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neighborhood restaurant recommendations for November in SF?

I personally found the restaurant option on Valencia good, but not great. Certainly not worth the hype, price or crowds the area tend to attract. So I guess we will have to disagree on that.

I get the same vibe from the dining options on Valenica as I do when I visit Toronto and go to the "hot" places with old friends.

neighborhood restaurant recommendations for November in SF?

I work in the Mission (near Heath Ceramics) and partake of all the amazing food in the neighborhood daily (a bit more then I should). IMHO, the Mission is a must visit for any visitor interested in good food.

HOWEVER there are things I have seen and smelled in neighborhood in broad daylight that is best not to mention on a food board.

I have had a few uncomfortable encounters with mentally disturbed homeless individuals in the neighborhood. I know the area, so I know which blocks to avoid at night, but first time visitors don't. As another poster mentioned, gang violence isn't a concern as it usually happens at night, and are targeted against rivals, but it isn't confined to the outer mission.

I actually walk to work from North Beach (and back) through SOMA everyday. I walk right through Union Square. While the Union Square can be overwhelmed with visitors (especially with big conventions, like Salesforce, Oracle, WWDC). Accessibility to public transportation, and a cab ride to/from Union Square to most visitor destinations in the city, would be cheaper and faster then staying at one of the outer neighborhoods. And many of the tourist destinations, like Fisherman's Wharf, Ferry Terminal building are a easy walk from Union Square.

neighborhood restaurant recommendations for November in SF?

You said you are from "near Toronto". How near is near? Scarborough near, or Whitby near? How comfortable are you with the rough parts of Toronto? My high school in Toronto was near Regent Park and St. Jamestown, and our football field was frequented by prostitutes and druggies..leaving their wares to find in the morning. Friends from that same highschool enjoy the good food of the Mission, but not to stay in.

Be careful with booking "hotel alternatives", there can be great variances within a neighborhood in SF as others have mention. A few blocks could make a huge difference. Had friends made that mistake with AirBnB in the Mission.

You also mention you are not into the "too cool" or over run by "young people" places in Toronto. That basically describes the Valencia corridor in the Mission.

neighborhood restaurant recommendations for November in SF?

The sea lions are gone again..there are just one or two hanging out these days. Not sure why they left, or when they will be back.

I wouldn't recommend renting a car for a short visit. It's simply not worth the trouble.

And as someone who is from Toronto, and have a fair amount of visitors from Toronto. I wouldn't recommend staying in the Mission, especially if it's a first trip. I would stick with Union Square hotels, for access to public transportation like Bart and Muni light rail. Everything else is a short cab/uber ride away, or within walking distance.

But definitely hit up the Mission for the food. In particular Mexican food, which Toronto is really lacking.

Cotogna and Dosa were really well liked by my Torontonian visitors. Though Cotogna dinner reservations needs to be made well ahead of time. Though you can often walk in for brunch on weekends (if you don't mind the counter) just after they opened or late lunch on week days.

vegetarian dim sum?

I grew up in Toronto (and am Chinese Canadian), dim sum in the suburbs like Richmond, Mississauga are better and way cheaper then in SF. IMHO the "top" dim sum places in the bay area would be consider average at best in Toronto, and definitely over priced (as my parents like to remind me every time they visit). I would skip Chinese food altogether if I were a visitor from Toronto.

As for Bahn Mi, if you want a vegetarian version, you are better off in any number of places in Toronto's Chinatown. The better Vietnamese food are down in the south bay, not in SF.

Where to buy Inaniwa udon?

Try Nippon-Ya inside the mall in Japantown, I notice they had some dry noodle gift sets when I was there a few weeks ago.

Pumpkins . . . on the vine?

Also not near HMB, but up in Petaluma:
http://www.mcclellandsdairy.com/Pumpk...

Trader Joe's YAY/MEY/NAY - September 2014 [OLD]

I saw them in San Francisco yesterday. It was on the bread shelf with the pumpkin baked goods.

Sep 18, 2014
gnomatic in Chains

Breakfast in Union Square [San Francisco]

They were open today and yesterday.

There is a facebook group dedicated to tracking when/if they are open https://www.facebook.com/pages/Is-the...

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - August 2014 [OLD]

It's in the latest fearless flyer.
http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-fl...

Aug 20, 2014
gnomatic in Chains
1

Marla baker (mission, SF)

The donuts, made by A Spoonful of Sugar are from a brioche dough, that's why it's more bread like.

https://www.facebook.com/ASpoonfulOfS...

Looking for lunch delivery in the Financial District [San Francisco]

You might want to look into zerocater. They arrange catering from various local restaurants, and are pretty good about dietary restrictions and meal preferences.

https://zerocater.com/

My last two job used them for dinner and lunch. It works out well most of the time. And we get to rate the meals, so the restaurants gets our input, and they adjust the selection base on our preference.

Ramen Street Festival part of J-Pop Summit, SF Japantown July 19-20, 2014!

I like the Yamachan tonkotsu nama ramen. I usually find one package of the broth is good for at least 2 servings of noodles (I add more water, as well my own meat & vegetables).

