laaronson's Profile

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Three memorable dinners recommendations?

Hi there I'm so happy to see this post b/c we are ALSO coming from the Bay Area (SF) and are looking for 5-6 dinner (and a few lunch) recs...but, we are staying in La Jolla (at La Jolla Shores beach) so I am wondering if anyone would be so kind as to narrow this list to restaurants that you would recommend that are not hellish drives from that area? we own restuarnats in SF but honestly, we are not looking for fine dining...our ideal would be great fish tacos and drinks...or great mex food...but we are open and want to sample the best of SD - but maybe not spend an hour in the car each way!

many thanks. I love this CH resource!

Apr 23, 2011
laaronson in San Diego

Looking for good chow with a big group near Wild Dunes, SC

staying at Wild Dunes for a family reunion this summer. There will be 25 adults, 10 kids. We have to figure out a bunch of lunches and dinners and I so don't want to dine at the resort for every meal!! Does anyone know any great restaurants that can accommodate a large group, near the resort?

Separately, would love any Charleston recs for the final nite, when we separate from the larger group!

Any kind of food, any price point - just good!! Ambiance is not important.

Many thanks!

Mar 29, 2010
laaronson in Southeast

Searching for Dr. Browns soda and coke in old fashioned glass bottles...

anyone know where in SF or nearby to purchase Dr. Brown's soda or coca cola in glass bottles?
thx for any leads!

May 24, 2009
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

Recs near Weston, CT

I want to get a gift certificate to a restaurant or high end food / specialty / kitchenwares store for someone who lives in Weston, CT. Don't know anything about the area but know their food taste runs to the sophisticated side. I would rather not get something in Manhattan, although that is the back up choice. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

Mar 14, 2009
laaronson in General Tristate Archive

Sushi or Thai lunch spot in Grammercy or Soho?

Looking for a good lunch spot in one of these 2 neighborhoods. Ambiance not important - just good food! If you do not know of a sushi or thai spot in these hoods but can recommend a great ethnic food spot, that would be great too

Sep 08, 2008
laaronson in Manhattan

uva-a well done version of what's become a SF standard

i didn't try it but didn't see a griddle so my bet is that it is not authentic. the paninis were quite good. the place reminds me of a larger version of bar bambino (and at least for now, a somewhat better value)

Apr 26, 2008
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

uva-a well done version of what's become a SF standard

what i really enjoyed here is that you can actually get a really GOOD glass (actually, a 8 oz quartino) of wine for $10 to $12. i also loved that their cheeses are served at the proper temp with a wonderful array of condiments (lavender honey-yeah).

the menu offers a lot of the "new standards" - salumi/chacute/cheese/antipasti platters, pizzas (only 2 at the moment), panninis, the up and coming 'piadines' category and the more unusual 'tramezzini', which i can only describe (and really, i mean this fondly) as an Italian burrito made with crustless spongy white bread. i guess you can't go wrong when you combine a carb, buratta and olives.

i'm an admitted batali stalker, so i was excited to try this and it didn't let me down. even a visit on the day of the daily candy press (day 2 overall) found the staff friendly, unruffled and clearly having fun - therefore giving great service.

568 Haight Street San Francisco
415.829.2024
http://www.uvaenoteca.com/

Apr 26, 2008
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

Vancouver Recap

i forgot one important detail........croissants and slices of polaine bread on saturday am. vancouver has the best grocery stores with the most beautiful produce ever. whole foods really pales in comparison.

Apr 23, 2008
laaronson in Western Canada Archives

Vancouver Recap

that was it...i knew i took a picture of the cake menu for a good reason :)

Apr 23, 2008
laaronson in Western Canada Archives

Vancouver Recap

Yes! well, kind of. we actually went to the Caffe Artigiano near our hotel (about 6 blocks from Jervis/Robson), and I am guessing you were referring to my coffee commentary from the Commercial jaunt. I'm trying to remember the name of the bakery we went to on commercial - I do recall it was (a) across the street from starbucks and (b) right next door to a wonderful cheese/italian deli shop (which was making pretty good looking paninis).

