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Grilled Lamb Skewers / Kabobs (Chinese Islamic / Muslim) in East Bay?

This year, DM has been hinting she's got a craving for ... grilled lamb on a stick. Preferrably w/ plenty of cumin and other herbs / spices. And not just as a 1 or 2 stick serving for an app; she wants a platter as a side and/or main. I'm considering fulfilling that craving around Mother's Day...

Short of breaking the bank w/ a half dozen orders of app size from places like Darda's (ok so its not breaking the bank but fwiw I am not paying $40 for 12 skewers), where can I find this?

We have gone to what used to be Uncle's Cafe in SF (Waverly Pl) and she does like the skewers there, but the portion is smaller than what we are looking for, and the rest of the menu is pretty "meh" to me.

Ideally, we would love to find a place serving the skewers we sometimes find at festivals / fairs in the Bay Area -- a booth that was dedicated to nothing but Chinese Islamic lamb skewers -- just not w/ the $8 / skewer price.

Any suggestions other than what I've mentioned or stalking these fair vendors from festival to festival? Thanks!

Apr 30, 2014
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Just Moved to Hayward -- Please Prove This Isn't A Food Desert

Hello Hounds,

Just moved and now living near Cal State East Bay... from Oakland. Been spoiled w/ all the food choices I had before... Chinatown, Rockridge, Montclair, Downtown, Grand Ave, Lakeshore, etc. Now I've had Favorite Indian (which was decent) twice in 3 weeks. I've been to Buon Apetitio a few times in the past year (prior to my move) and its been ok. The only thing I did enjoy in this city so far is Tomodachi by Southland. But based on the prices, it is more of a "special" meal on my budget. Where are the hole in the walls? Where is the real food at?

I've also been to Val's a few times in the past few years, and will definitely be back. Also, waiting for another opportunity to get the crisp S&P fried eggplant basket from Golden Mountain Chinese...


Sep 19, 2012
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Heading down to Hayward

Sorry this response is so late. From what I understand, Ray's didn't close -- its under new management. The prior management has moved on to Tomodachi Sushi Bistro by Southland, on Hesperian and Winton. The one meal I had there a few weeks ago (weekend lunch), quality is good. Best around, because there really isn't a whole lot to choose from in the area if you're looking for good sushi. They have a large menu, from sea bream carpaccio, to squid kara-age, to herb spiced baby lamb rib, to conch butter yaki, to robata yaki like sunagimo and beef tan, shabu shabu, zaru and udon just to name a few of the items.

Sep 19, 2012
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Casual dinner Hayward

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but there is a decent Chinese spot along Foothill by the I-580 entrance (Golden Mountain?) that serves a very light and crisp salt and pepper eggplant appetizer. Basically like S & P calamari, except they use thinly sliced eggplant. The rest of their menu is meh, but this was the standout for me. The restaurant's name in Chinese is translated as Giant Shrimp Head and their logo is a big shrimp.

May 15, 2012
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking to rent kitchen for bachelor party

Sounds like great fun! A group of friends and I tried something similar -- only it was during a camping trip. Split into 2 teams, crazy action around 2 picnic tables, 2 camping ranges, and "2" many cooks! Didn't need to worry too much about cleanup. Also it was a fun challenge fighting the additional element of environment (it happened to be a windy day).

Jan 12, 2012
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Clay Pot Rice and Double Boiled Soup at Best Taste in Oakland

Has anyone tried the clay pot rice at Gum Wah (345 8th St.)? Not sure if they are still serving these, but last time I tried it was about a year ago... Gum Wah's version uses the noh mai fan (glutinous rice) instead. Their serving portion is also slightly larger. Because of the different grain, Gum Wah's comes out a bit richer, with more flavor. Last time I checked, theirs was also higher in price, about $0.50 more. If ordering more than 1 or 2 orders, the wait time is also longer at Gum Wah -- they can only do 2 orders at a time w/ their equipment, whereas Best Taste can do 4. Speaking of wait times, these orders do take time to make, about 20 mins; sometimes I call ahead to order even if I'm planning to eat there.

Gum Wah
345 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

Nov 15, 2011
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Halloween themed Asian food?

