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Last minute overnight stay in Carmel

had a fantastic meal and great service at La Balena.

Only disappointment was the desert.

Apr 17, 2014
edgrimley in California

BBQ Brisket Passover menu

Suggestions for a passover menu, with a smoked BBQ brisket as the featured item?

I am thinking maybe some sort of a fruit sauce or grilled fruit condiment to balance and stay within the theme.

Would love some ideas for a full menu.

Apr 04, 2014
edgrimley in Home Cooking

Taiwanese - Pi Dan Noodle house coming (maybe) to Uptown Oakland

A friend just shared this with me.

Taiwanese noodle shop serving classics like Zha Jian Mian. They are raising funds to try to open this summer in Uptown Oakland. Looks like Grand Ave by Farley's.

http://igg.me/at/pidan-oakland

Architects who did Sightglass Coffee and The Mill. Local ingredients, classic techniques. Perhaps more true to original recipes than Ramen Shop. But feels to me like spiritual cousins of Ramen Shop and Hawker Fare.

Not an ad. I am not associated with the restaurant. Just love the idea of it existing and being near my office.

One Beer dinner

I'd love a recommendation for one beer dinner in San Diego. Visiting from SF and NY.

Priorities are beer first, food second (but would like to eat well).

We had been leaning toward Ballast Point (love the Sculpin and widely available brews) but it seems like Stone might offer more variety with some other local craft beers. Good ambiance / atmosphere as well.

Stone a good choice or would we better off at a non-brewery affiliated spot like Blind Lady or Tiger Tiger.

Staying at Pacific Beach but proximity is not a high priority.

I recognize that this is beyond a first world problem and we really cannot go wrong.

Thanks in advance!

Jan 27, 2014
edgrimley in San Diego

Date night in Oakland?

I would give Osmanthus a try. It's taken over the old Nan Yang space in Rockridge.

The flavors were pretty refined and not as in your face as say a Spices 3. Service was attentive. Space quite nice.

Cocktails and a nice beer and wine list.

We weren't blown away but I would give it another try. It certainly has date night trappings with the full bar, the service and the great ambience. It's not chowy if you know what I mean.

public service announcement - Schmitter at Stag's [Oakland]

I haven't gotten the chance to get it yet. But Stag's, which has delightfully reinterpreted other classic Philly sandwiches in recent months, has a Schmitter on the menu.

Lucky Peach readers may have seen an ode to this sandwich a few issues back. Philly expats may know this unique sandwich well.

Get 'em while you can.

Buying Bottarga?

I saw it at Rockridge Market Hall Pasta Shop this weekend.

Heading to Temescal tomorrow, with toddler [Oakland]

++++1 for Juhu. Depending on time of day the "coffee and toast" at Pizzaiolo before noon is fun.

But Juhu followed by Doughnut Dolly is a great combo.

Brick Pig, Homeroom are a bit farther afield near the center of the Temescal activity.

Estilo D. F. at Huarache King (King City)

We visited Huarache King based on the recommendation here. There were posters for specials in the window. No mention of tortas at this time.

We went for the enchiladas poblanas and were subsequently ruined for all other mole. Sauce had a great balance of sweet/rich/spice and complexity. My buddy abandonded his shrimp fajitas and I had to fend him off.

Thanks for the excellent tip as always Melanie.

And the Paleteria is not to be missed. If you are driving 101 in this region, it's worth going the 2 minutes off the highway. Over two dozen different ice cream and agua-based varieties. I was intrigued by the ones with chile and intend to go back and try them next time.

Jul 22, 2013
edgrimley in California

Any ideas for great food in Ventura?

Not "chow" but we had a good time at Saloon BBQ on Main Street. BBQ was decent. Ribs oversauced (prefer no sauce) but the brisket had a great smoky flavor and tender texture. Sides and cornbread were excellent.

Overall we enjoyed the experience as a whole though. We were looking for a place to "go out" with a lively vibe, good drinks and good enough food. Had some great cocktails, particularly the "Lafayette" with rye and mezcal (nice touch of smoke). Would definitely go back.

Jul 22, 2013
edgrimley in Los Angeles Area

Ventura updates

Will be diving Channel Islands and looking for a good night before meal and night after meal. In the past Anacapa Brewing Company was a good post-dive destination for a decent burger and good beers. Barrelhouse was similar and pretty good as well.

Other suggestions?

Casual vibe, medium-priced. Pasta or hearty (but not digestively antagonistic) is good.

