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NEW: Chino in the Mission, SF - Menu has XLB & open daily until 1AM, any reports yet?

On a Friday night, they got really crowded by 9, but we got seated immediately at 8. There were some misses, but I liked the meal enough to return again. They do take out for everything but the XLB.

Yuba salad : yuba, from Hodo Soy, was oddly leathery

Chicken wings: delicious--- crunchy, sweet, sour, salty, and spicy.

XLB (xiao long bao) : broth was right, but the meat was a bit underdone and the inside of the skin was gluey-- these were just like the ones from the dumpling chef's previous stint at short lived Shanghai in the Castro. But you won't find better XLB within a three mile radius so the 6 for $10 will make due.

Korean rice cakes : the texture was off this time. Last time, there was a thin crunch, followed by a taffy-like chew. This time, the entire peanut shaped rice cakes had a waxy, microwaved pizza kind of feel

Wok roasted cauliflower : excellent. With chilies and lime, they hit some of the same spicy and acidic notes as Pizzeria Delfina's more Italian-style spicy cauliflower

Lamb noodles : I liked these this soup-less dish a lot. The spicing on the braised lamb was light enough to complement the strands of meat, but not so assertive as to compete with the meat's flavor. It's served on top of chewy noodles (presumably machine made off site).

about 7 hours ago
hyperbowler in San Francisco Bay Area

Posole - SFBA Dish of the Month April 2014

The birria had deep, roasty flavors from the chilies. The soup, while not gritty, was thick from the ground chilies too.

about 8 hours ago
hyperbowler in San Francisco Bay Area

Regional Chinese roundup 2.0

Forgot to include:
Muslim Eastern House (Muslim Chinese, Fremont)

Closed:
Shanghai Winter Garden (Shanghainese, Millbrae) closed since 2013 (oops)
Mandarin Gourmet (Sichuan, Palo Alto) closed

And onto trends...

Shaanxi restaurants doubled in 2014
Sichuan restaurants had a net increase of about 20% in 2014, even more if you count Hunan places, which themselves almost doubled

The bad news is that Shanghai restaurants are on the decline. In 2012, there was one net opening. In 2013, there were as many Shanghainese openings and closings (net of 0). In 2014, there was a net of 4 (maybe 5) fewer Shanghainese places (~13% decrease):

Joy Palace (Taiwanese, Cupertino) replaces Shanghai Dim Sum (Cupertino) -1

Golden Swallow (Chinese American?) replaces Panda Dumpling (Shanghai, Redwood City) -1

Happy Sichuan Restaurant (Sichuan, Millbrae) replaces Shanghai Bistro -1

"I-Formosa", presumably Taiwanese) replaces Top Noodle (Milpitas, Shanghainese) -1

Melin House (Shanghai, Milpitas) replaces Shanghai Restaurant +0

Ruby KC House (Milpitas, cuisine style unknown) replaces Liou's House (Shanghai)

about 9 hours ago
hyperbowler in San Francisco Bay Area

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

Yeah, we seem to have a good sense of what is becoming more popular but I would love to see an analysis of what types of restaurants are disappearing. In the Chinese sphere, 2014 netted nine new Sichuan restaurants and lost four or five Shanghainese.

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

Slow loading has never been an issue for me, so thank you for allowing us to keep the option to "See all"!

Regional Chinese roundup 2.0

New openings and closings:
Joy Palace (Taiwanese, Cupertino) replaced Shanghai Dim Sum (Cupertino)
JX Cuisine (Sichuan, Santa Clara) replaced a pizza place
Michelle's Pancake House (Dongbei, Cupertino) has closed
Taiwan Restaurant (Berkeley) is up for lease

Ruby KC House (cuisine style unknown, Milpitas) replaced Liou's House
"I-Formosa", presumably Taiwanese) will soon replace Top Noodle ( Milpitas)
Spicy Queen (Sichuan (same owner as Pot Sticker), Inner Richmond) will soon replace Little Sweet Cafe

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

Bourgeois banality in Rockridge? Thank goodness they have a Barney Burger, Crepevine, and a Pasta Pomodoro to keep things real.

