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Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

Did you see the thread/press about Mister Jiu?

http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/...

I am really looking forward to this restaurant's opening.

about 21 hours ago
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

I would also love that that, but you can't sustain Cam Huong prices or "look" in Rockridge ...

My local coffee shop is also TERRIBLE. Can anyone tell I live in Montclair? haha. So I would welcome some craft coffee to the nabe.

about 21 hours ago
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Cake recommendations?

Good thought ... I called and said they will not do a full size because "it needs to be created on site to get a cone shape", but suggested that they could do a St Honore with the caramel ... 11" diameter round, 2-3 puffs high.

Dec 14, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Cake recommendations?

Anyone know where to get a croquembouche these days? Is Noe Valley Bakery still doing them?

Dec 14, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

French Fries: SFBA Dish of the Month December 2014

Had the smoked fries at Plum Bar as part of the "Happy Meal" late on Saturday evening. Shoestring fries, I think singly fried and then tossed in plenty of salt and smoked paprika. They're okay, a little strong for me (and I really like paprika!).

Also had some fries as part of a fritto misto at Dopo last night. They were also thin sliced. Not overcooked, but slightly on the greasy side. Fairly salty (but not offputtingly so). The fish in the misto was excellent, the potato fries were there mainly as a foil.

Dec 10, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

French Fries: SFBA Dish of the Month December 2014

Sounds like a fun outing, but those aren't really chips! ;)
(Nonetheless, appropriate for the topic.)

Dec 10, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

2014 - December seasonal specialties

I saw a gorgeous looking chocolate chestnut torte in the case at La Farine yesterday (College Ave location). Unfortunately, I could not justify the purchase as I had already invested heavily in a pre-ordered cake (a pink princess cake, which was up to standard), but it's very tempting for another time.

Dec 08, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Dine About Town 2014 [San Francisco]

I agree ... could be confusing for diners.

Also: wasn't the point of DAT to discover new places and try them at a slightly lower price point? I didn't mind at all that they were generally taking items from the regular menu, because it meant you were getting a good sense of what the restaurant had to offer.

Dec 05, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Shakewell - First Visit [Lakeshore, Oakland]

Shakewell are adding a "Tagine Tuesday" pre fixe menu for $29....
We went for brunch the weekend before Thanksgiving and enjoyed it.

Here's the pre fixe they're advertising:

Frisee & arugula salad with shaved fennel and tangerines dressed with a honey-tangerine vinaigrette

Chicken Tagine with Moroccan spiced organic chicken and ginger, saffron, preserved lemon, castelvetranos olives, fresh coriander & romanesco

Spiced quince upside down cake with Strauss ice-cream

Dec 04, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

New Malaysian in Oakland Chinatown

Thanks for the early reviews, felice and hyperbowler!

We went last night. I'm suffering from a cold, so the Bak Kut Teh called out to me as a great remedy soup, and it was. It is fairly bitter, which I do not mind at all, but sweetie pie (SP) was happy to leave me to it. I really like the goji berries, which burst a little when bitten, as rehydrated dry fruits will, adding a sweet little exclamation point. Fried tofu was also nice.

We had roti canai, absolutely delicious and great crispy/chewy texture. Already craving it again. Note that it does come with two roti. I love this dish ... I think I may have to nominate it for DOTM.

Laksa mee was satisfying, flavorful with a little bit of spice. I loved that there was okra and eggplant piled high in this dish. There was some chili oil, but I did not find it overly greasy at all. Could benefit from slightly more capsaicin. SP has traveled quite a bit in Malaysia and really enjoyed this; found it brought back memories.

Hot malaysian tea was strong, piping hot, and not sickly sweet (it is similar in flavor profile to thai tea, but definitely not as sweet as most thai places will make it).

The portions are large, and even though we would like to have tried more, we left other items for another time, but still brought home some leftovers.

Our dessert freebie was red bean soup. Touch of coconut, not too sweet. Very nice end to the meal.

Service was very friendly and attentive. Everything is new still, which means it is very clean.

I foresee this place becoming a regular stop.

Clove & Hoof butchery and restaurant in Oakland is open!

Anything else on the butchery side that got you excited?

Looking forward to trying this place. The #1 place I miss from SF having moved to east bay is Olivier's.

