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Crispian Bakery, Alameda

Ooh, grilled cheese on that bread would be tasty. BTW,today there are Amazing Chocolate Éclairs in the cold case: $3. Love this place.

Crispian Bakery, Alameda

Beth has her cold case in.
Mini lemon & chocolate passion fruit tarts as well as vanilla/fig macaroons (all $1.75) were available this past Friday. Can't wait for the bigger choices to become available.

King Tsin Under New New Management - CV Chef - Berkeley

Went for lunch the other day with my Mom (who decided on Townhouse, an old watering hole of hers, for her birthday)and was pleasantly surprised.
My favorite waiter, formerly of CV, was there to greet us.
We had the Crispy fish on his suggestion. It was good, but by putting the sauce on the fish, it didn't really stay crispy.

The Cumin Lamb had excellent flavor with more depth, but was a tad greasy (not a big deal for me).

The Prawns with Green Beans was my daughter's favorite.
Super tasty and a great way to eat your veggies.

Pork Fried Rice was very nice with big pieces of pork and not greasy.

Lots of food and enough leftovers for 2 Meals even after the 12 year old got to it. Definitely worth a return visit.

BTW, Mondays are the "Head Waiter's" day off.

Best options for Ethiopian/Indian/Thai/Chinese in East Bay

Hello Hounds,

My Mom's birthday is close at hand and she wants to take her friends to a new place. Spicy is just fine as long its flavorful and there must be alcohol. The recent posts about King Tsin look promising but are there any other hidden gems? Some emphasis on decor would be appreciated as well as quality service, product and value.
Closer to Berkeley would be ideal, but if its amazing, further out is a possibility.
If you have "don't miss it" dishes, please list them with the establishment.


Crispian Bakery, Alameda

Hi Ruth,

The Parma Rose, a Pain du Chocolat and some black tea was my birthday breakfast last Friday. Amazing! The filled Brioche are delicious and I can't wait until Beth (the owner)gets her cold case. Best Lemon Tart I've ever had and Beth and her family are super nice.
Also, they are literally steps away from Alameda Island Brewing Co., so you could stop by and see if there's any pretzels or crusty bread to go with your beer. Grand opening party in the next week or two.

Trabocco Review (Alameda)

We went for our anniversary and my birthday and both times sat at the counter right in front of the pizza oven. Since I work at the Trader Joe's at the Center, I see Chef and some of his people occasionally and they know me.

Anniversary: The food was delightful: Risotto with Rabbit Ragu and Duck with a yummy sauce (couldn't quite figure it out) and really good polenta. Loved the carpaccio and the grilled pear on the salad we shared paired with the creamy gorgonzola beautifully. With dinner I had a Montepulciano that is made by a friend of Chef that was just right. For dessert, we shared a flourless chocolate cake with salted caramel gelato. Chef made sure to write "Happy Anniversary" on the plate and it ended being their gift to us.

Birthday: Had to try the pizza. Daughter got a Margarita with spicy sausage, I got the one with mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, proscuitto, arugula & truffle oil and Hubby got the Salumi combo. The shears were fun and I had the Kerner (which I love), Daughter got an Italian soda and Hubby went back to the Montepulciano. Chef made a dessert plate with Triamisu and a candle and sang me Happy Birthday. I liked my pizza, but my daughter's was really good. I'll probably skip the arugula next time.

Definitely more of a special occasion place price wise, but since sharing is not a big deal, it could be doable more often.

SF Hound coming in October. Current recs? [Salt Lake City]

I'll definitely report back.
Sorry that its such a sleepy board. Maybe a little educating the locals is in order?

SF Hound coming in October. Current recs? [Salt Lake City]

Duh! I originally had "Salt Lake" in the title but missed that I had taken it off.

Thanks for the input.
I also found:
Sage's for veg/vegan Siegfied's for German Caputo's for Italian deli
Mahider for Ethopian
Bayou for Creole/Cajun

Any experience or thoughts about these places?

SF Hound coming in October. Current recs? [Salt Lake City]

Hello Hounds,

The folks in Boston totally made my trip, so I'm hoping y'all can do the same. The thread for current favorites seemed to be a few years old.

Staying at the Hilton with a friend who needed a roommate.
I'll be hanging out with a variety of people. Looking for inexpensive ($5-20) yet interesting options near there and/or the Salt Palace.
Walking distance preferred as well as gluten free, vegetarian & vegan possibilities for my colleagues. (Interfaith event)

Any opinions on:
Pier 49

Love Thai, American/BBQ, Mexican, Italian, Chinese but open to just about anything tasty.
Especially looking for "can't get it anywhere else dishes".

