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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.

Chronicle top 100 2015

The difference is that this not just some random's opinion. It is being present in print in a paid article as the "best" 100 restaurants, not the best restaurants of a guy that only seems to like New American or Cal-Italian, that wouldn't go further south than Daly City, that only lists Mexican places that are overpriced and marketed to people who need everything wrapped in a hipster motif. If he posted this as a yelp list or on his own blog or if he qualified that he only thinks certain cuisines are worthy of his blessing that would be one thing but he didn't. A food critic who doesn't even try food at all price points and all cuisines and consider the merits of it is pathetic.

May 13, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Chronicle top 100 2015

And by the something more, it's a hipster decor with a good PR rep and overpriced cocktails and food that is watered down ethnic or new American or Italian.

May 13, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Chronicle top 100 2015

His palate appears to be that of a 30 year old white tech worker from Ohio who has never actually left the country and thinks if there is expensive cocktails, wood on the walls and local produce that means a place is awesome.

Chronicle top 100 2015

What a boring list. Not even Kin Khao? Basically if it's a certain price point or higher, has a pr person & an interior designer and severs some kind of cal whatever or modern American it's on his list.

I've been to around 90 of these and most are good to excellent but seriously this list has none of scope of what is in SF.

Also Mamacita?!? It's a must if you don't want really good Mexican food and do want to watch PR people get sloshed.

When a menu is not a menu

All the places mentioned do indeed give you a menu to take home which has more info and you can even get them to write the menu down. I've also never had a server at these place that couldn't tell me about a dish in detail before I ordered it.

Frankly even if there is a detail description with the way menu misuse cooking terms or French words, most of the dishes I get in SF are rarely as simple as what is written or anything like the inspiration when I am eating at any place that does more than classics.

Unless you've seen pictures of the dishes or even better been in the kitchen when it's made a detailed menu at these places isn't going to give much of an idea unless they include the cooking methods.

May 08, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Octavia, SF

The pasta was on the smaller size but it was listed as a starter and not as an entree. My quail was average entree size and the soup ie. soubise was a full bowl. For me 4-6 ounces of a protein per dish is more than enough. The mushrooms was small in a small mason jar and more of a snack than a starter. That was the only dish that I felt was smaller than expected. I think you would need to do two smaller or one entree for meal at least but you would leave not feeling hungry.

May 08, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Octavia, SF

We ate almost the same meal when we went there. Really like the soup and the beef tongue. The Mushrooms a la Grecque was probably my least favorite dish although the portion was more condiment or snack size than starter or app size. It was not like what is common in France where the dish comes from or at least that name does but the French Spouse liked it well enough.

We asked for bread and got delicious Josey Baker bread and there was no charge.

We also had the panna cotta which was a bit too loose in texture and poppy seed angel food cake which I found quite fascinating with the crisp outside, not as sweet as most angel food cake and delightful with the berries and really good ice cream.

We also had a lengthy time lag between our first and second courses although the server and host did apologize for it and offer a glass of wine.

The noise was very bad almost as bad as Frances and Alta Ca. Don't really understand how they can pay a designer and not bother with any sound design or even basic panels on the ceiling.

May 08, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

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

Had what they called a Pavlova at Trestle-
it was a tiny meringue which was soft but as marshmellowy as a pavlova served with a far larger portion of rhubarb and stawberries and tiny drops of a green cream. There was no whipped cream at all.

May 04, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Auberge du S, Meadowood or Sobar-Solage [Napa Valley]

One caveat is that it is more experiment and modern than The French Laundry and some dishes may not work and the portions are tiny but there are so many of them that you should still leave full.

May 04, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

NEW: Trestle, SF North Beach 3-course Tasting Menu w/ PICS

It is a 3 course prix-fixe only with two choice for app, main and dessert and an additional pasta course if you want for another 10. There is no a la carte and it's not a tasting menu. Very home style food modern American. Some modern techniques used but overall not fancy and not tiny portions.

May 04, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

When a menu is not a menu

They do the same at Eleven Madison Park although you get to pick the courses. I think the idea is that since it's a set menu anyways they want it to be surprise but give you some idea of what ingredients they are using. I prefer that to a sentence long description that still is nothing like the dish that is presented. I think they have really upped their food since the fire, had a great meal there soon after the fire. If you are concerned about the menu you can email them and they will give you more detailed info. They've been great about accommodating dietary restrictions.

May 04, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

NEW: Trestle, SF North Beach 3-course Tasting Menu w/ PICS

Went tonight. The two mains were the sea bass and a roast chicken. The starters were a pea soup with smoked salmon and the little gem salad. They put the bacon on the side for us and used a meat-free vinaigrette. They also can make a completely vegetarian version of the three course meal.

The pea soup was the best thing by far. A good serving with fresh peas and salmon that had the soup pours on it table side.

The sea bass was good with a nice crisp skin. I found the chicken to be rather bland in flavour on it's own but the sauce with it was delicious and full of umami.

The "pavlova" was not a pavlova at all. It was a tiny chewy meringue rather than a slice of the pavlova which is more marshmellowy in the middle usually and shaped like a cake. The portion of fruit to the meringue was off with way more fruit than meringue and there was no whipped cream. The taste was fine especially eaten together but the whole dish was undeveloped.

