks onto the parking lot -- while Brotzeit is nearly surrounded by water and boats. the food preparations and presentation are much more basic at Brotzeit, but the very high quality of ingredients is obvious in the flavor and just as complementary to the beers as anything at the Dock. the house brew Linden St. makes for Brotzeit is also quite good, for my tastes one of their best. [for non-oaktowners, Brotzeit is also just off the Embarcadero on the waterfront, but east of Jack London Sq. while the Dock is west and at the fringe of W.Oakland].

Jun 15, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Alta, Ca. [San Francisco]

the conventions you adhere to about produce at its best might not always apply to all crops in northern calif., that's all. are sweet potatoes always at their best in Nov and Dec only, because the convention and growing conditions developed in another part of the continent determined the harvest for that crop ?

Jun 09, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Alta, Ca. [San Francisco]

Patterson probably knows a grower or two who will produce the veg in parts of the year that the 'seasonal' growers have switched to other crops. if broccoli in our part of the state can be cultivated almost year round, some places could come close with the sprouts.

Jun 09, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Alta, Ca. [San Francisco]

some markets are still selling calif. grown brussels sprouts. if there's a year round demand for them, they could be cultivated/harvested nearly year round as well, like their close relatives are. and of course the bay area is adjacent to prime farmland for their cultivation on the central coast just to the south.

Jun 09, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to live in Oakland for food?

since the other discussants lumped together Grand-Lakeshore (Adam's Point disappeared in there and it's a distinct district, quite different than the opposite side of the lake) -- there's an exclusive arm of lakeshore adjacent to Piedmont, Trestle Glen, nearly as dear as Rockridge or Claremont/Elmwood.
getting back to the original query, other than the cost of inhabitation, much depends on the resident's preferences as far as transportation, basically, how car dependent one prefers to be. we live half a mile from 580/Grand Ave (one of the best farmer's markets in town) and bicycle access for grocery shopping, multiple sources including Piedmont Ave., is excellent. round trip to the farmer's market, or Piedmont Ave., or trader j's, or w.foods, each 20-30 min.

Jun 09, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area