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authentic chinese restaurant with good ambience for a first date?

Jul 15, 2014
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Gumbo in SF or east bay?

Gumbo, red beans and rice, beignets, etc., all would have been classified as "Creole Food" when I was growing up and living in New Orleans in the 50's 60's and in to the 70's. The cuisine crossed color lines, with haute Creole at places like Galiatiore's and Dooky Chase and many great down home neighborhood establishments like Buster Holmes (on Burgundy), and Wise Cafeteria. The cooks in most restaurants (and many homes), regardless of the color of the diners, were African Americans and their influence was felt throughout, along with Spanish, French and even Italian influence in varying proportions. Some places were more soulful than others, but I don't recall encountering anything called "soul food" until I travelled to other parts of the South and Midwest and to urban centers in other parts of the country. There was little bar-b-q and no shrimp and grits or fried green tomatoes in NOLA in those days, and Cajun food, a country cousin to Creole, was hard to find until the arrival of K-Paul in the mid 70's. The now famous Willie Mae's serves soul food, but she was from Mississippi! Not sure what qualifies as "NOLA food" these days, what with the growing culinary influence of the local Vietnamese community, and the influx of Mexicans, Central Americans and hipsters adding to the post Katrina "gumbo". The melting pot lives on!

Jan 25, 2014
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area
1

BBQ 'n Curry in Marin City

Had a delicious dinner here tonight: Baingan Bhurta, Tandoori Chicken Leg, Lamb Korma, and Garlic Naan with a couple of cups of chai. Ordered things spicy. Am no expert, but each of these was among the best versions I've had. My last Pakistani meal was at Guddu de Karahi, and IMHO, this was at least as good. And that's saying a lot! They are friends of Guddu.
The service by the owner (wife of a husband and wife team) was warm, friendly, and efficient. Decor is spare but clean. Still in the "soft opening" phase, cash only for now. Our bill was 26.06 before tip.
I do find the Marin City Shopping Center generic and bleak, but BBQ'n Curry transcends, and we will be back

Nov 23, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Corte Madera/Larkspur - is there much going on there Chow-wise?

Table Cafe in Larkspur is great for lunch. Not just the dosas, but the fried oysters and the salads and soups.

http://table-cafe.com/our-table

Oct 31, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Johnny Doughnuts in San Rafael

Tried a glazed and an unglazed old fashioned.
Both were delicious and substantial. I'm not much of a donut eater and far from an expert, but they were unlike any donuts I've had before, and yet, they made sense.
One donut was actually more than I'm inclined to eat at once and might satisfy those who are used to eating 2 or 3 at a time. Next time I'm buying the holes.

Oct 10, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Report back on Healdsburg

Glad you liked Mateo's! One of my favorites in the Bay Area. Creative, accomplished chef, locally sourced highest quality ingredients. Don't know why it doesn't get more mention. Not just another Mexican restaurant, in fact not really a Mexican Restuarant, though Mateo is from Merida and there are Mexican dishes and influences. http://www.mateoscocinalatina.com/home/

Oct 01, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

What is the best place in Sausalito to get a quick lunch with good food?

Sep 30, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for somewhere for a birthday meal but disappointed n Marin restaurants

Pico (the restaurant,not the pizzeria) would be my choice for a birthday dinner. For pizza, I like Bar Bocce in Sausalito.
For lunch, Table Cafe in Larkspur and Comforts (I prefer the restaurant side to the deli side) are both excellent. For lunch or an early dinner, try Kitti's Place in Sausalito, especially the Southeast Asian dishes and daily specials.
I think Lotus Chaat and Spices serves some of the best South Indian food in the Bay Area and prefer it to the other Lotus restaurant in San Rafael. Great Byriani there recently.
Bel Campo Meat Company in the Marin Country Mart is where I head when I crave a hamburger or pulled pork sandwich, and El Huarache Loco serves very good Mexico City street food. Haven't tried Farmhouse yet.
I think Royal Thai in San Rafael is very good, if not very spicy. I remedy that with condiments, and the chef owned, family run Las Camilias has been a favorite for years, though I must admit I haven't been for a while.
I could go on, and would have included links, but am impeded by this iPad in China. More when I return!