The other dessert was a brownie with vanilla ice cream and a caramel sauce. It was tasty but nothing special. Since every meal will come with dessert I wish they had put more thought into the desserts.

They said they are going to be changing some of the menu every two days and they have about 40 dishes already planned.

It was full the entire time we were there and it was running very smoothly. There was no wait for course nor were they rushed out, the servers and all FoH were all friendly and informed.

The space is noisy but they have put sound baffling panels on the ceiling and the brick walls and beams are charming.

Parking on the street was easier than I thought it would be and we parked a of couple blocks away where all the galleries are towards the Embarcadero.

May 04, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Aatxe review [San Francisco]

Had a very disappointing meal there when they first opened. The prawns in our Gambas al Ajillo were tiny as was the portion size and overcooked and it was under seasoned too. The Octopus & Salsa Verde was probably the best dish we had although it's a far cry from traditional Basque food. Glad to hear they are improving on the portion size.

Our table and each of the ones on either side of us asked for the music to be turned down at various times only to have it turned up again after 5-10 minutes.

May 03, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Smokestack BBQ [San Francisco]

I was wary to try this place after my less than stellar experience the other hipster BBQ place 4505 but the brisket I've here was much better and their sizing was true unlike 4505.

They didn't have chopped or pulled pork when I was there but both the ribs and the brisket were good. I got 1/4 brisket with burnt ends and one rib which was .43 lb. I like fat on my brisket and there was some. It's served dry and the bark was good on both the rib and the brisket. The French Spouse tried the sides Mac and Cheese and Chess soup. They found both of them too sweet. I liked that they have sparkling and still water on tap self-serve. The selection of beers is good and reasonably priced. For non-alcholic drinks they didn't have southern style sweet tea but ginger beer and house made ice tea and lemonade.

The service is really a poor set up. If you are going to have only counter ordering then you have to keep the line moving but they only had one person taking the orders and cutting the meat when we were there. There was huge to-go order before us and after a 10 minute wait someone came to take our order but it was still some time before they called our name. You pretty much have to hang out by the cash register because you can hear the cashier anywhere else. It would be good if they had more than one person taking orders and cutting meat.

There were lots of parents drinking while their spawn wobbled around.

The place has been patina'ed and faux aged to the very limit with every surface destressed and reclaimed. In the back where there is standing bars counter you can see the slick modern brewing set-up that is actually going on. There is lots of seating at communal tables and a couple of comfy booths.

May 03, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Auberge du S, Meadowood or Sobar-Solage [Napa Valley]

No comparison. Meadowood. I actually like it better than French Laundry (most recent FL was visit was 2 weeks ago), more creative, better atmosphere. You will still need to wear a jacket, no tie and it is a quiet space but make more a woodsy feeling in the dining room with all the great windows. We are also "young 40 somethings".
Sobar-Solage is a step down in terms of fine dining and creativity.

May 03, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Native Sons BBQ [San Francisco]

They are there about once a month. Yes indoor tables. Next time in May 8th. You can follow them on facebook to find out the dates.
https://www.facebook.com/events/61693...

Apr 26, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Franklin BBQ pop up mid-May?

I am partial to the South Carolinian Q that I would get when my parents would ship me to the US for revivals and bible camp but Frankin's BBQ is really good Texas BBQ. Not 130 dollar good. heck no.

Apr 23, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Franklin BBQ pop up mid-May?

I think the SF line waiting mentality is like the joke, "the higher the hair the closer to god". In SF it's the "longer the line, the bigger the hipster foodie you are".

Franklin BBQ pop up mid-May?

Not really. You can get cheap deal flights on Virgin to Austin and having done the line in Austin most recently last month while it is really good BBQ there is no way I would pay 130 to eat it here. There is always a line at Franklin's but if you get there early on a weekday it's not that big of a deal and unlike SF line sometimes people are chill.

What's that quote about a sucker born every day? And I know it will sell out.

Apr 23, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Hapa Ramen -- What price ramen? [San Francisco]

The latest in this s-show. http://firstwefeast.com/eat/open-lett...

Critic who says "Richie Nakano taught me something about respect—or as he’d probably put it, how not to be a little bitch." writes "open letter" and demands investor give back name he paid 20,000 and clearly has no personal bias.

I am not saying Van Natta didn't make poor decisions, one of which was perhaps going to business with Nakano and thinking that he could run a restaurant like any other business but to try to cast this as poor local taken advantage of by the big bad tech douche is crazy. The lines of Nakano's ramen were filled with those very people and he marketing to them through the pop-up and on social media. He also signed a contact perhaps without reading it. I could see asking to buy back the name for the same amount of money but demanding it back for free?

Apr 22, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Blue Bottle swallows up Tartine.

So long as tech folks have spare change and like playing angel to the local food producers (and they really do), we'll see more of these mini-chains in targeted markets. I can see the coffee shops scaling pretty well as it's fairly easy to replicate the methods especially when you have one central source for the beans but it will be interesting to see if Tartine can scale with needing more ingredients and having more complexity in it's production. Also referring Noma is a pretty lofty goal.

Apr 21, 2015
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Blue Bottle swallows up Tartine.

I love Blue Star, wish they would open one in San Francisco.