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Any good cheap souvlaki in SF proper?

Haven't tried Simply Greek yet but will definitely check them out.

1 day ago
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Any good cheap souvlaki in SF proper?

There is also the complication of the most common form of gyro in the US. I am not certain but my impression is that the typical ground meat gyro common in the US is an American thing. I hate it. Too heavy and bland. In Greece gyro is similar to shawarma. I still remember a lamb gyro I had in Crete many years ago. Amazing.

2 days ago
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Any good cheap souvlaki in SF proper?

I have given up on good souvlaki in the Bay Area. If you find a good one please let us know.

The best ones I remember eating in Greece are not overflowing with meat but the meat that's there is very moist. The pita bread is thick puffy, naan like, but also has a slightly charred smokey exterior and is sometimes dusted with paprika. Should have tangy garlicky tzatziki, onions and tomatoes. Haven't eaten anything here that really captures the magic of good souvlaki.

Apr 18, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Chow Dim Sum at Saigon Seafood Harbor Richmond 4/5

We noticed the bad acoustics also. I forget how much the bill was but it ended up high because we were only two people and had the sticky rice lobster.

Apr 17, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Ran Kanom Thai Noodle - San Pablo

We have had an opportunity to try several of the new menu items:

F. Crispy Rice with Nam Sausage

This was excellent. Toothsome and crunchy bits of rice with flavorful sausage. Very satisfying.

32.Larb : Minced Chichen or Pork Salad (pictured)

We tried the Pork. One of the best versions of larb I can remember eating. It was perfectly spiced, perfectly seasoned and delicious.

Rice Porridge With Side Dish.

Basically what it sounds like. We tried the combination with 3 sides. The side dishes were good but I am not sure they all paired well with the rice porridge. Our favorite was the crispy gourami fish salad. It seems like a good idea but is not as successful to me as other items on the menu.

For dessert they had durian with sticky rice. (Pictured). I am not a durian fan and the last time I tried something with Durian in Thailand I had to spit it out. Still, curiosity got the better of me and I asked to taste the durian with sticky rice. It was phenomenal! You could definitely taste the durian, it was not hidden. But it was transformed into something else somehow. We order some and were amazed how much we liked it.

We are having a chowdown there on Friday night. Information is on the East bay chowdown site:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/e...

Apr 17, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Souvla, Spit Fired Meats [Hayes Valley, San Francisco]

Feta cheese doesn't belong in Souvlaki. Ever. Good souvlaki does not have a huge amount of meat but the meat it has should be moist and tender. Should have a good dose of tzatziki.

Apr 17, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Vallejo lunch recommendation?

Some of the taco trucks are not bad. There is one in the furniture store parking lot on Sonoma Blv. near the center with Raleys. There is an even better one downtown but in a very sketchy area.

Apr 16, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Chow Dim Sum at Saigon Seafood Harbor Richmond 4/5

We went this past Sunday. I wish we had gone to the chowdown. I don't think we ordered the right things and had a negative experience overall.

Here is what we ate:

We got three different steamed dumplings:

Crab Shu-Mai with quail egg. The crab flavor was overpowered by the taste of shrimp. The quail egg was unusual but didn't really add anything.

Shrimp and garlic dumpling. Filling was bland.

Cilantro and shrimp dumpling. The best of the 3. The filling tasted good.

One thing I noticed is that even though the dumplings were steamed they were heavy. I suspect maybe they had lots of fat and MSG.

Soy sauce thin noodles. Noodles overcooked and flabby. No wok char flavor at all.

Lobster with sticky rice. The sticky rice itself was delicious and redolent with ginger. But the lobster was way overcooked and rubbery. I almost sent it back. How was the lobster at the chowdown?

Apr 16, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Dosa Fillmore - First report! [San Francisco]

Last month we ate at Dosa on Fillmore and enjoyed it. Last Saturday we ate at Dosa on Valencia and had a really satisfying meal. The atmosphere at the two locations feels very different. I think I prefer the atmosphere of the Valencia location because it is smaller, quieter and more subdued. Here is what we consumed Saturday:

Cocktails:

The cocktails here remind me of the cocktails at Kin Khao.

