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Santa Barbara Restaurants?

PolarBear! Please - who's on your short list in the SF Bay area

Sep 11, 2008
samse in California

Driveway BBQ or Mexican catering in Byron?

My apologies - I was being too presumptuous.

You mentioned Mexican catering as well as bbq. This is not as obvious. I've known of Mexican restaurants who do not advertise catering, but will have done so nonetheless for good customers. The former owners of Cha Cha Cha were an example, but I don't know if the new owners would be receptive. I don't know about the "fun" factor either. Rice, beans and cheese enchiladas are always a great accompaniment to bbq

Sep 06, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Driveway BBQ or Mexican catering in Byron?

A cursory search on Google brings up Kinder’s Brentwood and Ralph’s Catering. I have no experience with either, but other Kinder’s locations have been very accommodating (there’s another 30 minutes away in Tracy). Too bad Sticky Chicken doesn’t offer onsite BBQ.

I’m sorry, I can’t remember any details, but sometime during this last year I saw something about a caterer who will set up an onsite taco or luau bar. It might be Takobar Catering (website is not up yet)

Why cater a BBQ? I’m being presumptuous, I know, but large parties are pretty common in Discovery Bay and usually don’t require an additional “fun” factor. I assume that your friend is on deep water and the party will be held on his back deck. We have Xmas boat parade parties about the same size as yours (yes, even in December) and do the grilling ourselves. There are always volunteers eager to man the bbq station and help in the cleanup. You can always do pot luck or hire caterers from a wider field to take care of the alternate main, side & dessert dishes and cleanup.

Sep 06, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Tri Valley Moderate priced Anniversary restaurant?

The restaurants you say you've enjoyed are in a $10 higher range per entree than you've requested so this is like giving you apples instead of oranges, but, off the top of my head in Pleasanton $15-$20 entrees - Girasole, Strizzis, Baci, Fontina, La Vita, De La Torre Tratteria. All happen to be Italian. There are quite a few Asian and Mexican restaurants in your price range as well (such as Singapore Old Town), but I get the impression they are not what you're looking for . . . Sorry, I can't speak to San Ramon/Danville/Alamo - no longer on my flight path

Aug 31, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Why isn't Santa Maria BBQ on the menus?

Yes, I agree with you. I think of it as more like a local cultural phenomenon. Each of the places you cite are very colorful as well. Do you think McClintock's in Pismo would qualify here?

Aug 27, 2008
samse in California

Cheon Joo Young Yang Dol Sot (my new favorite Korean restaurant), Santa Clara report

Glad to hear you liked the soondubu. Since I rarely order it, I was unable to respond to your other post. Yes, it appears the banchan is spotty. I liked the greens that came with the kaktugi. I don't see that often in restaurants - it's more of a home-made item (ponytail kimchee)

They also shelled the clams in my dan jang jjigae which, although very good, could have been thicker/richer, my personal preference, ala Chois or Oghane. To each his own I guess. The menu offers some items you don't see very often. I'm taking my 1st gen niece there her next visit up here. She misses some of these dishes.

Aug 26, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Cheon Joo Young Yang Dol Sot (my new favorite Korean restaurant), Santa Clara report

No, not yet. Whenever I get down to the South Bay, I usually hit Lawrence Plaza, Green Bakery or trendy Bean for dessert after eating Chinese or Korean food - no room left.

Yesterday afternoon I did wander around the food court and observed what people were eating and, for the most part, everything looked respectable. The food court was packed, but Milan Gelato didn't appear to be getting their share. The Chinese (Korean-style no doubt) concession appears to be pretty popular. Hey, I know it's fast food, but I just love that we have a place like this. The people watching is fun too.

Have you tried 99 Chicken yet?

Aug 25, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Cheon Joo Young Yang Dol Sot (my new favorite Korean restaurant), Santa Clara report

Wow, hhc, thanks for the tip. With so many distractions for me at Lawrence Plaza, I'd have never tried this place had it not been for your review and Chois, across the street, is hard to pass up. Went Sunday for lunch with a friend and were very pleasantly surprised. We had just had samgyetang and dan jang jjigae, both of which were very good. I wish I had remembered humbucker's post. I would have ordered kong gooksu as well. Although the banchan offerings were few it appears they make some of their their own - very fresh. We noticed a few things on the menu that you don't find everywhere. Had takeout menus been available, I would have listed some of them here.

Aug 25, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area Korean recap

As I recall, I've had raw quail egg served in hwe dup bab at the sushi restaurant just north of San Maru - sorry the name escapes me.
Pork spine is traditionally used in gamja tang. I've not tried it, but I've been told that Tutti in Santa Clara has a good version of gamja tang

Aug 21, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Livermore area for sandwiches

RW, thanks for the tip. I just drove thru Livermore the other day and never noticed because it's on Second St, still, I think, off the beaten path. I saw another post about a new steakhouse on Second as well. Looks like the new theater and the movie house is attracting new eateries - a great addition to Livermore - finally. I really hope Tommies worth stopping.

