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Torina's Profile

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Mignonette - Miami

Oh this is so exciting! Thanks for the report. I just booked a res there and was turning to the board to see if there were any comments yet.

about 5 hours ago
Torina in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Hatch Green Chiles 2014

Alameda Nob Hill is roasting this weekend (8/23-24) from 11 am to 6 pm.

about 12 hours ago
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Legendary Palace In Oakland Cinatown....new ownership?

Still meaning to do the comparison at Peony (We live in Oakland, so aren't likely to get to Millbrae), but in the meantime have been to Legendary a few more times ... have also been to Yank Sing Rincon recently and do enjoy it too, but we feel more relaxed & rollicking at Legendary.

Twice, I went a little earlier than usual and sat downstairs, which was a mistake. Much less variety and slow service. I observed rice noodle rolls being left on the side and getting cold for ages.

However, last weekend we went during "rush hour" and sat upstairs, and were well rewarded for our patient waiting.
-- Har gow were enormous, my brother who was visiting from out of town swooned
-- FRIED MILK -- I hadn't had these since childhood (80s in Flushing), and was so happy! Sweet, creamy milk interior, batter fried. Lightly greasy but nice and crisp and held up. I don't know how many adults will really like this, it is a great nostalgic favorite for me though, and I think kids will like it.
-- Roast suckling pig with crispy skin -- very tender, fatty, and delicious. This was a special, $18, but we couldn't resist. It seemed like there were a lot of specials, maybe they are ramping up for moon festival season?
-- Sticky rice -- served in the upside down glass bowl on a ceramic plate, rather than the lotus steamed ones (those also available) - more of an emphasis on the shitaake and sausage and I *think* there was some dried duck in there too. Peanuts too IIRC. I've had it done better, this was drier than I prefer, but I liked the add-ins.
-- Fried chicken wings with serrano and garlic, these are good but mainly we get them for the gwai lo at the table
-- More of those cilantro rice noodle rolls and the pineapple buns I raved about in the earlier post
-- Steam bbq pork buns, siu mai and other standards were good

We went away stuffed and happy. Service was really kind to us, too. One staff member in particular helped us hunt down dishes, brought sauces and waters and silverware time after time, and jingled her keys to amuse the baby nephew. This particular lunch was more expensive because we got some specials like the suckling pig, but we typically eat there for $12 pp.

Bro and sis-in-law went a couple days later to Koi Palace in Dublin (on a weekday as opposed to a Sunday) with some extended family. Swore up and down Legendary was better. Har gow were equal, it was said.

1 day ago
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Favorite Ice Cream 2014

4.5 year old nephew is in town, and ice cream is the most reliable bribery tool we have available.

At Three Twins' Fisherman's Wharf location, convenient to the Aquarium of the Bay, said nephew had "pink" ice cream with sprinkles and relished it. I took the opportunity to taste a few flavors and found the lemon cookie a bit ...hmmm.... medicinal. I'd really been looking forward to it, because I love lemon ice cream. But I ended up with the Mexican chocolate and was pleased, even though it's slightly on the sweet side for my taste. Nice cinnamon flavor, strong chocolate, and a hint of chile.

Aug 12, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Curbside Creamery, Oakland NEW ice cream shop- soft opening Thurs 7/31/14

It's very cutely packaged and well marketed, but falls down on flavor. I tasted a mint chip sandwich from Curbside at Grand Lake Market, and the cookies seemed stale. Didn't finish it.

In terms of my ice cream preferences, bear in mind that I'm still crying myself to sleep at night over Sketch's second retail closure.

Jul 31, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Eating in Season: Squash Blossoms

Squash blossoms in the Halibut crudo at Dopo last night. Along with cucumbers and basil. Very nice.

Jul 31, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

1950's Old Style Chinese Steamed Pork (Hom Yu)

I love Fu Yu with watercress or pea shoots.

What my mom did with her yuk bang was to add diced preserved turnip. This is very Toysan. Rinse it before dicing, cuz it's way salty.

Jul 30, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking

5-night visit to SF - some ideas, but need help refining them!

