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Thanksgiving late night on Maui

Great post Kathryn!

I called the ABC in Ka'anapali Whaler's Village as well and they confirmed they are open til 11. We'll probably just go there to grab some very basic stuff. Hopefully we won't hit any huge delays. The delivery service is a great idea but we aren't going to have a kitchen so I would worry about perishable goods waiting for us to arrive at the hotel (The $35 delivery charge is also kind of expensive for the small order we would be making).

Never been to Zippy's - looks decent. Any opinions on what to order? Anything else likely to be open late on Thanksgiving? We might just do room service, if I can confirm with the hotel they will actually be serving late.

Mahalo to everyone for the quick replies. Star Noodle is definitely on the agenda at some point during the weekend. We did Merriman's for dinner last time we were in Kapalua. Loved it but we might try something different this time. Thinking Gerard's in Lahaina at the moment which is an old favorite we haven't visited in a few years, but open to other suggestions. Duke's looks like a fun place to try as well and it's been a long time since we've visited that north side of Ka'anapali - will definitely check it out for lunch and/or happy hour.

Nov 21, 2014
Truffle Dog in Hawaii

Thanksgiving late night on Maui

Landing at Kahului at 7:30 at night on Thanksgiving. By the time we get our bags and rental car and get off the airport it will probably be 9pm. After that we will be headed to Ka'anapali. On the way, we will need to stop for some basic food (at a minimum, we need to get milk for our daughter, but it would be great to be able to get some simple snacks and drinks as well) - are there any supermarkets either in Kahului, Lahaina, or on the way that are open late 365 days a year? Also, we'll be hungry and looking for some passable take out food that is open late on Thanksgiving as well, if there is anything that's open. Any ideas?

Thank you hounds!

Nov 21, 2014
Truffle Dog in Hawaii

Never have I been so baffled: Mama's House of Horrors

I was a little bit confused by the original post's commentary about the menu.

When you said "over the course of 4 months the menu remained the same" are you just talking about the online menu? Because if so, that menu is obviously just a sample - it doesn't reflect whether the actual printed menu has changed or not.

If you are saying that the printed menu you got was identical to the never-changing online menu, that does seem a little weird. That is not consistent with my experience at Mama's; in my experience, while the presentations at Mama's only change rarely, the actual fish offered has been different every time, as far as I can recall.

I do think Mama's gets somewhat more polarized reviews than most restaurants on chowhound. We love it, but not everyone does. I do think that a late lunch or early dinner is the best way to experience, but can certainly appreciate being frustrated by "incredibly overcooked" fish whether the view was nice or not.

Sep 19, 2014
Truffle Dog in Hawaii

La Farine Solano Avenue has closed

Apologies if there is already a thread on this and I missed it.

Apparently they had a dispute with the owner of the building.

They say they are going to try to relocate elsewhere on Solano. The owner is also “actively recruiting for another high-end bakery to take its place as soon as possible.”

Healthy Vegan Substitute For Coconut Oil

Most vegetable oils are primarily unsaturated and liquid at room temperature. For baking, if a recipe calls for coconut oil it is likely because the solid fat is needed for a crumbly texture or a light, delicate crumb. You can certainly try neutral liquid vegetable oils and in some cases they may be a fine substitute, but I would expect you would not be able to achieve the correct texture in many recipes.

Other vegetable fats that are solid at room temperature that I know of are palm oil and cocoa butter.

Zagat 2013 Restaurants Top 10 Oahu and top 5 Maui

Just made a reservation for dinner tonight at i'o based on your recommendation Hunt.

Don't let me down on this one.

Dec 05, 2013
Truffle Dog in Hawaii

K2 Restaurant Group - ruined restaurants in Berkeley?

They were a minor partner in both Cesars for awhile.

K2 Restaurant Group - ruined restaurants in Berkeley?

K2 actually did not purchase or takeover any of the restaurants in the original post. They created all of those restaurants, as well as Paisan, Jimmy Bean's, and TRex (I think some branches of Jimmy Beans and TRex have since been sold off).

