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Lisa S.'s Profile

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Portofino - Superlative Pastas and Osso Buco as well as Chicken Parm worth "Strip Pricing"

No and no. Very disappointed with this recommendation. B&B across the street is the weakest Batalli I've been to, but the pasta is several levels above Portofino. Also across the street, the real best Italian in LV is Bartoloota where pasta is not the strong suit, but also far superior to Portofino. From the "bready" focaccia to the not only overly sauced, but overly cooked (and ridiculously ostentatious -- foie added to a heavy Alfreddo sauce!) pasta, Portofino is Olive Garden with higher quality ingredients. For those looking for a "tourist" Italian experience in LV, I would suggest Scarpeta which is only average for LA and wouldn't survive in NYC or SF, but is one of the better pasta makers in LV. Sorry to be so harsh, but our experience last week felt like the waste of meal, and we went almost solely based on your recommendation.

Jun 13, 2015
Lisa S. in Las Vegas

Doughnut Alert: This Wednesday Only at The Cheese Board in Berkeley

Did anyone try these? Are they fried? If Cheese Board starts experimenting with frying, things could get very interesting.

Dungeness Crab Prices 2014/2015 Season

Is this a weather issue? When last year's crab season was Blah, I had the sense that organization / economic issues between fishermen and wholesalers was to blame. But prices are now up 50% in two years! I have not seen a good explanation for this. So sad, fresh local crab was one of the true joys of living in this area.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer, Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

Please send them down to us in the South Bay or Peninsula.

Best South Bay Restaurants

What does it mean to "beer geek out with the staff" and are there local places you can do that?

Belcampo Meat Co, Palo Alto (Town & Country Village) - anyone been yet?

Steaks good, lamb (several types of chops) was best I've ever had one time, good the other time. Pork chops (also several types) were as good as I've ever had. Sickeningly expensive, of course.

best beer and/or wine bars on the Peninsula

Foodies may be surprised by this(I know I was), but according to my S.O., Harry's Hofbrau in RWC has best beer selection on Peninsula. Plus a full bar.

3 Pigs San Carlos :: any notes?

First, a clear step up from Macks, the previous bbq place at that location, as well as from Rack & Roll BBQ, recently opened in RWC by the Old Port Lobster Shack folks. I think Old Port and Rack & Roll show that while Woody Allen's maxim "90% of success is showing up" may apply for lobster rolls, it doesn't for bbq -- Rack & Roll is just mediocre and the business seems to be dying after a flurry of initial demand.

As for Macks, it started out mediocre and went downhill over time. Overly sauced, under-smoked bbq and atrocious customer service did them in despite a lack of viable bbq competition in the area. My sense is the proprietors were government employees who couldn't make the transition to the real world.

My impression of 3 Pigs is that they are tech types who are applying engineering and entrepreneurial mindsets to the bbq business and are not particularly steeped in authentic bbq culture or technique. It will be interesting to see if they can offset those shortcomings with hard work, enthusiasm and an appetite to learn and improve under fire.

They are starting out OK. High quality ingredients prepared with care make for edible food. For now, they seem to be trying to cover a lot of the down home food bases: Carolina pulled pork, Texas brisket, Midwestern ribs, southern fried chicken, chili. The chili is a metaphor for their approach, containing brisket, pulled pork, chicken, tri-tip, and sausage and, other than being a carnivoric cornucopia, having no particularly interesting qualities.

For what it's worth, my s.o. swooned at the selection in the beer refrigerator, no small thing for a serious brew nerd.

Where I can I get good dry aged steaks?

Draegers in Menlo Park usually has dry-aged Waygu,I believe. It's pricey and we found it disappointingly bland. You may want to try Schaubs at Stanford Shopping Center, though I'm not sure if they ever dry age. Schaubs is even more expensive than Draegers if that's possible, but their steaks always look fantastic even if they sometimes fall short in the flavor department.

