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tjinsf's Profile

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Top 5 restaurants in San Francisco...?

have you been since they switched to the longer tasting menu only format? Haven't been there since then.

Extensive food advice required - let's get this party started!

spanish-avoid Aatxe, tried it again and it's stil pretty terrible, wasn't opening issues after all. overcooked prawns, over and undercooked veg and insanely loud.
Coqueta is decent if pricy and closest to the park, other good places are Beso and Canela in the Castro.

Seafood and raw- Skool 22 minutes walk from Giants, raw and cooked seafood and fish. Bar Crudo too.

Meat time-Cockscomb for sure and it's only 10 minute walk from ballpark.

Ferry Building has the closest farmer's market to the Giants and lots of other choices including Hog Island oysters.

Jul 04, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area - I need your help

I would check out State Bird, it's incredible food at a decent price, not cheap but you would disappointed and it's far less than Benu or Creen.

Bay Area - I need your help

-Pupusas-Panchita’s Restaurant No 2 in Mission
-grilled cheese-American Grilled Cheese
-oysters Anchor Oyster bar for just oysters or Hog Island if you want a view
-brunch Plow in Potrero
-mac n Cheese, Citizen's Band although it is in a square and has onion rings on top but it's damn tasty.

I understand your ex-pat cravings completely.

Jul 03, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

New Yorkers Seeking the Good Stuff

I would spend a day, later afternoon and into the evening in the Mission either on the Saturday or Sunday, Monday some things are closed.

If you are from NYC Mission St. at night wouldn't scare you like it seems to with people not familiar with cities. They tend to prefer the more white washed and gentrified Valencia street ignoring the fact that they are only one street away. Both streets and 24th have lots of good interesting places.

There are lots of great places on both street to eat food. Check out Dandelion Chocolate and Craftsman & Wolves for yummy modern chocolates, think Mast brothers, there are good pastries at both and ask for a sample of the drinking chocolate at Dandelion. Mission is great for Latin American and South American specialties. Ice cream at Bi-rite and Humphrey Slocums. Take the kids to the Pirate store and the Paxton Gates on Valencia too, kids (and adults love those places).

From your hotel you could take the Bart to 16th and mission, only 13 minutes or if you want to take the bus, take the 14 on mission a bit longer but above ground.

New Yorkers Seeking the Good Stuff

I've eaten at them all too and more. I think I stick to my own experience over yours.

Jul 03, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

New Yorkers Seeking the Good Stuff

Hardly, I've had them and they are best for people that have never been to El Salvador or for whom it's a novelty item and the dough is too thick.

Suggestions without experience are rather odd, it's like someone thinking that one high end place is the best place ever because it's the only place they've eaten at or because they read an article about a restaurant they actually know how the food is.

Jul 02, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

New Yorkers Seeking the Good Stuff

What about pupusas or empanadas? Especially with teens those would be popular and I've never found as good pupusas in NYC as I have here (granted I haven't lived there since the 90's but do spend about month's time there every year).

I like Panchita’s Restaurant No 2 in the Mission although there are so many places to have them.

El Porteño Empanadas for more creative empanadas and chilian ones at Chile Lindo Empanadas

Jul 02, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

New Yorkers Seeking the Good Stuff

The dosas are better and more like what you actually get in India at Udupi Palace which is 2 blocks from the Dosa on Valencia. Definitely Dosa is better if you need to eat in a place that had an interior decorator design it and you want to drink.

Top 5 restaurants in San Francisco...?

I feel the same way, I found Saison disappointing even before the price increase. When I compare it to the meals I've had The Fat Duck, Restaurant Vendôme, 41 Grados, Noma who are all in the same price range and is clearly the upper upper end that he feel he is at, my meals at Saison have been extremely well crafted, taste good and have little actual uniqueness and actually felt derivative of dishes I've had in Copenhagen and Japan.

I would pick Quince over Coi. Quince isn't as flashy but very well prepared food. Also why no Meadowood?

Jul 02, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Top 5 restaurants in San Francisco...?

Have you been to Keiko A Nob Hill since they switched over their longer format.