Sep 23, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area
1

92-y-o ex-pat uncle, back from Europe!

Not in the City, but not far, Buckeye Roadhouse, just off 101 in Mill Valley, fits your culinary, cultural, and comfort parameters.
Reservations are essential as it is a bustling place.

http://buckeyeroadhouse.com

Sep 13, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

GOOD SMOKED FISH?

Miller's East Coast Deli in the Montecito Plaza in San Rafael appears to have a nice selection: http://www.millerseastcoastdeli.com/w...

I've not tried any, but I think their pastrami is pretty good.

Sep 11, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Hamburgers - SF Dish of the Month September 2013

I rarely go out for burgers. Usually it's Prather Ranch on an Acme bun at home. Been to Super Duper in Mill Valley a few times and like what they do. However, the Belcampo Meat Co's cheeseburger has been drawing me in repeatedly. Perfectly balanced components, remarkably flavorful beef done just right at medium rare, and a delicious brioche bun.

http://www.belcampomeatco.com

Sep 06, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Cajun Restaurant in New Orleans?

Haven't been back in town since Toups Meatery opened (http://www.toupsmeatery.com), but I've heard nothing but good things including from a couple of fellow expats who I sent there, one New Orleans native and one native of Lafayette. Toups calls itself "contemporary Cajun," whatever that means. It's one of the first places I'm headed when next I return!

Sep 06, 2013
gumbolox in New Orleans

M. H. Bread & Butter in San Anselmo

Thanks for the shout out, Melanie. Went to the Wednesday night Churrasco dinner at Mateo's Cucina Latina in Healdsburg this week and wound up talking with Mateo about our first taste of Chad's bread at Manka's when Mateo was chef there back in the 90's.
By the way, the Currasco platter of slow wood roasted lamb, duck, and pork was great,accompanied by a nice bunch of local vegetables and quite reasonable at $25. Two of us made a tasty meal of that and an order of guacamole with pumpkin seed crackers and a couple of cocktails!

Jun 07, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

M. H. Bread & Butter in San Anselmo

Just heard them mention that there would be 2 bakes a day.Didn't get the details, but on one morning visit and one afternoon visit, fresh bread was available without reservation. I'll find out more next time.

Jun 03, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

M. H. Bread & Butter in San Anselmo

No more driving to SF and waiting in line at just the right time on just the right day for a Tartine country loaf!
MHB&B's country loaf is at least the equal of what we've had from Tartine lately! More like what we used to get when Chad was baking out in Pt. Reyes. Small, medium and large loaves baked twice a day!! The epis and the olive bread were fine, too. Dark and crusty, just the way we like 'em. Also tasted a delicious croissant dough cardamom confection. Great!!

Jun 03, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Healdsburg

Mateo's Cocina Latina is my choice in Healdsburg: http://www.mateoscocinalatina.com/home/

High quality, very locally sourced (check out their farms and purveyors list) , innovative, excellent bar and wine. Casual but pleasant, especially the patio in nice weather.

Apr 01, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Sausalito lunch on a Monday - which restaurant of these 5 would you pick?

Agreed! I often go out of my way for Kitti's. However, I do live in Marin and have a car. Kitti's serves my favorite Southeast Asian food in Marin, though the menu includes many other excellent choices. I like to go at off hours when it feels like Payao is cooking a great and distinctive meal just for you at home in her kitchen.

Feb 04, 2013
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

ISO: Live Dungeness crab in Marin

Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael (https://plus.google.com/1045067405540...) Make sure and call a few days in advance to find out when they'll be open and if they'll have crabs. They keep them in cages in the bay.

Fish in Sausalito has a market inside the restaurant. Live crabs may require advance order (http://www.331fish.com

)

Like Western Boat (http://www.westernboatshop.com), these are on the higher end of price, around a buck extra a pound than Bay Area average and a bit more compared to the cheapest right off of the boats and in some SF markets.

