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Local Xmas/Holiday Snack Food Gifts

Chocolate Lab is closed.

about 11 hours ago
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

2014 Top Ten Tastes

Khun Yai’s Green Curry with Rabbit at Kin Khao-love this dish especially the rabbit meatballs, it both reminds me of the flavours I've eaten in Thailand but is also different than what I'm used to mostly living in and visiting the southern Thailand.

Pig's Head at Cockscomb-I just love people cooking all the parts and the meat is so good both in texture and flavour.

SMOKED SALMON CHIPS at Skool- I just love these snacks. It's just fried salmon skin with a miso aioli but so tasty.

Striped bass, clams,roasted almond-garlic picada at The Commissary, the broth for this dish really made it something special.

Porchetta at Porcellino- I will miss their porchetta

Fish stew at Verbena- really great depth of flavour in the lemon verbena lemongrass broth.

Had great charcoal ramen in Vancouver, favorite meals of the year were at Trois Mec in LA, Vendome in Germany, the amazing desserts at Sweets Raku in Las Vegas.

Favorite new SF restaurants of 2014, Verbena (which opened in December 2013), Cockscomb, Kin Khao, The Commissary.

about 12 hours ago
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

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

Yes but I would rather stab myself in the eye than pay 18 dollars for a burger yet I have no problem dropping a couple of 100 for a meal so I'm not the demographic for those places. The whole overpriced comfort food seems really boring to me but with the amount of 20 and 30 something tech kids who don't know how to cook or who don't want to mean there is a big demand for it. I'm happy that folks are making a good profit off of them at least.

I think the high overhead in getting a place started finding one that isn't influenced by either popular or culinary trends is unlikely.

about 12 hours ago
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Cockscomb - SF

Been twice now, first time opening weekend with the spouse, sat the counter and sampled the smaller dishes, second time came with carnivores and had the pig's head and the steak. Excellent service both times and excellent food.
Dishes we tried the first visit:

1. Eggs, Eggs, Eggs: chicken eggs, duck egg and roe-probably our least favourite dish. Surprisingly it was served cold, the herb dressing was delicious and tied it together into a nice cold egg salad. The eggs sadly were not all soft poached which they were suppose to be but they replaced our harder ones with some softer one.

2. Tombo Crudo: chunks of tombo with a very little coating of chili and acid served with wontons wrappers. very nice quality fish, wish the wontons had been warm.

3. Little Gems with green goddess and crispy pig ear- this was a classic salad with green goddess dressing and tiny crispy bit of pig ears. It was a lovely combo of salty and crunchy and herbaciousness. I would have loved for the pig ear to be freshly cooked.

4 We started the meal with 1/2 dozen oysters, they had a selection of four including ones from Virginia, Washington and Oregon. The selection was good and they were served with a choice of three sauces, a mustard oil, a traditional mignonette and an avocado cream.

5. Grilled cheese with brioche bread and black truffles. I am not a "comfort food" person or someone who loves it when a chef "elevates" some thing simple and then charges 20 bucks for it. However this is freaking delicious. Sweet light brioche, pungent cheese, a thin layer of honey and a healthy portion of black truffles on top. I would happily come back just for that even if it was over 10 bucks.

6. I had butcher's choice which was calf's liver and onions. Just like mom made it if mom was able to make a demi-glace and had an open fire to cook it. There were few tough bits but for the most part it was perfect cooked with a velvety texture and the onions and jus were great additions.

7. We finished with a Mille crêpes which instead of pastry cream between layers had a been soaked in syrup of some kind. It wasn't overly sweet which I appreciated and the French Spouse declared it pretty good for a non-French person.

8. They serve espresso but don't have cream only milk.

Second visit a group of 5 shared the pin bone steak, pig's head and meat pie. It was too much food for only five people but we did our best. Everything was cooked beautifully and had strong hearty flavours.

With all the hard surfaces the acoustic aren't good. We missed the side entrance the first time we went. We found free parking right in the alley.

This place reminded me how much I enjoy Incanto when it first opened. Chris was in the kitchen both times I was there. Service was very smooth and our server both times was very knowledgeable about the food.

Dec 14, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

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

Went opening night and in my opinion it has less to do with the cost of the ingredients and more with the wallets of their target customers. The average tech resident of Mission has the paycheck to pay that cost and doesn't have the palate to know they are getting ripped off.

Orenchi Beyond's broth is better and Hapa often adds stuff that actually takes away from the flavour of the broth. Orenchi's got a bigger wait right now than Hapa but even though I hate waiting in the line I would go there instead. The portion of duck as I would expect for the price although to be honest I can't remember exactly what we paid if it was 28 or 24.

