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Hopscotch (Oakland)

I finally had a chance to try it, and after all the raves both on this board and off this board I was underwhelmed. Black cod was no better than we make at home, and one dish was too salty. Whatever the organ meat terrine was was too sweet. They also didn't have white rice. Even though they are not exactly a Japanese restaurant, it's odd that they would spell tempura correctly and not have a pot of white rice in the kitchen. On the positive side their dishes are interesting, just the execution was lacking.

Sliced Meat for Hot Pot in East Bay or SF?

Yes, sacha/satay.

We cooked everyone's egg whites in the broth with the noodles at the end.

Mar 30, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Sliced Meat for Hot Pot in East Bay or SF?

I don't usually shop at Won Kee but I will check it out. They have our favorite sesame crackers so it's likely their selection is bigger than some of the other stores. I'm not Cantonese so I suppose the style of hot pot I'm used to is slightly different. Growing up we had fish balls and shrimp dumplings that look like tortellini. Sauces really vary too I have discovered from going to various restaurants. I like a raw egg yolk, soy, and satay paste. My dad used to add greens onions and ginger but I thought they were too overpowering.

Mar 28, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Haven - Oakland

Best incarnation yet. The food was very sophisticated, well executed, interesting and delicious. Breaking bread course consisted of at least 8 different items that were 1-3 bites each. All were good and most were excellent. Favorite was the pate. Main course and sides also impressive. I enjoy eating so many different dishes in one meal.

Weakest course was dessert (not surprising). Despite this, looking forward to returning.

Mar 27, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

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

My pizzas had a normal amount of cheese but it's possible their food is still uneven since they haven't been open for very long. I like the food at Desco but rarely eat there because it is full service, more expensive, and my favorite items (pasta) don't fill me up. I can get takeout from the places at Swans market, including Hen House. Haven't had the pizza at Desco yet since I am a sucker for fresh pasta.

Mar 25, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

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

A few updates to this thread:

Hen House is now in Swan's Market and their pizzas are quite good. I've tried the crab pizza and the mushroom pizza. Lunch special side salad for $2 extra is tasty and helps balance out the meal.

Tay Ho, one of my favorites dine-in places, has started offering takeout banh mi for $5. They make their own aioli and I like theirs better than BC Deli's.

B-Dama is discussed in another thread but I thought I'd mention it here for completeness.

Mar 25, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Roli Roti’s Porchetta

LOL. Growing up I was not exposed to fine dining, and thought that the chewier cuts were *better* than others. To me it was like getting a bonus piece of chewing gum in a superior flavor.

Mar 25, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Sliced Meat for Hot Pot in East Bay or SF?

Thank you for the update! The nice thing about ranch 99 is that you can find the packages of frozen shrimp or cuttlefish dumplings, which IMHO are just as important for hot pot as the meat. Haven't seen them in Chinatown, Oakland or SF. Have you?

Mar 25, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Roli Roti’s Porchetta

Porchetta is now available at the Friday downtown Oakland farmers market. I can't handle the line at the Ferry Building, the line in Oakland is much more manageable.

Mar 24, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Foie Gras in the East Bay

After not being able to have foie gras for some time, I would really like a seared version, served hot. Robert, it's not showing up on the Lliason menu, is it a special? Anywhere else in the Oakland-Berkeley areas? I'm surprised I haven't seen it menus.

Mar 24, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Birthday Dinner: Ame, Acquerello, or Benu [San Francisco]

Haven't been to Acquerello, but have been to Benu and Ame twice each. Benu is in a different league than Ame, I'd put it up there with Crenn. However I definitely did not feel full at Benu, the first time I went to Coi for roasted white chocolate and the second time I went to Zare for goat cheesecake.

Mar 23, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Dole Royal Hawaiian Pineapples on Clement Street (SF)

I was buying an average of one pineapple a week from BB for 6 months and stopped because half of them were brown and fermented on the inside.

My local Chinese market in Oakland had Hawaiian pineapples that were ok.