Dec 17, 2012
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Miller's East Coast Deli 2nd location coming 12/19/11 - San Rafael's Montecito Shopping Center

More pastrami by volume and weight, but the chopped chicken liver definitely has a presence in the mix. I love this sandwich!

Aug 17, 2012
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Red beans question...

In my 1975 copy of Richard Collin's New Orleans Cookbook, he calls for baked ham, pickled pork, and a sawed up whole ham bone. No sausage. This version tastes like what i grew up with, though, I must admit, out here in Northern California, I have to approximate the ingredients, sometimes using pig's feet, pork chop, salt pork, etc. I do remember that at Buster Holme's on Burgundy in the 60's, hot sausage was extra and on the side. If I remember correctly, red beans and rice with french bread were $.35. With hot sausage it went up to a big $.75!

Aug 07, 2012
gumbolox in Home Cooking

Santa Rosa plums in or around Santa Rosa?

I think it's probably late. We finished the last of our Santa Rosa plums from our tree in San Rafael a couple of weeks ago, as they were about to turn. It was an abundant season. Lots of plum jam. plum chutney and plum sauce, but the fresh ones are gone.

Jul 31, 2012
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Bar Bocce in Sausalito

I've very much enjoyed the pizza and salads and eggplant parmesan on every visit to Bar Bocce. Never a soggy pizza in a dozen or so visits. I think their use of ingredients is judicious, which I like. Especially enjoyed the snap pea app and shaved fennel and artichoke salads on a recent visit. I do always ask for my pizza on the dark side of done here and just about everywhere. And we tend to go mid afternoon, which is quite pleasant and uncrowded. When we have gone at crowded times, looked like a pretty typical local Sausalito crowd to me.

Jul 31, 2012
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Maine Lobster Glut reaching Bay Area?

Thanks for the tip, hb. What we're looking for in a restaurant lobster, though, is a simple New England steamed preparation of a live Maine lobster at a price and freshness that reflects the current surplus. Haven't seen any notice of specials at the usual suspects (Woodhouse, Lobster Shack, Yankee Pier, etc). Will check the availability of live at the Monterey Fish Market next time I'm in the East Bay. The big crowded tanks and reported extra large size lobsters at Ranch 99 don't particularly appeal to me, but maybe I should rethink that.

Jul 30, 2012
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Maine Lobster Glut reaching Bay Area?

Been reading about abundant lobsters and plummeting prices in Maine. Anyone know if this bounty has reached the Bay Area in the form of lobster specials at restaurants or seafood markets? Not in the habit of seeking out non local seafood, but the news has created a craving and my east coast ex pat wife's birthday is coming up!

Jul 30, 2012
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

San Fran/Healdsburg/Santa Rosa Suggestions..

Another Sunday recommendation: Mateo's Cucina Latina in Healdsburg. (http://mateoscocinalatina.com/home/)
Was there last Sunday and had a wonderful meal including Lamb Taco, Suckling Pig Tamal, seafood cocktail of octopus, crab, halibut, and shrimp, very good cochinita pibil and chicken mole and excellent cocktails. A bit pricey, but worth it for the high quality local sourced ingredients and creative and authentic preparations. Extensive Mezcal and Tequila selection.

Jun 26, 2012
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Monterey Market (Berkeley)

And Costco's business practices, driving out local business all over the country, do seem nice?