Lers Ros Thai for vegetarians? [SF]

Pleasing meal on the whole. We ordered everything with a three out of four spice level:

Tom Yum Pak Soup was as sour and
spicy as promised, with plenty of oyster mushrooms to give the dish an umami boost.

Tofu larb salad : this feels naked without meat, but the tofu does act as a nice buffer between the sharp onions and the lime dressing.

Green curry was not overpowered with coconut milk, but the spicing was still too mellow and they were not generous with the Thai eggplant.

Lers Ros Thai for vegetarians? [SF]

Thanks! I'm lookin for dishes to share with vegetarians. I'll check out your link!

Lers Ros Thai for vegetarians? [SF]

Bump.

Windy had a few comments on vegetarian dishes: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7953...

Anything else? I eat meat, so am looking more for something that's good on its own than a dumbed down meat dish. I'm eating dinner tonight at the Mission location:
http://www.lersros.com/sixteenvegetar...

2014 Top Ten Tastes

Two East Bay dishes almost made it into my top 10:

Sev Puri @ Juhu Beach Club
Cheese slice, pancetta, ricotta, and calabrian pepper slice @ Slicer Pizzeria http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9173...

Cozy & quiet near(ish) 7th and Brannan SF [San Francisco]

Dinosaurs has a new location at 18 Boardman Place. I've not been to this location, but they make good banh mi at the Castro location.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dinosa...

Posole - SFBA Dish of the Month April 2014

Thanks for the tip! Did you get the large or the small?

Unlike oniontears's posole, our order of the small posole came with soft tortillas (rather than tostadas) and no cabbage. The generous portion of pork was tender, with a custardy layer of fat. Fantastic. I made tacos using the meat and pickled onions from the salsa bar.

The small posole and the small birria was too much food for two people--- the birria was spicier, thicker, and had even more meat than the posole.

Are Korean Traditional red bean pastry ok to bring back to the states?

We had no problem bringing Gyeongju Bread (barley bread filled with red bean paste) and pancakes filled with red bean paste through US customs. Just be aware that the good stuff doesn't have a long shelf life... it molded after less than a week.

2014 Top Ten Tastes

Thanks for getting this going-- there's already lots posted that I want to try in 2015! These were new to me in 2014:

Breakfast sandwich @ Thistle Meats :
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9892...

Cheese pupusa @ La Palma : Even better than the revueltas I wrote about here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9877...

Roast beef, spicy buttermilk slaw, BBQ sauce, crispy shallots, arugula, russian dressing @ Pal's Takeaway

Sourdough, sauerkraut, pecorino & ricotta pancake @ State Bird Provisions

Pelmeni @ Katia's
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/973596

Achiote flavored rice porridge with boquerones, pea greens, pork belly, quail eggs, and smoked pork @ Prubechu :
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9631...

Lobster bomba @ AQ

Deep Fried Taro Ball and Spare Ribs or the Crispy Fried Eggplant or Pickled Ginger Salad @ Jai Yun :
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9745...

Chinese bacon with preserved mustard greens @ Hakka restaurant

Xiao long bao @ Shanghai Dumpling (Cupertino):
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9235...

Shandong House rebrands itself as Xi'an Gourmet [San Francisco]

Are they on vacation? Lights were off as I drove by last night and they aren't picking up the phone today

Cake recommendations?

Bump. Other ideas?

Yasukochi's Sweet Stop does a 50 person sheet cake for $105, and a 100 person sheet cake for $213
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/31912

I forgot the quote I got from Stella Bakery for their Sacrapantina cake, but it came to over a dollar per slice more than the $4.50 a slice they charge at the shop!

Chowdown Report: Penang Garden (San Francisco Chinatown)

The taste of the sauce was totally different from the recipe I've made a few times (I can't speak to its authenticity) and the one I ate at Jumbo in Singapore. The preparation also didn't contain beaten eggs as far as I could tell.

Apparently Tyler Florence thought this was one of the best things he ever ate: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9059...

