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Grocery Outlet -- April 2014

Does the soap actually smell like mangosteen? That might be too tortuous.

Apr 08, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Caravaggio Gelateria Italiana, Downtown Berkeley - any reports?

This destination skyrocketed to the top of my to eat list and I was impressed. Having tried a lot of unworthy hazelnut gelato in the US (and plenty of mediocre ones in Italy too), Caravaggio's was excellent. Lots of hazelnut flavor. Top 10 including Italy, top 3 outside Italy.

Apr 08, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Searching for 7D Dried Mangoes

On the topic of crazy good dried fruit, I picked up some of Uncle Mikey's dried pineapple in Kauai last month. I didn't try them until I got back to the Bay Area. As soon as I had one I immediately wished I had bought more. Available online at $30 a pound, which is pricey. They don't add sugar and the flavor is intense.

Apr 08, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

Thanks everyone! There were more options than I thought and I decided on Iyasare for lunch and will make a last minute decision between Desco and Tay Ho when the time comes. I will be referencing this thread for all future parental visits though since there were multiple suggestions that fit the bill.

Mar 31, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

They actually don't get to eat much Mexican - during my childhood we ate strictly at asian restaurants. I moved out around the time their diet changed and they stopped eating at restaurants altogether. I also considered Nido and other mexican places but had to rule them out because a) too many dishes with tortilla chips (fried) and b) most dishes are meat-centric.

Mar 31, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

When I checked a few weeks ago, Iyasare was not open for lunch on Sundays, but it looks like that has recently changed. My parents would love a dinner there - I found a lunch menu on opentable and it is pared down and contains some forbidden fried items like tonkatsu and kakiage and tempura. Simpler is ok as long as the same attention is paid to the food. Has anyone seen any lunch reports yet?

Unfortunately, Box and Bells has too limited of a menu. Will keep Rangoon SS in mind. Ramen and pho are both out - broth will be too salty for them. They use about 1/10th the amount of salt (I am not exaggerating) in their soups as I would in mine.

Mar 31, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

I've been meaning to go to Fusebox but haven't made it yet. They are closed Sundays so it won't work for this visit.

Mar 31, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

Oooh, I forgot about Zuni. Definitely fits the criteria.

Mar 31, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

The bathroom at Tay Ho is better than the bathroom at Champa.

Mar 31, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Beat Seafood pizza in the Bay Area?

I second the squid pizza - definitely my favorite over the clam pizza. I check their menu regularly to see if it's available, but I haven't seen it on the menu recently even though other squid items show up.

Mar 31, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

Yes, that sounds great. Their lunch menu is not too pared down from their dinner menu.

Mar 30, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

Los Angeles but they grew up in Taiwan. They hadn't had much Thai or Vietnamese but have had lots of Korean and Japanese.

The Chinese food in restaurants is too oily and salty for them. "Unhealthy", which is ridiculous but they only visit once every few years so I deal with it.

Mar 30, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

Doh, just looked at the Gather menu and it is 1/3 breakfast, 1/3 pizza.

Mar 30, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

I like Desco but wasn't sure what the light menu would contain... If their pappardelle or tagliatelle were available, it would definitely work.

Mar 30, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

We live 2 blocks from Bart so could Bart into the city if needed.

I realized I forgot to mention criteria 6: no hole in the walls or anywhere that could seem dirty. This rules out Champa and Pho Ao Sen.

Fusebox and Marica are both closed during the visit.

My parents don't enjoy potatoes, sandwiches, or pizza. This really limits what they would order at A16, Camino, and Oliveto. Centouno's menu is very small and they probably use dry pasta for their amatriciana and penne bolognese.

Bowl'd is not good enough, their palate for Korean and Japanese food is phenomenal.

Gather and Burma Superstar might work! Excellent suggestions I hadn't thought of.

Mar 30, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents in town, help!