I didn't see any in March or May when I was there, apart from at Borough Market on a Saturday. I'm sure a function of where I was staying. Also thought the offerings here might be a bit different. The Peruvian chiccharon sandwich from Sanguchon is really great.

Jul 30, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

5-night visit to SF - some ideas, but need help refining them!

Second the Mexican suggestion, since Wahaca is shameful. Tamarindo in downtown Oakland, and Nido in Jack London Square (also Oakland) are excellent choices in addition to Comal.

Also, I know you guys get a lot of curries, but I think South Indian cuisine is harder to find in London. You might enjoy a lunch at Dosa (two locations, Valencia in the Mission, and on Fillmore just by Japantown).

I'd recommend doing a straight up California cuisine place too. Central Kitchen in the Mission is a personal favorite. Commis serves beautiful california style tasting menus and is an excellent value (Piedmont Ave in Oakland).

Have you been eating much izakaya? This is something we're doing well these days. Nojo springs to mind as a potential lunch place (and is near where you're staying), Ippuku in Berkeley would also be a good choice (lots of commentary on here).

This might strike you as a silly suggestion, but maybe it would be good for lunch, head for an Off The Grid (food truck gatherings) that has Chairman Bao (Taiwanese-ish, get the pork belly) and Sanguchon (Peruvian, get the pan con chicharron) available, to see what all the fuss is about.

Jul 30, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Afternoon tea places for a birthday?

Haven't been personally, but my aunt said that the English Rose in Pleasanton offers a nice afternoon tea, and that they were very generous with letting you try many different types of tea.

Jul 30, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Favorite Ice Cream 2014

Hot Italian also does liquor affogatos. Unfortunately, their gelato turnover isn't high enough and the amaretto over coffee gelato I had was quite icy.

Jul 28, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Favorite Ice Cream 2014

Last week the ice cream bar was vanilla-walnut with nocino-macerated dates. Nice Chinese note with those dates, but achieved without distinctively asian ingredients. We felt this was one of the most successful dishes there.

Jul 28, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Asian-style Zucchini?

My Chinese mama used to just stir fry onions and zucchini together -- onions first to start, with veg oil and salt, then toss in the zucchini coins. Very simple. Almost 1:1 onion to zucchini.

Jul 25, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking

Off The Grid -- El Cerrito

I think that the trucks are there on a biweekly schedule ... they definitely are for Oakland.

In any case, I see that the 7/30 OTG in El Cerrito will have Sanguchon, which is a really good truck. Order their Pan con Chicharron!! They put on pickled onions to cut the fat. My boyfriend and I were practically fighting over the last bite (next time, no sharing).

Jul 24, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Trip to Berkeley from DC

Happy Apple Kitchen in Grass Valley on your last leg has great pies and fruit shakes. I always stop in when in the area.

Sacramento has a lot of good eats, actually, but by then you'll be closing in on your target and may not really want to stop.

Enjoy your trip! And welcome to the Bay Area, we look forward to you joining our board.

Jul 23, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Dim Sum Chowdown at Peony, Oakland

Can whoever speaks Cantonese in the group post the romanized Chinese names of the dishes? Some of them are slightly different versions than are commonly served, eg the turnip cake.

Jul 23, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Coi moving to Alinea's ticket system & lowering some prices

Potentially awkward for larger parties in terms of splitting the bill (someone always has to front), but wow, if moving off OpenTable can save me $50 a head for a weekday meal, I'll take it.

The Chez Panisse mention is slightly inaccurate -- they definitely do fancier meals for the more expensive nights.

Jul 22, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area
2

Cinchona bark source in Redwood City!!

Thank you! I found the allspice element and the dried lemongrass a bit overpowering in the one we tried. Fresh lemongrass might help with that, and I'll calibrate the allspice.

Jul 22, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Pub to sample California Microbrews

We went on Saturday and were impressed with Hog's Apothecary. 30 local brews on tap and more on hand pump and bottled. Root beer and ginger beer on tap!

The food was also pretty good, we all ordered sausages.

Jul 22, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Cinchona bark source in Redwood City!!

Do you have a good recipe? I bought the kit from Oaktown Spices (they're another source for cinchona bark), but wasn't happy with the result.

