o

OliverB's Profile

Title Last Reply

throw-back saturday: old-style veal parmigiana

I had an unfortunate veal parmigiana at The Sausage Factory last night before movies at the Castro. My wife's ravioli was equally terrible. This thread came to mind when I saw it on the menu and I decided to give it a try. It's not often that old style red sauce is done THAT bad!

Taking advantage of an airmiles/dining rewards offer to spend $30 at qualifying SF restaurant in exchange for 2K United miles. Which are worth visiting?

Update: the leftover "quesadillas" were gross. They look and taste like something which would come out of the frozen department at Costcos. Half of the inside is just air. The other half is just cheese. I'm not sure what makes it a quesadilla but I didn't eat it. It didn't help that they packaged it up without the salsa. Avoid La Urbana. You can find better Mexican at any price just about anywhere in the city.

Taking advantage of an airmiles/dining rewards offer to spend $30 at qualifying SF restaurant in exchange for 2K United miles. Which are worth visiting?

We just got back from Urbana and I'd be hard pressed to recommend it. It wasn't terrible but it's not someplace I'd ever see myself returning to. We started at the bar with an appetizer and cocktails while waiting for our table to clear. After chatting with the bartender for several minutes, we ordered two cocktails; I forget which specifically but both were not even drinkable. Mine was described to me as a sort of old fashioned with mezcal. It had chocolate bitters and chili but it was overly sweet and poorly mixed. My wife had a tequila based cocktail with agave and some other juices but it was not balanced at all. Both drinks were terrible, overly sweet and neither of us took more than a sip of each. Bar service was amateur as well. Nobody asked us how the drinks were once they were set in front of us and I had to wave down service a few times while interupting a couple of female servers who stood right in front of us behind the bar, chatting loudly for several long minutes about personal affairs (and using inappropriate language around customers). We ended up pushing the drinks to the far end of the bar and didn't touch them again. I normally would've said something right away but as we were seemingly ignored once the drinks arrived, I wanted to see how long it would take, or if anyone would eventually notice. Nobody did. We ordered a ceviche while at the bar which was quite forgettable if not somewhat unappetizing. It was chunky squares of tuna (not very flavorful) with pieces of avocado, all soaked in lime juice and served in a ridiculous mason jar garnished with cilantro. They served some stale tasting tortillas on the side. I guess this was supposed to be a cool playful way of plating but it was just dumb and inconvenient. You had to scoop the tuna out of the mason jar onto the chips. The entire thing was bland and frankly, chunks of tuna floating in a jar of lime juice does not look very appetizing. After 15-20 minutes or so, our table was ready and a server offered to carry the remainder of our ceviche and drinks to it. It was the first opportunity I had to complain about the cocktails. Both full glasses still sat at the edge of the bar and I decided to see how our server would handle the situation when I told her that she could leave them behind as they were not well made. She didn't even respond - no concern, no surprise. She simply nodded without affection and brought our ceviche to the table. I was so annoyed at this point that I decided to make light of the service and just wait until the end of the meal to bring this to attention. Our waiter showed up within seconds of being seated and asked us what we wanted before the menus even showed up. Service continued in this awkward manner throughout the meal. A different server brought us an amuse bouche of raspberry something or other which was basically just an overly sweet shot glass of juice with what I assume was chili infused sugar coating the rim. We each took a sip and set it aside. I ordered the braised short ribs and my wife had a quesedilla. Both dishes came out within minutes which I suppose is understandable for a plate of slow-cooked meat but my wife's quesadilla was obviously not cooked to order. I didn't taste her dish but she wasn't satisfied. My short rib was more like a brisket and was quite good but not special. It was served with some imperator carrots and some kind of squash puree with a whole pickled beet in the middle of it for some reason. The meat was fork tender and flavorful, the puree and carrots were nice, I'm not sure how the beet fit in. The flavors didn't compliment or balance one another. I left it aside. We had already run up a $100+ tab on a very mediocre meal so we decided to cut our losses and opt out on desert. I should mention at this point that when our waiter first greeted us at the table, he did mention the cocktails which we abandoned at the bar. I told him that they were poorly made and tasted bad, and he excused himself for a moment saying he would offer us something on the house. I'm not sure what that meant but we didn't want anything on the house, just acknowledgment from staff and hopefully an omission from the tab. Anyhow, he returned with nothing and curiously didn't follow up on the issue again. When he brought the bill at the end of dinner, nothing had been credited, at which point I finally complained and brought to his attention the earlier statement about resolving the drink issue. He again excused himself to speak with a manager and returned with a negotiation in poor taste, offering to comp one of the drinks. I was a bit taken aback by how poorly managed the entire floor seemed to be and questioned whether they were really going to charge us for a drink which was left untouched. He again excused himself to confer with a manager and returned with both cocktails struck from the bill. We paid, left a nice tip, and split. All in all, worth the 2k miles but spending half as much at Cane Rosso or Memphis Minnie's would have likely been a better value and more rewarding. I couldn't really find anything to recommend about the place. One consideration to note however, is that the menu changes regularly and was quite limited and disappointing this evening. It played safe (which might've been a good thing for this restaurant afterall) but when I compared photos and descriptions to some pictures on Yelp, I felt a bit shortchanged by what was offered. There's also not really anything for vegetarians, apart from the quesadilla which is why my wife ordered it. The server offered her that or avocados - don't recall the preparation. Her quesadilla was more like an empanada and deceptively named. It came as 4 or 5 fried puffs in the shape of seashells which stuffed with cheese and I'm not sure what else. The missus ended up taking it all to go, so I guess I'll find out at breakfast tomorrow. ;)

