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Al's place in the Mission review [San Francisco]

Thanks! I walked past here a lot while it was under construction so it is nice to see a positive report. It looked like it was going to be another sandwich shop, so i am glad to hear it is not.

Russian River/Sonoma Coast Wineries and Restaurants

We really enjoyed boon eat+drink when we were up up in Guerneville in August.

Kirimachi Ramen opens in new space Monday [San Francisco]

I ate here today. And it was...good. I never had any ramen from the place on Broadway so i can't compare it to it's old digs.

Here is what i saw, heard, smelled, ate, and think:

We walked in at 11:45 and there was already a wait. The wait didn't take long for the two of us, maybe 5 minutes, and we were seated at a communal table. There are 3 long communal tables and a number of two and four tops scattered about.
The space is LOUD. The communal tables are a wide enough to afford privacy if you are single person eating alone, but a little too wide to carry on a conversation across the table without having to lean forward or raise your voice.
The menu is minimal (three ramen's, three appetizers, three non ramen items, and three sides and six "extras" to add to your ramen).

My friend and I both ordered the tonkotsu ramen and it comes with a soft boiled soy egg, arugula, kikurage, green onion, and chashu.
I ordered my noodles cooked hard, which the waiter seemed confused by but wrote down anyway and the noodles actually came out perfect. However, the noodles were not long. They were the right texture and the right chew and the right thickness, but they were sort of short and it seemed like they had fallen apart. There were a lot of "noodle bits" rather than long whole noodles.
The chashu was hands down the best I have ever had in a ramen. It was flavorful and cut slightly on the thicker side and was perfectly delicious, and that is saying a lot, as i usually hate what passes for chashu and after one bite I pick it out and throw it in my napkin. The soft boiled egg was perfect. the kikurage was interesting.
The broth...was....good. But not what I expected for tonkotsu broth. It was way more salty than creamy and again, like momiji ramen, it had a distinct mushroom flavor. That would have been fine if there was a good pork flavor to the broth, but there wasn't really a pronounced enough pork sweetness to make the salty mushroom flavor not be so overwhelming.
But, i ate it anyway. And i ate the whole thing.

And we both declared it way better than the Ramen Bar. And not nearly as good at Katana-ya. To be fair, the majority of ramen going by seemed to be NOT what we ordered, so I can only assume it was the shoyu broth. The bowls looked bigger and more abundant with stuff, so I will go back and give it another try, but for almost 16 dollars a bowl with tax and tip it will not become a normal contender in the rotation.

But that is just me, obviously it is already insanely popular and definitely better than many of the other restaurants in the Embarcadero's. Also, they have a 2-5 pm happy hour where ramen is 10 bucks a bowl.

Take care and happy new year, Jupiter

Momiji Ramen - Colma

Hello everyone.

Last night we ended up at Momiji at Colma around 6:30. It is wedged in the strip mall on junipero serra between Game Stop and the Matress Discounter. (North of the Target)

The space is tiny, only 8 tables that are mainly 2 tops. All the tables were filled when we arrived but one. The space is clean and very dark. (The walls are painted chalkboard and the specials are written on the walls).

We were there for the ramen and the chicken kara-age, since that is all I can get the 7 year old to eat.

I ordered the tonkotsu ramen and asked the noodles be cooked firm. The bowl i got looked great. The noodles were cooked perfectly. They were on the thicker side, but still ramen noodles. They had good texture and did not stick and didnt get gloppy or sticky at any point.

The toppings were good. There was a soft boiled egg, that had clearly been cooked earlier in some sort of soy broth. I say "clearly", as it was refrigerator cold and nestled on top of the ramen and i plucked it out and ate it. I probably should have dunked it in the soup to warm it up, but the yolk was so perfect i didnt want it to harden up, and i was also not expecting it to be cold. It was delicious, but i have never experienced this where the egg is cooked seperately so i wasnt prepared for the coldness. Just letting the die hards know, as it may be a point of contention for them.

On to the other toppings: there were fresh soy beans, what i think may have been chopped woodear, a very scant amount of finely minced scallion, and chashu pork. The chashu pork was sort of "meh". I have never been a big fan of chashu pork in my ramen, so i am sort of biased against the stuff, but these two slices really seemed completely devoid of all flavor, and were basically there to supply texture i guess.

Thinking back on it now, i am glad there were no heavily flavored toppings like the bamboo shoots or scallions(which i normally love in my ramen) as it would have probably masked the flavor of the broth which was the star for me.

This broth was really amazing. It was so flavorful! There was a hint of mushroom flavor to it that was so intriguing and had me drinking the bowl dry. I mentioned it to the waiter and he said that there were no mushrooms in the broth and gave me a funny look. I told him that i enjoyed it immensely and not to worry.

It was a flavor that was unexpected and really added something for me. The tonkotsu broth was clean tasting, not heavy, very earthy, had a hint of natural sweetness (like from the ingredients and not from added sugars). I thoroughly enjoyed it!

As for the fried chicken, it was delicious. One of the peices had a peice of cartilage in it that we had to pick around, but otherwise they were all very good. Served with lemon wedges and garlic mayo.

The total bill with tip for the kara-age chicken, a donburi, and the ramen: 29 dollars.

I will definitely go back. I hope it is a good the second time around. There was a wait by the time we left at 7:15.

Take care, Jupiter

Sawaii Ramen - Outer Sunset SF

HI Dave! Thanks for the report.
Why does that broth look so tonkotsuey? i thought shoyu broths were clearer and soya based.

was the broth any good?

baby pig?

Try any of the phillipine markets. Ask for Lechon. Most of my phillipine friends all have their favorites, so i am not sure which market is the best. I am sure that some of the hounds on this board know which market is best. Or you can search the boards for Lechon.

I have been to 5 phillipine feasts with Lechon and each time i swoon and try to grab an ear before some granny gets it.

Sate beef noodle soup - pho ha tien on ocean avenue [San Francisco]

At Pho Ha Tien, it's item number 10 on the menu.

i don't know what it is at Hy Ki MI Gia.

Jook - SF Dish of the Month December 2013

Had Lunch at Yin Du Wonton House today on Pacific and while i did NOT eat the congee i did happen to notice that they had as many variations of congee as they did of wonton soup. (which isn't saying much, cause it is a small menu.) They had about 7 or 8 variations. Half the tables were eating congee and the other half were eating wonton soups.
it looked pretty good.
nothing on the menu was over 5 dollars.

Next time i am feeling rundown and fluish, or hungover, i will head back for my congee fix.

Crispy Pork Trotter Sandwich at Il Cane Rosso [San Francisco]

i have plans to eat there for lunch on monday! i will keep my fingeres crossed that it is still on the menu.

Please, not Cheesecake Factory or Burger Bar! [San Francisco, Union Square]

um... what exactly is your budget?

If you are willing to cab it and can get a reservation, i would recommend Boulette's Larder in the ferry building.
or even Delfina Pizzeria in the mission (but they dont' take reservations)
Or even L'osteria Del Forno or House in north beach.

The weather on Saturday should be nice and i am selfishly thinking of nice quietish places i would enjoy lunching with my girlfreinds and having a nice glass of wine followed up by a neighborhood stroll... so that is what is fueling the majority of my recommendations.
Have fun!

Recs for Boston hound visiting late January, please!

is it safe to assume that this conference is happening at the Moscone Center?

Sate beef noodle soup - pho ha tien on ocean avenue [San Francisco]

Interesting! That sounds nothing like what i ate, as my broth didnt have any flavor resembling peanuts, except for the roasted peanuts on top. My broth was actually very thin and light, although it looked like it would be much heavier. And there was definite heat. There was also cucumber chunks in my soup, which i loved. And some thin slices of lettuce. But all the vegetables were down in the broth with the noodles, and clearly thrown in raw as they still had crunch to them and hadnt cooked into mush yet. The beef was all piled raw on top with the onions and cooked in the broth.
If you enjoyed this version at hy ky mi gia, then i would recommend that if you are in that civic centerish/union squareish area for lunch again, to swing down to Old Siam and try their weird version of khao soi. The broth is definitley of that thick curry ilk and thinned down with chicken stock, but the rest of the assemblage is spicy and noodley and pickley and delicious!
Holy moley, now im hungry again, and it is 10 pm!

Sate beef noodle soup - pho ha tien on ocean avenue [San Francisco]

I wouldnt say that this is a place to drive out of your way for, but this is the first time i have had this dish and it was so pleasing, i just thought i would mention it. If people see it anywhere else, i would recommmend trying it and that i hope it is as enjoyable. I have no idea if it is a good version, since its the first time i have had it, but it hit alll my pleasure zones in my brain, so.....i think it was good....:)

Sate beef noodle soup - pho ha tien on ocean avenue [San Francisco]

Thanks dave, all i have ever had at hy ky mi gia is the duck leg noodle soup.
My foray into spicy noodles has only just started in the last 6 years when my spice buds changed suddenly....
So its always fun to find a new version that i then need to find everywhere and see which is the best.

Best Khao Soi in SF?

Oh also, the version at old siam is boneless, it doesnt look nearly as good as your picture, but it has nice flavor and a Good amount of pickled mustard green to keep me happy.

Sate beef noodle soup - pho ha tien on ocean avenue [San Francisco]

So, yesterday in the rain and cold we found ourselves at our standard pho place:pho ha tien. Its good, solid vietnamese food close to my house and hits the spot when i need it too.
Normally i get the same thing every time, but yesterday i looked over the menu again and noticed an item that intrigued me: sate beef noodle. Its only description, a spicy pepper symbol and the words "includes coconut milk and peanuts".
I went for it and it was awesome. I ordered it with egg noodle. I cant stop thinking about it. The bowl came out with a bright red slick of hot oil floating on top and a pile of rare beef, thin sliced onions and chopped roasted peanuts. The broth was amazing! Coconutty but not sweet, spicy, but not burning, i added lime, i added basil, i slurped and slurped and ate until every thing was gone. My husband watched with a sly amused smile.
just thinking about it is making my mouth water. I have had a lot of spicy soup noodles, but i have never had a bowl of soup noodles like this, with this nice heat, but still so refreshing and comforting.
i just thought i would share it with y'all.
Have a nice day.

Pho Ha Tien
1900 ocean ave

Best Khao Soi in SF?

The only place i know of, is old siam. It is good.
Apparently the new thai place right across the street from old siam will also be serving a version. Yay!

Birthday dinner in East Bay ... something that is not Chez Panisse or Commis

Here is a list of places that i have tried and enjoyed, or places i want to try:
Boot and Shoe Service (GrandLake)
Wood Tavern (Rockridge)
Oliveto (Rockridge)
A Cote (but that was already suggested)
Haven (Jack London Square)

Have fun! and Happy Birthday!

Ideas for dinner w/a large party at the last minute [San Francisco]

wow. tough crowd.
seating a party of ten anywhere without a long wait or a reservation is fairly hard in this town and especially harder on a weekend.
If you have acess to cars, or want to brave the trains, i would suggest poking around some of the restuarants around the Parkside neighborhood in the Sunset (i have heard good things about Riverside Seafood on Vicente, and if you go early enough, you can get a big table at Hot Pot Garden, but i am told you have to get there right when they open). Otherwise, some of the larger older taqueria's/restaurants in the Mission might fit the bill (taqueria San Jose, Casa Sanchez (which has a nice outdoor patio, El Zocalo, which makes awesome pupusas)
Is the purpose to have fine dining? or is the prupose to have a nice meal with a large family contingent? If it is the latter, then you need to go to where the extended families live, so i would recommend the outer mission or deep sunset or perhaps some of the older restaurants along Ocean Ave. Also, if you want to drive and the weather is nice and clear, Nick's Rockaway Beach in Pacifica can usually accomodate big parties on short notice and has a great view and edible food and sometimes on weekends they have 3 and 4 piece jazz lounge bands in their bar. Good luck. having family come visit is always stressful, especially when it comes time to eat!

Something surprising has been happening at Sanraku in the Metreon [San Francisco]

Thanks, i have had agedashi tofu at lots of places before, but this was surprising for the portion size and care that went into the prep. And really the dashi broth was what made it so tasty, but since the third time the broth was off, i guess i may have just gotten lucky. Nice to know that the "flour" i was thinking of is corn starch.

chowhound family that likes adventure with great foodie places

I personally find North Beach a fun afternoon for strolling, eating, sipping, etc... and right next to cinatown for more strolling, sipping eating, noshing.
I would start at the cable car musem (FREE!) and then stroll into North Beach and eat lunch at: L'osteria Del Forno on Columbus, followed up by some cookies and coffee's at Stella Pastry up the street. Or you can stroll further on to Victoria's (lots of fans for that place on here). from there i would head towards chinatown and stroll down Grant street just for the sheer spectacle of it all. i would end in Union Square where i would grab the cable car back up and over the hill just in time for dinner near the hotel, OR i would jump on Bart from union square and head out to the mission for your taco ice cream crawl!
Have fun!

Eat Real Fest [2013, Oakland]

probably ;) but the chickens have really paid off for them and now are considered part of the family.

Eat Real Fest [2013, Oakland]

Two years ago my friends went to jsut check it out for lunch and came home with a chicken coop and three hens!
So clearly they had a great time ;)
I have heard that the butchery contest is excellent to watch and very educational if you can keep up with what they are doing....

Something surprising has been happening at Sanraku in the Metreon [San Francisco]

So, normally I would not comment on this place, but in the last month or so I have eaten their three times (way more than normal) because it seems to me that there is definitely someone in the kitchen stirring up the menu a bit and making some old standards shine and some new flavor combinations that I have never experienced before.

About a month ago i grabbed some take out from there to eat in the garden with an old friend. I wasn't very hungry so I ordered the agedashi tofu appetizer and a roll. The roll was fine. it was a 49er roll and executed very nicely, but not anything I wasn't used to.
The agedashi tofu I must have had very low expectations for, cause what I got was delicious. The tofu was soft, and fried perfectly in that glutinous flour that makes the whole thing turn mochi-like once the hot dashi broth hits it. It had grated daikon and radish sprouts adorning the presentation and it had a really spot on and awesome dashi broth that I slurped down. It was served to me in a tupperware though, so it was hard to gauge how much there was and what it would be like for real in the restaurant. However, the flavor was excellent and I was impressed.
So..I went back to try again. The second time it came in a bowl, with 6 large pieces of tofu and the bowl half-filled with this excellent broth again. I stirred all the accoutrements in and went to work and it was just as delicious as I remembered. The broth had the right amount of sweet and salty that really made everything sing together.
so today, to avoid as many Oracle people as possible, I went back again.
Again i ordered the agedashi tofu and this time I noticed a "specials" card on the table that had a roll I had never had before "toro fatty tuna with shiso and oshiniko" I didn't notice the card until the waiter came to take my order and i immediately switched gears and ordered the fatty tuna roll and the tofu. So today, the tofu was still excellent, only the broth was on the salty side and lacked the sweet flavor that helped balance the whole dish, and was not as immaculate and excellent as the first two times. But that roll, oh my gosh, I could have eaten 6 more pieces. It has been a long time since I have had a sushi roll that tastes like nothing else I have ever had. the roll was so simple, but the amount of oshinko pickle to balance out the fatty tuna, and then the bits of shiso to brighten it all was such a perfect flavor combination and compliment that i was surprised that this is not a normal combination. (maybe it is in Japan, but i have never seen it here in the states in the 20+ years of eating sushi) It was really quite an excellent combination and I am completely smitten.
So..maybe they got a new lunch chef? no idea, but it is not as bland and banal as I remember.
Just a heads up for anyone trying to avoid Moscone center crowds (the prices and the fact that it is table service seem to keep people away).

Take care,

Hamburgers - SF Dish of the Month September 2013

Dave, just be careful eating in that park as some of those birds are fierce and will come and steal your fries!
After that happened to me twice, i realized that i don't really like the fries at superduper anyway, and so now i just go wtih the burgers and lemonade.


This is my favorite Russ & Daughters story:


i think that it is hard to compare even markets on the east coast to what is happening at Russ & Daughters. that is like comparing canned tomatoes to a dry farmed fresh picked organic early girl. c'mon....well maybe not that extreme, but still, Russ & Daughters is impressive even for what's left of the lower east side.....

Kin Khao - Thai-style Thai in SF

Wow. i hope they have a version of Khao Soi on the menu. i am scared to imagine what the prices may be with the location and crew she has involved, but i am looking forward to trying it.


I would recommend checking out the markets in Outer Richmond. there is a large eastern european community out there and there is one market in particular that i know carries a large array of smoked fish, whole chubs, etc:
European Food Wholesale and Deli
3038 Clement St
San Francisco

Also, that whole neigborhood along Geary has a number of Russian markets and shops worth exploring.
I had no idea that Safeway sold yarzeit candles (duh) and so i ended up driving out there looking for one, and all the delis i stumbled in to carried them.
that is of course, how i found out about the abundance of smoked fish and sausages out that way ;)

L'shana Tovah

Brunch at Citizen Band, quick report [San Francisco]

I love citizen's band. They also do a great lunch. i can highly recommend there fried chicken sandwich when they have it. They also sometimes have an amazing roast pork and fruit sandwich with cheese, that sounds gross but is amazing.

So glad to hear about the brunch as not being overwhelmed with crowds, i will have to swing by with the family some sunday morning.

Citizen's Band Restaurant
1198 Folsom Street