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Tokyo itinerary critique (Rokurinsha ramen, Takatora, Seigetsu, Dons de la Nature, Gyoza Stadium)

Thanks, everyone. One more question: does anyone have a recommendation for a French-Japanese place in the Kudanshita Station area? I read somewhere that it's one of David Chang's favorite areas to eat in Tokyo, but he didn't give any specific restaurant recommendations, and a search on Chowhound didn't seem to turn anything up.

Sep 11, 2013
carbonara in Japan

Tokyo itinerary critique (Rokurinsha ramen, Takatora, Seigetsu, Dons de la Nature, Gyoza Stadium)

Hello,

I've spent hours and hours reading threads to prepare for an upcoming first-time trip to Tokyo, and I think I've figured out five out of six restaurants on the three days we have to ourselves for wandering around the city. Could anyone offer advice on a sixth and/or are there any big mistakes in our itinerary? So far, the plan is:

Saturday: lunch at Rokurinsha Tokyo, dinner at Dons de la Nature
Sunday: lunch at ________, dinner at Seigetsu in Kagurazaka
Monday: lunch at Gyoza Stadium, dinner at Takatora in Takadanobaba

So, we have meals planned around tsukemen ramen, tonkotsu ramen, an izakaya, wagyu beef, and gyoza. We'll also make a morning trip out to Tsukiji for breakfast fish. What are we missing? Or are any of these bad choices? One person in the party is allergic to fish, so we're probably eschewing sushi this time around (I know some of the ramen has fish in the broth, but I'm hoping there will be a fish-free option in there--or is this unrealistic?). We're thinking of possibly trying a tempura place for the sixth slot, maybe Kondo or Ten-ichi, but are open to pretty much anything.

(The only restaurants we're avoiding are some of the Michelin-starred multi-course places because (1) we've heard they're not all that dissimilar from restaurants in San Francisco, like Saison and (2) we're going to Tokyo next week, so it's too late to get reservations anyway.)

Also, we'll be in Tokyo for an additional week--there will be a lot of work during that time, which will cut down on food trips, but if you have thoughts on tasty neighborhood spots near the Green Tower Makuhari Hotel in Chiba or the Villa Fontaine in Roppongi, that would be very welcome, too.

Thank you in advance! We're tremendously excited.

Sep 09, 2013
carbonara in Japan

Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 2nd quarter 2012 [OLD]

Google says this has been around for years, but I'd somehow never noticed it before--a heartfelt yea for the buffalo mozzarella. We had a modified caprese salad with the mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar (all of which was from TJ's, except the olive oil, which was California Olive Ranch), and were so happy. Buffalo mozzarella can be disappointing, but this one is so flavorful and rich.

Apr 28, 2012
carbonara in Chains

Kimchi in SF

Yesterday, I stopped at Koreana after a (great) first trip to Ohgane, and now have a gigantic jar of kimchi in my refrigerator, as well as some pickled jalapenos and spicy squid. Thanks for the suggestion! Deliciousness.

Kimchi in SF

Oh, no, that sounds delicious. This morning, while in the grip of my kimchi craving, I had eggs and Sriracha for breakfast. I often find Sriracha tasty, but there's something about the thought of adding Sriracha to kimchi that sounds off to me--Sriracha is so sweet, and kimchi's generally not, and I feel as though the sticky sweetness of Sriracha would interfere too much with the clean taste of kimchi.

Okay, just ran an experiment and added a touch of Sriracha to a piece of kimchi. Yep, not for me. De gustibus, etc.

Kimchi in SF

Thanks, everyone. I ended up taking maricarmen's recommendation and getting kimchi from Rhea's Deli. I felt a bit of sticker shock ($6-something for a very small jar) but, hey, since it's homemade kimchi within walking distance of my apartment, I figured I might as well try it once. And I found it really, really delicious, with an assertively garlicky and vinegary taste that I often love in kimchi. (Mr. carbonara liked it less, but he tends to prefer stronger chili flavors and less garlic in kimchi.) In fact, I almost finished the entire jar. Now I feel ever so slightly queasy, from kimchi overindulgence. Queasy, but happy. I would pay $6-something (less, I guess, if I return the jar?) again for that. I might even pay for another jar tomorrow.

It's good to know about these other options, too, for the next time I get this craving. Thank you!

Kimchi in SF

Really? Which ones? I generally only frequent Trader Joe's and Rainbow (and, very occasionally, Costco and Whole Foods), and I haven't noticed kimchi in the aisles; that said, I haven't been looking when in those stores.

