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Saha -- Best Middle Eastern in SF?

Excellent food, a very welcoming and attractive restaurant, and a wonderful host (Hoss, the owner). It is in a different catagory from Fatoush and Tuba which are more casual neighborhood places. Zare is one of our "special occasion" places to go.

Aug 19, 2013
Burt in San Francisco Bay Area

Slurp Your Noodles—Deliciously!

Rent the movie, Tanpopo, which is in Japanese with English subtitles. A treatise on producing the best bowl of noodles, with overtones of the Lone Ranger who rides into town on his white horse with his trusty sidekick to help the downtrodden widow. It is a comedic take on many aspects of Japanese food and the social aspects surrounding food. It has a wonderful segment on slurping vs. not slurping noodles.

Dec 31, 2011
Burt in Features

Passover - what I can make ahead or freeze?

The week before Passover we make our chicken soup early, refrigerate the broth and defat it, and then freeze it. We use whole chickens, cut into parts to make the broth. The breasts are shredded and frozen separate from the broth and we eat the dark meat parts. Matzah balls are made separately, frozen on cookie sheets, bagged and stored in the freezer til used. The day before the seder we defrost the broth and shredded chicken breasts, cook the veggies (onions, carrots, parsnips, celery, parsley) in the broth, put the shredded chicken in after the veggies are fully cooked and refrigerate. before the seder we reheat the soup with the defrosted matzah balls matzah balls and serve. If you cook the veggies in the soup before freezing they get mushy. The shredded chicken gets tough if recooked as long as the veggies take to cook.

Mar 22, 2010
Burt in Home Cooking

North Vietnamese at Quan Bac in SF?

DezzerSF - is that the PPQ Pho restaurant on Irving between 19th and 20th Avenue? One of my favorite spots for a great bowl of Pho!

Mar 08, 2010
Burt in San Francisco Bay Area

Essencia in Hayes Valley

we had one meal there that we enjoyed and decided to go back for dinner before the symphony. Took for ever to get a menu and when the food didn't arrive in nearly an hour we just got up and left! It wasn't worth missing the first half of the symphony program. Not surprised that it has closed.

Jan 25, 2010
Burt in San Francisco Bay Area

Q Restaurant?

Not my favorite by a long shot. The place has a funky atmosphere (read kind of run down) and the food is underwhelming. Some funky places are cool, but the food has to be up to par for me to come back. Definitely not returning to Q.

Jan 25, 2010
Burt in San Francisco Bay Area

Cheesecake recommendation needed

Zanze's is very nice if you like a light, frothy style cheesecake. My preference, however is a more dense, classic cheesecake. My favorite is from Sweet Cheeses in San Anselmo and avialable at Brian's in SF.

Jan 11, 2010
Burt in San Francisco Bay Area

Pho at Perilla?[San Francisco]

Same owner as PPQ? Interesting, as they have a Pho restaurant on Irving between 19th and 20th AVenue - the one on the north side of the street, NOT the one on the south side of Irving. One of may favorite Pho places and the one I migrate to on any cold day when I'm in the neighborhood.

Jan 04, 2010
Burt in San Francisco Bay Area

Downtown restaurant for special event

Kokari has two rooms that will accomodate private parties. Excellent food. We ate there the night before New Year's Eve - an easier night to celebrate New Year's! Great appetizers, special lamb and fish dishes. This is one of our "special" event places. We've hosted family birthday parties and our anniversary there. You will have to check with them to see if they can accomodate 80 people.

Jan 04, 2010
Burt in San Francisco Bay Area

What happened to all the good deli's in SF

Born and raised in SF - The last remnants of Jewish Filmore neighborhood were some used furniture stores (aka antiques) and the Ukraine bakery in the 60's. David's and Solomon's, on Geary in the theater district were not great. We recently went to the East Coast West Deli, and I really enjoyed a smoked fish plate. Unfortunately, SF hasn't had a Kosher or Kosher style deli like those I've enjoyed in New York or Detroit.

Jan 04, 2010
Burt in San Francisco Bay Area

Best cheesecake in SF?

My favorite Cheesecake in the SF area is from a small bakery in San Anselmo called "Sweet Cheeses." They bake only for restaurants, caterers, and a few retail outlets. Their cheesecakes are available at Brian's in Laurel Village on California Street, but you can also contact them via their phone number which is on their web site. A friend of mine special-ordered their cheesecakes and a killer chocolate mouse torte for a party recently. Both were fantastic. The cheesecake is NOT the frothy type - Zanze's is a light rendition - or "factory" prepared in large quantities ala Cheesecake Factory. It is a classic NY type cheesecake, and Sweet Cheeses also makes seasonally flavored ones as well. I tried their pumpkin cheesecake at Thanksgiving and loved it.

For a large party ask them if they will do the cheesecake and Chocolate mouse torte cut in sqare pieces and presented in a checkerboard pattern.

Jan 04, 2010
Burt in San Francisco Bay Area

Slow-Cooked Stuffed Cabbage

Sounds great. One of my aunts made the stuffed cabbage rolls as a cassarole instead of rolls. Anyone out there know the technique? Is it just a matter of layering the various ingredients? One aunt called them Holishkas and another called them Chalipshas. Both must be a bastardization of Russian.

Sep 21, 2009
Burt in Recipes

Charred Eggplant Salad

My mother actually used green bell peppers but my wife's family used red bell peppers. I was using a food processor for this salad until last year when a friend of my wife's gave me the wooden chopping bowl that had been her grandmother's for my birthday. Really a sweet and sentimental gift. When I opened the gift box the bowl was filled with the ingredients for the eggplant salad. Each vegitable was picture perfect - a beautiful eggplant, perfect onion, absolutely symetrical red bell pepper, and a chopping blade the quality of which our parents and grandparents could not have imagined! I immediately set the bowl on a seamless black background, arranged the veggies and blade, and took a picture which I framed and gave to the person who had given me this gift.

Sep 15, 2009
Burt in Recipes

Charred Eggplant Salad

MarniW - My mother made a similar recipe with the exclusion of some of the condiments. Her father emigrated from Russia shortly after 1900 and her mother's parents were from Russia as well. My father's father emigrated from Rumania. The eggplant was cooked right on the stove's gas burner. It had to be turned frequently, and the skin did become charred to give it a smokey taste. That smokey taste, to me, was a defining flavor of the salad. My mother-in-law's preparation did not have the tomato finely chopped and included chopped sweet red peppers. Her parents had emigrated from Russia. before food processors were available the tool of choice was a curved wooden bowl and a hand chopper with a curved blade that fit inside the bowl reasonably well.

Sep 11, 2009
Burt in Recipes

Windex taste

Having fished extensively in the SF Bay Area and in the ocean out the gate for many years I know that certain fish should be bled immediately upon landing them. As I recall, the lateral line along the sides are equivalent to the urinary system in mamals. If left intact you will get an ammonia taste and smell. I don't expect that this relates in any way to chickens!

Aug 29, 2009
Burt in General Topics

Windex taste

The most noticeable ingredient of windex is ammonia. There is only a trace amount, but the smell is immediately identifiable. Ammonia smell in food MIGHT be a sign of the initial stage of spoilage. I've never noticed this smell in chicken, but I have had a trace of taste or odor of ammonia in a fish dish in an inexpensive Chinese restaurant that I've crossed off my list!

Aug 27, 2009
Burt in General Topics

Your thoughts on Go Fish in St. Helena?

Enjoyed a dinner at Go Fish but found it a bit too pricy. No need to go to the Napa/Sonoma area for Sushi as we live in SF

Aug 23, 2009
Burt in San Francisco Bay Area