Greek's in Harbor?

Jul 15, 2013
edgrimley in Los Angeles Area

Estilo D. F. at Huarache King (King City)

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide such a great response. I really appreciate it.

Jul 11, 2013
edgrimley in California

Estilo D. F. at Huarache King (King City)

Melanie, My guardian angel of roadtrips...

We will be roadtripping to Ventura next week and looking for a lunch spot within an hour south of Salinas. Easy access to 101. Last time we made this trip we had great tortas at La Plaza Bakery in Soledad.

Any other great fast-ish recommendations along this corridor. I think we'd be equally at home with a great banh mi or torta. Huarache King looks like a great spot. Any other suggestions?

Jul 08, 2013
edgrimley in California

Marrow - New in Uptown, Oakland

I work very close to Marrow. The food is delicious, and rich. We've enjoyed the staples (Reuben, Patty Melt) and the specials. The salads too shouldn't be overlooked. They had a King Salmon cobb salad on the menu the other week that was great and lighter than their usual fare.

That said, we work so close that for the sake of our health, most of my officemates go out of their way to avoid Marrow and save up the calorie splurge.

Stag's, nearby, has a little more variety on the menu with things changing weekly. And a bit more of a range of options from the decadent to lighter fare. Different places and both worth the destination if you don't work nearby.

It's great to have so many wonderful options nearby that have opened in just the past year. Within two blocks you have Marrow, Stag's, Tea Here Now (nice baked goods and light breakfast and lunch options) and Duende (tortilla, small sandwiches, paella Fridays) during the day.

new Telegraph Ave Ramen coming - Ramen Tomo [Oakland]

Has anyone been yet?

new Telegraph Ave Ramen coming - Ramen Tomo [Oakland]

Was excited to see the sign for Ramen Tomo this weekend. We were checking out the excellent new bakery Barkada, in the old Remedy space on Telegraph Ave.

Few details other than what I was able to find below:
http://www.berkeleyside.com/2013/03/0...

It looks like it could be opening soon-ish.

Downtown Oakland Lunch Spots [split from Stag's Lunchette thread]

I'm really enjoying working in the area and exploring the new places. I won't overdo it on Stag's but it's pretty spectacular. The egg sandwich is great as well in the AM. I'll leave it at that. Some other regulars:

- Camber - new Asian "fusion" (people are still saying that!) spot on Telegraph near the Van Kleef. Modern feel, happy hour. It's heavily Thai with Cambodian and maybe even a few Indian touches. I've only had a few things. Their housemade chile sauce condiment is great. Think thai chimichurri. Rice vinegar, bird chiles, cilantro. I'd go back for business lunches but not for authenticity.

- Xolo - Dona Tomas/Flora folks' taqueria two doors from Flora. Al Pastor carved from a spit. Really great. I like the veg Posole and the soups quite a bit.

- Tea Here Now. This is a real gem for Oakland, and the Bay Area. An oasis on a gritty block. The owner may be one of the top five nice people I've ever met, and it's genuine not phony. Any neighborhood would be really lucky to have this spot. It is primarily a tea shop with a selection of over two dozen varieties - blacks, oolongs, greens, herbal. I take everyting on Yelp with a grain of salt, but it's telling that she only has 5-star reviews there. Healthy breakfast items and a few lunch items like quinoa and kale salad. Unscathed even by the crazy yelpers that knock a star or two off for having to wait in line for an extra minute or something little. As for the tea, I favor the Mountain Oolong, Persian Earl Grey and the Jasmine (not too floral). Great baked goods as well, sourced from several local startup east bay bakeries. If it sounds like I know a lot about the place it's because I'm there sometimes twice a day.

Help! Celebratory splurge Oak/berk next sat

Commis is very good and would likely be able to accommodate your requests. Gather is not necessarily a splurge, but it's a great omnivorous menu. omnivores and vegans are equally delighted by the menu. We've had good service there, and love the cocktails as well.

Ippuku, Berkeley (first time)

I am a big fan of the tsukune ground chicken served with egg.

Anyone know a great East Bay Burger joint?

While not a burger place per se, Hopscotch has a marvelous specimen with "griddled duck tongue." I had the luscious fried chicken when we were there and got to sample my friend's burger. A great reason to go back.

Where to buy a Blue Star Range

We purchased from General Appliance in Berkeley as well, which is now a branch of Airport Appliance. At the time we selected GA over AA because of the overall level of service we were getting from the salesperson. We bought some other appliances from them as well.

