...tm...'s Profile

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rouge/a new hot spot in s.f??

Ha ha! Well, now I have at least one point of confirmation of my suspicion, when potsickers were SFBA Dish of the Month
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1012123 that the common preference for very thin wrappers I had noticed on the board came from a Cantonese/dim sum perspective. Thick wrappers for me!! (but not too thick, that's just gummy dough)

Roast Duck: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2015

Thanks!! I'm not great at overcoming my timid nature even when I know it is the proper thing to do to look for and demand the best specimen, but it helps to give me the courage to know what Chinese aunties do, so I can emulate their awesomeness.
Also, that's a fantastic thread, with appearances by chandavski, a blustery Jason Perlow, California's rolling brownouts, and your auntie.

alaMar [Oakland]

I'd ignored alaMar previously as I thought it was just a pricier Cajun boil-type place, based on its initial East Bay Express mentions. Though it does have shrimp and usually a crustacean "boil" style dish on the menu, it is a much more delicately executed version than I've experienced in that genre, with plenty more rounding out the menu.
In fact, the chef/owner is Dominican, and some touches come through, like well-fried tostones with a nice tomato-acidic aioli, and a lunch menu of rice bowls which are on my list to try soon.
Our group ordered several dishes, and everything was very well executed. I particularly liked the whole branzino, and the farro salad that came with it, soaking in the romesco sauce and juices. All juices, from this, and the much better than expected "peel-and-eat" shrimp are best sopped up by the grilled Firebrand bread served along side.
The brussels sprouts, shrimp lollipops, oysters, and chicken wing confit also delivered a nice and unique balance of flavors. The parmesan truffle tornado crisp is the only thing I probably wouldn't order again--the crisp potato, presentation, and aioli were great, I'm just not a fan of the truffle oil. The roasted bone marrow was my favorite of several preps I've tried in the past couple of years. The marrow was easily accessible, and the fatty, but lemony and herby chermoula flavor matched really well with the grilled bread.
The flan was also quite good--with a creamy texture that was neither gelatinous nor eggy, and had a creme brulee-like crisp caramel coating. The mixture of the pineapple and burnt sugar was great with the creamy background of the flan. Prices were very reasonable, particularly with a group large enough to share a couple of the larger format entrées--we were able to sample a large portion of the menu for $35 each.

Roast Duck: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2015

I stopped by two nearby places on my way home the other night and picked up the DOTM, roast duck, in this case the Cantonese roast duck hanging in so many Chinatown windows. I wanted to try two at the same time, as roast duck is the sort of thing I've only picked up occasionally, and all previous experiences have blurred together in my mind.

The half duck on the left is from Yung Kee on 9th and Webster in Oakland Chinatown, and the one on the right from New King on International and 2nd Ave.
As you can see, the one from New King has tighter, crisper skin. It also had more and tastier meat. It was a bit flabby after my walk home, but the skin crisped up a bit in the oven. $8.50/half. I've stopped by this place a couple times since it transitioned from Ao Sen Express to New King. Once I got the pei-pa duck and enjoyed that as well--the skin crisped up quite well.
The duck from Yung Kee did not fare so well. After taking the duck down from the window, the chopper poured out a bunch of fluid into a bowl to keep for the restaurant. The duck had very moist, not terribly roasted texture to it, and was very salty. The skin appeared to have a bit of red dye, as well, though I'll be charitable and assume it was red rice wine. The skin got no crispier after a normal warming time in the oven. It seems best suited for soup, and not on my list to get again, though not so off flavored that I won't be using the leftovers and bones for a duck stock. $8.75/half

Truong Thanh in Milpitas

I remembered your interest in hu tieu Nam Vang when I saw some new banners flying at New King in Oakland (Intl & 2nd). It seems that hu tieu Nam Vang is the Vietnamese way to say Phenom Penh noodle soup http://vietworldkitchen.typepad.com/b...
In any case, the new banners proclaim it a specialty of the house, and the menu lists wet, dry, and yellow noodle versions.

