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Nick and Aron's (Oakland)

Agreed re: baked goods--I stopped in to buy bread on Friday and ended up with a roasted strawberry scone and a cinnamon roll. All were great. I am really glad this place opened and look forward to return visits.

Nick and Aron's (Oakland)

I dropped in for dinner with three friends last week. We shared a large caesar salad and a large roasted corn/tomato/pepitas/greens salad to start. Both were very good but the corn salad was the winner, with an excellent buttermilk lime dressing. We also shared two pizzas, a white pizza with kale and sausage and a special with roasted mushrooms, charred scallions, smoked cheese and some lemon. We liked both but agreed the kale and sausage would have been improved by the addition of tomato sauce, as it was a bit dry. I've only had pizza from Nick's Pizza on Shattuck once but this was (not surprisingly) similar in style as nearly as I can recall. Crust very flavorful and generally sturdier than, say, Emilia's. This is a welcome casual option in Temescal at a reasonable price point. We were all very happy with the food and will go back.

http://www.nickandarons.com/home.html

Drinks before dinner on Fourth Street in Berkeley?

Thanks!

Drinks before dinner on Fourth Street in Berkeley?

Thanks!

Drinks before dinner on Fourth Street in Berkeley?

Thanks very much!

Drinks before dinner on Fourth Street in Berkeley?

We are meeting friends for dinner this weekend at Iyasare on Fourth Street in Berkeley; they are driving in from out of town and plan to show up early so we can meet for a drink before dinner. All parties would like to be able to park in the vicinity and stay there, so meeting someplace within reasonable walking distance is the idea. With Zut closed right now, is Cafe Rouge our best bet? Dinner isn't until 8:00 so doing a wine tasting at Donkey & Goat won't fit the bill, sadly. Thanks for any suggestions.

Best Bakeries/Patisseries for pastries/croissants in San Francisco

If you are still in the Financial District this morning, Coffee Bar on Montgomery (b/t Bush and Sutter, close to Market St) sells Starter Bakery products, including kouign amann. Glad you've had a good trip!

State Bird, Bar Tartine, A Cote, [something in Berkeley - any suggestions?]

I went to Iyasare for the first time last month and had a terrific meal.

http://iyasare-berkeley.com/

Tasting Menu Recs

I would second Commonwealth. I've had the tasting menu a few times with pairings and been very happy, both with food options and creative pairings. (I enjoyed it more than AQ but with the caveat that I haven't been to the revamped AQ.)

http://www.commonwealthsf.com/

Saturday Night Dinner for One

If you found Coi assertive in that vein, I would not recommend Bar Tartine. Go with Haven or Hopscotch, I'd say.

Downtown Berkeley Food Ideas

Agree entirely with Sundeck Sue--I have found Gather to be disappointing and muddy of flavor (except one brunch visit, which was pretty good) but have enjoyed Comal every time I've eaten there. I've liked every starter (a crab and citrus salad stands out in recent memory but may be gone by now) and the tacos in particular.

Inexpensive and small wedding desserts

I agree with mdougherty--if you pick up in the morning and eat them that evening, they will hold up well, especially the "wholes".

Inexpensive and small wedding desserts

My friends got donuts from Donut Savant in Oakland (right near 19th St. BART station) for their wedding--this approach was a huge hit with the guests! The donuts were served on a tiered plate; because the donuts come with little wax paper holders you don't need to plate them in any way. I don't know what the price per item was when purchased in bulk, but DS's donuts are generally smaller than standard issue donuts anyway and some cost as little as 75 cents (if prices are still in line with the last time I visited). I know it's not in SF, but maybe you could enlist someone to pick them up that morning...or maybe there's a comparable baker in SF proper. Good luck!

Gelato di Bufala Dairy and Creamery [Petaluma, Sonoma County]

I will check next time I am there and confirm--after reading this thread I want to try it myself!

Gelato di Bufala Dairy and Creamery [Petaluma, Sonoma County]

I am almost certain I saw it at The Pasta Shop in Market Hall. I would call them first though to make sure.

Quick question: A place for a drink and a snack in Oakland this afternoon

Sweetbar now has beer and wine as well as other items and is open all day.

http://www.sweetbarbakery.com/

Sunday Brunch or Lunch in San Francisco this Sunday

Foreign Cinema takes reservations for brunch and is accessible by BART. Not so inexpensive, though.

Canlis Vs Altura

I have not been to Canlis so cannot offer you a comparison, but we had a great meal in August at Altura and enjoyed sitting at the chef's counter/bar; we reserved by phone and were able to request that seating option. So that might address the issue with close tables that others have pointed out, if you are leaning toward Altura for other reasons.

Oct 16, 2014
BAnders in Greater Seattle

Suggestions for a first-time visitor?

I was just up in Portland for a long weekend, my third visit from the SF Bay Area. I finally got to try Blue Star doughnuts--excellent. I had a blueberry frosted cake and an old fashioned. Very good meal at Pok Pok, including a special wingbean salad and a mushroom salad from the menu. Dinner one night at Levant, which we liked a ton. The starters and salads were particularly good, lamb cigars, pita and a lettuce salad with radishes and somehow flavored with cumin. Only caveat is that the main dishes we ordered ended up being too rich together (farotto and scallops) but that was our own fault. And an interesting wine list and delicious cocktails. I had previously been to Le Pigeon, which I would recommend if you are more of a meat eater than I am, and to Paley's Place (once it was great, once very uneven in terms of food and service). I also like Pearl Bakery, which has a stall at the PSU farmers market; I would concur with all recommendations that you make time to go there with a big appetite.

