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T rex (Berkeley)

I have been to T rex twice in the last month and it seems whatever troubles that dessimated the quality there have been resolved. Have had two very satisfying dinners: brisket, burnt end, ribs, fried oysters, even mac and cheese are back to the quality when T rex was at its prime. Is it the best BBQ, no, but it is a good overall experience yes.

Feel like someone cares again.
Others seem to be noticing too as we had to wait to get a table on Friday evening. It has been a LONG time since I have had to wait to get into T rex.

Any other CH been to T rex lately?

Any feedback on seafood tower at Blue Water Cafe?

Yes - I was really pleased with buying the live seafood at Mr Lobsterman and cooking it back at the condo. Made getting a condo vs a hotel room worth it just for that. 5 of us ate until we were stuffed for $90.

Aug 20, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Any feedback on seafood tower at Blue Water Cafe?

Link to my brief report out from the trip:

Aug 20, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Report: Crib notes from 1 week in Vancouver

Oh yeah, wine prices at restaurants in Vancouver are insane. Most places are 3-4 times retail price. We ended up drinking mostly beer out (which was fine by us) - except at Bishop's where we split an $65 half-bottle (which ended up not being impressive). We did by 4 bottles of BC wine to have in condo - all exceeded expectations and would be enjoyable by any standards.

Aug 03, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Report: Crib notes from 1 week in Vancouver

Bento box at Kingyo

871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L9, CA

Aug 02, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Report: Crib notes from 1 week in Vancouver

Thanks for all the chatter before the trip.
Thought I would provide the brief report out...
Overall we had some great food and some good food, but only regrettable food when we made a few choices in haste by necessity...

So, first off, I canceled my Blue Water Cafe reservations. Feel good about that call especially after walking by and checking out the atmosphere.

The two most memorable meals:
Dinner at Bishop's - food was excellent - service was surprisingly poor (uncoordinated servers, inappropriate extended chit chat). Pricing is silly, if you allow yourself to get worked up on such things, we had a $13 and $16 dessert - just silly - with 2 coffees, dessert alone was $40. Really good food and nice house cocktails to start.
Lunch at Kingyo - Great food, beautiful inside. Got a few dishes and the bento box - this bento is the standard that I doubt will ever be matched - beautiful and delicious in ways I did not know possible. Truly impressive place that I would take all my visitors if I was a local.

Meals in:
Great selection of pate and bread from the place in Granville Market - I'm sure locals know the name of the place.
Made a seafood tower of my own from shellfish at Mr Lobsterman - also from Granville Market.
Fresh Japanese Restaurant - takeout - good, not great, but reasonably priced sushi
Rangoli - takeout - samosas and chutneys were the highlights - main dishes were not as interesting as we get locally at multiple places in Berkeley

Other places we tried.
Go Fish - absolutely great fish and chips, tacones were unimpressive and over sauced, oyster po boy tasted great but hamburger bun resulted in super squishy and fall apart mess.
Guu Garden - really enjoyable daily lunch combo specials (fried oysters and black cod), which are bento box-like.
Zakkushis - fun and tasty meat on a stick, we had quite a selection, all were great with beer.
Gyoza King - good gyozas with nice selection of fillings. Enjoyable with beer too, but not a place I would go out of my way for.
We had some top notch cocktails at Pourhouse. Expensive, but as good as cocktails get.
Had a Japadog and fries - not something I will miss.

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
1095 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 5T4, CA

871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L9, CA

Zakkushi Japanese Restaurant
823 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L7, CA

Go Fish Ocean Emporium
1505 W 1st Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J, CA

Gyoza King
1508 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G1C2, CA

Bishop's Restaurant
2183 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6K 1N7, CA

Vij's Rangoli
1488 11th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H1L1, CA

Pourhouse Restaurant
162 Water Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B2, CA

Japa Dog Restaurant
530 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6B, CA

Jul 30, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Any feedback on seafood tower at Blue Water Cafe?

So, I looked it up yesterday too.
My question is for 29/pp does each person get 1/2 lobster, prawn cocktail, Alaskan king crab leg, 1/2 Dungeness crab, honey mussels, salmon sashimi, spicy tuna roll, fresh shucked oysters - or is that the portion for 2? If it is for two them it turns out to be a similar price and content to the BWC tower, if it is that each person gets that then it would be half the price for the same amount of raw bar food.