Thanks for all the creative ideas folks! I especially like the egg/spring roll and lumpia ideas... definitely something I can do. I also like the curry idea... since I've still got over a week to plan, please keep the suggestions coming!

I thought of something myself too -- serving Hannibal Lecter BBQ buns! hehehehehe... after all, there's that Chinese urban legend (although I think it is based on a true crime story) of a woman killing her abusive mate, then chopping him up and baking into "pork" buns to serve folks.

Oct 21, 2011
S U in General Topics

Halloween themed Asian food?

This is my first year participating in a Halloween potluck at my office... and over the past year I've grown tired of the same old stuff coworkers contribute -- bucket of fried chicken, potato / pasta salads, dips and chips, cookies, etc. So I want to spice things up a bit with my contribution this year. As a nod to my Asian ancestry, I'm trying to come up with something a bit more "ethnic" . I know there will be plenty of pie, cookies, jello, candy, and the like so I'm looking specifically for a savory dish. After a quick online search, I've come across the Thai "eyeballs" (sweet sticky rice balls w/ black sesame paste inside); but that is not savory. And things are a bit extra difficult because I'm still a really beginner novice in the kitchen, which leaves a lot of things off my list. But I did manage to come up with 1 idea: pancit palabok using Mama Sita's mix... that would result in a bright orange noodle! I can even keep it "deconstructed": leaving the shrimp in a separate container for those who are allergic to seafood, keeping the chicharon and pork bits in their own bowls for the vegetarians (i'll have to check whether meat product is used in the actual mix first), etc.

Is that my only option though? Any other ideas out there? Since Halloween falls on a Monday, I'll probably have some time on Sunday to prep things. We don't have a way to really heat food at the office, although we do have a small fridge -- so something served at room temp would be great. I can even just pick up something (the office is a few blocks from our Chinatown), but the question is what would work? Bonus for an idea that would work for vegetarians and folks allergic to seafood.

Thanks all!

Oct 18, 2011
S U in General Topics

Savory Oatmeal

just made plain oatmeal this morning, and on a whim I folded in a generous dollup of cilantro jalepeno hummus... delish!! now I'm thinking -- make the oatmeal less moist, mix in the hummus, form into patties and then do a rendition of faux hash brown patties in the pan... and maybe even top w/ salsa or something!

Apr 12, 2011
S U in Home Cooking

Savory Oatmeal

Just found this thread, and just had to add my 2 cents... I'm sure some of the folks out there know about boosting the fiber in meatloaf by adding oatmeal and flax, but in our house when we do the Chinese version (steamed meat cake) we also add in a healthy dose of oatmeal -- after cooking it in a bit of savory broth to get it all gooey before mixing it into the raw meat mixture and then steaming. I didn't realize there were so many savory oatmeal ideas... I'm going to start using some interesting ingredients like Thai fish sauce, curry powder, etc and see if I can come up with some new ways of plating up oatmeal.

Apr 04, 2011
S U in Home Cooking

Sweet Shoppe Fest this weekend, Jack London

Has anyone heard the news about the Sweet Shoppe Festival at Jack London this weekend? Like who / what artisans will be present? Not sure yet if its worth the $12 tix price...

May 05, 2010
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Sushiya Concord -- Lunch All You Can Eat Sushi

Sorry, tried to figure out the Places link & it kept defaulting to the Sushiya in Oakland... if someone knows how to link it properly, can you please do so? Thanks!

Nov 29, 2009
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Sushiya Concord -- Lunch All You Can Eat Sushi

With the economy these days, I thought I'd pass on some info about Sushiya in Concord which just opened about 2 months ago. I've posted relevant info first, then my review below.

2002 Suite B, Salvio St., Concord CA 94520
(925) 363-7870

Their Mon - Fri Lunch is all you can eat, @ $14.95/person
At that price point, this is an ideal spot to get sushi at pretty low cost. I've been a few times now, and everything is fresh. Even the CA rolls are made with real crab meat. And for those who have been to "hole-in-the-wall" places with horridly stale and/or low quailty rice, don't worry -- the quality of rice in Sushiya's all you can eat items is fair.

Dinner items range from $2 to $12 / order.

Note: $0.50 / person charge on tea.

