lexdevil's Profile

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KronnerBurger - Oakland

Wow. I've been there four times (plus one take away) since it opened and everyone was very friendly and enthusiastic. At 50+ I don't pass any cool tests these days, but I never sensed any condescension on the part of the staff.

While the burgers are great (even the "Earth Burger," which I call the abstinence burger because it is vegan and GF), the salads and other items are super too. The wedge is great if you're into that kind of thing (I am), and the the asparagus with boiled egg, fresh cheese, and herbs was outstanding. The asparagus also appeared at brunch over English muffins, and this was my husband's favorite dish so far. The sausage (made with pork cheek and sweetbreads) is super. I've had it at brunch with a fried egg over polenta, and at lunch over toast with a fried egg and lots of salad-y stuff.

And the fries. Wow. Yes, you can order the poutine, but honestly, it's a waste of fries that can stand on their own.

yuyu za zang [Oakland]

The new location has been open for about two weeks. It is the former location of New Ho Ho, between Bowl'd and the liquor store. It is much larger than the former spot (it could hardly have been smaller), clean, and bright. Menu is the same as the old location (K-Chinese on one side/Chinese on the other).

Advice appreciated re: Chinese Food 101 class for HS students

College Prep, in Oakland. We have a one week Intraterm each year during which faculty teach courses on pretty much whatever they feel like. Last year I took students from Little Rock to Selma. Over the years I've taught classes on meat, chocolate, ice cream, Hollywood history, Minor League Baseball, and lots of other stuff.

Advice appreciated re: Chinese Food 101 class for HS students

We're doing HKL2 in the morning, so focusing on Dim Sum. Will probably save Peking Duck for Great China, where we'll focus on the Northern, Shandong, and K-Chinese stuff (Double Skin, Crab w/ Steamed Buns, Tang Soo Yook...).

Our M.Y. China visit is entirely noodle focused. It's a great opportunity to see more than one variety of noodle made in a single place (saving us from making pit stops at Ark (Alameda), Shandong (Oakland), etc.). At the same time, I would like to add a couple of other dishes so we don't get too noodled out.

Advice appreciated re: Chinese Food 101 class for HS students

I taught this class several years back and I am reprising it next week. And getting hungry thinking about it.

I'd love advice re: things not to be missed at Yum's Bistro. They are faxing me the menu, but I'm also curious about specials that are not found on the menu.

Similar advice on Hong Kong Lounge 2 and M.Y. China would be great. I'm pretty well versed in the offerings at the other spots.

Our current plans include:
Hong Kong Lounge 2 (SF)
The Peruchi Truck (SF)
China Village (Albany)
Little Shanghai (San Mateo)
Yum's Bistro (Fremont)
Great China (Berkeley)
Little Sheep (Union City)
85°C (Newark)
M.Y. China (SF) -- for a noodle demo w/ the Chef
+ one more TBD

I'd also love advice on the last visit. I don't have an Islamic place on my list this year, or a Teochew place, or a Buddhist veg spot, or a Hakka place (I did all four last time). What do you think is the greatest hole to be filled?

Best current option for Shanghainese anywhere in the Bay Area?

Thank you so much for all of the advice. Further input on any not to be missed dishes at Little Shanghai would be appreciated.

Best current option for Shanghainese anywhere in the Bay Area?

23 people, and I'm currently leaning toward Little Shanghai in San Mateo.

Best current option for Shanghainese anywhere in the Bay Area?

Reprising Chinese Food 101 for students at my school next week. Have covered most of what I hope to do (though I have to skip a lot), but I would love to do a Shanghainese meal and would appreciate knowing who is best/most reliable at the moment.

Best Fried Rice in SF

Come to Oakland and get the fried rice at Ramen Shop. Best ever. Changes a bit based on available ingredients, but here is tonight's:

monterey bay squid and pork fried rice with little sweetie peppers, cilantro, basil, squash blossoms, cherry tomatoes, and Siew’s spicy shrimp-chili paste

Oakland/Berkeley restaurant recommendations for my 28th birthday dinner with my mom?

Which is why I described it as casual. At the same time, it is calmer and more orderly looking (more "matchy matchy") than Pizzaiolo. I also don't think it loses on formality to the refectory style of Camino (not to mention Camino's excellent cocktails served in ultra informal juice glasses). Additionally, though it has diner style accents, it's not a diner. There's no chrome beyond that on the bar stools and chair frames. The walls are white with dark brown wainscoting. The tables are wood. They have cloth napkins and proper glassware. The bar stools and chairs (and perhaps the checkerboard floor tiles) are the sum total of Hopscotch's diner-ness.