Oct 14, 2014
BAnders in Metro Portland

SF restaurant fit for foodies and 3-year-olds?

Maybe in addition to Zero Zero (as Scott M suggests) think about Delfina Pizzeria? When I lived in the UK pizza was terrible; these two restaurants have good food and I have seen kids at both every time I've been. Zero Zero has a broader menu of course. I haven't seen kids at Delfina proper but have not been there as often.

ok, how about good areas in Oakland?

Concur on difficulty of tables RL points out, with the caveat that I have had very good luck getting a seat at the bar at A16 before 7:00 on weeknights. Have fun!

ok, how about good areas in Oakland?

The Elmwood Cafe has good breakfast options. Ici ice cream is very good but the line is often a deterrent. You can walk toward Rockridge (south on College Ave, which is also toward the BART station) from that part of Berkeley and you will quickly reach some of the Rockridge options I mentioned above, like Wood Tavern and Cole Coffee. Uphill from the main strip, toward the Claremont Hotel, on Domingo is a very good bakery, http://www.fourneebakery.com/

ok, how about good areas in Oakland?

Just one more opinion, but FWIW I would lean away from JLS and toward Rockridge for a few reasons. The area right around the BART station in Rockridge has many restaurants with bar seating, bars, wine bars, breakfast places, etc. (just off the top of my head, A16, Soi Four, Oliveto Cafe, Toast, Enoteca, Box & Bells, Wood Tavern, Southie, Cole Coffee, Market Hall coffee shop, and many more options that you can find by searching on this site) and there is more foot traffic on College Ave. and the surrounding streets than on the streets between JLS and the BART station. If you are in town on Sunday, the farmers market at the Claremont DMV is great, too. Also, depending on where you end up staying in Rockridge, you may be able to walk to the 51st and Telegraph end of Temescal and take advantage of some of the options there, including Pizzaiolo, Dona Tomas, Bakesale Betty, Mixing Bowl, Juhu Beach Club, Doughnut Dolly. I take BART every day from Oakland into SF and back, and adding in a shuttle would be a headache to me, personally. I prefer being able to just get off the train and walk. Nothing against JLS, but for the OP's neighborhood and transit focused purposes, I would lean toward RR.

To Keep Rick Bayless' Beans

I always cook extra and freeze using a method borrowed from Rancho Gordo newsletter at some point. I salt (not too heavily) the cooked beans and liquid at the end of cooking and freeze portions in their cooking liquid, enough to cover the beans. Then as others have mentioned I defrost the containers in the fridge, drain, and use in recipes as I would a can or other amounts of cooked beans.

Oct 07, 2014
BAnders in Home Cooking

A "special" dinner in SFBA -- your thoughts much appreciated

Pizzaiolo jumped to mind for me as well. Definitely fits right into the list.

visiting Sacramento from SF

I had a great breakfast at the Magpie Cafe in August when I was visiting Sacramento from the Bay Area. Really smart and delicious use of produce. Edited to add: Their lunch looks great too and they are open all day, thus the link and recommendation.

http://www.magpiecafe.com/cafe

Sep 19, 2014
BAnders in California

Surprise Trip to San Francisco

Commonwealth (in the Mission District, accessible by BART) looks to have some reservations during your visit based on a quick glance on opentable and would fit your criteria. Because it is a holiday weekend you might luck out even at some of the very popular places often recommended on this board--for example, there is a Cotogna dinner reservation listed for early on 8/31 and some options later in your stay as well. Cotogna is also open for lunch. I've been hearing good things about Central Kitchen lately but haven't been, and I see it too has some reservations available. For lunch, take a look at Bar Jules in Hayes Valley. I am not up to date on dim sum so will leave that to others. Hope you have a great trip!

Couple of L.A. foodies need help

We didn't make it to Walrus on our visit last week but did manage to snag a reservation at the Whale Wins, which is affiliated. I'd recommend looking at that menu as well. It too has wonderful vegetable dishes--we had an innovative dish involving cauliflower leaves with ham chips, as well as a roasted carrots dish and a starter of tomatoes with mint pesto and hazelnuts. And fabulous clams.

Aug 22, 2014
BAnders in Greater Seattle

Any recommendations to check out before dinner Lark at 5:30 pm on this Saturday

We were just in Seattle last week and greatly enjoyed the latest of many meals at Lark (always on our list when we visit from the Bay Area). It's a wonderful time of year for their menu--save room for dessert. We had a delicious peach tarte tatin. We went to Volunteer Park beforehand as babette recommends and enjoyed the walk at the Park and the surrounding neighborhoods around there. I hope you have a terrific meal.

Aug 22, 2014
BAnders in Greater Seattle

northern cali recs

In Sausalito, they could try lunch or dinner at Fish. Casual but nice atmosphere right on the water, cash only, sustainable seafood. Some complain it is overpriced but the quality is excellent and the portions are large.

Lots of options in Napa Valley; you can try a search of this board with the city names and you will find many recent threads. Oxbow Market has a few good options and is fun to wander in. In St Helena, I've had Archetype (formerly French Blue) on my list to try for a while. http://archetypenapa.com/ Please ask your friends to report back if they try it!