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Ridge's Profile

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Avant garde, modernist, quirky recs?

I second Bar Tartine. Unique combinations of influences (Hungarian, Greek, Japanese, Scandinavian, Italian) blend with unique combinations of spices and fresh herbs brought together using unique and complicated food preparations and excellent quality ingredients.

If you should find yourself in the Far East Bay check out Michael Warring in Vallejo:

http://michaelwarring.smallfolio.com

Jan 23, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Query - Quick SF visit for the end of January, 2015

Lately the lines at Tartine have been insane when I've gone. But it's worth it depending on what you get.

The farmers market in the Ferry building is fun. I suggest having lunch there. In the Ferry building we really like Cane Rosso for lunch:

http://canerossosf.com

Another option is Wise and sons who have a stand at the farmers market now. They make the best pastrami I have had in the Bay Area, though it varies from batch to batch.

Jan 21, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Frozen organic Thai coconut water in Bay Area?

There is a brand of frozen coconut water that you used to be able to get in the Bay Area at the El Cerrito natural food market and whole foods. There seems to be a shortage of it the past few months. Has anyone seen it around or know anything more? The El Cerrito market keeps saying "it will be here next week".

Jan 21, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Appeals court deals blow to Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

Not an a association or activist. Apology accepted!

Jan 20, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Appeals court deals blow to Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

I wonder if it's necessary to attack someone so harshly for stating an opinion, even if you think they are harebrained. This kind of negativity is sad and one reason some people (I know one long time poster who no longer posts because she is got fed up with the negativity) have stopped posting here. Is it that important to put someone down?

Appeals court deals blow to Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

Glad to oblige

Jan 20, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Appeals court deals blow to Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

The bigger issue for me is the heavy handed restrictions imposed by well meaning environmentalists on coastal use (and other things) in the Bay Area. For example the GGNRA controversial dog access proposals.

Was the oyster farm really so environmentally unsound? I am not convinced. Will they ban humans from the area next? It's near the Estero trail which is a really cool hike. I haven't done the hike in ages but remember lots of cows. Are they being prohibited from grazing in the area also?

Appeals court deals blow to Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

Jan 19, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Bar Tartine, Nick Balla era [San Francisco]

Bar Tartine is my favorite upscale restaurant in SF. The food is not for more conservative palates who expect that upscale cuisine should fall within certain French and fusion inspired confines. BT is creative and different; cooking techniques, unique ingredients, spices and fresh herbs meld in creative ways not appreciated by everyone.

Here is my last review of a recent meal:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/995009

Jan 10, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

New Malaysian in Oakland Chinatown

We went to Chilli Padi Malaysian last night. We have never been to Malaysia but have been on extended layovers in Singapore and really loved the street food. We really enjoyed Chilli Padi. The service was good even though the place being very bustling.

This is what we ate:

Roti canai. We had to try this because it is dish of the month. I remember having it in Singapore although it was one of the dishes that sticks in my memory the least. This was a very good version. Non greasy and the dipping sauce was tasty (they brought us seconds of the dipping sauce). Though enjoyable I am not as wowed by Roti canai as others here are.

char kway teow. This was phenomenal. Perfectly cooked rice noodles, very tender fresh tasting squid and shrimp, great wok char. It's just a simple noodle dish but wow, it came together perfectly and was one of the best things I have eaten in recent memory. Noodle perfection.

Laksa mee. In Singapore we had Laksa Katong which is similar but made with shrimp. I thought the version at Chilli Padi was very good. Very well balanced and flavorful.

After reading hyperbowlers description we tried the BBQ fish. One of the best things I have ever eaten in my life was Sambal Skatewing in Singapore. While not at the same level the BBQ mackerel was excellent and I highly recommend it.

We loved this place and will be back.

Jan 10, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Any recipes for making hard chhurpi (rock hard Himalayan cheese)?

Interesting! My dog LOVES these but started bitting of and swallowing large chunks which he would subsequently vomit up so I had to stop giving them to him. I always wondered how they were made.

Jan 03, 2015
Ridge in Cheese

best dim sum Bay Area, late 2014?

I am not a fan of Saigon or Daimo. My one dim sum meal at Saigon was very disappointing. It's really pretty mediocre quality dim sum. Have not been to Daimo for dim sum but my dinners there have been meh. Asia pearl in the same mall used to be good but our last dim sum meals there were very hit or miss. We haven't been back in ages and make the extra trek to Koi Palace for Dim Sum.

Dec 29, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

SFBA Dish of the Month (Jan 2015) - Nominations/Voting

Sounds good but expanding to lamb curry might ensure more participation?

Dec 29, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Helping a sweet tooth discover the Bay Area... (Oakland/ Berkeley/ SF)

Also in SF Poco Dolce chocolates are fantastic. Can get them in several stores in the Ferry building and they have a store in Dogpatch.

