sarafinadh's Profile

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Solo dining in Paris

Actually, it is just an opinion.

If you are dining with others it is up to them to determine if it is rude, not those sitting at other tables. I myself would not, were I dining with others, but some demographics might not share this taboo.

As far as when one is dining on one's own? For all of my life I have read books while dining out alone. Now I flip open my phone and queue up what ever I am currently reading and enjoy my story.

I want to be clear I am not talking about an activity such as talking on the phone. That generates noise and is justifiably the business of anyone within ear shot.

But silent activity on an electronic device? One would be awfully entitled to feel they had the right to object.

I am back from six weeks in Europe, and spent three of them in Paris. Where I saw Parisians of all ages pulling out devices in all sorts of restaurants. Rarely was it to talk and then only briefly. But checking texts and emails? Absolutely. Once even at Lapérouse, that bastion of old world sensibility ; -)

Oct 15, 2014
sarafinadh in France

(long) Florence Trip Report


Google maps shows as permanently closed. I am hoping they are wrong.

Sep 19, 2014
sarafinadh in Italy

(long) Florence Trip Report

Well we will have to wait and see if they are open tomorrow!

Sep 19, 2014
sarafinadh in Italy

(long) Florence Trip Report

In Florence and just looked. Da Ruggero is showing as permanently closed. Can anyone confirm this?

Thanks for all the good info!

Sep 19, 2014
sarafinadh in Italy

Last minute advice for a Boston Chowhound visiting for 4 days

In a town where a splurge could equal a down payment on a small house in other places my favorite 'splurge' that I can actually afford is The Palace, at Mission and Cesar Chavez. Just a short block from 24th street BART and a block off the start of the hipster Valencia Corridor that you will enjoy immensely is a fun and funky but also really wonderful husband wife team stealth eatery.

Prix Fixe menu for around $50 per person.

Lovely interesting preparations, beautifully plated with interesting and surprising pairings. Modest Flights to go with, if you choose, or by the glass wine.

Recent offerings were goat three ways, kobe beef thingy, quail three ways,

The chef has a very nice way with his sauces. The demi on the kobe was wonderful.

You won't regret it.

Ignore the confused reviews. There used to be a down at heel steak house, The Palace Family Steak House, there for decades and the reviews from that are mixed in with the new venture in the space.

We dined at Chez TJ's one night and The Palace the next and The Palace compared very favorably!!

Need help in Venice finding Cuttlefish ink risotto that is fantastic.

To late to help OP, but summer of 2011 we ate at Osteria Al Cantinon, and the Spouse had cuttlefish ink on something. I would have said it was risotto, but possibly it was pasta or polenta. But definitely squid ink, and a delicious meal in charming surroundings. Inside was warm and cheerful and the seating along the tiny canal was wonderful. We wound up moving inside as the evening cooled down.

Jun 27, 2014
sarafinadh in Italy

Classic Steak Tartare

This was a good traditional version. I added a bit of salt and black pepper. I skipped the chili and used very little Tabasco, but I haven't' got a very high tolerance for Capsicum. Made a yummy breakfast...

If eating raw grosses you out what ARE you doing on Chow???

Sep 15, 2013
sarafinadh in Recipes

Best quality sushi in San francico

Why would you eat nigiri fish that has been frozen?

Best quality sushi in San francico

I suggest Ichi Sushi on Mission. They are in the old Yo's location, and while I wish Yo the best in his well deserved retirement, I miss him and his fine food.

Ichi has been a happy entry into the field

Best quality sushi in San francico

errr.... by boat???

By air my man, By air.

Best Cheese pizzas?

I have had the White Pie many times. It's great with bacon and onion added. The beer list is always changing so it's hard to say what you will find. I usually go for the ciders and lambics.

Best Cheese pizzas?

π (Pi) on Valencia in San Francisco does an all cheese pizza called the white pie with Mozzarella, Ricotta & Reggiano that would be worth trying. I think they have an exceptional pie and would be interested in how it compares. Worthy beer list as well.


How can I make Panko?

I like a good pugaliese style loaf. A few days into 'stale' improves the shredding quality. Slice it as thin as you are able and then shred lightly with your fingers. Triming the crusts off makes the bread easier to shred. You could dry them in a low oven, or even with just the light on.

I don't get all the drama. My nona would roll in her grave if I bought bread crumbs. She taught me how to make my own. A bread board that catches the crumbs when you slice your bread makes a nice fine crumb. An immersion blender will work as well but you need to make a cover to keep it from spraying out all over. Dry slices in the food processor makes a range, depending on how fine you want it.

But when I want a breadcrumb with the large open airyness of the japanese style bread crumb, I slice and shred by hand.