Any thoughts?

Jul 21, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Any feedback on seafood tower at Blue Water Cafe?

The Coast seafood tower appears comparable in both what it includes and the price - would you say Coast is better or nicer than BWC?

Jul 20, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Any feedback on seafood tower at Blue Water Cafe?

Thanks - great feedback - really helpful.
Looking forward to compare and contrast Bishop's with Chez Panisse.

If there is similar quality raw bar for less, who is it? would be happy to cancel my BWC reservation, if it makes more sense to go somewhere else. I did not find any other place with the seafood tower equivalent.

Jul 20, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Any feedback on seafood tower at Blue Water Cafe?

Maybe just best to pass on the Guus - and look for another Chinese option (in addition to Peaceful - although I forgot how that got on my list) or Malasian - I heard the West End has a good Malasian place.

838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

Jul 20, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Any feedback on seafood tower at Blue Water Cafe?

I appreciate the kid-friendly advise - sounds like Salt might be out for the benefit of both us and the other clientèle.
Yes - I am sure we will spend at least 1 day at Stanley Park - we originally had Fish House on the list - but then thought it seemed blah - but as you said a solid pick in a nice setting can be fit the situation more times than not.

Jul 20, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Any feedback on seafood tower at Blue Water Cafe?

My impression is that folks that are unimpressed with BWC deviate from the raw bar and sushi. The tower thus seems like the perfect alternative since it is only raw bar and sushi. Fully understand that a $138 seafood tower would need to feed 10 for it to be considered a "good value" - but willing to pay for the fun, presentation, and celebratory nature of it.

Also know Salt is more of a overpriced snack but also seemed fun - a few overpriced but fun eating venues and then hopefully some that are more "value" oriented.

Any specific Rangoli suggestions?

Jul 20, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Any feedback on seafood tower at Blue Water Cafe?

I appreciate the heads up on the Guus - I did not realize the menus would be different for lunch. Just hoping to get some izakaya (just now blooming in the San Francisco area) at time that my 1 year old would handle too - maybe just show-up at 5:30 and then back to put the little one to bed?

838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

Jul 20, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Any feedback on seafood tower at Blue Water Cafe?

Berkeley Chowhound spending a week in Vancouver with 1 year old - so no strict itinerary - just some things we would ideally like to get to. Staying in a condo with kitchen so probably eat half our meal in.

One of those things we thought would be fun would be to splurge on the seafood tower called "Blue Water Cafe Tower" at Blue Water Cafe - but I would love to hear any feedback on this and if it is worth making a point to go have.

Planning on Bishop's for special dinner out for the one night we have babysitters.

Other food places on our list of potential spots:
Granville Public Market

Potential lunch places:
Go Fish
Guu Garden or Guu with Garlic

Potential dinner places:
Rangoli (takeout)
Zakkushis on Denman
Peaceful Restaurant (maybe takeout)

Ofcourse any advice is much appreciate on our list of other places...

871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L9, CA

Jul 20, 2010
A Amore in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Stromboli in the East Bay?

Anyone know of good stromboli in the East Bay?

Stromboli is a type of turnover filled with various cheeses, Italian meats or vegetables. The dough is Italian bread dough. Stromboli are similar to but distinct from calzones, as calzones are pockets of dough filled with meat, cheese and vegetables, and stromboli can contain the same ingredients but are rolled into an oblong loaf and sliced to serve.

La Pupusa House, new salvadoran restaurant- Livermore, ca

Visited last week - the pupusas were very good. I had the revueltas pupusa and the queso con rajas pupusa. The Pupusa plate is not a good deal (5.95) as it includes 1 pupusa (2.75) pus a small amount of rice and beans (mixed together) and a couple bites of slaw. I would rather have 2 Pupusas...
Nice to have a new good and interesting option in Livermore

Berkeley Chowhound has tentative food agenda for NOLA

Any feedback would be great for the few days I have in NOLA mid-November...anything critical I am missing? Looking for more casual and hole-in-the-wall than high-end...

Current thoughts...

