The Dive's Profile

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The Barrel Room, Oakland Rockridge

They indicated last night that they would be swapping it all out for French, with flights based on regions (Northern and Southern Loire, etc.)

Dinner Before the Fillmore [San Francisco]

anything new to add to this list for tonight? Dosa was good last time, but always looking for new ideas.

The Barrel Room, Oakland Rockridge

We stopped by the Barrel Room yesterday. Great wine, food and concept. The Spanish-Portuguese menu and list will last through the end of the month. Had some very interesting flights. And that manchego roasted in romesco sauce is amazing. Next up will be France.

Crab season is upon us

Camino is supposed to start "Crabby Monday" next week - I think their wood oven crab is among the best around.

Aveline or Abbot's Cellar??? [San Francisco]

We celebrated a special event at Abbot's Cellar. We are huge beer geeks and the list is amazing, but I felt the food was disappointing.

Hot zabaglione?

Jackson Fillmore's version is great. It is also at their sister restaurant Cucina in San Anselmo.

Home made frozen dumplings, East Bay?

Prices are little higher now -- $7.60 for 15 pork & chive for lunch. However, they now seem to have the range of frozen dumplings available all of the time, listed on the menu outside (no pre-ordering).

What's good near Lincoln/Auburn? [Follow this discussion on our California board]

Good beer and sweet potato fries, but I have trouble finding other good things to eat there despite the big menu. Burger is solid though.

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg donates $85,000 to support Berkeley’s proposed soda tax

I admit that vice taxes have a tendency to be somewhat regressive, but it simply makes economic sense to tax purchases that place a cost on the rest of society. Of course, Big Soda is going to oppose it (just like the alcohol and tobacco companies have done in the past and continue to oppose any increases in taxes) because vice taxes have been shown to ultimately reduce purchases of the items.

One of my favorite quotes about Richmond's failed effort to impose a soda tax:

“There’s very little [reason for] a city to [not put] a soda tax on the ballot,” said Richmond City Councilman Jeff Ritterman, who authored the measure. “Big soda drops millions in your town. They teach your disadvantaged youth how to phone bank and canvass, which are both useful skills. Unfortunately they fill their heads with misinformation so there is some downside, but this can be corrected over time.”

Burmese Kitchen's Special of the Day: Goat Curry [San Francisco]


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

I went to Adesso last Friday to catch some of the game. It worked well.

How often do you get a bad meal in the SF area?

I think that this is true (that busier places are better) -- and that is why companies probably tend to arrange business dinners at Sens and Credo. Much easier to find a table for ten because the demand is not as great. But FiDi is able to keep those places in business longer because of the business needed for larger-party dinners and lunches.

I have been to private events at Sens and I still think the food is substandard.

SFBA Dish of the Month (Nov 2014) - Nominations/Voting


Perdition Smokehouse (downtown Berkeley)

We ate lunch there on Saturday. This time, the ribs were better than the pork shoulder (which was a little dry in my opinion). I did not love the mac-n-cheese (I agree with tanginess comment), but it was liked by others at the table. Hush puppies were decent, but not noteworthy. Hot link still great. Also liked the greens (nice and bitter, but still porky). Highlight remains the beans and beer (Prairie Cherry Funk -- wow!!!). If I was eating alone, that would be all I would get.

Uptown or Old Oakland restaurant with tv(s)

I have been getting an email a day from Adesso that they will be playing the games. A few specials too. They have a large screen that is generally viewable any place except when you back is to it at the bar.

Your go-to delivery for dinner in Oakland/Berkeley?

Unfortunately, their delivery area stop only a few blocks from us (although they will sometimes deliver to me if slow).

Anything New by Great American Music Hall? [San Francisco]

I should have reported back that we ended up going to Hopwater, which is not really close, but filled a specific beer requirement.

Coffee, pastries, lunches and happy hours/beer/cocktails for a greedy BC Hound please

Another vote for a stop for snacks and beers at The Dock. Although it is a big isolated over there.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I just happened to be by Local 123 in Flowerland the other weekend as well and very much enjoyed my cup.

7x7 Magazine Big Eat Oakland - 50 Things to Taste Before You Die

Hmmm... the pig feat terrine at Barlata is one of the few dishes I have never gotten there. I will have to try to go and get it before they close for good.

7x7 Magazine Big Eat Oakland - 50 Things to Taste Before You Die

Can you still order the large pot pie? I remember trying to figure out a few months ago and calling, but no one ever answered. Do I have to wait in the line to order it?!!

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

I have been to private events at both A16 and Ozumo -- they might work.

St. Vincent 2.0 [San Francisco]

Any reports yet? Have a reservation next week.

How often do you get a bad meal in the SF area?

Yes, but there are places in the Financial District that seem to survive strictly based on business lunches or dinners, with suspect quality. Business dinners at Sens and Credo were the first two that came to my mind when I read your original post. I found aspects of those meals also inedible due to under cooking (in the case of Sens, a raw flatbread), under salting and just poor combinations/ingredients). But I rarely have had a bad meal when I have a say in the restaurant (I don't count meals at various brew pubs that I should not have eaten at in the first place).

Pavlova, Eton Mess or other meringue-based desserts in SF or East Bay

Market Hall bakery in Rockridge has individual pavlovas filled with lemon curd and whipped cream, topped with fruit. They are very good.

Dock at Linden Street [Oakland]

Oh, I need to go try those. Plum Bar used to have a beef tendon chicharon that was may favorite bar snack.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I use a Capresso 560.01 Infinity Burr Grinder. I need to check out the Sacramento places - thanks!