Jul 21, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Steakhouse at hotel or near [San Francisco]

Stay at the Westin St Francis, home to Bourbon Steak. The Clock Bar is good too. There are many good restaurants in proximity to Union Sq.

Jul 17, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Spices! located in Foster City - anyone been yet?

Yelp says this location has closed and will become a French restaurant.

Their website says that they are temporarily closed for renovations ...

Any hounds have the scoop?

Jul 17, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Fresh black-eyed peas - how to cook?

I did the same thing once and couldn't find a single fresh pea recipe. So I adapted a recipe for dried black eyed peas from Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking ... a favorite of mine for finding new and fun ways of handling veggies.

These are Chaura Na Poora -- Gujarati black eyed pea pancakes. They are absolutely delicious, and the batter can be prepared a day in advance.

Instead of needing to soak the 1.5 cups of peas as you would any dried bean, I just par boiled them. Run a 3/4 inch cube of fresh ginger, along with 5 cloves of garlic and a couple of fresh chilies (serranos go well), in a food processor until minced. Then add in the prepped peas.

Grind in the food processor until paste-like. Add 1.33 cups water, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric, and 1 tbs of cilantro and run the food processor again until the mixture becomes a batter.

Cook it like a pancake but with a bit more veggie oil than you would for a breakfast pancake. Usually the batter won't spread that much by itself, so you may need to swirl it out with the back of your ladle. For 1/3 cup of batter spread to a 6-7 inch circle, 2 minutes a side on medium-low heat should be sufficient to cook it. To make it truly Indian, use plenty of oil.

I absolutely love this recipe and often will cheat by making it with chickpea flour instead of the beans.

Jul 16, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking

In desperate need of ideas on what to cook my Mother-in-law for dinner!

Sounds great!! Mixed berry cobbler, Mmmmmm.

Good luck :)

Jul 16, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking

Adventurous menu for special occasion

What about Box & Bells in Rockridge? The food is definitely adventurous, although also fatty and meat-heavy ... blood pudding poutine! fried chicken with oyster mayo! There is fish and seafood on the menu too.

I think the space is cool (and not sparse) in a gritty american nostalgia way, although I'm not sure that qualifies as high design. I'd have suggested his higher end Commis, but I think it's just out of the price range at $95 a head.

Jul 15, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Vegetarian *30 day challenge. help a buddy out.

Eggplant Romanoff

1 large eggplant, peeled and cut in 1 inch slices
Flour, salt
Salad oil
4 tbs melted butter
2 tbs flour
2 cups sour cream or yogurt
Parmesan cheese
Paprika

Dip the eggplant in flour and saute in oil until golden brown and dry.
Remove from pan. Sprinkle with salt. Heat the butter, add flour and cook 1 minute.
Add the sour cream or yogurt and blend.
Place one layer of the eggplant in a buttered casserole and cover with some of the sour cream.
Repeat, with the yogurt last. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and paprika.
Keep warm until ready to serve; then run under the broiler to brown.

Healthier variant: Use grilled eggplant (just brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt), make the roux with butter and flour, and use yogurt instead of sour cream. This is the version I prefer to make now, and in fact am going to make this evening!

Jul 14, 2014
Torina in Vegetarian & Vegan

top fine dining restaurant on Oahu as of May 2014

With these prices for a meal you did not love, watch the fares and bring her to SF for a weekend. Aloha wear is welcome everywhere, and there are many amazing restaurant at many price points. Although sadly my favorite, Manresa, is out of commission at the moment due to a fire.

Jul 14, 2014
Torina in Hawaii

Ethiopian Injera Made Only with Teff in Oakland

Likewise, Colucci does it by request (the default injera does have wheat). The teff only version is a bit darker in color.

Jul 14, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Reverse osmosis, Ionized or... tap water ?

Do you have any citations? That's a strong claim.

Jul 11, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Short day trip suggestions [San Francisco]

Oh, and lunch can be had at Marcella's lasagneria if OP is there on a week day.

http://marcellaslasagneria.com/

Caffe della Stazione is pretty good coffee too, but I don't recommend it for lunch.

Jul 11, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area