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Anything high end (old, or new and upgraded) that's worth it?

Go to what you like. I would go back to Crenn. It's my favorite high end place in SF. I really enjoyed my most recent meal at Manresa and thought they have really upped their game since reopening and it was comparable to Creen.

Of new places that have opened in the last six months my favorites have been Al's Place, mid-range veg & pescatarian centric, not sure if it's posh or intimate enough for a birthday dinner. Also enjoyed The Progress and Cockscomb although neither are high end.

Aster and Liholiho Yacht Club didn't really impress at their price point.

about 22 hours ago
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Will service improve,stay the same or deteriorate with "no tipping" policies?

2. There are places that eye the table and provide service based on the $$$$ they think they will generate in tips. This also leads to some pressure/up selling. This will ease up a bit if tipping is stopped.

I haven't experienced that personally as much in the Bay Area as I do in LA. In LA it's so obvious and annoying.

about 23 hours ago
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Will service improve,stay the same or deteriorate with "no tipping" policies?

Well I've been eating at some the new places that are getting rid of or never had tipping, in the past month at The French Laundry, Sous Beurre Kitchen amongst others and there has been no change in the level of service I am used to at mid-range and fine dining places. Some places like The French Laundry do have a line on your bill to add an additional tip if you would like and I like that if the server has been particularly good or made good recommendations or done something above and beyond.

The reality is that if the servers are getting paid well, then the service will be good. No restaurant wants reviews about bad service and service is still expected whether it's inclusive or not.

I think some servers would choose not work at a service inclusive places if their take-home will suffer.

about 23 hours ago
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Jeremiah Tower v. Michael Bauer on FB

agree, MB certainly puts his personal biases in his reviews for better or worse but the piece was a bit of a creampuff and hardy a hatchet job.

Jeremiah Tower v. Michael Bauer on FB

I've been running businesses for almost 25 years. If I threw a public hissy fit every time I was criticized in the press I would be a joke. It's a matter of being a professional whether it's as a CEO or a chef. I've criticized far more than just my plumber in international business publications and broke bread with the same people the next week. I am equally confounded by why people think that anyone or any service is above criticism especially when it is something so subjective as food.

Jeremiah Tower v. Michael Bauer on FB

If you don't want people critiquing your food don't open a public restaurant and sell a product. You are selling a product, your consumers have a right to judge it. Are some of your consumers not the best judges of food, probably but that how it goes.

Jeremiah Tower v. Michael Bauer on FB

Ate there last month, it was very meh and as Bauer says not the worst tourist place but not up to the standard of Stars. I don't really understand chefs being bothered publicly by critics being critics.

Apr 15, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Festive restaurant for a group of 10-12 in SF

Lolinda in the Mission

Apr 11, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Is tipping now a insult to waitpeople w/new living wage pay hike?

I've spent months in Australia mainly in Melbourne and Sydney. Tipping is now expected in many high end places and if you leave loose change on a bill no one would even have a problem that and I don't think I ever heard anyone except a clueless tourist use the term "shrimp on a barbie" but also the last I checked SF was still in the US.

Mar 25, 2015
tjinsf in Not About Food

Is tipping now a insult to waitpeople w/new living wage pay hike?

The wage increase wasn't to a living wage. Making a couple of bucks more doesn't mean you suddenly have to stop tipping. It's hilarious how people are acting like the new minimum wage means people are loaded now.

Al's place in the Mission review [San Francisco]

I love this place. I've been here about 1/2 dozen times since they opened. I really like that it's a place I can take my vegetarian friends as well as the omnivores and everyone is happy. Also that it's pretty casual.

Mar 24, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Birthday Dinner: Ame, Acquerello, or Benu [San Francisco]

Benu hands down if the goal is high end tasting menu. The flavours are more subtle than at Creen but just as interesting and creative.

Mar 24, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Please tell me your favorite dim sum and favorite sushi in San Francisco?

Nothing here compares to Tokyo not in price or quality. For the price point it compares to similar places in LA or NYC.

