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Tayyabs, London

Heading there this weekend. What to order?

about 4 hours ago
sundeck sue in U.K./Ireland

Berlin food gifts for pals and potential paramours

I'm in Berlin. And as I tooled around today, had an eye out for food presents to bring back myself.

One thing I found at a discount grocery near the Turkische Markt just across from the little park/square at the start of the market was Ritter Sport chocolates in little couple-bite-size bars, four to a package (I see Ritter's large bars lots of places in SF, but have never seen the teeny ones--ditto some of the flavors). And they were a bargain. :)

And at the Turkische Markt itself, I bought foodie friends/family packages of spice mixes. If this appeals, bring some freezer bags. When I got back to our hotel, I immediately double-bagged the packages in a freezer bag in which we had transported our non-US electrical plugs (which are now rattling around, loose in my suitcase)--otherwise my clothes would surely smell of Turkish-ish spices!

Apr 11, 2014
sundeck sue in Europe

Posole - SFBA Dish of the Month April 2014

Re Cosecha's posole: Patricia Unterman speaks my mind!

Apr 04, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Mission Chinese Food report [San Francisco]

Demotion at the hands of Michael Bauer:


Apr 03, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Frog Hollow "scuffin" gets a shout-out

Apr 02, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Chow Dim Sum at Saigon Seafood Harbor Richmond 4/5

think you mean 11 am! :)

Mar 31, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Yehuda Matzos

I've only seen 5-box packs of kosher-for-Passover Osem @ Safeway (51st/Broadway). Individual boxes of Yehuda (the best, no doubt about it).

The most remarkable aspect of matzoh-shopping this year, regardless of brand: all the types reflecting contemporary food strictures (gluten-free, rye, high-fiber….).

Mar 28, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

really good, low-sodium dinner near sfo

That's unfortunately not going to work in this case. Other ideas appreciated!

Mar 24, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

really good, low-sodium dinner near sfo

A long-lost cousin is meeting us for dinner--he'll be staying @ an airport hotel before flying out of SFO.

It's up to us to choose the restaurant.

When I asked for likes/dislikes, he said he used to love everything, but is now on a low-sodium diet, so when he goes out to eat, he orders things like a piece of fish, simply prepared.

I was all set to choose among the great Chinese or Japanese places in Millbrae/Burlingame/San Mateo. Now I'm stumped. Thoughts re where to take him?

Mar 23, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Camino redux [Oakland]

My last postings about Camino have been of the bloom-off-the-rose variety. So wanted to correct that with a more cheerful report.

I should preface my positives with a note that my husband wasn't wild about his dinner--but while people sometimes say this to let a place they want to like off the hook for a bad meal, this really IS one of those situations in which he ordered wrong (baked oysters w/ absinthe, a flavor he doesn't like, but he was swayed by the server's saying it was just a touch--it was indeed but a touch--for him, a touch too much--and he was worrying about the bones in the bone-in sand dabs when he ordered--iin response, the kitchen graciously boned his; and as is inevitable with such fish,there were still some little bones, impediments for him to full enjoyment).

I, on the other hand, was a happy diner. Good host and server. Good energy to the place, crowded and humming, but not too noisy. I loved my gin martini. Their sparkling water is esp. nice--ditto pain epi rolls and good butter. My huge mound of chicory salad with sliced cheese and house-made vinegar was perfect, brilliant in every way. Followed that with asparagus and mashed sun chokes and rutabaga from the wood fire, which was a lovely mix, well seasoned. The portions left me happily sated.

And we shared a lovely little not-too-sweet sweet that is the sort of thing more restaurants should offer as an alternative to a big dessert--pieces of very good chocolate and terrific candied grapefruit peel.

Mar 22, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

St John Bar&Restaurant or Bread&Wine [London]

How lovely to read.

We're also San Francisco Bay Area hounds, planning a London trip book-ended by Bread and Wine on arrival and St. John Restaurant the night before we head back home.

Promise a full report….

(It'll be an early b'day dinner, my b'day the day following, on the plane--and apropos of b'days and Fergus Henderson, I can still remember my b'day ten years ago, biting into my first St. John's doughnut--lemon curd--from the carry-out counter @ Bread and Wine and thinking, this may be the best sweet I've ever tasted!)

Mar 17, 2014
sundeck sue in U.K./Ireland

lunch in downtown Oakland

Re the old Swan's Market:

I second Cosecha (esp. love the posole and salad). Also Miss Ollie's.

I've not loved the sausage place in the market.

Mar 13, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Locally made frozen foods worth stocking

Shan Dong dumplings.

Mar 12, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

February 2014 Trip Report (A LONG accounting)

Lovely post!