Jun 22, 2012
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Monterey Market (Berkeley)

Just got back from MM and then enjoyed a lunch that included impeccably fresh California corn (.39 per ear) and a delicious Knoll Farm green fig (not cheap, but worth it). Also picked up beautiful basil from Tomatero Farm for less than they charge at the San Rafael Farmers Mkt, juicy pesticide free California Valencia oranges, an Indian mango, snowy white organic cauliflower, Oregon shitake mushrooms, organic Blue Lake beans and more. Didn't get the durian. The stone fruit choices were many, but I have my own. The selection seems as good as ever to me. I like the new doors and the smaller carts. Been shopping here for 5 years or so, from time to time, and was a little worried when Bill was ousted. Always somewhat of a hit and miss proposition as I've often noticed that things can get funky on the shelves here. But, I'm careful, and most times I do well. Well enough that lately I've been making weekly trips from San Rafael. Even with the toll and travel I save money, More choices, local and exotic. Many of my favorite local farmers are well represented here, sometimes at 1/2 to 1/3 of the Farmer's Mkt prices on specific in season items. If anything, for my needs, it's gotten better lately, though I never found it a "calming experience", especially not the parking lot.

Jun 22, 2012
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Viva Chicago! From Birrieria Zaragosa to Taxim

Wow! What a surprise to see this old thread pop up, and just when we were visiting Chicago for the first time since. Didn't have a chance to do a lot of dining, but did get back to Purple Pig and Publican, both still great and pretty much as described above. Had heard that Taxim has gone through a change of chefs and there were some concerns. Glad to hear it's still great. Really enjoyed the sandwiches we got for the plane back to SF from Pastoral (http://pastoralartisan.com/) a jewel of a place with wonderful inventive salads and sandwiches and a great selection of cheeses, meats and wines.

May 28, 2012
gumbolox in Chicago Area

Comal - Berkeley

I'm all for local differences and variations, if they are as good or better as the original. Mateo Granados and his Cocina Latina in Healdsburg is a great example. I described the tamales I'm used to for comparisons sake, not because I was expecting exactly that. As for Comal's carnitas, I'm comparing it to the local item, from my neighborhood taquerias to Nopalito to Lolita's Mkt in Petaluma. All of them are better,
Actually, part of my heightened expectations came from two recent, new ethnic Mexican food experiences in Marin of all places. Everything I've had at El Huarche Loco in Larkspur Landing has been excellent, tasty, and soulful. Family run, this is their first restaurant here after some time with a food truck. Different stuff than Comal, but they do do a very good chicken mole. The family has roots in the restaurant business in Mexico City . The other was from the new regime at the Shoreline Coffee Shop in Mill Valley. Excellent Conchinita Pibil and duck tacos and pickled vegetables here. New chef, also from Mexico City.
As for Oaxacan Tamales. the real thing is available at Karina's Mexican Bakery in Petaluma. They also have Tlayudas and sell pasta de mole negro straight from Oaxaca that can be easily reconstituted at home and is much darker and more complex than the mole negro at Comal. I've not been to La Oaxaquenia in the mission, but it is related to Karina's and may have the same tamales.

May 14, 2012
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area

Comal - Berkeley

Went to Comal last week with much positive anticipation. Beautiful room and the acoustics are miraculous. Easy to talk across the table even with a full house. The sound system was audible but not intrusive. Thought the rock mix was a bit out of sync with the cuisine, though I do always like hearing Tom Petty.
The service was excellent and friendly. The cocktails were decent.
The food, however, I found disappointing, especially the two dishes with which I am most familiar. I have had many chicken mole negro tamales, most either in Oaxaca or in Petaluma. I love opening the banana leaf packages and scooping out the fluffy, smooth and grainy masa that has melded with the chicken and mole as it has cooked together inside the leaf. At Comal, a bland and rubbery tamal sat atop a garnish of banana leaf. The chicken inside was barely discernible and there was no mole sauce cooked into the mix. The mole sauce, which was acceptable, was ladled on top, as is done with chicken mole, but not tamales. Change is fine with me , so long as it's an improvement. To me, this version clearly was not.
The carnitas in the tacos didn't seem like carnitas at all. The meat seemed boiled(damp and chewy) rather then fried and braised. There was still unrendered fat in the meat and there was none of the crispy succulence that, for me, is a hallmark of carnitas.
Am I alone in this? Did I just hit a bad day? I would love for this place to be great, especially because of its proximity to Freight and Salvage and the Berkeley Rep.

May 14, 2012
gumbolox in San Francisco Bay Area