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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.

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

AL PASTOR

Sicilian Pizza anywhere?

Arinell has Sicilian. I like it better than their regular slices (crust is too hard) but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

Volunteers for SFBA Dish of the Month Coordinator (June to December 2015)

I can volunteer for June, I hope people start voting...

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

STEAK TARTARE

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

CHOW FUN

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

Yes, I've experienced that mushy bland filling in the China Village potstickers--it was so blah I've had to discourage several friends, who are a bit afraid of the rest of the China Village menu from ordering them.

I just had the worst potstickers of the month at Shan Dong in Oakland. As I remembered from my early trials after moving to the Bay Area, they're extremely mushy. The filling seems to have extra Napa compared to most, and maybe it isn't salted and drained, but the worst part was the wrapper. It was rather thick, but still didn't hold together--half the potstickers ripped before or when they were picked up. The texture was very gummy, without any bite.

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

Everything but the potstickers at House of Pancake in SF was great. Though the texture of the wrapper was fine, the filling was a bit off. The pork was very finely ground and tasted like the longer-salted/cured fillings often found in pancakes where the ground meat fibers have fused to each other. The filling was juicy enough to stain 2/3 of the diners' shirts, but just didn't have the right texture--not much Napa cabbage, and a firm but loose structure.

Orenchi Ramen, San Francisco [Orenchi Beyond]

Hmm, I thought I had uploaded a photo. Here's a pic that shows the perfectly cooked egg.

Chowdown Report: Little Shanghai in San Mateo

Thanks, I was trying to google for a Chinese name, and "Shanghai radish pancake" led to youdunzi led to your site (though obviously for yet another kind of radish cake).

Chowdown Report: Little Shanghai in San Mateo

It was great to get together with some fellow chowhounds and explore more of the menu at Little Shanghai.
My favorites included the 5-spice pig's ear, which had great flavor and texture.
I also enjoyed the radish pancakes. I was expecting something like the rice flour based radish cakes served at dim sum, but these were more like the baked pastry buns mentioned here by soupçon as crab shell dumplings. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1012..., but they were filled with grated radish that had a delicious savoriness (once I got over burning my mouth with the first bite). The combination of the well-griddled tops with sesame seeds and savory radish was a winner.
The beggar's chicken came wrapped not in clay or dough, but in both plastic wrap and aluminum foil (on top of the lotus leaves). My first round of chicken I got some of the backbone and thought it was rather dull, not even very salty, but the second round there was some breast left, and it actually had a lot more flavor than my first piece--it had taken on some of the lotus leaf flavor, which I really enjoy, and was well salted.
For the pan fried noodles with eel I was expecting Shanghai noodles, so was surprised to see a Hong Kong style fried chow mein, that wasn't completely crisped. I prefered the nian gow, which had decent wok hei. Though, I have to admit, I'm usual disappointed in nian gow dishes since I started making my own non-traditional versions where the rice cakes are fried to have crispy edges, then combined with the sauce--the crispiness holds up pretty well.
Thanks to hyperbowler for organizing, Vincent for the fruit and wine, and Robin for starting these posts and suggesting the radish cakes.

Hsin Tung Yang sliced noodles?

I agree--these are great textured dry noodles. I saw them last weekend at the Lion in Newark.

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

The potstickers at Great China in Berkeley had most of the elements of a great potsticker, but ther large size made them impossible for the elements to work together and knocked them down several notches in my opinion.
The wrapper and crisping of the bottom was great--it had the smoothness I've come to expect from when I bother to roll out hot water dough for dumplings. The filling was flavorful and juicy, though just a bit dense and meatball-like for my taste, but that is nitpicking. The real problem is that it was too wide to pick up with chopsticks, and too wide to bite a portion that got wrapper, filling and juice. If they were 1/2 to 2/3 the size they would be a lot better. Or even, if you're going for jumbo size, the elongated, but probably equal volume version from Mandarin Garden I mentioned in this thread were easier to get a decent initial bite in. It is probably best for my healt that they keep their potstickers oversized, as I work nearby and would be tempted to order a more bite-sized version nearly every day.

