tvr172's Profile

Title Last Reply

Din tai Fung comes to Bay Area

I was at the Taipei101 location 2 weeks ago. First time in over 30 years. Growing up in Taiwan we typically thought of it as the expensive place where the Japanese tourists flocked to. Nowadays there seem to be more mainland Chinese tourists. The dishes that I liked most were the wontons in hot chili sauce and a wood ear appetizer. We had 11 different dishes and I would say almost every one was prepared well. That said, the prices were high relative to food of similar quality elsewhere; however, part of the attraction is the consistency and service. I also noticed there was wait staff fluent in various languages to receive foreign customers. Never been to the ones in the US so no basis for comparison.

Apr 23, 2015
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Vacaville eatery makes Yelp's Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. for 2015

That should not be a surprise, should it? Why would a person of Asian decent from a certain region necessarily have more appreciation for foods from another part of Asia compared to a non-Asian. Especially someone who was born and/or raised here with Americanized palate. Do not rely on my judgement of Filipino food even though I am from the "same side" of the globe.

Mar 21, 2015
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Why are they standing in line ?

I enjoyed standing in line at Pacific Cafe. They gave out free glasses of wine to those waiting for a table (with no apparent limits!). On the rare warm and sunny evening in Outer Richmond, we were more than happy to let others go ahead of us. Not sure if they still do this. Food was good too, if I remember correctly.

Mar 03, 2015
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Hunter's Point Chow? [San Francisco]

Dago Mary's has been long gone. The building was demolished a while back. If you don't mind driving a bit there are some good places on 3rd street, including Frisco Fried, Serpentine, Just for You Cafe. Closer to Evans, there is La Laguna. The Post Office cafeteria is a good and inexpensive alternative if you just want something quick and easy parking.

Just noticed the original post was from 2004......

Jul 25, 2014
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Trip to Berkeley from DC

Just did the drive from SLC to Berkeley a few weeks ago. A few good meals along the way. Stopped for lunch at a Mexican eatery (Salt Flats Cafe) just before Wendover at the eastern edge of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Take Exit 4 toward Bonneville Speedway. It is shortly on the right behind a Sinclair gas station. Interesting memorabilia on the walls about the various drivers and their cars breaking records on the salt flats.

In Elko, we enjoyed a hearty family style Basque dinner in the Star Hotel (not an actual hotel). Near Truckee we stopped by PJ's Bar and Grill. It's part of a golf resort in a nice setting.

None of those would be considered gourmet eateries by Berkeley or Alexandria standards, but their characters reflect the localities.

Jul 22, 2014
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Sunday dinner dilemma, Berkeley or Oakland

Marica on College Ave in Oakland has prixe-fixe 3-course meal before 6:30 that would fit your budget. Parking and reservation have been relatively easy.

Jun 28, 2014
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Regional Chinese roundup 1.0 (early 2014)

The relatively new Lulu's Kitchen (Sichuan) in Concord is quite good.

May 10, 2014
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

85 Degrees C (85C) Bakery Taiwanese chain coming to Bay Area (potentially Newark / Union City / Fremont)

During the past 2 weeks, I have been driving by a 85C location in Taichung, Taiwan and there were never more than half a dozen people in the store. Almost every block has a boutique bakery selling similar or fancier looking stuff with the goal to make the entire island diabetic.

Sep 05, 2013
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

China Village (Albany) is open!

It's called Arden lettuce. Or 窩仔菜 in Taiwan (pronounced wei-ah tsai so people started simplifying it to A Tsai to the point many in the younger generation only know it as A Tsai). or 萵苣菜 in China.

Looking for slightly upscale Indian restaurant in East Bay

Look into Swad in Lafayettel. I was there 3 years ago and remember it being good. But not sure if it is considered upscale.

Feb 15, 2013
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

How big are servings at Tacubaya, Berkeley?

Had lunch there Friday, it took 3 tacos to fill this medium-sized, middle-age and middle-class man.

Apr 16, 2012
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Anyone ever tried Stinky Tofu?

Actually it has always been fairly common in Taiwan, not obscure at all. It's not universally loved by everyone there; but there is enough demand for it. Its taste and "strength" can vary from vendor to vendor depending on the process. In the past few years, b/c of the health and safety concerns, people have been experimenting with alternative and more sanitary processes to create the taste or stink. I have tried ones made with herbal medicine that left a bitter after taste. But the good ones actually do taste and smell differently.

Mar 26, 2012
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

China Village [Albany]

A search for the origin of this dish would confirm ground meat as part of the recipe. This is such a popularized dish, many variations have developed.

Mar 11, 2012
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Taiwanese or Northern Chinese Breakfast for 70 people

Try Five Happiness on Geary. They serve that kind of breakfast items and has enough table space.

Feb 06, 2012
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Dim Sum and XLB recommendations

You are right. I have always found it comical when this is used as a gauge of a Chinese restaurant's quality or authenticity, somehow assuming every Chinese person present further assures the authenticity of a place. The truth is some of us just don't know any better. Some of us are just trying to find a cheap place to fill our belly; and many of us are just as susceptible to hype. I suspect many non-Chinese chowhounds on this board probably have a wider appreciation of Chinese regional cooking than your average Chinese person on the street. I have been to plenty of lousy Chinese restaurants (whether voluntarily or dragged along) full of Chinese. I apologize if my presence at some of those places might have misled those that rely on this head-counting method.