Dec 24, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Helping a sweet tooth discover the Bay Area... (Oakland/ Berkeley/ SF)

At Tartine I recommend getting the chocolate rye squares or chocolate rye cookies if they have them

Dec 24, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Craving Morning Glory

Ran Kanom, the excellent organic Thai take out place in 99 Ranch in Richmond makes an amazing morning glory and pork belly curry.

Dec 21, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Bar Tartine, Nick Balla era [San Francisco]

The bread is so damn good. We waited an hour at their Bakery yesterday to get a few loaves.

We had some of the same things you had on our last visit. The tartare with oat porridge bread and tonnato sauce is one of my best bites of 2014.

Dec 21, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Cheese Board

I don't have an answer really. I am also disappointed with the lack of participation.

Here are some thoughts:

There is more participation in internet discussion groups on controversial and heated topics. There are studies that show that dopamine is released when people post and read responses on controversial things. So it gives people a high of sorts. On the cheeseboard a recent discussion on FDA rules drew much participation and I lamented in a post "where were all you people when we were doing COTM?".

The idea of COTM is good in theory but hampered by the abysmal way cheese is labeled. It's not like wine where you always know the winery where the wine is produced. Most markets have minimal labeling on Cheese. "Brie" or "Bulgarian feta". This makes it hard to compare cheeses because there are so many different producers of Bulgarian feta. In our Brie COTM for example I saw a cheese labeled as Brie Fermier and thought Fermier was the producer. Fermier actually just means farmhouse and there are many different producers. I tried two different Brie Fermier cheeses and they could not have been more different. Another thing: Batch to batch variability and the way cheeses are stored can also make cheeses from the same producer different. All these things make comparing cheeses on COTM more complicated than one would expect. On COTM people may think they are eating the same cheese but they are eating something different. And that takes the value away from the discussion.

Dec 21, 2014
Ridge in Site Talk
2

Crab season is upon us

It can vary depending on what the crabs are eating. Toxins can also concentrate in the crab fat so if it tastes too strong or has off flavors I wouldn't eat it.

Having said that it is pretty strong stuff and not for everyone. I love it but my husband, a very adventurous eater, hates it. Adding a good squeeze of lemon juice and a small drizzle of good quality olive oil will help balance and elevate the flavors.

Dec 20, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Palm Springs Splurge Meal

Very interesting. After reading your post I wish we had ordered differently. We will have to go back again next time we are there.

Dec 18, 2014
Ridge in California

China Village (Albany) is open!

The beef with golden broth was very different. We wouldn't have ordered it except it was recommended by our favorite waiter there who knows what we like and steers us to good things. The beef was thinly cut and very tender. In addition to beef there were big pieces of chewy mushrooms which we think were abalone mushrooms. The contrast between the texture of the beef and mushrooms was satisfying. The beef and mushrooms were in a peppery soupy broth. The broth was rich and savory with flavors of onion, mushroom and green bell pepper.

2014 Top Ten Tastes

Marshmallow dessert. Michael Warring: captured the best aspects of marshmallows toasted by the campfire.

tagliatelle with pork belly and black truffle. Michael Warring. truffle flavor was seamlessly integrated and perfectly complimented the rich umami flavors from the pork.

Porcini donuts. Rich table. Savory donuts laced with porcini and served with creamy raclette cheese.

Mango is the new black. Dosa. spicy cocktail with Rye and mango juice.

scharfe maxx Swiss cheese. Cheeseboard. powerful full flavored unctuous funky chee.

Pork with hot pepper burger. Terra cotta warrior. pork contrasted nicely with the sharp spicy jalapeños.

Yaki Omusubi. Yuzuki Japanese Eatery. Rice triangles topped with Uni. We almost ordered a second helping.

Beef tartare on oat toast with tonnato sauce and bottarga. Bar Tartine. The tonnato sauce was very impactful and the combination with the creamy beef was ethereal.

beef noodle soup. Dragon Gate. Delicious homey comforting.

Green curry rabbit. Kin Khao. Fantastic curry with great rabbit meatballs.

MaLa crab at China village. Rich, delicious spicy.

Various curries at Ajanta on Berkeley.

Sushi at Sushi Sho.

Coffee made at home with beans from Temple coffee and Old Soul coffee both in Sacramento.

Dec 17, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

China Village (Albany) is open!

Wanted to mention that we went a few weeks ago and had a delicious meal. Seemed back to the pre fire standards. Loved the MaLa tofu with crab and also Beef with golden broth , a new dish was excellent.

Palm Springs Splurge Meal

We tried Johanne's last night. It was very good overall; but I liked Tintos better. We decided to order a bunch of appetizers and share them rather than ordering main courses. The pacing of bringing out dishes and drinks was a bit off. The dishes were all brought out all at once before the wine we ordered. We really enjoyed the seafood appetizers and there was an interesting meatball curry we tried as well. Sadly the spetzle dish was cold by the time we got to it.