Nov 24, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

The Growlers' Arms [Glenview, Oakland]

Yeah, they do. This being Oakland, I'm not sure how many Roundheads are about, but it does seem a bit silly.

Nov 09, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

The Growlers' Arms [Glenview, Oakland]

As reported earlier by Robert L, Marzano has been replaced by a gastropub, The Growlers' Arms.

Three of us had a very pleasant meal there on Friday evening. They're just a week or two into service, and there was some misjudging of demand, so many items ran out before 8 pm. Nonetheless, all the servers were making a very sincere effort, and I don't think it will take long before everything falls in line. The food is good, and fairly unique in our area. As opposed to say Martin's West, where there is an effort to ensure expected pub standbys like fish and chips are on the menu, Growlers' is really trying to do California British and lead people further into new British cooking.

Lots of nice touches that are British-y but not overly stereotypical. The interior is comfier than its earlier incarnation, with new banquettes lining the walls. Servers all wear waistcoats (suit vests). Prints of line drawings feature dogs. The walls are a pretty shade of green, missing the tobacco stains of true hoary English pubs.

We tried:

Bubble and Squeak with Creamy Smoked Trout -- The B&S were very tasty flat croquettes of potato and celeriac, went well with the smoked trout. Small portion of trout with creme fraiche.

Brussel sprout salad with Lancashire cheese and farmers market apples -- One of our party actually is from Lancashire, so we were excited to get some native cheese. Sadly, the featured cheese was three shaved slices, not enough to get full flavor. And it was not the aged, crystalline cheese we were hoping for, but fresh and not totally distinguishable from, say, a fresh asiago.

Oxtail, shortrib, and leek pudding with "leave the pitcher" stout sauce -- Wonderful, rich braised meat encased in a pastry crust. Very hearty and flavorful, and to my taste the best dish of the evening.

Roast cod with parsnip puree -- I think there was also some beurre blanc. The fish was nicely cooked, but it seemed a bit bare with no accompanying vegetables (the parsnips were really a smear on the plate). I couldn't help mentally comparing this to last week's meal at Haven, where all the mains were well-balanced dishes that you could call "dinner" on their own, without having to specifically order sides and carbs.

Apple pie with lancashire cheddar -- Tasty mini-pie, very flaky crust. A touch more acid in the fruit would have been welcome. Also, a wedge of cheese instead of a bit grated into the pastry would have brought out flavors.

Spotted Richard -- For those unfamiliar, it's a bit like a steamed scone. Lots of currants, served with a small dollop of clotted cream and some small slices of persimmon.

They have a full selection of Fentiman's soft drinks.

It's definitely not a more affordable replacement for Marzano's, and I hope they even out the entrees a little with more accompaniments (and get a little more generous with the cheese!), but overall the cooking is good and we're glad to have them nearby.

Nov 09, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Impressing out-of-towners in the East Bay - discussion

I just posted about a very recent, fabulous meal at Haven. This would now be on my list.

+1 on Camino, all of the Shyabout places, Ippuku

I'd add Southie (I actually prefer it to big sister Wood Tavern though it's more casual) and Tamarindo

Nov 01, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Haven under Charlie Parker [Oakland, Jack London Square]

There hasn't been too much chat about the "new" Haven ... Charlie Parker took over in May as executive chef and I saw one or two quick mentions (bbulkow did a quickie brunch review, and btw bbulkow, my dinner last night was head and shoulders above a recent Hopscotch dinner!), but I think it deserves more 'hound attention. Thus the new thread.

On a Friday evening at 7:30, the dining room was about half full. We made rezzies earlier in the day but could have walked in. I won't go into the space, as that has been discussed previously.

The menu is in four parts -- Bites, To Start, Entrees, Dessert.

Bread service -- whipped butter and two lightly toasted triangles of a dense, multi-grain affair. Our server suggested she bring it to us before putting in our full order, because otherwise it would be too long between our "Bites" and entrees. This seemed thoughtful.

Bite 1: Pickled Sardine on Toast -- deboned, skin-on, tender 1/2 sardine atop chunky-mashed avocado on what I think was thick-sliced pain au lait (it reminded me of the pain au lait at La Fournee in Claremont, which is baked in a pullman tin). Garnished with little pickled pink onion rings and razor thin slices of pickled celery. Great combination of flavors and textures.

