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If you ever end up at The Stinking Rose ... [San Francisco]

Snob or not, sometimes you end up at a place because, say, it is someone's birthday, or out-of-town guests that insist, and that was the purpose of my post.

Doughnut Dolly, Berkeley

"What is my neighborhood turning into?" Funny, just last night I was saying to someone "I hope it doesn't turn into Rockridge around here." As for the doughnuts, I've had them a couple of times in Temescal, and once at the new location. They are best eaten when freshly filled. I bought the most recent ones on a rather humid day and by not that many hours later, in the box (and each with paper around them), the sugar had disintegrated into the dough and paper. I like Hannah (no relationship other than a happy welcoming face and conversation as a customer), I like her product, and I wish her well. I'm also looking forward to see what sort of sandwiches she ends up serving, as it will make a convenient lunch option.

Aug 09, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

If you ever end up at The Stinking Rose ... [San Francisco]

... I haven't set foot in there since early 1990-something. I never had any desire to return, but hey, it wasn't my birthday and I didn't choose the restaurant. So, 14 of us descended on the Stinking Rose for a Friday night dinner. These lyrics were even playing in my head: "I had no reason to be over-optimistic, But somehow, when you smiled I could brave bad weather ..."

Tommy must have heard me, because two of us decided to order a large sizzling mussel platter. We had the same some time ago during our one trip to the Dead Fish in Crockett a few years back, and this is a sister restaurant. In fact, after our dinner at the Dead Fish, we decided that we'd have been better off just skipping the main courses and order more mussels.

Between that and the bread and the couple of appetizer varieties ordered for the table, we were full, and our meal was decent. Looking at the others' food, we were quite happy with our decision, although everyone "publicly" enjoyed their respective meals.

Corkage is $0. I wish I had known!

Watching waves of happy tourists enjoy their food, taking pictures, and soaking up the "San Francisco Tourist Experience" made me feel good, as no matter how we may judge such a place, it benefits all of us when people have a great SF dining experience, and for many, it may be their best meal since their last trip to Olive Garden. Baby steps, you know, on the ladder to Perbacco.

My search showed the last TSR comments I could find were nearly a decade old. Clearly the place doesn't get any love around here. It probably doesn't even get a lot of like. But I whole-heartedly give it a "don't mind." In fact, a sizzling platter of mussels and a BYO wine could make for a nice meal.

Great China (Berkeley) still great

For a first timer party of 4, I'd welcome a list of "must haves" and "don't bothers."
Thanks

Aug 07, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Doughnut Dolly, Berkeley

Now open 1313 9th Street (at Gilman)- next to the new Philz
Cute little shop - 4 flavors today, along with coffee. She was very excited to be open and for people to be stopping by on the first day.

Aug 06, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Thanksgiving Take Out in Berkeley?

The Pasta Shop on 4th St. does, too (same food as the Market Hall location, no?)

Aug 05, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Paella in San Francisco/Oakland?

Venga just catered my party last week - 50 some people, and it was great. The guests were raving about it. I like the restaurant paella but I liked the party paella better. His stuffed piquillo peppers are delicious.

Aug 04, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Special occasion vegetarian friendly restaurant in the East Bay?

I have found Bocanova too variable to recommend for an "occasion" but it doesn't stop me from returning. My last dinner there was great, and my last brunch there was meh (both early summer). My prior brunch there was great. My evening food has been variable, but it can be quite good.

I know the "full bar" and no choice is a killer for this suggestion, but for the first time, a few days ago I had the veggie main course at Chez Panisse downstairs as I didn't eat the regular item, and it was outstanding.

Jul 28, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Buenos Aires?!

San Telmo - El Baqueano is my favorite restaurant in the city.

to chez panisse or to not chez panisse, that is the question

You also have the "everyone's a critic" component that didn't exist during most of the restaurant's history, and further, everyone's a critic that can publish his/her thoughts on a whim, and more frequently, when bitter than when pleased.