Jay Bharat Bay Area – Gujarati in Fremont

I stopped by Jay Bharat in Newark http://jaybharat.com/jay-bharat-bay-a.... I'm not really familiar with Gujarati food, so I don't have a strong basis for judgement, but it seemed like good, not great, home-style food. The Kathiyawadi thali came with 2 bajra (pearl millet) rotlas, 2 veg curries, kathod, 2 appetizers, masala khichdi (spiced rice), kadhi, jeera chaas, dessert, jaggery, garlic chutney, and papad. My favorites were the kadhi, jeera chaas, and the khaman that came as one of the appetizers (patra was the other). The khaman (a cube of leavened, steamed chickpea batter) was very light and fluffy, lightly sweet, and very lightly spiced, topped with mustard seeds. The kadhi, a yogurt based gravy, was lighter in texture and more sour than other versions I've had (or made) and had a really nice seasoning. The two vegetable curries were tindora, which was relatively simple in spicing, though the tindora retained a nice texture, and a mixed vegetable with potatoes that had a bit more of a gravy, but a mushy texture that wasn't my favorite. I particularly liked the garlic chutney. And the millet rotla weren't my favorite, but I suspected that would be the case, as I'm not really a fan of the heavier flatbreads you get if there aren't air pockets trapped by gluten. The dessert was shrikhand, which I tried a small spoonful of at the restaurant to make sure it was a dessert and not some yogurt to go with the curries. It was served chilled and seemed intriguing and pleasing. I was completely full after the thali and took it home with me and ate it later, at a warmer temperature and it was overwhelmingly sweet to me (though I am, admittedly, not a sweet lover). The texture was nice and thick and smooth, and it had some cardammom flavor, but I don't think it had any saffron. A better option would be to eat it with poori, one of the menu combos.
They have some oddities on their menu, like Mexican and Italian samosas and a "quesadilla" section. I saw some orders of the fusion foods going out--a mexican samosa and masala fries were ordered by two separate parties in the time I was there.

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

Thanks, I had no idea there was a name for this, besides leftovers! Or that boiled then fried dumplings might be translated as "pan-fried dumplings".
I haven't been to the 5/$1 shops (now 4, apparently) for maybe a dozen years now, so my memories aren't that sharp, and I don't remember the dumplings being boiled first, but it could very well be the case. It does seem that one of the more upscale (they have tables and chairs and website!!) ones uses the characters for guo tie on their menu. http://vanessas.com/chinatown/
I'm not trying to advocate for them being good dumplings (they're 5/$1), but rather as a reference for the skin thickness I prefer, which may be completely untraditional, but is somewhere between the thin wrappers sold in grocery stores and the lumpen dumps often served at take-out/delivery focused American-Chinese places.

Orenchi Ramen, San Francisco [Orenchi Beyond]

I walked by about 15 minutes after the 5 pm opening on a Sunday and noticed empty seats at the bar, so walked on in. I ordered the beyond ramen, which currently doesn't come with an egg, but I added one, and am glad I did, as the initial yolk burst was probably my favorite bite. It was warm and perfectly cooked and seasoned.
My ramen came shortly after I ordered, so maybe they have the production problems under control now, though perhaps not, as, in retrospect I'm pretty sure they forgot my seaweed. I enjoyed the broth, found it very porky and emulsified enough to be tonkotsu, though it's been a few years since I've been to Halu. I really appreciated the firm noodles, which were thicker than most ramen I've had, which I enjoyed. I thought it was a good bowl of ramen, and noticed the fried dishes being delivered to the people around me looked quite good too. I don't know that I'd wait in a long line, but I'd happily go back under lineless circumstances.

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

After having sampled some jiaozi and the Tianjin pork buns and the chow mein at House of Dumplings in Union city http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691226 I ordered a round of potstickers. The other items were a bit disappointing, but I thought the less delicate wrappers on the jiaozi might mean that their potstickers would be closer to my ideal form of relatively thick wrappers. It turns out they were. The size was right, about 3 in across, they were crescent shaped, but not pleated, and the wrapper had a bit of a bite, like I like. The filling was somewhat juicy, but a bit less flavorful (probably less salt and green onion) than I'd had earlier in the week at Mandarin Garden. If I were back in the area I'd consider stopping by for the potstickers, and perhaps pick up a frozen order. I'm not sure if they were using the same wrappers for their boiled jiaozi and the potstickers, but the boiled dumplings seemed a bit gummy to me, while the potstickers did not. The width of the wrapper was similar.