Taking advantage of an airmiles/dining rewards offer to spend $30 at qualifying SF restaurant in exchange for 2K United miles. Which are worth visiting?

I guess that's just SoMa! It looks like the type of place you'd find in Orange. I'm leaning back towards it on the strength of the food though. That was my first choice and I think that's what we'll do afterall! It seems to be the overhwelming concensus amongst those who've posted in the thread.

Sunnyside, based on your meal at Gilberth's way back when, you'd pick Urbana?

Between Skool and Urbana - where's the better value? (price point, quality, creativity, satisfaction)

Taking advantage of an airmiles/dining rewards offer to spend $30 at qualifying SF restaurant in exchange for 2K United miles. Which are worth visiting?

Thanks, the missus chose Gilberth, La Urbana, and Skool - in that order. I think I may book a table at Gilberth for Sunday night; just because the ambiance at Skool seems lacking. It looks to me like a suburban box restaurant and several Yelp reviewers seem to feel the same. I appreciate all the help!

Taking advantage of an airmiles/dining rewards offer to spend $30 at qualifying SF restaurant in exchange for 2K United miles. Which are worth visiting?

I've had their brisket a couple of times. It's inconsistent but I agree that when they're fired on all cyllinders, the result has been tender, juicy, and very good.

I've emailed the following to my wife and put the final selection in her hands - I'll report back on the final decision and how it fared:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/skool-san-fra...

http://www.yelp.com/biz/gilberths-rot...

http://www.yelp.com/biz/hoffmanns-gri...

http://www.yelp.com/biz/minas-brazili...

http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-urbana-san...

Taking advantage of an airmiles/dining rewards offer to spend $30 at qualifying SF restaurant in exchange for 2K United miles. Which are worth visiting?

I've ordered from Memphis Minnie's once or twice and it was fine for what it was - convenient delivery food to satisfy a bbq craving. It certainly did satisfy and everything I tried was tasty, but I wouldn't otherwise rate it much above the convenience factor.

I'll look into Pig & Whistle, I think my wife's been for trivia night before so maybe she'd like to do that. I'll delve deeper into the other restaurants you've named and see which wins out. So far, based on photos I've seen, Skool looks to potentially be the most creative.

Btw, if anyone is a Chase cardmember and currently enrolled with United, you can take advantage of this same offer by signing up for the United Dining Rewards (I believe that's what it's called) at no cost. You just sign in to United MilagePlus and register a credit card. Then spend $30 at a participating restaurant and post a short review on their site. Not bad for 2K air miles! Come to think of it, you may not even need to be a Chase customer... worth looking into.

Taking advantage of an airmiles/dining rewards offer to spend $30 at qualifying SF restaurant in exchange for 2K United miles. Which are worth visiting?

Thanks, we're going to give Skool a shot. I'll revive this thread with a quick review after we try it.

Taking advantage of an airmiles/dining rewards offer to spend $30 at qualifying SF restaurant in exchange for 2K United miles. Which are worth visiting?

I can always count on you, Robert!

Skool looks the most interesting based on your feedback so we'll likely give it a shot. Thanks for your input!

Taking advantage of an airmiles/dining rewards offer to spend $30 at qualifying SF restaurant in exchange for 2K United miles. Which are worth visiting?

