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Oakland - Taqueria Durango – Mexican BBQ ribs & chicken

I stopped by this weekend, intending to order the carnitas and beans mentioned in this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9715...
but got sidetracked by the pork ribs, after asking what was on BBQ. I'm glad I did--I've found it difficult to get non-gloopy sauced ribs in the area and these were just what I was looking for. They are tender, but not falling off the bone and the spice rub really just emphasizes the porkiness. It's served with a hot sauce (mostly ground peppers, slightly bitter, not very sour). They aren't lo, slow, competition BBQ-they don't take on that much smoke flavor, and are probably cooked at medium temp for not too long. The side of beans I got didn't have any noticeable smoky character, but were delicious.

Apr 14, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Posole - SFBA Dish of the Month April 2014

I picked up posole from Taqueria Campos on Foothill Blvd in Oakland this weekend. Despite calling themselves a taqueria they really specialize in soups--the birria and menudo blanco I've gotten here have been really great.
The red posole had a mildly flavored broth, with large chunks of pork shoulder. The hominy retained some bite at the germ end, but was cooked so that most kernels were split at the other end. Served with limes, onions, cabbage, and radishes and two tacos dorados filled with pork, carrot, and potato. They are making fresh tortillas for each order here.

Apr 14, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Grocery Outlet -- April 2014

I got the Fiscalini garlic and chipotle cheddars from Oakland GO. for $7.99/lb. While I don't really understand why they're making flavored cheese with such high-quality product, at that price it made some delicious nachos, particularly the garlic version. I can see good mac and cheese coming from this also, as the melting properties were good. I prefer the Wellesey Farms pecorino Romano Romano I picked up for $8.99/lb. Vacuum packed, it is still soft relative to most pecorino Romano, but has the characteristic flavor, though on the mild side.
They also had the 22 (actually 21.2 oz) BeerLao, which is the best of the lager imports I've tried.
Their greens (kale, mustard) seemed to be a similar value to what I get at farmer's markets--here 99c for smallish bunches, fresh.
I took advantage of the wine sale, including the Lunatic, which was still there--a white blend I find interestingly floral. I've only gotten the chance to try the Cottonwood 2011 Pinot Noir, which I wouldn't buy again, due to blah-ness, for 10.99 before 20% discount and the "Top Chef Quickfire Chardonnay" which was ridiculously fruity, but worth the laughs. The have other varietals if you want to laugh for yourself.
I also bought, but haven't tried the Mario Batali spaghetti and fettucini for $1.49. Both have a promising texture and text on the back suggesting bronze die extrusion.

Apr 12, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

fior di noce Canti

I recently bought some from Whole Foods for $19.99/lb. While I didn't notice any overt walnut or bitter flavor in the cheese, it was noticeably different (dryer, in the tannic sense) than most pecorino of similary softness (fairly soft).

Apr 12, 2014
...tm... in Cheese

What is the best Robiola?

I recently got Robiola Bosina Alta Langha for $26.99/lb from Whole Foods (cow/sheep, despite being advertised as 3-milk on the $5 discount sign). It was pleasant, but very mild and creamy--not enough character for me to spend more than I would on a baseline soft cheese.

Apr 12, 2014
...tm... in Cheese

Hamro Aangan -- Indian/Nepalese [Albany]

Hmmm, I wonder if this is the same owner who used to run Chaat & Curries on San Pablo near University in Berkeley. They had above average chaat, particularly pani puri. The menu read as an odd mishmash to me, and they had momo, but they weren't as good as the chaat. I was introduced to it by a friend who's grandparents live in Bombay, and preferred it to Vik's. The mix of chaat and Nepali, plus okay chicken-only momo makes me think so. I wouldn't dismiss the chaat due to being from a non-native region--if Chaat & Curries was the previous incarnation they took great individual care to each order (though may have been from learned recipes from Vik's).

Apr 12, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Sticky Rice Cafe: Laotian, Thai (Oaktown)

Actually, I think Souk Savanh serves my favorite nam kao. They add quite a bit of shaved coconut. The herbs on the side are a bit more limited, and you definitely have to add the limes they provide, but the balance is really good, and I appreciate the crispiness and coconutiness.

Apr 11, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Tashi Delek: Tibetan, Nepalese, Indian & Bhutanese in El Cerrito

I just finished reading "Beyond the Great Wall" while on a plane and have been itching to make many of the noodles myself, but might stop by and check out the thain thuk here. According to Duguid, then thuk is the Lhasa dialect name for rolled out and cut noodle squares. Those at Tashi Deleka are listed as hand-pulled.

Apr 11, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Chow Dim Sum at Saigon Seafood Harbor Richmond 4/5

I take it that no mention of the shen jian bao means they weren't too special. I'm still looking for a great version.