Mandarin Garden visit - Concord Chinese-Korean

Mandarin Garden's menu and lunch crowd is dominated American Chinese lunch specials, but if you look long enough you find a few clues that they have some Korean Chinese background, namely chachang mien and "spicy noodle soup", which I'm assuming from these previous posts is jjampong, though without having these posts in the back of my mind I don't know if I would have noticed any of this in the multi-page menu. I talked about the potstickers in the DOTM thread herehttp://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1012123?commentId=9558248#9558248, which had a flavorful, juicy filling. The jjajangmyun arrived in two separate bowls of noodles and sauce for me to mix together. The proprietress brought my potstickers and told me I hadn't mixed in enough sauce, "it is more delicious that way and it isn't too salty", which was true. I'm not someone with a salt aversion, but I've often found this dish to be too salty and yet still blah, the only flavor coming through being the salty bean paste. So I don't order it much, but I did enjoy this version. The noodles seemed like standard packaged noodles, but were cooked to the perfect, still slightly firm doneness. Everything in the sauce was very finely chopped, except two tailless perfectly cooked shrimp.
I wouldn't go out of my way for this restaurant, but as it is near a location I go a couple of times per month I'll likely be back to sample more goods, as there does seem to be attention paid to technique. Maybe I'll even try a lunch special with fried wonton skins that appeared to be very popular (admittedly, they did look well-fried).

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

I tried the potstickers at Mandarin Garden in Concord. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3676.... The restaurant had that retro feel with Chinese Zodiac placemats that remind me of the types of restaurants where I first learned to love potstickers. The potstickers here had the best tasting filling I've tasted in a long time--pork forward and very juicy, much of it coming from pork fat, with a great soft but still meaty texture, and noticeable green onion flavor. The wrapper was not as exciting to me. The dumpling was very large, about twice the size I'd consider ideal, at least 4.5 inches long and the wrapper was a bit thinner and looser than I'd prefer. The bottoms were nicely browned, but the browning was a bit uneven, likely due to the looseness of the wrapper, and the tops pleated and without the gumminess that can sometimes curse potstickers. All in all, a good specimen, though my ideal is smaller, with a thicker, tighter wrapper.

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

Is it my imagination, or just a failure to envision the 3d folds in the 2d picture, but these look somewhat open on the bottom rather than crescent shape. The filling obviously doesn't go to the end, but the flattened bottom shape looks a bit different.

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

I gave up on seeking out potstickers in the Bay Area several months after moving here (about 8 years ago). To me, the ideal potsticker is a juicy pan fried pork dumpling with a crisp bottom and relatively thick (maybe 2 mm) wrapper with a bit of a bite to it, but isn't doughy or gummy. My preferred wrapper width is a bit wider than that sold at Yuen Hop Noodle Co in Oakland as a potsticker wrapper, and definitely thicker than those sold at most Chinese groceries.
It seemed to me that the most common flaw in the guo tie I was finding here was that the wrappers were too thin, and were likely the uniform wrappers from a wrapper factory. Most seemed less juicy, as well, perhaps because the filling wasn't sealed in as well as with my ideal of a wrapper. Many I wouldn't have been disappointed in if I'd ordered yaki gyoza, but I'm less tempted to order those, partially due to my personal taste preference for more toothsome dumplings, but also because I'm the sort who doesn't want to order something out that could easily be made as well or, sadly, better with an inexpensive, readily available package of Aji No Moto Gyoza.
Oddly, the second most common way the Bay Area potstickers weren't to my taste was that some had a kind of pasty, mealy interior rather than the pork-forward version I was looking for. I'm not sure if this came from too much cabbage, too lean pork, or some other filler.
Of course, there is such a thing as too thick a wrapper and is the third most common flaw in potstickers I've tried here, though might be the most common flaw in generic American takeout Chinese, and I have gotten them from places that are mostly take-out/delivery operations. They are more like lumps than dumplings, as they are often misshapen from the traditional crescent shape, probably by non-careful freezing. They have very thick wrappers that are often gummy, perhaps from preboiling, and even though the wrapper is thick it doesn't necessarily have any bite to it.
Now, I grew up on potstickers in the Midwest in the 80's/90's, a time when it seemed like there was a transition in Chinese restaurants from places that wanted to seem like an "exotic" location to tons of take-out delivery options. My idea was reinforced during my time in New York, when the 5/$1 dumpling shops were really taking off, which had the same general proportions and dough type that I had previously experienced. I may be chasing after a strange bastardization of cuisines that is primarily prefered by those who grew up on it, like Indian Chinese or California pizza. Or perhaps the stronger Cantonese influence in the Bay Area led to a general preference for a more delicate and subtle version. Or maybe I imagined these juiceless, thin skinned versions I tried when I first moved here because I can't name a single example (that's what happens when you're too lazy to post, so your memories are searchable), though I remember being surprised after reading through several pre-2005 threads and seeing a common comment was that the skins were too thin, when I often thought the opposite. I'd love to hear others' thoughts.

