little big al's Profile

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Gyros North Beach [San Francisco]

But back to North Beach Gyros, you should try it.

Why are they standing in line ?

I remember eons ago when Paul Prudhomme opened a pop-up on The Embarcadero (first Pop- up ever?) the line was so long that people were selling lunch to people waiting for dinner.

Wise Sons or Millers East Coast Delicatessen for pastrami sandwich ? [San Francisco]

Totally agree with Melanie as usual. Wise Sons makes a fine product, but I enjoyed Rye Project even more. One quibble with R P is I like horseradish on my pastrami and they said that they didn't have any. When I pointed out a refrigerator full of the stuff I was told it was only for sale by the jar. Meh.

Dinner in SF to replace Presidio Social Club? Garibaldi’s?

I had a recent highly disappointing brunch at Arguello and remember overpriced small portions of bland food with exotic names. Particularly noteworthy was a piece (at least it was large) of flabby fat masquerading as "crispy pork belly ". Good chips though.

San Francisco HELP

More important question is what lines are worth standing in? Without question, Roli Roti's line for Porchetta sandwich, the first and still the best. Even by FPFM standards, Cap't. Mike's smoked fish is delicious, but in my opinion overpriced. Downtown Bakery line moves quickly so don't be intimidated,and the lines for pour-over coffee never cease to mystify me.

Why Aren't Dogs Allowed in U.S. Restaurants?

Like Harley-Davidson says. "If you have to
ask, you wouldn't understand."

Feb 15, 2015
little big al in Features

pan roast

In the same family as Rockefeller, Oysters Bingo at Buckeye Roadhouse. MMMM

Swan Oyster Depot --- do they locals actually like it or is it merely a sucks for bucks type of tourist trap ???? [San Francisco]

Not food, but the PT Cruiser convertible is the most fun car I've ever owned, and I've had some fun ones. But it is retro-kitsch.

Dungeness Crab Prices 2014/2015 Season

Today, Valentines day they were a whopping $10.50 at Alioto-Lazio. BUT mine was 3.25 pounds (a record for me, it almost didn't fit in my steamer) and feistier than I've ever seen. Still local provenance. Maybe I'll check out HMB next week.

Dungeness Crab Prices 2014/2015 Season

$8 at Alioto-Lazio last week. They recommend showing up early. Two and a half pounds and still sweet though.

Bollito Misto 2015 at Poggio, Sausalito

And the rest?

Bollito Misto 2015 at Poggio, Sausalito

Straightforward does not mean easy. I too have made it countless (no really maybe 6) times, but to get a good variety of meats, a fowl,a cotteghino, a tongue, one or two briskets,(veal and beef), (not to mention a calf's head) you need to feed a crew of 12-20 people and that's a lot of work. Also, I'm not a natural saucier, unlike the pros at Poggio. And the sauces are important. I recall from last time the only Mostarda I've ever really enjoyed.

Bollito Misto 2015 at Poggio, Sausalito

I'm going with a large group tomorrow for the final night. I remember from one or two years ago being very happy with the meal, especially the 4 sauces that came with. Portions were not huge, but not Tosca tiny either, and at $19 one could order a double I suppose.

Kouzina Greek Street Food, Montclair (Oakland)

Gyros North Beach makes hand stacked chicken and lamb/beef(?) gyros. Very tasty,not Kronos. I think they're Turkish, but not being Greek, I would forgive that. Corner Union and Powell. Cheaper than Souvla as I recall.

Your Favorite $5 or under bites in San Francisco

Re Melanie Wong:And those crisp fried garlickey legs are good too.

Your Favorite $5 or under bites in San Francisco

Chicken turnover at out the door at Ferry Plaza indoors.

SF Sourdough Revisited

Italian-French to my knowledge does not make sourdough, and in my opinion is the worst bread in The City. Neither crust nor crumb has any character. The only thing going for them is they make a wide variety of shapes of rolls. They all taste the same though. But don't take my word for it, try one.

Good places to eat/drink in and around the presidio. [San Francisco]

I just returned from my first and last visit to Arguello. While the tortillas were great and fresh and "meaty" and the chips and guacamole were fine examples the rest of the food was meager, bland and in one case totally not as described. I'm looking at you Mister Crispy Pork Belly, you flabby braised underseasoned pieces of pork on a plate. At least there was plenty of you, unlike the fish taco ($5.50!) with a piece of cod the size of my thumb (not including the fleshy bit) and one tiny tortilla. Carne asada taco was a bland mess of meat and beans (beans in a taco?) crying out for some salsa. Chilaquiles were good (my first taste of this dish) but the portion made me wonder where is the fine line between excess and insult. This was my first taste of a Des Jardins restaurant and I wonder if the empress has any clothes at all.