Furthermore, after time, a restaurant goes from "I hear there's a great new place" to "I have been wanting to try that place for awhile" to "I've been waiting a decade to go there" to what my dinner there will be tomorrow with a family member that has been wanting to go there for decades, and tomorrow is a special occasion and she's visiting. So, she has probably been wanting to eat there for upwards of 25 to 30 years. She'll likely love it. Her husband will wonder where the food is on his plate, and that it wasn't worth the money, not that either of them have to worry about the check.

Jul 23, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

to chez panisse or to not chez panisse, that is the question

How is it a "victim" if it is always full, and always charging a price that it can make a good living at, treating its workstaff with decent wages?

It is a great restaurant if you take it for what it is. I also find the service to be great if the server knows what your occasion is, i.e., we're out here for dinner in the neighborhood. My last dinner there (a couple of weeks ago) was just delicious decent food. Not "meal of a lifetime" taste, nor even my best meal there. But one of the 4 of us thought it was one of the best meals he'd ever eaten. Our server, when she saw we were just out to have a good meal and drink good wine was a lot of fun, and didn't need to play into any expected pretense. I also find the wine markup to be very fair.

Back to the OP, if you never go, you'll always still want to go. The potential upside is a lot more than the potential downside, because the potential downside is that you'll have still eaten a decent, if not memorable, meal, and your wallet won't be dry. Contrast this with some of the hot tasting menus, where dinner for 2 with some wine can cost you just shy of a grand, and the potential for disappointment is huge.

Jul 23, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Belli Osteria in Berkeley?

I went when the restaurant was fairly new, enjoyed it, but then never returned (except the one time we tried to drop in and it was packed). When I saw a Groupon a few days ago, I bought it. On the one hand, i was sorry to see that it was slow enough that they needed Groupon (but it is summer). On the other hand, it was a very good deal (1 item from each section of the menu, plus 2 glasses of wine). We had:

Cucumber, tomato & roasted bell pepper gazpacho with grilled gulf shrimp - delicious

radicchio, belgian endive, mozzarella and aged smoked ham with roasted tomatillo vin - delicious

pappardelle with sliced beef (special of the day) - delicious, and the noodles were especially great.

niman ranch rib eye steak, purple potatoes, carmelized onion purée & herbed butter - great. A generous piece of meat, ordered medium-rare (came out pretty rare, which was fine).

We both enjoyed a glass of white by the glass, and then we ordered a bottle of Barbera for the second half of the meal. The balance of that bottle was our dessert.

I made a reservation (good thing) and it was packed when we arrived, but there weren't many people when we left. For this food and these prices, that is a shame.

Service was wonderful.

Jul 13, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

you go away for a week, and the food you miss most is....

Fresh vegetables. Also, sometimes a plate of potentially-cramp-inducing Mexican food. But mostly, vegetables. A big fresh salad.

Jul 04, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Ethnic in Berkeley Area

Everest Cafe and Hamro Aangan are both very good for Nepali food (which have similar flavor profiles to Pakistani). Sabuy Sabuy II is the best Thai in the area - just ask them to make you food, letting them know your likes/dislikes, and they'll make you a feast. (Dinner only)

Jul 04, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria (Geyersville)

No. It is just south of that. There are now several wine rooms in that area, starting (north) with Route 128 (entry through the parking lot), then Meeker, Local's, Mercury and Ramazzotti.

Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria (Geyersville)

It was one of their heartier reds - I don't recall specifically. They share a front door with Mercury Wines - two very cool places with super nice owners, and even if everything you taste isn't all your style, you'll have a great time visiting.

Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria (Geyersville)

I just went for the first time last Sunday.
We shared the Charcuterie plate (much more substantial than we expected) as well as a pasta and a pizza. We left with some pizza. Delicious. I didn't even look at the wine list as we brought a bottle from the Ramazzotti's tasting room next door.

