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Disappointing Dinner at Radius in SoMa

I have eaten at Radius once before (in February right before the chef change), and my meal then was so perfect in every way that I felt like I'd stumbled upon a real undiscovered gem - stunning food, "just right" service, at a price point that felt like it could have been much higher and it still would have seemed reasonable for the quality of the food and experience.

Remembering how amazing my first experience was makes last night's dinner all the more disappointing. My parents are visiting from NYC and asked me to book a place where they could enjoy some local California cuisine, and Radius immediately came to mind. We had an 8PM reservation on Friday and the place was packed. We waited for 15 or so minutes at the bar then were seated in the back room. Our server was friendly and took our wine/oyster order straight away. This is when the real waiting began... we must have waited 30 minutes before he came back with the wine. In the mean time a different server came by and took our menus away, even though we had not ordered entrees yet. Eventually our server came back with the wine, but the oysters took another 15 minutes to appear. Oysters were lovely, Marin Miyagis. But by now it's getting late, my parents are getting tired (old people with jetlag!) and we are all starving. We beg a different server for some bread that we see other tables being served. Finally our server returns looking a bit flustered to take our entree order. He recommended the miso glazed cod so my Mom and I get that, my Dad orders the pork duo (honey brined tenderloin and crispy pork belly). When our food finally appears I can tell immediately that something is up with the fish. My Mom immediately remarked "these look like fish sticks!". It was kind of bizarre - that is exactly what they were. Each plate had three little strips of some kind of ambiguous fish (I am not confident that it was cod, it was very stringy like skate wing). It seemed like the fish had been deep fried without being dipped in batter first. Certainly there was no taste of miso, no glaze to be seen, in fact I think someone had forgotten to season it at all. My Dad's pork tenderloin was well prepared, but the pork belly was extremely undercooked. The fat was not rendered at all, the meat was too tough to cut. It was inedible.

Our waiter came back quickly and started apologizing before we could open our mouths. He said the kitchen was overwhelmed tonight and he'd be happy to switch our orders. We decided to go a more safe route and ordered the steak and chicken. They sent us a cheese plate and a pea panna cotta while we waited. While we waited, we watched the same scenario play out at the table next to us - people sending back dishes and getting a bottle of wine comped.

Was this an off night, or has Radius gone completely downhill with a new kitchen/new chef? I am so disappointed that I took my parents here for one out of only two dinners they will have in SF.

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Radius
1123 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94105

May 14, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

Best milkshakes in the Bay Area?

I have to admit I have not personally tried any of these shakes, but they look pretty interesting!

The Twinkie Shake at Burger Bar in Union Square, Salted Caramel shake at Greenburger's in Lower Haight, and the Pie shakes from Green Chile Kitchen all sound pretty amazing to me.

http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/20...

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Green Chile Kitchen
1801 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Greenburger's
518 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

May 03, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

Report: Blue Fig on Valencia - high-quality brunch food at order-at-the-counter prices

I suppose what I meant was that this area is lacking takeout lunch spots that go beyond burritos and sandwiches. Zaytoon I guess at least goes beyond the bread-wrapped options as they have a mazza plate (which is awesome, so much food and a steal for $8). I think Blue Fig has the potential to be this spot if they'd just add a few more substantial salads to the menu!

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Zaytoon
1136 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Blue Fig
990 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

May 03, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

Anniversary dinner ideas in san francisco

Prix Fixe tasting menu at Baker & Banker is $65 per person, add $35 for wine pairings. The food rocks and I think even a less adventurous eater would be happy. Plus, it's quite romantic inside, perfect for an anniversary.

Link to the menu: http://www.bakerandbanker.com/index.p...

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Baker & Banker
1701 Octavia Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

May 03, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

Report: Blue Fig on Valencia - high-quality brunch food at order-at-the-counter prices

Blue Fig's breakfast sandwiches are excellent and all round the food quality is way above average - this place is like a takeout oasis in a desert of taquerias. I wish they would add some more lunch salads with protein to the menu. I would eat there 3x a week.

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Blue Fig
990 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

May 03, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

Mission Beach vs Canteen for hash?

Just to throw another suggestion into the ring... the turkey sausage hash at Slow Club is pretty darned delicious. In fact I am not usually the biggest hash fan but I can't get enough of this stuff.

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Slow Club
2501 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

May 03, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

Recommended Venues for Private lunch, 12-15 people, downtown Vancouver?

Thanks for the suggestions - we ended up going with CinCin Ristorante. They have a private room that can accommodate 16 and provide A/V as well.

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CinCin Ristorante + Bar
1154 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 1B5, CA

Apr 26, 2011
JuliaG in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Canteen or Commonwealth

Tough choice! I have had excellent meals at both. If I were forced to choose, I would base my decision on what kind of "mood" you are going for that evening, and how much you feel like eating.

At Commonwealth, I think you'd really want to splurge for the tasting menu and wine pairings (comes to $90, which I think is truly excellent value for the quality of food and the experience). Even though it's on a grungy block of Mission St, I would count Commonwealth as a special-occasion place. Also, I've heard people complain after ordering from the a la carte menu that the portions are too small, but I was so full after the tasting menu I could barely eat even a bite of my dessert (this is a very rare occurrence for me).

Canteen offers a much more casual experience - the food is really excellent and I am a huge fan of both the brunch and dinner here. I would count this as a more everyday/upscale dinner.

I guess I haven't really answered your question yet... So I will go out on a limb and say Commonwealth, chef's tasting menu, wine pairings.

