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Best things I ate last month: April edition

what a fun post!

Bar Agricole: spaghetti with milk braised pork and fennel pollen (the slight anise flavor with the richness of pork was a revelation for me)
Barbacco: finoccchiona (fennel sausage)
Humphry Slocombe: red hot banana (crushed red hots and banana-flavored ice cream)
Pause Wine Bar: kushi oysters
Catherine & Pierre Breton Bourgueil Franc de Pied (at Bar Agricole)

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Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
2790 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Bar Agricole
355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Barbacco
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Pause Wine Bar
1666 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Yountville vs Healdsburg

Keller Estate makes a truly gorgeous pinot. I can't recommend this place enough. Also a great syrah and very interesting champagne. It's a bit off the beaten path and has an interesting history as well as a beautiful tasting room. I wasn't too overly impressed with Sinskey or Artesa. Schug is pretty decent.

If you like Pinots, make sure you check out Russian River wineries (Gary Farrell, Merry Edwards, Davis Bynum, etc).

Yountville vs Healdsburg

Another place to consider is Guerneville. The Farmhouse Inn is a great place to stay (though $$$). It's a great starting off point to hit Russian River wineries. A part of wine country that's slower in pace and is less touristy.

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Farmhouse Inn
7871 River Rd, Forestville, CA 95436

Recommendations for Best Take Out Pizza in San Francisco?

Za (Russian Hill) delivers, always pretty warm and fresh. Or you can pick up. I love their pies, especially the scalliano which is topped with crumbly sausage.

I'd also recommend Little Star, which is pick-up.

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Little Star Pizza Valencia
400 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Za Pizza
1919 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Hipster dinner out for the Middle Aged!

Oh yes, you're right. I just meant meat-lovers (especially of charcuterie) would especially love Barbacco. I especially liked the fennel salami and the pate.

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Barbacco
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Hipster dinner out for the Middle Aged!

I also think Barbacco is a great choice. Very lively atmosphere and really great food, though perhaps more suited to a meat-loving palate. Cheapest bottle of wines are in the $40 range.

Ragazza on Divis for pizza might be a good option too. Close-ish to lower Haight and the Divis corridor. They have a couple bottles of wines priced in the $20s, which is a great deal.

Not sure if this is a factor, but the Mission on a Saturday night will most certainly be over-run with hipsters in their early 30s or much younger. Downtown probably has the most diverse age group scene.

Also, you can definitely just get a drink at many of the places mentioned here, so if you go somewhere nearby, these are great options for stopping by before or after.

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Barbacco
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Ragazza
311 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Hitachino Beer in San Francisco?

City Beer Store on Folsom.

Saw the white one at Bar Crudo a while back (not sure now). Don't think they are that uncommon anymore.

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Bar Crudo
655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

City Beer Store
1168 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

mother/daughter trip to SF - help me make this as stress-free as possible!

Not sure if the location is accessible for you, but Spruce could be a good consideration.

Ideas for Foodie Neighborhood Lunches

Dosa is a good place for South Indian. Two locations--Mission and Japantown. It seems the Fillmore location is open more days for brunch/lunch, but I've only eaten at the original Valencia location.

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Dosa
995 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Dosa on Fillmore
1700 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

Seeking unique breakfast in San Francisco (see wish list)

I really enjoy the pupusas at Balompie Cafe, especially the one with shrimp. Great coffee too.

Farmer Brown's has a all-you-can-eat fried chicken brunch with various dishes. There was a very tasty homemade granola and some great desserts (pecan pie, red velvet cake).

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Farmer Brown
25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Balompie Cafe
3349 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

In search of dried chiles

Penzey's has a great selection of dried chiles. They have locations in Menlo Park and Santa Rosa, but I've only ordered from them via their website: http://www.penzeys.com/

Hosting a crawfish boil in San Francisco

IKEA carries frozen crawfish.

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IKEA
4400 Shellmound St, Emeryville, CA

Dim Sum

ditto. i was surprisingly pleased with HKL. my favorite in sf. since you order by checking off what you want on a menu, everything is super fresh and hot. baked pork buns were mouth-watering.

Places that let you bring your own food (in SF only)

Lucky 13 also definitely allows outside food. I've seen many a birthday celebrations here with homemade/bought goodies. Tamale lady also makes appearances.