Bite 2: Confit chicken wings -- this in actuality was two full wings and a drumstick, served piled into a tower in a bowl with cumin yogurt sauce, tiny pickled carrots, slices of pickled hot pepper (kind of a nod to escabeche) and cilantro chimichurri. The cumin flavor was subtle, perhaps not roasted deeply, very enjoyable. At the time, it seemed that the cumin flavor had been infused into the chicken meat, because even without yogurt sauce, the flavor was present, even near the bones. Very successful dish, a little messy to eat of course, but much enjoyed.

We talked about ordering one of the To Start appetizers, but were worried we'd be grossly over-ordering, so we didn't get to try any of them this time. Mix of fairly hearty-sounding soups, salads, risotto, the ubiquitous squid.

Entree 1: Olive-oil poached salmon -- the salmon itself was relatively plain, small (estimate 3.5 oz of filet), and a touch more done than is my preference. The accompaniments were really great, though -- black eyed peas, cauliflower, and buttermilk sauce -- and enough of it to feel hearty.

Entree 2: Pork on a bed of caraway spaetzle and kraut, with apple butter, fried rillete, and frisee. This was truly a fantastic dish, lots of interesting elements to be combined and not a boring bite to be had. The apple butter wasn't typical apple butter at all, much smoother, and possibly with actual butter added. There was a piece of pork shoulder that was pink and hammy-flavored, and a gorgeous cut of pork loin that still had a 3/4" rind of fat and a piece of crackling attached. I asked our server about it, and he stated that they are taking in whole pigs, so it was butchered to the chef's specification.

Dessert: We took the "candy bar", which consisted of a cookie layer, caramel mousse, and chocolate glaze, plated with additional chocolate sauce, crumbled chocolate sable, a scoop of cocoa ice cream, house made marshmallows, and spiced peanuts. Quite delicious, great mix of textures, and not overly sweet.

Drink 1: Housemade ginger beer -- nice and spicy, not overly sugary.

Drink 2: Last revival -- a well balanced cocktail (though decidedly in the sweet spectrum) containing gin, absinthe, yellow chartreuse, and other things we cannot recall at the moment.

I think they do a great job of composing larger dishes here. Nothing we ate got bland over time. Seasoning levels were perfect to my palate. No service issues at all. It seems they are back on ... very much recommended!

Older threads:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/824687
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/920332
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/912468
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/828935

Mockingbird [Oakland] needs your help!

Sad to hear. It has been on our list as a place to visit -- will go soon to support them.

Nov 01, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

East Bay places to sit, eat, and watch the World Series

Adesso keeps sending out emails, and I think it would be a fun place for it.

Oct 29, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

ok, how about good areas in Oakland?

I thoroughly enjoy Legendary Palace and I've been eating dim sum my entire life, grew up on NYC and Flushing dim sum in the 80s. It's important to eat upstairs, though, and get stuff off the carts that are coming right out of the upstairs kitchens.

Oct 17, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

private dining rooms in N. Oakland/S. Berkeley area

Julia's at the Berkeley City Club might fit the bill. The food is not amazing, but it's certainly serviceable, and the *building* is amazing! Designed by Julia Morgan. I think it would be an interesting place to have this kind of meeting.

Oct 16, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

ISO Fluffy Moussaka Topping

I don't think this will help you get precisely to the texture you are looking for -- I think the egg yolks that monavano suggested are a great idea -- but my favorite moussaka ever used a yogurt bechamel instead of a milk based bechamel, for a slightly tarter, more flavorful topping.

I would recommend using whole fat unsweetened yogurt. Trader Joe's has a nice thick one that is labeled Mediterranean yogurt ... it's even thicker than greek yogurt, actually.

Oct 16, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking

Michelin Bib Gourmand 2015 list for Bay Area released; Kin Khao, Z&Y among the added, Slanted Door and Burma Superstar booted.

No surprise that Osteria Coppa got booted; that place is terrible, but is priced to compete with A16, Pizzaiolo, etc.

On a visit with work (so, luckily, not on my dime), we were completely nonplussed by a salumi platter with incredibly stingy portions. The salumi itself was edible, but certainly nothing exciting. A panna pizza was okay. I ordered the duck special -- it was described as a duck and porcini ragu on fresh pasta -- and was utterly disappointed. No sauce to coat pieces of egg pasta that were stuck together. Duck was dry, tasteless, no hint of porcini. I preferred to leave half and go home for cheese and crackers.

