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Megachef Fish Sauce (East or South Bay)

I don't know the south bay very well--did you try any of the Lion Supermarkets?
I have verified sightings of Megachef in Oakland at Koreana Plaza and Sun Hop Fat (12th St and 5th Ave).

Pho Ga : SFBA Dish of the Month November 2014

I recently stopped by Turtle Tower SOMA to re-check if I'm actually just not that in to pho ga, and I believe the answer is yes. I ended up ordering the phở bò sốt vang (discussed here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6043... (actually, I can't figure out the new post linking, but it should get you to that thread)).
But, I hoodwinked a friend int ordering the specialty, pho ga, and took the remains of a large home with me. She had added a significant amount of the cilantro and very thinly sliced jalapeño condiment, and I found it to be the best of the pho ga I've tasted, but still a distant second to "chicken noodle soup". I still perceive it as lighter, and less chickeny than what I grew up on as chicken noodle soup.
The soup did gel overnight ion the fridge.

Turtle Tower, SF - get #9 Pho Ga!

I really enjoyed the the phở bò sốt vang (beef stew in wine sauce with the wide flat noodles) at TT SOMA recently. I'd previously been not as excited about Turtle Tower (relative to its accolades), which I attributed to its specialization in pure, light, non-spiced broths. I found them light in meat flavor, as well as the warm spices I usually appreciate in pho, and I recognized this as my tendency to interpret flavors generally described as subtle and delicate as bland (perhaps I'm a subtaster, the opposite of supertaster--I do like bitter).
The phở bò sốt vang had a good beef flavor and plenty of chunks of well-braised beef (mostlly brisket, but with a decorative flourish of skin, I believe, that was very tender). I think it must be red rice wine it is cooked in, as there was a distinct red color to the soup. I'd never had this before, but really enjoyed it.

Clove & Hoof butchery and restaurant in Oakland is open!

I stopped by and got the fried chicken sandwich and was very happy with it. It's two fried thighs, very moist with a crisp breading, covered in fish sauce caramel, topped with an apple-celery-pomegranate slaw on a "French hero roll" (soft but flavorful interior texture). Looking back at the menu, there is also an Old Bay butter sauce in the mix, though I didn't notice it per se.
The chicken was very moist, likely brined, (though not my personal favorite, buttermilk brined) and chickeny. I'm not usually a huge fan of sweet flavors, but the fish sauce caramel melded really well with the chicken, and was a good counterpoint to the slaw. The price was a bit dear for a sandwich at $13, but it was a lot of food.
I'll be back for more sandwiches and some butchery.

Posole - SFBA Dish of the Month April 2014

When I stopped by a few weekends ago for takeout soup they felt badly I had to wait for 10-15 minutes and gave me their card so I could call in an order to go. So they and I recommend calling.

best dim sum Bay Area, late 2014?

Here's the link.

And it isn't a fair comparison as I've only been to Peony once, at that chowdown, and East Ocean in Alameda 3x in the last 1.5 years, but I've found East Ocean to be very inconsistent in that time. Others have reported a downhill alert, but my experience in the last few years was good, then great, then poor (not freshly made, even when ordered from checklist, somewhat MSG feel, lack of attention to detail), with the great experience occurring after initial downhill alerts. So I attributed it to spottiness, rather than a complete downward spiral.

Brie: Cheese of the Month (November 2014)

I picked up one of the cheapest "bries" I saw this month, a 7 oz wheel of Père Brie from Grocery Outlet for $2.99 to refresh my memory as to mass market American Brie. Small print on the label indicates it is from Lactalis Deli Inc, and a quick google indicates this is the same company that makes Président.
In short, even though I let it "age" a couple more weeks in my fridge, and brought it to a warm room temperature it was pretty bland and very rubbery. The only other real flavors other than creaminess were a slight acidity and a slight bitterness from the remains of the rind. Not offensive, but not worth the calories.
This reminder made me realize the Nangis and Fromage de Meaux I tried above were easily, noticeably better than the cheap grocery store standard (speaking of which, since this project had me on the lookout for brie, and I had not previously noted the modern packagings, like the log, or just the creme), though not enough to be an entirely different experience, or worth a high price to me.
I did learn with these thick, probably not fully ripened rinds, it is easy to scrape most of it off while the cheese is cold, then let it warm up so you don't have to deal with any rind decisions later.

Nov 28, 2014
...tm... in Cheese

Brie: Cheese of the Month (November 2014)

I think this is a large part of the problem. I bought both the cheeses you name at Berkeley Bowl (precut) and neither was very oozy at room temperature.