While we were in Palm Springs we also enjoyed date shakes in the dessert and had very good and inexpensive Goat burritos at Talaqepaque.

Dec 17, 2014
Ridge in California

Crab season is upon us

Some friends invited us for dinner to The Thomas at fagianis, a restaurant in downtown Napa. The menu was very beef centered and the only main course that appealed to me was one of the specials, dungeness pot pie. In theory I thought this could be an interesting lobster newberg like dish. It was just ok. It was one of the heavier dishes I have eaten in a long time. The portion was very large and the dough was very thick. Several of us got this and none of us came close to finishing it. The inside was chowder like and buttery with a pleasant enough taste. The only vegetables seemed to be potatoes, it may have benefited with more vegetables and a squeeze of lemon to cut through the richness. But the biggest problem with the dish was the minuscule amount of dungeness, especially given the $30 price of this dish. Sad because I think done correctly with more crab and more balance it could be a dish that showcases the crab rather than hiding it. The weakest of the crab dishes I have tried this season.

Dec 17, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Palm Springs Splurge Meal

We are on a short stay in Palm Springs from the Bay Area. We loved Tinto. We enjoyed our first meal there so much we went back the following evening.

It's pricy but worth the splurge. The service was excellent, the setting is nice, the cocktails are great. Good selection of Spanish wines by the glass AND for dessert Pedro Ximinez sherry by the glass.

The food is hearty full flavored basque tapas. We enjoyed everything we ate. We especially liked the octopus which was extremely tender, sliced into rings and dusted with paprika. The padron peppers, lamb meatballs and grilled chorizo sausage also delicious.

We were too full for dessert but a glass of unctuous Pedro Ximenez sherry was a great way to end the meal.

Dec 16, 2014
Ridge in California

Crab season is upon us

In the past couple of weeks I have had 4 Dunganess crab dishes at different restaurants in the Bay Area.

Dunganess congee at Koi palace. Good but not as complex and interesting as some of the other congees we have tried here.

Dunganess tacos from C CSSA in Oxbow market In Napa. The tacos were good, with fresh tasting crab and excellent quality ingredients, but the crab didn't stand up as well as other taco choices to the cabbage and other accompaniments. Good but not as successful as their other choices.

MaLa tofu with Crab at China Village in Albany. This used to be called MaPo Tofu with Crab. This used to be one of our favorites dishes at CV. We were disappointed in versions we tried after the restaurant reopened after their fire. We hadn't been to CV probably in about 6 months or longer. I am happy to report the MaLa tofu with Crab we had last Friday was outstanding, reminiscent of the good versions we had at CV in pre-fire days. The crab itself was delicious and very fresh tasting. It paired perfectly with the creamy tofu. This dish has bold and complex layers of flavors-hot, numbing, black bean. The crab works like an added flavor element that elevates the dish to spectacular new heights. I think we will be returning to CV to have this again soon.

Sunomono. Dunganess and seaweed salad at Yuzuki japanese eatery. Served in a savory broth with Chrysanthemum flowers. This was excellent. The flavor of the fresh crab was elevated by the subtle seasonings of the dish.

Yuzuki Japanese Eatery (Mission District, San Francisco)

We went Saturday night and really enjoyed it. it's somewhat similar to Kiraku in Berkeley but less experimental. Compared to other Japanese restaurants we like (most of them are in the East bay) I would rate it at the same level as Kiraku(though we haven't been in ages), slightly above Ippuku and above Iyasare.

The service was excellent and the atmosphere very conducive to a relaxing and enjoyable experience. They have a good Sake list.

This is what we ate:

The homemade Tofu starter. This was very good but not as sublime as the version at Kiraku.

Sunomono. Dunganess and seaweed salad. Served in a savory broth with Chrysanthemum flowers. This was excellent. The flavor of the fresh crab was elevated by the subtle seasonings of the dish.

Big eye tuna sashimi special- I thought it was excellent, very fresh tasting. Husband thought it was good but didn't like it as much as me.

A hamachi kama like dish that was one of the specials. Excellent.

Lotus root dumpling special - very interesting

Burdock root and fish dumpling. Very rich umami fish dumpling on top of burdock root. Interesting textures and flavors.

Yaki Omusubi- this was our favorite dish of the dinner. Rice triangles topped with Uni. We almost ordered a second helping.

SF Trip: Nice East Asian Restaurant Suggestions?

We tried Yuzuki last night and LOVED it. Thanks Melanie.

Dec 07, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

SF Trip: Nice East Asian Restaurant Suggestions?

I have not been in a few months, but if you find yourself back in Berkeley Kiraku is very good Izakaya:

http://www.kirakuberkeley.com/

Dec 01, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area