I suggested Hopscotch because, though its Asian accent distinguishes it, its food seems to hit the same target as Rivoli -- comfort food prepared to a high standard at a reasonable price point. Nothing challenging, just very yummy. The excerpts from their current menus below illustrate the similarities.

Rivoli Menu:
bellwether farm ricotta and butternut squash ravioli, brown butter, fried sage, pecorino $18
grilled scallops, potato and artichoke gratin, broccoli di ciccio with pine nuts and currants, tarragon butter, aleppo chile $27

Hopscotch Menu:
Ricotta Gnocchi, peashoots, toasted almonds, lemon creme fraiche $18
Grilled Scallops, mountain yam brandade croquette, mizuna salad, yuzu gremolata $23

I suppose that Hopscotch's (delicious) fried chicken and burger may highlight its casualness, but no more so than does Pizzaiolo's pizza, Box & Bells' burger, Plum's congee, or the Chez Panisse Cafe's much loved fried chicken or rabbit.

I agree that Hopscotch is more casual than the upstairs at Chez Panisse or Rivoli, but I just don't find it substantially more casual than many of the suggested restaurants. Additionally, I think someone who enjoys the food at Rivoli would find much to like at Hopscotch.

Oakland/Berkeley restaurant recommendations for my 28th birthday dinner with my mom?

I'm a bit late to reply, so your date may have passed, but I think Hopscotch would be another good option. Possibly a bit on the casual side, but no more so than most of the other options you are considering.

East Bay source for dried mushrooms in quantity?

Preferably porcini.

Not wholesale quantity, but the 8oz. - 1lb. I need when cooking for 70 people. Trying to avoid purchasing dozens of overpriced half ounce bags.

Shrimp and Grits - SF Dish of the Month January 2014

It's been a while, but the Aunt Mary's version is among the richest I have had and has a lot of Tabasco in the sauce. Not a Worcestershire heavy version at all.

Oakland Restaurant Week January 17-26, 2014

Nido is, for me, the clear winner for Oakland Restaurant Week. The menu is $20 per person for a drink (beer, wine, or agua fresca), appetizer, and main course. At that price I assumed it was a lunch offer, but called to check and was told it is dinner.

Here is the menu:
http://www.nidooakland.com/#!rw2014/c736

Tonight when we went there was an additional main course chicken option. We had the pozole and al pastor. The food and service were both excellent.

Choice and real discount to encourage folks to try someplace new, just what I always thought Restaurant Week was supposed to be about.

Great China (Berkeley) still great

I don't know how I missed them, as many times as I ate there. Probably just too fixated on the Double Skin.

Great China (Berkeley) still great

The Peking Duck is good, but it's not my favorite thing at Great China. Other standouts include the Double Skin (amazing combination of hot and cold, crunchy, chewy, and slippery ingredients topped with a spicy mustard sauce), the Crab Buns, the Tan Soo Yook (Korean Chinese sweet & sour beef), the embarrassingly tasty Walnut Prawns, and the Shredded Pork w/ Dried Tofu. Of course I was limited to veg and seafood for this outing, but I plan to do a better job next time.

There are several new additions to the menu that I am excited to try as well. I don't remember seeing Cumin Lamb or Cumin Beef in the past. Same goes for Wok Braised Beef Shank, Five Spice Braised Lamb Shank, Shredded Pork & Lions Head, and one of my all time faves, Mei Cai Ko Ro (braised pork belly with fermented greens). There are also a few attractive new desserts, but they are a low priority for me.

Great China (Berkeley) still great

Late lunch today, just a couple of hours after its 11:55am opening. Could not order some favorites (like Double Skin) due to non meat eating dining companion, but everything we had was as good or better than the pre fire renditions. Walnut Prawns were great, as were the Oyster Mushrooms with Golden Chives and the Guo Ta Tofu. Best development was, however, the Fish and Vegetable Dumplings, which were much improved. Noodle wrappers were more tender, lacking the gumminess that could be an issue at times in the past. Welcome back to an old friend!

Saturday brunch near used record shop(s)?

Tasty N Alder looks...tasty. How bad are the waits for brunch on Saturday? Is there a time (early, say at 9:00 or late, say at 1:00) when wait times are better?