LOVED Artigiano as well - and it was fun b/c we were in there right after the big 10K race ended Sunday AM (also got a great view of the runners from the balcony of the hotel room) so lots of happy runners ready for a cup of joe.

Apr 22, 2008
laaronson in Western Canada Archives

Vancouver Recap

Many thanks to everyone who provided suggestions for my weekend in Vancouver. The weather truly cooperated (after a brief hail (?)storm Friday night...see below) and we had such a great time. Vancouver is a tremendous city both in terms of natural beauty, demeanor of it's residents (man, everyone is nice...must be b/c they are lucky enough to live here) and quality of chow!!

Here's the run down:

Friday - arrived mid afternoon and headed to Granville Island, since it was sunny and I thought it was going to rain the rest of the weekend. Needed to celebrate some good news and wound up at the SandBar - which looked just ok but after being seated on the roofdeck on comfy leather recliners (w/blankets for potential chills), I thought I was in heaven. Just snacked on some BC bubbles and wok fried squid (really more steaks than rings) as we had a heavy night lined up.

Started the evening (Gastown Crawl night) at Chambar - WHAT a great restaurant. Had mussels here (in a tomato / coconut curry broth). Wish we could have stayed for an entire meal. Loved the vibe, the bartenders (and cocktails), the decor etc.

Next headed to Boneta. Did not love the chow here (tartare app ok but overpriced; main of scallops, short ribs and several other tastes had way too much going on and everything, including the meat and sadly, the scallops, were really overcooked). Silver lining: the mgmt was VERY cool about it and turns out the owner himself wanted to handle it...after providing us with a little amuse of dessert (above and beyond) he WALKED US TO THE NEXT DESTINATION b/c we didn't have a big enough umbrella and he wanted to make sure we got there safe and sound. OK, that's nuts. That would NEVER happen in SF and the people here are nice too! Love this man so would support his restaurant and try it again in a heartbeat.

Last stop for the night was Salt Tasting Room (2 min walk from Boneta). No kitchen here - 100% cheese and charcute. How can you go wrong? I wrote down our selections (we had 2 plates; each plate comes w/your selection of 3 fromage or charcute and 3 condiments) but can't find that right now. I do remember the far and away highlight was the brooklyn corned beef - go figure. yum. I love deli. I guess it was good b/c we wound up wrapping the leftovers in napkins and stuffing them in my purse to eat back at the hotel...cause yeah, you guessed it, we really needed more food. Right.

Saturday - after a 10 mile walk around Stanley Park and various parts of the city, we found ourselves BACK at the SandBar. I know this is not haute dining. Don't hit me. We could not resist the platter of crab, shrimp and oysters we saw pass by the day prior and didn't feel like fish n chips at the Fish Shack place (I know, the best food on Granville). However, I feel t was the right call karmically, if not chowishly, b/c we once again scored the same 2 magnificent seats on the roofdeck.

Saturday night, time for the izakaya crawl. First, we did the uber tourist thing and watched the sun set over the surprisingly nice day at the rotating restaurant 2 blocks from our hotel on Robson (maybe it was called Empire Hotel?). We then walked to Kingyo - king yum. Lots of salmon various sashimiesque ways. We tore ourselves away and hit Guu. Hm. Probably our least fave of the trip. Not bad, just not greeeat (I kept talking like tony the tiger there...not sure why but could have been the vodka and grapefruit cocktails, watered down as they were (what do you expect for $4?)). Oh btw, it was Guu Garlic. Last stop.....but of course, Cin Cin for dessert. OK, not the most natural call but hey, I wanted an "adult" cocktail and this is a nice watering hole (with very ornate desserts served as "packages").

Sunday, time for dim sum - we wound up at a place called Floata in Chinatown, b/c Sun Sui Wah, Kirin and other recommended places didn't fit into our route. We trusted our concierge (maybe a mistake but it was ok). Neither of us LOVE dim sum but we did agree it was better than at home (SF) - just still kind of a "good, we checked that off...let's not get too full so we can go somewhere else in 2 hrs" kind of experience.....and where we wound up was at an Italian coffee shop/bakery on Commercial, where we dove into canoli, napoleons, and biscotti, with lattes. Yum. So kill me, we're europhiles at heart.