We had one bit of service. Blue Star recommends that after installation one of their technicians comes to perform "white glove" service. Which is essentially checking and calibrating temperatures and making sure that installation was performed correctly. I believe they sent someone out from the San Bruno shop.

Sounds like you made your purchase decision already. We love our Blue Star. Peformance, design. The broiler is just great. I particularly like that it is easy to handle minor maintenance issues like replacing an igniter on our own.

Tacos Al Pastor - Vertical Spit with Pineapple - Anyone in the east bay?

Xolo (same owners as Tacubaya) in Uptown Oakland across from the Fox on Telegraph is very good. They do the al pastor on a vertical spit with pineapple on top. Delicious, great quality. Not taco truck prices. Be prepared. The "Vampiro" taco features the al pastor. Delish.

https://plus.google.com/1150239837691...

where to buy mutton in the east bay or greater bay area

I love a nice mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich where the mutton is really lean.

Best wineries with tasting rooms in Sonoma?

We are big fans of Larson Family Winery, a bit south of Sonoma Square and the junction of 12 and 121. It's not a high end winery. Reasonably priced and good quality. We love the place and the service. It's got a very casual dirt on the cowboy boots Sonoma vibe. The owners, family and their dogs tend to always be around the grounds. I've had staffers remember our names and faces from previous visits.

The place is really nice. Rustic western style tasting room with a very large bar. And the large picnic area with both paved and grassy areas. Several times, we've rolled in there with a picnic, done the tasting and picked up a bottle to enjoy outside. Always a hit with the out of town guests.

A bonus for us is it's super kid-friendly. You can taste or grab a bottle for a picnic on the grounds and let the kids run around and play with the patio/lawn toys. Everyone is happy, except the designated driver.

East Bay Mussels recs?

The Hog Island stand at the Berkeley farmer's market on Saturday mornings usually has them.

Turkey two ways.....with two turkeys?

I'm looking at doing a turkey two ways this year for the first time (at one time). Braised or confit legs, and roasted breast.

Both of these approaches look great. The main difference is in brining vs. salting/herb/olive oil seasoning, and confit or braise for the legs.

http://leitesculinaria.com/59625/reci...
http://www.chow.com/recipes/10740-tur...

I may even grill the breasts.

Question though - the Tanis recipe recommends a smaller bird.

By using a cut-up bird, wouldn't that reduce the need for a small bird? What's really the difference on a 15-20 lb bird vs. a 10-15. Breast drier? the legs I assume would be fine as the braise or confit will keep things moist.

Two birds wouldn't make things that much more difficult with these techniques.

One variation I am considering is two small birds, one broad breasted one heritage. The heritage is gamier and not for everyone.

Thoughts?

Serving a group of 6 adults and 6 small kids. But want lots of leftovers.

Nov 07, 2011
edgrimley in Home Cooking

bye bye black cod?

Was at the Temescal farmer's market this Sunday in search of black cod or sablefish. Their $13.95/lb fish has been a staple of ours for years now.

The guy at the fish stand said we probably won't be seeing it again soon, and if we do it will be much more expensive. He says most of the sable is getting bought up by China right now.

The combination of taste, value, healthy quality of the fish and sustainability made it almost too good to be true.

I wonder if we will see this dynamic with other quality fish, like Alaska and Pacific salmon.

Anyone know more about this?

Gaucin / Andalucia / Southern Spain restaurants + culinary tourism

Hi there -

We are renting a place in Gaucin for 10 days and will be taking day trips to Ronda, the coast and perhaps Sevilla and Cordoba. Although with young kids in tow those longer trips are more of a stretch.

Any lunch and dinner recommendations close to Gaucin or out to Ronda. Preferably family friendly? What about shopping and culinary tourism? Any local olive oil, cured meats or wine producers?

We know of a lady in Gaucin who makes her own jamon and chorizo. And the Enkvist winery just outside Gaucin.

Open minded, looking for unique local experiences.

Thanks!

Mar 27, 2011
edgrimley in Spain/Portugal

Must Eats in Doha?

Bringing this one back up to the top. Any recommendations?

El Piratas de Tapas, Westbourne Grove/Bayswater, London

This menu looks great and we live just a few blocks away. Do you think bringing kids in, for an early dinner, would be acceptable? Or not appropriate for this place. We understand the difference. :)

And Limster - great to see you on this board. We followed your trails religiously in Boston a few years ago.

Dec 29, 2010
edgrimley in U.K./Ireland