Apr 10, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Rangoon Super Stars - Berkeley

I stopped by recently with a vegetarian companion and was surprised at how good the green tea salad and yellow tofu salads were, even without fish sauce (though I did ask that the dried shrimp be served on the side.) We also got the palada, which was a bit flabby, though much better toasted the next morning. I was surprised by the vegetarian curry served on the side--it wasn't the coconut milk/red curry paste version I expected, but a tomato and chopped vegetable tomato and dried spice based curry which included some chopped pressed tofu.
I'll definitely be back to sample more dishes.

Apr 10, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Fresh masa items, made to order

The Fruitvale Mi Pueblo has prepared masa for tamales and tortillas all the time, as do many Mexican markets. Most East Bay markets carry the La Finca brand, which has it's factory down the street in Fruitvale. I'm interested in the nixtimal because I'm not sure I can detect when fresh-made masa items are made from masa harina or "fresh masa". In the past when I've made items from store-bought prepared masa I haven't detected a huge difference from when I just use masa harina. I figure getting the whole kernels will guarantee my starting point.

Apr 10, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Fresh masa items, made to order

As an aside, I saw nixtimalized corn being sold by the bag at Mi Pueblo in Oakland a few weeks ago. I hadn't noticed it previously, so I don't know if it was a special, or a new thing.

Apr 10, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Indian catering in the Oakland/Berkeley area?

Agreed, I had it last year at my friends party--order ahead and pick up is definitely possible in bulk. The samosa cholle worked out well.

Mar 09, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

SF Dish of the Month (March 2014) - Nominations/Voting

NAM KHAO

Feb 23, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Osmanthus Oakland

I haven't been to Osmanthus, but have been nearby mid-afternoon a couple times recently and there has been a strong garlic smell coming from the place, making me hope the garlic noodles might be good.

Jan 15, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Sour beer in Berkeley

I've been there twice since they opened--both times it was really busy when I got there, but the wait to get a drink wasn't bad (and I'm a notorious hater of crowds). So far I've enjoyed all the sours I've tasted quite a bit, and was surprised at how much I liked their fruit-based sours as often I am not a fan. All their beers have a fairly bright, refreshing profile, even the darker ones I've tried. I can't wait until they start bottling.

Jan 06, 2014
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

teuchi soba lunch at ippuku [Berkeley]

I just walked by today and saw a sign indicating this was the last week of soba lunch, to be served on the 13th and 14th.

Dec 12, 2013
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Jook - SF Dish of the Month December 2013

I stopped by Gum Kuo last night to check out the jook to go--it seemed like a good late-night meal in the cold. I've been many times before, for the rice noodle rolls and noodle soups, which I've really enjoyed.
Unlike several of the other dishes of the month, jook is one I didn't feel like I had a good idea of the variety/traditionally desired characteristics of jook, I still don't have a clear picture. I'm not generally one for subtlety, which may be where the jook is losing me. I definitely prefer a strongly flavored broth, as I mentioned in this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8340...

I ordered the fresh-sliced fish porridge at Gum Kuo, though I was tempted by the house-special sampan (both of which were around $6.50, the regular sampan was more like $5.) While the fish was very tender, there wasn't much overall flavor to the jook, other than the predominant ginger slivers. The texture was pleasant enough--rice was burst, and there weren't really any grains that had much texture left. While waiting for my order the woman behind the counter made another order before mine, both seemingly from plain water-boiled rice.
So I guess my question is: is there any style of porridge where the stock flavor is predominant, or is it generally plain rice porridge with add-ins (and/or perhaps I'm not detecting subtle broth notes)?

Dec 08, 2013
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Screen jumps to bottom banner ad (Chrome)

Interesting--I haven't noticed the problem in the last week. I arrived at the previous link from my rss reader. I don't know where the # symbol got included, but will look for that as an issue in the future.

Dec 08, 2013
...tm... in Site Talk

Screen jumps to bottom banner ad (Chrome)

When I attempt to scroll down (on greyelf's excellent, long series of posts on her recent Bay Area trip http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/926287#) the screen jumps to the bottom banner ad. Anyone else having similar problems?

Dec 01, 2013
...tm... in Site Talk

"Slicers" Pizza on Piedmont Ave. next to Addesso in Oakland is Open!

Oops, I can't figure out how to remove that picture of mapo doufu in the edit, but here's a picture of my slice. It had a nice char, and the dough-only head portion was actually flavorful enough for me to finish, unlike many slices.

Nov 10, 2013
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

"Slicers" Pizza on Piedmont Ave. next to Addesso in Oakland is Open!

I stopped by last week, expecting to get a plain slice, as a litmus test, but the mushroom/kale slice looked so good I couldn't pass it up. It is now my favorite Bay Area slice joint. The kale was nicely roasted, the mushrooms fully cooked, and the overall balance good. And I'm pretty sure the fundamentals were some of the best I've had recently: the crust was thin and charred, of the floppy sort, but not because it's weighed down by too much cheese/liquid, just because it is very thin, and the sauce was very flavorful, in the tomato sense, not the overly-oreganoed sense.

Nov 10, 2013
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Sichuan food in SF?

