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anonymous food critics

Note Bauer's mention in todays' 3-star review of Kokkari the problem of being recognized:


about 20 hours ago
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

SFBA Dish of the Month (Feb 2015) - Nominations/Voting

You're asking for veg in your call for dishes.

I first thought: eggplant done across cuisines. But I know you want a specific dish, as opposed to an ingredient.


anonymous food critics

I found Bauer's blog post reasonable--the fact that he and his publisher keep re-visiting it, in the context of the changing world--and the well articulated rationale for wanting to keep it as it is, for now. (OK, Bauer-bashers: have at me!)

anonymous food critics

An interesting discussion by Jonathan Gold that brought to mind some of the heated discussion on this thread of Michael Bauer's anonymity:


English chocolate imports

Truly terrible news (but great reporting by Tatiani Schlossberg):


Jan 24, 2015
sundeck sue in Food Media & News

Cozy, quiet, comfortable place with good pizza in Berkeley-Oakland area?

A late res. @ Chez Panisse Cafe?

New Oakland Safeway complex in Rockridge. College @ Claremont... Critiques?

Hard for me to go, though I'm sure I will.

It's so out of scale for the neighborhood (a scale that would be a fine fit in a suburban locale). Maybe it's not only Safeway, but traffic sure seems more at a crawl since Opening Day.

And I feel for the small businesses already on College and Claremont (instead of going into Safeway last week, I went to Ver Brugge and bought a bunch of meat).

throw-back saturday: old-style veal parmigiana

Hadn't a clue. Thanks.

(My history here, north of Boston--as opposed to "Northern" Italian or North Beach!)

throw-back saturday: old-style veal parmigiana

I couldn't find anything on the menu or website to say one way or another; and the server didn't say anything when I inquired--so if it's a claim to fame, it's a quiet one; or I'm not a careful reader.

But would make sense as to why only serious sides of tortellini, ravioli, gnocchi and no handful of penne gratis on the plate next to the veal and veg.

throw-back saturday: old-style veal parmigiana

On your recommendation, we went to La Traviata last night, after the Thin Man double-feature @ the Noir City festival at the Castro. A perfect cap to a lovely outing.

Who knew such a place existed, caught in time and a whole other culture in the heart of the Mission, across the street from La Taqueria.

I loved the ambiance (for a child's birthday, they dimmed the lights and played an operatic "happy birthday" on the sound system, as the waiters brought in a dessert topped by a candle; and the whole joint sang and applauded). It was clearly full of regulars (a lady at a table across the way said to their waiter, as they gathered themselves up to leave, "wonderful, as always"). The old-style waiters warmed my heart (one, with a smile, topped off the old-style good, hot bread that had been sitting for a bit with another hot slab--an attentive gesture about which we were ambivalent: it made it harder not to eat more!).

I got a glass of the house red, which was cheap and decent. My husband got something bubbly (sorry, not recalling) to start, which he enjoyed.

We began by sharing marinated calamari, a portion definitely big enough for two, nicely done (I'm maybe less of a fan than my husband).

Both of us ordered the veal parmigiana. It was good--not the best we've had, but tender, well cooked and sauced. A bit smaller than portions elsewhere, maybe not as crisp, and I liked but didn't love the marinara (and here my sensory powers fail me--too sweet or not sweet enough?--not enough spice? or just a little different from what I'm used to?).

I wish that they had had a bit of penne or another simple pasta as accompaniment, along w/ the steamed broccoli, carrots, and zucchini. We asked; and they said we could order a side pasta for $6.95--tortellini, ravioli, or gnocchi. But that seemed more than we wanted; and my husband's trying to limit carbs (we'd already eaten that bread), so we said never mind. But it turned out I did mind. Next time will ask more specifically about a small amount of penne w/ red sauce.

For we will be back.

Crystal Jade, Embarcadero Center, San Francisco.


(1 star for food, 1 1/2 overall).


throw-back saturday: old-style veal parmigiana

Now that's good to know! We went with the chicken, thinking it was a first cousin to veal. Who knew?

Santa Rosa mid-day mid-week

Just scrolled through past Santa Rosa posts. Have lots of notes.