By the looks of them, none really seem Chowhound review worthy. Lots of prosaic family chains and the kind of colorless, undistinguished run-of-the-mill restaurants you might find delivered through GrubHub. I'd like to know if anyone can single out one that might be worth visiting and spending the money on. Keep in mind the min. tab is $30 to qualify so a sandwich place like Ike's is not helpful unless we plan to stock up for the week. Expectations are low so I'm maybe thinking a solid straightforward brunch place might be the best bet. Is there anything remotely interesting or inspired from the list below? The following are all eligible restaurants within 5 miles of my zipcode:

The Cabin
Pancho's Mexican Grill
Ristorante Ti Piacera
Escape From New York Pizza
Polkers Gourmet Burgers
Saha
Aux Delices
Elephant Sushi
Sutter Pub & Restaurant
Piraat
Cesario Brasserie
Blue Light Cafe
Extreme Pizza
Colibri
Roxanne Cafe
Last Drop
The Slide
Million Thai Restaurant A...
Chouquet's
Dino & Santinos
US Restaurant
Pizza Inferno
Elephant Sushi Golden Gat...
India Curry House
Extreme Pizza
Urban Curry
Eastside West Restaurant
Harrow
Pomodoro Gourmet Pizza & ...
Kombu Kitchen
YUZU
Bubble Lounge
Lava Indian & Pakistani B...
Lolli's Castagnola
Gaylord Indian Restaurant
Unicorn Pan Asian Cuisine
Buca di Beppo
Il Cane Rosse
Minas Gerais Brazilian Restaurant
Butterfly Restaurant
Extreme Pizza
Big Chef Tom's Belly Burger
CANDYBAR
Fearless
Red Dog
La Urbana
Butter
Region
Memphis Minnie's BBQ Joint
The Pig and Whistle
Blueprint Tap Room
Grand Pu Bah
Bravado Lounge
Pancho Villa Taqueria
Skool
We Be Sushi
Ike's Place
Pancho's Mexican Grill
Nombe
Regalito Rosticeria
Market & Rye
Mason
GS Riverside BBQ
Blowfish Sushi
North Beach Pizza
Escape From New York Pizza
Yuubi Japanese Restaurant
Hoffmann's Grill And Roti...
El Metate
Gilberth's Rotisserie & G...
Blackthorn Tavern
Will Sushi
Cybelle's Front Room
Ernesto's Italian Restaur...
Aracely Cafe
Mozzarella Di Bufala Pizz...

Bay Area Burmese Restaurant Roundup 2.0

Just popped in to say that this thread inspired me to order in from Mandalay tonight via Postmates (a new Uber style delivery service). As far as I'm concerned, it's still the best in the Bay Area!

I realize the purpose of this thread is just to provide a cross reference of restaurants serving Burmese food, but it might be nice to attribute some ratings and rankings to them as well; especially the newer ones for comparison's sake.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams truck in the Bay through Sunday

Are they selling pints as well as scoops?

SF in January

Fog City as "a 1930s history lesson" in what way?

It opened as a retro diner in the 1980's and last year's renovation (read homogenization) gutted the interior and stripped the chrome siding replacing it with yet another boring and generic eatery in a city of thousands more worthy of patronizing. If the place once offered anything in the way of incentive to visit, it was the unique and well created atmosphere - surely not the food. Now it's got nothing going for it. Certainly nothing in the way of a 1930's history lesson; if only!

Molecular Gastronomy restaurant in Berkeley, SF, or Oakland, preferably around $70-100 per person

You're right and that's why I suggested Commis which seems like a perfect fit - not sure what prices are like these days as I haven't been in a couple of years and don't remember what I paid back when. I had thought they already decided on AQ when I commented above. If not, and if it's within their budget, I still recommend Commis for the experience they're seeking.

SF in January

Definitely skip Umami Burger! Even if you wanted to prioritize hamburgers, there are far better places. Balboa Cafe nearby grills a much better burger. If you're going to be in N.Beach area for lunch then Orig. Joe's is probably my favorite in SF proper. Umami Burger's a waste imo.

Molecular Gastronomy restaurant in Berkeley, SF, or Oakland, preferably around $70-100 per person

You should be fine with AQ at that price point for 2 people if you go easy on drinks and stick to a cocktail each.

Molecular Gastronomy restaurant in Berkeley, SF, or Oakland, preferably around $70-100 per person

It's never been my experience but then I tend to (within reason) either not put dollar constraints on dining out within a certain category of restaurant or else I'll purposefully chose restaurants that fit into an anything goes budget, if I need to be mindful. In other words, I wouldn't chose to eat at a place like AQ if I had to be conscious of spending and put restrictions on the menu; I'd just go elsewhere and save it for when I'm able to indulge.

Foie Gras Is Legal in California Again!

