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Which Berkeley Bowl is less annoying?

At their best dry farmed early girls are very sweet with a concentrated tomato flavor. They can be really good. Last batch I got at Berkely Bowl was meh though.

Aug 26, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Which Berkeley Bowl is less annoying?

Got some dry farmed early girls at Berkeley Bowl this weekend. These are usually stupendous but the ones I just got were surprisingly disappointing. I have gotten good dry farmed tomatoes this season at the Davis food coop.

Aug 24, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Brie: Cheese of the Month (November 2014)

We recently had one that some friends brought back from France. It was out of this world. More complex in flavor than most Bries you can buy in he US. The paste completely turned to liquid at room temperature. It had a strong complex umami savory flavor that veered into the washed rind realm. The mushroomy flavor which tends to dominate most Bries was more subdued and added to the complexity

Aug 15, 2015
Ridge in Cheese

Ran Kanom: cheap, excellent Thai in Ranch 99 mall [Richmond]

It looks like a different dish. I will try it if I see it.

Aug 12, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Ran Kanom: cheap, excellent Thai in Ranch 99 mall [Richmond]

We recently got take out from there and everything was fabulous. Yellow curry chicken was excellent and complex.

The fish ball curry- is this what you had? This is maybe my favorite thing she makes. It's the one Thai dish in the Bay Area that every time I eat it I feel like it was teleported from the streets of Bangkok. Intense, spicy, homey, rustic with herbal nuances. And it's very close to versions I have eaten in Thailand.

We love her spicy chili shrimp paste. Its incendiary. The way we serve it is to spoon it over Strauss Greek yogurt. Sounds weird but it's an absolutely amazing pairing.

Aug 11, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Bay Area bagels?

Tartine bread freezes well. We buy 4 loaves at a time, divide them into quarters, put the quarter loaves into large zip-lock bags and freeze them. Take one out the night before you want to eat it.

Aug 11, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Which Berkeley Bowl is less annoying?

Agree with everyone. West is the best. In addition to the great availability of parking I find the layout much easier to navigate and it's not as claustrophobic and the selection of stuff seems better. I love shopping there, they have great produce, seafood, coffee, cheese, Chocolate, olive oils and vinegars, everything. Only thing I haven't liked are the food concessions there which have seemed mediocre to me when I've tried them given the great ingredients at the market.

Aug 10, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Roast Duck: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2015

I think it's the same beans. To be honest I thought they were ok but the other people at the table loved them.

Aug 10, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Roast Duck: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2015

Yesterday went to Koi palace in Daly City. We tried their roasted duck. It was very good. The skin was nicely bronzed, soft and delicate not crispy. The meat was very tender, velvety, moist and succulent with a satisfying duck flavor. There was the perfect amount of fat between the skin and meat. Five spice powder flavor was subtle and enhanced the flavor. Served on top of small brown slightly sweet beans that complimented the duck.

Aug 09, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Roast Duck: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2015

Last night we had dinner at Kiraku in Berkeley. We noticed that they had roast duck Kiraku style on the menu and decided to try it. The duck was rare, thinly sliced and tender but with some chew. It had good duck flavor. My husband enjoyed it more than me. I thought it was good but I wasn't wild about the sauce which was Maggi sauce based (or perhaps just heavy on MSG) and weighed down the flavor of the duck. Everything else we ate at the dinner was outstanding and to me outshone the duck.

Din tai Fung comes to Bay Area

:)

Jul 15, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Top 5 restaurants in San Francisco...?

I am curious, if the food is better at one of the nice but not high end places- Rich Table or Bar Tartine for example, what's the appeal of going to a high end place other than optics?

Jul 13, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Fuse Box restaurant Oakland

Don't think I reported on it but we went for the first time a couple of months ago and really liked it. The fish stew special was one of the most memorable things I have eaten all year. Made with Salmon belly, monkfish and potatoes. Every bite was sheer perfection. The flavors melded in perfect harmony.

Jul 07, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Bar Tartine Fall 2014 [San Francisco]

I generally love BT but our last visit there 3 weeks or a month ago was not as good as previous visits. What I've come to realize over the years is that QC at so many restaurants is variable. So you can have a stupendous meal one time and next time it's just OK. Very few Bay Area restaurants where I have not experienced this.

About the BT desserts, except on our first visit there I have really enjoyed them but I am not a fan of overly sweet desserts and appreciate more restrained use of sugar.

Jun 25, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

First Timer Suggestions [San Francisco]

Kokkari makes good grilled whole fish and also octopus.

If you are in the mood for spicy crab Z&Y in Chinatown makes a good one.

I second the recommendation for Bar Tartine, the food is unique and rustic and mixes diverse influences, a welcome brake from typical Cal-French inspired food.

Jun 19, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

State Bird, Bar Tartine, A Cote, [something in Berkeley - any suggestions?]

Last time we went they had Hokkaido scallops. Best scallop sashimi I have tasted outside of Japan. I always feel like the sourcing of ingredients there is second to none.

Jun 19, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

State Bird, Bar Tartine, A Cote, [something in Berkeley - any suggestions?]

I like Iyasare but a much better option in Berkeley for Japanese is Kiraku. This is currently my favorite Bay Area restaurant. It's a fabulous place, a true east bay gem. The chef is creative, the ingredients are top quality and the QC is consistent (never had a less than stellar meal there). Attention to detail, ingredient sourcing and vibrancy of the food is better at Kiraku. I can't recommend this place enough. Iyasare is good, but Kiraku is a fantastic, you are guaranteed a memorable meal there.