Jun 27, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

What's up with the Public Market in Emeryville?

A bit of gym traffic, and the new housing should be opening soon, no?

Jun 25, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

One Dinner in SF - Where and Why?

OP didn't ask for fancy. OP asked for "price and location not factors."

Jun 21, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

One Dinner in SF - Where and Why?

I'd probably choose Zuni as a quintessential San Francisco meal. It isn't fancy (but it is nice), it isn't "one of the top restaurants in the US," and for me, it doesn't present super high expectations that could only lead to disappointment. It represents a great summary of what and how we've been eating in these parts since I've moved up here, nearly 30 years ago. So, for a single meal in SF for someone not from here, that would be my first pick.

Jun 21, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Albany - Jodie’s – “soulful, simple and home style”

No, but sitting in that tiny space helped make the place what it is.

Post-wedding Saturday lunch in SF

In decent shoes, La Mar isn't a particularly long walk and they might enjoy the walk. That would be my first choice, given your OP.

Jun 07, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Nontypical wedding food

I'm going to have paella cooked on site for a party next month, with some apps passed around while the paella is cooking.

Jun 03, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Sushi Banzai RIP 1989-2014 [Berkeley]

Hide and family had a wonderful sendoff to his wonderful non-descript, not exciting neighborhood gem. Yesterday was his last day in operation and today was a private party for his customers. He didn't disappoint. Even Bert from Sabuy Sabuy brought over trays of food. Always a great place for good conversation, great sushi and sashimi, and Hide's sense of humor, even if you didn't always understand everything he said, the 'hood will miss you, and wish you a happy retirement. Anyone who ever came here looking for a fancy roll with flavored mayonnaise goop sauce left disappointed. For the rest of us, we kept our orders simple, and left happy. Alas, no more. Domo arigato from the once humble 'hood.

May 24, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Restaurant with river/bay view along 160/4.

Avoid the Riverview Lodge. It is one thing not to be high end. It is another thing to be rear end.

Pizza Moda - Berkeley

I've been twice. The first time the crust was one of the best I've ever had. The second time, I don't know if it was underbaked, the oven wasn't at proper temp, or whomever was making the pizza wasn't experienced enough, but the crust wasn't even close to visit one (and we had 2 pies). I'll probably return soon and I figure that visit 2 was a one-off, given the above report.

May 22, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

"Breakfast for Dinner" in Oakland or Berkeley, esp waffles or pancakes

I did notice that Lama Beans is serving breakfast all day. I haven't been since it was Jimmy Beans. I don't think they have waffles, but they have pancakes and french toast. You'll have to check re: what syrup is available.

May 20, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

Plum > Ume [Oakland]

I would not be surprised if the departure of the Punchdown had an effect of diminishing revenues at Plum and Bar. The only times I've ever been to Plum Bar were after visiting the Punchdown, and the only reason I was there in the first place was to visit the Punchdown. The successor place has already closed after a run of "months."

May 20, 2014
lmnopm in San Francisco Bay Area

The Bacon Bacon Truck

The first visit (opening day of the North Berkeley BART OTG - raining and not crowded), the food was delicious. We got chicken sandwiches and porky fries, and everything was still hot when we got home. It was so good I was tempted to hire them for a party.

The second visit, we tried the burgers. They were "ok" but nothing great, and the porky fries were drowning in oil at the bottom, and not very crisp.

The third visit, we re-visited the chicken sandwich. They were out of porky fries, so we got the parmesan fries. The chicken sandwich was meh, and the fries were uninspired, without much flavor. We looked at each other and said "we're over this."

I don't know if their reopening of a restaurant has anything to do with this, but was our first visit a delicious fluke? Or were the last two unfortunate and out-of-character visits?

East Bay Wine Shop with Wines that will age

The first two places I'd consider are Kermit Lynch and North Berkeley Wine (mostly French and Italian).