The best one I have had was from CJ Olson, sweet and sour and pineapple-y. It was also Hawaiian.

I don't use them in cooking so I seek out the low acid varieties. Maui Gold used to be the best but more recently other brands have been good or better.

Mar 17, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Tianjin preserved vegatable ...Any suggestions ? it's very salty

One easy thing to do is mix it up with ground pork and form a patty, cook it, and serve it over white rice with a side of veggies.

Mar 17, 2015
felice in Home Cooking

Guilin Rice noodle

It is possible it is related to the one in Oakland. A few months ago one of the owners told me they were opening up a South Bay location. She said the South Bay location would be different, but didn't elaborate on what the difference would be.

Mar 13, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Char Grilled Oysters Over Real Wood?

Oh yes, twice per trip! The last friend I introduced to the oysters texted me a picture a week later of her trying to replicate them at home. The friend before that insisted on getting a second round of oysters before our entrees arrived.

Mar 12, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Nothing but Forgettable Fancy Tasting Menus at Bay Area French Influenced High End Restaurants - RANT

I couldn't agree with you more on the Fifth Floor and Bazirgan. Even though we had the tasting menu both times they were memorable meals, excellent tartare and the most tender poached lobster I've had. I would rank it above La Folie, and well above Quince and Manresa. Speaking of tragic closings, I was really sad when I learned of the closing of Baraka, one of Bazirgan's earlier restaurants.

Still, the lack of choice doesn't bother me, I trust that the chef will put forth his/her best dishes in a tasting menu and if the meal is not memorable I won't return. My dining companions usually prefer the tasting menu as well. Whether it's the chef's ego, their philosophy, or the economics of the restaurant that drive this trend, I am ok with it. Overall I've had more memorable tasting menu experiences than memorable a la carte menu experiences.

Mar 12, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Nothing but Forgettable Fancy Tasting Menus at Bay Area French Influenced High End Restaurants - RANT

I'd like to separate the "forgettable" part of the discussion from the "tasting menu" part of the discussion. A meal can be forgettable whether it's a tasting of many small courses or a more standard 3 course meal with an appetizer, entree, and dessert. The forgettable-ness is really about the food on the plate regardless of the portion size. It is about the ingredients, the chef's ability to compose a dish and the kitchen's execution.

Portion size makes a difference for certain dishes that are only good as a one bite appetizer or an entree (like the guinea fowl or florentine steak), but I don't think it's a defining difference.

The tasting menu part is about choice, and for me I make my choice when I choose the restaurant, not when I arrive and look at the menu. I've only been to Cotogna for their Sunday night prix fixe because it's easier to get a reservation on Sundays, and I go to Ad Hoc about half the time I go to Napa. I've had memorable meals at both (as well as at high end places), and I think it's because they are good restaurants. Gary Danko offers a lot of choice with their menu format but I'm not sure that a meal there would be any more memorable.

I agree that there are a lot of not-worth-my-time-and-money high end French-influenced restaurants in the Bay Area, regardless of format.

Looking for Best Yogurt in the Bay Area

I second Liberte. I introduced a CH friend to it and he kept depleting the stock whenever there was a sale. It's harder and harder to find my favorite flavor, peach/passionfruit.

Mar 10, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Peche - excellent

I really enjoyed my solo lunch at Peche. The peel and eat shrimp, while so simple, were very flavorful. And they came with the heads on so I could enjoy the delicious juices. Cobia collar was also excellent, they are really good at highlighting the seafood (some restaurants cover it up).

Brussels sprouts were a slightly greasy and I had no time for dessert. I'm looking forward to returning, although I agree with Sunnyside that I would pick Cochon over Peche if confronted with this tough choice.

Mar 04, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Where to find "clean" oysters in NOLA?

I did think about sending them back but didn't know what the restaurant could have done about it, it wasn't shucking technique. This was the first time I experienced this and wasn't sure whether muddy oysters were the norm. When I got back to the hotel room, I found this thread...