Mar 22, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Please tell me your favorite dim sum and favorite sushi in San Francisco?

Best right now: Kukasabe
personal favorite: Umi but that's because it's my neighborhood place and they always put certain fish aside for me and the chef is Malaysian.

Mar 22, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Croissant in SF/Bay Area?

Avoid at all cost Neighbors Bakery in Dogpatch. The croissants are over baked with a hard crust and almost raw inside that's if you manage to get there early enough to even get one. Their special pistachio croissant is actually a day old pastry that has been frozen and then has jam spread on it to make it taste ok. Horrible service from rude baristas that made fun of other customers while giving away free pastries to the owner Greg's friend while telling paying customers they were all out.

Mar 22, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

SF Trip report from a Londoner

Most of the places you went to are pretty average so I'm not surprised you found them pretty average. What are you looking for? good cheap eats, unique cuisine, Latin American flavours. I wouldn't compare SF to London, it's such a smaller place and it has does specific things really well and other things are totally lacking where there is more diversity in London and more choices at different price points. I actually prefer the more high end dining here to London but find the cheap eats to be better in London. Of course here we have so much better Latin American food.

Restauranting during SXSW

easy tiger is hopping, parts of it are being closed off for events but there should always be parts open.

Mar 13, 2015
tjinsf in Austin

Restauranting during SXSW

there is a food crawl this Saturday you can find on eventbrite. There is a tequila trainride on Sunday. Some of them you need a badge, most you don't. many you do need to RSVP.

Mar 12, 2015
tjinsf in Austin

Restauranting during SXSW

I got in today and went to Qui tonight and they had early reservations still available. The thing to know about SXSW is that restaurants will be closed as companies do buy-outs or hold events there. Some of these you can get on the guest lists for on eventbrite, some are select invites. GE is doing a BBQ thing this weekend. Check first with any places you want to go to see if they are even open when you want to go. Also SXSW is about the free food and drink, your pass will get you into so many parties and events. The food really varies but there is always another place to try.

Mar 11, 2015
tjinsf in Austin

Al's Place, San Francisco

First time was with a reservation and sat at a table, second time was walk-in and sat at the bar. I think they aren't putting all their tables on OT and have some set aside for walk in. Would just go either at opening or later in the evening.

Feb 19, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Al's Place, San Francisco

I don't usually recommend a place until I've been there a few times but even having only dined here twice I am so excited about the food at Al's Place. This is the place to take your favorite vegetarian as well as your favorite pescatarian and carnivore. Everyone will be happy and you can share so many dishes.

Also compared to other mid-range places that are open currently it wouldn't break the bank with dishes under 20. You will still probably spend 20-40 a person with tax and tip.

The menu is divided into four sections- snacks, Cold dishes, Warm/Hot dishes and Sides. It was suggested that we order one from each section to share and that's just what we did.

First visit
SNACKS:
The snacks had familar trendy flavour vadouvan (ie. dutch curry), fennel and other seasoning.

We got the Fritters with fennel sauce , which was three very light freshly fried dough ball that were more like beignet in texture than American fritter. Our order came with 3 fritters, our neighbors had 4. These were perfect delicious little bites.

COLD DISH: there were four cold dish several which were vegetarian

Trout with kolrabi mousse, potatoes and broth $16-
This was a smaller dish than we expected for the price but it was very satisfying with lots of flavour. We asked for some of the Josey Baker bread to soak up the broth and mousse. The only negative was the tiny amount of trout, three tiny 1/4 inch strips of cured trout that was gone in three bites.

WARM: Again there were four dishes with a couple vegetarian including the one we ordered.

Tonarelli $16- this was a beautiful pasta dish with a sauce that made me want to lick the plate. Again not a huge portion but perfectly sized when combined with our other dishes. We added poached egg $2 which was needed but is never a bad thing on a plate of pasta.

SIDE-the sides are meat and seafood and are actually the most expensive thing
Dungeness crab $20, again not a huge portion and perhaps not something I would get again, this was very sweet crab served already broken up but not unshelled and with a dipping sauce that was good but not needed.