Looking forward to your posts.

2 days in Boston with 12-13 yr olds, what eateries not to miss?

Super duper Thanks to marais and everyone else for all the great input & ideas. We had an awesome time and look forward to exploring further next time we're in the neighborhood.

First night: Summer Shack on Dalton. We must of lucked out as the food was quite tasty and we had a good server. Walked in at 7:00 pm without a reservatuon on Father's Day and got a table right away.
My daughter had lobster for the first time and loved it. Other people in our party had the fried oyster bahn mi (on chabatta rather than baguette, so the bread got in a way a little), fried calamari and my new personal favorite: Crabmeat Club that had all the usual fixins (no tomatoes for me) plus pickled red onions. (Yum!) That paired with a lovely glass of Albarino made for a delightful meal.
Prices were similar to SF and they were fine with splitting the bill down the middle.

After the Freedom Trail tour (which was excellent) we grabbed some local ice cream at the Market Hall to cool down the cranky kids and had a rest. We then made our way to Pizzeria Regina in the North End. Absolutely delicious! Great crust, loved the pizza joint vibe and all the police badges up on the wall. I shared a meatball, cheese and marinated tomatoes (but not on her half) 10" with my daughter, we had a plain cheese and one with various meats, onions & green pepper. Again, nice server, cold drinks, good times.

The best meal of the trip was by far Chinese Mirch on Massachusetts Ave. Even the picky eater found things she loved and was smiling the whole time.
Warning: To truly appreciate this place, you gotta like Spicy Food. Imagine taking your favorite Szechuan & Indian places and merging them into this fusion concept. Everything is made fresh, so things came out a different times. For best results, don't be in a hurry.
They can slightly adjust the spice levels on entrees, but not soups & appetizers.

As per marais's suggestion, we tried the Crispy Szechuan Lamb. Doubled fried, so little dry but the flavor was amazing.
A definite favorite.
Other offerings we had:
Fried chicken Momos (not spicy)
Vegetable lomein: Not Spicy, a nice palate reprieve.
Dumpling Soup (spicy but the picky one liked it)
Salt & Pepper Prawns
Garlic Naan
Tandoori chicken tikka: This came out almost at the end but was so refreshingly lemony we eat it up.

The shining star of the meal was the goat briyani from their specials menu. Beautiful presentation, dare I say Wicked depth of flavor and probably my favorite briyani to date.
The wine list was decent,the service was good and we got more amazing food for less money compared to Summer Shack.
BTW, they do lunch specials, have a 10% student discount and free delivery via within a 4 mile radius. I must mention we were a party of 6 and walked into an empty restaurant, so your mileage may vary. If this place was in my neighborhood, I'd organize a Chowdown amongst the Chiliheads in my region and have a feast. Brought some menus back to our hotel to let them know about the new excellent place down the block.
If any of y'all are in my neck of the woods, I hope I can return the favor.

2 days in Boston with 12-13 yr olds, what eateries not to miss?

Hiya, so our lovely host has added a request for lovely Italian food, perhaps in the North End or wherever is the best for a reasonable price. Also learned we have picky eater issues with one of the girls. Any more suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

2 days in Boston with 12-13 yr olds, what eateries not to miss?

Howdy all,

SF Bay Area Hound flying in next week to visit friends in Burlington, VT. Driving down with them on Sunday the 21st and staying at the Midtown in Back Bay until before breakfast early on the 23rd.
Doing a Freedom Trail tour on Monday the 22nd and looking for a good lunch spot afterwards. Quincy Market?
Couldn't find any recent discussions, so I started a new thread.

Budget: $5-30/person
Cuisines: American, Thai, Shellfish, Great Brick Oven Pizza I can't get in CA, Boston specialties, Indian (Our host is a fabulous Italian cook, so we got that covered)
Food more important than atmosphere, but still family friendly.

Don't want to drive, but willing to cab it if it's really special. Otherwise, we'd rather walk. We'll be doing breakfast on Monday at Thornton's since its part of our package.

Places that looked interesting:

Salty Pig on Darmouth
Chilli Duck on Boylston
Shake Shack on Newbury
(They have burgers, custard & my daughter's favorite root beer on tap)
Yankee Lobster on Northern: Is it worth the trip across town?

