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Hamro Aangan -- Indian/Nepalese [Albany]

we've been to Vik's seven or eight times over the years in the different locations and stopped going -- the cooking is fine but the overall experience is lacking a certain leisure and enjoyment component for me. probably a symptom of getting old.

Apr 14, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Hamro Aangan -- Indian/Nepalese [Albany]

the chicken chwela is on the appetizer part of the menu, it's served chilled along with the cold potato salad and room temp beaten rice. one expects two chutneys + rasam with dosa or uttapam, and the pickle (similar color to the frequently seen tamarind chutney) appeared where one often sees a cilantro or tamarind complement to a coconut one.

Apr 14, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Hamro Aangan -- Indian/Nepalese [Albany]

dosa + Nepali specialties brought us north to try Hamro Aangan. the owner has taken the sel roti off the menu, so that wasn't available, but fortunately the aloo ko achar was part of the chilled chicken appetizer (actually a full plate of food), chicken chwela. rounding out the dish was something else new to us, beaten rice -- small, flat, rice flakes resembling white tea leaves. lightly coated with oil and a crust of crushed dried red chilis, the chicken (on its own) could almost pass as a Sichuan dish.

the kashi ko masu was meatier and heartier than most goat curries we've had in local Indian-Pakistani eateries, very good. their renditions of masala dosa and uttapam were also quite acceptable ; could have been cooked a touch crisper, but generous portions and good flavour. their style of rasam is not the sharp, somewhat thin, acidic stuff some places serve, but was generous with veg and had a medium bodied, smooth broth and mild tang. the second chutney to the usual coconut that came with both the dosa and uttapam along with rasam was a pleasant and piquant tea leaf pickle, earthy, reddish brown in color.

service was excellent and the noise level quite comfortable, with music from the region at low volume in the background.

Apr 13, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Nepali (x2) in Berkeley ?

not assuming at all that they're Nepali style dosas. they might have a multi ethnic kitchen staff (note M.Wong's report, "he has a separate cook who makes the dosa"), or a cook who's lived in varying parts of the sub continent, or learned the techniques in various kitchens where he or she worked. in any case, we don't really enjoy Vik's or the Berkeley branch of Udupi, so Albany is as close as anywhere else we could find dosai.

Apr 12, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Nepali (x2) in Berkeley ?

thank you one and all for the informative replies. H. Aangan looks intriguing because they apparently serve dishes from the opposite side of the subcontinent, dosas and uttapam, probably unique to the area's Nepali eateries. will defer to the driver's decision.

Apr 12, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Nepali (x2) in Berkeley ?

we're passing through downtown Berkeley in a few days. has anyone tried either Taste of the Himalayas (just north of downtown) or Himalayan Flavors (a bit west) recently ? apparently they're both owned by the same family. is the cooking at either nuanced and distinctive, rather than generic -- they have similar menu dishes. if there's another Nepali place close by that's superior, suggestions are welcome of course. thanks to all.

Apr 11, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

High-end and about average restaurants in Union Square, SF

the financial district is virtually adjacent to the Union Sq. area and has one of the city's highest concentrations of eateries in that category.

Apr 10, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Posole - SFBA Dish of the Month April 2014

the posole verde was available in their take out cooler by the quart last weekend. included an abbreviated garnish in a separate container (no avocado, nor tostada). concur, it's top notch, really smooth. chile relleno also available in the take out fridge, a regular item there and one of my favorites, along with their excellent chicken mole tamales in banana leaf.

Apr 05, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Padi, Homestyle Indonesian, Open in Berkeley

we trekked down to san leandro a couple of saturdays ago. the cafe there is a bit smaller, not that the one on college ave. was large. ambience is more spartan as well, with all the serving ware plastic. only about eight other folks dining around 7.30. we enjoyed the food but thought it was a different cook and a notch below what we had enjoyed in the other spot. against my advice mi espousa cara wanted all the dishes 'spicy' and a couple of the dishes were beyond her tolerance, though the unique nuances of each still came through for me. for those who enjoy high, complex spice levels it's worth trying.

Apr 02, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Latin American Food crawl suggestions San Francisco only

this is welcome news, gracias. i.i.r.c., the meat salten~as have both chicken and ground beef, rather than chicken with only chicken, papa, egg,olive/veg., but it's been some time.

Apr 01, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

your parents sound reasonable to me. Indian-Pakistani foods can be marvelous but in many restaurants they're too salty and oily as well. and home cooked Sichuan food is oily and salty similar to what's in the restaurants.

have you ever been to Fusebox ? their interpretation of Korean-calif food has a lighter touch ; the ambience is austere, by no means fancy, but not divey.

