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What's for Dinner #322 - the pre-Labor Day Weekend Edition

Welcome home to the pup! I hope the recovery is speedy and complete. She looks very dear even in her cone. I'm sad that you aren't feeling well to boot. Don't forget to take care of yourself while you are tending to Young Ms. Doggles.

WWFD here was spaghetti and meat sauce, in honour of the little niece. This followed a sleepover (woohoo!) and a pancake and bacon breaky, then a trip to Grouse to see grizzly bears, an artic wolf, a horned owl, a bald eagle, a turkey vulture, several hawks and a chipmunk, which may have been the highlight. All that on top of a gondola and a chairlift and a twenty-storey high wind turbine's viewing tower. Whoa!

Here's one of the grizzlies lolling, and the view from the peak.

China North Dumpling on Noriega [San Francisco]

Okay, I think I have it straight now. The chiles in davidg1's photo threw me a bit, as I'd not seen them on what I think of as salt and pepper chicken (or tofu or squid or whatever) before. I am very familiar with la zi ji which often gets called thousand chili chicken where I'm from. And I would eat something that fell between the two! Thanks for the extra details.

One week in Vancouver... The catch? Two little kids

What a fantastic thread you've engendered, reformed (love the handle, BTW). I spend a couple of weeks a year eating my way around the SFBA so I have an idea of what you've got in your back yard. Herewith some ramblings that may or may not be helpful...

Blanket warning: Vancouver doesn't do air conditioning. And this has been the hottest summer I recall in the last mumble years (multiple decades). So be warned and ask before you go!

Given your OP, I'd say do one of the ramen places (either Santouka for toroniku or Taishoken for tsukemen) but just go really early. We do a good job of ramen around these parts.

I'd do a couple of izakaya if you have time. I suspect we're still slightly ahead of the curve though SFBA is gaining fast, and has prolly eclipsed on higher end offerings. Perhaps Zakkushi on Main, because I think it will be more kid-friendly, and maybe Guu Gastown for the upstairs area mentioned by moyenchow. Suika and Rajio are connected; the former is nicer inside, indeed quite swish, but the food doesn't thrill me. Rajio is super casual and has tasty dishes (was there a couple of weeks ago for a late bite) but it is quite far out of the way as waylman notes. Neither would be bad with kids but I've never seen kids at either. I haven't been to Kingyo in forever.

You've hit on my two favourites for coffee, Matchstick and Revolver, though just this week I went to Timbertrain for the first time and will be returning. As mentioned by moyenchow, it has much more inviting seating than Revolver and (drumroll) it also has cold brew on a nitro tap. So very very good. Pastries from Chez Cristophe nothing to sneeze at and will save you a trip out to his faraway shop. My SIL was swooning over the hazelnut chocolate croissant.

Cartems are good doughnuts with interesting toppings. Haven't been since they moved to Pender Street. Thierry has not been successful for me.

I'd probably go with Dynasty if you decide to stick to dim sum in town. Last two very recent visits to Kirin City Square have not been up to par, though I still prefer the room. Sun Sui Wah on Main should be avoided.

Kalvin's is very good but you really have to know what to order. We had a chowdown there a few weeks ago and the quality is still happening, but it is very much a mom and pop, squeezy tables, super busy and service can be variable. DO NOT go without a reservation, even early, as it is tiny and super popular. The fish with yellow chives remains on my last-meal list.

Agree with others about Chambar -- deffo NOT a pub, and I wouldn't take kids there even early. Alibi doesn't have worthy food, and may not allow kids as others have noted. I can't think of a place in town with great food and great beer that allows kids (or maybe even that doesn't allow kids, sigh). We have a long way to go to reach Portland standards, my current benchmark for good brew and good food together.

If you are from the Bay Area, please immediately lower your expectations for ice cream. I think I've tried all the heavy hitters in your home chow zone, and nothing here comes close. Maybe Bella, but you pay through the nose and have to line up forever. Rain or Shine was so disappointing and expensive I only went once and it is walking distance from my house :-(. Earnest is good but not worth the money IMO.

Agree with Philx re Patisserie Lebeau. Since the remodel a few years ago, you can dine in and the waffles are a big hit with the smalls. Pretty tasty for the grownups too -- I love their ham and cheese Brussels (not the stuffed ones). Go early though as they run out. I'd be hard pressed to find something a small would like on a Farmers Apprentice menu, so maybe hit Lebeau first and fill them up, then go to FA right before opening and order a couple of dishes for yourselves. I wouldn't try FA at night with kids.