But would love any additional thoughts re your favorite place to

a) have a mid-week lunch (Mexican/Vietnamese/Thai/Chinese/Korean)

b) sit and have tea and a sweet, whilst writing.

throw-back saturday: old-style veal parmigiana

Haverhill, Mass. ("Queen Shoe City of the World") :-)

throw-back saturday: old-style veal parmigiana

We went back and forth about where to eat tonight. Bowl'd? China Village? Cosecha?

Then my husband said, I've got it. Giovanni's (downtown Berkeley, Shattuck @ Channing). Yes!

Veal parmigiana w/ linguini with red sauce. We don't go often, but sometimes it's just what this New England mill-town girl/Yonkers-born guy get a craving for.

But they didn't have it!

We asked why--too expensive, so they took it off the menu. We settled for chicken parmigiana. Not bad, but goes without saying: not the same.

So where in the East Bay is there an old-style red sauce joint w/ good veal parmigiana?

Dock at Linden Street [Oakland]

Enjoyed. But not sure I get Bauer's 3 stars.

Caesar popcorn--one of those super-intense-flavor foods, where the first couple bites are amazing; and then it's at once too much and a little dull.
Squid w/ roast beans was very good--lovely mix of textures and flavors.
Chicken wings--so many sweet/hot/salty flavors popping out--first thought, this is one great wing--but it didn't wear well (didn't stop liking, but the Wow! faded).
Fish Po'boy were good, not great--a white fish tonight (what kind? can't recall, which is kind of the point).
Oakland tan sundae was fun--liked the play of textures--and the butterscotch flavor esp nice--but I ended up just a shade bored by the last bite.

My beer was brilliant--Moonlight Brewing Co.--dark beer brewed w/ a little Pinot--deep and complex and satisfying.

The service was mixed. Very nice folks, friendly, eager for you to have a good experience. But our server was stretched too thin for a full dining room.

And the kitchen had trouble w/ rhythm. For a long time, nothing. We finally (w/ some difficulty) got our server's attention; and she said the kitchen just got hammered w/ lots of tables sitting down at the same time. Sipping that beer for what felt like forever, with nary a popped corn (had the thought that a more together staff would have comped that $6 popcorn or a dessert). And then boom, boom--one dish after another, a bit too speedy. And to top it off, the credit card program crashed, so they had to write out our details long-hand (the owner of Juhu Beach Club was eating at the next table; and the guy who told us about the credit card problem said she said she was only glad it was someone else's problem!).

Looking for good pain de mie in the South Bay (preferably) or elsewhere in the Bay Area

East Bay and different bread--but since you're going to be at Acme (the best) on Sunday, you might continue east a handful of blocks to Hopkins Bakery (on Hopkins, just east of Hopkins and Monterey, beyond the incomparable Monterey Market and grab a loaf of Pain au Lait. When I've been on the hunt for that sort of crumb for tea sandwiches, it's done the job.

(Sorry, don't know the South Bay.)

best dim sum Bay Area, late 2014?

We recently went to Legendary Palace with a big group. Gone downhill, is my rating. Less variety of dim sum choices than I recall in the past and nothing stood out as esp. excellent (most fair-good) among the usual picks. Service so-so. Rest room below acceptable standards of hygiene.

SFBA Dish of the Month (Jan 2015) - Nominations/Voting

We should combine Bi Bim Bap and Dolsot Bi Bim Bap and be more explicit that the Bi Bim Bap nomination includes Dolsot Bi Bim Bap? Or were you wanting only Dolsot Bi Bim Bap? I like both, order one or the other, depending on my mood, the weather (hot or cold), and the strengths of a particular kitchen. I'm thinking just doing one or the other is overly narrow, when they're both variations on a theme.

SFBA Dish of the Month (Jan 2015) - Nominations/Voting

Got it. Done. (And an end-of-year thanks for all you do!)

SFBA Dish of the Month (Jan 2015) - Nominations/Voting


Looking for the best takeout roast duck in the East Bay

I've gotten it @ Gum Kuo, Pacific Renaissance Plaza & thought it was good.

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!