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Eater List: late night dining spots in SF

I believe I've seen this question ("Where can I get something to eat, I'm coming in late to SFO.....") a couple of times on the board. Just ran across this on the Eater website so thought it might be helpful to someone.

Late Night Dining Deals in SF
http://sf.eater.com/maps/best-late-ni...

El Cerrito pub crawl

I think vespadoggie means Hamro Aangan, on San Pablo where Solano starts, on the other side of the Bev-Mo parking lot. Good naan (including the lamb) and the fried housemade cheese is good altho Kabana's fried cheese ranks at the top for us.

And I seem to recall Yelpers waxing enthusiastic about the taco truck in the parking lot of Hotsy Totsy, altho we haven't tried it yet.....

Petit Crenn opens Aug 11

FYI, I ran across this helpful description re Petit Crenn's seating arrangements from Tablehopper:
http://www.tablehopper.com/chatterbox...

Dirty Habit: wonderful food; won't be back.

We were outdoors when we visited; it was only marginally quieter there. I kept wondering how soundproofed the windows are in the walls that surround the outdoor space.

Glad you at least had good food. Our food was terrible, a real let-down after Bazirgan's exquisite updated Cal-French when it was Fifth Floor. FF used to be one of our favs and we took friends there three separate occasions as well as going by ourselves twice, but DH was a huge disappointment.

What to order @ la folie?

Recommend:
- Foie Gras
- Lamb
- Goat cheese tartin
- Edam souffle for dessert: one of the most stupendous desserts you can imagine
- the tasting menu is exquisite, and we love that one diner can opt for it while others at the same table can pick from the regular menu. LOVE the flexibility of that attitude, a refreshing difference these days.

Note:
- The oxtail terrine is good but heavy/filling.
- If the lobster corn soup is still on the menu, it was amazing at our June 2015 dinner.
- Same with the ocean trout; if still there, it's phenomenal.

Not recommended
- We did not like the lobster risotto. The 2012 version was small, creamy, rich, amazing. The June 2015 version was too al dente with creme fraiche, which I never like with shellfish because I think it overwhelms their delicate sweetness.

Napa Valley Lunch - Saturday, Late September

Wow, you didn't enjoy Auberge that much? We adore it, and would certainly rate it higher than the others you listed. Oh, well, diversity makes the world go 'round, LOL.

7x7 just did a nice writeup on eating and shopping in downtown Napa, albeit they left off Tarla Grill (Turkish), which is low-key casual but some of the best food in Napa. We went there on the recommendation of our Turkish friends who consider it one of the few in the Bay Area they approve of.

7x7 August 2015 downtown Napa article: http://www.7x7.com/travel/modern-guid...

Tarla Mediterranean Bar & Grill
1480 1st St, Napa, CA 94559
They just got a fancy new website: http://www.tarlagrill.com/

Upscale lunch suggestion

If you want Boulevard for lunch you're restricted to Fridays. They don't do lunch on weekends, only dinner.

Narrowing down Yountville/Healdsburg

What did you have at Farmstead that you liked? I'd love to know. The trouble with one-off visits is that (1) you can't try a lot with only two people and (2) maybe you're just hitting them on a bad day.

We were at Farmstead Feb 2015. The sole winner - and it was a BIG winner - was the "Mini La Quercia ham sandwiches with pepper jelly". Absolutely amazing! The chef used biscuits, not bread. These were the best biscuits we've had since chef Banks White left FIVE/Berkeley for NYC.

The crab Louie, otoh, was horrendous. Thousand Island (not Louie) dressing swamped the entire plate, as well as gluing the seafood together so it could be piled atop quarters of tightly-leafed romaine lettuces, complete with the core. DH needed his steakknife to disassemble it.

We have no idea why a pile of red pickled onion shreds as well as a dozen whole cornichons were floating around in this ocean of dressing. They were certainly not needed as the dressing was already loaded with both, chopped, in quantity.

My entrée was a CA rainbow trout, with mushrooms, fennel, almonds and a bacon vinaigrette. I received an overcooked, unsalted boned filet, whose skin had softened to a limp mess, buried under no less than two inches of piled-high half-raw fennel shreds, mushrooms, and enough almonds to fill a Skippy jar full of nut butter, slicked with bacon grease but not enough balsamic to pull these disparate ingredients together.

I love trout, but farmed trout needs salt. It's much blander than wild trout. Committing the double sin of overcooking the flesh but allowing the thin, crisped skin to wilt in a vinaigrette was an injustice to a fine little fish. This was one of the worst variants of truit aux amandes I've ever encountered. Every bite of this one crunched...a lot.

