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SF: What's Left to Do?

Firefly is a good neighborhood Cal-cuisine place, but it's not so unique that you should prioritize it now.

Yes on smugglers cove of you're into rum.

I'd target toast at the Mill, Saigon Sandwich, La Palma, 20th century cafe. With a car and an appetite, you can do that all as a breakfast and lunch.

Jai Yun if you have someone to go with.

about 22 hours ago
hyperbowler in San Francisco Bay Area

Washington Cafe now Hunan House, and featuring hotpot [Chinatown, San Francisco]

That all adds up – Mr. Kuong is who I spoke to today (he was working the front of the house) and he confirmed that he also owns grand hot pot lounge. He was a good person to talk to and one of the few people to give a thoughtful answer to the question, "what do you guys do that other places don't? "

Ha, their take-out menu gets the translation right "frogs with explosive chili peppers", right under a dish involving sautéed milk that might be interesting.

about 24 hours ago
hyperbowler in San Francisco Bay Area

Washington Cafe now Hunan House, and featuring hotpot [Chinatown, San Francisco]

Following up on soupçon's detective work, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9860... , I had a meal at Hunan House. The Cantonese owner has been in the restaurant business for decades and used to be affiliated with the Pot Sticker group, but they no longer are related. Regarding the changing face of Chinatown, he mentioned that Chinatown rents make it difficult to sustain a low priced Cantonese place anymore, and its tough to balance the food/price needs of tourists (including mainland Chinese), locals, and new immigrants.

I got two dishes he said would be difficult to find elsewhere and he cooked them himself. The Jalapeño pork neck meat was delicious. Nice char and flavor from the wok, great texture in the meat--- it has a cushiony fatty crisp thing going for it, so it's kind of a mix between sautéed guanciale and a tender stir-fried pork. There's also some pressed bean curd.

I also got pickled peppers calamari, and the pickles included big chunks of pickled mustard stem, mustard greens, and red & green chilies. The calamari could have been more tender, but the pickles were tasty and the giant pieces of stir-fried jalapeño allowed me to amp up the heat when I wanted to (rarely).

The menu, including the takeout menu, has a photograph next to each item so ordering is pretty easy. They must be done by the same company that did the Pot Sticker menu--- same overall layout and many identical pictures.

BTW, I stopped by the Pot Sticker, or whatever its new Hunan name was. It's still closed and has been for over a month.

Wonderful --- a Hunan restaurant in Millbrae

This is part of a Beijing chain of 15 restaurants. That explains why the Chinese writing above the entrance mentions lots of dishes that Wonderful doesn't have. The owner's mother is from Hunan province. If you read the y*lp reviews of the place, the owner is confrontational with online whiners, but he approached me as a cool guy who takes his restaurant and cuisine seriously, and is happy to chat about their food.

Rou jia mo ("chinese hamburger") : larger and more biscuity than the hockey pucks at the local Shaanxi places. Pork filling isn't ground pork, but instead has lots of delicious fatty pork bits. After chatting with the owner for a while, he gave me a spicy side condiment for this containing some extra heat and black beans.

Pickled long beans and pork: very good

Baltica (San Mateo)

In what must be a first for the Bay Area, Baltica offers a full Russian/Eastern European menu alongside a Filipino menu. The owners are from St. Petersburg and they kept on the chef from the Filipino restaurant that used to be in this location. They all very friendly.

On my first visit, I started with the vareniki, which were quite good. The crescent shaped dumplings were handmade and had the finger indentations along the rim to prove it. The skins were rolled evenly and thin, but not translucent, and some vareniki had more bite along the edges than others. The filling is more sturdy than creamy--- it uses a dry-curd farmers cheese, housemade. It's a good portion size and all vereniki were fully sealed.

The "samosa," the baked beef piroshki, was a turnover made with a flaky (puff?) pastry. Good beef filling. The side of carrot and cabbage slaw was excellent and fresh.

They lagman were described as an Uzbek soup, and interested me because I am familiar with the Chinese dish of the same name . It had a tomato base, thin noodles, and lots of soft vegetables. The flavor was a dead ringer for minestrone soup, but with a bit of dill--- This was a satisfying dish, but next time I would choose a less familiar soup.

Melanie Wong joined me on my second visit, and we had a chance to try the Filipino and the Eastern European sides of the menu. We started with pelmeni, which where large and tortellini shaped. Well constructed and delicious. The first thing that hit me was a salty popcorn butter-like flavor that they achieve by tossing the pelmeni in butter and sour cream, just enough to prevent them from sticking to each other. It was a nice complement to the beef and lamb filling.

The Uzbek pan-fried beef belayshi were sold out on my first visit. The are a puffy bread filled with ground beef. The raised dough reminded me of a piroshki or doughnut fried in clean oil. The fillings are similar, but I preferred these to the piroshki I had on my first visit.

The adobang pusit are baby squid served in a thick and salty stewing liquid (w/ ink). I thought I might be icked out by the squid innards, but the squid was so tender that I wound up appreciating their firmed up gelatinized texture. Enjoyable and hearty.