Jul 02, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Top 5 restaurants in San Francisco...?

I'm a fan of EMP too, The Restaurant at Meadowood is the closest to EMP in the bay.

Jul 02, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Most underrated restaurants in San Francisco

Have had very uneven service and food at Mission Rock Resort. Friends with less far skin than my own have had even worse experience including when I have been there. Have gone for the happy hour and been told they are all out. The view is good, the food and service were poor to average for us.

Jul 01, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Most underrated restaurants in San Francisco

also try the salmon skin chips.

Skool is nothing like Raku. Only Japanese influenced in ingredients and some prep and far less busy!

Jul 01, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Most underrated restaurants in San Francisco

trouble coffee is minimal hipsters? I would have to strongly disagree with that but the coffee is good.

Most underrated restaurants in San Francisco

Skool (SOMA/Potrero border) come to mind although it has gotten love on here but it doesn't get much press in other food publications.

Gilberth’s Rotisserie & Grill (dogpatch)

Canela (castro) doing tapas that are much better than other places that get a lot more media and hype.

Jul 01, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

New Yorkers Seeking the Good Stuff

Burma Love is pretty much the same food as BSS just for a couple of dollars more. Fine if you are on Valencia and need a meal. Not even close to Little Yangon or Burmese Kitchen.

Jul 01, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

New high end sushi in SF: "Omakase"

My experience was similar to KK, wish I had know they were the same owner as Live Sushi. Masa was not there I believe when we were and we were served by Ingi I believe but am not sure. The order seemed off to me too, there was no ankimo served. The rice on some nigiri seemed too firm.

I think I will still to Kusakabe, my meals at Maruya since Masa left have not lived up to the meals while he was there.

Jul 01, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

New high end sushi in SF: "Omakase"

I have had nothing but bad or subpar experiences at Live Sushi both the owner yelling at his employees and the food being poorly cut, old and with some fish, being rotten. I would never go there again.

Jul 01, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Progress or State Bird? [San Francisco]

If you don't want to share all dishes and have more options then State Bird is a far better option. Going to both I prefer the larger amount of choices at State Bird and the smaller portions. It's easier to get a reservation at Progress.

Jun 22, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

[San Francisco] Central Kitchen or Tosca for dinner with in-laws?

Octavia has even worse noise issues than Rich Table. Central Kitchen's kitchen is more consistent than Tosca. They both have smaller portions than one might expect. I find Bar Tartine to be quite average at what they are doing with an over-reliance on pickling things and a hodge-podge of inspiration that rarely lives up to the original dishes (last time I was there was 2 months ago). I would say of the two you are considering I would pick Central Kitchen, it's easy to get a table, the space allows for talking, the dishes are good without being confusing or precious. Tosca has been a disappointment to me with uneven food over the 4 times I've been there.

Sir and Star at The Olema

Ended here this past Saturday by chance, literally called them when we were in Pt. Reyes 4 minutes away to see if there was anything available that night and there was. They only had the prix fixe $75 dollar menu in the main dining rooms and then you could order a la carte in the reception area and patio.

The menu was quite French in layout with a carrot soup with a panna cotta cream served in a rather cheesy martini glass, then a bread course, a fish course, a salad course and a meat course. You could also add a quartet of oysters, a cheese course and a foie gras terrine for additional cost and we got all three having the cheese course after our meat course and before dessert which was an ice cream parfait with a cruchy caramel bottom layer.

They substituted the stuffed quail with poached salmon for the pescatarian spouse. The food was fine dining but not to stuffy and not very risk taking but delicious especially the carrot soup and the fish course. The stuffed quail's stuffing was a bit bland and the portion was a bit off but the sauces that accompanied it had a bright acidness to it and complimented the bird very well.

Compared to similar food in SF it is well priced but by far one of the more expensive places in that area. Although the food was fine dining, the dress was quite casual with many people in hoodies and some in shorts, to be sure some folks did have button ups but nary a tie in sight something quite nice if you are having a relaxing weekend.