I love L'abbatoir but it would be tough with kids, even at opening. The upstairs is dark, crowded and loud. The enclosed area at the back is lovely but so freakin' hot when it's hot out, and it doesn't cool down as we discovered a couple of weeks ago. Also can't imagine what a kid would want to eat off their menu -- you can check it out online.

I gotta demur with waylman on Artigiano. Not sure what's going on, but we've gotten such bad coffee at the one near the art gallery that we threw it out. I think they are all franchises now so maybe some are better than others, but I didn't love the one that closed not too long ago in my hood either. YMMV of course.

Good call on the kurtos kalacs at Transylvania Traditions, No More Snuggles! They don't always have them but they are fab. We have a Baguette & Co near us. As long as you stick to the pastries, you're good -- oh, and the brownies are rather fine, popular with our small niece. Bread is meh for sure. But once again, coming from the Bay Area, the OP's gonna have to dial back the expectations for everything baked here!

This is way too long. Shutting up now.

China North Dumpling on Noriega [San Francisco]

I'd love some more details on the S&P fish nee chicken if anyone has them, eg what it might look like in Chinese characters or perhaps other English transliterations. It's not a dish I've run across in my travels, and it looks and sounds right up my alley. Why oh why do I read CH late at night when the food in photos like this one are unattainable? ;-)

Chowdown Report: SF Excelsior Food Crawl Part I (Aug 2014)

Nice to see your handle on the boards again, larochelle! Totally agree re the addition of rice flour to pupusas. I was never much of a fan till I had them that way in the Mission several trips ago, not really enjoying them even when et in Central America. Now I'm a convert.

We've only been to a couple of places in the Excelsior, most notably Maneelap Srimongkoun. I've bookmarked this thread for future trips.

What's for Dinner #321 - Seasons Change Edition [through August 26, 2014]

"Chucking it down" is a personal fave that I've only ever heard out of either a Brit's or a Brit ex-pat's mouth. I am related to a lot of both.

cf also Paprikaboy's "tipping down with rain" post above http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9868... for another good 'un.

We have almost as many different names for rain in Vancouver as I've heard folks in the Arctic have for snow, though I suspect ours are ruder :-).

WWFD tonight came courtesy of the SIL: pan-fried sole, green beans fresh from the garden stir fried with garlic and quinoa with butter and green onions. Delicious, simple and good for me, even with the butter!

Aug 25, 2014
grayelf in Home Cooking

Groceries in Whistler Village

Ooh, good okonomiyaki in Whistler! Nice find, Sam. Noting for future reference.

LR, don't forget about Pure Bread while you are up there, who are up and running still after the May fire -- "As a temporary solution, we are doing a full market schedule, and we'd love you to visit our Function Junction location in Whistler where we have a full compliment of freshly baked breads, lip-tingling sugar buns, savouries, sandwiches and treats too of course; open everyday from 8:30 until 5."

I loves me some Old Stumpy!

Aug 25, 2014
grayelf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

No ketSUP for you!

Not the first time I've heard of/read about the no ketchup allowed fandango. I am not a fan of catsup (a more usual variant but I appreciate knowing ketsup is also correct!) on anything and refuse it when it is offered -- I find it far too sweet. No problem with others putting it on their food though I do get a bit skeeved out by how it looks on scrambled eggs :-).

Aug 25, 2014
grayelf in Food Media & News

Kouign amann - first foodie souvenir request

I know the OP has already returned from her trip but just thought I would chime in to agree about the short shelf life of KA, my most beloved pastry. I've never had one in Bretagne, alas, but the half dozen or more versions I've tried in Vancouver, Portland OR and San Francisco all suffer if not eaten early in the day they are baked. My favourite so far is the KA from Starter in the Bay Area.

Tartex, empanada wrappers and huacatay, where are you?

Los Guerreros! That is the place I was trying to remember on K'way just past Joyce. I even Google mapped to try and find it but no dice. Nice one, ELS.

Two bad about LDA. Haven't been for a while, obvi.

Aug 24, 2014
grayelf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Tartex, empanada wrappers and huacatay, where are you?

Fresh is Best has Goya's empanada wrappers in the freezer behind the counter, packets of 12, saw 'em when I was there this afternoon. They don't have huacatay but would be happy to try to help track it down.