Baltica
33 W. 25th Ave,
San Mateo, CA 94403
(650) 525-1488
Tues-Sun, 11am-8:30pm
https://www.facebook.com/mybaltica

Best restaurants in SF for 120-person wedding reception dinner and dance party?

Were you able to find a venue in SF that met your criteria?

Rohnert Park to SF --- what to eat along the way?

Yeah, I'll be dining solo and I prefer to split breakfast since my enjoyment of most breakfast foods diminishes after a few bites and they don't do well as leftovers.

Good point though. I should pick up some staples while I'm up there, Maybe McClelland's Dairy:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8954...

Rohnert Park to SF --- what to eat along the way?

I'm staying in Rohnert Park Saturday night. I could be lazy and just eat when I get back to SF Sunday morning, but I'm inclined to grab something along the way.

Avatar's is likely my destination, but I thought of some more that interested me:

BBQ N Curry House (Sausalito)
Della Fattoria (Petaluma, will probably grab some baked goods to eat during the week)
Don Julio's Rincon Latin Grill and Pupusas (Rohnert Park)
Real Doner (Petaluma)
Sol Food (San Rafael)
Yongewa Kitchen (dangit, won't be open for lunch)

For future reference, any other suggestions for lunch that (1) isn't something I could get done equally or better in SF and (2) isn't breakfasty?

Real Doner in Petaluma going veggie?

CindiN, even though the buffet is vegetarian, will people still be able to order meat off the menu?

Shishitos at Skool

Same experience here with a mix of padrons from a North Bay farmer's market and some random small peppers a friend got in their (Berkeley) CSA.

What really gets you is that you're eating the flesh and seeds all in one bite.

Korean food OUTSIDE of Seoul

Bump. After a few days in Seoul, we're thinking of taking a trip to Seoraksan national park in Gangwon-do. Any recent experiences in this area? (I'll post a Seoul itinerary in the next few days on another thread)

Help finalizing restaurants, deserts, cocktail/speakeasy, as well as opinions on SF staples

During the week, if you're in the Mission, Pal's for sandwiches:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9887...
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9061...

Help finalizing restaurants, deserts, cocktail/speakeasy, as well as opinions on SF staples

What days of the week will you be here? (I ask because some of the best sandwiches cater to m-f workers at lunchtime)

Your assessment of ikes's is accurate--- its appeal is a tasty sauce that hides the low quality of the ingredients.

Best dishes thread?

New Pal's at La Movida has Lao sausage sandwich [San Francisco]

Yup, he's back at Tony's.

I first read of Pal's Lao sausage sandwich in this article by John Birdsall: http://www.sfweekly.com/foodie/2011/0...

After three years of active hunting, including showing up when it was sold out, I finally scored one--- he's had them on Fridays the past few weeks. The sandwich was better composed than the one Melanie got, mainly because the sausage was sliced in half.

The mayo, cucumber, and cilantro evoke a banh mi on a good quality bread. The sausage is delicious. I didn't get much yuzu flavor from the mayo, but that related to the sausage-- it was heavier on the lemongrass than one's I've had before at Vientian, and it would been overpowering had the peppery arugula not balanced it out.

All together, this is a fantastic sandwich and well worth the hunt.

Pal's Takeaway (in Tony's Market)
2751 24th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
415-203-4911
M-F 11-3pm

Where are our T-shirts?

I got mine. It's a red American Apparel t-shirt with a fun white design (no spoilers...).

Thanks!

Sep 12, 2014
hyperbowler in Site Talk

Late night dining in SF -3am-?

On the Excelsior food crawl, Larochelle mentioned to us J & V Catering, a place in Bayview that's open from 1am to 1pm, M-F. Yes, you read those times right.

Whereas places in the rest of this thread are serving people on their way home, J & V's clientele seem to be people beginning their day at the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market and adjacent businesses.

At 2AM, the $10 whole rotisserie chickens still needed another 30 minutes to cook, so I got some $6 eggy breakfast thing, including slices of a good quality avocado. The menu has contemporary breakfast items, some Mexican dishes, and sandwiches. It's cheap, they're quick, and you don't have to deal with club goers and other creatures of the night. It's close to the Cesar Chavez 101 exit.

J & V Cafe
2095 Jerrold Ave, San Francisco 94124
(415) 821-7786
Closed on weekends.

Mustards Grill: My Theory [Napa]

It's interesting how we praise non-local cuisines for sticking to "tradition," but vilify local places that stay true to the innovations they started. I suspect that chez panisse wouldn't get criticized for that reason if they had some signature items like Zuni's chicken, etcetera. which present an anchor for how how things are as good as they were on the past.

are CHILES EN NOGADA available anywhere yet?

La torta Gorda has them now

cafe jacqueline? [San Francisco]

At the beginning of the summer I had dinner there. We split a morel mushroom souffle, blueberry souffle, and an endive and blue cheese salad (dressing served in each leaf, which I liked).

I'm not a huge souffle fan, but it was fun to do once. Let's say I appreciated the savory souffle more than I enjoyed it. Lofty, not too eggy. The dessert souffle had enough sugar and fruit to keep me interested but wasn't cloying.

