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Beans n' Bites: Bolivian & Chinese in Palo Alto

They have a few fusion sandwiches that take Chinese ingredients (eg. dan Dan, ja jiang) and apply them, kind of Banh mi style, to bread. The ja jiang sandwich was made with toasted bread, a heavy helping of mayo, some pickled vegetables, a fried egg, and lettuce to separate the ja jiang meat from the bun.

The sandwich shows potential, and I'll return for a dan dan sandwich, but the construction doesn't work. They use a sandwich roll that's comparable to what you'd find at a good Italian deli, and it's sliced horizontally. That would be sufficient to house layers of sliced meat, but would be too firm for even a wet sloppy joe mixture. Here, the granular fried bits of pork in the ja jiang "sauce" slip right out. That makes sense given their original function on soft wet noodles. A vertically sliced sandwich, like in a meatball banh mi, would hold the sauce better but you'd lose out in bread quality.

The spicy Shanghai soup didn't match the red colored photograph on their menu, but the more brownish colored soup I received was a little spicy and good.The noodles, which they boil in a 4 quart pot, came out perfectly chewy, and softened up as my meal progressed. The chunks of potato held together and the combination of bamboo shoots and pressed tofu, presumably what makes this shanghai style, gave the soup a hearty feel.

chowdown at Ancient Szechuan in El Cerrito 1/25/15

Thanks for Ridge for organizing, and to Jefferson for tipping us that they've expanded the menu.

Ancient Szechuan's menu, in full color and with lots of useful photos, can be clicked through their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/ancientszech...

We didn't get any, but there were some specials listed at the front of the restaurant.

The lotus roots, the sesame bread, the lemon fungus salad, Chuan style cold noodle, pork belly in spicy garlic sauce, and village style pork are dishes I'd gladly return to:

4 Steamed love dish filet (two color flatfish slices) : I liked the fish, but the red chilies reminded me too much of jarred garlic chili sauce (tm above says it reminded of laoganma, but I've never had that), and the green sauce lacked the vibrancy of Hunan pickled chilies.

5 Village style sauteed pork : tasty mix of salty pork, chilies, and celery

6 Hing Lady Style Chicken Gizzard : good-- the gizzard had the same texture as kidney

8 Fresh chili and soy bean (black bean shark tiger-skin-pepper) : the black beans added salt and umami, but didn't help me enjoy the flaccid peppers

9 Black fungus lemon salad : the more typical pairing of black vinegar, garlic, with wood ear mushrooms was replaced here with a mixture of lime (not lemon) and wood ears. Good selection of wood ears-- more intact cup-shaped ones than are typical. It complemented the meatier, spicier dishes-- there was no other citrus in the meal, except maybe hints in the noodles' sichuan peppercorns. It would probably pair nicely with the braised pork shoulder.

12 Chuan style cold noodle -- Sichuan pepper, either in powder or infused oil form, flavored the noodles, which lay on top of cucumber slivers. I'd take this simple dish any day over most versions of dan dan or sesame noodles.

14 Spicy shredded potatoes -- it seems like others at the table didn't like these, but the crunch and acidity worked for me.

Sautéed lotus root : satisfying crunch. Chilies provided their roasty flavor more than their heat, and fermented black beans added umami and salt. There's a similar dish at Terra Cotta Warrior in SF that I'd recommend too.

From the regular menu:

West Style Spicy Fish Fillet : fish wasn't as tender as I've had before at Ancient Szechuan (or China Village), and as tm mentioned, the charred flavor or peppers wasn't noticeable

Tan Tan Noodle : Yuk. Overloaded with black sesame paste. No preserved vegetables or Sichuan peppercorn flavor, despite my request to the server.

Sesame flatbread : maybe somewhere in the South Bay I haven't tried is as good, but I've not had as good a version elsewhere in the Bay Area. And they're consistent too in maxing out the sesame flavor in the crust, keeping the inside light, and the crust crunchy.

about 4 hours ago
hyperbowler in San Francisco Bay Area

SFBA Dish of the Month (Feb 2015) - Nominations/Voting

about 5 hours ago
hyperbowler in San Francisco Bay Area

Crab cakes SFBA Dish of the Month Feb 2015

Join us by eating the Feb, 2015 dish of the month--- crab cakes.

Try crab cakes at places you've not eaten it before, and report back, with pictures if possible. If you can find out, let us know what type of crab they use and if the crabcake is sautéed, baked, grilled, or broiled.