Aug 24, 2014
grayelf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Tartex, empanada wrappers and huacatay, where are you?

For where to buy Tartex in Canada
Organic Horizons Inc.
Unit # 9 - 685 Speedvale Avenue West
Guelph, Ontario N1K 1E6
CANADA

Tel: 519-824-6161
Fax: 519-824-1131

E-mail: info(at)organichorizons.ca
www.organichorizons.ca

Chicha's uses huacatay in one of their dressings per the current online menu. Maybe get in touch with them about suppliers? You might also enquire at Fresh Is Best on West Broadway. They are nice folks and might even bring this or the wrappers in if they don't have them, but they're pretty dialed on suppliers so could perhaps steer you in the right direction if not. And maybe even Los Dos Amigos on 41st, though I think it skews more Mexican than South American.

Good luck!

Aug 24, 2014
grayelf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Will the real wasabi stand up?

South China Seas on Granville Island has fresh wasabi root for $22 per 100 g. That works out to about $100 a pound if I'm doing my sums right. I don't think Fujiya has had it since the end of last year. Not super easy to source though it must be around as some sushi bars have it available. Would be cool to get some grown locally, though it would appear that is even more expensive per chefj's link.

Aug 24, 2014
grayelf in General Topics

What's for Dinner #321 - Seasons Change Edition [through August 26, 2014]

Since we're having breakfast for lunch, a lighter and later WFD tonight of Thai shrimp curry with snap peas, with quinoa for moi and rice for the SO. Just remembered I'm out of cilantro so may have to make a quick trip to the greengrocer.

Breakfast in Union Square [San Francisco]

Hi Shoediva (love the handle!). We stay near Union Square a couple times a year for pleasure, the SO monthly for business and we have yet to find a really outstanding breakfast near Union Square. Since you'll technically be staying atop Nob Hill, ya gotta factor in the, well, hill, too, as you'll be walking down it to get pretty much anywhere.

Café de la presse has been quite good in the past, though we haven't been for a couple of trips. The oeufs a la meurette were a favourite.

One place we haven't yet tried is Olea, which is down hill along California -- they tend to have lines for brunch but maybe if you go earlier? It's kitty corner to Contraband, a good place for coffee, though I'd pass on the food/pastries.

Also in that immediate area is Flour & Co. It's more of a bakery, but they do have some hot items and there is indoor seating, though it can be very warm inside. They're serving Stumptown which isn't local nor a fave so nip over to Contraband for your caffeine :-).

We like farm:table but it's a bit of a hike (15 min) and really small, with communal seating. V. nice coffee and delicious smaller breakfast plates though. A bit closer (11 min) in that direction is Sweet Woodruff, which has a small but well-curated breakfast menu weekdays and a longer brunch menu on the weekends. Not much seating and can be drafty on chilly days.

Hope that helps!

Vancouver bloggers

Here's another I stumbled across today and am liking as I read backward -- I'm taken with the idea of learning from the blogger's mistakes: http://lower-mainland-bc.blogspot.ca/

Aug 23, 2014
grayelf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Best value happy hour in Vancouver

Here's another list, none of which I can personally speak to: http://www.wevancouver.com/eat-drink/... Dunno what their criteria for best are (the large number of Donnelly group entries makes me wonder) but might be worth a browse.

I also just read on a local blog that Chewie's has buck a shuck, details here: http://chewies.ca/weekly-promotions/

Aug 23, 2014
grayelf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Aragona

Eater http://pdx.eater.com/archives/2014/08... and fellow CH eatfoodgetmoney http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9866... report that Aragona is closing after less than a year in business. Shoulda gone in June when we visited, head slap!

Aug 23, 2014
grayelf in Greater Seattle

What's for dinner #320 -- The End and the Beginning Edition! [through August 23, 2014]

Thanks for sharing that "d'oh" moment, nothingswrong. Makes me feel better about my mishap, somehow. I guess misery does love company :-). I shudder to think what would happen if I tried to paint while drunk, though the idea does appeal. I took the drop sheets out and all that's left is to peel off the tape (carefully!) and rearrange the furniture. No more painting for me, possibly ever, LOL.

Aug 23, 2014
grayelf in Home Cooking

Sat August 23rd Dinner for 13-14 - ideas?

Since the OP was going tonight, prolly too late anyway, but his focus seemed to be on proximity to good bars. "Modern" Asian is a bit of a tough call within that context. I've never eaten at Bambuddha but it did seem to fit the bill. I suppose Guu is modern in its way, but izakaya are a pretty long standing style even in Van, no?

