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Whole pig dinner similar to Incanto?

Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

Whole pig dinner similar to Incanto?

Yes, the special order whole pig for private party.

I'll have to check out Oliveto and Hopscotch.

Where will the new CC restaurant be?

Sep 17, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

Whole pig dinner similar to Incanto?

We never had the opportunity to try Incanto's whole pig dinner. Is there anyone else in SF doing something similar?

Sep 15, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

What to do with beef heart?

On the most recent Master Chef the guy from Texas seared a chunk and sliced it. He treated it like it was a chunk of prime rib. The middle was rare and Ramsay and the other 2 raved about it.

Sep 12, 2014
jzc in Home Cooking

4 nights in San Francisco - any recommendations on where to eat?

I would recommend La Fusion. The menu isn't as extensive as La Mar, but their entrees are solid and the ceviche is good and it's not as expensive as La Mar. Arroz con pollo to die for.

Slanted Door gets a lot of love on this site, but I've been several times (not on my dime luckily) and have been disappointed each time. It's been a several years and doesn't have anything to do with the authenticity or lack of. It's more it was noisy, expensive (Slanted Door for lunch for 5 people was around $130-160) and the food was tasteless. The shaken beef sauce was cloying and the beef had the mushy texture and no beef taste, the crab and cellophane noodles had canned crab and everything else was blah. I asked for chili sauce and fish sauce and the waitress was blank.

Has it improved since then? Did I just go when the chef had a cold and couldn't taste?

For Thanh Long be sure to make reservations. We had reservations and still waited 45 minutes. If you're looking for crab, I found PPQ on Clement to be friendlier and just as good although not as fancy.

If you're big eaters I don't think Slanted Door or Thanh Long will fit your budget.

If budget is a concern, I recommend Barbacco for dinner.

Sep 11, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

Basmati rice in rice cooker

I use my Tatung classic (water is inside and outside of the rice pot). For me, after washing several times I add water that is 1 more than the amount of rice I measured. Ex. If I measure 3 cups of the rice cooker cups then I add water to the 4 water mark on the pot. I also add water to the 4 for the outer part. For regular long grain rice and Japanese rice I use the suggested measurements on the side of the pot, but for Japanese rice I soak for 30-45 minutes before I put it into the pot and cook it. Soaking time depends on how old the rice is.

Sep 08, 2014
jzc in Home Cooking

CSA Reviews

The next time you get a melon, you can test the ripeness before you cut into it. Press the part of the melon that was connected to the vine. If there's some give it's ripe. Also smell the same area. If it's not ripe, leave it on the counter until it's ripe. You can do the same with a watermelon. If they picked it really early it might take a while. I've bought a melon (water, golden, etc.) that was "ripe" but I wanted it riper and left it out for 2 weeks before cutting it open. If it's already really ripe, then if you leave it out you run the risk of it starting to ferment or dry out.

Sep 08, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

Anywhere to buy Oatibix in the Bay Area?

Call Fresh and Easy and see if they have it. I saw some British brands there not long ago.

Sep 05, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

CSA Reviews

This is a little off topic. I don't subscribe to a CSA presently, but did pick up a Mariquita Mystery Box yesterday. I subscribed to Mariquita for a while, but there were just too many potatoes for us. We aren't a potato family and it seemed each week there were potatoes. We only subscribed for 9 weeks so maybe it was the season for them.

Yesterday my mystery box contained, about 2 lbs of Gala apples, a container (like 16 oz strawberries come in) of mixed heirloom and cherry tomatoes (so sweet), a 4lb bag (size of the paper bag not weight of the tomatoes) of really ripe mixed tomatoes, 3 purple onions, a huge bunch of oregano, a large bag of orange beets, 1 bunch of chard, a large bag of tomatillos, Bulgarian carrot peppers, bag of Romanian peppers (sweet), a bag of Alma paprika, a 2 lb bag of baby russet potatoes.

Mariquita doesn't usually have much fruit if any in their weekly deliveries and there is only 1 size so I really like their mystery boxes as I seem to get some extras not in a regular box but they only come once a quarter to my neighborhood. I also bought a flat of strawberries for $28 and 12# of dryfarmed early girl tomatoes for $15. I had subscribed to another CSA too and I notice that there doesn't seem to be much green leafy vegetables in any of them.