Looks like you can order just the broth directly from Yamachan:
http://yamachanramen.com/whats-up-yam...

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - July 2014 [OLD]

Yay - Cheddar & Gruyere melange cheese. I used it to make some nachos, it melted very nicely, creamy and wonderful flavor.

Jul 11, 2014
gnomatic in Chains
1

Where can I find fresh Chinese fishcake?

Alot of the markets in SF Chinatown sells minced fish in plastic tubs ...usually in the cold case, next to the eggs/wonton wrapper.

Almond Kringle at Trader Joes

There was 3 of them at the store on Bay Street tonight.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - June 2014 [OLD]

Oh no! I like the watermelon cucumber cooler (delicious when carbonated). I looked for it last weekend but couldn't find it, was hoping it was just out of stock.

Jun 18, 2014
gnomatic in Chains

Golden Gate Bakery - downturn? [San Francisco]

I prefer AA Bakery and Napolean Bakery (both on Stockton) over Golden Gate bakery.

I don't know when their old baker pass away, but I first tried GG's tarts mabye in 2001...I wasn't impress then either. I had it a few times to give the 2nd, 3rd ..etc chances, they are okay, but certainly not worth the higher price and lines.

I literally grew up on Honolulu Coffee Shop's egg tarts in Hong Kong (back in the 70's & 80's), which some say are the best of the puff pastry egg tarts in Hong Kong, so perhaps it's not fair comparison.

Craftsman and Wolves, Happy Moose Juice, Xanath, Zen Yai, Smitten, Tosca, State Bird (San Francisco: Day Four)

I saw the baguettes on a recent visit, they looked amazing. Are they sour dough? (On more then one occasion, I bought baguettes in the bay area, and it turns out it was a sour dough baguette).

I work around 10 minutes away, so my colleagues and I often walk that direction for a break. I like the chocolate croissant stack and the lemon espresso snail.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - June 2014 [OLD]

The Almond croissants were introduced around June of 2012. I think they had the chocolate first, then the mini plain croissants...then the almond, and most recently the (seasonal?) pumpkin croissant.

Definitely ask your stock if they can bring it back (or special order?). If that fails, it's made by Galaxy desserts, which is sold (for a lot more $) at William-Sonoma http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

Jun 05, 2014
gnomatic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - June 2014 [OLD]

Are you sure they stop stocking at your local TJ, or just ran out?

The store I go to put the almond ones together in the same column as the chocolate ones..I have to pay attention to make sure I grab the right one, since the box are so similar.

Jun 04, 2014
gnomatic in Chains

SF Chinatown Bargains - Fruit!

I live near Chinatown, and have to walk through to and from work. Most shop lower the price for fruit at the end of the day, and it's usually cheaper on weekdays.

I saw cherries as low as $1.69/lb in the last week.

Pizzelle cookies in SF Bay Area

Cost Plus World market (the one at Fisherman's Wharf definitely do) almost always have the packaged ones in stock.

In Search of Tunnock's Tea Cakes!

If you have a Cost Plus World Market, try giving them a call and see if the store near you carries it. My local store (in San Francisco) sells it, though it tend to run out (they do restock quite frequently).

http://www.worldmarket.com/product/tu...

May 20, 2014
gnomatic in General Topics

Any recs for Chinese specialty food shops in bay area?

Two of the markets in SF Chinatown have/had them in large supply by the register the last few months. Can't remember the name..but the one on Stockton north of Broadway (and next to the bakery), and also the one in the basement on Jackson.

Modern ceramic or pottery mug?

I have a few pieces from Kim Westad, including a cup. It's quite large, her mugs runs 15 to 16 oz

https://www.etsy.com/shop/kimwestad

May 11, 2014
gnomatic in Cookware

Marla baker (mission, SF)

I knew they had the kickstarter to build the garden at the new location, but I hope they don't close the York Street location. I need those donuts...

Marla baker (mission, SF)

I work just a few minutes walk away, and have been been trying various pastries and bread on their menu. All very good, but their donuts are DELICIOUS.

I left half of the chocolate glazed donut on my desk morning when I had to go to a meeting, and co-workers were drooling over it.

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - May 2014 [old]

Yes..that's the name. My chinese is very rusty, much to the dismay of my mom.

I have seen it at dim sum in Toronto, NYC, Hong Kong, Vancouver, and San Francisco ( I actually just saw it today when I went to pick up some dim sum in Chinatown).

I suspect the sugar in the dough help it get that golden brown, slight gloss once fried.

I think Trader Joe's version might be their fusion take on the Vietnamese banh it tran.

May 04, 2014
gnomatic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - May 2014 [old]

Mochi are not exclusively for sweet fillings.

There are numerous dumplings that has thick chewy translucent wrapper and savory fillings in Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese cooking.

Pan fried chive dumplings and fun gaw, are probably the most common chewy wrapper, savory filling for dim sum. There is also a deep fried one, but the name escapes me, it's something "gok".

May 04, 2014
gnomatic in Chains