Apr 20, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

Butter Burger @ Maverick - has anyone tried? [San Francisco]

Well I'm glad everyone enjoyed the video :)

Just an update on situation butter burger - we called Maverick to check whether they are still serving these puppies. Unfortunately, it appears that they have run out of the first generation of butter burgers. However, starting next Tuesday, they are serving a NEW burger called the "Juicy Lucy", which consists of a butter burger patty, topped with gouda like its predecessor, but featuring a new addition of watercress. And there will be a price increase to $21.

She recommended making a reservation ASAP.

Apr 20, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

Butter Burger @ Maverick - has anyone tried? [San Francisco]

My coworkers and I just gathered around and watched the following video 5 times in a row, which shows how Maverick's chef Matt Brimer prepares his appropriately named "butter burgers": http://sanfrancisco.grubstreet.com/20...

It's mesmerizing to watch the butter get ground up together with the beef. I would love to try one.

Has anyone had the pleasure of eating one of these beauties yet?

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Maverick Restaurant
3316 17th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Apr 19, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

Recommended Venues for Private lunch, 12-15 people, downtown Vancouver?

I'm looking for a venue to host a private business lunch for 12-15 people, in a central/downtown (i.e. easy to access) location. I'd love to find a place that's got top notch food (this is a very discerning foodie group), and could accomodate A/V equipment (we'd like to project a short presentation). I'd really love to find something more "special" than just a hotel meeting room with catered food.

Anyone know of any restaurants that might be able to handle my request?

Thanks in advance!

Apr 18, 2011
JuliaG in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Honeymooners coming to San Fran! Looking for a unique local spot.

Specifically at the $100 price point, I would recommend Radius in SoMa - http://radiussf.com/. I think the food here is on par with Zuni and many other of the awesome restaurants already mentioned, but their prices are ever so slightly lower. I think you could make $100 just about cover a meal for two people here. I have always experienced impeccable service here and it just feels fancy, even though the prices are reasonable.

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Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Apr 15, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

Hipster dinner out for the Middle Aged!

I've been hearing a lot of "meh" reports about the food at Heirloom Cafe, but I decided to try it anyway. I've had one dinner there and actually thought the meal was good, perhaps not the most creative menu, and slightly overpriced but nothing too egregious. If you are into wine then that is the real star of the show there.

Apr 15, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

Hipster dinner out for the Middle Aged!

Commonwealth is fantastic, but to really enjoy your meal you'll need to spend more than 50-60 pp. I second Bar Agricole as well - I've had several meals here that actually surprised me with how much I enjoyed the food, and the space is absolutely stunning and certainly "hip". I was able to get a very last minute reservation there at prime dinner hour last Saturday night.

For less pricey options that meet "hipness" criteria - I personally like the food at Beretta, Slow Club, Maverick and Spork, all in the Mission.

Also, Beast and Hare is a new addition to the Mission. A bit more casual, and perhaps more achingly "hipster" than "hip", but they do some amazing charcuterie.

I am pretty sure all the places I mentioned take reservations. Have a great dinner!

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Slow Club
2501 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Spork
1058 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Bar Agricole
355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Apr 14, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

Two Great Food iPhone Apps

I'm in SF, and I use the Yelp app almost daily - but I've noticed recently the "find restaurant nearby" searches have starting returning really weird results. For example, they will list restaurants that are 1+ mile away above places that are actually on my block (this is just a purely "by distance" search, not filtered by ratings, etc.). I am starting to suspect that the search results algorithm is giving preference to paying advertisers. The new Google Places app is giving me better local search results these days. Anyone else feel the same?

Apr 14, 2011
JuliaG in Food Media & News

inexpensive restaurants near civic center plaza?

Turtle Tower is great. I also suggest Lahore Karahi (great Pakistani) - http://www.yelp.com/biz/lahore-karahi...

As well as Ananda Fuara Vegetarian - http://www.yelp.com/biz/ananda-fuara-...
for good cheap eats in the area.

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Turtle Tower Restaurant
631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Lahore Karahi
612 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Apr 14, 2011
JuliaG in San Francisco Bay Area

How to clean pyrex baking dishes?

Thanks for the suggestions everyone - I tried the magic eraser sponges (I soo wanted these to work!) but didn't make much of a dent. I guess this stuff is really baked on there! I think I will have to resort to the oven cleaner.

Apr 14, 2011
JuliaG in Cookware

iPhone dining apps?

You should check out The Scoop which is a free app produced by the NY Times. It has all the content updated regularly from the NY Times dining section.

Apr 08, 2011
JuliaG in Food Media & News

How to clean pyrex baking dishes?

All my pyrex dishes have hard-core baked on food stains that I cannot get off. I have tried scrubbing with baking soda and also with bar keepers friend - to no avail. Does anyone have a suggestion for getting these dishes clean again? I heard that oven cleaner is a possible solution but I really don't like the idea of using these harsh chemicals on my cookware. Thanks for your help!

Apr 08, 2011
JuliaG in Cookware

Bone-in Goat Shoulder on the grill - Where to begin?

On a whim, I just picked up a 4.4lb bone-in goat shoulder (Marin sun farms). This will be my very first foray into preparing goat at home. My idea was to cook it low and slow on a charcoal grill with some mesquite chips, roast some chiles towards the end and roll in flour tortillas for bbq goat tacos.

So - a couple of questions.

1) How long would it take to cook this size of goat shoulder to optimum tenderness?
2) Does goat need to be marinated or can I just do a dry rub and throw it on the grill?
3) Any advice on grill temperature?

Would love to hear from some more experienced goat grillmasters!

Mar 20, 2010
JuliaG in Home Cooking