Thieves Tavern is another.

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Lucky 13
2140 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Anything like Animal or Momofuku in SF?

Mission Chinese Food comes to mind. There is also a strong food truck scene as well pop-up dinners once in a while.

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Mission Chinese Food
2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

What should i order at mission chinese food? [San Francisco]

What an intense debate. My heart is beating fast from reading this thread! I'd like to put in my two cents here, which is wholly my own opinion.

First, the OP asked which dishes to get at MCF (and ostensibly, what to avoid as well), but nothing about the "authenticity" of MCF. Authenticity comes into the picture a lot when describing ethnic food, I think perhaps because many of us have been privileged to try the dishes in the countries/regions where they originated. Unfortunately, I think this might color the judgment we pass on similar dishes we try outside those countries. I mean, if you order fries at some American restaurant, you might get steak fries, shoestring, twice-fried, seasoned, unseasoned, kennebec, who knows! So what are "authentic" fries? Or authentic American burgers?

What should really matter is it tastes good to us....and of course we all have our individual palates.

And to me, to my humble palate, MCF tasted GOOD. There were two of us dining (~3pm this past Tues), and we got the Westlake rice porridge, mapo dofu, numbing lamb soup, and lamb dumplings. The server (Danny Bowien, I think) also gave us a very generous steamer of rice. I absolutely LOVED the mapo dofu, second was the porridge. With two beers, the bill came out to be about $45 without tip and we had a ton leftover.

At this point, I feel I should point out I was born in Beijing and moved to the US when I was a kid. I was lucky enough to spend every other summer in Beijing for over 14 years, since most of my family did, and still do, live there. I've eaten meals in numerous parts of mainland China, ranging from super high end to the very low end. I also grew up eating at many Chinese restaurants in the US, because my Chinese parents only wanted to go to Chinese restaurants (and we ate out every weekend). Luckily, we lived in Fremont, where very good Chinese good is accessible.

Based on these experiences, I think what the guys at MCF are trying to do is to create the traditional Chinese dishes that we have here in the US, but with much better ingredients and much more care and with the "authentic" Chinese flavor profiles you typically find in Chinese restaurants in the US with 99% Chinese clientele.

Ooops, I just went off on a sort of tangent when all the OP wanted to know what dishes we'd recommend at MCF (though it'll have to be on echo's next trip). I'd highly recommend the mapo dofu. I thought it was absolutely delicious and kudos to the MCF guys for using so much sichuan peppercorns, which isn't a spice that seem to appeal to most western palates (it was banned from entering the US for a while). But I love that mouth numbing experience and count shuizhuyu (Sichuan fish boiled in chili oil) as one of my favorite dishes (there should be a nod to Spices here). In the MCF dish, the dofu was tender and the ground meat blended perfectly with the crushed peppercorns, which add a nice bit of crunch to the otherwise traditionally very "soft-textured" dish. The dish was more soupy than what I've experienced elsewhere, but that meant it was easier to pour over and coat my rice, which is how I like to eat the dish. (Perhaps intentional then?)

I'd also recommend the Westlake porridge, which tasted exacty like the Westlake soup I insisted my parents on ordering for over a year (I tend to go into lengthy food kicks)...remarkable given the different ingredients/preparation used. And the ingredients were much more fresh and more interestingly prepared. The tiny bits of pickled Chinese long bean really gave this an "authentic" kick (my opinion).

I thought the numbing lamb soup could have been more numbing in my opinion, but the noodles were really great, and perhaps the skin on the lamb dumplings were a tad thick. But both were fine dishes with nice, straightforward gamey lamb flavors.

Some may not find MCF's dishes to be up to snuff and unappealing, and others like me may love it. Goes for any place, in the US or in some other country.

What should i order at mission chinese food? [San Francisco]

It is quite a large bowl. We were able to fill our small soup bowls (the kind Chinese restaurants usually provide for soups) at least 5 or 6 times. The Out the Door porridge would *maybe* fill 2 small bowls. Also, note the Westlake soup is made with pieces of oxtail, generous (at least in my case) amount of fresh dungeness crab, and cooked for hours rather than adding cornstarch. We were also provided with little bits of pickled Chinese long bean and fried peanuts to put into the soup. I think it's very worth it. And more thing to add, I didn't think the OTD (Bush St) porridge was anything special and had pretty stingy portions of chicken meat.