The decor is antler art and large floral arrangements that work well in the Victorian house and setting. The service was good with informed servers including one that previously worked in the kitchen at Manresa.

May 26, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Don Bugito seen at Sat SF Ferry Bldg Farmers Market: chocolate covered crickets, superworms, chile-lime crickets

yes they are crunchy but not fresh from the deep fryer crunchy.

May 19, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Don Bugito seen at Sat SF Ferry Bldg Farmers Market: chocolate covered crickets, superworms, chile-lime crickets

Tried the chile-lime crickets and chocolate covered crickets. I've had them fresh deep fried in Laos and Cambodia and these weren't as good as those crunchy snacks. The chocolate was thick enough that it could be any thing really as far as taste. A novelity they are ok, I would stick to using the cricket flour if I wanted to use crickets in my food planning.

May 19, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Jack's Oyster Bar & Fish House-Jack London [Oakland]

Went back a couple of weeks ago and while the food was good, the service was poor and it seemed a bit overpriced for the dishes.

The highlight as in previous visits was the octopus which was served whole and is a very large portion for one and comes at a large price of $28. This is a good family style dish. Sadly they charged us 2 dollars because we split it which was odd since we also ordered two other dishes. We also got the fish and chips and the lobster mac and cheese which was listed as a large plate but it was appetizer sized. The fish and chips was far too oily.

The service charge included system here doesn't seem to be working as it was our server's last week as he claimed they were not receiving any of it. Several other servers have also left recently. Oddly enough even though it was service included they also have another fee tacked on for "health care" on the bill. So be aware of on top of the already higher than average prices there are mandatory charges of more than 20% percent added to your bill. I actually like when it is included in the prices or is a flat fee but you have to actually pass that on to your servers in their paychecks and have good service.

The service was quite bad. Our main server was friendly enough but clearly had too many tables. Dishes were brought out by other staff and out of order. They tried to take away dishes before we were finished and tried to give us the check before we had all our dishes.

May 19, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

ISO Bay Area restaurants with delicious grilled octopus preparations.

I thought it was a good preparation too but the size was too large for one person. It's a shared family dish for sure.

May 19, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

South African spices in the Bay Area

There isn't any special rub for biltong, just having good coriander. I go to Spice Ace in lower Pac Heights for herbs and spice for African dishes.

May 15, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Who sells Fond O Foods Allgau German butter in San Francisco?

This butter is on sale right now at Rainbow Coop Grocery.

May 15, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Chronicle top 100 2015

wow, I had no idea restaurant critiques was a fundamental right but not health care or control over your own reproduction rights of course.

Actually by a major publication making him a critic both the restaurant industry and the public does put his influence and opinion above that of even people on the chowhounds boards. All you have to know is a really really basic history of food critics in various cities including this one to know that they have far more influence on whether a restaurant succeeds than a random diner. As to the second part of to whether everyone is qualified, well you just have to look at the haterate directed at yelp to know that isn't always the case. The idea with professional food critics is that they both the culinary knowledge and the experience by able to going at least three times to a place to make a more informed opinion. Yes it is still opinion but it should be a more reliable and measurable opinion that someone who has never eaten that cuisine and doesn't have the opportunity to form a complete view and understanding of the entire menu.

As for the "you don't like America go join the commies" comment, the whole point of professional food critics is to get a base line and an informed opinion so you don't have to do the word. For example Robert has stated many many times that he strongly dislikes tasting menus and he has not gone most of the places in SF that have them so his list would naturally not have any place he hasn't actually eaten in and would hardly be able to represent the Top 100 restaurant in the city.

Chronicle top 100 2015

Bauer is not a random person on yelp. He is a food critic that is expected to have broad and complex understanding of food. He is getting money for that opinion. I am a paid consultant because people give me money for my opinion. You are trying to use some industry specific jargon to muddy the point. This is not a yelp 100 list on someone's profile.

Yes Top 100 lists are subjective but they can also be qualified in many ways such as price point, technique, service expectations and of course the reviewer actually being honest about their biases. That's what makes they actually useful rather than just a notch on PR shills belt.