Sep 26, 2011
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Where Can I Find Pink Pearl Apples (or something close)?

The PP in our yard in Berkeley has been producing since June, but production went down lately, then this weekend I am seeing new blossoms. Our fall has not been warming up just yet.

Sep 12, 2011
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

SF-flavored Xmas gift for a foodie?

Wife flew out to Casper with 4 crabs in her checked-in luggage. We bought and cooked the crabs the night before. Froze them and put them in a padded lunch bag (without additional ice) in the morning before the flight. They were still chilled by the time she got in at Casper 8 hours later and they had them for dinner.

It would be even better if you can bring them over live. Just saw that there are vending machines in China selling live crabs. They go into quasi hibernation when kept at a few degrees above freezing. I might experiment bring live crabs back to the east coast in a couple of weeks.

Dec 07, 2010
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Two new Chinese restaurants in Cupertino Village (Shanghainese and .... NorthEastern?)

I will have to agree. I don't understand why people hype up the XLBs at SDK. They are not very good.

Nov 04, 2010
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Please suggest a mid-high end dinner in SF city only

Spruce near Laurel Village

Jul 25, 2010
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

What's Innovative About San Francisco?

for many of us Market runs northeast........

Jul 12, 2010
tvr172 in Features

Taichung, Taiwan

I think you will be surprised at the Chinese cooking in Taiwan. It has moved far beyond what you can find in the US. Most of the Chinese cooking found even in major cities in the US is still stuck in China's pre-revolutionary era. Heavily salted, greased, MSG'ed or sauced.

Here are some links you might find interesting (not limited to Taichung): Note that I am not tapped into the food scene there by any measure having been away for many years.

Jun 26, 2010
tvr172 in China & Southeast Asia

Taichung, Taiwan

The 逢甲夜市 is mostly a hang out for college kids and tourists and does not have good food. Nowadays, most of the large night markets target youths and visitors with low price points and low quality food.

For good traditional street food, you will need to seek out traditional day or night markets. One stall in this market may be famous for this dish while another one at some other market is good for that.

The night market on 公益 road has good stuff. The market at the temple in 豐原 city has food oyster pancake. A lot of "street" food traditionally served by stalls have also moved indoors. If you are in Taipei, this place is worth a visit:

If you can read Chinese, here is a blog by a foodie in Taiwan:

The best is really to talk to locals as the street food scene is in constant flux. And make sure you ask someone interested in this life style. My parents live in Taichung for most of their lives and are clueless on this subject. I find that it's usually the middle-age working professionals that have fingers on the pulse.

Jun 26, 2010
tvr172 in China & Southeast Asia

ISO Dried Fish Roe/wūyúzi (From Taiwan) in Bay Area

I remember seeing it in one of the little stores in the 99 Ranch mall in Richmond. Someone told me once you can mail order it. They are mostly vacuum packed and travel well.

Jun 17, 2010
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Cheap eats in San Francisco

I did not know they are related. Anyhow they are both pretty lame.

Jun 14, 2010
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Santorini: 1800 or Ambrosia and Nectar?

From my recollection, there is the Ambrosia Restaurant and Nectar-and-Ambrosia, by the same owners. Ambrosia is a more formal place that required advance reservation. We could not get a table so went to Nectar-and-Ambrosia instead. It was in May and just before the onslaught of tourists so we were able to walk in and get a table for 6. We enjoyed the food and service very much.

Jun 13, 2010
tvr172 in Europe

Cheap eats in San Francisco

I would not recommend Taiwan either.

Jun 13, 2010
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

ISO East Bay or SF chinese restaurants that serve good beef-and-eggs over rice (滑蛋牛肉飯)

So I finally went to China First for its beef-and-eggs over rice. The flavoring was right. The eggs were not overcooked and leached into the rice matrix underneath. However, the beef was of very poor quality and the slices were too big (up to 4 inches long). A couple of them was simply too tough to chew through. Another thing I did not like was they put way too much rice with the result the eggs could only coat a small portion of it. At $4.75 it was cheap, but I would have gladly paid a more for better quality.

China First
336 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

Jun 09, 2010
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Here on a consulting assignment - yummy dinner take-out?

Shalimar on Jones between O'ferrell and Geary. The area is a bit funky so don't go too late in the evening.

May 18, 2010
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

Rice n Spice West Berkeley

It's my go-to Indian place in Berkeley for lunch. I was a bit concerned about its survival; it's usually not very busy during lunch time.

May 11, 2010
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area

taiwanese noodles from DinTaiFung

It says Dan Dan Noodles on the webpage. From the picture the noodles look thinner than the traditional Dan Dan Noodles. They appear to be the thin noodles typically used in some Taiwanese noodle dishes (e.g. pig's feet noodles).

May 11, 2010
tvr172 in San Francisco Bay Area