Thursday Dinner
Casamento's - Po' Boys & Oysters

Friday Morning:
Cafe du Monde - Coffee and beignets

Friday Lunch:
Central Grocery - Muffuletta Sandwich

Friday Dinner:
Cochon - Cajun

Sat Breakfast
Old Coffee Pot - Lost Bread, callas, and grits

Sat Lunch
TBD - depending on what we do during the day

Sat Dinner
K-Paul's - Paul Prudhomme Southern Louisiana restaurant

Sunday Brunch

Fly Home

Casamento's Restaurant
4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Oct 07, 2008
A Amore in New Orleans

where can I get "homemade" bacon?

I really like the Magnani bacon too - but have not been able to get it for months. Everytime I go in there is none available and from a brief conversation with one of the folks behind the counter indicated that the new owners are doing it less. I agree Berkeley Bowl is a good alternative. I do not find Fatted Calf is noteworthy.

Corso hitting its stride

Had a exceptional meal tonight at Corso.
Started with the frito misto and the trio of crostini. Frito was the only somewhat miss - the shellfish and other items were cut too small and the breading too thick that nothing was identifiable. The fried breading was tasty with the aioli but not distinctive. The crostini was very good as all three toppings were rich and favorful. The chicken liver crositini with fresh herbs was especially memorable, some of the best chicken liver I've had - which is quite a bit...
Had a second course of tagliatelle with sugo and marscapone polenta. The sugo was rich and meaty - as good as sugo gets. The polenta was almost pudding like in texture from the high percentage of marscapone. Really tasty and an novel texture. Paired well with the rich sugo.
Main course was the whole fish (branzino) which was oven roasted to perfection. The skin was crispy and tasty, the flesh was moist and tasty. The server left the deboning to me, which was fine, but could be troublesome for someone less familiar with how to debone a whole fish. The veggies with the fish, a mix of greens and eggplant and red pepper and capers was a great compliment to the roasted fish. Was some of the best whole fish I have had.
Finished with the chocolate torta and the oven roasted peach. The torta was good not great, but the peach was fantastic with pastachio and zabaglione.
Had a glass of grignolino (Bricco del Bosco Accornero Piedmont 06) which was OK not great - but a good wine to start with. Also has Aglianico del Vulture Grifalco Basilicata 04 which was obviously a wine of more substance and good with food. With desert had a recioto with paired well with the chocolate cake - and helped with the somewhat dry cake.

Total tab for 3: $207 including tax and tip
Included 500L grignolino. 750 ml Aglianico. 1 glass recioto.
2 appetizers
1 primi course
1 fish course
2 desserts

Berkeley: Fellini - vegan delight?

I have eaten at Fellini's numerous times, since it is a neighborhood location - and I have never, not once, enjoyed the food. The food is always mediocre, like disappointing takeout, and requires $2.50 draft beers to wash it all down. That being said, Fellini’s fills an important niche as a Berkeley restaurant that is relatively inexpensive – I just wish the food was the draw and not the price…

CSA Delivery to your home

Full Belly Farm will deliver to your home for an additional fee.
From their web site...
"An order of produce costs $17 per week. The cost is $16.50 per week if you pay for three months in advance ($214.50 for 13 weeks), or $16 per week if you pay one year in advance ($784 for 49 consecutive weeks). Home or office delivery is available on Tuesday and Wednesday in selected East Bay locations for an extra charge of $6 per week."

Livermore Valley Winery Recs

Thomas Coyne,
Murrieta's Well,
Steve Kent,
These provide a range of styles but are some of the best quality in Livermore Valley

Recent French Laundry Report

I had not been to FL in eight years - prices and demand has increased dramatically since then. Nice that it is within driving distance from Berkeley.

Spouse and I went for a celebratory "lunch" at FL yesterday (same menu and price as dinner). Prices were raised at the beginning of the year (after our reservation) to $240 per person - including service but not tax. Foie gras still had $30 supplement.

We had a great lunch! Familiar menu to those who keep track...Glass of Champagne w/ Cheese filled puffs and Salmon tartar cone & Califlower panna cotta w/caviar, Glass of Gruner Veltner w/ Roasted Chantarelle mushroom salad(spouse) or foie gras (self), 1/2 bottle Rousanne w/ Pan seared Hawaiian white fish (spouse) or uni (self) & lobster tail, 1/2 bottle Cote Rotie w/ Poulet roulade (spouse) or rabbit shoulder (self) & Lamb ribeye & Cheese course. Banana sorbet. Late harvest Rhone white w/ salted caramel souffle (spouse) and 10 year Madera w/ chocolate hazelenut cup. Coffee w/ creme brulee (spouse) and meyer lemon de creme (self) & various chocolates, candies, truffles. To go packet of shortbread.