Mar 06, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Artis Coffee on Fourth. I have mixed feelings. [Berkeley]

berkeley, 4th and virginia

Mar 04, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Artis Coffee on Fourth. I have mixed feelings. [Berkeley]

given your misgivings (which i more than share) don't get what about it makes it "a nice addition to the area"--or why you'd "go try more"--say more?

Mar 04, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Supper clubs/underground restaurants in Berlin

Promise to do so! Haven't gone yet….

Feb 26, 2014
sundeck sue in Europe

State Bird Provision [San Francisco]

It appears that there's more written on this Board about not being able to get into State Bird Provision than about eating there (makes sense, if you can't get in…).

We snagged a 10:30 pm res. and spent the early part of the evening, trying to stave off hunger and put ourselves in a "continental dining" frame of mind (my husband repaired to his office to catch up on work; and I holed up at the Castro for the Mary Poppins Sing-a-Long).

That I didn't warm to the cork-board-wall aesthetic of SPB when I arrived is surely a function of age (as is often the case at SF/Oakland restaurants these days, we at once bring up the median age and bring down the hipster factor). Noise level, a similar narrative (not deafening, but we were grateful when it started to clear out after 11 pm). The art in the uni-sex toilet made made me smile.

Very nice, professional hosts and servers. And a lot of them. Making it a bit of a puzzle that there were periods where it was hard to catch anyone's eye and overly long intervals with dirty plates left uncleared.

I was set to adore the food at this, the toughest reservation in town. After all, I love dim sum--what's more exciting than carts tooling about with new treats to sample.

But as a friend who's been longing to try SBP just reminded me--dim sum notwithstanding, I'm not a small-plates gal. I prefer a meal that's more coherent, balanced, sparer. At SPB, I felt like I'd been at a fancy cocktail party, where I'd sampled delicious, rich morsels, but couldn't properly savor any one, as the parade of wonderful tastes kept coming; and we stopped sampling sometime after we were over-full.

Some of the dishes were, indeed, delicious. I loved the perfectly fried signature State Bird (quail) w/ Provisions (a brilliant complementary melange of saucy onions), the lovely guinea hen dumpling in deletable broth, and the complex mix in the ice cream sandwich (a chocolate nib macaron cookie and creamy ice cream and pecans and plum fudge sauce).

I liked a lot, but was less enamored of the red trout (half a minute less on the fire, it would have been a home run), salmon tartare (my husband thought it was a highlight; and I had the sense it would have been great by itself, but was too delicate/subtle, after the hearty dishes we'd eaten prior), pork belly (nicely done, but not so special--I wished we'd instead chosen the duck liver from that tray), faro with mushrooms (started out raving about it, esp. the smokey mushrooms--and a relief to have a veg--but by the last bite, I was less in love with the mushy texture of the grain).

I'm sure I'm forgetting dishes. We passed on some that are apparently fantastic--house-made chips with creme fraiche horseradish sauce and roe--because they came by on the cart late in the meal, when the allure of a plate with double-digit fat grams was past.

Our tab seemed reasonable for a small-plates meal with drinks (a bit over $100 for two of us).

Was going to say we'll be back, but not so fast--but then realized--reservations being what they are--that's true of most everyone.

Feb 23, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Lunch near the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale

I always combine The White Elephant Sale w/ Fruitvale (International Blvd). A wonderful ritual.

Noting your request for non-spicy--much good Mexican is spicy, but you can ask for mild or even non-spicy for many items. If you search for Fruitvale on this Board, you'll find an abundance of recommendations.

I also seem to remember that last year, there was one food cart outside the White Elephant Sale that was light years better than all the rest. You'd think I could remember what they had on offer. Sneaking suspicion: Mexican!

Feb 17, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Is it just me or is it rather difficult to find good steak in the Bay Area?

A p.s., ten months later.

Last night @ The Townhouse, happily ordered the prime rib. Have had it a couple more times, since the posting above, always delicious.

Wouldn't you know, last night, someone in the kitchen messed up, whilst seasoning, such that the edges were beyond over-salted, the insides just fine.

Didn't send it back (didn't want to spoil the evening, esp. Valentine's Day, by making a fuss--they would have had to do a new piece entirely, while my husband was eating away at his Cioppino). Wish I had.

Feb 15, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Cherimoya, Burlingame

Delicious lunch. A friend and I shared:

pork bahn mi--on the pricey side ($5-something), but excellent--bread, quality of fillings, balance.

garlic noodles w/ shrimp--also great, noodles nicely cooked, lovely sauce.

Definitely going on our list of "keepers"!

Feb 13, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Chobani passion fruit yogurt?