It's not rocket science. It's breadcrumbs...

Nov 06, 2012
sarafinadh in Home Cooking

Where can I buy SF Sourdough starter ?

That is really great info! Thanks so much!!

Where can I buy SF Sourdough starter ?

and Boudin's is rabid about not sharing their starter. Ever.

Alemany Farmer's Market Report

For years I have been buying eggs from the ladies in the adjacent lot outside the actual market. They are gone! Anyone know where else they sell, or remember the name on the side of the truck? These were the folks who sold live chickens, quail, rabbits etc... I miss the eggs!

Eating in Missoula Montana

We did 5 days in Missoula recently and were very pleasantly surprised. There are a few very nice options for dining in town and while not a foodies paradise, we did not suffer at all! Sadly it's been long enough that I only remember the highlights, not all the foodie details, but it's at least enough to point you in the right direction if you are in Missoula looking for somewhere to eat!

Red Bird http://www.redbirdrestaurant.com/
is the town's standard 'hip restaurant' and the bar, which offers eat in options from the menu, and the dining room were both popular with the crowd of folks we were traveling with. The menu was fresh and interesting. The preparations were nicely plated and tasty. They had fresh wild Alaskan salmon, that had been caught the day before and flown in by a friend of the owner, grilled and served over delicious quinoa. It was good, but I ordered it rare and it came very well done. The Spouse had an ancho chile pumpkin mole duck breast, which he enjoyed immensely. I had a soup which was delicious and he also had a salad. The house made sausage was tasty. The wine list was a little limited, but Himself found things on it to like and dessert was good as well. Service was very good and the owner was moving around overseeing things in a caring and thoughtful way.

Scotty's Grill http://scottystable.net/
was our best meal of the visit. We arrived late and they were very friendly and the service hit that perfect blend of friendly and professional with out being too familiar. Food was all good. The tempura artichoke hearts were very satisfying. I was craving pasta and the summer cappollini sounded great but I wanted a bit of protein a well. The server suggested a poached egg and pancetta to 'beef it up a bit' with turned out to be delicious. Himself had the crispy tender little quail and they were yummy. I was barely able to get a bite from him! There was dessert that was good, a berry crisp that was nicely executed! The glass of late harvest wine with it was lively and fortuitous as well...

Pearl's http://www.pearlcafe.us/
Caveat; We were unable to eat here unfortunately. Due to recent economic issues and a drop in business they have shortened their late night hours and we arrived after the kitchen was closed. They offered us dessert, but we were in need of real sustenance and so the maître d' graciously called Scotty's to make sure they were still serving and made a reservation for us there. Friends who did dine there liked it a great deal and what we saw being cleared away looked very promising.

Bernice's Bakery http://www.bernicesbakerymt.com/
Ah. Heaven is a good bakery in the morning. Bernice's prepares many of the desserts for restaurants thru out town. We had croissants with nice fillings and quiche that was creamy and beautiful. The coffee was good, if not exactly Peet's, and the danish was tender and delicious. When I ordered my quiche an requested it be warmed a bit, but NOT microwaved the counter person looked starteled and said "oh, we don't have a microwave, that would ruin the crust!" Their warming oven rendered the quiche tender and melting without the unfortunate soggy crust often found outside a warmed up pastry.

Ciao Mambo http://www.ciaomambo.com/
Good basic bistro italian. Surprisingly, a chain. Didn't know that until I looked up the website today. Appetizers were ok. Tootsie rolls were a bit bland but tasty enough. The Bocconcini Fritti were not. Tasted very pre-prepared and had a heavy, greasy texture with no flavour. The Spouse liked his Fettuccini alla Lulubella and I have to say the steak I had, the Costata al Marsala, was really nice. I have an allergy to mushrooms that's pretty serious and I ordered it without the 'shrooms. When it arrived with they were more than gracious about taking it back and firing up a new one, not just removing the mushrooms and re saucing it. And they were quick about it as well. Dessert was a huge basket of Zeppolis, like baby beignets They were good, but the dipping sauces were stale and gooey. we ate them plain with just the powdered sugar.

The Shack http://www.theshackcafe.com/
This was good enough we went back again. Both breakfasts we had were very good. The huckleberry pancakes were awesome. Just delightful. One was the size of a plate and all I could eat. I don't know who could eat a stack of 3! Despite the name, this place is not a shack and the dining room was nice, but the outdoor patio in front was our favorite for sitting and watching Missoula go by. Omelets were good as well. Steamed chocolate made me very happy. Corned beef has was out of a can and not offensive, but nothing to write home about.