Aug 21, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Guan Dong House

yimster, I wish I had read your post earlier. Stopped last weekend for a late lunch and now wish we had ordered corn cakes instead of rice. We didn't order the cakes because we were afraid they'd be too filling and we wouldn't be able to finish what we did order: sizzling seafood platter, pork/green bean soup and dumplings (one order is a dozen!). Guan Dong will now be our first choice over HC Dumpling.

One observation: parking can be a hazardous booger. I saw a guy in a BMW back into another car parked across the narrow aisle from him and just take off as if nothing happened - too far away for me to get his plate. He left a huge crease in the car he hit. I'll not be taking the weekend car here . . .

Aug 21, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

restaurant near UC RIVERSIDE FROM 1-4 PM

I suggest that you visit the Mission Inn at least once while you're stuck in Riverside for an afternoon. There are three restaurants there that I can think of which remain open thru the afternoon: Las Campanas for al fresco Mexican (pretty good), Bella Tratoria (never been) for Italian and the Mission Inn Restaurant (just okay IMHO). If parking irks you, you can always use the Mission Inn's valet parking. Go ahead, splurge just one time; it's the only place in Riverside I can think of that's worth seeing (grew up there, but still have to return for Holiday family visits). Leisurely wandering this historic landmark can easily chew up one or two hours as well. http://www.missioninn.com

As long as you're in Riverside, you've got to try a D'Elias grinder on University Ave. I suggest a whole ham (w/ extra ham) grinder. You can eat it there (onsite parking lot) or get it to go. If you do get it to go, make sure you get the oil on the side so the sandwich won't get soggy. http://www.deliasgrinders.com/

Oh, and meatertarian's right - University Ave might at one time have been as bad as John S paints it, but it ain't that bad to drive through now.

Aug 21, 2008
samse in California

Why does L.A. Bahn Mi taste worse than SF

Yes - with, of course, warm bread ala Ba Le in El Cerrito

Jul 26, 2008
samse in Los Angeles Area

Hankook Supermarket (Korean grocery store), Sunnyvale report

I'm over-generalizing here and about a decade behind the times, but my observations have been that the smaller/remote markets made their own kimchee, cuddlefish, etc. while the larger markets would bring theirs in. Years ago, I remember walking into a small market on Monument in Concord and seeing an ajoomah squating while making a batch of kimchee in a galvanized tub on the floor. There was a small market in Oakland's Koryo Plaza where the owner would offer to make things to order (banchan, kimchee, seaweed soup, cuts of meat, etc.) if she liked or knew you. Unfortunately that market is now gone, replaced by an internet cafe

Jul 26, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Hankook Supermarket (Korean grocery store), Sunnyvale report

You make me wish Cotati was on my flight path

Jul 26, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Hankook Supermarket (Korean grocery store), Sunnyvale report

No, but I don't expect banchan lounging all day(s?) long in a serve-yourself bar to compare with that which is served at my favorite restaurants. BUT, at least I can pick from a large selection and take it home to enjoy with and in ssambab and kimbab.

To sort of answer your question, I always get the dried turnip but it's never spicy enough. I must say, though, that I suspect that a lot, if not all, is "food service". I just noticed an article in the latest issue of Koream Magazine about a wholesale banchan supplier in LA. Thanks, you've just given me the motivation to go back and read it.

Jul 26, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Why does L.A. Bahn Mi taste worse than SF

I'm no expert, but I think it's "all about the bread" (plagiarizing D'Elias here) and the ratio of bread to meat and fillings. Like you, when in OC I feel there's a big difference from home - not necessarily a bad thing - sometimes almost like two different kinds of sandwiches.

Off-topic example: compare a D'elias grinder to any ginder anywhere else - it's all about the bread.

Jul 26, 2008
samse in Los Angeles Area

Hankook Supermarket (Korean grocery store), Sunnyvale report

. . . and ya gotta love the banchan "bar" there at Hankook

Jul 25, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Hankook Supermarket (Korean grocery store), Sunnyvale report

Sorry, I probably fractured the name. It's located in the Lawrence Plaza strip mall where the Galleria Market is located at El Camino Real/Lawrence Expressway. I stumbled into one day by using the back door of Paris Baguette.

Hey tanspace, is it my bad memory or was the Galleria Market once larger than it is now? I remember thinking it was HUGE the first time I shopped there many years ago.

Jul 25, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Turmeric in Sunnyvale – Wins the Bollywood Oscars for Best Buffet and Best Non-Buffet Meals

First, thank you for this thread. After reading this thread a friend and I tried the lunch buffet at Turmeric last Saturday. We arrived at the stroke of 12 noon and, with the exception of another party of two, had the whole place and buffet line to ourselves. It only took a few minutes for the place to fill up and the line to get and stay at about 10 deep.

