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Nothing but Forgettable Fancy Tasting Menus at Bay Area French Influenced High End Restaurants - RANT

I agree that the Keller influence hasn't been good for Bay Area cuisine. While I enjoyed my one meal at FL, I haven't enjoyed any of the spin offs, including Benu which people here rave about. To me the overall influence of Keller is to make food that is incredibly rich but boring.

My last meal at Gary Danko put me to sleep. I much prefer restaurants like Bar Tartine where the food is vibrant and Chez Panisse, where French inspired food tastes real and not obliterated by butter and cream.

about 10 hours ago
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Is Philz Coffee That Good?

My answer to the original question is no.

about 10 hours ago
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

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

CHINESE HOT AND SOUR SOUP

about 17 hours ago
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Wise Sons or Millers East Coast Delicatessen for pastrami sandwich ?

Wise sons is the only pastrami I have tried that is similar to good authentic NY pastrami. It's very flavorful and moist. There is some batch to batch variation I have noticed but you can't beat it.

Anyone been to Pink Zebra (San Francisco)?

It seems pretty new. I have reservations for the weekend after and will report back.

Feb 25, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Authentic Yucatecan cuisine in Cozumel?

Any more suggestions?

Feb 21, 2015
Ridge in Mexico

Ran Kanom Thai Noodle - San Pablo

Just visited the location at the pacific east mall. Was hoping to see the owner but she wasn't there. One of the specials was grilled wild snapper topped with onions, peppers, some kind of white bean we could not identify. We tried it for lunch. The fish was very very fresh tasting. Toppings enhanced the flavor. If you are wondering how we enjoyed it you can look at the before and after pictures.

Feb 15, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Ran Kanom Thai Noodle - San Pablo

Very sad. There was not enough business in that location to sustain the restaurant. The owner is looking at other possible ventures. I would go on Wednesday but this is a crazy week (been a crazy year so far actually!) for me. Will be visiting the location in pacific east mall today.

Feb 15, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

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

Personally I don't put much faith in Yelp ratings, especially of Asian restaurants. They tend to penalize more authentic cuisine and elevate more dumbed down "Americanized" Asian food. This is certainly the case if you look at Yelp ratings in Davis where I work.

That being said, based on my one take out meal, I was impressed with Buddha Thai and I am extremely picky about Thai food. I will get more takeout in the future and report back. To be continued...

Feb 13, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Cheesemaking 101

Where was the course given? How much $?

Feb 11, 2015
Ridge in Cheese

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

It's near I-80 on my commute every weekday. I decided to get some takeout last Friday on my way home. The place was packed when I arrived at 5:30. I was very impressed with the quality of the dishes I ordered. I got this shrimp salad (rich in lemongrass and coconut), drunken noodles (very good) and green duck curry (curry was slightly sweeter than I tend to like but had good depth of flavor. Overall very good). I specified that we like spicy and the food was well spiced. Service was efficient and courteous. I am looking forward to trying other things on the menu.

Feb 11, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Crab cakes SFBA Dish of the Month Feb 2015

Last night we had dinner before a concert at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael. I am always impressed with the food here and last night was no exception. Excellent fresh well prepared food. They had two crab starters on the menu: crab cakes and crab toast. We got the crab cakes to taste for DOTM and the crab toasts to compare. Both were excellent. The crab toasts were a simple preparation- a generous serving of fresh crab (I think Dungeness but am not certain) on toast with avocado and aioli. The crab cakes had minimal filler ingredients and were very moist. I am often turned off by the texture of crab cakes which can be mushy and unpleasant. But the texture of these was perfect. The outside coating was crispy and not greasy. The cakes had a pronounced crab flavor and fresh lemony character. The crab cakes were toped with fresh slaw. Sometimes this can smother and overwhelm crab cakes but in this dish the slaw seemed perfectly balanced, contrasted and enhanced the flavor of the crab cakes. All in all these were the best crab cakes I remember eating in a long time.

Raw Milk in the East Bay.

You can get Claravale raw milk at the Natural Market in El Cerrito. Some places also have Organic Pastures raw milk but I don't like it as much. It's not as clean tasting, has been subject to recalls and at times has given me intestinal distress (though mild and of of course I can't prove it was the cause)

Anyway the Claravale milk is absolutely delicious. I believe El Cerrito market has both the raw cow and raw goat.

I have also been experimenting with making cheese-making this funky strong Greek cheese you can't find in the US. Mixed results so far. I made some batches last year and have been
wanting to start a new batch as soon as life allows me the time.

Feb 08, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Authentic Yucatecan cuisine in Cozumel?

Going to Cozumel in a couple of weeks for the first time in more than 10 years. I remember eating really vibrant Yucatan cuisine when I visited the Yucatan mainland back in the early 2000s. Is there a place on Cozumel that makes really good authentic Yucatan dishes? Or Yucatan inspired dishes?

Feb 07, 2015
Ridge in Mexico

Waitress at Elmwood Cafe Berkeley makes racist assumption

And not generalizing to anyone on this thread in particular. But I do see a knee jerk response by my fellow Caucasians to deny racism. Friends, family have said things to the effect "well maybe George Zimmerman was just defending himself. Not racist at all" me: "sigh". How much evidence of racism to we need before we acknowledge the possibility?

In this particular case, I think racism played a role in how the waitress perceived and made a snap judgment about Bell. I could be wrong. But to deny that this is a possibility? A river in Egypt.