Voting thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1003360

about 5 hours ago
hyperbowler in San Francisco Bay Area

SFBA Dish of the Month (Feb 2015) - Nominations/Voting

Crab cakes is the Feb 2015 DOTM!

about 14 hours ago
hyperbowler in San Francisco Bay Area

SFBA Dish of the Month (Feb 2015) - Nominations/Voting

Wow, the first tie in DOTM history! Voting continues until midnight... If it's still tied then, I'll choose.

SFBA Dish of the Month (Feb 2015) - Nominations/Voting

Not everything's in upper-case, so to recap (no pun intended), the nominated items above are:

oyakodon (chicken, egg, sliced scallion donburi)
crab cakes
fried squid
eggplant with spicy garlic sauce (Sichuan dish)
nasu dengaku (miso glazed eggplant)
spanokopita and related pastries
veggie lasagna
dry fried green beans
teochew noodle soup

Remember, you can change your vote at any time until Jan 31st at noon!

Best dishes at SF Legacy Restaurants

The SF Legacy list, which lists San Francisco restaurants and bars around for at least 40 years http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/905397 , has tons of places more notable for their age than their food.

SF Eater compiled a list of what they consider the 25 most iconic "classic dishes" of SF, some not as old as the Legacy list, and you can use that to separate some of the wheat from the chaff.


What other specific dishes are worth seeking out at 40+ year old restaurants (change in ownership or not)? I'm a relative newcomer to the area, but some tips I've followed up on and enjoyed:

Art's Cafe (Bulgogi Hash Brown Sandwich) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922014

Boudin's dark bake (available at Geary & 10th by special order, or at Tadich Grill, Swan's Oyster Depot, Scoma's, and in a slightly lighter baguette form at Calabria Brothers http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1002... )

Dianda’s Italian American Pastry : "chocolate mushroom"

Joe's Ice Cream : Joe's Its (higher quality proxy for It's Its)

La Palma Mexicatessen : hand-made tortillas, gorditas, huaraches, etc. from fresh masa (bagged tortillas use fresh masa that's been machine pressed, but still awesome)

Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Café : eggplant or meatball sandwich

Mee Mee Bakery : fortune cookies (samples at Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory's are always so overcooked I've never bought a bag)

New Woey Loy Goey : Cantonese Fried chicken and other delights http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/909754

Stella Bakery : sacripantina cake

Yasukochi's Sweet Stop : coffee, lemon, and chocolate crunch cake http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/31912

Any new places in the Castro district? [San Francisco]

Did you try anything new out?

I liked the corn and mushroom dumplings (Mandu) at Slurp--- I can think of few other vegetarian dumplings in SF that I like as much. Ramen was okay. I'd prefer Namu Gaji or Mama Ji's, but the food came out quickly, is inexpensive, and they're open till 10, which makes them ideal for eating right after a movie at the Castro.

SFBA Dish of the Month (Feb 2015) - Nominations/Voting


SFBA Dish of the Month (Feb 2015) - Nominations/Voting

Dish of the Month is an activity where we collectively try as many versions of a dish as possible, reporting back with details and photos. Now is your opportunity to vote on or nominate the February dish. Feel free to include a sales pitch with any nominations!

It would be nice to see a vegetable-focused dish (french fries are vegetables the same way ketchup is). Any suggestions?

Click the recommend button to vote for existing nominees. You can change your mind up until the deadline. You can also nominate a new dish by replying to this message, in UPPER CASE, with its name.

Voting ends Saturday, January 31st at noon.

Previous DOTMs:
Roti canai / roti prata : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1000724
French Fries: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/997397
Pho Ga: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/994015
Hash : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/990806
Pupusas: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/987729
Okononiyaki: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/984395
Biscuits and Gravy: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/980976
Falafel : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/977511
Zongzi aka Chinese tamales: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/974172
Posole : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/970865
Fish Tacos : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/967140
Croissants : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/962041
Shrimp and grits : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/929654
Jook : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/926197
Mapo doufu: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922472
Pie: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/918844
Hamburgers: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/915164
Southeast Asian Fish in Banana Leaf: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/911479
Hummus: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/907615
Breakfast Sandwiches: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/903924
Banh Xeo: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/900476
Wonton Noodle Soup: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896524
Corned Beef: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892399
Chilaquiles: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888740
Dan Dan Mian: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/884466
Tamales: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/880136
Burmese Tea Leaf Salad: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/875767
Whole Chicken Stuffed w/ Sticky Rice: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/871657
Cucumber Pickles: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/866098
Channa Bhatura: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/861176
Asian Fried Chicken: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/856748

Roti canai / roti prata SFBA Dish of the Month January 2015

Ranch 99 has frozen "roti Paratha" in two flavors--- a banana and a cumin

The directions aren't in English, but I think I did the best possible job cooking them. Very meh, but I've had worse at restaurants. Crunchy outsides, greasy layers you can peel apart on the inside. I cooked two and I'm keeping the rest around for unwelcome guests.