Sep 05, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

Murray Circle recently? [Sausalito]

My hubby and I just had dinner there on Wednesday to celebrate our anniversary. Service was good. Ambiance was good. Staff was friendly overall. Maybe it was just me but I thought the waitress was giving us a bit of side eye when we said we wouldn't be ordering any wine. This was before we ordered our food. After we ordered our food, she was much friendlier. We ordered a dozen oysters (good, but pricey and at $32 not worth it, but hey it was our anniversary), 2 orders of the marrow bone app, a salad, an entrée and I had the 3 course prix fixe. The bread is addictive but I forgot the marrow bone came with brioche (yummy) and orange jalapeno marmalade. My first course was day boat scallops. Seared to perfection and I think the best I've ever had. Very rich as it was swimming in butter. My second course was tagliatelle with confit duck egg, cream/cheese? and duckskin cracklings. Yummy, but with the apps and the bread I only had a couple of bites. Also very rich. I would have preferred a lighter sauce for the pasta. My husband ordered the beef medium rare and it was perfect. Very flavorful and not over seasoned so you could enjoy the beef taste. They even cut the 2 beef medallions into a heart shape for our anniversary. :-)

We would go back again. We didn't get a chance to walk around, but it was very serene with a view of the bridge and the bay.

Sep 05, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

STUFFED VEGETABLES! Home Cooking Dish of the Month (September 2014)

I recently made stuffed hairy squash. I don't know what happened to the picture on my phone. It's a long squash so I cut it into 2 inch sections and the radius was about 2 inches too. I stuffed it with minced pork, minced rehydrated mushrooms, minced wood ears, grated some ginger, salt, white pepper, minced dried shrimp, chopped cilantro and soy sauce. Steamed it for around 10 minutes and made a oyster sauce/corn starch/chicken stock gravy to pour over the top.

My pastor made stuffed papaya. It was stuffed with small cooked shrimp, peas, celery, either a cream sauce or mayonnaise, topped with cheese and put in the oven so the papaya was warm and the cheese melted. It was a great first course.

Khao Mun Gai

Is it the same as Hainanese chicken?

Sep 03, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

Asian Noodle Shopping Guide

Fairly comprehensive but left out "nian gao" or rice ovalettes.

Aug 22, 2014
jzc in Food Media & News

Food crawl in Excelsior District this Sunday - all are invited

Darn! I would love to come but have a prior commitment. Next time.

Aug 22, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

ZONGZI aka CHINESE TAMALES SFBA Dish of the Month May 2014

I was down in Foster City for a seminar and a friend suggested we go to Cooking Papa. I hadn't been before and jumped at the chance. Meh. Decent but didn't live up to they hype IMHO. Someone ordered the zhong. I was excited to try it after another friend had raved about it. I think it was $5 or more. When it came, we all kind of looked at it and someone made the comment that it looked like it had been dropped before they put it on our plate. It looked like it had been flattened. Maybe they steamed it after taking off the bamboo leaves. The rice was too soft and the grains ran together. I'm thinking they soaked the rice overnight. Flavor wasn't bad. Heavy on the soy. I didn't see any mushrooms or salted duck egg. Lots of lotus nuts (weird to me). After everyone was done I poked through what was left and deconstructed it. There was a chicken bone in it. I think they use the leftover roasted meats in their zhong. There was some roasted duck and roast pork.

In general the food was meh. I wouldn't make a special trip for it.

Coincidentally, I was ordering lunch from the chicken pho place on Noriega on Sunday so I went in and picked up some zhong from 3 Star. They are smaller than last year's but still fairly large. Good flavor. I shared one with my eldest so by the time I got to it, there was only peanuts and rice. I had spotted a nice piece of side pork in it, but don't know if there was a salted duck egg or mushroom. It was $2.50 a piece.