Oct 15, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Plum Bar - Oakland

Stopped in for a late Friday evening (~9:30) meal after a very long flight. We were looking for a clean, but flavorful meal and Plum Bar delivered for us.

Butter beans and Kale with herbed bread crumbs -- is listed under soups/salads and is a little bit brothy. Nice and light.

Top ramen -- one order with the chicken, which is more like a panko-crusted chicken tender, not karaage. Suited us for this particular evening. Tofu was "agedashi style", but the tofu itself was centimeter cubes, not the larger cubes you'd typically see in agedashi apps, cold (!), and no bonito flake in evidence. Submerging the tofu in the ponzu broth warmed it up and it became edible, even tasty. I would never get these dishes to fill a ramen craving, but it worked for us for this particular evening. Lots of veggies in the ramen (particularly red cabbage, kind of looked like someone chopped veggies for a cole slaw but stuck it in soup instead). So, again, the ramen dishes fulfilled a need, but I probably would not order these again.

Dessert was a really good Rocky Road sundae -- a twist of vanilla and chocolate soft serve with candied walnuts, homemade marshmallows, and tiny malt balls. Loved it.

We would really like to go back for the aged beef cheeseburger sometime when we haven't just spent 8 hours on a plane.

ok, how about good areas in Oakland?

I was suggesting a walk that way more for a view into the student scene and for "low key drinking" options ... that part of Telegraph is definitely worth a look-see, even if it isn't necessarily notable food wise (as you'd expect, given the student population). It's less than a mile from the Elmwood district to campus.

You used to be able to get a beer at the International House (top of Bancroft), not sure if they still serve alcohol. But again, worth nosing around if a visitor wants to get a sense of the University. A former colleague of mine housed with the Crown Prince of Norway at the I-house. Not saying you'll bump into european royalty should you wander in, but it can be an interesting place.

Oct 13, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

ok, how about good areas in Oakland?

Don't forget that one morning, OP should grab a morning bun from La Farine :)

Elmwood Cafe is another local favorite, with great hot chocolate.

Wander into Casa de Chocolate on Ashby close to College for a Mexican take on chocolate. Beautiful and delicious, unusual flavors.

If you can wait until you get near the BART station for your coffee, I recommend Highwire inside Market Hall. You can also get Starter Bakery kouign amann there.

There hasn't been much discussion of walking in the other direction, towards the campus. It's not really that far, though, and there is lots of college life and bars on telegraph near Sather gate -- go North on College, then left on Bancroft.

Oct 13, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

neighborhood restaurant recommendations for November in SF?

So, we perceive them differently ... It's good to offer the OP a diversity of opinion. Pretension does not always manifest as white tablecloths and continental waitstaff.

I do agree, from Valencia on up the hill, it is not seedy.

Oct 02, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

neighborhood restaurant recommendations for November in SF?

I agree, Castro would also be relatively convenient, is pleasant, and is uniquely SF.

I just don't get all the recommendations for the Mission when the spots there are both pretentious, which the OP specifically asked to avoid, and as you put it 'seedy'.

Oct 02, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Dock at Linden Street [Oakland]

Went a couple weeks ago and just want to report about one dish:

Beef tendon chicharon with crawfish bearnaise was fantastic. Tendon had was slightly chewy but with the same puffy texture as regular pork rinds. The bearnaise was spot on and a delicious pairing.

Oct 02, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

neighborhood restaurant recommendations for November in SF?

I think it's less scene-y than the area around Trick Dog (in the mission), which has certainly gentrified a great deal. I don't think it's as uniform demographically as the Marina, either. But I haven't exactly looked at census figures to come to this conclusion.

Visitors that I take to this area enjoy it, and it's closer to your target daytime destinations than the Mission too.

Oct 01, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

neighborhood restaurant recommendations for November in SF?

I think lower Pac Heights /Japantown would be great for you. Lots of interesting things to eat, good breakfasts, not difficult to get to Fisherman's Wharf or to GG Park, a few bars, but not in the middle of the shopping district (Union Sq) where all the big hotels are.

Sep 30, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Bustelo Expresso----Where to buy in the SF Area

Amazon also sells them in the vacuum packs.

Sep 27, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area