Lunch All You Can Eat menu items include:

Appetizers -- edamame, sunomono, shrimp tempura, assorted tempura, soft shell crab, seafood salad, chicken salad, gyoza, seaweed salad, green salad, beef teriyaki, chicken teriyaki, miso soup, steamed rice, tonkatsu, fried salmon

Maki -- over 50 kinds

Nigiri -- maguro, sake, ebi, tai, tamago, kaibashira, tobiko, shiro maguro, hokkigai, hamachi, unagi, tako, saba, ika, inari, kani, ikura, masaga, wakame

Temaki -- california, veggie, taxi, spicy hamachi, white tuna, ebi tempura, salmon skin, sweet potato, seaweed salad, ikura, sake, chicken teri, salmon teri, beef teri, unagi, gym, spicy tuna, ebi, scallops, spider, cooked salmon, tobiko, hamachi, fire spicy crab

Each person is allowed to pick a max of 3 items each time they order. When your set of 3 arrives at the table, another copy of the menu is provided for your next order. No limit on how many times you order.

I noticed a few items on the dinner menu that is not available for all you can eat lunch, like albacore, amaebi, and a few others. For those of you who look for uni on menus, they don't carry it at all.


On Friday, 4 of us headed out there to check it out. We managed to try quite a bit of their menu items.

Shrimp tempura (3 orders@ 5 pieces/order? don't quite remember how many): no flavor, too much batter, and a bit soggy when it was brought to the table. On my prior visit this was of much better quality, so this item may be hit or miss.
Soft shell crab (3 orders @ 1 crab/order split into 4 pieces each): better than I expected, especially after the tempura. Good ratio of breading to crab, not greasy, fairly crisp.
Gyoza (2 orders @ 6 pieces/order): better than some other places I've tried. Not deep fried; more like small pot stickers w/ thin skin. So good that after trying the 1st order we added a 2nd.
Seaweed Salad: pretty good. If you don't like your seaweed overly seasoned then this is for you. Just enough seasoning that it doesn't overpower the dish. Plenty of sesame seeds sprinkled for garnish.
Fried salmon: smallish piece of salmon deep fried and cut into 3 pieces... didn't stand out, and I wouldn't order it again.
Beef Teri: sliced thinly, just a touch of pink in the interior slices. I probably wouldn't order this again, just simply because at a sushi place I'd go for sashimi if they have it rather than beef or chicken. But it was tender, and my dining companions seemed to enjoy it.

Maki (6 pieces per roll):
We ordered so many and they kept coming, it got confusing as to what was what. But I will try to post from memory...
CA deluxe: tobiko, crab, & avocado. As I mentioned above, the rolls calling for crab meat had real crab and not kani which always adds a point in my book. Since I rarely order CA rolls, can't really say much about this one... although one of my dining companions claimed its one of the better ones he's had.
Caterpillar: eel, crab, & avocado. The unagi it this wasn't bad... not too sweet for those who hate unagi drowning in sticky sweet sauce.
Golden Gate: grilled salmon skin. This was a warm roll. The roll was sliced and plated to look like the golden gate. Plenty of kappa and other fillers, but rice ratio was a fair balance.
Rock n Roll: eel & avocado. The thing I remember most about this roll was that they overdid the rice.
There were a few other rolls I recall we ordered, but can't figure out which ones they are on the menu in front of me now... In general I'd say the quality of the rolls were fair to good for the price point. And from the business standpoint, I completely understand why ratios of filler and rice are sometimes overdone.

Nigiri (2 pieces per order):
I ordered the majority of nigiri at our table. In general, I was surprised that the pads of rice were fairly standard size rather than giant belly filling lumps. And the slices of fish were standard as well, not translucently thin nor miniscule. We tried several orders of maguro, sake, ebi, kaibashira (fairly good sized -- not bay, fresh), hamachi, shiro maguro, unagi, ika (pretty good, although I've had better for this price I'd come back), and ikura (they didn't skimp on this either).

Overall, the four of us paid under $70 for a meal I'd pay up to $120 for. Maybe a bit pricey for a weekday lunch, and quality is definitely not up to par with the major sushi players in the bay area, but it is an economical option for those craving sushi in Concord.

Nov 29, 2009
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Good eats in Alameda?

You might also want to check out Kamakura for sushi, across from Asena on Santa Clara. Although with Faith (the owner) there less and less, I feel the quality has gone slightly down.