July 2015 COTM: The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Chapters 5-8


This dip is wonderful, and as I'd hoped, much better than the sum of its parts--it lives up to Paula's description of Georgian food relying on the harmony of its flavorings--"Nothing should dominate".

This dish with onion, eggplant, raw garlic, walnuts, coriander, chili, parsley, celery leaves, dill, and vinegar is quite the balance of ingredients, but it really sang, and came out as mostly creamy in character, despite some strong bitter and heat. I was a bit worried that the celery leaves plus the pulp of eggplants from which I didn't discard all of the seeds, due to time, and a slight shortage of eggplant would make it too bitter. Also, I chose to crush the garlic/pepper/walnut mixture in a mortar and pestle, which really broke down the cell walls, and released pungent garlic, and spicier chili flavor than I'd expected (I'd used others in this batch in stir fries and thought them a bit under spicy).

I'll definitely be keeping this one in my repertoire, perhaps making guests guess what is inside.

French Fries: SFBA Dish of the Month December 2014

I guess limp is the style of fries at Juhu, as that is what I got the last time I was there. I was surprised the rest of the group wanted a second order, and that I've heard them praised as a good item to order. I guess some people like their fries soft and floppy.

King oyster mushrooms

I agree, I've tried the first link, "even better vegan mushroom bacon" and it was great. I'm not the sort to be seeking out vegan bacon, and was dubious that adding a bit of maple syrup at the end would make me like it more, as I don't typically enjoy sweet, but these were great. I think it could easily be adapted to do over the grill.

Jul 03, 2015
...tm... in Home Cooking

Chowdown at Boiling BeiJing [San Bruno]

Six hounds gathered for a chowdown at Boiling BeiJing. The menu is quite extensive and encompasses Beijing specialties, Sichuan dishes, and several pages of Chinese American dishes.

A very helpful waiter helped us wade through the expansive menu, suggesting well based on our stated tastes. The dry pot with pork intestine was suggested by at least two staff members, but our group wasn't excited enough about it.
To the best of my memory, we ordered:

Hot and numbing shrimp hotpot (served as a dry pot, in a wok over a sterno burner)
jian bing guo zi
knife-shaved noodles
cucumber in garlic sauce
dumplings in hot oil
Beijing braised pork
husband and wife "sliced lung" listed as combination beef in spicy oil
Cumin lamb
dessert mochi and a pumpkin-based pancake

I feel like I'm missing something, please fill in missing dishes and details, fellow chowhounds. The company and the meal were quite nice.

Bibimbap: SFBA Dish of the Month June 2015

I stopped by my old standby, Pyeongchang tofu house. It's been a while since I've ordered anything but the soondubu, there, but I discovered they had two (picture) pages worth of bibimbap on their menu, which I likely have skipped over without noticing the details, were it not for bibimbap month http://pyeongchangtofu.com/menu.html includs sprouts oriented versions, standard and dolsot (with choice of tofu or beef, not all their BBQ meats as is common at many places), and fish roe versions.
I got the al dolsot bibimbap, which included kimchi, radish sprouts, and "assorted roe eggs" (tasted/sized like tobiko to me, but I'm no expert) for $16.99. They either serve the dolsot hotter here, or cook the rice in it over a burner for longer than other places, so the rice comes out crispy as soon as it arrives at the table. Leaving it longer can add a bit of char, which I kind of like. They bring out the plain rice with other orders in a dolsot, so no need to order the dolsot bibimbap if you want crispy rice. The banchan were even better than I remembered--I particularly liked the fermented celery they had this time, and the kimchi was at perfect ripeness/crunchiness. They always bring a small order of tofu soup if that isn't what you've ordered as a main. I usually order soondubu, so I'd forgotten. I also forget if the small soup I'd been served in the past was the non-spicy version I got this time.

dou ban jiang in ebay or sf?