Last night, we just could not muster up the requisite excitement for West and decided to leave that for trip #2, which will happen very soon, I assure you....West gets such rave reviews we knew we needed to be in a better / more pure / clean "food frame of mind".

We stopped off at Bin 941 (I think that is the #...it was the one on Davie, which is the first one) for a drink and had a snack there - they were out of the salmon brandade and the waitress recommended the hummus w/navajo fry bread...not so shockingly, this was "ok" and leadeded but hey, it's hummus and bread so what can you expect? we still loved the vibe and here is another place I really want to go back and have a full meal at! We tore our stomachs away and cabbed to Vij's. I was really ready to be underwhelmed b/c I always seem to poo poo the most hyped spots. Maybe it helped that it was now after 9 pm on a Sunday but in any event...we were REALLY pleasantly surprised. We had the lamb lollipops (doh!) and the chicken ("is it really boring to get the chicken?", I asked "I'm kinda fished out and anyway, ling cod...ummmm"). Both were really special and I get why everyone says that this joint takes Indian cuisine to a new level. I wish we had something like this in SF (Dosa, no)

That was the food recap. I so enjoyed my weekend in this really special city and can't wait to come back. My sincere thanks to all who provided their thoughts and insights. I can only hope this write up gives the next visitor some helpful tidbit.

Apr 21, 2008
laaronson in Western Canada Archives

Best Seafood Restaurant In the City

with all due respect to OP, i would not recommend Pacific Cafe - it is a cute neighborhood spot but I can't say my meal there (only once, grated) was great - i never went back and the free $2 glass of wine, well, enough said.

If you love ambiance, it would seem that waterbar or aqua (not so much farallon) may be good picks.

my personal pick, though, would be bar crudo - i just ate there again today and man oh man, each crudo was incredible (butterfish, tuna, hamachi), as was each raw bar component (oysters, half dungeness) an all the "cooked" / "other' items, such as lobster and burrata salad, sand dabs (best i've had in SF and yeah, i have been to and like tadich). i did not get the chowder today as it was 82 in SF (what?!) but it is also really really tasty.

Apr 11, 2008
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

Beretta

really nice selection of white wines by the "taste", which is a generous 100 ML pour (priced at $4-$6...total steal). corkage is $20.

The menu reads so well - I could have ordered most of it. Highlights: fritto misto (really. at first i wanted an aoili but it is light and well seasoned, you really don't need it) and eggplant caponata (a very chunky and tasty version) topped with the optional burrata.

farro salad did not wow, nor unfortunately did the fava bean crostini (underseasoned and unattractively uniformly spread on the bread). pizzas were pretty good but I would not say amazing, basically due to crust (personal preference perhaps - I like a thicker crust at the edges and I didn't get a lot of flavor here). The most successful for me were the tomato based ones- spicy marinara and margherita with optional burrata (see a trend?). i found the baccala pie very salty (topped with caper i think?) and i'm basically a fan of the salt stick.

but this is day 3 so hey, kudos to them for getting the food out of the kitchen hot and in a reasonable time frame! we had a great time.

service was very efficient. co-owner Deborah was running a lot of food and great at making sure everyone is having a nice time.

cocktail program brought to you by the guys from Bourbon and Branch. I'm not a cocktail drinker but those who got them seemed to enjoy them.

All in all, a really nice experience so early in their life and I'm definitively going to go back and see how the restaurant evolves.

Apr 05, 2008
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Bar dining in Vancouver

thank you so much for your thoughts, everyone. here's the itin

fri night: Gastown crawl - made rezzies (just in case) at chambar, boneta and salt.

sat night: izakaya crawl - gyoza king, guu (rez hopefully at prime time) and kingo.

sun night: West (if not up for a huge meal, we'll do bin 941 instead)

lunches will be at Go Fish on Granville one day and dim sum (pink something or other?) the other. Definitely need to hit the coffee houses on Commercial as well.

then we come home and go on a cleanse....