Nov 02, 2009
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Grand Ave. time warp

On a whim, my family decided to try the Grand Oaks for dinner over the weekend. We've lived in the area for 30+ years and never thought the place could possibly have good food. But friends of ours recently mentioned they've been going since the place first opened. They claimed that reservations are often needed on weekends. Well, with such info our curiosity got the better of us and we checked it out.

Upon arrival, just after the early bird specials were over, we were the 2nd group of diners. Not a good sign, or so I thought. During our meal, we only saw maybe 2 other groups come in for dinner. But after our experience, I suspect that many folks pass on this restaurant due to the looks of the exterior. Too bad... the food speaks for itself.

Although service was a bit slow, it provided us with the opportunity to relax and enjoy conversation over piping hot fresh bread & easily spreadable butter. I hate it when the butter arrives fresh from the fridge and is difficult to spread. I also can't stand cold and/or stale bread. When we asked for a refill on the bread basket, the next roll came out not quite as piping hot -- as if it hadn't spent quite enough time in the oven, possibly because they pop it in the oven it just as you come in through the door.

Our party of 4 placed 2 orders of roasted lamb, and 2 orders of prime rib. Our soups of the day, clam chowder, was pretty decent. I found a few nice-sized clams in mine, as well as hearty chunks of potato. Both entrees came with sides of mashed potatoes as well as the usual assortment of veggies. Due to the look of the exterior, we weren't expecting much in terms of quality, so we were pleasantly surprised when our entrees came. Portion sizes were quite generous, considering the price. My whole rack of lamb was quite juicy and hit the spot. Although the other person who also got the lamb didn't care for the sauce used (portobello plum sauce), she plans on a return visit for the lamb but to request sauce on the side. Prime rib portions were much bigger than I expected, but it might have been because the cut came bone-in so it looks larger on the plate. Although I thought the prime ribs didn't retain enough of its natural juice, we were provided with ample au jus. The horseradish also didn't appear to be from a white powdered mix. Overall, the service -- albeit a tad slow in the beginning -- was fine. Our server came by to check on us several times once we'd received our entrees.

Although we were full from the meal, we decided to split a chocolate fudge cake topped with walnuts & served w/ whipped cream on the side. A nice ending to a very decent meal.

If you go and order the baby back ribs, please keep in mind it takes 45 mins... at least that's what we were told when one of us attempted to order that.

Grand Oaks Restaurant & Sports Lounge
3701 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

Nov 02, 2009
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

New resto: Lake Chalet in Oakland... anyone been? Oyster bar recs?

We ended up having dinner at Sea Salt, since I didn't want to chance it on the new raw bar @ Lake Chalet. Food was not all that spectacular, but maybe we are just a spoiled group =)

My DD appeared to be satisfied w/ her oysters, even the $1 marin special of the day. She apparently is partial to the hogwash @ Hog Island... couldn't help w/ that since the bridge was closed and we didn't feel like taking the ferry or bart. We shared a handful of apps: fried cheeks (they were ok), fried laughing bird shrimp was my DS's favorite, fried oysters -- for those of us who don't eat raw -- were surprisingly moist & juicy inside while the outside managed to be crisp and held up well. Fried smelt was a bit disappointing, since they weren't as crisp as some S&P fried smelt from Chinatown eateries.

In our party of 4, we ended up ordering the fish entrees: one got the tuna, another the halibut, third got the sturgeon, and fourth got the salmon. Out of the 3 who tried all 4 dishes, the halibut seemed to be the clear winner. Unfortunately, I didn't try it so I can't report on that. 2nd place appeared to be a tie between the sturgeon and salmon.

Oop... got to finish this later. DH has dinner on the table... bitter melon soup! Will post a continuation in a bit.

Sep 12, 2009
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

New resto: Lake Chalet in Oakland... anyone been? Oyster bar recs?

My neighbor was walking the lake yesterday, and noticed the Lake Chalet was open and receiving customers. I think its their soft opening. Any first hand experiences yet? I looked at their website, and I notice they've got a raw bar.... dunno if its going to be any good.