Mar 30, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Rosso in Petaluma?

thank you. missed seeing your review, or probably would have chosen different dish to try. your read of the chicken as a piccata is more educated and generous than mine -- seemed to me it reflected the negative influence of fast food chicken on an American classic.

Mar 30, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

just curious, where do you parents live, that the Chinese foods here don't meet their standard, but Vietnamese food is acceptable ?

Mar 30, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Rosso in Petaluma?

overall impression, mildly positive, the cooking is very eclectic bordering on a diluted style trying for a broad appeal. could imagine them almost as a franchised formula kind of family restaurant. saw a flyer about a whole pig roast, served with a visiting local brewer's beers and polenta, which they held a week ago. a meal like that probably would have given me a very different impression, but it was a special event.

our appetizer and salad were Calif-cuisine with fresh ingredients, brussel sprouts braised with confited duck and a roasted beet salad with goat cheese. a handful more sprouts would have balanced the dish better for our taste, but most folks might prefer the robust cruciferous utterly smothered with something rich and oily/fatty. very good none the less. with good ingredients the beet salad only needed competent execution to be satisfying, which it was.

the place emphasizes its wood fired pizza and fresh mozzarella, but my spouse's lactose intolerance limits our intake of freshly made cheeses like burrata or mozzarella. we had the Parma pizza, which was tasty and well executed. just not quite at the level of A16 or Pizzaiolo which are much closer to our door, or Diavola which is more distant. another featured menu item that's been highly praised is the buttermilk fried chicken with gluten free coating. was surprised to find that it was deboned -- to their credit, it's done in a manner that the white meat and dark meat each have their own section that retains the shape of the bird, and it was perfectly fried. it was a very attractive plate visually, the two pieces stacked over tasty potatoes au gratin with a small pool of bacon gravy, but some flavor and texture is inevitably lost, or at least homogenized in the process, and the seasoning lacked spicing and character. the bacon gravy was mildly sweet, not cloying or heavy, but lacked complexity.

a rescue was provided by the fellow who appeared to be functioning as floor manager and asked for my impression of the chicken. told him my preference for bone-in, and said it needs either hot sauce or a kick of cayenne in the coating. and he brought out a delightful condiment, a dipping sauce they serve with another Southern-inspired dish, fried green beans, made from Calabrian red peppers. this totally changed the chicken around for the better, applied liberally.

drinking alone, did not pursue the corkage policy, but they offer a good variety of wines by the glass, priced very reasonably for respectable 6 oz. pours. service was excellent.

Mar 30, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Best pizza in the East Bay

we've had about six takeout pies from Slicer in recent months, and inconsistent crust is their principal shortcoming, considering the $25. tag. one or two were borderline overdone, and one was tough to the point it would have been sent back if that were practical.

we tried three or four pies from Emilia's, and inconsistent crust was also his main shortcoming. for that quasi-NY style, our current favorite is Gioia's, a level better than Slicer in about every aspect for the same price, but we've only tried them once so the verdict is pending.

Mar 29, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

New Xi'an/Shaanxi restaurant Terra Cotta Warrior on Judah St. [San Francisco]

thanks again, Xiao Yang.

Mar 13, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Best "Local" Seafood Restaurants in Bay Area? Coming from a distance and need FIX!

if you're trekking as far as Healdsburg, Mateo Granados gets his seafood directly from fishermen/gatherers and boats he supports.

Mar 13, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Best "Local" Seafood Restaurants in Bay Area? Coming from a distance and need FIX!

the locally caught seafood varies with the season of course, and many SF restaurants that feature seafood have a significant part of their menu based on stuff that's flown in [on an oyster selection for example, one or two varieties offered will be local, several won't be]. wild abalone is local enough, but so rarely seen in licensed eateries it isn't realistically worth considering. one place that consistently has a number of choices that are locally sourced (and explicitly noted on its menu) is Fish in Sausalito. generally speaking for the present, the Dungeness crab with the season waning might not even be very local now, but the petrale sole or sand dabs will be (herring or sardines are often a good bet as well). other stuff will be dependent on getting accurate info on the source from the restaurant.

Mar 13, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Rosso in Petaluma?

planning to try it in a few weeks. can't get enough road trips through Marin and Sonoma counties.

Mar 09, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Beer Lao, beerlao in SF

enjoyed a dark beer Lao w. our dinner at Khin Khao last night. wasn't aware that its brewer is Czech when describing it to my non-imbibing spouse as similar to the original Budweiser. the rice component was noticeable in the aftertaste, with a nuance similar to sake. refreshing enough to indulge in quantity, but as the foods were rich, copious, and satisfying, had just one.