Mar 04, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Where to find "clean" oysters in NOLA?

I was really excited to attend happy hour at Luke's but the oysters turned out to be a disappointment because they were so muddy. Lines of mud streaked down the lower shell and clung to the edges of the oyster. Halfway through I poured water from my water glass onto my bread plate so I could swish the oysters in the water. Then I asked the waiter for a small glass of water and I dipped the oyster in the water and used my fingers to rub off the mud. The glass of water was very dirty by the time I was done.

Luckily the oysters at Cochon were as good as ever so I had the opportunity to eat some amazing oysters on this trip.

Mar 04, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Emiril's New Orleans

I went during my recent trip and thought the food was mediocre but the service was excellent.

The two best dishes were the bread service and the mussels. The mussels were in a wonderfully complex Asian style broth and the bread was hot and house made.

Unfortunately the BBQ shrimp were head off and overcooked, far inferior to the version at Mr. B's. Fish and pork entrees were fine, and the cream part of the banana cream pie could have been silkier.

Even though the food wasn't great I felt like I was treated like a queen. I don't think very many restaurants achieve this level of service.

Mar 04, 2015
felice in New Orleans

SFBA Dish of the Month (March 2015) - Nominations/Voting

FRUIT SMOOTHIES
They are not all good and we can do better than Jamba Juice.

Michel Bistro - Oakland

Had dinner there last week. Bison tartare and braised veal with cream sauce were outstanding. All the components of the tartare were in the right proportions. Bison was mild and could have been substituted with beef without changing the dish much. I overheard the table next to me opine that the tartare was too acidic but I thought it was perfect. In any case, differing opinions on acidity could be easily remedied with a basket of fries to balance the acid.

The cream sauce on the veal was perfect, I haven't encountered this type of sauce very much in Bay Area French restaurants.

Sole meunière was fine and the foie gras in the foie gras salad was beautifully poached. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the salad as a whole - there was a sweet component and an acidic component - both were strong and the savory flavor of the foie was muted by them sadly. I would have preferred this dish deconstructed.

The highlights were high so I would like to return for my favorites.

Feb 20, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Cholita Linda - any more reports?

I've been getting takeout from their Temescal location, and have been trying non-taco items on their menu. I've been very happy with everything, haven't encountered a loser yet. My favorites have been their as as asado sandwich and chicharron de pollo plate. Their black beans are fantastic and the pollo was served with a thick and creamy yellow sauce, it reminded me of the great cream sauce I had at Michel but more flavors. The yellow sauce was similar to the one in aji de gallina.

Feb 20, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Midnight snack?

Okay, points taken. I am staying several days and will not be getting up for 7:30 breakfast the morning after I fly in. But thank you for the warning. I will get to visit other restaurants during my stay, but just had these two constrained situations and you have all been great about solutions.

Feb 13, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Midnight snack?

That sounds like a good option if I am tired from travel and don't want to leave the hotel room. I will not be there during Mardi Gras. They have such a large menu. Any must orders?

Feb 13, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Weekday 7:30 breakfast

Heh. It will be a breakfast meeting (work) and afterwards we will be heading straight back to the Hyatt for the rest of the day's meetings. I was just trying to figure out whether I really had to spend the entire day cooped up in the hotel. We have back to back meetings with the 7:30 one being the first, so this is my best chance. We don't have much travel time between meetings and I can't ask everyone to get a cab since we are in the nonprofit sector.

Feb 12, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Weekday 7:30 breakfast

Since the midnight snack question was so easy for this board, I have another very specific request. I am looking for a full service breakfast place open at 7:30 within three blocks of the Hyatt on Poydras. If nothing fits that description, we can get breakfast at the hotel, but I would prefer to get out of the hotel.
Thank you!

Feb 11, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Midnight snack?

Thank you, it is really impressive that there a handful of restaurants open until 2am. I'm leaning toward Root.

Feb 11, 2015
felice in New Orleans