As far as quality, I haven't really been enough recently to say. We had a really nice meal at Lalimes a few years ago, shortly after George Morrone left. This was summer 2010 and I thought that incarnation (post-Morrone) was the best it had been in several years, they seemed to have hit the right mix of the Steve Jaramillo favorites and more focused G. Morrone menu. But that was two years ago and I couldn't say if they've kept it up.

Zagat 2013 Restaurants Top 10 Oahu and top 5 Maui

A single Michelin star denotes "a very good restaurant in its category, offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard." Mama's certainly fits that description.

Feb 19, 2013
Truffle Dog in Hawaii

Cowgirl Creamery Cheese

I generally agree that the retailer was likely at fault and with the commentary that it relates to how the cheese is stored and aged and the saran wrap was probably the issue. I personally will only buy Redhawk directly from Cowgirl as I've found that secondary retailers are very inconsistent in how they store/age the cheese and am often disappointed in rounds bought elsewhere.

With that said, it would have been a nice gesture on Cowgirl's part to offer some kind of restitution in this situation.

Big informal brunch TOMORROW between San Rafael and Petaluma

Sorry, hounds, that I never returned to this thread to make a report! We ended up doing the brunch Hilltop 1892. This was a great choice - the food was very good and the staff were extremely accommodating of the somewhat difficult parameters we imposed. They were able to give us basically a private room with beautiful views and everyone enjoyed their brunch and had a great time.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend it for big group brunch - nice venue, helpful staff, and good food.

Thanks to everyone that replied and sorry I forgot to report back at the time - you guys definitely saved my bacon on this!

Zagat 2013 Restaurants Top 10 Oahu and top 5 Maui

Good to see Gerard's getting some respect. I agree that it does seem to be overlooked by Chowhound. We just returned from a trip to Kaanapali, and we weren't able to find anything outstanding that we hadn't tried before, but did manage to have a dinner at Gerard's and a lunch at Mama's Fish House which were both excellent as usual.

One of these days I would really like to try HGS but we never seem to get over to that side of the island more than once during any trip, which forces a choices between HGS and Mama's.

Jan 17, 2013
Truffle Dog in Hawaii

Maui - walking from Four Seasons

It's been almost five years since we've been to Wailea, but we really liked the Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar at the Wailea shops. Good place for apps and drinks.

Jan 17, 2013
Truffle Dog in Hawaii

How's the pizza at Benchmark Pizzeria? (Kensington)

I've been getting take out here once every couple weeks since they opened. I think the pizzas are wonderful. I don't know a ton about pizza but the style seems to be pretty close to classic neopolitan - very thinly rolled crust puffed up in an extremely hot oven, and judicious use of toppings. I think there is a sourdough element to the crust - it has a wonderful complex bready flavor which tastes like a mild sourdough to me, and it has a nice char on it as well.

The toppings are excellent across the board.

I usually order the calzone because I like to do takeout and find that the calzone holds up better than the pizzas. I also think the calzones are a little bit bigger which makes them a better value for the money.

In general, the pizzas while very good are pretty expensive - 13 to 15 dollars for what is basically a personal pie. I think the value is absolutely fair given the quality of the pizzas but they are certainly at the more expensive end of the pizza spectrum.

Big informal brunch TOMORROW between San Rafael and Petaluma

I have been asked to arrange a brunch venue for tomorrow morning for a large party (20-40 people), potentially up to 40 people. Ideal would be a venue that was big enough to accommodate a party potentially that large without booking something in advance, because we have no idea how many people are actually going to show up. We are looking somewhere along the 101 corridor as far south as San Rafael or as far north as Petaluma. I realize this is sort of a tall order but if anyone has an idea for something that might work I'd really appreciate it. Basically we are looking for a gigantic restaurant that serves brunch. Alternatively, something super informal where we people can drop in. Thanks hounds!

What Bay Area French restaurant is comparable to this D.C. restaurant, please?

Yeah, I am a pretty big francophile when it comes to food (love Chapeau, Cafe Claude, and Nizza la Bella) and I have never had a meal I liked at Liasion. The last two times I was there (admittedly, a few years ago) I had the Salade Niciose and the Steak Frites and both were disappointing, as was the tarte tatin.

What do I do with the olive oil in canned tuna?

