...tm...'s Profile

Title Last Reply

Burmese KItchen Re-opens on Geary Street. [San Francisco]

I haven't made it out there yet, but am on their email list, which lists a couple more central locations to get their tea leaf salad.

Can't make it to the Inner Richmond? We have our signature dish at the following locations:
Bulldog Coffee: 888 Brannan St. (Airbnb HQ)
The Coffee Smith: 401 Golden Gate Ave.

Looking for Best Yogurt in the Bay Area

Since this old thread has popped back up, I've found a new favorite, the yogurt at Crossroads World Market in Hayward is by far my favorite. Tangy, thick, and smooth. Probably extra fat.

French Fries: SFBA Dish of the Month December 2014

A bit late, but I just had the fries with the burger at Hopscotch in Oakland and they were some of the best I've had in a while. The outsides were crisp, not greasy, and the interior fluffy and flavorful. Just what I'm looking for in a fry.

First Smoke’s Poutinerie in the USA Opens in Berkeley

I stopped by the other day and have to say it is one of my least favorite of the mediocre student lunch options.
To be fair, I'm a bit predisposed to dislike poutine--I'm convinced people are just intrigued by its name and its absurdity. The best thing about fries are their crispiness--gravy is one of the most liquid substances you can put on them, unless you're trying to make a beer/fry float or something crazy. In addition, as a Midwesterner, I see cheese curds as a bland by product of the industrial cheesemaking process, which, when fresh can have an interesting squeak and freshness. When melted, they're just a bland but meltable cheese and to me, any flavorful cheese, even if non-melty (like the currently popularish feta "Greek fries" would be preferable.
But I gave the Smoked Meat Peppercorn Poutine a try while completely sober, and, expectedly, disliked it. For a place called Smoke, the "smoked meat" was the weakest among many weak elements. It was supermarket lunchmeat gelatinous slices, haphazardly placed in a couple big piles on the top. The best thing I can say is I detected some smokiness. The other elements were similarly mid-grade, and sloppily assembled. Although they were assembling several fryers to fry new fries while I was there, the fries in the bottom of my poutine showed no signs of having been crisp before the deluge of toppings. The gravy was gloopy and not very meaty. The mushrooms were good--better than their appearance in the pictures of dishes, where they appear severely undercooked. In addition to the parts being sub-par, the assembly was very sloppy, with the gloopy gravy creating a steaming top over the fries, and all of it squished in the serving box, with the sense that filling it to and over the top is a better thing to do than judicious, even placement of the toppings, or some attempt to not sog all fries.

Upscale ethnic dinner in the East Bay for Valentine's day

But think of all the skewered hearts you could eat!

Goat Cuisine in the Bay Area

I'd bet that "hung curd" means strained yogurt. I've often seen/heard yogurt refered to as curd by those who learned English on the Indian subcontinent.
Sounds delicious. I've enjoyed the goat curry at Kabana in Berkeley. Not a huge portion of goat, but good flavor (also Punjabi style). They appear to have a goat biryani on their online menu, though I haven't noticed it in restaurant before (online says weekends only.)

Upscale ethnic dinner in the East Bay for Valentine's day

Juhu Beach Club, along a similar vein of more expensive, more attention to ingredients/sourcing, not necessarily upscale. And tasty.

Does Berkeley Bowl have Finger Limes?

I ordered them from Good Eggs last year and they were from Stepladder Ranch, you could try contacting them.

Gum Kuo--no duck congee, but fresh rice noodle rolls [Oakland]

I've enjoyed Gum Kuo's rice noodle rolls in the past, but I was recently served two very gummy, not so great rolls. I don't know if it was an off night or if they've lost their touch with the rolls. There were still people lined up for takeout, mostly roast meats, so I doubt they've gone downhill entirely, but the gummy mess we were served was nothing like the delicate rolls of he past.

chowdown at Ancient Szechuan in El Cerrito 1/25/15

I loved the company and food at the chowdown. There were a few misses, but the wins more than made up for it. The front of house staff was completely different from the other couple times I'd been there, consisting mainly of women, rather than the two waiters formerly of China Village.
My favorites included:
the sesame flatbread (as usual, and Ridge mentioned more layered, fluffy, and fried crisp on the outside than China Village's. I hadn't noticed the additional sweetness before, but in retrospect that is also true.)

the village style sauteed pork-I liked the balance of flavors-chili heat with some acid and salt. It had a similar saucing as the gizzards (which also contained the preserved pork belly, which wasn't noticeably smoky to me), but I prefered the veg mixed with meat, rather than all meat, even though the vegetables were celery and green pepper.

the lotus root--the lotus was nice and crunchy

the wood ear with lime--the wood ear were rehydrated expertly, and the dressing was very refreshing.

I liked the "chuan-style cold noodle" which was oily, spicy, salty and slightly acidic, with firmer textured noodles and a lot of Sichuan peppercorn oomph. I did not like the dan dan noodles which seemed to me to be mushier noodles flavored only with sesame paste and starchy water. I'm someone who does like sesame paste in dan dan noodles, but it needs the flavor balance of the chuan-style noodle plus the paste. I did like their pea shoot accompaniment okay.

The spicy shredded potatoes was an exemplar prep (compared with those I've had in the Bay Area), with crisp, acidic potato shreds, I'm just not a big fan of this dish.

The cabbage was not a great version of this dish--though it did appear to be hand torn, it was not wok charred, which is what I usually find to be the best part, and the sauce was a bit sweet. We may have handicapped ourselves, confused by the pages long menu and other cabbage dish we showed the waitress a version of the China Village menu with hanzi, and confirmed sour cabbage, so it might not be on their menu, or something they regularly make.