My DD's B-day is coming up and I'm thinking of booking @ Lake Chalet, just to try it out. She'd love the raw bar, I think, although her fave has been Hog Island in the Ferry Bldg for years. Not sure yet if I want to try something so new... I'm not a fan of oysters, and the last time I attempted to pick a spot for a dinner she'd love fell flat -- Pearl Oyster in Oakland. She was too gracious to be really upset, but I could tell...

I know she's been to Anchor, which she'd declared so-so, Waterbar might be an option although she might be a bit miffed that I'm not creative enough to not pick a chain place. Any other ideas?

I'd prefer to stay on the East Bay, as her B-day weekend coincides w/ the major bridge shutdown on Labor Day. Wouldn't mind heading down towards San Jose, although I'd much prefer someplace closer to Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, etc.

Aug 19, 2009
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Solution to get food then take a seat vrs reverse order

Although I've experienced being on both sides of the issue, I will never forget the most outrageous incident... I was traveling with my family, and we headed to the hotel's restaurant for breakfast. Since it was fairly early, only a few tables were taken and the waitstaff told us to "sit anywhere you like". This was a buffet style establishment, so we placed our belongings (jacket, guidebook, etc) on the table/chairs and proceeded to get some food.

Along comes a tour group, and out of all the empty tables in the place, they decide they want OUR table. So their leader unceremoniously yanks my brother's jacket off his chair to move it to another table -- and my brother immediately confronts him in a civil manner asking why they are touching our stuff. Because the tourists don't speak
English, nor any other language my family members can communicate in, we had a very difficult and tense moment with the group refusing to choose another table.

Finally the waitstaff noticed the situation and attempt to clear things up.... unfortunately they had diffuculty communicating as well. The tourists insisted "Reserved! Reserved!" And the staff insisted "there's no reserved tables here... not our policy to reserve..." I know that if we hadn't been on vacation and it wasn't a dining establishment, I would have been right by my bro's side if he decided to "take it outside".

Fortunately these obstinate and rude people backed down and chose another table.

Jul 20, 2008
S U in Not About Food

BEST Chinese Restaurant in Oakland

although not "oakland", i've heard rumors that a former HKFL chef ended up in san leandro @ Prince Dim Sum. was there a few weeks ago, albeit for the weekend dim sum. they do have a dinner menu. can anyone verify re: the chef?

Apr 01, 2008
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Oakland: Richie's now a Vietnamese place

Just drove by this morning on my way to run errands. The spot that used to be Richie's (corner of International & 4th) around the block from Happy Valley, is no more. Its been replaced with a Vietnamese restaurant w/ a grand opening banner. Since I was driving by in my car, didn't have a chance to notice anything else. Does anyone know if they're already open for business, or if they are still doing minor remodeling?

Frankly, I'm glad Richie's is gone. The last time we were there, several years ago, each dish we ordered came out COLD, like straight from the fridge cold. Even the seafood soft tofu dish. That totally turned me off, and I couldn't set foot in that place ever again.

Apr 01, 2008
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Update in Oakland Chinatown

have been at both Gold Medal & Gum Kuo over the past few weeks. Congee is definitely better @ Gum Kuo (in the Plaza). The shrimp rice rolls are also best there. I think the quality of the rice roll itself @ this spot are better than most other places in general...

Apr 01, 2008
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Shan Dong (Oakland) Report

one of my favorite items there is the pancake stuffed w/ leeks (one diner @ a neighboring table once asked "what is that taco thing?)... esp. when its hot and fresh.

My aunt once tried to dissect the dish -- we couldn't figure out how they cooked the stuffing. Definitely not by scrambling the other ingredients into the egg prior to cooking... yet it also didn't appear that they scrambled the egg by itself and then mixing everything together. Maybe a rough chop after all the ingredients were cooked?? Anybody have some insight, since I'd like to try re-creating this at home.

Mar 06, 2008
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Jade Villa = Continental Buffet

Something I forgot to mention in my original post: although the quality was mediocre, I was surprised at some of the items. In the chilled foods / salad bar section, there were sliced pork ear, curry squid (not bad), baby scallops, and beef stomach (actually, not sure if its tripe... it was not the book tripe, but the other kind) among other things. I ended up creating my own version of "sampan juk" by tossing in the pork ear, tripe, scallops, etc. into the juk they served.

One warning: don't bother with the dessert section... absolutely horrid.