I don't eat a lot of canned Tuna, but when I do I prefer oil packed. I would use the oil to make a home-made mayo for use in tuna salad. You could also use this mayo to bind fish cakes made from canned tuna, or from some other fish for that matter. A few other ideas:
Use it as the base for the dressing in a niçoise salad.
Use it to prep Tuna steaks for searing so you get a sear on the outside faster without cooking the middle.
Use it to fry fish in for fried fish (I have no idea if this will work - the oil might have too low of a smoke point or might taste funny)
Use it as a base for pesto and use the pesto as a garnish for tuna steaks

Jun 22, 2012
Truffle Dog in Home Cooking

Inexpensive rehearsal dinner option--Oakland?

Not sure exactly what you mean by "inexpensive," but some good friends had a rehearsal dinner at Lake Chalet, which they reported was an excellent value (I personally have no idea what they paid). The food and setting are very nice.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes?

Thank you! Great tip

Chocolate Chip Pancakes?

ISO Chocolate Chip pancakes. I am particularly looking for a place in the east bay, particularly the Oakland-Berkeley-Emeryville-Albany-El Cerrito area, but it would be good to know about options in SF and further afield as well.

The closest thing I have been able to find by searching Chowhound is white chocolate chip pancakes at Cafe Durant but that doesn't really get it done. Looking for the Real McCoy.

Hounds, please tell me there is something better than IHOP or Denny's out there.

Thanks for your help

531 Foster City Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404

Cafe Durant
2517 Durant Ave Ste B, Berkeley, CA 94704

Our Anniversary -- Union Square Area and Not the Cheesecake Factory :)

I don't think it's half a chicken. I believe you get a whole (small) chicken cut up into pieces for $48. It's definitely designed to be eaten by two people.

Also please note that while I think your choice of House of Prime Rib is a good one it would be a mistake to dismiss Zuni solely because you are put off by the price of the chicken dish. The rest of the Zuni menu is excellent and there are plenty of main course options that use premium ingredients like steak or squab.

Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

House of Prime Rib
1906 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94109

Our Anniversary -- Union Square Area and Not the Cheesecake Factory :)

For what it's worth, when I read the original post, House of Prime Rib was the first place I thought of. I think it would be a perfect choice for the big dinner. The prime rib is excellent, it's a fun destination-y place, and the portions are certainly large. The sides and salad and style of the restaurant are a little bit dated but overall it's a nice place and the prime rib is as I said outstanding. You can also take the California Street Cable Car line to get there which might be fun for you.

Newstarr - I think you may actually have seen the place on the Travel Channel, Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" San Francisco episode. It may have been featured on Food Network as well, but I have a specific recollection of that Bourdain show because I remember thinking "it's nice to see HOPR getting some recognition."

Be careful not to overeat at lunch. The portions at HOPR are in fact really big. I think this new plan (a snacky lunch in Hayes Valley) is better than doing Dim Sum and then HOPR. I don't know about you but I am never up for a big dinner after a Dim Sum brunch.

Lastly unless HOPR has raised its prices considerably since I was last there (which is about 2 years) the cost of a meal for one is not $48. More like $38 if I recall correctly, which includes salad and sides.

House of Prime Rib
1906 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94109

What's good at Hangar One these days?

The Absinthe is pretty good but Absinthe is sort of esoteric and not everyone likes it so I would be sure it is something the would enjoy or I would hedge my bets by getting something else as well.

I think the Mandarin Blossom Vodka is probably the most universally liked of all the flavored vodkas. It's a little sweet but drier than typical orange flavored vodkas and it has a wonderfully complex, floral aroma. The Buddha's hand is also very nice but some people find it too tart.

The raspberry is interesting but it has a vegetal element to its flavor (like concentrated berry seeds or stems, almost seaweed-like) that some people find off-putting. If you want to get something super-fruity or sweet, the pear-flavored eau d vie and liqueur are really good.

Th St. George Single Malt Whiskey and the Straight Vodka are both superlative, although they are not as unique as some of the other things Hangar One offers.