My favorates were the rabbit shoulder and the foie gras. My spouse favorates were the salted caramel souffle and pan seared fish. We both raved about the quality of the bread. My least memorable were the lamb and the uni. My spouse's least memorable were the lamb and the lobster.

Service was wonderful - greatly enhances the overall experience. Friendly without being chummy. Total time 3 1/2 hours.

Wines were fairly well chosen - would not have the 2004 Santa Inez Rousanne ($55/375ml) again as it was very ripe and very low acid - went OK with food but was cloying on it own. Other wines were spectacular.

Overall, a great was to have a celebratory meal.
Food: $510, Wine: 320, Tax $65, Total $895.

We have both have had individual courses at other restaurants better than some of the courses we had today. Folks who expect each course to be the best thing ever to enter their mouth are sure to be dissapointed. You also need to be able to separate the cost from the experience, as each of the components combined to not equate to a meal "worth" $900. But the overall experience was just one of a kind.

I'll hopefully have something worthy to celebrate again in another 5-8 years.

French Laundry price increase

I noticed that too - as I have reservations for next weekend. $210 when I made the reservations, but $240 when I show up. It would have been nice to been told about the increase when I made the reservation. I guess if you have to ask - you should not make the reservation. Not that the new price will stop me.

Elmwood vs. the rest - Rockridge, Berkeley downtown, the newly alive Temescal...

Shen Hua is definitely hit or miss. All their soups are usually dynamite. The whole fish is also very good. As are some of the vegi dishes. If you know what to order there - even "food-people" can have a very good experience.

Picante brief report

One of my favorate things at Picante is the refried beans - I assume there must be a good helping of lard. Very few other dishes consistently impress - sometimes the Manchamanteles, sometimes the carnitas. I feel bad saying it, but they seem to be drifting toward chain mexican quality. Would be very sad for Berkeley.

Le Bistro Elephant - Berkeley

Just though I would post a note about a better than expected experience at Le Bistro Elephant - a 14 table small plates bistro between Ben & Jerry's and Khana Peena on Oxford in Downtown Berkeley.

The restaurant is actually strcuturally open to Khana Peena, so when you walk in - it smells like an Indian restaurant. It is simply furnished, except an enormous wall hanging of the Hindu god Ganesh (depicted with an elephant head - thus the name I assume) that I would assume is a carryover from when Khana Peena was in the space.

My better half and I had the buttermilk battered onion rings with cotija chese, lamb sliders, duck tacos, and day boat scallops. We also had a 22 oz Racer 5 IPA and a glass of California pinot noir for $58 including tax and tip. Not bad at all.

All the food was very good. The 12-14 onion rings (thick cut) were crunchy, dusted with melted cotija cheese, and accompanied with a ketchup doctored with dried powdered chilis. The lamb sliders were 3 fresh tasting mini lamb burgers (2 inch diameter), simply seasoned and on soft mini buns with lettuce tomato and cheese on the side to add as desired. The duct tacos were 3 corn tortilla will generous soft strands of duck meat and a good guacamole. The 3 day boat scallops were bearly seared, but properly cooked (not overdone), on a bed of tiny fingerling potatoes, bacon and smoked tomatoes. Turned out to be more food than the two of us were expecting.

None of these dishes were the best versions that I have ever had, but all were good to very good and certainly a good value. I hope they survive as they were a perfect pre-theater option for us.

nachos in berkeley!

Casa Latina - On San Pablo near University.

Sketch ice cream: help me get it right

I'll just support the feeling of being underwhelmed by Sketch. I have been 5 times now - tried the burnt caramel, various chocolates, etc. - nothing seems compelling. Now on a hot (for Berkeley) day it would still be a nice if I am already on 4th Street, but I would certainly not go out of my way for it. Others on the board have raved as much about the non-ice cream goods as the ice cream.

Recent "Taste" Visit - Berkeley

I'm sure I would not agree "second only to Chez Panisse". I would prefer the food Lalimes or Eccolo or even Downtown. At that price there are lots of good, if not better options in Berkeley. In addition, Taste is a totally different experience given the service issues at this multipronged establishment, which I did not discuss.