Mar 31, 2008
laaronson in Western Canada Archives

Best Bar dining in Vancouver

ok...getting close on the itin!! (I will of course post and thank you for all this information. just curious b/c i read about Umami as well as Bin 941/942 but nobody mentioned these for the Izakaya / Gastown crawls (respectively). Is that b/c they are overrated / touristy?

last question, is sat or sun a better day to visit granville market and are there other farmers or flea markets you would recommend? we get in friday and will try to get over the granville friday as i'm sure it is less crazy but not sure we'll have enough time!

Mar 30, 2008
laaronson in Western Canada Archives

Best Bar dining in Vancouver

thank you! west certainly seems to be a very beloved restaurant. does it have a bar area for dining or best for a "stick with one restaurant" approach for that night? (we can do that too :))

Mar 30, 2008
laaronson in Western Canada Archives

Best Bar dining in Vancouver

I'm heading to Vancouver in April from SF. I love dining at bars and sampling 2 or 3 restaurants in an evening. I've read the recent (1 yr +) posts on Chowhound re: Vancouver and think I have a working "list". My question is, which of these places would be realatively near one another and are good for 2 people dining @ the bar, sampling a few apps or small pates at each place? Can't wait and greatly appreciate any and all thoughts (feel free to add places or nix some too!). Ideally, I'd piece together 2 evenings of crawls...one izakya focused and one more general

West
Bin 941 (or 942?)
Lumiere Tasting Bar (not regular restaurant)
Boneta
Chambar
Umami

Also, is Feenie's closed for renovations? Appears so....

Other items on the itinerary (we only have 3 dinners, 3 lunches) include dim sum (Sun Sui Wah or Kirin?)

Mar 29, 2008
laaronson in Western Canada Archives

Sozai - new Izakaya in the Sunset area

on a short izakaya crawl last night, we tried Sozai and then O Izakaya. Very different in terms of ambiance and offerings but both really underwhelmed.

The menu at Sozai does disclose that they purposefully lightly (under) season the food, as is tradition (no clue but ok) and therefore invite you to add salt and provide little bowls of salt on each table. this improved but unfortunately did not elevate any of the dishes to "yum taste this!" status. we tried the edamame hummus and then 3 orders of Kushiyaki - Kurobuta pork belly (I know pork belly is fatty but this was insanely so), the chicken yakitori and eggplant w/miso sauce skewer (sticking mostly to what the waiter/GM/co-owner called the "street food" side of the menu). prices are v. reasonable and service amicable, but unfortunately the food did not steer me to a return (or even a full meal).

next stop was O Izakaya and i admit, i wanted to try the beer (stout?) battered onion rings but not b/c Mr. Bauer proclaims them a top pick for this food stuff but i guess b/c the fried crackers that came with the edamame hummus at Sozai did not cure my massive craving for fried foodstuffs.

they were fine, good even but not great. we also ordered the grilled calamari which seemed neither japanese nor grilled. it was overwhelmed by the accompanying black beans. we pushed it aside and the manager was really nice, acknowledging that it was a new dish. we replaced this with the duck breast, served over an eggplant caponata. the duck lover found it acceptable but man, the ellusive great dish is beyond us tonight. o izayaka is not cheap - i think the duck dish (probably a 3 oz serving) was $17.

i'll probably wind up back at OI for drinks as the bartenders were great and it's a really nice ambiance (and close to my house) but I can't shout from the rooftops that you should race there for the food.

I'm dying to go to sebo for Izakaya on a Sunday - my sushi meal there was really outstanding.

I'll have to try Oyaji on Clement too.

Mar 22, 2008
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

Lolo: Such Divergent Opinions; What's Your Take on It?

i liked it a lot. the fish taco app was the best thing. i think i enjoyed it for solid (not outstanding) food but really, the fun funky ambiance, decor and really unique food (mix of mexican and turkish, IIRC) which worked for me (not weird fusion for the sake of fusion). it reminded me a bit of orinoco if you are familiar w/that restaurant (not as good a value as orinoco but that's ok....it is s different style of food)

Mar 15, 2008
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

Cocktails Before Gary Danko

ana mandara is v.close and has a beautiful bar upstairs

http://anamandara.com/
891 beach @ polk

Dec 22, 2007
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

Private label wine in restaurants

know any restaurants-at any price point- in the San Francisco Bay Area especially, who have a GOOD private label wine program?