I tried the mapo doufu for lunch at Lulu's Kitchen in Concord. I was offered only the lunch menu, which made it easy to focus on the dish of the month rather than peruse their many other interesting offerings.
This was a solid version, though I would have liked more Sichuan peppercorn and scallions sprinkled on the top. The meat, I believe, was beef, as determined only by the lack of sweet flavor pork generally has. It was soft cooked and melded into the sauce a bit too much. The spice level of the sauce was nice--it was very light on the fermented black beans, which I like, to the point where I didn't think they were present until I saw a couple (literally two, and the portion was large).
I'll definitely be back to Lulu's, but will likely order something either new to me, which they have plenty of on their menu, or difficult to execute as a home cooked dish.

Nov 10, 2013
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Sichuan food in SF?

Funny, I've ordered this dish at a couple places, including Happy Golden Bowl (I forget the current name) in El Cerrito, but always thought of it as water boiled fish with tofu added, but it looks like the name is actually mapo doufu ... http://www.happygoldenbowl.com/wp-con...
I make both myself and unless you add a lot of fermented black beans to the mapo doufu, they aren't terribly different. Though it looks like their are peanuts and chopped garlic in Grand Hot Pot Lounge's version, based on davidg1's picture, which sounds good to me.

Nov 10, 2013
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Please... looking for affordable restaurant recs for the Walnut Creek area....

Agreed. For some reason Sichuan Fortune House (the one in Pleasant Hill) has been a bit better for me, which is unfortunate, as I sometimes work in a building near Sichuan House. I've also enjoyed 54 Mint, though I've only had the porchetta sandwich, I don't know that I'd be thrilled with the dinner prices. If anyone has further suggestions on the Monument Blvd. Mexican scene I'd love to hear it. I'm a bit addicted to Tortilleria el Molino's tacos dorados and bags of house-fried (from their tortillas) chips. Bringing home those chips from the other side of the hills is one of the few things that make the journey through the tunnel worthwhile for me--people love them at parties. I think Chopan Kabob was mentioned, but I'll second it.
And, if you're into beer ØL BEERCAFE has a great selection. http://www.beer-shop.org/

Nov 06, 2013
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Hwy 101 co-opted; need help with new taco plan!

Ruth's plan is geographically sound, and I have to second trying the tinga on something from La Torta Loca and a soup at Taqueria Campos. I stop by Mi Pueblo frequently for groceries, but don't necessarily think it's worth going out of your way for (especially without a car)--it is a large supermarket with a Mexican focus.

The "other" suggestions are also good, (though the spelling should be corrected to Pho Ao Sen.) I didn't want to dissuade you from Rangoon SuperStars in your initial thread, as I haven't been there, but it has gotten some meh reviews. And, since you are known for your love of Vientian Cafe, I would suggest a rice ball salad crawl, or collection while you are in the Fruitvale-proximal area, especially if you are in car. Soukh Savanh (Intl & 20th Ave) served me my favorite nam khao, but is inconsistent, and often out of many of the Lao menu items. Their nam khao was the first time I'd noticed toasted/fried coconut in the mix, though after that revelation, I've noticed it in some other versions. (I think Champa Garden, 8th Ave and 21st St., but my memory is a bit fuzzy on this. Champa Garden has less of the sour sausage in it than most.) Chai Thai (Intl & 6th Ave) and Sticky Rice Cafe (Intl & 28th Ave) also produce good versions. Vientian Cafe's version is great, and was previously my favorite. In my memory, it has more inherent sour flavor than many of the other versions--I know I've had to add a lot more lime to Champa and Souk Savanh's versions.

Nov 06, 2013
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area
1

SF Dish of the Month (October 2013) - Voting

HAR GOW

Sep 30, 2013
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Hing Lung [San Francisco] [now Fremont]

Funny, I've been using your jook recipe and have found it is the only jook I've had that I actually crave--a combo of your recipe and rich homemade chicken stock makes it my favorite. As a gweilo I've tried it at several places to see how it "should" taste. I recently enjoyed East Ocean's version (chicken broth based, not fish), but still like your recipe better. Thanks!!
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2790...

Sep 21, 2013
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area

Hot Sour Salty Sweet - ebook on sale at Amazon

Thanks, that was an easy decision to impulse buy all three.

Sep 08, 2013
...tm... in Home Cooking

Non spicy dishes at China Village, Albany

I agree with others that the cabbage is spectacular and the smoked duck is generally acceptable. I haven't tried enough to show that the "Classic" (aka not-their specialty (maybe what Americans might expect) Chinese) dishes to know that they are bad in general, but y roommate's eggrolls weren't great.
I I have found, however, that many of my friends who are seriously averse to spice, when adequately encouraged to try a water-boiled beef dish with sesame pancake, really liked it, and were very surprised at how "addictive" it was. So, even if an extreme minority of people think they like spicy dishes, it is worth it, in a group of 20, to order at least one of their showcase dish.

Aug 08, 2013
...tm... in San Francisco Bay Area