For people who enjoy food, my parents are some of the pickiest eaters I know. Finding a place to go that meets my criteria and theirs is never easy. They are in and out of Oakland from 10-6 on a Sunday, which means I need to figure out a brunch place and an early dinner place. Here's the list of almost impossible criteria:

1. No Chinese food or a menu consisting of fried foods; mom likes "healthy"
2. We don't want to spend all of our time in a car; there are 5 of us and one four door car, they are only in town for 8 hours
3. Menu must have a good selection of lunch items, they will not want to order eggs and other standard breakfast items
4. They are Chinese, so they gravitate toward Asian food. Have had success with Italian food in the past
5. Seafood preferred over meat due to "healthy" criteria mentioned in 1 above

Past places they have liked include Kiss, Slanted Door. I thought Cotogna would be great for brunch because handmade pasta is similar to handmade Chinese noodles. Unfortunately they are not open for Sunday brunch. So far my best idea is Boulette's larder for brunch and a 4pm snack at Tay Ho before the flight. Does anyone have any additional ideas that fit these crazy criteria?

Mar 30, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

really good, low-sodium dinner near sfo

How about New England lobster company?

Mar 25, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Oakland Chinatown--best of, by restaurant

A more recent discovery for me is Tao Yuen. I was always puzzled by the really long lines. Looking in the window, the rice wrappers on the steamed dumplings look very thick, and dim sum doesn't look very fresh.

But I did figure out, without too much much painful trial and error, what to order here: the thin rice noodles (mifun). They are not too greasy and not too salty. A small takeout box costs only $2.40 and is pretty filling.

I tried a few of the dim sum items and they were not good. The other noodle dishes seem or are greasier. The long line is probably because this place is dirt cheap. Since I eat out for lunch almost daily, I need a few places for the days where I need to work through lunch and eat in front of the computer. The noodles at Tao Yuen are perfect for this purpose, and balances out the nicer/longer more expensive lunches.

Mar 21, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Small Weddingish Cake for Eloping Couple from East Coast (Tartine, Craftsman & Wolves, B. Patisserie?) [San Francisco]

I am biased for all things passionfruit, so naturally I really love Tartines passionfruit cake. It is in my top 3.

Another cake in my top 3 is the chocolate tower cake at Delessio. It has the perfect texture in my opinion.

I tried a chocolate hazelnut cake or torte from BP at a party, and while I thought is was delicious, I wouldn't call it a cake because it didn't have enough of the actual cake. In my mind, a majority of a proper cake is comprised of actual cake as opposed to fillings, mousses, etc.

Thinking about cakes, I am still mourning the closing of Patisserie Delanghe, which had the most incredible St. Honore cake. That cake was my only exception to the 50% rule.

Mar 15, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Fish Tacos - SF Dish of the Month March 2014

I finally braved the long line at the downtown farmers market yesterday for the fish tacos. They were worth the wait and definitely the best fish tacos I have had. Better than El Molino's and better than Cosecha's and Nick's Crispy Tacos.

I had started to shy away from ordering fish tacos a few years ago because most versions were either bland or soggy (if fried). CL's version was neither. They had plenty of the flavorful red sauce and the batter was crunchy enough to stand up to the sauce, even after the tacos endured the 5 minute walk back to my office under foil. In fact, I am glad the batter had some time to soak in the red sauce.

Mar 15, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Small Weddingish Cake for Eloping Couple from East Coast (Tartine, Craftsman & Wolves, B. Patisserie?) [San Francisco]

The 6inch version of the passionfruit cake at Tartine will be plenty for a group of five. They always have a few ready to go, so I have never needed to pre-order. For such a special day, if you don't want to leave anything to chance, you can always contact Tartine and ask if you can reserve one. It is beautiful and wedding white.

As for taste, it really depends on what type of cake you think tastes best. For example, I don't like dense cakes eg flourless chocolate cake, and I don't like mousse cakes because I'd rather eat mousse. Everyone has a preference, so it might help narrow the numerous if you could describe your version of an ideal cake.