The best dry-aged beef we've gotten has been from Whole Foods, but as you mention they are inconsistent both in availability and quality. But if you can be opportunistic, you may end up with the best steaks you've ever had, including high-end steakhouses. Also, Whole Foods is 30-40% cheaper than Draegers or Schaubs. Not sure why the inconsistency, though it may have something to do with the ranches they source from, seasonality and /or just personnel and management issues among the butchers.

Business lunch in Menlo Park

Would something near the Menlo Park train station work? Cafe Borrone is within 100 yards of the station. You order at the counter, but it's very popular for business breakfasts and lunches, especially among the VC set.

Cheese stores in South Bay (and 680 corridor)

I would say Sigona has at least a dozen of the cheeses on the Grub Street list (I know I've gotten Dumbarton Blue and Pleasant Ridge there). In addition, they usually have at least three different Rogue blues, had Sharf Maxx (sp.?) last time I was there, etc. In short, about the same size selection as Draegers and WF, but much more interesting imo.

Cheese stores in South Bay (and 680 corridor)

Milk Pail in MV had Raw Epoisses last time I was there several months back.

Also, surprised Sigona (in Stanford Shopping center and on Middlefield in RWC) hasn't been mentioned.

Also, re: your comment on plastic wrapped cheese -- I think you are overstating the negative effect of the plastic wrap itself on the cheese. I have never noticed any plastic flavor or odor on any adequately aired cheese (I let cheese "breathe" for several hours before consumption). Perhaps plastic wrap exacerbates other prep and storage problems such as contamination, moisture, or poor temperature control? In any case, you are exponentially increasing the logistical challenges of acquiring first-rate cheese in this area if you avoid plastic wrap.

Owner of Manhattan's Chelsea Market Acquires Ghirardelli Square Retail

Chelsea Market is probably most akin to Ferry Building in S.F. food terms. Don't see Ghirardelli ever being that sort of foodie destination. Chelsea market is centered in upscale, sophisticated business and residential demographics with the "tourist" element drawn by the High Line also in that mold. Ghirardelli is more in the Times Square mass market tourism mold, and too profitable to change much I'm guessing.

Smoke 'n Wings BBQ Smoke House in San Jose

Not all odd BBQ places are good, but all good BBQ places are odd? This place definitely qualifies as odd. Smoker in the parking lot of a refurbished Taco Bell, wood stacked high in the garbage container receptacle, fast food style chicken wings dominating the menu. But the BBQ is the best we've come across in this area. Smokiness of the meats being the most distinctive characteristic indicating some serious low and slow cooking time. Agree with you about the "chewy" texture of the ribs being satisfying. Can't agree with you about the service which is almost as slow as the cooking. But as with most good Q places, you should probably call in advance anyway just to make sure they're not out of your favorites.

Napoletana Pizzeria, Mountain View

Yes, some in this thread seem to be blaming "user error" for the soggy crust. It's more likely poor craftsmanship/service. Howie's originally served chewy crust pizza. Now it's glop and I don't eat there anymore. It's a question of dough composition, cooking time and temperature, toppings composition, timing of slicing and serving time all being carefully tended to and balanced so the pizza arrives hot and non-soggy. Blaming soggy crust on American incompetence at pizza eating is pretty weak sauce indeed.

Napoletana Pizzeria, Mountain View

"I harangued Kostas on a need to better explain Naples style to Americans unaware that these pizzas are served unsliced in Italy, and that the American reflex to slice just-baked pizzas creates the "wet center" issue with Neapolitan pies: Kostas didn't quite see the need -- "Around here, people know now, I've been serving them 3 years." However he was not set against adding menu language, it may happen. Meanwhile you're duly warned."

I don't get what you mean here? Our pizzas were sliced and came to the table soggy. Tasty toppings and crust, but won't be making return visit unless there's some way to get non-soupy pie.

Cocktail Packed 4 Day Itinerary for SF

Lot of driving for little time in wine country. But you will try some good wines at Cakebread and it's fun going over the G.G.