A friend just told me a similar story re, I think, Draegers' importing fabulous French yogurt--her favorites, rhubarb and chestnut--and having to stop because of regs.

Do you understand what the regulatory issues were? Because it's not that there are no foreign yogurts on the shelves (there are Australian, no?).

Feb 09, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Chobani passion fruit yogurt?

I'd never bought this brand of yogurt, so this thread caught my eye. In the absence of passion fruit, I bought pomegranate (a fruit I quite like and not so run of the mill).

To say it was terrible is to speak in understatement. Cough syrup comes to mind. I'm assuming passion fruit is better.

But it calls up a larger question.

In at least some other countries, you go into any food shop; and there are delicious and interesting flavored yogurts. One of my foodie pleasures when I'm in England--right up there with checking out the latest farm-to-table restaurant or street market--is dipping into M&S to grab a rhubarb yogurt.

But in the U.S., the fruit choices are so limited; and the added sugar content so high, you do best, buying plain and adding your own fruit or jam.

An entrepreneurial 'hound should do something about this!

Feb 09, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Easter Weekend Food Markets 2014

Any changes to the various weekend food markets on Easter Weekend (Spitalfields, Brick Lane, Upmarket, Portobello, Broadway, Brixton, Borough, Maltby St., et. al.)--or can one expect business as usual?

Many thanks.

Feb 08, 2014
sundeck sue in U.K./Ireland

Berlin dinner line-up: eager for thoughts

I've got the following dinners lined up for our five-day stay in Berlin. Most of the suggestions come from this Board (thanks to all and esp to linguafood!).

We're staying @ Potsdamer area.

Still time to change things out, so would be grateful for feedback. Some questions:

Too much sameness (we love locavore, great new and old renditions of trad foods)?

Someplace or some type of quintessentially Berlin fare that I'm missing that's a don't-miss?

A better version of something I've got on the list?

(Plan to hit some of the food markets during the day.)

Wed pm (after trans-continental travel): maybe Weinbar Rutz

Thurs pm Renger Patzsch

Fri pm Katz Orange

Sat pm Jolesch

Sun pm Gel Gor (after performance at Komische Oper Berlin)

Feb 08, 2014
sundeck sue in Europe

Good restaurant for birthday dinner in the inner East Bay?

I like Rivoli, but don't think much comes as unadorned as the OP is seeking.

Feb 05, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Good restaurant for birthday dinner in the inner East Bay?

Townhouse would be good if you went on a weekend, when they've had this delicious (underscored) prime rib as a special (call to check it'll be on offer before booking).

I second Cafe Rouge.

Wood Tavern--food great, but tables too close/noisy

Marica good, not great.

Feb 05, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area food gifts to bring to Berlin

June Taylor jam or candied citrus

Tom's Best Ever Granola

dried persimmon/other dried CA fruit/almonds/pistachios from a farmer's market vendor

CA honey from a farmer's market vendor

Feb 04, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

camino (oakland)

I love Camino this time of the year, when crab is on offer. After Michael Bauer's rave on Thursday, I felt like we were in for a treat.


My martini was great. My husband's quail was terrific--perfectly cooked, seasoned, really masterful.

He didn't love his smoked rockfish soup--he found it thin and one dimensional (I've thought in the past that soups were not this kitchen's strong suit).

But salads they do well, so why was my kabocha salad skimpy, under-seasoned, oily?

And the storied crab was mis-conceived: lots of pepper that overwhelmed the delicate shellfish--and in some of the smaller pieces, it was almost dry (their crab has always, always been moist). It was mis-matched with a spicy/flat aoli to boot and a few unmemorable pieces of yacon, an obscure vegetable that tasted like a less bright cousin of jicama.

The server, who was otherwise fine, brought me my hot towel, when I had a crab leg to go--it was no longer hot when I was ready for it (I just asked for another).

Even the best kitchen has an off night. Or it wasn't off, but just didn't connect for me.

Jan 31, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area

Korean recommendation in Berkeley or Oakland

Agree w/ those who like Bowl'd (I have found Spoon less good, the connection notwithstanding). One thing to add for the OP re taking your East Coat transplants: the people who run Bowl'd are especially welcoming and gracious re folks who might be less familiar with Korean food (eg. they name all the panchan when they bring them).

Before Bowl'd opened, my husband (uneasy re Korean food, really all food that was unfamiliar to him) never wanted to head to a Korean restaurant. But he's happy to go to Bowl'd, and every time orders the grilled spicy pork, which he quite likes; and the only panchan he dips into is the steamed broccoli! More of the rest for me. :)

p.s. I can see a new thread developing, as I type: where to take fussy eaters in the Bay Area!

Jan 31, 2014
sundeck sue in San Francisco Bay Area