Mar 13, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area
2

Locally made frozen foods worth stocking

Great topic!
I have dumplings from Tian Jin dumplings in my freezer as well as Shepherds purse wontons and rice balls with black sesame from Shanghai restaurant.

Mar 12, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area
2

Ran Kanom Thai Noodle - San Pablo

Any comparisons with the khao soi from Chai Thai?

Mar 11, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Kauai trip report - Jan 2014

Two last comments before we fly out tomorrow:

Final dinner at Dolphins in Poipu was fantastic. Most of us had the grilled fish of the day and it was simplicity at its best. The fish was as fresh as could be and cooked perfectly. We will definitely be returning on future trips.

Tomkats Grill in Koloa turned out to have excellent Kalua pork. It's moist and smokey and not overly salty.

Until next year....

Mar 06, 2014
felice in Hawaii

Where to find newly allowed Italian meats in Bay area??

Has anyone spotted any culatello di zibello?

I agree with moto that most of the imports here don't always represent the best of Italy, but I still think it's worth seeking out the best of the imports rather than settle for domestic.

Mar 05, 2014
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Kauai trip report - Jan 2014

We went to Josselin's and the food was great and the prices reasonable. Of the 9 dishes we ordered the only one that was a miss was the sashimi, which had a strange combination of flavors that didn't appeal to me.
I really loved the clams and the short ribs, both of which I can make at home but Josselin's versions were outstanding.

The only strange thing was the service, only half the staff seemed friendly and our main waiter seemed to ignore us half the time even though the restaurant was only half full. There were very few check-ins after dishes arrived and we ended up making most of our requests to the busboy/bus girl.

Mar 05, 2014
felice in Hawaii

Hawaiian pizza in Hawaii/kauai

Thanks everyone, for clearing up this mystery. It's nice to know it was invented in Canada. Lol.

Mar 05, 2014
felice in Hawaii

Hawaiian pizza in Hawaii/kauai

On the mainland there are pizza places that offer a ham and pineapple pizza and will call it a "Hawaiian pizza". I very rarely see it on menus in Hawaii, is this only a mainland thing? If this type of pizza really is Hawaiian, I would like to try a good version while I am in Hawaii. Any recommendations for Hawaiian pizza in Kauai? Thanks!

Mar 04, 2014
felice in Hawaii

Kauai trip report - Jan 2014

A few more updates... The Right Slice is a pie place down the street from Mark's Place. Their pie crust is excellent and we've been enjoying the three mini-pies we purchased. In addition to sweet pies, they also have excellent savory pies. Not cheap, but high quality.

I think the general consensus on this board is that Merriman's Poipu is not as good as Merriman's Kapalua, and a meal at either can cost a pretty penny. I would have to agree. Still, I have paid more for much worse food in Hawaii. We return to Merriman's once every visit because their food is consistent and very good.

The Koloa farmers market was a real treat this trip. They had a huge variety of delicious fruit that isn't available at the market, including longan, cherimoya, rambutan, cream apples, and star fruit. I wasn't expecting much since it's the end of February and not really the summer prime fruit season, and was pleasantly surprised.

Feb 28, 2014
felice in Hawaii

Kauai trip report - Jan 2014

Thanks for the reviews! I will add a few tidbits from our first day.

We had a few hours to kill before checking in at our lodging in Poipu, so we headed to Monico's for seafood tacos and most importantly, piña coladas. I am not a piña colada drinker, but theirs tastes like a coconut milkshake, really delicious. In terms of food, theirs is better than 90% of the Mexican food I've had in the SF area.

On the way back to Poipu, we stopped at Ara's to pick up poke for dinner. The have a lot of different kinds of poke, whereas most other places seem to have a few variations on tako and ahi. The picture shows, from left to right, spicy lobster, hamachi, tako, ahi, and shrimp with tobiko. They were all tasty but my favorites were lobster and hamachi. While it's more convenient just to pick up poke at the local Koloa fish market, for me it is worth the trip.

Feb 23, 2014
felice in Hawaii