4:30 or even later at Lands End gives you plenty of time for nice walk, cocktail at Cliff House, and still make it back to town for dinner. Park at Legion of Honor to join trail head, about 45 minute stroll to Sutro Baths / Cliff House, than a 45 minute martini-fueled return hike to car is a breeze. If you time it right, and assuming weather cooperates (perhaps unlikely this time of year) the return to car could be a spectacular sunset hike.

Cocktail Packed 4 Day Itinerary for SF

Wow, can I come with you guys?!!! Couple suggestions: Skip the wine country unless you want to devote a whole day to it (which is well worth it imo). If you want parks, outdoor stuff, consider the Lands End hike from Legion of Honor to Cliff House. Very scenic and drinks at Cliff House fit in with your cocktail theme. As for A's game, it's a cinch to get there and back on BART (and the A's are doing great right now!). Have fun and let us know how it goes.

Red Hot Chilli Pepper, Desi Chinese, San Carlos

Your review, while welcome, says a lot about the area: "I recommend a visit, just don't have high expectations." As the southern San Mateo County Chinese takeout maven, where do you come out on Fey versus Crouching Tiger? Worth the extra drive to Menlo Park from San Carlos?

Redwood City and surrounds

Ha ha, than maybe La Viga's a good fit since its healthier style than others on your list. "old Grullense" is my favorite traditional taqueria, but funny thing is the Grullense which recently opened a bit further south on ECR in the Target center is one of the worst I've experienced. Same owner, how could this be?

Redwood City and surrounds

Sushi Monster or other RWC taco hounds, have you tried La Viga (Broadway about 2 blocks south of downtown)? IMO, the best tacos anywhere. Very different style than typical RWC taqueria. Exquisitely constructed, fine ingredients, sophisticated flavors, but about the same price point as Chavez or Grullense.

backyard coffee rwc

Been twice, nice atmosphere. But why is the coffee served lukewarm?

Woodchuck BBQ, New in Redwood City

No Melanie, you called it! Doubt there would have been such a rush to try if this thread was started by a random.

My experience was similar to ChewChew's -- tender, fairly tasty ribs and brisket but on the dry side. They need to slow the cooking process down to reach the next level (and even then it's an uncertain art controlling heat, humidity, smokiness, etc.). Unfortunately for many of us on this Board they probably don't have a good business incentive to do so. The current formula combined with the sauces and burgers should be enough to keep them busy. In any case, they are already miles above the goop served nearby at Mack's (which does not even qualify as 'cue imo.)

China Hot in RWC

Yes, got tired of waiting for you. Pick-up your game Melanie! :)
Not sure why I said "northern" in my OP, think I meant "regional". A lot of Sichuan-type dishes as far as I saw. Fire Burst Lamb was cooked surprisingly rare. Tasty enough, but perhaps a bit under-seasoned. Twice cooked pork also lacked something flavor-wise and, relative to the best renditions of the dish I've had, the texture of the pork seemed a bit limp, if that makes any sense. The shell shrimp with red chile pepper was one of the half-dozen best dishes I've had this year of any type of cuisine (saved the punch-line for last). It was flavorful, interesting and well-proportioned in every way. The batter was outside the shell, yet still left the impression of crispy, spicy deliciousness on the sweet peeled shrimp.

China Hot in RWC

Melanie where art thou? Just teasing, but sort of waiting to hear from her on this replacement for Sichuan Delight, which she reviewed in depth (as she has for seemingly every other northern Chinese restaurant in the area). Place has gotten great reviews on Yelp since opening in March, but who knows...May have to try it myself cold (i.e., before finding out what Melanie thinks).

Sichuan Delight
2525 El Camino Real, Redwood City, CA

Looking for late lunch spot near AT&T Park (for today)

Looking to grab a late lunch before today's World Series game. Open to any style food, just needs to be good and within a reasonable walking distance of AT&T.