Aug 15, 2013
lexdevil in Metro Portland

Saturday brunch near used record shop(s)?

Taking our son to college next week. In order to distract my husband from his empty nest pangs, we'll be hitting up Portland's used record shops on the Saturday (retail therapy is not only for women!). Would love to have a good casual brunch or lunch without going too far out of our way. Any suggestions?

Aug 15, 2013
lexdevil in Metro Portland

great pad thai in Berkeley-Oakland area?

I just skip it in favor of the Chan Pad Poo at Chai Thai. Though it's really just a Pad Thai variant w/ crab, it is much better. I can't understand why their Chan Pad Poo is so much better than their Pad Thai, unless they have simply grown accustomed to dumbing down the Pad Thai because it is such a favorite of the flavor averse.

Comal - Berkeley

Agree about the great service. We did table 30 (set menu for parties of 8-10) for my father's 76th birthday. The food ranged from good to excellent, but it was the service that really stood out. The few special arrangements we had made (simplified dishes for the under 10s, an extra dish and a chair with a back for my father) were all handled flawlessly. Our server was outstanding. The meal was well paced, dishes were cleared (and packed to take home) as needed, drink orders/reorders were prompt...

Additionally, the sound system is all it is cracked up to be. My father has a hard time in loud venues. Comal manages to sound buzzy and alive, while allowing diners to converse without raising their voices. I hope that this tech spreads to other restauarants; it makes for a very pleasant experience.

Breakfast Sandwich - SF Dish of the Month June 2013

I guess I'm cheating, because it was last month, but my son really enjoyed the Bacon, Avocado, and poached egg sandwich at Hopscotch. It is served with lettuce, tomato, and pickled shallots on a soft hamburger roll. Worth a visit.

Eater SF lists OAK eating choices (Oakland Airport)

They fail to mention the most reliable item at OAK, which is the Pancetta, Brie, and Fig sandwich at Vino Volo. Better than not half bad.

Anywhere decent to eat in Brentwood (Contra Costa cty)?

It's been a couple of years, but the Nam Kao Tod at Lone Tree Thai was pretty good when I had it. The bulk of the menu looks pretty standard, but Nam Kao Tod is unusual enough that its presence may point to a better than the usual suburban Thai restaurant. http://www.lonetreethai.com/

A Week in SF: Save our marriage!

My guess is that Zuni may be on his list because he's heard about the burger. If so, he needs to be okay with a $15 burger, not including fries. Add cheese, grilled onions, and a side of fries and you're looking at a $25 burger lunch for one, before tax and tip.

If the plan is to go for dinner, the burger is not an option. Most entrees will be in the $25-30 range. Certainly fair for San Francisco, but possibly not what your husband thinks of as cheap.

A Week in SF: Save our marriage!

Most (or at least many) CHers will happily eat at Great Eastern and Z & Y in Chinatown. In fact, I'd call them both very good choices to meet the OP's needs. Location is convenient to Union Square.

Hodo Soy Beanery - tofu sold in Bulk at a few Costco: Mtn View, Richmond

Richmond has Spicy Yuba Strips, Five Spice Tofu Nuggets, and blocks of Firm Tofu. Bought some recently. I think that the plain tofu was $5.25 or so for 2.25 lbs., and the flavored stuff was around $6ish for 1 lb.

Middle School Graduation dinner ideas

Location? Date? Any dietary restrictions or preferences?

Mandarin Garden in Berkeley

Mandarin Meatballs: Woo hoo! They're still really tasty. Next time I'll ask to pay extra to have them served with a green veg (an option back in the day). The bed of bean spouts didn't do much for them, but the meatballs are so yummy that I couldn't care less.

Double Skin: Very nice. Main difference from the Great China rendition is that Wing added the mustard and sauce to the dish separately, rather than mixing them together first. Ultimate result was nearly identical.

Honey Walnut Prawns: Despite the Great China chef, this dish is a pretty typical version with a thick, rich, mayo dense sauce. The Great China version was very unusual, with a thinner sauce that was orange scented.

Mandarin Garden in Berkeley

Happy to report that the stuffed eggplant is still very tasty. The string beans w/ a bit of shredded pork were solid. The filling on the pot stickers had good flavor and texture (I don't like it too homogeneous). The salt and pepper calamari was less successful. Not enough salt or pepper, and served with a dark sweet/vinegar based sauce on the side for dipping. Will return soon for further exploration.