Nov 27, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Saison or The restaurant at Meadowood

My personal food preference is for Meadowood but if you are just going to be in SF proper than Saison. Saison is more casual in atmosphere and not having any dress requirements but I actually find the preparations to be more clinical at Saison than Meadowood. Saison is more flashy too and he's probably taking more chances with his dishes but I personally have always loved my meals at Meadowood and found the everything appealing. I find them to be equally creative and unique.

Nov 22, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

September~November at Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant [San Francisco]

I really hope Judy and Yoko find a place after May. Love that place, eating the homey dishes while listening to punk songs and chatting with folks at the other tables. Also they always been great for vegan and food allergies.

Nov 22, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area
1

One Day in SF

hush! That's when we usually get a table. when I get there after 9pm during the week I almost always get a two top and they are quick to let folks know if they can't get them in. I would just go there later and be flexible, if you are solo they have spots they can fit you into.

One Day in SF

Yes.I would get the latest reservation for Benu you can and then maybe do State Bird as early as you can. skip Campton and just do Swan or switch them around if you can. Benu is best experienced over many course and I think for State Bird you'll want to try at least 3-4 of the small dishes.

Nov 11, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

One Day in SF

The fun at State Bird comes from having lots of little dishes carried around like dim sum and then you get them right off the tray. Some of them are delightful combinations, others not as successful. They are not going for a fine dining white linen kind of service like the other places mentioned.

Nov 11, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

One Day in SF

Yes it is worth the drive. I've liked my last two meals there better than TFL but I think you can get comparable meal at Benu or Creen.

Nov 11, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

One Day in SF

I personally would pick Creen over Benu but I like more adventitious dishes and presentations. That said I would be very happy to eat at either if I only had one day in SF. I haven't had the service issues at Creen that have been mentioned.

Agree with the assessment of service at Lazy Bear. I do think that the longer they are at the new place the more it will improve. Some of the dishes can be as experimental as Creen but it varied based on the season and menu when they were at Chicken John's place.

Nov 11, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Where can you find puffin meat in san francisco?

I've had it in Iceland, it usually smoked or broiled and tastes like pastrami when it's smoked and broiled it taste more like duck than a chicken. On the ranking of cute animals I don't normally eat it's above kangaroo but below reindeer in terms of taste.

Nov 09, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Benu reports? [San Francisco]

Went last week, found the food to be the same as they've had in the last year. I've always liked the food since they opened. I think it's more subtle than other 3 star places and I would certainly say it's as good as French Laundry and a contender with The Restuarant at Meadowood which is my personal favorite in the area. I think Lee has always had less *wow* dishes and more a slow build with the entire menu. That said I would still recommend it over Saison because there is a consistency in every single level and all the dishes and service.

I also have been to Lazy Bear since they went to their brick and mortar. I found the food to be as good as it was in the past but was expecting it to go up a level with have a dedicated kitchen and full staff.

Nov 09, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Central Kitchen [Potr'ission, San Francisco]

Thanks for the write up. I like Central Kitchen both in term of food and service better than flour+water.

Nov 09, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Favorite Ice Cream 2014

The gelato bites at Chantal Guillon on Howard are very appealing. The flavours are far more subtle than BiRite, HS or Mr & Mrs but like how they are like fancy tiny Klondike bars. I tried all six flavours they had and my favorite was the hazelnut.

Oct 30, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Hash : SFBA Dish of the Month October 2014

Had a New England Flannel Hash yesterday at Kate's Kitchen 471 Haight St, lower haight $10 dollars, cash only. It was a full plate portion.

It was corned beef hash with almost equal parts corned beef to root vegetables. Besides potatoes they also used parsnips and carrots and the corned beef wasn't dried out and had a good amount of fat on it that helped bring it together, the pieces were on the big side so it didn't blend as well as I personally like but the corned beef was top notch. It comes with two eggs which I got poached so the yolks run all over the hash and get soaked up. Also came with toast, options which include gluten free.

Oct 29, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

7x7 Magazine Big Eat Oakland - 50 Things to Taste Before You Die

That's not saying much. I don't know why anyone would trust any recommendations for 7 x 7. They praise anyone that pays for ad space or is related to one of the editors and ignore 90% of what is in SF both the people and food.

Oct 22, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to eat Saturday night near Castro Theater? [San Francisco]

Starbelly is extremely noisy inside, the food is so hit and miss and rather boring.