Aug 18, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

Recent comparison please, Great Eastern or Bund Shanghai [San Francisco]

My hubby loves goon tong gao 灌湯餃. HK Lounge on Geary used to have the best ones with shark's fin. It's still good, but it's filled with a small whole abalone as well as minced pork and I think rehydrated mushroom and fish maw. I think this was better than Koi Palace's version. We had this recently in Vancouver and it had fish maw (quite a large piece) with minced park and dried scallops. The broth was a "superior" broth with shredded ham.

Aug 06, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

Best way to reheat cheong fun, leftover from dim sum?

Steaming is best but you have to be careful not to over steam or it disintegrates when you pick it up. Microwave is okay too, but cover it so it doesn't dry out.

Aug 06, 2014
jzc in General Topics
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Whole Chicken Stuffed with Sticky Rice - SF Dish of the Month (Oct 2012)

This is the only version I've had so it's my standard. It's always a favorite. The skin is crispy and the sticky rice rich and flavorful. I don't remember there being much meat aside from the leg and the drummette. I think the chicken is incorporated into the stuffing. I had this in May and it went quickly. We were hosting family from HK and they had never heard or seen this dish before. I'm replying so late because all of a sudden I had a hankering and did a search to see if any fellow Chowhounders had attempted to make this.

Jul 17, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

Homemade Frozen Dumpling close to Palo Alto?

OT: When I first read your post, I thought a lao wai po isn't a Chinese grandma but an American one. Then I realized I was thinking laowai po instad of lao waipo.

Mandarin isn't my first dialect, would you call all grandmas lao waipo? In Cantonese, we would say popo or lao popo.

No Sundried Tomatoes at Costco??

Is that directly from Bella? I didn't see the 35oz size listed on their site, but it's on the Amazon site. When I enter 6 for my shopping cart it adds $12.46 a jar.

Did you just send an email to them to order?

Jul 11, 2014
jzc in Chains

No Sundried Tomatoes at Costco??

Yes, it's not Amazon. I was trying to see if being an Amazon Prime member would bypass the shipping but no such luck.

It's also $12.46 PER jar not a case. Ridiculous.

Jul 11, 2014
jzc in Chains

East Ocean Seafood in Alameda, state of play?

Since you were at Cal, maybe you meant HK East Ocean in Emeryville? The East Ocean in Alameda seems kind of far if you were in Berkeley.

Jul 09, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

No Sundried Tomatoes at Costco??

Was it Bella at Costco? At another site, it had mentioned Sun Dry brand. Both can be bought on Amazon, but I can't remember which brand. If I order, does anyone from San Francisco want to split a case?

Jul 09, 2014
jzc in Chains

Gazpacho in the Bay Area

My friend from Madrid says the Soup Company has a pretty good version. She's been having it for lunch off and on for a week.

Jun 10, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

ZONGZI aka CHINESE TAMALES SFBA Dish of the Month May 2014

I bought one for lunch today. It was very flavorful. Lots of peanuts, the lop cheung was good (tasted like liver lop cheung but the color wasn't dark), seasoned pork that was pretty lean and I believe they had put in a piece of fat that melted into the rice. Very rich. The person that made my zong left out the salted egg. :-(

ZONGZI aka CHINESE TAMALES SFBA Dish of the Month May 2014

This is the place I bought from. They sell zongzi year around. I've to remember to use my phone to take pictures instead of relying on my memory. I'll have to go back.

Wali's are the most inexpensive at $1.20 and taste wise I think are on par with this place but not as dense or as big.

Jun 02, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

ZONGZI aka CHINESE TAMALES SFBA Dish of the Month May 2014

I just had a chance to watch the video. Very interesting, but the shape is weird. I've never seen any made like this before. I wonder what village that's from. I'm just used to the tetrahedron shape. The zhongzi still looks small.

I bought one from the shop on Stockton. The awning is new and says Louie's I think. The place has been there for a while. A sad little place when you walk in and so were the zhongzi. The ones I got from Dick Lee's so-so. Passable. The best ones so far are from Wali and the place on Jackson that always has a large handwritten "zhong" sign taped to the window at $2.50. Very dense and flavorful. Bought one from the newer pastry/bakery shop on Jackson that has the $.99 grand opening milk tea special for the last year or so. It was passable.