Also, what/where is the current hometown favorite dessert and can a Left Coaster get a decent pot of baked beans anywhere that doesn't scream tourist?

Looking forward to your replies.

Grocery Outlet - April 2015

The Van Duzer rose is crisp, liberally and delicious.
Picked up some of the Minervois as well, but haven't opened one yet.
WS tasting notes sounded yummy. Might just take it camping next weekend.

Friend coming home to Richmond, VA

Hi everyone,

A dear friend is moving back after 10 years in the SF Bay Area with her vegetarian daughter. What are the new "must visit" places for everyday eating for folks on a tight budget? My friend isn't technically veggie, but her kid is pretty serious about it.
Thanks in advance.

Nov 25, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Mid-Atlantic

Old Wine Geek Fest for 4th of July: Tasting Notes (long)

Hello everyone,

One of my regular customers at work (TJ's) asked me if I'd like to have some random wines from the 70's & 80's he had found in someone's basement. I said sure it could be fun to see if any of them held up.

So what appeared was some original Inglenook, a Bourgogne and Ch. La Riviere, a Carneros Saintsbury as well as an obscure Italian varietal from CA and a Retsina (which we didn't open). Got a few multiples including the Saintsbury which I've promised to take up to the winery and share with them.

Invited a few folks who would be into the process, but it worked out to be just myself and my co-worker and fellow wine guy from the El Cerrito store. Since there aren't that many of these bottles out there anymore, I thought it'd be fun to share with y'all. Here goes:

Chateau de la Riviere: 1970
Moldy cork, first time using a two prong opener, unfortunately pushed cork in.
Brick color around edge, vinegar on nose
Red wine vinegar on the palate, but pleasant
Too bad I didn't have a crowd handy so I could make a salad

Inglenook Napa Valley Gamay Beaujolais: 1977
Slightly moldy cork but fairly intact
Brick to burnt orange on edge
Slight fruit on the nose: plum & prune
Musky, earthy, a little burnt toast with a dash of fruit left, not bad

Inglenook Napa Valley Gamay Beaujolais:1981
Less mold on cork but darker brick in color than 1977
Smelled like sherry
Dry sherry with vinegar notes on the palate

Bourgogne Ch. Bardin: Cote d' Or: 1983
(didn't note cork condition)
Brick on the edge to a light red in the middle
Earthy old barnyard on nose
Prune/plum fruit on the palate, surprisingly bright considering its age
Apricot on the finish

Inglenook Napa Valley Zinfandel: 1978
Cork intact and in good shape, no mold
Slight brick around edge
Sherry on the nose
Sherry around the edges on palate, impressive/interesting tannins considering the age of the wine, but not harsh
Prune, plum and slight red fruit on palate with a surprisingly nice finish

Cadenasso California Grignolino: Vintage ???
Cork in good shape, but unfortunately pushed it in
Brick/burnt orange around the edge, but darker in the middle
Sherry on the nose
Tart red fruit (pomegranate/raspberry) slight sherry finish, not bad

Saintsbury Carneros Pinot Noir: 1987
Cork & bottle in good shape with lots of sediment stuck to the side where had been laying all these years
Brick around the edges
Sherry and earthy on nose
Sherry, cherry, bright fruit on the palate with a earthy/smoky finish
A wee past its prime, but quite tasty
We actually drank the rest of the bottle

Hope y'all had a Happy 4th. I know I did!

Jul 05, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Wine

Grocery Outlet -- April 2014

Hi Ruth,
The Ste. Chappelle was not my favorite. I think I ended up returning it because it was flat & sweet. The Cline Mouvedre Rose for $4.99 is probably gone, but great. At Oakland, Steve recommended a 2007 Maorou Northern Rhone Syrah, Carignan & Grenache Blend: $6.99 and a Maddalena Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles: $2.99. I also got the Rocland Grenache Barossa Valley: $5.99, a NZ Pinot Noir: $6.99 and a Wolf Blass Dry Riesling: $4.99.
Grand total for 9 bottles after 20% & tax: $41.78. Now I gotta start drinking some so I'll have room for more deals ; )

BBQ Caterer needed in Orinda in May, 65-80 people

Look into Bo's in Lafayette. Close, really tasty and your neck of the woods. (Not cheap)

TRADER JOE'S:Microwave friendly

Here are a few things we did on our last road trip and other suggestions:

Fresh section:
Curried Chicken Salad with Flatbread
Microwave tray of asparagus
Cajun Blackened Chicken Alfredo
Chicken Enchiladas
BBQ Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket or Chicken
Pancetta, Peas and Pasta
Balsamic Chicken breast (the Lemon is good too)
Lemon Chicken Salad
Spinach Salad in a bag with goodies
Just Chicken (you could add it to the above salad, etc.)
Meat lasagna

Indian meals
Mac n cheese
Bean & Cheese burritos

If the store you're shopping at while you visiting has the individual pretzels, use those as buns for the BBQ meats, delicious!