Nov 28, 2014
...tm... in Cheese

SFBA Dish of the Month (Dec 2014) - Nominations/Voting

(I haven't happened across any great specimens in the Bay Area, but would love to)

Classic Guilin Rice Noodles - Oakland Chinatown

I agree with soupçon and twocents, the lao you fen are well worth a stop. Classic Guilin rice noodles has actually expanded their menu quite a bit since I stopped by in the early days, with things like mushroom rice noodles and over rice plates.

Lao You Fen gets it's own laminated menu page, however, with flames in the background, likely to indicate the spiciness. I found the flavor of the soup to be very well balanced. There was a nice amount of spice coming from chili/chili oil, some black pepper flavor in the stir fried pork. The broth flavor is sour, from the fermented bamboo shoots, though though the soup isn't overwhelmed by them and they are cut in thin slices. The broth had a richness and savoriness the simple "Classic Guilin" rice noodles don't have, with plenty of added aromatics--the black beans, garlic, a bit of ginger, with scallion greens sprinkling the top.

My order didn't have an offal. The text on the full page describing the noodles listed pork, pork liver, and beef as possibilities, the ordering possibilities were pork, beef, or both. So you might have to ask, or it only comes with the pork and beef order.

Pho Ga : SFBA Dish of the Month November 2014

The gelling report on Champa Garden's fer leftovers is that it didn't gel in the fridge. I'm not surprised, as this is a flavorful, though less chicken-forward version.

Pissed Off Pete's (Excelsior District, San Francisco)

Looks great--I was just mushroom foraging near Salt Point last weekend and found mostly boletes (porcini, in the list on instagram) and some chanterelles. 'Tis the season.

Grocery Cafe- Burmese food! [Oakland]

They were open tonight when I drove by just before 5 pm and I'm really glad I stopped by. Their soft opening menu is $7 each, for the offerings listed above, I believe. I got the mohinga and the tea leaf salad and I couldn't be happier to have this place relatively nearby my house (though my waistline might disagree).
The tea leaf salad was very generously proportioned and included a good variety of well-fried mix-ins. It was noticeably spicy after mixing--I assume the chili spice came from an oil or within the tea leaf mixture (I've gotten prepackaged fermented tea leaves that were labeled "spicy" before) and there was no noticeable mix-in of chili. One of the best tea leaf salads I've had.
The mohinga was also good. I was most impressed with the yellow pea fritters included with the noodles. They had a great crisp texture and had, I believe, a mixture of yellow peas, yellow pea batter, and fried shallots.
The entire interior was set up with tables and chairs for a restaurant. (There is also a back area that in daylight looks rather inviting with succulent plantings.) I asked whether there was going to be a grocery eventually, and there was a bit of a language barrier, but I believe the man working (a man a generation younger than William Lue) confirmed that it would be just a restaurant for the foreseeable future. I did spy a large bag of non-standard carrots (large, yellow and light orange) on the counter, though.
I'll be back, though the current hours seem sporadic enough that anyone outside the area might want to try to call first before stopping by. I'd driven by a couple other times this week during the stated hours on Facebook without luck.

Hapa Ramen -- What price ramen? [San Francisco]

Does Hapa name their sources? I don't find anything after a cursory look at the website, even a blanket, non-convincing, but popular in the Bay Area statement like 'We use sustainable local ingredients when possible', though I did find a link to "HAPA RAMEN’S RICHIE NAKANO TALKS ABOUT MASTERING SOCIAL MEDIA".

The ramen prices seem high, but the price of the steamed buns and most appetizers seems pretty reasonable.

As for seasonality vs. tradition, I found in my couple visits to the Farmer's Market version of Hapa that the seasonal ingredients sometimes detracted from the broth--I particularly remember an asparagus version. If it were a veggie-forward soup, but as it was, it detracted from the pork broth.

Grocery Cafe- Burmese food! [Oakland]

Thanks!! I'd seen some activity recently when I drive by occasionally to check it out, so I walked over today and found it closed at 4pm--it probably would have been weeks until I tried again were it not for this post.