We know very little about Indian cuisine let alone regional differences and were really surprised how spicy the majority of items were, a plus for one of us but a minus for my the other. The majority of dishes were chicken this day.

The tariff? $29 + tip for the both of us and that included two mango lassis (sp?) which I consider very reasonable. Most of the diners were well dressed Indian families. I just wish we would have asked one them for a little advice in the buffet line. A couple more visits and we'll be ready to order from the menu

Jul 25, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Hankook Supermarket (Korean grocery store), Sunnyvale report

Rarely get to Daly City so haven't tried Kukje yet, so can't agree with you 100%, but I have to believe you. Have you checked out the new food court at Galleria "mall"? Last time I was at Paris Baguette, the food court wasn't finished yet (with the exception of the gelato concession), but looked close.

You've got to love the Santa Clara/Cupertino/Sunnyvale/Mt View area. Three Korean markets, two Chinese and, I'm told, at least two Japanese super markets. It's really interesting making the rounds and noting the differences.

Jul 25, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Hankook Supermarket (Korean grocery store), Sunnyvale report

Yes, massive, better organized and CLEANER than Koreana.

Jul 24, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Staying in San Jose, need food

lgphil's absolutely right - posting this on the SF board will result in a LOT more replies than you'll get on this board. If you have wheels how far do you want to travel or, rather, how long do you want to spend behind the wheel? Looks like you're from the DC area. At the wrong time of day odds are that traffic here will be just as maddening as home for you.

Jul 18, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

whats the best eats in mountain vieW, california

Our caretakers, er, that is the CH team's slipping . . .

I see you're in Monterey. I suggest you post this on the SF board. While you're there do a search this board for "Mountain View".

Jul 18, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Mul naengmyon near Mountain View?

Did you happen to notice if Ginseng had samgyeopsal kimchee jjim on the menu?

Jul 17, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Thai recommendations for Albany/Berkeley area

While stopping at Eunice gourmet for coffee the other day, I thought I noticed that Bua Luang Thai was gone - might have only been my imagination. Maybe someone can confirm.

Jul 17, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Roadtrip!

Are you planning to follow Hwy 1 or 101? Segments of both comprise the Pacific Coast Highway along the Central Coast.

It's been years since I've been there, but I'd always enjoyed the Far Western Tavern in Guadalupe for a great steak and local color. If you are travelling on Hwy 1 (as opposed to Hwy 101) thru the Santa Maria Valley you can't miss it. One of the scenes in a Gumpy Old Men sequel was filmed there. Not sure if they offer SMSBBQ tri-tip. Maybe someone else can chime in here because you'll not want to miss the tri-tip and Santa Maria beans.

Link: http://www.farwesterntavern.com/

Jul 14, 2008
samse in California

My Tuesday Project: Oakland Chinatown Duck Noodle Soup Roundup

Thanks. I'm always getting those two names mixed up.

Jul 14, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

My Tuesday Project: Oakland Chinatown Duck Noodle Soup Roundup

I've been taken to Peony by my Chinese friends only a few times. I love the way they carved the duck skin at the table with so little meat - as opposed to other places that included more of the meat. The ratio of skin to meat along with the thickness/thinness of the bun really makes a difference to me. They served the meat as a next course with "crepes" and plum sauce. I just wish I had known enough at the time to ask about the soup

My Chinese friends in the restaurant biz highly recommend the Peking duck at Great Wall. Sorry, I haven't been able to get there yet and cannot tell you if they serve duck soup there.

Jul 13, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area

Mul naengmyon near Mountain View?

Hi DU. First, thank you for your great posts on the LA board. Your posts have been very helpful for my trips to LA. and the OC.

While nothing here will compare to K-town, Santa Clara is as good as it gets and is just a short drive away along El Camino Real (ECR). Most Korean restaurants and markets are within a short distance of the intersection of Lawrence Expressway and ECR. Kahlbi/Mul Naengmyun are a ubiquitous combination, so it would be difficult not to find it. Thus far I like Secret Garden, Choi's, BQue and Tutti - there are dozens more to try. Unless you friend is Korean, I doubt he'd be able to tell the difference between one good restaurant and another when it comes to mul naengmyun, especially if he loads it up with white vinegar and mustard as most Koreans do.

Off-topic, there is a wildly popular Korean AYCE buffet on ECR within a few blocks of Lawrence Expressway adjacent Han Kook Market (Sorry, name escapes me). I've not had the opportunity to try it, but it's always packed with 1st gen Koreans.

Is your friend just visiting, or does he live in Mt. View?

Jul 13, 2008
samse in San Francisco Bay Area