(On second thought, I've seen kimchi in Costco of I don't know what brand, though, from having lifted the giant jar and stared at it, it looked unappetizingly un-spicy. The thread wolfe linked to had someone saying Costco kimchi was tasty, but that he/she added srichi (not sure what that is--maybe sriracha?) to make it spicier. I'm not usually a purist about cuisines, but the thought of adding sriracha to kimchi turns my stomach a little.)

Kimchi in SF

I haven't been to Kunjip, so thanks for the tip! I don't know Poong San, though, since I grew up in LA with Korean parents, there's a good chance I've tried it without knowing it. I'll ask my parents to bring me some Poong San the next time they drive up, along with some of the kimchi my grandmother makes. Just thinking of the varieties of kimchi available in my parents' refrigerator kind of makes me want to cry right now, from desire.

Kimchi in SF

Ooh, there's the slightest chance I might be able to make it to Woo Ri today. Thanks, srr. And thanks, wolfe. I'd seen that thread but somehow had missed the (geographical) mention of Woo Ri.

Starting to have visions of burying my own kimchi, so I can have more of it around for times like this.

Four Barrel Guatemala Antigua Cadejo replacement?

Thanks, all. I love that there are so many possibilities. I think I'll try Redbird first, as it looks comparatively inexpensive ($12.50 for a pound), and work my way up from there. Sugartoof, I called Stumptown and talked to them about their Guatemala Fina El Injerto coffee, which sounds as though it could very well fit the need, so I'll try that next. Will report back, though it'll probably be a little slow, as I'm the only coffee-drinker in the household and I rarely have more than one cup a day.

Kimchi in SF

This is probably a long shot, but does anyone know of a place to buy kimchi in the city, if at all possible in the Mission or the Civic Center area? I know there's First Korean Market in the Inner Richmond, and I've shopped for Korean groceries at Kukje in Daly City, but I'm going to be carless and busy today and find myself having a serious kimchi craving. And by craving I mean I'd ideally like a jar of it (not some side plate of it at a restaurant), so that I can eat a heaping pile of pieces of kimchi all by itself, without any silly distractions like rice or soup or, you know, other food getting in the way. Yum.

Actually, while I'm on this question, does anyone know of a place in the Bay Area in general where you can get jars of the kind of kimchi that has a few oysters in it? (I haven't seen it, but I've only shopped so far at Kukje.) Love that stuff. Double yum.

foods you eat to get full without consuming too many calories?

Miso greens and wild mushrooms soup/stew sounds delicious--do you have a recipe for it?

Feb 14, 2012
carbonara in General Topics

Four Barrel Guatemala Antigua Cadejo replacement?

Thanks, sugartoof. I tried the Colombian San Augustin today and, though it's tasty, there's something more one-dimensional about it that will probably keep it from being my fallback. I'll keep experimenting. I remember having liked Blue Bottle, so maybe I'll revert to trying some beans from them...or from Verve or Sightglass. From reading around Chowhound, people seem to have some good things to say about Ecco and De la Paz, too.

Please help us get excited about SF again! (a little long)

Our favorites were the swiss chard enchilada and the mole poblano enchilada; we also liked the mole poblano chicken tamale. There was a stew that also looked enticing, but we were too full by then. Next time.

How do you Fage?

The blueberry-acai Fage is so wonderful. Normally I don't particularly like sweet things, and I generally dislike preserves and jam, but the blueberry-acai version makes me batty. I wish I could get their preserves separately, as it's so wasteful--money-wise and packaging-wise--to go through those little packages, sometimes to the tune of three a day.

Feb 09, 2012
carbonara in General Topics

Best Wine Shops in the US

I'll put in yet another vote for K&L in SF (and LA, and Redwood City). I particularly love the way they keep track of customers' buying histories, though that will be less useful to a traveler.

And I'll second Acker Merrall & Condit in NY. They've had some delicious tastings, including one a few years ago I still remember because they were pouring a 1990 Krug, a Grande Cuvee Krug, and a Krug Rose. Generously sized pours, too. That was a happy day. Sherry-Lehmann is also great.

Feb 09, 2012
carbonara in Wine

Four Barrel Guatemala Antigua Cadejo replacement?

Thanks! I did pick up a blend the very friendly guy at Four Barrel recommended. I didn't love it this morning, but I'm going to experiment more with how strong I make the coffee, etc.

Wine Country - Please Help! Food and Drink Recommendations

That's what we did, too (stayed in Yountville, ate a meal in Sonoma)--El Molino was entirely worth the drive for us, especially since the OP wants a cheaper place.