The chocolate cream pie reminded us a Rich's frozen dessert, innocuous but unexciting.

Added to the jerky, erratic service, and Farmstead fell to the bottom of the seven restaurants we hit on that trip. We tentatively plan to return to Napa in late Oct or mid-Nov, assuming our current home renovation plans stop their insidious "project creep", LOL.

Ice Cream and Half-off at Downtown Bakery & Cafe, Healdsburg

We've really liked Downtown Bakery's fruit tarts. That and a Flying Goat coffee go very well together! Doesn't hurt that our fav Healdsburg restaurant, Bravas, is just up the street, either.

Not so much a fan of the other bakery goods, we have other local places near us we prefer. No room in my freezers for a lot of bakery stuff...except for croissants. We always make room for those, prefer Fournee/Berkeley or Parker Lusseau/Monterey.

WSJournal subscribers only, sorry: Interview on Cala/SF with Camara & Kennedy

Cool! Be aware, though some of WSJ's links seem to have a timestamp so sometimes they only work for 7 days. Hopefully this will keep active.

Narrowing down Yountville/Healdsburg

Mid-October is traditionally harvest altho this year the grapes promise to be pretty much in by then. But the weather's usually great and the grapevines turn color so it's lovely and scenic. Always a popular time; by Oct's end the crowds are gone again until Memorial Day.

I have to disagree re Willi's. I think Stark Group's Bravas (both are owned by SG) is much, much better. Do NOT miss the hot rum balls for dessert; killer! The chef also did some foie gras sliders that really knocked our socks off; the best foie gras dish we've had since La Folie's torchon/spiced peach consomme.

One of the most delightful things about Bravas is their sherry flights; they offer both dry and sweet. The dry is a great way to accompany their excellent tapas (don't miss the beets, if you like them. Bravas' beets roasted with cinnamon is outstanding).

Bravas is only 1-1/2 blocks from Willi's; just off the Square and up from Flying Goat coffee. Lunch is especially delightful out on their back patio, and service is the best of the Stark restaurants save for the Stark Steakhouse.

We weren't fans of Farmstead, unfortunately. Solbar is more our style and if you chose it, don't ignore the spa menu side! Many of their better dishes, with clean elegant yet intense flavors, reside there. The "chicken noodle soup" is stunning: a dark roasted chicken bone broth that rivals anything I make at home (and I pride myself on my homemade stock). Much is made of the "Lucky Pig" dish which we (DH and I are both Asians) thought was a lousy attempt at Asian food; opt instead for the scallops, the tuna sliders, or the burger. Service is always excellent (unlike Farmstead, where we thought the front was very poorly trained).

Totally agree with sass about the idea of tasting around the Square. We took some friends to Sonoma Cty and as their time was limited (they work; we're retired) we walked into a couple of wineries downtown. Donatiello (not a misspelling) at 320 Center, does only Russian River Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. I've just about given up on CA pinot noir but Donatiello's were delightful. Balanced, lively, not the high-alcohol powerhouses but instead wines delightful both by themselves and (would be) amazing with food. Really impressed and not having to drive around and fight crowds (despite it being a weekend) was the relaxing experience you always hope it will be, but often isn't.

Upscale lunch suggestion

We have eaten at Perbacco several times and hardly ever have the pasta. There are so many more interesting dishes on the menu we don't often get to them, LOL. The Vitello Tonnato is absolutely stunning; we took our friends there who had been to Italy and they said it was better than anything they had on their travels.

Perbacco is also one of the few places that occasionally offers the salsiccia cruda di bra in their charcuterie selection. Chef Terje does wonderful things with octopus as well. We've also had excellent squab and duck entrees.

Honeymoon in Healdsburg - Where to Eat?

I love Spoonbar but it is inconsistent and the service is not up to the food. For a first-timer I'd pick Barndiva.

WSJournal subscribers only, sorry: Interview on Cala/SF with Camara & Kennedy

Unfortunately, WSJ is subscriber only. I have heard you can workaround this by waiting a while and then doing a Google search, but I've never tried it. It's not long so difficult to excerpt, sorry.

My mother took cooking lessons from Diana Kennedy right after she published her first cookbook. Said it was pretty strenuous, making everything 'the old-fashioned way', as Mom tactfully put it!