Jun 19, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Authentic Chinese in Richmond, CA

I would rank Z&Y at the top of the places I have tried, but I have only been to the East Bay Sichuan restaurants since I don't get the chance to venture to the South Bay much. The best Sichuan restaurant I have ever been to was in Hong Kong but aside from that, Z&Y is tops for me and I consider it a step above any of the other Bay Area Sichuan places I have tried.

Jun 17, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Authentic Chinese in Richmond, CA

I would consider Z&Y great for Sichuan cuisine. It's pretty consistent. Jai Yun is relatively close to Chinatown? We walked from the Chinatown parking lot, it's just down the bloc.

Jun 17, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Bakeries/Patisseries for pastries/croissants in San Francisco

I actually find the sweet things hit or miss but usually more hit. For certain the various Rye + chocolate sweet things they make are my favorite sweet things there.

Jun 15, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Bakeries/Patisseries for pastries/croissants in San Francisco

The thing we do is divide a loaf into quarters and stick them in ziplock bags and stick them in the freezer. The night before we want to eat some we take a bag out and allow it to thaw overnight. Then we usually will slice it up and toast it, or sometimes we wrap it in foil and bake it at 350.

Jun 15, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Bakeries/Patisseries for pastries/croissants in San Francisco

OP- I just saw you mentioned you are not a big bread person. Give the Tartine bread a try, it might change your mind.

Jun 15, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Bakeries/Patisseries for pastries/croissants in San Francisco

Last time relatives were visiting they liked the bread at Tartine so much they bought a bunch of loaves to take back to the east coast. It freezes and reheats well. It's amazing with anything you put on it.

Jun 15, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Authentic Chinese in Richmond, CA

My recommendation is China Village in nearby Albany. Ancient Sichuan is also decent. Both are a slight notch below Z&Y in the city for most but not all dishes.

I used to go Asia Pearl quite often, almost every weekend for a while but the quality and QC has deteriorated the last couple years and I have not been in ages. The Sichuan Fusion restaurant in the Pacific East mall I have found more miss than hit.

Jun 13, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

superb restaurant near chinatown [San Francisco]

Z&Y

Jun 10, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Great restaurant recommendations -no foie gras on menu!

The mice fed Foie gras also had effects. Now the dose was huge, but so were the consequences. Difficult to say how it relates to human consumption. It's been eaten in France for a long time but I have concerns that operations that speed up and scale up production might increase these toxic proteins. In any case I will avoid it. Interesting that there is a study that shows negative effects of feeding mice this stuff and people who are apoplectic about eating GMOs (no evidence of harm from consumption) don't bat an eye.

Jun 03, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Great restaurant recommendations -no foie gras on menu!

There are reasons other than concern about the well being of ducks to avoid foie gras. For all intensive purposes the liver is diseased in these animals. From a health perspective it contains miss folded proteins whose health effects in humans are not defined. When you start to speed up and scale up the process for producing Foie gras I would bet it has more of these substances than the way it was made 50 years ago. Personally I love the taste of Foie gras but stopped eating it a while ago because it made my body feel physically unpleasant.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/...

Jun 03, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

We went to dinner @ Z&Y last night with relatives visiting from out of town. After the disappointing pot stickers at China Village, I was reluctant to order them in another Sichuan restaurant. But our Aunt wanted to order some and we saw some pass by that looked promising. They were pretty good! The wrappers were thin and crunchy with a satisfying bite. The filling was moist and flavorful. They were almost more like a fried dumpling than pot stickers. Not as good as better versions of the gingery ones we have had at Koi Palace but satisfying. The rest of the meal was excellent. Everything was spot on perfectly executed. The Dan Dan noodles were addicting. Better than versions I have had here in the past. The Ma Po tofu had the perfect amount of Sichuan pepper and also tasted like their was a touch of acid that livened it up and made the flavors pop. Better than the version we had last week at China Village. Cumin lamb was excellent, crispy cuminy with sweet onions.

May 24, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

Last night we went to China Village. I was anxious to try some pot stickers so against my better judgment and warnings of my husband we ordered pot stickers in a Sichuan restaurant. They looked promising and nicely seared on one side when they arrived. The wrapper was thick and gummy. The filling was bland, mushy and just wrong. They were served with a bland brownish dipping sauce that tasted oily watery and bland. I can say they were the worst thing I have eaten at China Village and the worst version of pot stickers I can remember eating in a long time. We didn't finish them. Luckily the rest of the dishes we had: Mapo tofu, General Zhang beef(!), wok charred kale, sesame flatbread were delicious.

May 17, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Cheese good for your heart?

People don't think of Cheese as health food but real cheese has qualities that are healthy:

1) probiotic- full of good bacteria. Shown to have health benefits including recent studies that they
improve your mood.

2) enzymes in some cheeses break down the fats. In goat and sheep cheese you have shorter chain fats. These MCTs (mid chain triglycerides) are also found in coconut oil and have health benefits.

3) low in carbs and makes you feel full.

That said cheese is best enjoyed in moderation. It also can have compounds like tyramine that can have negative effects on blood pressure (I feel weird and wired if I eat too much funky cheese)

May 13, 2015
Ridge in Cheese