And there's always the option of amazing cheese, salami, crackers and a lovely glass of wine ; )

Mar 26, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Interesting & really tasty regional cusine in Salt Lake City or Provo?

Cool! So it looks like the Comfort Suites at the airport will be our base and we'll drive the 7 miles over to the in-laws' house.
Found a few interesting places I'd like your opinion on: Navajo Hogan, Pat's BBQ, Siegfried's, Hires Big H and Hatch Family Chocolate.

Interesting & really tasty regional cusine in Salt Lake City or Provo?

We're pretty open but need to find things recognizable to an 11 yr old. American, Thai, German, Mexican, Italian (my husband LOVES pizza) BBQ Budget: anywhere from $5-18 or so per person.
Our family lives in South Salt Lake, so closer options would be nice. However if the food is super good, we'd make the effort.
Also looking for a place for a "Meet all of our extended family" dinner. Is Lion House or Big Apple Pizza reasonably eatable or would you suggest something else?

Interesting & really tasty regional cusine in Salt Lake City or Provo?

Howdy folks,

I didn't see a lot of current posts, so I thought I'd create a new thread.

Visiting family this summer (we're from SF Bay Area) and looking for reasonable priced tween friendly places that are unique to the area or too delicious to miss. Mostly lunch and dinner, but if you have a fantastic diner breakfast to recommend, I'm all ears. Thanks!

Do TJ's differ drastically in different regions?

Each region has access to different products. Each Section Order Writer in each store has the ability to select items from their region's Order Guide. There are many agreements which can differ from state to state. As far as wine goes, the availability of certain wines depends on quantity. In N.CA we are close to many wineries and therefore get things folks on the East Coast won't get and vice versa. BTW, the "Chuck-it-in-the-bucket" has been $2.71 including tax since Jan 2013 in CA. It's gross. No good bulk wine goes into it any more. For $2.99 the private label from Chile: Vinas Chilenas is infinitely better.

Feb 23, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay - February 2014! [OLD]

Yeah, our whole Crew love these crackers. Thinking a lovely creamy cheese as well as some delicious bubbly would be an ideal compliment.

Feb 21, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Trader Joe's new app

Easier said than done. Each region has access to different products/price points and each store has the option of carrying items or not. Also, items change out so frequently it would take a good sized team in each region to keep on top of things.

I wish they waited until all platforms were supported and it actually did something useful. Kinda embarrassing on Launch Day when folks were treated to App-etizers (groan) and they wanted us to talk it up but didn't explain what it did.

Feb 12, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Sam Lipp blind-tastes all eight Charles Shaw wines

Wasn't it the Orange County Fair?
Anyways, it still is my nemesis at work and I try to steer those folks towards South America for better quality/value.

Jan 09, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Wine

Trader Joes... Please, just ring up my groceries.

It's company policy to be interactive and pleasant. Everyone has their own way of achieving it and some folks are louder than others about it. If you'd rather be accosted by rudeness or indifferent silence, there are plenty other places to shop.

Which Trader Joe's Holiday Items do you wish they had year-round?

I think the pie crusts are year round now and the chocolate chips definitely are. The Triple Ginger Brew is seasonal but was so popular I heard something about trying to make an everyday version. Keep your eyes open.

Jan 09, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - January 2014!! [OLD]

Watch out and read those labels folks. Many products are more than one serving and some salads including blue cheese can have up to 50 grams of fat.

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - January 2014!! [OLD]

Yeah, the basic policy is that you MUST have a receipt for Alcohol & Vitamins Returns but its not really needed for other items. Helpful and great if you have it, but not really necessary.

Jan 09, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Oregon Wine Country vs. California Wine Country (Sonoma)

Yeah, especially if you go to King Estate outside of Eugene.
As we went up the quality/price ladder with their Pinot Gris, the difference was amazing. Had a nice tasting and you can do lunch which was tasty and didn't break the bank. It is in the middle of nowhere, so you have to drive for a while, but it's worth it.

Dec 27, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Wine