The most unusual thing that they make are the Qi liqueurs, especially the Black Qi which is not remotely like anything else out there. The White Qi is a really nice orange flavored liqueur - it's lighter tasting than Gran Marnier and the subtle tea flavor cuts through the sweetness nicely. The Black Qi, on the other hand, is downright weird. It's has a strong black tea flavor, very sweet and spicy, but it is overwhelmingly smoky. Most people either love it or hate it.


I know they have Bundnerfleisch at the Junket, a German deli in the El Cerrito Plaza. Somewhat easier to find is Bresaola, which is a similar product from the Alpine region of Italy. You can frequently find Bresaola at AG Ferrari and Andronico's.

El Cerrito Plaza
San Pablo Ave and Fairmount Ave, El Cerrito, CA

NICE Bar suggestions in SF?

I recommend Chaya Brasserie for happy hour and sit in the bar/lounge or the outdoor area. Good cocktails, sushi and other bar bites, nice neighborhood, beautiful views of the bay bridge.

Chaya Brasserie
132 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

21st Birthday in Berkeley

I thought Cesar was a great idea. They have good food and GREAT cocktails. It is true that the vegetarian options are not super extensive, but they are adequate in my experience. It's good for a party because you just order a bunch of things family style.

Gather is also a nice place which is great for vegetarians. This would be a good call if the ladies prefer a more traditional app-entree-dessert approach to dinner rather than lots of shared small things.

Jupiter if and only if the birthday girl is a beer aficionado. It's a fun place but outside of a very good beer selection nothing special food-wise. The pizza is fine but ordinary, wine list pretty boring, no full bar, etc.

Souce for Puff Pastry

La Farine makes beautiful puff pastry and sells the dough for $6/lb. They use butter, not shortening.

I assume they make gigantic sheets of it for use at the bakery and just cut it to size so if you called ahead and ask them nicely I bet you could get them to cut you a big sheet.

La Farine
6323 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Moderately priced delivery or takeout for a large group in SF

Thanks everyone for the replies

Memphis Minnie's could be a good choice. We had an office party from there a few months ago and it was pretty popular. I'll give them a call and see about delivery options.

Lers Ros would definitely have been pushing it for the picky eaters but the food is so good I'd be willing to overlook that. Not confident in the delivery or large or service though unfortunately.

Keep it coming!

Moderately priced delivery or takeout for a large group in SF

I have a dinner event coming up for about 30 people for which I need to choose a restaurant in San Francisco. I would definitely prefer to find a place that will deliver but if need be I could do takeout if absolutely necessary. Aiming to spend about $20 per head (not including drinks) but am slightly flexible and could bump it up a tad for the right place. Priorities are

1. RELIABLE, timely delivery service.

2. Good food, preferably something that can be served somewhat family style.

3. If possible, I think I'd prefer a Japanese place for this group but I am definitely willing to go in a different direction if that would be better. Nothing super exotic as I need to keep 30 people with the whole spectrum of palates happy.

My first thought was to order from Lers Ros Thai but I've never ordered delivery from them and there are too many horror stories on yelp about their delivery service being unreliable (see priority number one).

I'm willing to do a delivery service like Waiters on Wheels or something like (suggestions for delivery service also appreciated) if necessary but I think it might be tough on my budget since their fees are so high.

Any ideas would be appreciated! Thanks in advance.


Lers Ros Thai
730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

One night in San Francisco: Gary Danko or Chez Panisse?

I personally prefer Danko between those two but either would be a good choice. I think you have a good idea of the difference between the two. One factor that you didn't mention is which day of the week your dinner will be. The dinners at Chez are more refined on Fridays and Saturdays and more rustic early in the week.

Another option I suggest you consider is Coi which has a very local and seasonal approach to ingredients but also uses much more modern (and less "safe") techniques than either Danko or Chez.

You could theoretically have a lunch a Chez Panisse Cafe - which is wonderful and really captures that minimalist, ingredient-driven approach to food as well or better than Chez Panisse Restaurant - and then have dinner that same night at Danko. That would be a great food day!

If you like the idea of this approach, but don't want to spend time traveling to the east bay, you might try Zuni - which is a similar style of food as Chez Cafe, although IMO not quite as good - for lunch and Danko for dinner.

Chez Panisse
1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709