As to the folks in my party who are experienced asian buffet diners, they felt the price was actually pretty good in relation to some unexpected offerings. Selective diners can get away with getting their money's worth if they chose correctly (like leaving a plate full of little pads of sushi rice after enjoying the "sashimi", picking mainly seafood items, etc.) In fact, they are thinking of choosing this spot for our next family gathering; before it starts going downhill.

If you intend to try the place, go within the next few months; with the way things are going for chinese restos in the bay area (especially SF & Oakland Chinatowns proper) I'm not sure how long the decent offerings will take to degenerate into slop.

Feb 27, 2008
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Jade Villa = Continental Buffet

Jade Villa has become an asian buffet place. Continental Buffet had their grand opening on the 21st, so my curious family decided to check it out on Saturday for lunch. Due to an unchowish family member's obsession w/ such asian buffets, I think we have tried our share of these places in the bay area.

First off, the space was huge when it was a dim sum place. After the main dining area was replaced by the buffet bar, it looks much smaller. Ok, enough about the space & on to the food.

All I can say is, if you are in the mood for Great Wall or Genghis Khan or another one of the many buffet restaurants in the bay area with sushi stations and "mongolian" grill stations and you are in downtown Oakland and choose not to travel farther than 5 miles, then you are in luck.

The dim sum selection had maybe 6 or 8 dim sum items, such as har gow, siu mai, scallop gao, shrimp rice rolls, pei dan & pork juk (not sau yuk; looked more like ground pork) among other items. Metal steam baskets were stacked probably 4 levels high... unfortunately the heat did not make it all the way to the top level. I ended up grabbing stuff from the top baskets, leaving me with lukewarm food. The family member with extensive experience in buffets lifted the top baskets to get the food closest to the heat source which helped a bit. Sadly, the heat could not magically thin the har gow skins (yuck)... thickest har gow skinsI have ever tried.

I saw many items with shrimp... at least 12 items I think. Walnut prawns, shrimp stir fried w/ veggies, seafood stirfry which included shrimp, "italian" shrimp (which looked like shrimp stirfried w/ an "italian" sauce), shrimp in the chilled seafood section, bay shrimp in a number of other items. They even had stuffed shrimp, which were next to the stuffed button mushrooms (same stuffing for both items). 3 types of mussels: cheesy mussels (the baked mayo cream kind) as well as plain ones, and a 3rd mussel in the chilled seafood section.

There were 6 soups I think... wonton, "gizzard" chicken (which turned out to be black chicken w/ ginseng), hot & sour, oxtail, and some others which I fail to recall. The oxtail had not been simmered long enough -- meat was still tough and chewy. There were also a few dessert soups, like green bean.

The grill section did not have any wok hei; not even an iota... worst "mongolian" grill I've ever come across. Item choices were not very good -- not much selection. I didn't even bother to visit, but another member of our party did... she came back with unrecognizable bits of meat stirfried w/ low quality noodles, chewy squid, bland shrimp... u get the picture.

Sushi section: there were 2 "chefs" behind the counter... but I wouldn't call them sushi chefs. Watching them work made me want to run screaming to the nearest real sushi joint... or at least jump in behind the counter to show them a thing or 2. The pads of rice, as is common in buffet restos like this one, were refrigerator-cold and hard. Technique was non-existent. The only thing that verified this as "sushi" was the fact the sake (salmon) was of surprisingly decent sushi quality. Towards the end of our visit, our server mentioned to us their sushi is very fresh because they take daily morning deliveries of the sushi fish. The only downside I plan to point out to management: the sushi station is situated right next to the main doors of the establishment -- open doors and raw fish attracts more than humans; it also attracts flies during the summer months.

Bottom line: if I want dim sum, I will seek a better quality place. If I want sushi, I will seek a better place. If I just want to stuff my mouth and fill my stomach, but I don't care about quality and I can't decide what to eat, then I will go to Continental. For the price we paid, one time to try is ok, but I can't see myself going again at the same price.

Hrs: Mon-Sun 11a-10p (7 days)
Prices: Lunch Mon-Fri (11a-4p) $7.99; Dinner Mon-Thurs (4p-10p) $11.99
Lunch Sat & Sun (11a-4p) $9.99; Dinner Fri-Sun (4p-10p) $13.99

Discounts: Children 3-8 are 1/2 off; seniors 65 & over are 10% off

Feb 26, 2008
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Help -- good lunch spot in Alameda?