Nashville Eating Report (3~4 Days)

Hello everyone. I just got back from an extended weekend in Nashville (I live in San Francisco) and want to say how GOOD Nashville food is. On to a lengthy (sorry) report.

We landed ~10 am Friday morning and checked into the Hutton Hotel. The Hutton was very nice, but since we didn't rent a car, it was a bit far from all the "action" and I felt guilty making the courtesy shuttle take us everywhere. A car is very important in Nashville! The staff, accomodations, the free hot cider in the afternoons were all fantastic though.

We started off by catching lunch at Arnold's. I love this place, I want this place in SF, though I feel its charm derives a lot from Southern hospitality. From the Friday menu, I opted for meatloaf, mashed potatoes & gravy, collard greens, and fried green tomatoes. Fried green tomatoes = Amazing! Travel partner got the chicken fried steak (a special, not on the printed menu), mac & cheese, green beans, and mashed potatoes & gravy. The steak came with a blue cheese sauce, delicious and better than my meatloaf (which was good, but not "special"). The collard greens were tasty, the green beans were not, and the mac & cheese was nice and buttery. The whole Arnold's experience was great with one of the counter guys coming around saying hello to everyone. Welcoming atmosphere with folks sitting next to friendly strangers.

Friday dinner was at Holland House. We had a house salad (very fresh and more interesting ingredients than regular "house" salads), chicken livers (great when hot, less so when cold), Kentucky catfish, and hangar steak. The catfish was too bready in some parts, but otherwise good, and the hangar steak was pretty solid. Everything tasted fresh. Most patrons (20s and early 30s, I'm guessing) seemed to be there just for drinking and hanging out in the very dimly lit place, which is fine by me.

The next day we stumbled into McDougals to chase our hangovers away with chicken fingers. Prince's was my first choice, but being car-less we opted for something closer. In our state, we each got the five chicken tenders basket. Ummm....way too much food! The chicken was delicious: moist and flavorful with just enough crust on the outside. The parts touching the bottom of the basket were unfortunately soggy, but we couldn't finish them anyway. The highlight were the fries: just thin enough, crispy, flavorful, hands-down good. Sauces were great (got the honey and gold) and the free ice cream was a nice touch too.

We hung out at the Broadway Brewhouse in Downtown before dinner and it was great to sit at the long bar facing the 77 or 99 taps (or however many) drinking beers and watching sports. The bartender was nice enough to give us tastes of beers we didn't know. Dinner was at Merchants Hotel in the upstairs area and started off with a very nice complimentary amuse bouche of some sort of gougere. We had the shrimp and grits, duck(?) risotto, pheasant, and short rib. Shrimp and grits = Absolutely amazing! A little smoky bacon, the most delicately cooked shrimp, buttery grits....heaven! The risotto was alright, the short rib was flavor and tender, the pheasant came out in 4 or 5 breast pieces and was a bit lukewarm. The highlight of the meal was the soft chocolate dessert. BLEW my mind! A long twisted piece of malty tasting chocolate with a lush mint ice cream and balsamic sauce. The atmosphere was a bit subdued for my tastes and I'd probably opt for the more casual, livelier downstairs next time.

The third day (sorry, so long-winded), after some pastries from the hotel's java bar we headed over to Germantown but unfortunately weren't hungry enough to eat at Germantown Cafe. We did however snag four cupcakes from the Cupcake Collection. We couldn't believe these delicious morsels were only $1.50/each (so cheap compared to SF). We had sweet potato, red velvet, strawberry, and banana nut caramel. All were good, but the sweet potato and red velvet were SO moist, SO delicious. Just a sweet little family-run shop.

As a midday snack/meal, we ate at the downtown Broadway Brewhouse and I was pleasantly surprised. We had Texas tacos (brisket in taco shells) and the Texas melt (brisket on Texas toast). Never had tacos with BBQ beef brisket and liked them. The melt was a solid, good-tasting sandwich. We later headed to Patterson House, which had superinventive cocktails with flavor combinations I've never experienced (and SF has plenty of artisan cocktail places). Incredible array of house-made bitters. The bartender sent out some donuts for us when he found out we were celebrating a birthday. Some of the best donuts I've had! Hot round balls (that sounded weird), not too big, sweet and a little salty, perfect texture.