Good places to eat/drink in and around the presidio. [San Francisco]

I just returned from my first and last visit to Arguello Restaurant. I didn't know that it was a Des Jardins project. I have read so much about her love of "authenticity" but had never experienced her cuisine. Yawn! The best parts are the chips and quacamole. Tortillas are also great, fresh and "meaty", but my lord, served one per tiny tiny taco ($4.50-$6.50 each as I recall.) Fried cod the size of my thumb on the fish taco and a completely bland carne asada on my other one. Something called "crispy pork" was an underseasoned plate of flabby pork belly, not the chicharone (sp?)like thing the title would lead one to expect. Chilaquiles were good (my first taste of this dish), but such a tiny portion it made me wonder about where the perfect portion size between excessive and insulting would be.

throw-back saturday: old-style veal parmigiana

I think I'm from the same mill town (Lynn Mass., "The city that wasn't afraid to die") and my dad, big big Al was, among other trades, a union meat cutter at Finast (First National Stores). He told me that the way those huge dinner palaces along route 1 could serve such cheap veal Parmigiana was by using pork instead. Think about it, pounded,breaded, fried and sauced, who could tell the difference? Not in the east bay and not a red sauce joint, but Ideale in North Beach serves an excellent veal chop breaded and roasted that is much like a wienerschnitzel. Real veal.

4505 Meats to take over the former Brother In Laws/Da Pitt BBQ at 705 Divisadero [San Francisco]

Speaking of short weight, I once bought a "pound"(clearly labeled) of fresh sausage at 4505's stand at FPFM for $12,(a record high for me, but it is real good sausage) only to find that it was 12 ounces. Mistakes occur, but R. Farr's casual response (basically, "S**t happens") was unforgivable. When that same thing happened years ago at Aidell's stand the lovely Kathleen gave me a free 12 ounces the next week and had a customer for the duration of their stay. PS I hate this new trend of things that traditionally come in one pound packages e.g. beans, coffee, sausages, bacon,( pints of beer for gods' sake),coming as 12 ounces units. Even when they are properly labeled it seems somehow not entirely honest.

Brown Sugar Kitchen uses quick grits, wholesale vendors [Oakland]

To my knowledge Robert has run a restaurant, and moreover the menu does specificy organic grits.

SF Chinatown Pork Bun (Char Siu Bao) crawl - suggestions?

I think it was me who was so enthusiastic about Lai Hong. I was there last week for my birthday dim sum fest and while they are not quite as full as my earlier experience they are still the best I've had in Chinatown.

Yet another craft beer hall: Hogwash now open in Union Square [San Francisco]

Original Gangstah I'm sure. Gary be hip-hop fo real! Sorry about the limit.

Oyster Rookie

The safest but not fastest involves 2 tools. First one "pops" the hinge with an old school beer can opener, then (carefully) severs the adductor muscle with an oyster (or paring) knife. That way one is never forcing a pointy thing towards one's palm.

French Fries: SFBA Dish of the Month December 2014

For thin I nominate the fresh chips at Elmira Rosticceria (along with the elusive lampredotto panino) and for thick, crisp, and fluffy, Original Joe's, almost certainly double fried (rice bran oil?) and even good after they've cooled down. Their fritto misto is also wicked good.

Local source for Bulk Callebaut Chocolate

I realize this is not exactly the answer to your question, but on a recent visit to The Pasta Shop in Berkeley, i was delighted to see bulk giandujia (sp?) for sale for about $17 lb. Yum.

Dungeness Crab Prices 2014/2015 Season

Just this morning at Alioto-Lazio it was "almost" 2.5 lbs. for 12 bucks. Still time to reserve for T'day (or should that be C' day cause I don't really care for T' ?).

$14 lb. porcini fresci [San Francisco]

They've been at Far West Fungi at Ferry Plaza for a few weeks now. Not as good as the Italian ones, but good for the price. #ones are a little more, but these# twos are good enough for the likes of me, and not wormy.

Turkey: getting one this week to practice on, and spatchcocking

Using a small bird for practice reminds me of Gracie Allen's recipe for roast beef. "Take a small roast beef and a large roast beef and put them in the oven. When the small one is burnt the large one is ready." But seriously, the best turkeys I have ever cooked were brined and cooked butterflied on the Weber. Otherwise Julia's advise about cooking the white and dark meat separately is very sound.