I noticed the zhongzi are smaller everywhere now as compared to prior years. I have to go back to 3 Star on Noriega and try theirs again and see if they've shrunk their zhongzi too.

My friend's Malaysian born mom makes Hokkien style zhongzi. They're super small and quite cute. I think 2-3 bites would finish one off. The filling is minced pork flavored with sage and soy sauce I think.

ZONGZI aka CHINESE TAMALES SFBA Dish of the Month May 2014

All these posting brought back memories of the humongous ones my grandma used to make. I went on a quest to fine the best ones in Chinatown. On Friday, I bought 2 from Wa Li, 2 from Wing Scene and 1 from New Louie (on Stockton). The ones from Wing Scene were a disappointment. Tons of peanuts (not in a good way). I was eating for more than 10 minutes before I got to the rest of the filling at the end. There was 1/2 a salted egg (chicken I think), a piece of skin on pork (dry) and a bite of Chinese sausage. I had my hopes up since the workers come from Toy San. Oh, it also stuck to the bamboo leaves. It was a chore to scrape it off. I ended it up leaving several bites on the leaves because it was so arduous. The rice that stuck was hard and there was more peanut than rice. I'm thinking at least 30 peanuts.

The 2 from Wa Li were much better. Peanuts, fatty skin on pork, dried shrimp, a 1/3 section of Chinese sausage and salted egg. The rice to peanut and filling ratio was pretty good.

I didn't get a chance to try the one from New Louie because the boys ate it when I wasn't home.

They were all around the same price $2-$2.20 and on the small side. They were slightly larger than my fist.

I used to like the ones from 3 Star Noriega but I haven't been this year. They are more the size I grew up with about 1.5 to 2 times the size of my fist. They are also from Toy San.

Does anyone know where they might sell guo ching joog? When I describe it to people, they say that's what my grandma made. It's about 1.5 to 2 times the size of my fist and contained peanuts, dried shrimp, belly pork, Chinese sausage or Virginia ham, dried chestnuts, dried shitake mushrooms. The salted egg yolk was optional. They are very labor intensive as everything has to be rehydrated and then either parboiled or stir fried before wrapping in the bamboo leaves. My grandma would be prepping for a week. She would use 50lbs of rice and then divide it among the kids and I remember her boiling them over a charcoal stove like she used in China.

May 19, 2014
jzc in San Francisco Bay Area

Food suggestions

We had a great time in DC. Weather gave us a surprise as we had rain, sleet, hail and snow all in one day. Luckily, we had planned to be indoors at the Smithsonian.
We tried DC-3 (boys were in heaven), Eatonville was good although portion size was kind of small for a southern place. Café Kimchi was good for a quick lunch although we could have used more rice in the bibimbap. One of the boys had the burger and thought it was the best.
We ended up at Hill Country for BBQ on the way to Luke's Lobster. BBQ was okay. Not really TX BBQ. Too peppery and burnt. They didn't marinade it enough as there was not any depth of flavor to the meat. It was all on the outside crust. They have 2 options. Per lb or AYCE. For the AYCE you are limited to only 3 or 4 types of meat. The price per lb was $$. I think the brisket was $28/lb.
We had Ethiopian in Georgetown with our niece at Das. It was our first experience having Ethiopian and it was pretty good. Pizza at Arcurri was good. We like the guanciale and the other cured meats on the pizza and they were very quick.
Thanks for the recs!

Apr 10, 2014
jzc in Washington DC & Baltimore

Raising a non-picky eater

I just toned down the spice level when they were young and just started to add more and more. We also like salsa so they came to tolerate mild to medium spicy fairly quickly since they love chips. Also, they love Hainanese chicken so the garlic chili sauce that goes with it. They would just eat the rice with chili sauce if I let them.

We went to a Korean BBQ place for dinner with my friend and her 3 year old and had the spicy tofu soup to start. My friend gave her a spoonful and the little girl immediately starts to huff and puff to cool down her mouth from the spiciness. My friend just said "It's good huh?" and continued feeding her the soup. She was fine with it by the end of the meal.

Mar 27, 2014
jzc in Not About Food
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