Mar 09, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Excellent off the beaten path affordable Cantonese at Yum's Bistro in Fremont

quite humorous, really, how some names and concepts cross the culturo-liguistic divide. translating 'Guifei ' as 'concubine' would be like translating 'Pompadour' (Louis XIV de France) as 'concubine', though the role of Yang Guifei in the history of the Tang dynasty bears a slightly closer resemblance to the Duchess of Windsor (Mrs.Wallace Simpson after her earlier marriage). Yang Guifei as a legendary beauty bringing the fall of an empire resembles Helen of Troy for that matter -- are surf clams considered particularly beautiful in physical appearance ?

Mar 06, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area
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Ruth's annual birthday dinner dilemma -- 2014 edition

some dishes at Hopscotch (like the gumbo) have virtually no east Asian influence, or extremely slight (excellent burger with tongue), but the menu is extremely brief, and the ambience is minimalist 1930s luncheonette. the cooking at Miss Ollie's to my tastes is two notches more interesting than Pican, in the African-american diaspora vein, but Pican has a very plush, comfortable ambience (soft large chairs capable of comfortably seating 300 lb. individuals if necessary), with more foods closer to the continental U.S. mainstream.

Mar 02, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Ruth's annual birthday dinner dilemma -- 2014 edition

is it really in a higher price range than a place like Aziza ? agree, the noise level is noticeable at Duende, but to my chagrin some popular spots with food of less distinction are even louder. and some quieter spots have duller foods and ambiences to match, like Camino.

Mar 02, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Ruth's annual birthday dinner dilemma -- 2014 edition

have you tried Duende yet ? their approach to food is pretty distinctive, but your previous choices are fairly diverse in styles too.

Mar 02, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Any transplants from LA to SF (or vice versa I suppose) that would enjoy a discussion of food/restaurant theory?

have met Ms.Lindgren before, and ate at the first A16 back when it was new and Napoletana pizzas were fewer and farther between in these parts. we prefer the menu and cooking at SPQR, generally find it lower in noise volume and more leisurely compared to A16, and don't consider national stereotypes or characterizations in our preferences. we usually bring our own wine -- even after corkage, comparable stuff is often $40-50+ over the original retail price.

Feb 26, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Kin Khao - Thai-style Thai in SF

if you have cooked with dou fu vs. chicken or pork with very similar spicing, you'd probably notice how the meat and meat broth changes how your palate deciphers the spicing, relative to the fairly neutral dou fu. (fat tends to help buffer heat, among other things). the chef might also use less salt/salty condiment (many variations of course in Asian foods, some with fermented fish or shrimp) in one compared to the other.

Feb 26, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Any transplants from LA to SF (or vice versa I suppose) that would enjoy a discussion of food/restaurant theory?

Bacoman, since you mentioned a place we go for semi-special occasions, and are interested in meal costs -- we had a very good dinner recently at SPQR when two small production wine makers were visiting with their wines. spent $120. per person, which included two half glasses of white wine plus another glass of the older vintage, which was as fine as any dry white we've had from anywhere (the winemaker brought only 5 bottles or so with him), and 500 ml. of a very good, young ('08) Piemontese nebbiolo. service was excellent, as usual, a fairly significant factor in our affection for the place.

Feb 26, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to find newly allowed Italian meats in Bay area??

the imports aren't superior in every instance to the best domestic products. it's what you prefer, and a blind tasting is the fairest test. specifically, there are a handful of outstanding traditional (air cured with salt only, no smoking, like prosciutto di Parma) domestic hams from humanely raised heritage breeds that are equal to most of the imports. selbstverstänlich, the imports that reach your local retailer here don't necessarily represent the very best that you could find in Italia.

Feb 25, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area

Fish Restaurant in Sausalito - Report

everything we've had at Fish, sides, soups, salad, tacos, larger plates, has been good to excellent, as fresh as any more expensive places, with a light touch in the kitchen. to find seafood equally fresh that's much lower in price, we'd probably have to drive even further. we often get a local variety, simple prep, with the house made, fresh linguine, and one of the best plates we had was broiled halibut collar.

Feb 25, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Gitane 8/24/13 [San Francisco]

the 'holiday' for the lunar new year traditionally goes from the new moon to the full moon, somewhat resembling the old Roman ('pagan') holiday periods or the old world christmas-related rituals and observances (probably influenced by the Roman festivals).

Feb 16, 2014
moto in San Francisco Bay Area