NY style slice near SFO/San Mateo

Yes, definitely. Also, drunk me and my drunk friends in NY. How about some after midnight pizza, Bay Area?
Also, though I've only sampled the SF version of Amici's, I'd recommend San Carlos' Speederia over that. Delfina is good, not a slice joint, but has a location near the airport.

Sushi Cooking Classes?

I've seen one listed at the former Nombe

http://www.nombesf.com/#!cooking-clas...

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

I had it from Holy Land a few months ago and my guess from memory is that it was homemade, but not very well. It was very greasily fried, and retained some raw dough character. It was edible after blotting some oil off and toasting, but I would not order it again.

Chowdown at Grocery Cafe, Oakland [Burmese]

I was back for another large group dinner, where dishes were largely the same, though with ohn no kauk swe rather than the mohinga. It was very rich with coconut milk, and a bit sweet. Questions about where the crunchiness came from reminded me of one thing that was a bit suboptimal with the large group servings--as you can see in Melanie's photo the noodles and chickpea fritters are put in the bowl before pouring the soup over. On my previous solo visit, I was served them separately with a to-go order, and they were some of the best and crunchiest I've had at a Burmese restaurant, irregularly shaped and airy, with partially whole peas within. I also wanted to add lime to the soup and a couple other dishes, next time I'm not wedged in the back of the table, I'll ask.
And I've included a picture of the samusa because it was quite different from the previous version--though still well-fried, the filling had more distinct chunks of potato and split chick pea, and maybe onions and peppers, and a very distinct sprinkling of the "sweet spice"/garam masala-like mixture that was part of many of the curry dishes rather than the smooth, subtly spiced version I remember from a week ago. I'll have to go back to see if there is a more typical version.

Cornology (Popcorn shop) now open in SF North Beach, Livermore, Emeryville, Milpitas

I'm assuming they're serving popcorn, not puffed corn kernels. If so, there is currently no GMO popcorn on the market. Their claims seem to be solely 100% organic (non-GMO), with no mention of the origin of their other ingredients which include soy oil, canola oil, soy lecithin, and corn syrup, all of which are likely to be non-organic and GMO. I find most of their statements to be pretty disingenuous, and for some reason they feel the need to impose the text "Conventionally grown corn concentrates toxic fertilizers and pesticides in each harvest, which remain long after the corn is popped" over two non-popcorn pictures.

Bay Area Food Festivals and Events, Spring 2015

I wish I'd been able to make it to the even I posted, but found out about it after I'd made plans for the weekend.
A constant source of events are the readings, with occasional food at Omnivore Books
http://www.omnivorebooks.com/events.html
Some that caught my eye:
Mon. April 20 • Corey Lee • Benu • 6:30-7:30p.m.
April Bloomfield. A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden • 6:30-7:30p.m.
and many more...

April 2015 COTM: POLPO, chapter 5, Vegetables

I also made the cauliflower gratin, and I agree it is easy and good, though I guess it was about what I expected from the ingredients, and there had been soo many accolades here that I expected something other than nicely textured cauliflower in a smooth and delicious cheese sauce. It is, which is great.

Apr 15, 2015
...tm... in Home Cooking

April 2015 COTM: POLPO, chapter 5, Vegetables

Ah, I guess monksbeard (barba de frate) is also known as agretti. I've gotten it at the Grand Lake Oakland farmers' market and I even grew it for a year, though I haven't seen plants or seeds since. It's not as salty as sea beans, and is a bit more acidic, but does have a similar texture.

Thin sliced bread for tea sandwiches

I found this thread a couple years ago when I had a spread that called out for the "party rye".
I was recently at Piedmont Grocery, where I found most items to be overpriced, but noticed they had the first cocktail sized bread I'd seen in the bay area--Rubschlager brand rye and pumpernickel, and for the very reasonable price of $2.19, particularly for a commodity I haven't seen elsewhere.
I guess I no longer have to suppress any recipe ideas involving party rye.