Just one data point, but I stopped by sometime after possumspice's post (maybe April or May) and they had the douban jiang (which I already had, in triplicate), but not the ya cai or green sichuan peppercorns.

Uses of corn flour???

For some reason, even though you mentioned fresh corn, I was expecting a sweet cake, like this http://www.theatlantic.com/health/arc...
(read the linked essay, too, that's how I became aware of this).
Though corn pancakes have always been my preference, as I'm more of a fan of savory breakfasts.

Jun 28, 2015
...tm... in Home Cooking

Need help with ingredients for a Korean dish

I'm not sure on the plum liquid, though I'd just puree plum along with the onion and pear.
Gochugaru are chili flakes that are fairly mild in heat, and flakier (bulkier) than powdered chili, but smaller than chili flakes. I think chili flakes will be a fine substitution, but you'll want to reduce the amount to adjust for spiciness--just add what you think would be appropriate for your spice level given your experiences with your chili flakes.

Jun 28, 2015
...tm... in Home Cooking

More Information on Tags and Upcoming Beta

After reading through this thread it seems that the general consensus is that people value the regional boards. Obviously, following tags will generally replace this, but relies on proper tagging of posts by the original poster, without the ability of regulars to add more appropriate tags to a thread. While threads can, of course, be found by text search through google or in-site, the tags will be the primary way of following the interesting foodings in your community, the activity that has attracted me to chowhound since the text message board days.

I see that the hypothetical Reno or Denver user might want to follow only the "Reno" tag rather than the vague "Mountain States", and I as a SF Bay Area user might want to limit a search to Oakland or San Francisco, rather than the whole area, but I can't imagine a reason a post should be tagged with Oakland only and not the SF Bay Area, or even Reno only and not a larger category like the historical Mountain States, or perhaps a state hierarchy like Nevada (or both). To rely on individual (not group/ community) users to provide proper tags will result in a loss of a lot of useful information, that could be recovered, most simply, by hierarchical tags, which attach SF Bay Area to all Oakland tagged posts, or France to any Paris tagged post, or at least allow users to add tags to those the original poster in the thread used.

Boiling Beijing (San Bruno)

I stopped by here with a craving for the knife-shaved noodles others have mentioned, and really enjoyed them. The texture of the noodles was the big winner, though the pork and cabbage in the pan fried noodles had good wok hei and good flavor. I wanted a vegetable, so ordered the "Fresh Mushrooms w/ Grilled Vegetables" which turned out to be mostly braised baby bok choy. While this was nice an light and well done for what it is, it's not really something I would have ordered if I'd understood it was. I'll be back to try more.

SFBA Dish of the Month Nominations (June to December 2015)

FISH-FRAGRANT EGGPLANT (yu xiang qie zi)

Bibimbap: SFBA Dish of the Month June 2015

I ordered the steak tartare bibimbop ($11.99 at lunch) at Ohgane in Oakland. The rice came in a separate bowl from the cold ingredients and a squeeze bottle of gochujang was served on the side. I was initially worried, as the beef thread I picked up to test the seasoning on meat itself was partially frozen, and very lightly seasoned with sesame seeds and oil, and maybe some garlic. After mixing the bowl up the beef was no longer frozen, even before I added the warm rice, and the beef texture was tender, even in the longish strips. The overall mix was very refreshing, though a bit on the sweet side. I think most of the sweetness came from the seasoned/pickled vegetables rather than the gochujang, as when I tasted it plain my impression was that it was predominantly salty, and not very hot.

Though I eat Korean relatively frequently, I've rarely ordered the bibimbap, despite it being a very balanced lunch option. I guess I've usually ignored it, thinking it as a way in which the BBQ, banchan, and rice portions are chosen for me, rather than by me. Eight people voted for bibimbap--any other reports out there, or odes to what you're looking for in a good bibimbap?