Roti canai / roti prata SFBA Dish of the Month January 2015

Are you asking about Burmese restaurants or in general? If the latter, banana island makes theirs from scratch. It is sometimes difficult to get a straight answer from servers – – I had a terrible roti at a Thai restaurant on the peninsula that I was told was freshly made, but The greasy perfectly round disc was clearly just heated up in the kitchen.

How are frozen ones sold? Do they sell sheets of rolled out dough, kind of like phyllo dough, or are they only sold preformed?

Regional Chinese roundup 2.0

Shanghai Kitchen (Shanghai, Milpitas) is the place currently at 1708 N. Milpitas.

There's also a listing for "The Top Hot Inc." at that address, and the CFO is involved in the two Chef Zhao restaurants. I'll keep an internet eye out for details of that restaurant as none other exist:


US geography game : Bay Area restaurant edition

California: Tommy's Joynt (not that there's anything particularly California on the menu, but as far as I'm aware, this style of Hofbrau is as anomalous elsewhere in the US as North East Greek Diners are in CA)

Shandong Pan Fried dumplings

Yeah, it's a different dough.

Shan Dong Restaurant makes very good potstickers, presumably the same type of unleavened dough they use for the boiled dumplings. Their (leavened) steamed bun dough, which they use for those gigantic buns, tastes like steam bun dough recipes that use all-purpose flour. Given how large Shan Dong's buns are, I don't know if they'd be very good pan-fried.

According to this article, Happy Dumplings' uses a Korean type of low-gluten flour (and feel leavened):

Shandong Pan Fried dumplings

Thanks--- I found lots of matching photos and even a recipe online from that description!

Happy dumpling might be the only game in town--- I looked at some local Shandong restaurant menus and none list an item by that name. Something close might be at Guan Dong House. They list something that would be translated as "Guan Dong water pan-fried buns" and pics on y*lp show a more oval shaped bottom than the Sheng Jian bao everyone else makes.

Regional Chinese roundup 2.0


So, Shanghai Delight moved from 218 Barber Ct. to 686 Barber Ln?

Spices Fremont is easy to miss in the original post. It's under Sichuan/Taiwanese.

This is meant to be a comprehensive list of restaurants whose food, not just the name, is identified with a specific region of China. Cantonese and Chinese American as a whole are left out because they're the default in the Bay Area and there are way to many to track. We're also leaving out dessert shops, stands, etc. unless they're pretty unique.

Shandong Pan Fried dumplings

Happy Dumplings' food stand can be found at the Stonestown and Diablo Walnut Creek farmer's markets and at Fort Mason Off the Grid. They sell a few varieties of Shandong Pan Fried Dumplings including pork and cabbage, chicken and cilantro, and a vegetarian. The skins rise and get browned in the pan and the dough is less bready than a bao zi and less slick than a potsticker. Compared to a Shanghai pan-fried bun/dumpling (Sheng Jian Bao), the insides have vegetable matter and the outsides are browned but not burned.

I was really, er, happy with the ones I got at Stonestown. Do any of the brick and mortar Shandong restaurants make these, and if so, what do they call them? Happy dumplings lists them as jian bao (煎包).


Longer review:

They used to sell them at a restaurant in the Tenderloin:

US geography game : Bay Area restaurant edition

Hawaii : Aina (Bernal Heights, SF popup, https://www.facebook.com/aina903 )

Roti canai / roti prata SFBA Dish of the Month January 2015

I've got a cold and can't taste a damn thing, so I sought spectacle and crunch at Banana Island for my first roti canai this month.

Banana Island in Daly City has an open kitchen in the center of the restaurant and you can see the roti canai making process from dough stretching to plating. The roti canai maker first moistens his hands with ghee, and spreads a rectangle of dough across the granite countertop. He picks it up, twirls it around to stretch the dough, and then places a now giant rectangle on the countertop to deflate. After disposing of loose dough on the corners, he folds the edges partly in, as if making an envelope, and creates a mix of single and double layered dough. Someone transfers the dough to the grill, where it stretches from the front to the back, and sits beside one or two other roti canai. Giant air bubbles get tamped down and it gets flipped after a few minutes. He's not putting on a show, but this is as fun to watch as the making of hand-pulled noodles or, to a lesser extent, pizza tossing.

