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Help needed to sort through Bay Area budget dining options, please!

Thanks - I actually saw this round up post and it is exactly what prompted me to ask for some help in negotiating the myriad of intriguing options.

I will do a board search for Richmond district recommendations.

Help needed to sort through Bay Area budget dining options, please!

Yes, I remember reading about the Marshall area oyster places - thanks for the reminder! Any board preferences there, or are they all good?

Weekend Trip Report Day 3 and 4 (Maven/Frances/Bar Tartine/The Cavalier)

Yeah, so I had suspected. As a fellow fine ale aficionado I find it disheartening that despite the craft beer explosion it is still so hard to find an establishment with both excellent food and a great beer selection.

Help needed to sort through Bay Area budget dining options, please!

Good point! Just the sort of Bay Area insight for which I was hoping.

Weekend Trip Report Day 3 and 4 (Maven/Frances/Bar Tartine/The Cavalier)

Ah, Zwanze Day at Mikkeller Bar - jealous! Did you try the food there?

Help needed to sort through Bay Area budget dining options, please!

This looks perfect - Burmese food is something we definitely don't see in our parts. Plus it fits my theory that some of the best affordable chow can be found in the remote suburban outposts of any urban area.

Help needed to sort through Bay Area budget dining options, please!

This looks fantastic.

I suppose I should further clarify re Mendochino, that we are actually going to be staying just north of the Mendo/Sonoma border, so almost board-worthy.

Help needed to sort through Bay Area budget dining options, please!

That looks wonderful, although we will actually not be that far north. Perhaps a side trip is in order.

Help needed to sort through Bay Area budget dining options, please!

You are correct, sir - by "most generous," I actually meant "widest variety!"

Help needed to sort through Bay Area budget dining options, please!

Very helpful, particularly for highlighting some of the East Bay's offerings, which seem to be harder to track down.

Help needed to sort through Bay Area budget dining options, please!

Ah, great info regarding northern vs southern pho and the generosity of respective herb plates! Thanks.

Help needed to sort through Bay Area budget dining options, please!

Thanks for all the great responses! To clarify, we are open to exploring the entire Bay Area, but since we are flying in to SFO and then heading north to Mendocino, we would prefer to not back track to the South Bay, though I know it holds treasures.

Help needed to sort through Bay Area budget dining options, please!

Hi, three of us flying in to SFO from MSP for a couple of nights and then traveling up to Mendocino. While we would dearly love to have our minds blown by the likes of Saison, Oliveto, or SPQR, our budget is modest though our tastes are lavish. So, I am hoping for recommendations for your favorite "best bang for the buck" spots - dumplings with springiest skins, pho with most generous "herb plate", taqueria with extensive salsa bar and offal options, most ma la Szechuan, Burmese with funkiest tea leaves, banh mi with crustiest baguette, East Indian/South Asian with the freshest spices, most obscure and excellent regional Chinese, affordable neighborhood bistro with under-the-radar chef trained in over-the-radar kitchen, best deal on local seafood, taverns with above average bar food (no burgers or pizza {lactose issues} please) or, insert your favorite cheap eats destination here. Any and all cuisine styles are welcome and we will have a car so location is not an issue, though would prefer to stay north of SFO.

While many of these topics are tackled in individual threads and posts, we would love to have a compendium of the latest top choices by the discerning palates of the SFBA Chowhounds.

Thanks!

Three nights in ATL - a trip report

Hello Atlanta! Back from a three night stay and, thanks to Chowhound, enjoyed some fabulous meals.

Relegated to Kennesaw for the duration, and wishing to avoid the nightmare that is rush hour 75, we had initially hoped to find chow worthy dining within a 15 or so mile radius of that joyless burg. So I was much heartened to read about Local Three Kitchen & Bar in the Smyrna area. It seemed to fit all my criteria - locally sourced ingredients, imaginative preparations, reasonable prices. Knowing many restaurants are closed on Mondays, I had double checked their website only to find it locked and dark when we arrived.

After a quick perusal of Yelp we decided that Seven Lamps was the closest Chow approved destination and headed off to Buckhead. What a great meal: a wonderfully rich and slightly smoky fennel vichyssoise, a deeply flavorful heirloom tomato and local peach salad and a plate of tender, savory wood roasted local trout. Serendipitous indeed, and a challenge to my theory that no truly good chow is to be found at upscale strip malls.

The next night we decided that the drive to/from Buckhead had not been so bad so we ventured further to the place I had really hoped to try - BoccaLupo. And were we glad we did: a lovely, delicate Low Country fritto misto, local mixed lettuces salad with soulful goat cheese and the epic 20 yolk tagliatelle. So simple, so delicious, and not a powder or a foam in sight.

Dinner number three we had our minds blown at Gu's Bistro on Buford Highway by a simple dish of green peppers with black vinegar (as suggested by Yvonne,) an order of springy Chengdu dumplings with chili oil and an absolutely astonishing Spicy Fish Fillet in Hot Pot, from the tingly ma la depths of which we kept extracting surprise after delicious surprise: a vast tangle of chewy soybean sprouts, impossibly wide glassy bean starch noodles, assorted umami-rich fungi and a dazzling array of exotic whole spices. This fantastic meal provided the corollary of my previous theory: the best chow in most cities is to be found in its downscale strip malls.

We did manage to have a couple of reasonably good lunches in Kennesaw thanks to the charming Malaysian folks at Penang. There is good chow to be had there providing you can convince them that, yes, you have eaten beef stomach before, and yes, something described as very fishy, very sour and very spicy sound delicious.