Chef Lau's [Oakland] closed

I had noticed the past couple times I drove by that Chef Lau's i Oakland looked to be closed. I finally walked by the front today, and saw a sign that claimed "Closed for remodeling Mar. 1". There didn't appear to be any construction going on, and there was a few month's worth of graffiti covering the facade.
I'm sad to see it go, while fairly simple, it did Cantonese classics quite well, and served probably the best house soup I remember being served, with a lightly porky broth, with nice vegetal notes, and actual greens included.

Best Authentic Chinese in Richmond, CA

Yes, I think the analogy breaks down a bit. From the linked yelp, it seems like you're referring to the underground food stalls in Flushing in a rickety old building, with several mom & pop places, where Xi'an Famous foods got there start. The Pacific East Mall in Richmond is more like a smaller version of the shiny newish mall in Flushing with clothing stores and a food court on the lower level. There are several restaurants, and the place is anchored by an outlet of the large 99 Ranch Supermarket. Most of the restaurants don't have the mom and pop feel, and most are sit down. I like Ran Kanomh Thai, meant for takeaway to eat at home, and Saigon Seafood Harbor, which is actually just outside the interior mall. The Sichuan place in the mall has been hit or miss for me in the couple of times I've been there, and since Ancient Sichuan (mentioned by hyperbowler) is nearby (by car) I'd go there.
I thought you likely meant the Richmond district, as it is a bit more mom and pop, and you would find a similar density, and larger number of places walking around there than the Pacific East Mall, if wandering and sampling is your goal. There are several take-out dim sum places, most of which close by 6pm. My recs are a bit rusty in the Richmond, as I live in the East Bay now, but I've enjoyed Dong Bei Mama, Hong Kong Lounge II, Five Happiness, Spices II, and Mandalay (Burmese, but something SF does well compared to NY). Plus, several others I haven't made it to, but others have found interesting like Spicy Queen, Sichuan Home, Old Shanghai...

Post your second half 2015 cookware and kitchen deals and finds here.

I just got my shipment of these, and find them to be a very good value at $150. Though they are a bit thin compared to All-Clad's default line, they seem sturdy, and my first test of cooking a Tortillaland seemed to have at least as even heating as my previous disk-bottomed (but thicker) skillet.

Jun 10, 2015
...tm... in Cookware

Bibimbap: SFBA Dish of the Month June 2015

In trying to look up the price of bibimbap at a place I know to be cheap (T'Toust, Berkeley) I found this roundup of bibimbap in the East Bay http://www.thebolditalic.com/articles....
Their experience matches up with mine--difficult to find a main dish (such as bibimbap) at a Korean restaurant for < $10.

KronnerBurger - Oakland

yes, this is odd. White vinegar seems much like vodka to me--unless very low grade with an inappropriate amount of impurities in it it should all be pretty much the same.

Brazil Cafe = best sandwich in Berkeley?

Right, I think it is a matter of perspective. Like you said, for you a $10 sandwich is cheap.
I would never send anyone to Brazil Cafe if they asked "what's good in Berkeley", but when my co-workers want to go somewhere for sandwiches near Berkeley campus, my vote will often be for the Brazil Cafe stand, as I like having an array of vegetables on my sandwich, even if those vegetables might include canned corn or pineapple. The tri-tip has never been particularly beefy, but hasn't been overdone or gristly when I've gotten it, and the cilantro sauce can cover up many flaws.
When Slow was in business they offered higher quality ingredients (slightly less volume) at a similar price to Brazil Cafe, but oftentimes these suggestions are really too expensive for grad students, who opt for the many student-centered lunchmeat sandwich places near campus.