===============

"A Taste of Mexico City Arrives in San Francisco"
Gabriela Cámara, the restaurateur behind Mexico City’s beloved Contramar, opens her first U.S. venture this month with help from a longtime friend: the legendary Diana Kennedy
WS Journal by Gabe Ulla, Aug. 10, 2015
Edited from Gabe Ulla’s interview with Gabriela Cámara and Diana Kennedy.

Article URL: http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-taste-o...

Pican in Oakland: Review

Another update for chef Fressinier: got the fried chicken again and the batter changed to the double thick crust (like KFC extra-crispy) that we're not so fond of. A little edge of too much thyme but better than before.

Dessert remains a fail. Peach wasn't ripe (with this year being one of the best for stone fruit!), shortbread achingly sweet with none of the promised brown butter taste. We have not really been impressed with the cooking of East Coast chefs until they get their feet thoroughly grounded in the great ingredients available locally and the style of cooking locals prefer here.

A cupcake from CupKate's truck would have been better - and we don't even like cupcakes!

Fried Chicken: Pican or Miss Ollie's? [Oakland]

I wanted to update this. Pican's kitchen has been spinning with Uong's departure, then Silverman coming on but leaving in less than six months, and finally M. Fressinier taking over sometime in May 2015. The menu is changing prep on many dishes although the title remains the same.

The new chef is doing a lot of experimenting, some of which works and some of which doesn't. The fried chicken has suffered; the first time it had a serious overdose of sage and thyme, giving it a medicinal flavor like Vick's cough syrup (ugh), although the crust was light and crispy. Second time he dialed down the herbs although there was still a little edge of too much thyme, but the batter was the double-crispy type we don't care for. He's probably still experimenting, however, so if anyone goes, please update this thread with their review.

Chef Sophina Uong currently at Revival/Berkeley

Marcia G./Tablehopper was the first to mention this, but SJose Mercury News did a much better article on chef Sophina Uong's win as Best of Show in the 2015 Lamb Jam. She won over some very good competition, and goes to NYC in Sept 2015 for the national competition: http://blogs.mercurynews.com/eat-drin...

I don't know if chef Uong is still at Revival, despite Tablehopper's implying that she is. Owner Amy Murray was scheduled to return sometime in June 2015 after taking a break (concentrating only on Venus, her original restaurant down the street). So I simply assumed Ms. Uong had already left.

Don't know when we'll get back to Revival, but interested parties may want to call the restaurant and check who's in the kitchen nowadays.

Difficultly of French Laundry Reservations?

Congratulations! A true team effort, LOL. Hope you have a great time!

Dinner for Two, $500

I have to disagree. We've eaten at Aubergine/Carmel which doesn't cost much more than Commis (and they give you more food) and had absolutely no trouble having a conversation with others there. Far more refined in both food and service. Aubergine blows Commis out of the water.

I guess it's hard for me to understand the love for Commis because we liked Michael Warring/Vallejo a lot more, and it's far cheaper than Commis. But admittedly, you've got to drive to all of these, LOL.

Mind you, we all loved Syhabout's egg dish - the one he can't drop because everybody loves all its versions so much (don't know if it's still on the menu, tho).

Trabocco Review (Alameda)

We have been to Trabocco at least half a dozen times. We prefer dinner to lunch, mostly because of the baccala dish. We are salt cod fiends and there is no other restaurant we know of in the EBay who makes a similar dish to chef Naccarelli's version. He said this is his grandmother's recipe, which she made once a year for the Feast of Seven Fishes.

This is top quality salt cod, not the crappy kind you find mushed up with mashed potatoes for deep-fried fritters. Good bacalhao can cost more than filet mignon.

The carpaccio is also top-notch. DO NOT squeeze the included lemon wedge over the beef; it is already dressed with a magnificently subtle Meyer lemon EVOO and perfect as is.

We don't care for the pizza, but we don't usually order it at upscale restaurants anyway (one of my family did, which is how we tried it, but we weren't impressed).

The pastas were properly sauced originally, but we have noticed that there is more sauce on them lately, probably a response to the usual American expectations based on decades of Cal-Italian plates flooded with Bolognese sauce.

It's a good thing islandmama never ate at the little Italian restaurant that used to be in Montclair Village/Oakland - the waiters and cooks were always yelling in Italian at one another, and sometimes sang along to the operatic arias on the sound system!

The service reminds me a lot of the old North Beach/SF restaurants, actually. We get along fine with them; you just have to 'go with the flow.'