Speisekammer (German) on Lincoln & Park?

Feb 13, 2008
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

Cathay Pacific Airlines peanuts - where to buy?

Ok, call me crazy, but I've recently taken a trip on Cathay and became addicted to their peanut packets. Not too salty, dried not roasted, my perfect nut. Now where can I get the same exact kind? My post-trip stash has disappeared. I'm tempted to contact Cathay and put in an order...

I've done extensive unofficial taste tests with other peanuts bought in Chinatown... but have yet to find that perfect nut.

If it matters, I'm located in SF / Bay Area.

Jan 31, 2008
S U in General Topics

Ever eat a bug?

Wow, an amazing chow-versation here. I've wanted to try bug dishes whenever I come across them on a menu, or served from a street stall, etc. I'm not particularly grossed out, and I know some of them are quite delish.

HOWEVER, with that being said, every time I come across them, another part of my brain kicks in (my evil anti-chowish part) and reminds me there could be mercury, or bacteria, or parasites, or any number of other nasty things inside the insect in question. I have no wish for a bout of illness that could easily destroy the rest of my culinary adventures, so each and every time I have to pass.

Yes, a wuss, I know... but better safe than sorry. Maybe all these insect based dishes will be on my Bucket List.

Jan 31, 2008
S U in General Topics

Korean Food in Oakland

I was driving along Telegraph, I think around 40th, when I spotted a mini mall with Korean signage. Wondering if there's a restaurant or 2 there... has anyone been?

Jan 31, 2008
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

A Tale of Two Peking Duck Dinners

Tis the season of multiple celebratory meals with round after round of good food, good cheer, and good company. This past week, I found myself enjoying not one, but two peking (beijing) duck dinners in Oakland Chinatown....

First up to bat was Legendary Palace. A few years ago, this resto had the peking duck priced @ around $12... but the platter that came out didn't have much of the duck on it. Then they decided to price it around $25. Most of the folks I know who used to go often for the duck quit going when the price rose. But this week, for about $50 our table got the peking duck, as well as 4 other dishes from a set menu (actually there are several options to choose from for the 4 other dishes). The succulent duck came out in its most splendid form -- crackly glistening skin piled amidst freshly fried shrimp/lobster chips, with a separate platter of the meat. Our group ate to our heart's content and still had enough left over for another dinner per person.

A few days later, I ended up at Peony for their Thursday special -- peking duck for $12, steamed live fish for $10. The past few months, I've had a few opportunities to enjoy Peony's duck special, and each time the food hadn't disappointed. This time was different. The carver was either poorly trained or was not paying attention, because the hunks of skin which landed on the platter still had chunks of oily fat clinging to them. The crispness that should have been present was sadly lacking. The only redeeming moment that evening was the steamed fish -- although the fish itself was unusually small in size (4 of us inhaled 2 fishes and sucked the bones clean), the flavor and aroma definitely encouraged the act of inhaling the fish.

I'm wondering if other folks have had the opportunity to try one or the other peking duck specials... and what the general opinion is.

Dec 21, 2007
S U in San Francisco Bay Area

I Didn't Order That Insect

Bugs/objects in food used to gross me out in the restos... until I learned how to cook and began doing kitchen duty for myself. Now, if I see something in the food I will still often mention it to the server... but if its just a tiny aphid chances are I just pick it out, put it in my napkin discreetly, and continue with the enjoyment of my meal.

Oddly, the worst/most severe reaction I've ever had to foreign objects/ insects in my food occurred @ grandma's dining table. She cooked a batch of dim sum, including siu mai. She had purchased parsley for the siu mai in chinatown, and I thought she'd cleaned everything thoroughly. But a wayward green rubber band (that had held the bunch together) somehow ended up on the cutting board with the greens... since grandma didn't notice, we ended up with a batch of siu mai that was strangely rubbery and bitter. Because I've seen some of the yucky muddy rubber bands they use in chinatown groceries, it totally put me off and for months afterward every time I saw siu mai I would taste that strange bitter rubber.

Dec 13, 2007
S U in Features