Dec 16, 2007
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

Fish & Farm

Note: I have a business relationship with Fish & Farm

I went last night for a test dinner and thought the food was really good. they have created a "neighborhood" feel in an area that really doesn't have much of that, which is nice.

Ruth, the area is not really smack in the tenderloin-for what it's worth, I felt fine/safe walking from the parking structure (Cal parking, 1/2 block away but i'm sure there are less expensive options) to the restaurant.

They plan to open today

the grilled squid, venison spare ribs and sablefish were my faves, but all dishes worked in my opinion. sadly, we didn't get to try the sat cod fritters, which the staff already seems to love.

You are correct they have quite a deal on corkage for this type of restaurant - $5 for cali wines, $10 all others

Oct 11, 2007
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

global chili company

yes but a friend went by that location and said it was not there so we are befuddled.

re: Hunt's comment - whoops, my bad. I'm too used to posting on the San Francisco Bay Area board.

I was referring to Boulder and will make sure to put this in the title of future posts!

Oct 08, 2007
laaronson in Southwest

global chili company

anyone know if they are still opened? they disappeared from the farmers market and the store was closed when i tried to go. wondering if they are out of biz, which would be too damn bad b/c the chili was excellent.

i thought the guy told us they were affiliated w/the smoothie booth that resided next to them at the market...which would also be great to find.

Oct 07, 2007
laaronson in Southwest

Fish & Farm

fish and farm is not open yet. i think they are shooting for the week after next, as they are having test dinners next week.

Oct 05, 2007
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

Why Incanto is great

Because you can sit at the bar, enjoying your figs and dish of angel hair topped with a full pint of the sweetest cherry tomatoes ever and listen to the chef outline, in great detail, for another food guy (i was told maybe his sous on iron chef? dunno) the best way to boil brains....not that i will ever attempt this but it's good to know that you should NOT drop the brains in quickly but rather, gently lower them into the water, as you would an egg, and bring up the temp. The best part is that the guy listening was also scarfing down a plate of various cow parts so i guess the idea of boiling brains feeds vs. deters his appetite. i love this place, even if I am more voyeuristic than anything else when it comes to stuff like that.

Aug 25, 2007
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

Red Lantern in RW City

9/15 is latest opening date.

Aug 24, 2007
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

Nantucket anniversary dinner

i'm heading back to nantucket this september (2 days after labor day, hoping it is easier to get into places, get around, etc) after a 2 year hiatus. Last time, I really loved The Pearl and was surprised not to see it mentioned in this thread; has it gone downhill? I also went to Cinco last time, which I liked, but it was more along the lines of a restaurant from home (San Fran) - not a bad thing, just not sure I'd go back again given the drive.

I am thinking I will try LoLa 41 based on this thread and some friend's recommendations, and definitely Strait Wharf. Any other thoughts? I canceled my rez at Oran Mor last time as it seemed more formal (and went to The Pearl instead) but I didn't know it was under new ownership.

Lunch is usually a turkey terrific at Provisions or a burger at the boardinghouse....help me out of this routine! Picnic provisions would be great.

Aug 09, 2007
laaronson in All New England Archive

New tasting room experience

that sucks and i immediately compare this to the OTHER end of the spectrum....Rochioli, one fantastic producer, still open 7/days week and still offers complimentary tasting of 2 current releases, even though their wine is in short supply.

I know that for some wineries, it's difficult not to charge for tastings but I do cherish the old guard who still offer this gratis and to me, it speaks volumes to their conversion rate....the wine speaks for itself and ya buy it, thank you very much.

ps - Rochioli just released their sauv blanc ($24) and their "special release" pinot ($32; a lighter style) so you can get a case of each right now - a great time to visit this beautiful place...purchase quantities decline with their inventory. Both are very tasty.

Aug 01, 2007
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area

A16 is it me?

Bryan's does get it regularly (and on a schedule, so you can know when it is freshest) as does Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry Building. I think they both get it 2x/week and the price is $12-$13/lb.

Jul 25, 2007
laaronson in San Francisco Bay Area