If we were to rank Lungomare, Desco, Centouno (now gone) and Riva Cucina against Trabocco, it would be:

Tied for first: Desco and Trabocco. Each has its strengths; each has a few flaws.
Riva Cucina 2nd place. In the beginning their food was stunning; but locals didn't support the prices and the quality cheapened. We appreciate they have kept the breadcrumb pasta that for some reason no one else offers. The service has improved immensely from a rocky start, however.
Centouno 3rd place. More flaws than Desco and Trabocco, and the owner-chef had absolutely no idea how to publicize his business. He was totally lost in a world going ever-faster to hi-tech; he couldn't even get the right menu up on his website.
Lungomare 4th place: every once in a while Lungomare pulls off a perfect dish, and it's a stunner. But they are erratic and the staff is very poorly trained for a supposed flagship of Pastena's mini-empire. Too many huge flaws although their pastas are some of the best.

Dinner for Two, $500

We took our friends to La Folie in late July. One person had the tasting menu; two of us had the 4-course, one had the three course. Two glasses of Pinot Noir @15 each and two glasses of the Ruinart NV rose champagne @42 each, with very generous tip was $972.

Perfect service (as always; Jaime Passot runs the front superbly), everyone had a fabulous time. We love La Folie; it's our favorite restaurant. The seared foie gras with spiced peach consomme is back on the menu; we had it in 2012 and were very happy to see it return. And the ocean trout with green farro is not to be missed; it was exquisite!

I have to say I would not consider Commis its equal, JMHO. When we ate at Commis with two friends we were interrupted every 3-4 minutes by the waitstaff, the entire evening long. We finally gave up trying to have a conversation (one had just gotten engaged) and had to wait until we got outside the restaurant to talk to one another. Not our idea of a great evening out; we all later agreed we don't want to return for that reason alone. In fact it's ended up becoming a running joke between the four of us.

El Mono Fresh in El Cerrito

yes mariacarmen, confess all! Which Peruvian places do you like? We also tried El Chalan in San Pablo a while back, which we thought was incredibly uninteresting.

Puquio in Rockridge got a rave review, I know, but I really loathe that space. One of the tiniest and most uncomfortable restaurants I've ever endured.

Wonderful home-made Yunnan meals [Berkeley/Oakland]

Considering today's Chron story about the fast food worker (not in SF) that wiped the floor with a burger bun and then made a burger with it, maybe all those food regulations aren't working out so well [smile]!

Petit Crenn opens Aug 11

7x7 newsflash:

....(Petit Crenn) a casual, all-day café with Stumptown coffee plus a breakfast and lunch full of pastries and omelettes. The centerpiece, though, is a five-course seafood-focused prix-fixe dinner at just over $70 per person. // 609 Hayes St., San Francisco, http://www.petitcrenn.com/#welcome

My note: you'll need to provide a credit card to reserve, and it's a hefty charge if you don't show up.

El Mono Fresh in El Cerrito

We were at El Mono for lunch 7/08. Sweet, enthusiastic servers. Very clean, spanking new.

Anticuchos: one order has 3 skewers. You can do a combo or all one of a kind: shrimp, chicken, beef heart. All good, not overcooked. Great creamy spicy aji sauce. Niece, who rates La Mar Cebichia/SF as her favorite Peruvian restaurant, said La Mar has a tastier seasoning on their anticuchos, but uses much more salt than El Mono. She agreed the aji sauce was a great accompaniment.

Ceviche, mixed seafood: Fail. Spouse said all the seafood tasted oddly salty, as if brined before marinating. Marinade was harsh and more lemony than lime-tasting. Full of the usual fillers: sweet potatoes, onions, and toasted corn. He called this the worst ceviche he's ever had.

Chupe Camarones, described as "a classic Peruvian seafood dish. Creamy shrimp chowder served with rice and a poached egg on top." The rice is long grain, somewhat hard; the chowder is gently spiced with aji paste and (usually) achiote oil. There wasn't much broth. When mixed with the rice and egg it was almost more a wet paella. Bland comfort food; you might need to spicy this up with the aji sauce (which comes in a big squeeze bottle they'll leave on the table).

Lomito Salad: Stir fried Black Angus beef served on a bed of mixed greens, feta cheese, walnuts, cherry tomatoes, with cilantro dressing. The beef was salty from soya, but there was a decent amount of it – and sliced onions, of course! – wilting the slightly tough mixed greens. The accompaniments added good flavor. I liked the salad even though it was rather salty for my taste.

We each had a glass of fresh-squeezed passionfruit juice that was very good, but we went back to water with the main courses.