We later got a 10" pizza at Station Inn. Not the most gourmet thing, but with four or five toppings, it was only $12. Super crispy and reminded me of the Tony's frozen sausage pizzas I used to eat (and love) growing up.

So this was way too long, but I just wanted to share in detail all the wonderful food we had in this city! Thanks for reading!

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Arnold's Country Kitchen
605 8th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Station Inn
402 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN

The Patterson House
1711 Division Street, Nashville, TN

Cupcake Collection
1213 6th Ave, Nashville, TN

McDougal's Village Coop
2115 Belcourt Ave, Nashville, TN 37212

Broadway Brewhouse Downtown
317 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37201

Merchants Restaurant
401 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203

Jan 13, 2011
carfeng in Kentucky & Tennessee

Dinner tonight with two Norwegians

How about Katana-ya? Last time I was there, I was with two Swedes and the table one over had two Danes. Though not uniquely SF, they probably aren't exposed to ramen much in Norway?

Best foodie lunch spots in the city??

Mission Chinese Food for mouth-numbing Chinese food: http://www.chow.com/food-news/67146/c...

Saigon Sandwich for banh mi sandwiches. Katana-ya for ramen (I like the spicy miso). Swan Oyster Depot for crab salad.

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Saigon Sandwich Shop
560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Mission Chinese Food
2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Union Square Casual Dinner?

I would recommend Katana-ya too....I love their spicy miso ramen. It might be worth it to walk by and see what the wait times are....and hope you get lucky!

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Katana-Ya
430 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102

dinner for 5 in Mission / Noe / Castro?

Contigo

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Contigo
1320 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Hey, coffee hounds - Where's best breakfast in town?

Mission Beach Cafe serves hearty breakfasts and Blue Bottle coffee. Starbelly has brunch on weekends (only?) and serves good coffee (forget whose beans, but likely Four Barrel or BB). I'd also recommend Chow.

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Chow
215 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Mission Beach Cafe
198 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA 94103

Great roast chicken in SF?

The roast chicken at the Safeway on Market by the Castro (Market & Fillmore) has been surprisingly outstanding. Better than Whole Foods for sure (which is $2 more expensive and typically smaller)....even better than the ones I had from Costco. It is incredible moist and flavorful...though sometimes can be a little fatty. Not sure if it's consistent all the time or across Safeways, but the last few times I've had roast chicken from that location, they've been great. A key thing is to note what time is marked on the chicken container. Also another thing to note, they're great to use as the base for a dish (pastas, salads, rices, etc.)

The best romantic dinner in the Mission

Hmmm..."romantic" can mean different things to different people. For higher-end, nicer places, all the suggestions here are great. (Well, I haven't been to Woodward's Garden....) Also, Bar Bambino and Limon also fit along these lines. If you're looking for something with a bit more edge and youth, you could also consider Lolo's, Front Porch, Spork. Also, Nihon could be worth a visit.

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The Front Porch
65 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Bar Bambino
2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Spork
1058 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Limon Restaurant
524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Need something cool/fresh to impress Jaded Foodie

What about Foreign Cinema? I definitely classify the restaurant as cool with a "wow" factor, especially when contrasted with the grittier street scene outside. Love the food, especially a fried chicken I once had there (not sure if still on the menu). You might also consider Range or L'Ardoise (excellent and not overly fussy food)?

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Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

L'Ardoise
151 Noe Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

Best SF Breakfast

SPQR has a great brunch. Mission Beach Cafe serves up good, solid fare.

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Mission Beach Cafe
198 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA 94103

SPQR
1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

French on a Tuesday?

There's also Garcon in the Mission. Though their menu seems to lean more American these days, it seems.

http://www.garconsf.com/index.php?pag...

RNM Replacement - Recommendations?

Spruce, maybe? It's really a beautiful, classy restaurant with great service, though perhaps a bit more expensive than RNM. Also, maybe Bix.

http://www.sprucesf.com/

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Bix
56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

RNM Restaurant
598 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Help with suggestions for Mission Dining

I like Balompie Cafe for pupusas. The one with shrimp (prawn?) is very tasty.

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Balompie Cafe
3349 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110