El Cazador 101 South Higgins Missoula, MT 59802 406-728-3657
Basic cheerful family style Mexican. They dealt pretty well with a large party on not much notice and everyone found something enjoy. lemonade had a powered mix taste.

A Drive-in at Broadway and Adams; Can't recall the name, but we had shakes and burgers there. Service was friendly and the burgers and fries were good. Made the mistake of ordering a dreamsicle shake that was just nasty... I guess you have to like the taste of orange soda syrup much more than I do. The spouse's shake was fine.

All in all we enjoyed our stay. Next time we would be back at Pearls earlier in the evening, and I think we would do Scotty's twice we enjoyed it so much! Missoula is a beautiful town with many hiking and rafting opportunities. The Saturday farmers market was fun as well. Missoul was THE most dog friendly place I have ever been, and coming from San Francisco that's saying something!

Red Bird
Missoula, MT, Missoula, MT

Jul 30, 2009
sarafinadh in Mountain States

Foodsaver - bags or roll?

just got my foodsaver, V3840 and while I like the quality of the seals Iam not so much liking where the machine puts the seal. Wen I am making a bag I want to get it to seal with out creating sides over an inch deep, which wastes bag material. Anyone know how to sidestep whatever the internal system is that only triggers the sealer when the bag material is inserted deeply into the slot?


Jul 30, 2009
sarafinadh in Cookware

Dungeness crab $/lb at your local stores?

Mission and 23rd.

2.99 a pound

fresh out of the tank and rocking in the bag ta get out.

sweet, sweet, sweet.


Incanto: I love it.

You hit a real rough spot. Incanto, for years now has been a steady supplier of top notch rustic Italian, if you can use the descriptor rustic for some of the most beautifully composed cuisine...

It's too bad you didn't mention your lack of satisfaction. Incanto is the sort of place that steps up to the bat with gusto and would have happily helped you reorder something more to your taste. I know it's difficult sometimes, but really, most restaurants world rather hear about a problem with a dish at the table, that night rather than here... especially a place with as solid reputation as Incanto...

Better than bouillon?

used it for years. only flavour I don't use is the mushroom (i am alergic) and I love it. Honestly I don't even stock hansens cans anymore. the ham baser is good for many soups. lobster is good when you need a court bouillon. I order it online in the big jars for the price break.

Nov 02, 2008
sarafinadh in Home Cooking

Seafood on Fisherman's Wharf

I have to say as touristy as Scoma's is I still love it... they do the traditional stuff so well.. and if you have to eat at Pier 39 French Louis is pretty good and fairly reasonable. I happen to think they have an excellent clam chowder.

but you could catch the cable car over the hill and go to Farallone or Aqua for amazing seafood.

Ride the street car up to the Castro and go to the Woodhouse Fish Company or the Anchor Oyster bar


Best corned beef hash?

Fattoush on Church.. Made with real corned beef, noting that ever saw the inside of a can!

Which is pretty interesting given the middle eastern bent of this restaurant... But the hash... uber good chunks seasoned how you like it; mild to spicy.


Private dining rooms

Delancy Street on the Embarcadero, soma.

Cafe Bastille on Belden Place

Show some pride SF

In the Mission... try the Front Porch on 29th near Mission. Carribe fusion and just wonderful...

I love Ti Couz for lunch on a sunny day, sit outside.

Fattoush on Church for a wonderful sunday brunch.

Union Square Luncheon for 20 to 30?

Cafe Bastille in Belden Place might fit the bill... They have a downstairs room that might be just right for a party the size of yours. They do pri fixe so you might get your price point met.... but maybe not. I don't wanna sound like a city snob, but.... maybe 20 bucks would do a lunch in Ohio.... you will be pressed to manage that in downtown SF anywhere that isn't just a cafe...


How have/did your eating preferences change when pregnant?

huge odor sensitivity developed early so not only did I not eat garlic, my poor husband couldn't have caesar salad while I was expecting... but I went from an occasional chicken or fish eater to craving red meat in a huge way. The spouse gave up asking what I wanted for dinner and just started pulling over at the steak house near our home when we were on the way by... and egg salad.. I always liked it but while I was pregnant I ate it 4 or 5 times a week... had it for lunch the day I delivered... remember barfing during transition and thinking, "wow, I guess my body knew the baby was coming early even if I didn't" because it was almost unaltered from when I had scarfed it 12 hours earlier....

hows that for TMI??

; -)


Mar 29, 2008
sarafinadh in General Topics


I was raised on filet... but as a young adult was introduced to the spencer/delmonico steak. which turns out to be a very fine ribeye. Still my favorite over all for flavour and tenderness combined with enough fat to give me something to savour....


Mar 29, 2008
sarafinadh in General Topics