Pho Ga : SFBA Dish of the Month November 2014

Not a silly question, in my experience it is made with chicken broth. Though, like sundeck sue below, I am also generally confused that I don't find any pho ga as chickeny as a Jewish/American chicken noodle soup.
I've ordered pho ga very few times since moving to SF 8 years ago, seeking out the much-lauded pho ga at Turtle Tower, and tasting my friend's beef pho. Neither of us were very impressed, partially due to the effort of getting to their, at the time, single location that closed early and was generally busy. Part of the disappointment was that I hadn't adequately noted that they specialize in "Northern-style" pho, with few warm spices notes, but also because I envision a good chicken soup as very rich and chickeny, whereas i feel like the chicken broth pho restaurants are going for has a much lighter quality. I can't tease out in my mind (but maybe I'll try to experiment on my leftovers) whether it is mostly because I make thicker broth with a higher chicken/collagen ratio, or whether the carrots or wheat/egg noodles are influencing my overall perception of richness.
I'm curious if others have the same perception, and what parts/techniques generally go in to the pho ga broth.

Pho Ga : SFBA Dish of the Month November 2014

I tried the pho/fer at Champa Garden in Oakland. It was a bit different from the Vietnamese, Viet/Chinese versions I've tried before in that it had a bit more seasoning in the soup initially. There were thick cilantro stems and bolting leaves in the broth, adding a nice herbal/acidic flavor. There was also a slightly noticeable light oily layer on the top that had some red chili flavor and color, and I noticed a bit more toasted garlic background. The chicken soup itself was a bit thinner than I expected, and slightly sweet. It was served with accompaniments of fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, and plenty of lime wedges. The noodles$6.95 for a medium portion (which is plenty for one).
Again, not my favorite dish on the menu, but a decent soup.

Pho Ga : SFBA Dish of the Month November 2014

Thanks, yes, 1212 E 12th St. It's to bad places didn't continue, but at least I named a city.

I'd also like to add that I took a cup or so home, as I generally tire of even a small/medium portion of pho ga. It gelled lightly, a bit less than I was expecting.

Where to buy nama age deep fried tofu in Berkeley?

For the remainder of the Hodo tofu, I would make http://userealbutter.com/2010/11/30/s...
A recipe originally from Mark Bittman, that I can't link to behind the NYTimes paywall (and possible video).
It's a hot spiced oil poured over a pressed tofu and celery salad. The oil is a DIY 5+ spice, so it probably won't clash with the tofu. I used to make this with Hodo's Green Tea tofu, but I believe they stopped making it.
Also, many of the shops in Oakland Chinatown are likely to have it, if that's more convenient than 99 Ranch. I'm pretty sure Yuen Hop does.

Pietisserie opens in Lake Merritt [Oakland]

Thanks for the info, I walk by frequently and saw the buildout finished a while ago (maybe August), then brown paper go up over the windows, and no pie yet. It's good to know it will be opening soon.

Dragon Gate - New Taiwanese Food Venue in Oakland

I also tried the beef noodle soup and it was really great. I was slightly after lunchtime, and the soup cost $11, though that seems to be the cost at any time now, according to the take-out menu I have. It was certainly a good deal for the price, though I generally consider myself a fairly hungry person and it seemed like a portion size for two to me, as a meal, not an appetizer.
The broth was rich, beefy and aromatic. The portion I took home gelled easily in the fridge. The beef was flavorful, plentiful, and tender, and the daikon was really great. The pickled mustard really completed the dish.

Burmese Kitchen closing, another victim of the out-of-control hi-tech economy. [San Francisco]

Ha ha, thanks, I've literally been LMAO at the self-seriousness of your post, and attempt to put out flames with gasoline. While many of the responses have focused on speculative or tangential issues, the OP is very relevant, and the impending loss of Burmese Kitchen has been sadly noted by myself and others in other threads. In non-disputed facts, Burmese Kitchen is closing and the proprietor (who anyone who has been there more than once sees as a genuine and caring guy) cites the changing nature of San Francisco.
It is not totally off topic, as Burmese Kitchen is a very good place to eat. Many of the Vietnamese and Burmese immigrants settled in the Tenderloin came here as refugees during very difficult times. The refugee organization I've volunteered with hasn't placed anyone in San Francisco in years due to high rents, and this has most definitely altered the landscape of restaurants in the Tenderloin. Be it only from tech, or from a general increase in wealth and limited geographical area, rents and prices in SF have been skyrocketing and this definitely affects the ability and type of restaurant that can move in. And rather than favoring the best and brightest, it often favors chains that can support initial loss stages.