I had the Mango is the new black. A spicy cocktail with Rye and mango juice. I loved it and had two. My husband had a special cocktail they were featuring made with scotch. He really enjoyed it.

Food:

Spicy mango chutney. This was excellent but the portion was unnecessarily puny for $5.

Mung bean salad. Light and flavorful. Excellent.

Habanero dosa. The server warned us that this was unbearably hot for most people. We told her bring it on. We had this dish here last year. Then it was blistering hot. But we loved it. This time it was spicy but much less so. Still very enjoyable. The dosa was very crispy. Of the dosas I have tried at Dosa, this is the most interesting and my favorite one. The truffle dosa, which I have had in the past sounds interesting but does not come off as successfully. I have never tried any of the mini dosas.

We finished with the chicken curry entree. Made with dark meat it was excellent and flavorful though the heat could have been turned up a notch for us.

Apr 09, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Cheese with crystals

Bay blue, which I tasted for this months COTM had crystals.

Apr 08, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

American Blue Cheeses -- Cheese(s) of the Month, April 2014

My husband and I did a blind tasting of 4 different US Blues yesterday:

Point Reyes raw milk blue
Point Reyes bay blue
Black river blue from Wisconsin
Salemville Amish blue from Pensilvania

Our favorite was the Bay Blue followed by the Point Reyes Blue, followed by the Amish blue. The black river was in distant last place.

Here are my tasting notes:

Salemville Amish blue: salami, salty, dry. I liked this one better than my husband who thought it was way too salty.

Bay Blue: nutty, creamy, sherry, crystals. We loved this one and thought it was the only one as good as the better French Blues we tried during the French blue COTM.

Black river blue: Not much blue cheese flavor at all, boring. Husband thought it tasted identical to Monterey Jack. mediocre.

Point Reyes Blue. Sharp, fruity, tingly on the tongue. In the past I had versions of this cheese that I didn't like because they were musty and reminded me of corked wine. But this one lacked any mustiness and was very enjoyable. We liked the Bay Blue better but would buy this cheese again.

We tasted the cheeses with Spanish Oleroso Sherry and it was an excellent pairing. I am looking forward to tasting more US Blues.

Apr 07, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

Chow Dim Sum at Saigon Seafood Harbor Richmond 4/5

Sorry I missed it, I have always wanted to try this place. How does Saigon Seafood harbor compare to the nearby Asia Pearl? We used to go there quite a bit but stopped going because it seemed to be getting more inconsistent and hit or miss.

Apr 07, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Carnitas - East Bay

I like the carnitas at Picante in Berkeley. We went there Thursday night for the first time in a while and they were great. They are not authentic Mexican carnitas though so they will not be like the ones Jesus made. The Picante ones are not as fatty as most versions of carnitas but they are incredibly moist and flavorful. I like them because they are a lighter style of carnitas and the flavor of the pork shines.

Apr 06, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

American Blue Cheeses -- Cheese(s) of the Month, April 2014

Interesting we both use velvety to describe it.

Apr 04, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

American Blue Cheeses -- Cheese(s) of the Month, April 2014

I just remembered I tried the Bay blue for the North American COTM and enjoyed it. Here is what I wrote:

Point Reyes Bay Blue. This was my favorite of the domestic blues I tasted this month. Velvety smooth paste with a small amount of crystals. Flavor is mellow. Blue cheese flavor is subtle and not overpowering. What sets it apart are complex buttery, caramelly layers of flavor.

Apr 04, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

American Blue Cheeses -- Cheese(s) of the Month, April 2014

Love blue cheese but have been a little disappointed in American blues, even the highly regarded ones. Seems like they are not as well rounded, balanced and interesting to me as European blues. Looking forward to digging in and seeing if I can change this perception.

Apr 04, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

China Village (Albany) is open!

We have gone back a few times and it continues to improve. We went with friends a little over a month ago and it was excellent. The numbing tendon was spot on as were most things. Our friends went back a couple of weeks later and said it wasn't as good. We went back Friday and had a good experience. Service is getting better though some of the new waitstaff still come across as uncomfortable to be there. We ate 3 dishes: numbing tendon, dry wok Sischuan fish, pea shoots. All were excellent and up to the level of pre-fire days.