Waitress at Elmwood Cafe Berkeley makes racist assumption

At some point you have to call things like you see them. And obviously we see things differently. You would call my point of view knee jerk.

My friend, knee jerk goes both ways. To me knee jerk is a river in Egypt. The Nile (denial), which too many people have of the real racism that is still stubbornly ingrained in our society.

Waitress at Elmwood Cafe Berkeley makes racist assumption

Seriously I think we should do it.

Feb 03, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Waitress at Elmwood Cafe Berkeley makes racist assumption

I admit i don't know with 100% certainty. I wasn't in the waitresses mind at that moment. All I know is that there isn't an epidemic of Caucasians being mistaken for bums in Berkeley and asked to leave restaurants. Bell is African American. Coincidence? I doubt it. Those of you who doubt that racism was involved need to open up your frigin eyes.

Waitress at Elmwood Cafe Berkeley makes racist assumption

Perhaps the waitress was in some kind of Candaceland: "oh black person-must be street person pestering patrons". But Bell is living in the realworld where it's not acceptable to assume someone is a pestering street person because of their race.

Waitress at Elmwood Cafe Berkeley makes racist assumption

The Toni and Candace analogy fails. Bell is not being overly sensitive. He has every right to be furious. These kinds of incidents chip away at the dignity of African Americans and have long tern negative effects. It's just bad bad bad.

People are annoyed that the waitress lost her job. What if she had poured water over someone's head? Should she have been fired then? This is the psychological equivalent. Had she been doing her job correctly she would have gone out and evaluated the situation before assuming: "oh black street person annoying customers".

Waitress at Elmwood Cafe Berkeley makes racist assumption

Actually what is more tiring is when people have their dignity taken away by ignorant words and actions. What is tiring here is what happened to Bell.

Upscale ethnic dinner in the East Bay for Valentine's day

Kiraku

Feb 02, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

More and More Pop-ups on Chowhounds site...

It's very annoying. They hijack you and you can't get back to what you were reading. They take you to the iTunes Store to buy their stupid f*ckin apps. It sucks.

Feb 02, 2015
Ridge in Site Talk

Waitress at Elmwood Cafe Berkeley makes racist assumption

It's too bad that she lost her job but she messed up. Forgetting about the whole racism angle, the fact is she was extremely rude to a paying customer. If you mess up on the job you risk losing it. Hopefully she learned a lesson that will help her grow and be better at dealing with customers.

Waitress at Elmwood Cafe Berkeley makes racist assumption

The Selma analogy does put into context both how far we have come and how long we have to go. In Selma the racism and discrimination would have been overt. In a Berkley 2015 it's not overt. The waitress was rude to him not because he was black but because she assumed he was a street person. Her assumption was likely racist. I googled pictures of him and he does not scream "street person" to me. Why did she just assume he was? Do people really think race played no part in her assumption? I doubt she would have done the same if he was a white or Asian guy. I could be wrong but I don't think so. Berkeley 2015 is better than Selma by a lot, but we still got a long way to go until people shed their preconceived assumptions of people based on the color if their skin.

Waitress at Elmwood Cafe Berkeley makes racist assumption

If you had to bet $1 million bucks do you really think this would happened if the guy was white?

Waitress at Elmwood Cafe Berkeley makes racist assumption

Pretty much everyone in Berkeley dresses very casually though. Am I wrong? Casual dress does not a street person make. When I was working in Berkeley I often saw this street person who dressed in suit. Quite a character.

I don't think the way Bell was dressed had anything to do with it. Had he been a similarly dressed down white guy I seriously doubt he would have gotten the same rude treatment from the waitress. Yes, we are a long way from Selma, but we still got a long way to go.

Waitress at Elmwood Cafe Berkeley makes racist assumption

If I were to bet money, I would bet that this would not have happened if this was a similarly dressed caucasian (or Asian) guy. No way. Even if dressed like a shlub. I feel bad for the waitress, but I am in favor of zero tolerance for racism and bigotry.

Goat Cuisine in the Bay Area

Goat Masala is one the February monthly specials at Ajanta. Interesting that in the description goat meat is characterized as strongly flavored. I think this is a big misconception, I have always found goat to be milder in flavor than lamb. Below is the description if the monthly special at Ajanta. We tried it the last time they featured it and if I remember correctly it was excellent. We will try it again this month and I will report back on it:

"Goat Masala: We rarely feature goat dishes on our menu because I am under the impression that Americans do not like strong flavor of goat meat. We featured this dish about two years ago. It was not very popular, although the customers who tried it really liked it. So, I decided to feature it one more time. Boneless goat pieces are braised in a sauce made with onions, ginger, yogurt, lemon juice, and spices. The spices consist of cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, ajwain, turmeric, chile flakes, paprika, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. The thick, spicy sauce compliments the strong-flavored goat meat in a very nice way. I love this dish and I am hoping it will be received nicely. If you try out this dish, please give us your feedback."

Feb 02, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Kouzina Greek Street Food, Montclair (Oakland)

Definitely need more Greek places. Greek cuisine has lots of delicious and healthy vegetarian dishes you rarely see outside of Greece. Things like Fava dip (a dip made of yellow split peas and onion), gigantes beans with tomato, cold spinach and rice. And when I have visited there we usually eat tapas style. It would be nice to have a place that is more than gyro and souvlaki and showcases other aspects of Greek cuisine.

Jan 31, 2015
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area