Please help us get excited about SF again! (a little long)

Celeb chefs? A little confused as to who on earth on that initial list is a celebrity chef, other than Thomas Keller and Alice Waters. I remember Nick Balla's name, but only because we used to love Bar Tartine so much. Other than that, I don't care if the person making my food is a feted chef or a monkey (or, you know, a hair-pulling rat), as long as the food's good.

Please help us get excited about SF again! (a little long)

Vung Tau! We love that place--forgot to mention it on the original list. Going there, I realized for the first time how vibrant and delicious Vietnamese food could be.

Wine Country - Please Help! Food and Drink Recommendations

If you're in the mood for Mexican, El Molino blew us away last weekend, and it's cheap.

Four Barrel Guatemala Antigua Cadejo replacement?

I recently fell madly in love with Four Barrel's Guatemala Antigua Cadejo coffee, only to learn yesterday that they're completely out of it, now and for the foreseeable future. I haven't felt this sad since the last time Trader Joe's took away a mainstay. Does anyone have a recommendation on an SF coffee similar to the Four Barrel Guatemala? I loved, in particular, how not bitter it was--not a trace of bitterness--while still having what amounted to a maddeningly delicious complexity.

Also loved the chocolatey notes. Also, it wasn't overly sweet. It was near-perfect, in other words. (For what it's worth, I usually make Aeropress Americanos with a touch of milk.)

Please help us get excited about SF again! (a little long)

El Molino was fantastic. Some of the best Mexican we've ever had outside of Mexico. Thanks, CH!

Please help us get excited about SF again! (a little long)

Oh, my goodness--after a busy couple of weeks at work, I come back to Chowhound and see how much this thread has grown. Thanks so much for all the suggestions--we went to Locanda this week, had a thoroughly delicious meal, and got a little more excited about SF food all over again. (Those fried olives!) And we're going to Sonoma this weekend, and are looking forward to trying El Molino, per moto's and susancinsf's recommendations. Looking forward to continuing to try new places. Thank you!

What to order at Eiji?

Aside from the oboru tofu, and the ankake tofu, what's really good at Eiji? I've seen a mention of the black cod miso, as well as of the strawberry mochi--anything else? Is the sushi worth getting, or should we stick to cooked dishes?

Edited to add: just saw the replies to a new thread on tofu that includes some other Eiji recommendations: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/829610

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Restaurant Eiji
317 Sanchez St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Please help us get excited about SF again! (a little long)

Heh, I should have noted that, even though we only moved to SF 6 months ago, we've lived on the Peninsula previously, and we have a lot of family in the area, so we've come back to the bay even when we haven't lived here. That said, as is probably clear from the original post, eating out is one of our major sources of entertainment/recreation/happiness, and we do a lot of it.

Please help us get excited about SF again! (a little long)

Thanks! I'm glad you like Tai Wu, too--the board reports I spotted seemed pro-Tai Wu, but I didn't see very many such reports. Did you like them for dim sum, or for non-dim sum food?

We don't have an Italian standby yet, either, and I've heard other good things about Barbacco, so we'll have to try that. We've heard much good about Saison, but the price has definitely been deterring us. For those prices, we could start seriously saving toward a trip to Paris.

Please help us get excited about SF again! (a little long)

Thanks--particularly appreciate the sushi recommendation, since that's something we love but for which we haven't yet found a standby. And we've gotten cheeses at Cheeseboard (including some delicious Stilton), but haven't tried their pizzas yet, so we'll have to do that.

Please help us get excited about SF again! (a little long)

Thanks for all the recommendations. (It's nice to hear we're not the only ones underwhelmed by Flour + Water, etc...helps to mitigate the am-I-crazies.) No, we haven't tried Commis or Coi yet--for some reason, we'd been under the impression that Commis belongs on the list of extremely expensive restaurants, a category we've been slower to try. Looking at the menu, though, that $68 tasting menu looks irresistibly tempting. And we'll have to try to the German places, thanks. I get something like weekly cravings for NYC's Austrian food (Blaue Gans!), so maybe one of these German places will help fill the craving.

Please help us get excited about SF again! (a little long)

Well, one of us really enjoyed her seafood-heavy La Ciccia, but still wasn't head-over-heels in love, and the other just didn't like his (non-seafoody) dishes, so really like + dislike seems to average out to pleasant. Range, meanwhile, has given us a number of oh-my-god moments, even if it's only happened on two-thirds of our visits. That said, our La Ciccia reaction was based on one visit, and we live nearby, so we'll have to try it again. And yes, Pastores has been on the to-try list--we'll have to go there soon.

Thanks for the other recommendations. Do you have a favorite taqueria in Oakland, or a favorite Indian place in the South Bay?