Aug 23, 2014
grayelf in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

What's for dinner #320 -- The End and the Beginning Edition! [through August 23, 2014]

So the room is painted for better (looks pretty good) or for worse (in a moment of cartoon-worthy madness, a full tray of paint landed upside down on the thankfully-paper-covered floor). The SO will be home for an extra day or two this week after all. And I just remembered I snagged more COTC this morning in a mad dash to the stupidmarket before the pain commenced. Things are looking up :-).

Aug 22, 2014
grayelf in Home Cooking

Noise, Small Plates, and Mason Jars: Local Food Writers on Their Biggest SF Restaurant Gripes

Thanks for the link and the laughs, dunstable: "their basil lime is like the lovechild of Pine-Sol and snot"; "the asshole tax for ordering a burger when I should be ordering something that showcases the chef's 'talents,' " and "It could be such a fun event, if it were different."

Any recommendations to check out before dinner Lark at 5:30 pm on this Saturday

Whoops, I'm on vacation and am not keeping track of the days! Sorry to hear you're not going after all, intelguy.

Aug 22, 2014
grayelf in Greater Seattle

What's for dinner #320 -- The End and the Beginning Edition! [through August 23, 2014]

Awoke to the realization that I can't get away with three coats of paint on the living room as I did in the dining room -- the LR was not professionally mudded and isn't taking the paint as well. So, erlack, I am one wall in on what will be the final coat no matter how it looks.

The thought of a lovely brill/petrale sole filet and some snap peas for dinner is keeping me going. Then I get two meals with the SO before he leaves again. I liked it better when he wasn't president of the co.

Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market - Saturdays [San Francisco]

As a tourist who is usually not buying produce, I've found the best time to go to the FPFM is around 8:30 to avoid/minimize lines for prepared food and drink. Roli Roti's porchetta is the best breakfast ever, and all the tastier for not having to wait an hour in line to get it as you will after 9! If there are two of you, split up and target two different places for sure -- 4505 and Primavera are also worthy. We've kind of given up on waiting in line for Blue Bottle as the lines seem to be insane no matter when you go, so maybe try to grab a coffee before you arrive if there is somewhere good near where you are staying.

Recs for homey/warm, PNW dinner in Portland

Don't you hate that? As a visitor to Portland, I keep obsessive notes but years ago I had the best dim sum of my life in SF and failed to note the name of the resto, argh.

A bit closer to downtown though still in the SE is Farm Café http://www.thefarmcafe.com/ where we had my birthday dinner in March. Not sure it would fall into "inspired" but certainly met the OP's other criteria that night: "This restaurant seems to fly a bit under the radar and nothing looks cutting edge, but we loved pretty much every dish -- beet salad, deviled eggs, cauliflower fritters, gratin, flame-grilled Idaho trout, cabbage roll and gnocchi. The standouts were the fish, mushrooms and gnocchi, whereas the beet salad was a bit pedestrian. We all shared a tasty berry cobbler dessert as we were pretty stuffed. Beer (Mt Hood Hogsback oatmeal stout, Feckin Brewery's Dublin Pale) and cocktails (RCTID, with Douglas fir eau de vie) weren't too shabby either :-). The room is very cozy, inside a heritage house, the service is casual but attentive and the prices are very reasonable."

And they have a patio!

Aug 22, 2014
grayelf in Metro Portland

Any recommendations to check out before dinner Lark at 5:30 pm on this Saturday

Hey intelguy, what did you think of Lark? We enjoyed it in June...

Aug 22, 2014
grayelf in Greater Seattle

What's for dinner #320 -- The End and the Beginning Edition! [through August 23, 2014]

Maybe too late but larb moo is one of my favourite things to make with pork mince. Nice and light too.

What's for dinner #320 -- The End and the Beginning Edition! [through August 23, 2014]

Another fun thing to have in the larder is toyomansi, which is soy sauce that has calamansi in it already. Datu Puti is a pretty good brand (they also make a tasty cane vinegar that I now use whenever white vinegar is called for). It isn't quite as good as fresh of course because you can't adjust the amount of juice but worth a try.

Aug 22, 2014
grayelf in Home Cooking
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Top pho in the Tenderloin (SF)?

Golden Flower is the only place I've ever had pho in SF, before I knew about CH. Glad to know it's still there.

Any other T'loin ideas?