I decided to try the lucuma ice cream, described as a relative of the avocado and tasting like butterscotch (https://www.lucuma.com/lucuma-fruit). It's housemade, the waiter assuring us they do not over-sweeten the fruit desserts. The lucuma is even the color of butterscotch, three modest scoops on a small dish. It was drizzled with caramel sauce and topped with a dollop of whipped cream, both of which next time we'd prefer they leave off.

I loved this! As fond as I am of butterscotch, it is often just too sweet. The lucuma has the same flavor but keeping the sugar moderated allows the best of both worlds. This tropical fruit also seemed to have the slightest edge of bitterness that further enhances the rich brown sugar/butter flavors. Made gelato-style, with very little air whipped into it. We would come back just for this dessert.

Coffee is as we have always found it with South American restaurants: good only with cream and sugar.

We've tried Peruvian food numerous times but have never been able to fall in love with it. El Mono didn't change our minds, but of the ones we've tried, we'd rank it a solid second behind La Furia Chalaca in Oakland's Jack London Square.

We'd rank El Mono on slightly on the high side for a café – but keep in mind we ordered some of the most expensive lunch items. Total @lunch: three starters (we got a separate order of beef heart anticuchos to take home), one entree salad, one main (half was leftover to take home), one dessert, three beverages, with tip was $113.51.

The leftovers were enough to make a meal for one afterwards, so figure three people ate for that price.

Vietnamese Popup 8/03 at Stella Nonna/Berkeley

Just FYI if anyone's interested:

Per Bside Nosh: On August 3, chef Geoffrey Deetz will be bringing Vietnamese to Berkeley’s Stella Nonna. The formerly Oakland-based chef has been living in Vietnam since 2000 and is now planning on returning to the Bay soon. The East Bay Express did a lengthy profile on Deetz*; he spent time at Spettro and Gulf Coast Oyster Bar in Oakland and Dragonfly Teahouse in Berkeley in the 1980’s and 90’s before moving to Vietnam. There, he has been running a long list of restaurants including Vietnamese seafood restaurants, high-end steakhouses, burger and burrito joints, and a top-your-own-pizza place.
* EBay Express URL: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/WhatThe...

Tickets are $45 (URL: http://www.deetzpopup.com/). Stella Nonna is at 1407 San Pablo Ave. (at Camelia Street), Berkeley.

Baguettes from Buiphong in Oakland

Details:
BUIPHONG bakery (as in the title of this thread)
2800 International Blvd @28th Avenue
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone (510) 536-4581

Hours:
Mon 5:00 am - 1:00 pm
Tue 5:00 am - 1:00 pm
Wed 5:00 am - 1:00 pm
Thu 5:00 am - 1:00 pm
Fri 5:00 am - 1:00 pm
Sat 5:00 am - 1:00 pm
Sun 5:00 am - 12:00 pm

Korean Panchan in Oakland/Berkeley?

Details:

EM Deli & Catering
329 14th St. (b/t Webster St & Harrison St)
Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland Chinatown)
Phone number (510) 834-3651

Hours Open per Yelp:
Mon 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Tue 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Wed 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thu 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Fri 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Community Survey: Dan Dan Noodles (Simplified: 担担面 Traditional: 擔擔麵 Pinyin: dàndànmiàn)

eatzalot, I just wanted to thank you for mentioning Kenneth Lo. So few people remember his contributions to popularizing Chinese cooking. My copy of his 1972 "Chinese Food" cookbook is one of the prizes of my collection. A wonderful read!

Mourad (from Aziza) [San Francisco]

The menus for just about every Moroccan restaurant in the Bay Area are almost identical to the one served at Marrakech on O'Farrell St., which I believe was the first Moroccan restaurant here, back in the 1970's. You went down the stairs and if you weren't careful, ended up standing in the fountain in the center of their tiny foyer!

We lived just down the street from El Mansour in SF's Richmond district for 17 yrs. It never changed, except by getting worse (sloppier, sweeter, stale bread).

Aziza started out "fresh Moroccan" but gradually segued out into more CA style ingredients and cooking.

If you want "traditional" Moroccan food, then yes, best to go elsewhere. Lahlou hasn't been doing that for decades; he is more fusion than anything else.

Going to Aziza, let alone Mourad (which was never conceived as Moroccan), for a bad belly dancing experience/ossified honey lamb, is like going to Osmanthus/Oakland for salted dried duck pressed into sticky rice. Nobody's going to be happy with the result.

Moroccan cuisine is very heavy on salads, fresh fruit and seafood, something you see very little of at the El Mansour types.