Bibimbap: SFBA Dish of the Month June 2015

I stopped by Jong Ga House on Grand Ave in Oakland for a lunchtime bibimbap. I've always been here in a group and haven't ordered their bibimbap before. They have a few more options than the usual choice of meats, and I chose the hae mul dol sot bi bim bab, partially because it came with a raw egg yolk, rather than the fried egg promised on the other versions.
The banchan here were good and plentiful (16) as usual. The marinated eggplant was particularly delicious. The dolsot arrived sizzling and piled high with stir fried seafood, zucchini, onions, and daikon in a moderately spicy sauce. The seafood mixture itself was decent, the plentiful mussels had a nice texture, the bay shrimp and octopus bits were a bit tough. The flavor was great, though--a bit smoky, and not as sweet as I've come to expect from bibimbap gochujang sauces, but with a nicely caramelized yet savory flavor. There were some fresh marinated veggies under the cooked mixture including zucchini and soybean sprouts. I let the bottom of the rice sit for a while and was rewarded with a nice crust. $14.99, but with the complimentary cold kimchi noodle soup and excess banchan, this was two meals for me, and I went in breakfastless and hungry.

Boiling Beijing (San Bruno)

These knife shaved noodles look great to me. It's hard to determine the scale, but it sounds like you're saying the youtiao in this jian bing is even bigger than Oakland's Tian Jin? That sounds like one gut-busting carb bomb, as I find half of Tian Jin's overwhelming. I'll have to go with a group.

Kouzina Greek Street Food, Montclair (Oakland)

I stopped by Kouzina for a quick lunch about a month ago and got the lamb/beef gyro with "greek fries". While I enjoyed the fries quite a bit, I found the gyro a bit disappointing. I generally like things strongly seasoned, but this meat was very overseasoned--it had the cured-ish texture of a Kronos stack, perhaps coming from some sort of salt, and very strong garlic and pepper, which I'd normally expect to be a good thing, but in this case was tongue tingling in a less than pleasant way. I did enjoy the soft (pocketless type) pita, but found the vegetable and tzatzki to be a bit skimpy. Maybe I got an oddly overseasoned patch off the stack, but it didn't have me rushing back.

Kobani: Kurdish kebab place on University in Berkeley

I stopped in within the first week of opening and got the combo platter of meats, which came with rice, bulgur in tomato sauce, a nicely dressed salad, and a roll (and some excellent hot sauce and yogurt sauce). I really enjoyed the adana kebab, which was well seasoned, moist, and flavorful. The meats that came off the spits were surprisingly tender, as the spits were down to their last few turns by the time I got there, but weren't as seasoned as I would like. The owner was very friendly and accommodating. Apparently they had a restaurant in San Francisco for quite some time. I'll be back to try something wrapped in the wonderful looking lavosh I saw at other tables

SFBA Dish of the Month Nominations (June to December 2015)

Congrats, bibimbap, you've been named DOTM, June, 2015!!

Bibimbap: SFBA Dish of the Month June 2015

Bibimbap has the largest share of DOTM votes in the ongoing nomination thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1014340, and I have no objections, so let us go with the vote of the hounds for July! The goal is to sample a wide variety of bibimbap amongst us, and perhaps find your favorite one.
Since bibim bap literally means mixed + rice, and most histories state it is derived from a dish to use up leftovers by mixing them with rice, there are many variations to report on: how was the rice? what were the toppings? could you order a dolsot version, and if so did the rice get crisped? how sweet/spicy was the gochujang? did it seem well balanced?
Versions I've come across include meat, seasoned vegetables, and egg on rice with gochujang, but a long, detailed take from the Korea Food Research Institute can be found here, detailing some linguistic history and varieties by ingredient and region
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/.... Has anyone come across other variations, some with an emphasis on herbs, such as those mentioned here: http://ethnoscopes.blogspot.com/2011/...? Or seafood varieties? Or a more traditional Jeonju bibimbap, with around 30 well-balanced in color ingredients, raw beef, and gochujang?

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

Ha! Though this begs the question, if dumplings are deep-fried (as it appears in the picture) are they truly pot stickers?
And a comment--the frustrating thing about this month of potstickers is that some were worse than dumping a bag of industrially made frozen potstickers into a deep fry, and most were worse than properly cooking from frozen in a pan, and all but one (so far, Great China) were worse than making them at home from premade wrappers (from Yuen Hop, for those that like thinner wrappers, maybe elsewhere) and an easy to assemble pork mixture.