Chowdown Report: Penang Garden (San Francisco Chinatown)

A few years back, I led my friends into a disastrous meal at Singapore-Malaysian Restaurant in the Richmond. For the next few months, I got banned from choosing restaurants. Our meal at Penang Garden wasn't quite as bad, but I trust Chowhounds are a more forgiving bunch :-)

= Dishes I liked =

Hokkien mee : it's hard not to sell me on the combination of chewy egg noodles and a dark soy sauce. My first portion tasted like shrimp chips (Melanie suggested they might have used shrimp powder). The seafood-ish flavor was more subtle on my second portion.

Roti canai w/ curry sauce : very good. the pieces I got were made from two thin sheets pressed together with no layers in between. The version at Ipoh garden in Millbrae isn't browned as much, but has layers sandwiched in between.

Belachan kang kung (water spinach, ong choy) : the shrimp paste chili mixture was mild enough for my liking, and the kang kung crisp

= Okay =

Curry laksa (seafood) : The heat level and spicing were better than at Chili Padi or Shiok, and the coconut milk wasn't too rich or overpowering, but the underlying broth wasn't potent enough to elevate the dish.

= Meh =

Penang Asam laksa : the first slurps were sweet, but once I ate the pineapple chunk and mixed it up some more, it turned into a sour and fishy soup. Rice noodles were overcooked. Not sure if it's Asam Laksa in general or their preparation I dislike.

#68 Chile crab with fried buns : The sour and spicy sauce was not too sweet, and had more going for it than just ketchup and/or sweet chile sauce. The crab body was fine, but the legs were dry and stringy. [the server dissuaded us from ordering black pepper crab, which is not on menu. The dish is supposed to use butter AFAIK, and I was happy to take her advice since they use I Believe It's Butter for the roti]

= Less than meh =
-Oyster omelette -- no oysters in my piece, eggs had an overcooked flavor

-Roti murtabak w/ curry sauce : tasted of low quality ground beef and onions with no spicing in my portion

-Thai style salty pork leg : tough, as if it had been repeatedly frozen and deep fried

-Hainan chicken rice : the yellow rice was dry and had no chicken flavor. Good chicken though.

Drinks: lychee juice was from a can and too sweet

Private room for 15 people (San Francisco)

20th Century does private, 4 course dinners and also multi-course meals with wine pairings for up to 26 people. I'm sure it would be incredible, but typical meals were out of our price range.

Chowdown Report: Penang Garden (San Francisco Chinatown)

Singapore chain Crystal Jade and Singaporean/Malaysian Chili Padi opened in November, and prompted me to organize a Chowdown to see what standby Penang Garden was capable of. It's been around since 2004 and has a menu containing Malaysian, Singaporean, and Thai dishes. We ate:

Roti canai w/ curry sauce
Roti murtabak w/ curry sauce

Hainan chicken rice

#68 Chile crab with fried buns
Rendang beef

Curry laksa (seafood)
Penang Asam laksa

Hokkien mee (fried noodles)

Belachan kang kung (water spinach, ong choy)

= From the menu written in Chinese =
Thai style salty pork leg
Chinese yam (dioscorea opposita; nagaimo) and mixed mushrooms
Oyster omelette

= Dessert =
Durian pancake
Coconut pudding

I'll jump in with comments after others weigh in.

Update on Moderation - An Inquiry

There seems to be some locked threads on the "Site talk" board. Where else is this happening?

Dec 09, 2014
hyperbowler in Site Talk

Non-standard variations of Xiao Long Bao

Huh, I didn't realize that history. Very interesting. Those Georgian pictures look incredible, btw.

They've not yet crossed my path yet, but they might soon---Baltica, in San Mateo, announced the intention to bring 'khinkali' to their menu a few months ago. I don't know if that ever materialized.