We had a bottle of sparkling water and house made tangerine cream soda that was delicious and made with fresh cream.

Dessert there were three dessert choice all for 7 dollars
Key lime tart with quince compote and ice cream. This was not as inspired as the rest of the meal and a bit of disappointment.

They add that damn Health Care fee rather than sucking it up and roll it into their costs.

Second visit
snack-chickpeas a la catalan, quince romesco, small bowl of fried chickpeas similar to the ones you get for free in Spanish bars.

Cold: mixed brassicas, sudachi, pickled radish, wild mushrooms. I think I would have preferred this as a warm dish but it was a good hearty tasting dish. $15

Side-Jowl Ham, 13, I honestly don't know what Jowl Ham is but I do know it was delicious. It's not a huge portion, more than enough for one person, perhaps not enough for two big meat eaters.

Warm:sunchoke curry, black lime-cod, grapefruit 17, the chef really has a great hand at seafood and this was true for this dish, fish cooked just right, tender and moist, curry with strong but not overpowering seasoning, nice bite of acid.

DECOR:
The space is very simple with not a piece of reclaimed wood in sight but lots of sound baffling panels on the wall. I LOVE it. It's still noisy but not as bad as it could be. The chairs are wood and not the most comfortable. There is a small bar with 6 stools where the bartender is making creative cocktails since they don't have full liquor license. They clearly have spent far more thought on the food than the decor and I really appreciated how they went for function over fashion.

The kitchen is tiny and there are only two chefs on hot stations and two sous doing the cold prep with A.L. doing the pass and it was all running very smoothly.

The space is wheelchair accessible but walk ways are narrow. The lighting was very good and the menu type was easy to read.

For only being open a couple of weeks the service was friendly if a bit scattered but again all the service including the bartender who doubled as a server at the bar were able to make suggestions and knew the menu.

SF Trip 2015

Plaj is a good representation of Modern Swedish food.

Feb 13, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Nico [San Francisco]

ok understand better.

Feb 13, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Nico [San Francisco]

Interesting that you compare it to meals in Paris. Married to a French person and having lived in France for years I could see the French technique but it has a very American slant in the ingredients and dishes to me and my spouse feel more modern European than Parisian. It reminded me more of modern European food I find in most major Western European cities not just in Paris. I really like his dishes with seafood especially the cod. And I find the dessert to be delightful and creative. The service has always been very good when we've been there.

Feb 13, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Grocery Cafe- Burmese food! [Oakland]

Went tonight. They are now open till 8:30 although yelp has open till 8pm. They also have a good size tarp sign that says Burmese Food above the door. This good no-frills food. The amount of tea leaf in the salad was twice what we got at both Burma Love and Burma Superstar and made with cabbage. We also got the chicken coconut soup that has the consistancy of a curry gravy and was a huge portion, liked the crunky bit of samusa on top of it. Our third dish was the noodle salad with fish sauce.

The decor is no frills with church pews and a mishmash of table. Tea is complimentary. 9 dishes all $7 dollars. All very good size portions.

They told me for Valentine's Day they are going to have a special of lamb and probably will have it on the following Monday.

Feb 12, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Pavlova, Eton Mess or other meringue-based desserts in SF or East Bay

Had a wonderful Baked "Hawaii" at Liholiho Yacht Club with a pineapple ice cream center.

Feb 08, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Bar Steak in SF ?

Chez Maman's steak frites

Feb 08, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco HELP

Why Slanted Door or Tacolicious? Tacolicious's tacos are small, bland and overpriced.

Higher end Thai-Kin Khao
Beso instead of Coqueta unless you just want to bites and drinks at Coqueta
Either do TBD or AQ

Cockscomb if you like delicious meats

Why Park Tavern?

Feb 06, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco HELP

yes worth it.

Feb 06, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Has anyone tried this private kitchens web site...www.eatwith.com?

Used it in Barcelona. It was in a home but it was a professional chef. Just like an "underground" supper club. Some chefs are using it for private paid dinners in SF too.

Feb 05, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area