They're very busy making roti at dinner time--- 45 minutes went by without a roti being on the grill. There's the plain roti canai, roti telur (roti w/ egg), and roti kaya, a dessert roti that has a layer of kaya (coconut, pandan, and egg jam) cooked into the center and which is topped with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.

The roti canai I got was magnificent. Despite the liberal use of ghee, it was greaseless. The double layered sections were chewy, and at no point bready. The unfolded, single layered, sections of the roti canai were crisp and translucent, in some parts transparent.

Everyone there knew to get the roti canai, but there's lots of Thai fool's gold on the menu. It's best to ask your server, or manager, what Malaysian/Singaporean specialties they do best.

Taking advantage of an airmiles/dining rewards offer to spend $30 at qualifying SF restaurant in exchange for 2K United miles. Which are worth visiting?

I've had good meals in the past six months at El Metate and La Urbana, and, at some point earlier, Saha and Memphis Minnie's BBQ Joint. You'll need a group to spend >$30 at El Metate and MM.

The Pig and Whistle has trivia nights, so you can treat some friends to a round or two for $30.

I've been wanting to hear (more) reports about Minas Gerais, Hoffmann's Grill, Gilberth's Rotisserie http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/847208.

US geography game : Bay Area restaurant edition

Yes! And by using a specific town name, that still leaves open opportunities for someone to claim NY, "upstate NY", Buffalo, NYC, the northeast, etc.

US geography game : Bay Area restaurant edition

There are plenty of SF Bay Area threads devoted to locating a restaurant that's associated with somewhere else in the U.S. I'm curious what in total we have at our fingertips.

So, it's culinary road-trip time! Name a Bay Area restaurant whose menu or schtick (not necessarily its name) is associated with a location in the US.

You only get a point for adding a new geographical location to the thread. To prevent Tony's Pizza, with their dozen plus regional styles of pizza from dominating the thread, let's limit ourselves to one geographical location per restaurant.

And no fighting in the back seat- I'm not really keeping score :-) I'll start:

Pittsburgh, PA: Giordano Brothers (Mission, SF)

Regional Chinese roundup 2.0

Another Shanghai restaurant bites the dust:

Shanghai Ding Sheng Restaurant (Milpitas) closed

Chef Zhao Bistro [San Mateo]

Chef Zhao recently opened a second location in San Mateo. Permanent menus will come soon, but I ordered from what might have been an old menu from their Mountain View location ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/881994 ). There are lots of photographs on the menu, and it looks to be curated towards Sichuan dishes.

Sichuan green beans : awesome. crisp, wrinkled and potently flavored with garlic and a generous dose of ya cai (http://www.fuchsiadunlop.com/sichuane... )

Spicy beef with soft tofu (something like that...) : on its own, the beef struck me as over tenderized, but its soft texture works here as a middle ground between the crunchy chile flakes, Sichuan peppercorns, and deep fried soybeans on top and the soft tofu below. They don't hold back on the numbing spice from the red Sichuan peppercorns.

The chef (owner?) is from Chengdu and he came out of the kitchen to ask how the customers liked everything. I took that as an opportunity to ask him some questions about Sichuan peppercorns. With the help of the woman who works the front of the house, he explained that he uses red Sichuan peppercorns (花椒, Hua jiao, "flower peppers") for their numbing power in fiery hot dishes flooded with chili oil, and that he uses green Sichuan peppercorns (藤椒, Teng jiao, "Vine peppers") in dishes that emphasize light and fresh flavors. He whipped up a sauce using green Sichuan peppercorns and scallions so I could appreciate this distinction on some tofu from the above dish. Next time, I'm going to order a cold dish pictured on the menu consisting of poached chicken and a green Sichuan peppercorn sauce.

Closed Tuesdays, takes credit. Mostly square tables, but there's one round table big enough for a party of ~10.

Chef Zhao Bistro (in the former Jade Garden space)
2450 S El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94403
(650) 345-6288

Regional Chinese roundup 2.0

New or newish
Shanghai Kitchen (Shanghai, Milpitas) replaces Melin House (Shanghai)
Tai Kee Won Ton (Taiwanese, San Jose) http://taikeewonton.com/
Chez Zhao Bistro (Sichuan, San Mateo) replaces (Cantonese) Jade Dragon

Forgot to include:
Dragon 2000 (Shanghai, Sichuan; Walnut Creek)

Bay Area Burmese Restaurant Roundup 2.0

Burma Love's menu is online:


Bay Area Burmese Restaurant Roundup 2.0

60 Corte Madera Ave
Corte Madera, CA 94925
(415) 945-9096


Centouno - Oakland JLS

Between that and Plank, there should be lots of space up for rent next year... ;-)