Baltica: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/989724 https://www.facebook.com/mybaltica

Non-standard variations of Xiao Long Bao

LOL, your description of Paradise Dynasty's XLB in Kuala Lumpur made me think the bamboom steamer would taste better than 7/8 of their novelty XLB :-)

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/910932

Non-standard variations of Xiao Long Bao

Tai Wu in Millbrae has a Tom Yum XLB: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/998306

Chowdown Report: Tai Wu (Millbrae)

Last Saturday I joined three hounds at Tai Wu in Millbrae for dim sum. I'd like to explore more of the menu, but overall, this was a solid meal and would be a good recommendation for dim sum newbies or veterans. Note that Tai Wu has parking in a few scattered lots (e.g., near the Burger King... there's a map outside their front door). There is also parking on the street (1 or 2 hour zones)

The server told us the third floor is where you can get the best cart offerings, so we head up there. The carts offerings were diverse, but we had to snag a written menu at the entrance to order the more exciting or non-traditional stuff. Including tax & tip, the bill was $25 per person and most dishes contained three pieces (we had them cut many of them to serve the four of us).

From the menus:
002 Shiu Mai (half spicy, half savory) : the reddish spicy ones contained shrimp and gave off a lovely whiff of Sichuan peppercorns. The "savory' ones were fine, but I'd ask for 100% spicy next time.

023 Tom yum gong Shanghai Dumpling (Tom Yum Xiao Long Bao) : these are served flattened in a metal foil cup and are impossible to lift out. They're small, so I sucked up mine as if I were eating an oyster. I liked how the meatball and sour soup took on the role of the typical XLB + vinegar combination. It's neither as good as a regular XLB nor a good bowl of tom yum soup, but it's a fun tweak that that I would like to see improved upon.

030 Japanese style turnip cake (turnip cake with wasabi) : turnip cakes are often pasty bland vehicles for soy sauce. These had a lot of flavor courtesy of the super crisp outsides. The wasabi sauce was a natural compliment to the turnip cakes.

057 Baked durian puff : oddly enough, it wasn't the filling but the pastry itself that I felt had too strong a flavor to balance things out

From the carts:
006 Shrimp dumpling (ha gow) : big chunks of shrimp
020 Zhongshan dumpling (pork & mushroom)

017 Chiu chow dumpling (pork & peanut) : held its structure and had fresh tasting ingredients

032 Deep fried taro dumpling : the layer of wispy bits was thin, but the overall dumpling was still crunchy and delicious

105 Roasted suckling pig : delicious meat with crisp and flavorful skin. Came with a sauce similar to a thin Hoisin.

Pan fried noodle with savory sauce sauce (XO?) : noodles were a little overcooked

Shrimp rice noodle roll (cheong fun) : others seemed to like these, but my piece of shrimp had a metallic taste

Non-standard variations of Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao Kitchen in South San Francisco has a ridiculously sized "XL XLB" : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6788...

Xiao Long Bao Kitchen [South San Francisco]

They have, to my knowledge, the only extra large XLB in the bay area. This isn't the mammoth tang bao they sell in Shanghai to be sipped up with a straw ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9022... ), but it piqued my curiosity and only costs $3.50.

The beast requires a 20 minute wait according to the menu, and is steamed on top of a ceramic dish to prevent leaking through the bamboo steamer. The first few spoonfuls of soup and the top of the meatball were fatty and were comparable in flavor to some of the better Bay Area XLB places. But as I got to the bottom of the wrapper, the soup turned into a cloudy paste that lacquered the bottom of the meatball. The sides of the skin were fine, but the top crimps and the bottoms of the XL XLB don't belong in anyone's digestive system.

Best Sichuan

In terms of "authentic," what dishes, techniques, or regional variations (e.g., Chengdu vs. Chongqing) in particular have you not found satisfying, and what are you looking for?

Lots of opinions on this thread, but there's no consensus:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/906890

This thread aims to have a comprehensive list of Bay Area Sichuan (and other regional Chinese) restaurants:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/990749

Mushroom dishes at La Casita Chilanga

They're both good, but the Middlefield location has been better in my experience. Last month, I had such a bold, juicy, and smokey (in a natural way) Tesorita Torta that I cranked open the lid for this picture. Beautifully charred meat.

As of two years ago, the El Camino Location sourced their Tesorita from El Paisano Carniceria y Mercado (on Middlefield). I've no idea whether the Middlefield location, currently, or historically did the same.