Can’t wait to return to the ATL as I know we only scratched the surface of a true chow destination.

Aug 29, 2014
lizpeck in Atlanta
1

Your Top 5 Restaurants in Town

Piccolo
Butcher and Boar (house made pickles way better than Tiny Diner's)
Victory 44
On's
Burch
Lucia's

Aug 22, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Excellent dinner at Parka

We had dinner again at Parka on Saturday with several friends and tried both the bruschetta and the Reuben as well as several other dishes. We loved them all and your description of the bruschetta is perfect. The Rueuben was served on nice, firm Rustica rye, which was the perfect complement to the house cured brisket and house made condiments. The only slightly meh dish was the grilled wedge salad, which we found a bit bland. Do your self a favor:if they have the Rustica Almond Cherry thingy, order it!
I guess I'm in the minority here in that I do not mind the ambiance, but rather find it interesting and unique and have no problem with the chairs. Plus the all the people who work there have been unfailingly charming and accommodating.

Jun 03, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Private party room with good food and drink

This looks perfect! Thanks.

May 28, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Private party room with good food and drink

Could be anywhere, although preferably relatively close to downtown Minneapolis. Of greater importance is that they have good food. There are many event spaces the don't fit that criteria!

May 28, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Private party room with good food and drink

I am looking for a venue to host a gathering for about 40 people in the evening on June 12th. Any thoughts?

May 28, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Who's firing out the best food right now?

We celebrated a friend's birthday at Piccolo recently. Food: creative and delicious; space: serene and elegant; servers: friendly yet professional, and at the end of the meal the birthday girl was presented with a special desert and a card signed by the entire staff.

Mar 27, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

PRAIRIE PRIDE BACON

It is from Berkshire pigs, raised lovingly and sustainably on a family farm in Mankato. ;-) We first started buying it at the St. Paul Farmers Market a few years ago when we heard they had won the State Fair Blue Ribbon.

Jan 31, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Excellent dinner at Parka

It was with some trepidation that my SO and I agreed to meet a friend for dinner at Parka on Friday night. We live in the neighborhood and had been meaning to try it since it opened, but then started hearing/reading the dismal reports of inconsistent food and lackluster service. I am now happy to say that none of this was true, at least with regards to this particular meal. We shared Devils on Horseback, two salads, a lovely celeriac/apple soup and chicken & dumplings. All were excellent: salads were lightly dressed yet extremely flavorful, soup was perfectly seasoned, rich and creamy, chicken & dumplings was redolent of house-made chicken stock, and I had to stop myself from licking the bowl in which the Devils on Horseback were served. Service was warm, friendly, attentive but not obtrusive, and the place was packed with diners. One of the best meals we have had in recent memory, superior, IMHO, to similar meals at some of the highest rated TC restaurants. Highly recommended.

Outstanding Soup

Just to clarify, this is different than The Hacienda in the Sibley Plaza.

http://www.taqueriaslahacienda.com/

Jan 13, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Outstanding Soup

Taqueria La Hacienda has excellent Menudo and I was pleased to discover a large piece of bone in a recent bowl.

334 E. Lake Street #101
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Jan 10, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Packaged Local Bacon in TC

Ditto on the State Fair Blue Ribbon winning Prairie Pride Farms bacon. They raise heritage Berkshire pigs and their meat is in demand by chefs all over the country.

http://www.prairiepridepork.com/

Dec 13, 2013
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Umami by Travail

We were there last night too! Between the creative food, excellent tap list (Hitachino!) and crazy antics of the enthusiastic staff, we had a blast. The ticket system seemed to be working very well and we liked the communal table seating. The couple next to us had just returned from Hong Kong and felt Umami's food was superior. And you must admire their commitment to bringing serious food to the Northside.

Return visit

Second on Zen Box Izakaya. Great food, drinks. fun atmosphere and very close to your hotel.

Also fairly close is Haute Dish, which serves an excellent brunch on the weekends.

http://haute-dish.com/

Best Indian/Thai in Mpls between airport and Mpls

I love the Nepali place, Gorkha Palace. The food is quite similar to Indian cuisine, and is always fresh and well spiced. They often have unusual things like Yak meat or wild greens. The location at 23 4th St. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55414 is a bit obscure, but they have a parking lot, and there are lots of fun bars and pubs nearby if you wish to extend your evening!

A week in downtown Minneapolis--where do I eat?

Second on The Butcher and The Boar - excellent food and great atmosphere, very close to your hotel, and a well chosen craft beer tap list, If you are into that sort of thing. The Bulldog also has a great beer selection but the food is fairly basic pub fare.

Another idea downtown would be the Copper Pot, an Indian restaurant in the Lumber Exchange building at 5th and Hennepin, about a 10 minute walk from your hotel.

Oct 11, 2013
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Hi - Going to be in MPLS week of 7/8, Need recos

I don't know if you are still looking for recommendations, but Andrew Zimmern was asked this question today via Twitter and responded thus:

Sea change
Piccolo
La belle vie
Tillia
Butcher an boar
Borough
Alma
Burch
112

Tim Niver of the Strip Club, an excellent steak and fish joint in St. Paul, added Batchelor Farmer and Saffron to his Tweet response.

Cross reference with some of the great posts here, and you will have a great Chow visit to MPLS

Jul 10, 2013
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul