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Nico [San Francisco]

Michael Bauer concurs in today's SFChron:


English Christmas pudding?

I'd call to double-check, before making the trek, but I'm pretty sure I saw them @ the Pasta Shop (Market Hall, Rockridge, Oakland, or 4th St. Berkeley).

It's also the sort of thing that you can often find (I'd phone the one nearest you) @ Home Goods/TJMaxx @ a good price.

French Fries: SFBA Dish of the Month December 2014

Tribune Tavern in Oakland--took one for the team (ordered burger and fries, when everyone else @ the table ordered healthy)--and while the medium-cut fries were nicely cooked (double-fried? points for crispy texture), they were over-salted.

Who has good Fish 'n Chips in the Eastbay?

Kensington Circus Pub (in Kensington).

French Fries: SFBA Dish of the Month December 2014

just re-read my post and wanted to be clear: the parenthetical remark re "this time of the year" had to do w/ waistline worries and not anything snarky re the DOTM.

French Fries: SFBA Dish of the Month December 2014

I promise to go out and try new fries (just what I need to be doing, this time of the year....)--but my favorite fries in the Bay Area are @ Cesar's on Shattuck in Berkeley--I love both the fat ones (potatas bravas), served with a spicy mayo, and the practically potato-chip thickness/crispness tangle of fries with an aoli.

French Fries: SFBA Dish of the Month December 2014

sometimes under-cooked.....

list of restaurants open late in Berkeley and environs

So helpful. Thanks!

Re-thinking Berkeley icons at holiday time

Hyperbowler, This is helpful, opened up my perspective some.

It can be easy to flip into total-debunk-ing when something is so revered (for my kids, a Cheeseboard pizza is like a double-double-animal-style @ In 'n Out or a Gordo's burrito--on the must-have list when they're home for a visit).

Re-thinking Berkeley icons at holiday time

I assume the cheese and other non-veg ingredients over-power more delicate veg tastes--just as red sauce could do in a different way. It's about balance.

Thinking of other veg slices that I know and love. Certainly the Wild Nettles pizza (no sauce there) @ Chez Panisse Cafe is quite distinct and different from their Mushroom pizza. Ditto Pizziaola's veg pizzas.

Maybe that's not a good comparison (CP and Pizziaola, more upscale).

I have a less clear memory of different veg types @ less upscale pizza places Little Star and Pauline's both have sauce and less cheese; And I think (would need to go back and see) the different kinds of veg slices taste as different as the vegetables they feature.

Your sense, hyperbowler?

p.s. nobody commented on Crixa's pumpkin pie crust--given how much I love that bakery, that was really painful to write. Robert Lauristan? (You're a Crixa fan.)

Re-thinking Berkeley icons at holiday time

don't forget Sunday Bread....

Re-thinking Berkeley icons at holiday time

I just got a jump on two Berkeley items I think of as iconic Thanksgiving treats: Cheeseboard Pizza (the celebrated item, not til next Wed--today's a sort of fore-taste) and Crixa's pumpkin pie.

The touted Cheeseboard mushroom pizza is on offer the day before Thanksgiving--and has been our Wed pre-Thanksgiving dinner for a while.

The one I got today: cauliflower et. al.

I liked, as always, the browned pieces of cheese and the well seasoned, thin crust.

But a couple disavowed truths about Cheeseboard pizzas hit me hard:

1. They all taste more or less the same, regardless of topping. (that mushroom is better, more taste from those wild 'shrooms; and maybe they strew more on)

2. They are greasy to boot.

I'm not debunking the Cheeseboard. Only the pizza. The breads are every bit as brilliant as the hype. And, of course, there is the remarkable array of cheeses.

On to dessert: the pumpkin pie @ Crixa. The filling today was as perfect as what I remembered: delicate, seasoned w/ a subtle hand, custard-y almost.

But the crust. Cardboard.

So much heresy. Bracing for responses.

Truffle Dinners at Quince [San Francisco]

Oliveto's Truffle Dinner:


(which we've done in year's past--resonate w/ goldangl95 that a little truffle goes a long way)

Where are you buying your turkey?

I also (& w/some trepidation) did a Trader Joe's kosher bird last year; & it was also great. And (tho you say cost isn't an issue) a bargain. (The one thing that initially freaked me out: feathers!)

Pho Ga : SFBA Dish of the Month November 2014

Just tried the Pho Ga @ Pho Saigon II @ Pacific East Mall in Richmond. Good, but not great. The broth was tasty, but I wished for a deeper chicken-y flavor. I asked one of the people who works there how they make their stock. He said they cook chicken and bones for 8 hours. I asked if they add any canned broth. I fear I may have offended. Answer: no.

My expertise is w/ Jewish Chicken Noodle Soup, not Pho Ga--and with the former I achieve a more dimensional, richer broth, cooking half that time. It may be that a thinner broth is more traditional here?

I kept adding more and more of the cilantro/peppers/sprouts/lime juice for a bit more body. The chicken itself was tender, if not terribly flavorful. The noodles were well cooked.

P.S. on my way out, I picked up a little seasonal sweet from Ran Kanom Thai, pumpkin custard--quite a nice pud, if a tad too sweet for my taste--but folks could see (I didn't inquire) if they might make up a big one for Thanksgiving?

Jardiniere not just downhill but rock bottom [San Francisco]

Should have been clearer that your good suggestion made me remember Bauer's "found its footing" update this summer, which seemed interesting, given that the OP and subsequent posters weren't seeing that.

Jardiniere not just downhill but rock bottom [San Francisco]

Recent Michael Bauer Update:


Custom Cake for wife's "40"...

Re Masse's--for a big school celebration a few years ago, we gave Masse's a picture of the interesting looking school building--and they created a cake that was quite delicious and a wonderful architectural rendering.

Custom Cake for wife's "40"...

Crixa--I concur--my favorite cakes in the Bay Area--though less ornate than some, design-wise)
Masse's--I think their custom design can be terrific

And I might add Katrina Rozelle (strong on both taste and style).

Don't know Branching out Cakes. But Sweet Adeline and Miette aren't in the same league.

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

Good amendments....

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


Farallon redux [Union Square, San Francisco]

Haven't been to Farallon for donkey's years. Just went for a splurge before theatre and....disappointed.

Space lovely, service great.

My husband and I shared a glass of Sancerre (which they graciously divided for us) and the Grand Shellfish Platter; and he had a coffee. $100 tab.

I just didn't love the platter--not big enough to merit the price--and none of the shellfish was that fresh-tasting (lobster, crab, oysters, shrimp).


Hash : SFBA Dish of the Month October 2014

Bette's Diner on 4th St. in Berkeley--perfection re ingredients and crust and seasoning of the corned-beef-onion-hash mix and cooking of the sunny-side-up egg and rye toast (what other kind would a savvy eater order to go with?!) Their egg items are all terrific; and--DOTM or not-DOTM--I try NOT to order hash to be a bit abstemious--but this is a hard one to resist.

As for good-try-but-no-prize in Berkeley: I'm sad to say, that after multiple tries, I like OK, but do not love both the red flannel hash and the vegie hash at Rick and Ann's on Domingo, a fine neighborhood spot that also knows its way around eggs and potatoes--but both of their hashes lack the heft, depth, gravitas, smokiness of a good hash--now it may be that I'm an old-fashioned corned-beef hash gal; and all those vegies (beets! sweet potatoes!) in my hash just don't taste right--I think I want lighter, but that's my head not my heart speaking.

A Foodie Sideline to the World Series: the vegetable garden @ the ballpark [San Francisco]

Safeway Organic (O) dairy

For some time, I've loved Safeway Organic (O) low-fat plain yogurt. Best texture and taste around, at a good price to boot. Better than Strauss and all the other upscale organic contenders.

Just tried Safeway's O brand organic low-fat (1 %) milk. Again, best tasting milk.

Want to pass this along. And see if anyone else shares my views.

simple, delicious, local Miami fare

Loved Miami, in large part because of wonderful advice from Miami 'hounds. Will organize by "fancy-ness"/cost (didn't eat anyplace on the very high end).

Ortanique--we spent our last day in Everglades National Park and were tired, so picked a place close to where we were staying--didn't have high expectation from Board reviews--pleasantly surprised by an excellent Cornish hen w/ West Indian spices, perfectly spiced and cooked--my husband's cobia seviche nice flavors, a bit over-"cooked"--ditto his mahi-mahi, w/ a sauce that overwhelmed
the fish (he liked both, as well as his peanut butter bombe--my coconut sorbet, chalky, over-sweet). My house martini was silly-sweet. Bread flavored w/ scallions, garlic--seemed almost more what you'd find in an Italian restaurant. Service a bit slack. Such a pretty room, dinnerware, silver. Prices high (my husband passed up the Caribbean bouillabaise because it was over $40). We had a very nice evening.

Bulla--went w/ a big group--plus/minus--best, a finely rendered arroz con mariscos, solid gazpacho, delicious octopus--worst, tasteless tomato bread--noise level impossible for conversation (showing my age here...)

Whisk--we really enjoyed--noise level high here too (we brought up the mean age...)--the best shrimp and grits I've ever had--fried green tomatoes also very well done (which ironically made me realize it's not my favorite dish--when I've had it before, blamed the rendition)--clearly a very talented kitchen.

My Ceviche (Bricknell)--had looked forward and a bit disappointed--ceviche overly-acidic (my husband liked it fine)

La Camaronera--went twice--same lovely server both times--I really liked snapper sandwich (so fresh, well fried, good sauce)--I also liked the grouper soup, doctored w/ limes and hot sauce (my husband less crazy about it)--and we both thought the conch fritters were prepared well, but maybe not our favorite thing (don't love the filler)--excellent key lime pie

El Palacio de los Jugos--fun scene--my husband's arroz con mariscos was full of fish and well seasoned--fresh coconut too bitter--a pound of meat sliced off whole pig good, esp. when mixed w/ sauce from the arroz

El Nuevo Siglo Supermarket--fun find, in my wandering on 8th St. (near 14th), a lunch counter in supermarket--got codfish w/ yucca and rice to bring my husband (not my thing, but one of his favorites; and he really liked it)--good cortadito, nice membrillo pastry--then walked across the street to an open-air fruit market, whose name I'm not remembering, for a perfect fresh young coconut

And I'll close w/ Miami airport food--we were on the other end of the airport from D terminal, which had almost all the Board recommendations--ended up @ Bongo's in J terminal, for a happy finale: a terrific Cuban sandwich w/ a wonderful lime-garlic sauce and beautifully flavored, tender, moist roasted pork plate--great service--and a nice last cortadito and guava pastry @ Gilbert's.

Again, thanks Miami hounds. We love your town!

simple, delicious, local Miami fare

I'm holding back w/ my full report/expression of gratitude to Miami hounds (still here & eating!)--but was @ La Camaronera today and had their Minuta snapper sandwich. It was just one sandwich and, I think, $6 or $7. Wasn't here for the $4 era. But no two-sandwich requirement. And given how good it was--and how much fishmongers can pay to get good fish--still seemed like a deal.

simple, delicious, local Miami fare

Looking for wonderful meals in Miami (staying in Coral Gables, happy to drive for good food!)--criteria: simple, delicious, local.

While some of the more elaborate menus at places like the Dutch look lovely, we're after simpler preparations using local fish and produce.

Not a fan of small plate dining--prefer a meal of a starter and then main.

Also not into fusion.

Just looking for ingredient-driven food and for ingredients and styles of prep that are particular to Miami (eg. fish caught off that morning off the Florida coast, Farmer's Market produce picked the day before, Cuban or Latin American places).

We ate at Michael's the last time we were in Miami While it was clearly great for what it does and obviously makes creative use of what's local, we found it a bit "ungepatchked"--fussy-- for our tastes; and there was the business of small plates.

Sign me, "New England Milltown Girl now living in the Bay Area"!

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

Rebeccakinney: Some seriously good shopping!

Clams or oysters for a big batch of chowda

Thanks for this. Called Costco; and none of the 6 Costco warehouses in the greater Bay Area stocks it (the closest that does, too far to make sense, Cal Expo in Sacramento). And no business or nonprofit ties, alas.