Also they add 3 percent for the SF Minimum wage ordinance (as stated on their menu) which is even douchier than restaurant who claim they are adding a fee to provide access to health care plans. So basically they don't even think they should pay their employees a minimum wage and add a fake fee for it which the servers told me the owner claims that is what the ordinance says they need to do.

Oct 22, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to eat Saturday night near Castro Theater? [San Francisco]

Fable on Castro. Solid take on new American. Duck salad and pork cheeks are good.

Canela on Market. Much less hyped place tapas and Spanish food place, I like it better than Beso or Coqueta and it's more affordable.

Oct 22, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

SF in January

The new location has the same good food but the noise is insane. It's been that way for the last 3 restaurants in the space. The menu they were serving the opening week was not a large as the one they have online. They just opened so there are some service issues with some food coming too quick and when I was there the first time, them forgetting the table next to us, this will probably improve. I'm not a big fan of the bar side as it's even noisier with the TVs and the noise carries over to the dinner. The Pulpito a la Parilla was good, the Anticuchos were disappointing with the corazon, beef hearts over cooked and only one skewer for 12 dollars. The portion of cebiche was smaller than at La Mar. The prices are less than La Mar and the food is the same quality is a more neighborhood setting.

Oct 21, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

SF in January

I would skip Zuni unless you want to go there for a specific reason like the chicken or the history. Also skip RN-74, nothing exceptional there.

If you want American and specifically Californian then Verbena is a good option, AQ is an other option that serves more refined dishes. Boulevard is very American take on French but you can get that in Sweden. Go to State Bird Provisions if you can get in, do walk-in if you can't get a reservation. Luce is very average. 1601 Bar & Kitchen is very loosely inspired by Sri Lankan cuisine but it is that happy mix up of cuisines that is so common in California.

You mention you are from Sweden so I'll give the suggestions I give to my Swedish friends and what I miss when I am there. One think I can't find a lot of in Sweden even in Malmo and Stockholm are Latin American and South American dishes. I would encourage you to do a crawl in the Mission of various Latin American cuisines trying pupusas, empanadas, cevbiches. There is more than just Mexican here.

Not sure how much Thai you want to do since there is quite a lot of it in Sweden compared to other Asian cuisines there. Kin Khao is a very unique more upscale take on it and the rabbit is excellent. Slanted Door isn't really Vietnamese.

Oct 17, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Your favorite thing at Tommy's Joynt? [San Francisco]

corned beef.

Oct 17, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Affordable, vegan friendly restaurants in SF or East Bay area?

Rangoon Super Stars in Oakland is also very good at making dishes vegan if you want. I can't recommend Souley Vegan personally although I have vegan friends who love it. I find the food rather than bland and lacking in soul.

Oct 15, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

TBD has gone way downhill [San Francisco]

I've found both AQ and TBD have lost the consistency that I've enjoyed since they both opened. The service has been a bit off at both for me in the last few months and TBD seems to still be working a developing a menu of fully realized dishes.

Oct 15, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Tommy's Joynt [San Francisco]

Tommy's is best for a meat on a plate and a beer than the sandwiches. For the portion size, the quickness and the lack of hipsterness it's so worth it. Definitively not for folks that need vegetarian food or who don't like greasy spoon places.

Oct 15, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Feedback on New SF app - Go Dish

so you are looking for people to be your product testers for free and posting here for free advertising. lovely. So let's see the gimmick you are using to sell this to restaurants in that you will get butts in seats when there are lulls of course it will be at the cost of a discount on the food and the lure for the eaters is that if they go at off times is they will get a discount. Oh and you will make things look pretty.

The only problem with this is that restaurants base operating costs on how many covers they anticipate serving and that SF Bay is filled with diners that what they want, when they want it. So you are likely to get restaurants that failing and the money that come in wouldn't be enough to cover operating at a discount. Even with letting the restaurants set the price it still is a long term viable model. But yeah maybe someone will buy you before they figure that out. Good luck.

Oct 13, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

How often do you get a bad meal in the SF area?

Eating dinner in the FiDi every week I agree with the Dive, the level of food seems so much lower because they know the average business diner just wouldn't care. Credo is so very meh. Sens is good during the private parties but not at other times in my experience.

Oct 10, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Table of 12 Needed (Casual & Good) in SF

check out Lolinda then for sure.

Oct 08, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

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

Thanks for the info! That sounds like an interesting version.

I've never had an issue getting a table at Frances by reservation or walk-in. They only put some of their reservations on Opentable usually the 5:30 and 9pm and if you call you can often get same day or next day reservations.

Oct 07, 2014
tjinsf in San Francisco Bay Area