Pho Ga : SFBA Dish of the Month November 2014

As it was near my polling place and I hadn't been there before, I stopped by Wing Wah Pho Ga in Oakland. I'm not a bit pho ga afficianado, but I found the version here to be good (where the bar for good is above what I find to be typical of places not specializing in pho ga--a thin broth with light chicken flavor, and likely MSG enhancement).
The broth was reasonably chickeny, with no enhancement noticeable to me. It is served with a ginger-scallion sauce in the style of the nearbyish Pho Ga Huong Que Cafe. The noodles were standard thin reconstituted pho noodles. The chicken, though the shredded off the bone option was suggested, was on the bone chicken with noticeably yellow skin and a rather chewy texture, though not as intensely chickeny as I had hoped. White onions were also present in the broth. Garnish were ginger scallion sauce, slightly tired bean sprouts, cilantro, jalapeno, and lemon, cost $7.25.
The quality was good enough that I'll stop by the place again, though not necessarily for pho ga (not that I'm saying there was anything bad about their pho ga, I just prefer bolder flavors). I can't tell if they left the pho ga in their name due to the previous establishment at that spot, Pho Ga 69 #1, or if they emphasize it. The menu has plenty of rice plates, the other table there ate the time ordered beef pho, the bun bo hue and banh cuon sounded better than average on yelp reviews, and bun mang vit is a menu item. After seeing that, I can almost picture my server as being at Bun Mang Vit Thanh Da before it closed, so perhaps that is the case.

Brie: Cheese of the Month (November 2014)

Thanks for organizing jpr54_1.
I picked up two types recently, Fromage de Meaux Rouzaire and Brie Nangis (my googling leads me to believe this is also by Rouziare, though that wasn't stated on the sticker. These seem to be two of the top US imports, as they are pasteurized).
I don't think I've ever really bought or payed much attention to anything labeled "brie" at the cheese counter before, so I decided to start this structured exploration with cheeses from the region where AOC brie is produced.
Unfortunately, neither impressed me as noticeably different from the many platters of nameless brie I've had at grad school functions. Comparing the two head to head, they were actually quite similar, but if forced to name a difference I'd say the Meaux was slightly butterier. Both had the texture I've come to expect from endless brie platters, a smooth, soft, slightly rubbery paste.
As true AOC brie (from unpasteurized milk, aged under 90 days) can't be imported to the US, I think my next trials will be in the artisanal American realm.

Nov 02, 2014
...tm... in Cheese

Fresh Turkish Delight near San Mateo, CA

I've seen it at the Hayward branch of Crossroads World Market. There is a Palo Alto branch I haven't been to, but assume would also carry it. Not being a sweets person, I haven't tried it, so I can't vouch for the quality.

Burmese Kitchen's Special of the Day: Goat Curry [San Francisco]

I've bumped it up on my priority list to get back to Burmese Kitchen before it closes on November 26, as repored in eatersf

It's one of my favorite Burmese spots, back to the Larkin Express Deli sandwiches day.

Landlord troubles were cited, and he hopes to reopen.

Where can I buy fresh flour tortillas?

According to Kenji at Serious Eats you can get them at Safeway in SF, though I didn't notice them at the smaller East Bay Safeways I stopped in recently. I did, however, pick up a normal sized pack (20 oz) at Lucky on E 18th St in Oakland.
While I like them better than your standard commercial tortilla, I prefer La Palma's slightly thicker, more flavorful tortillas. Does anyone know of a good homemade flour tortilla in the East Bay?

Top spots for Vietnamese food in Oakland

I think the sign on their door might say 8 pm, and they were open that late for a while, but in the previous months I've found them closed at or slightly before 7 pm.

Pupusas : SFBA Dish of the Month September 2014

I tried some pupusas at Los Cocos in Oakland (Fruitvale Ave and 14th St). I ordered a revueltas and a loroco. They came out not terribly crispy, but browned on the outside, and slightly less done than I'd like on the inside. The revueltas filling was one of the more flavorfull I've had in recent memory, however, with plenty of pork flavor in the bean/cheese mix. The curtido was quite crunchy, with what I perceived to be a vinegar note (rather than fermented) and plenty of picked onions. The hot sauce was a fully pureed tomato salsa in a squeeze bottle. Overall I wasn't too excited, though I've never been a huge fan of pupusas. My favorite part of the meal was the tamarindo agua fresca I got, after being told they were out of coco and ensalada. It wasn't too sweet and was ade with real tamarind pulp.

most varied Vietnamese herb plate

Of the inexpensive East Oakland places I've been going to recently it has been hard for me to distinguish seasonal/availability variation from dish variation, though culantro and rau ram seem relatively common. One place in the East Bay I remember having a surprisingly varied herb plate is Anh Hong in Berkeley. I find pretty decent, and at the chowhound in 2009 we got an herb plate with fishmint and rau ram http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6634...
I have been back for just bun, and have gotten fewer herbs--maybe fishmint goes with a particular dish, or maybe you just have to ask. I wouldn't be surprised, as it is generally unappealing to me (even though I like fishy fish).