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ernie in berkeley's Profile

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SFBA Dish of the Month Nominations (June to December 2015)


Pizza Margherita: SFBA Dish of the Month August 2015

RL alerted us to Zut! Tavern now offering pizza again, and I stopped in for lunch.

This is a very nice pizza. The sauce didn't seem to be much more than pureed fresh tomato (which I like), and the fresh mozzarrella was creamy. The crust was surprisingly firm, given that there wasn't much char underneath (lots of browning on the cornetta, though). Basil after baking, and a splash of spicy EVOO. In addition to the EVOO, they use olive oil in the dough, which resulted in oily fingers. $12, an excellent value for this place.

Home Vinegar Barrels

The Oak Barrel in Berkeley, on San Pablo near Cedar.

Narrowing down SF resto picks

I really like the brunch at Farmer Brown. It's a well-maintained buffet, with great grits, fried chicken, waffles, biscuits and gravy.

Bucci's -- What a Gem [Emeryville]

I don't think Riva Cucina ever got their pizza oven going. There's no pizza on their posted menu. A little further afield is Nizza La Bella; Bucci and her friends were at Nizza on their opening day.

Bucci's -- What a Gem [Emeryville]

Closing September 30, sadly

First trip to Sonoma County- help!

Rafanelli is a great visit, but make sure you get a reservation in advance. I don't know what the lead time is.

I also like visiting Nalle. Quirky, great dog and an interesting winery building, basically a quonset hut covered with dirt and plants--it keeps about the same cool temperature winter and summer.

King Tsin Under New New Management - CV Chef - Berkeley

A friend was wondering, the current King Tsin chef, who was at China Village before the fire, was he the one who was previously at that hotel in Beijing, the one who moved to Fresno (or was it Bakersfield)?

New Japanese place coming to old Zaki space - Albany

It's open now. Certainly not a homey sushi restaurant, it's more of a fast-food place, where you order at the counter from the big menu on the wall and pick up your tray when your buzzer rings. No sushi bar, no table service. Bright lights and surfaces.

Prices are low. $8.95 got me a huge pile of seafood tempura, shrimp, scallops, two kinds of fish, squid and a mussel, along with miso soup and condiments. They still have to work some kinks out, though--half the tempura was greasy.

Smoke taint threat from California wildfires

Navarro relabeled a large amount of pinot that had the smoke taint, and yes, sold it for a low price. Of the six or so bottles I got, I only detected smoke in one or two--actually, more like the smell of a doused campfire. They were still selling off those batches as of a year ago.

Aug 09, 2015
ernie in berkeley in Wine

Roast Duck: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2015

That hash dish looks kind of like the duck confit hash at T-Rex in Berkeley. It was almost too rich to finish...almost.

Pizza Margherita: SFBA Dish of the Month August 2015

Can we get a ruling on what constitutes pizza margherita? I've been looking around for it (Berkeley and points north), and I see a few places that have thin-crust, fresh mozerrella and basil leaf, but they don't call it margherita (Benchmark in Kensington, for example).

Great spicy noodles without soup

I've said it before: those beer-braised duck noodles at CV are a masterpiece. The seafood and shredded pork noodles are also great, another one-dish balanced meal.

Great spicy noodles without soup

Strange. The lunch menu says they're a chef's specialty, but you're right, they aren't on the dinner menu at all. I wonder if you could order them at dinner.

While not soupy, they are thick with sauce and red chili oil.

Great spicy noodles without soup

The noodle dishes on the China Village lunch menu (upper right corner) are spicy and non-soupy.

SFBA Dish of the Month Nominations (June to December 2015)

I don't think I've ever seen it outside of a sandwich.

SFBA Dish of the Month Nominations (June to December 2015)

The sandwich, or otherwise prepared?

Another terrific dinner at Paisan in Berkeley

Do they still have the Wednesday night "family style" deal?

Where to buy a large cutting board/butcher block?

Rocket Restaurant, near 7th and Ashby in Berkeley, seems to have a few.

Where to go out in Berkeley?

Hotsy Totsy has an excellent taco truck in its parking lot, every day except Tuesday.

Café V (V for Venezuela) in Berkeley

I got a shredded chicken arepo with avocado for lunch, and it was very good. The arepo was crisp and chewy with lots of corn flavor. I asked whether they made them to order, and they do.

For orientation: this is on the block of San Pablo just south of University. Open until 2, but I arrived just after 2 and there wasn't a problem. The owner's exceedingly cute daughter, about 4 years old, kept flitting up to the table and answering my incomprehensible Spanish with her own incomprehensible Spanish.

Roast Duck: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2015

Oh yes, the handpulled noodle with braised duck at CV is a masterpiece. But not roasted, I think.

Burger Depot closing after 35 years (Albany)

I'm glad they're retiring and not forced out of business because of the Boss Burger competition.

Roast Duck: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2015

Eating lunch solo at China Village, I asked how the duck in Bean Sprouts with Shredded Duck was prepared. Roast, they said, so I ordered it. Unfortunately, it was not very good. The duck was tough, with no fat to speak of, and the entire dish was salty nearly to the point of being inedible.

Roast Duck: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2015


My Great China duck story: I snagged a seat at the bar and ordered something, I don't remember what. The people next to me were served the largest plate of Peking duck I'd ever seen, heaps and heaps of meat and skin, and I was too shy to interrupt a stranger for a taste. Then I couldn't flag down a server to get my check, but the woman in front of the duck got up and fetched it for me--she worked there and I'm sure would have been happy to give me some duck.

Roast Duck: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2015

Any recs for Berkeley and points north?

Trip Report: San Francisco with my Foodie Son...


King Tsin Under New New Management - CV Chef - Berkeley

I asked about why they'd left, and he said it was just because this place became available and they wanted to have a place of their own. They opened last month, and I haven't noticed any lowering of quality at CV with this chef at KT now.

King Tsin Under New New Management - CV Chef - Berkeley

Him, yes.

King Tsin Under New New Management - CV Chef - Berkeley

I stopped in for lunch today and was greeted by a former China Village waiter, the short balding guy. He's one of the partners, together with the chef and another CV veteran.

The lunch specials menu is quite a bit like CV's, now, with my old favorite cumin lamb included (it was great). Lots of noodle dishes, and they've kept the extensive dim sum list (though like so many places now, it's gotten expensive--I can't see paying $7.00+ for one order of dumplings).