The west style fish soup was not my favorite version, but still tasty. Chilis were not left i long enough for my taste, nor were they charred. I thought I detected porky notes in the broth, along with chicken, which at China Village has always seemed to be just chicken.

The pork belly in spicy garlic sauce was tasty, and ended up being my favorite dish for the sesame bread dipping. It had some prepared chili sauce in it, which I thought was unusual, as I was expecting garlic and liquids/oils, but it tasted good.

I was fairly indifferent about the steamed love fish filet. The sauces seemed a bit one note to me. The red chili bean sauce might have been straight up laoganma, and the green might have been some home-pickled (salt pickled) chili. I enjoyed it, but probably wouldn't order again.

Roti canai / roti prata SFBA Dish of the Month January 2015

Interesting to hear your and DaveMP's reports on Rangoon Super Stars palata. When I ordered it (months ago) I got the vegetarian version and was intrigued that the sauce was not coconut based--it was a simple tomato based Indian-style curry with vegetables like peas and potato. I was dining with an Indian vegetarian, so it seemed appropriate. The palata was rather dense and oily, and not good until I took the leftovers home and crisped them up.

Cozy, quiet, comfortable place with good pizza in Berkeley-Oakland area?

The place that is now Sliver was formerly, briefly Sportivo, which served a Puzzola pizza.

vietnamese [Oakland]

I’d been worried that Monster Pho was one of those “too cleaned up”, less flavorful places for some reason (maybe the no peanuts proclamation), but was very pleased with the combination bun I got from Monster Pho. I particularly liked the imperial roll, which had more and more flavorful pork than versions I’ve had recently. All the grilled meats (chicken, pork, beef) were well seasoned and grilled. The only slight disappointment were the shrimp, which were just a bit blah flavorwise and texturally. I wouldn’t hesitate to stop in again.

Imm Thai, Berkeley

I enjoyed my brief visit to Imm Thai Street Food. I had intended to order noodles, but ended up ordering the Kana Moo Krob. Though the pork belly was a bit overcooked for my taste (it may have been of the deliberately dried, partially salted/cured, then fried type). The gai lan was perfectly cooked, and the sauce was well balanced. The meal was one of the best values in the area, for good food, including the beer. Imm Thai has now moved to the top of the list in my mind for Thai lunch near Berkeley campus.

Himawari Ramen - San Mateo.

I stopped by Himawari in San Mateo late night for some ramen. I had the clams asari shio ramen and found it to be very much to my taste--I’m a huge linguini with clams fan. There were only 5 or so clams in the soup, and the clams themselves were nothing to write home about, but the broth had a nice clam juice, garlic, butter, and scallion flavor. I'm surprised that others thought there wasn't enough clam flavor, as I found it very satisfying and clammy. The noodles were firm, and remained so as I finished them, though that was relatively quick. There weren’t a lot compared to some other ramen joints, though I found this to be the perfect single serving size. I really enjoyed it and will be back. Looks like I'll also have to head to Tanto if they have superior clam ramen.

Patio Filipino Review (San Bruno)

I wish I would have had time to check the chowhound recs before a last-minute order using eat24 after an airport dropoff around their 9:30 closing time (though Patio Filipino was on my radar since I heard they had good pancit about 8 years ago, so I have no excuse for not ordering that). I got the lechon kawali and the pinakbet to go. The lechon was fairly standard, crispy and not tough. They payed attention to the takeout situation and cut out the corners of the to-go container so it stayed crispy, rather than steaming itself. The lechon sauce was sweeter than I prefer, without much livery or peppery counterbalance.
I hadn’t had pinakbet before, and though I was excited by the description of a shrimp paste flavored sauteed vegetable dish with bittermelon I was disappointed in the results. There was a lot of bittermelon relative to the other vegetables, and the whole dish was quite bitter. I wish it had a bit of acid, or more saltiness, and less of an overall stewed, bitter taste.

China Village (Albany) is open!

I stopped by China Village recently for lunch for the first time in a while. The first time I’d gone after the remodel I got an underflavored West Style Fish Soup and service that was just as confused by the new menu as I was.
This time, the water-boiled beef was as I remember it, though in a smaller bowl for the 9.99 lunch portion. We also got the ma po tofu crab, which was a bit of a mis-step, but mostly in the way I had expected beforehand. I didn’t find that the crab and ma po sauce were really better together--it made the crab difficult to eat and covered up any subtle sweetness it may have had. I enjoyed the seafood flavored ma po sauce, but this could likely be accomplished in easier ways than putting a whole, partially cracked crab in there. It was served with its carapace with crab fat attached. I was surprised that I actually liked the leftovers from this dish better than the first try. It gave more time for the crab flavor to infuse into the sauce. I was also a bit disappointed that the sichuan peppercorn was minimal to none in the ma po dish.
The shao bing was the same as usual--denser, less flaky, and less fried, though more sesame forward than that at Ancient Szechuan in El Cerrito. The toddlers and sister-in-law ordered potstickers, which weren’t very browned and the filling was a bit mushy and undistinguished. To my memory, though, I haven’t found any potstickers I’ve loved in the Bay Area. I should probably start a thread. They also ordered the walnut shrimp, which was better than other “Classic” items my friends have ordered in the past.

Goat Cuisine in the Bay Area

I got some goat bacon there the week before Christmas. Sweeter than I was expecting, but good.

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.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/983255

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
1

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

POTSTICKERS (guo tie)
(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.