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I am not sure if my thoughts will really add to the discussion or not, but here it goes.

I think there are a few different questions at play here … (1) who roasts good beans, (2) who makes good coffee and (3) is there an ideal intersection of good coffee and ambience/comfort?

First, the baseline. Up until five years ago or so, I drank nothing but Peet’s Major Dickinson. That is what I still drink if I have to go to Peet’s. And I usually have a package of beans in my pantry in case of a severe coffee shortage or for company who do not have specific coffee snobbery issues.

Answering Question #1, I vote for Verve. I am a pour-over at home person on the weekends. I measure out my beans on my little scale, bean-by-bean. After trying a bunch of labels (bb, philz, ritual, four barrel), my favorite by far is Verve. Particularly their Ethiopian ones.

But, sometimes I don’t have Verve at home. Or I don’t have the time to do the pour-over. Or I need to hit the road and need a big ole travel mug of coffee. In such case, I usually use Roast Co. (usually the Colombian) in my crappy coffee maker. This is due to a combination of factors -- I think Roast Co. is decent, I don’t like to waste my Verve in the drip and I can get Roast Co. at my little corner store.

[Note: I am fortunate to sometimes get Bicycle for free. Because of this, I use it with some abandon in the drip, but it is quality enough to make it worth the pour-over effort – but I still like Verve more.]

Answering Question #2, for getting coffee out, hands-down, my favorite is Bica in Rockridge. They have a nicely curated selection of beans and make a quality, careful pour-over. Plus, they almost always have Verve (see answer to Question #1).

If I am in FiDi, I always go to Soup Junkie for a cup of Bicycle Coffee. They will do a good pour-over, if you have the time. Convenient and good coffee. I find this to be a much better cup of coffee than going to The Plant for their blue bottle … just not as good.

Bica is kind of small, but it has a few tables. It also carries the ubiquitous Starter Bakery items (*sigh*… probably a different thread, but I am just tired of always seeing these precious looking, but not always tasty items – the Miette of breakfast treats. And, yes, the kouing aman are good, but hell, you put that much butter and sugar together, they better be), as well as some sandwiches from Southie for lunch. Thus, personally, I think it answers Question #3 as well, but I can see it may not be ideal.

I think Blue Bottle’s Oakland/Broadway location can be a good place to have coffee and sit around, although it gets too busy for me on some mornings. I think Blue Bottle is a good standard third-wave coffee and they know how to make a decent pour-over. I have never been wowed by their coffee, however. It might be too light of roast for me, but I think I have a bigger issue about the hype/wait not living up to the result. I can’t wait 20 minutes for a cup that isn’t going to be the highlight of my morning.

Philz only works for me at the Tenderloin location, where it provides a convenient spot if I need a break before or during court for a cup of coffee. Jacob’s Wonderbar is the only Philz coffee I drink. Which probably makes sense, given my general preference toward darker roasts.

Highwire Roasters is convenient for me, but I am not enamored by their coffee. Also, it almost impossible to get one of the few (outdoor) seating spots in the mornings. So, not a good answer to Question #3.

In Downtown Oakland, my pick is Modern Coffee – great selection of producers (I pick Verve if available, but De La Paz is usually there too and a good pick). Modern Coffee is a little small, but has a few good food items.

I am not that big of a fan of the coffee at Cole Coffee. I have tried it a number of times, but I find it about the same for me as Blue Bottle. As it is not as convenient to walk for me (and parking is terrible these days over there because of the Safeway project), it doesn’t work for me for #3.

Best Lil' Porkhouse, new BBQ in San Rafael

To demonstrate the controversial nature of provel, see my earlier St. Louis-style pizza post:

Best Lil' Porkhouse, new BBQ in San Rafael

We stopped by the San Rafael location on Saturday for lunch, right at noon. Overall, we liked it, but probably for different reasons than others.

At the outset, the owners are from St. Louis and the cheese they use on various dishes is provel, the processed-cheese-only-available-in-St.Louis-terrible-unless-you-grew-up-there cheese that makes St. Louis pizza so special (or horrible, if you are not from St. Louis). We didn’t know this when we stopped by—and this alone, made our day.

We got the special smoked brisket french dip sandwich with provel, and it was delicious. It was a tasty sandwich in its own right (actually, the beef seemed to have some good smoke), but the provel was just such a welcome surprise that it brought us back to some sandwiches in St. Louis.

However, the other St. Louis-centric items are not quite right. The house salad was too Californianized – it needed to have marinated (jar) artichokes hearts, more chopped up and with a good dose of substandard parmesan cheese to really capture the “St. Louis salad” nature. And the gooey butter cake is not gooey butter cake – it was a cross between a gooey butter cake and cheese cake. Tasty, yes. But not gooey butter cake.

[The paragraph above is really for any St. Louis natives looking for a certain nostalgic fix … of course, you can make the salad and gooey butter cake at home, but it is special to see it out. But the commentary means little to non-St. Louisians.]

With respect to the BBQ, we only got the pulled pork, which I found to be quite tasty, but probably needed more smoke. I liked the original and sweet-n-sassy sauces (probably because they had a sweet and smoky profile of STL-style BBQ). I was not a fan of the mac-n-cheese, but it is the overly creamy (almost custard) style that I avoid. The fries and sweet potato tots were good.

Overall, I would go back (and am looking forward to the Alameda location opening). The pork was solid, and the menu hits certain nostalgic notes for me.