Romantic vibe, but not stuffy. The giant basket of eggs in the kitchen, which you'll see on the way to the bathroom, made me do a double take. The dinner spanned three hours, and you should expect that pacing if you get a savory and sweet souffle.

Dongbei and Shanghainese at Bamboo Garden in Mountain View

A return visit yielded a delicious dinner.

We asked the woman who works the front of the house for "shanghai style food" and she offered many good suggestions that aligned with previous posts (before that, she mentioned Mongolian beef and potstickers). Some dishes I liked were:

Excellent xiao long bao. Tall, easy to pick up, translucent skin, plenty of bacony flavored insides.

Fish filet in wine sauce had a, understandably, winey sauce, delicate fish, and some edamame and wood ear mushrooms.

"Shanghai baby bok choy" : ha, this isn't bok choy at all, but chicken feather vegetable (elsewhere available at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9199... ). These are lightly sauteed. No garlic or anything to distract from their freshness, but I liked the fruitiness added by the goji berries. I wish this were more readily available--- it's less assertive than whispy pea sprouts and the thicker stalks aren't as fibrous.

4 nights in San Francisco - any recommendations on where to eat?

Oh cool-- thanks for updating your original post with more info!

Here are some lunch recs that, I suppose due to not having dinner, don't get enough mention:

Lunch: La Palma Mexicatessen on 24th St in the Mission. It's a 61 year old Mexican deli with tables outside--- they supply tortillas to tons of places and make great prepared foods too. Pupusas, gorditas, taco with hand-formed tortilla (cost a bit extra). Cheap and good.

If this is a weekday, supplant La Palma with an $11 sandwich from http://palstakeaway.com/ a few blocks away. They rotate sandwiches everyday, and I make a beeline here on the rare days I work from home ( the roast beef is a recent favorite).

101 Music in North Beach, especially the basement, is a claustrophic's nightmare, but a store you'll need to hit if you literally mean "records."

I dunno if you're interested in street art, but if so, consider buying a map or getting a tour through Precita Eyes on 24th. Or do it yourself, walking slowly on 24th between Mission and Portero, looking up most of the way, and make sure to walk down alleys (Balmy, especially) and also Clarion more north.

4 nights in San Francisco - any recommendations on where to eat?

Welcome to the SF Bay Area board! Alex gave some good suggestions above. If you want more, it would be helpful to know a bit more about your trip and preferences. See http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4691...

Pupusas : SFBA Dish of the Month September 2014

Rincon Sabroso in Mountain View has an open kitchen so you can see them hand form and grill pupusas while you wait for your order. I got the calabaza y queso (zucchini and cheese) pupusa.

I watched them reform the dough after zucchini pierced the outside, but this didn't seem to affect the integrity of the pupusa's outside, which got lightly browned and held together well. The high water content of the zucchini caused the insides to not fully cook and they reminded me of pasty grits.

The curtido had a lot of heat from green chili, jalapenos IIRC, and was not overpowered with oregano.

Their tacos use small tortillas from a bag, but I also watched them press fresh tortillas for some other dish. The dough is made from Maseca flour.

Awesome breakfasts or brunch in Tahoe (north or south)

Thanks for the Fire Sign rec!

The smoked salmon benedict used a house smoked salmon, the dry flaky kind, and had a generous portion of salmon and sautéed spinach. Very good!

Pear and pecan coffee cake had big chunks of crunchy fresh pear.

Be warned that this place was very popular on a Sunday morning. The wait was 45 minutes after our 10:30 arrival. While you wait, there's a separate building for coffee and fresh squeezed Orange juice.

Sep 08, 2014
hyperbowler in California

Pupusas : SFBA Dish of the Month September 2014

El Rinconsito Catracho in San Mateo's "pupusa montada" is a wide pupusa topped with several fried eggs and a sauce closer to ranchero sauce than the normal pupusa salsa.

The fully cooked egg separated the sauce from the pupusa, but the top of the pupusa was softened and wet. Cheese protected the browned bottom from losing any flavor.

I got it filled with loroco and cheese, and they cut the loroco into bigger chunks than I've had before. I liked the knobby texture. Loroco is often compared to asparagus, but in the midst of a melty cheese and tomato sauce, this bitter plant brought me to eggplant territory with a hint of tea.

The side of curtido was great- spicy, crisp, and not overpowered with oregano.

Where to buy British foodstuffs?

Roxie's market and deli in the inner sunset. I had some marmite biscuits from them recently ( yuk :-) )

Bit of a challenge... [San Francisco]

Yeah, I've not made it past the boat noodles either :-)

See my edit above for another suggestion.

Bit of a challenge... [San Francisco]

Zen yai's boat noodles are the best deal in town if they'd be into that.

Edit: Richmond is okay? Xi'an gourmet. $7 for 16 types of hand pulled noodle soups. Supplement with $4 cold dishes if you want other veggies.

Pupusas : SFBA Dish of the Month September 2014

Yeah, meat filling tends to be nondescript for me too, so I prefer to get vegetarian pupusas.

Take-out isn't very forgiving to pupusas --- they lose flavor as they steam in aluminum foil, and can get either mushy or rubbery.