Mar 31, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Ran Kanom Thai Noodle - San Pablo

We have been back a couple of times and it continues to improve. We went the weekend before last and the Khao soi was fabulous- even better than previous versions.

Mar 31, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Irish Cheeses - Cheese of the Month (March 2014)

My favorite Irish cheese so far has been the ARDRAHAN, which we also tasted during the washed rind COTM. Last week it was excellent, creamy, buttery with just the perfect amount of funk. It reminded me of good versions of Red Hawk.

Mar 31, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

Irish Cheeses - Cheese of the Month (March 2014)

I tried the cashel blue last weekend. Thought it was good but didn't like it as much as some of the French blues from last month. Probably would not buy it again.

Mar 31, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

Irish Cheeses - Cheese of the Month (March 2014)

Last weekend I tried the Kerrygold aged cheddar and the Dubliner. I thought both were good but there wasn't enough of a wow factor there for me to buy them again.

Mar 31, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

CHEESE OF THE MONTH (COTM) past months

Problem is that the links somehow got capitalized, i remember testing the links after I posted and they worked but don't now. I will start a new post to fix it.

Mar 30, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

CHEESE OF THE MONTH (COTM) past months

That's strange. I will look into it.

Mar 30, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

Is it true that SF restaurants barely make profits?

We had friends who opened a successful restaurant several years ago in SF. It was a smallish, well regarded, mid-range priced, neighborhood place with cuisine in the Chez Panisse vein. Before the last recession they were barely making a profit even though they worked like maniacs and their restaurant had a very good reputation. They had to deal with a greedy landlord, and a plethora of SF city ordinances and fees foisted on them by the board of supes. The recession hit them hard and put them in the red. Sadly they lost their business.

I marvel that any restaurants can survive in SF given the horror stories about greedy landlords I have heard (funny how the computer nerds get all the blame for high rents isn't it?) and the unfriendly business environment.

Mar 29, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Thoughts about dinner (not dimsum) at Koi Palace? [Daly City]

I have to prefice this by saying I have never been to Koi palace for dinner but go there regularly for dim sum. I don't expect the level of service one would expect at Chez Panisse. I have found the service efficient(usually) and what would would expect from a big Chinese Restaurant. I think comments about the ugliness of the mall are exagurated. The restaurant space itself is pleasant and I have never noticed any hygiene issues. I go because the dim sum rings more authentic to me than other Bay Area dim sum places. And I almost never agree with Bauer on anything so I am not surprised by his review.

Mar 26, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Weird food secrets

Matzah, cream cheese, peanut butter, dark chocolate.

Mar 21, 2014
Ridge in General Topics

Quintessential Bay Area in 4 Days

For inexpensive authentic organic Thai food in the East Bay:

Ran Kanom Thai noodles

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/968202

Mar 21, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Szechwan Peppercorns, recommend a reliable source?

I just got a huge batch from my friend. Fresh from Sichuan. Smells heavenly. Two different kinds, red and green. The two different kinds are harvested at slightly different stages of development and have slightly different aromatic profiles. Its more than I can use before it goes goes stale. If anyone wants some free of charge and can pick it up in Davis (where I work) or Calistoga (where my husband works) let me know.
Ridge_ridge@yahoo.com

Mar 20, 2014
Ridge in General Topics

Terra in St Helena - anyone been lately? recos?

I wanted to bump this up. We used to love Terra but have not been ages. I was just talking with a friend and we were trying to decide where to go for her birthday. She also used to love Terra but has not been in ages. We are thinking of going back. Any recent visits to Terra from Chowhounders???

Mar 17, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Lazy Bear res for January? [San Francisco]

We went to one last year and really enjoyed it. I was going to post about it on Chowhound but time got away from me. As others have mentioned the food is very innovative.

A couple of things:

our dinner went really late, later than we expected and we had to leave early to pick up our dog from the kennel. Plan on a late night (well past 11:00 PM).

At our dinner we were the only approaching 50s people there. The seating is communal. The crowd was mostly 20 something's which was interesting, but took some extra effort to find common ground in conversations if that makes any sense. We had a great time and really enjoyed who we were seated with though.

The food was very good mostly. The main thing I remember is the homemade butter which was the best I've ever tasted.

Mar 17, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area