Interesting, so all restaurants with foie grass on the menu will be importing from out of state? In that case, I really don't see how this impacts anyone. I bet it will blow over with Bay Area chefs in a few months and nobody will be giving it much thought. As for regular duck livers, I imagine most chefs purchase ducks whole - but with exception of a handful of kitchens (think places like SBP and ethnic restaurants) I'm guessing most livers are disposed of rather than served to customers or incorporated into meal preparation.

Molecular Gastronomy restaurant in Berkeley, SF, or Oakland, preferably around $70-100 per person

I love AQ (it's in my contempo top 10 in the city) but I would definitely pick Commis for the occasion. The preparation, ingredients, plating, flavors, boldness, and seating beside the open kitchen layout all make for a much more unique (to the Bay Area!) and overall more daring restaurant. AQ is consistent and can also be interesting but it depends on how you navigate the menu. Commis is more experimental. I've only been to Commis once and would love to return (in fact, after this response I'm penciling it in for next month!) but it's not a restaurant I visit as regularly as AQ; perhaps in part due to it's experimentation, if that makes any sense. It's more of an infrequent destination. It's a lot of fun and based on the experience your girlfriend expressed interest in seeking, I'm sure she would enjoy it.

Edit: This quote from Robert re. AQ better explains my earlier comment towards my general preference for AQ over Commis' experimentation - perfectly summed up:

"their use of modernist techniques always seemed very restrained, which is one of the things I liked about it."

Go to Commis for a really fun and unqiue experience. Go to AQ for a consistently great meal; it's more genuine and down to earth. Focus is more on the food and flavors than wow factor. Your girlfriend wants molecular though so do Commis. You'll have a memorable meal.

Foie Gras Is Legal in California Again!

Here's an interesting article which mirrors what Robert's already added to the debate: http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/12/th...

I've grown up in Montreal and suffice to say, I've eaten my fair share of foie gras; it's inescapable on most menus back home. It's never been a big deal - ethically or culinarily. Until I moved to California, I never really considered the moral implications. Admittedly, when news of the repeal surfaced, I was on the fence. I'm obviously a carnivore and certainly a hypocrite about my practices. I would never willingly hunt or kill an animal, for food or otherwise. Yet I eat meat because we (as humans) are conditioned to; because it tastes good; and most importantly, because it's available. I often rationalize my position with the poor defense that if I somehow had the ability to end all farmed production of meat throughout the world, I would not only welcome but champion vegetarianism. That holds true. The reality is that it won't ever come to fruition within our time and so I maintain a double standard of weakness and indulgence which ultimately contrasts with my stance on animal rights, simply because slaughterhouses do exist and animals will continue to be farmed and killed for human consumption. Instead, I chose to be a responsible consumer.

Until I came across the above article, I had made a personal decision to abstain from foie gras, but I no longer see any reason to do so. I'm rather indifferent to the decision and if anything, this repeal just means that duck farms in CA can be more efficient with regards to waste now. It's not like hundreds of thousands of birds will be slaughtered for foie gras; it just means farmers won't have to throw away their livers anymore. In consideration of everything above, I'm inclined to think that foie gras is really no worse (morally objective) than eating roast duck or Peking duck in a Chinese restaurant; or any other type of poultry or fowl for that matter, and that depending on your level of conscientiousness (assuming you care about things like responsible free range farming) when dining out, it probably fares better 9 times out of 10 due to the market that most producers sell to; at least in California. Foods sourced cheaply (ie. unethical commercial grade chicken farms) will be more abundant on low-cost menus that serve a general market, since most people don't consider or care about these things, whereas upmarket restaurants serving high quality ingredients like foie gras, don't want to buy sick ducks.

Anchor Oyster Bar question... [San Francisco]

That's the one! It closes early but it's perfect for a quick bite (cheese, charcuterie, wine, sandwiches, salads, etc) if you're trying to make a 7pm screening.

Anchor Oyster Bar question... [San Francisco]

Hmm, what is the Italian grocery & specialty foods shop across the street that has a cold cut/deli case and a couple of small round tables in the middle of the room? They mostly sell packaged (I think import) and canned foods with a few small prepared salads and pastas, if memory serves.

Tablehopper's "Bore No More" annual column

How's about the industrial concrete warehouse loft interior design trend. I can't wait for that to pass!

Anchor Oyster Bar question... [San Francisco]

Thanks chocolatetartguy!

I just responded to your thread before having read your post above and I will certainly stop by your booth to say hi! I'll shoot you an email with screening dates and perhaps we could meet for a quick bite. In past years, we've mostly relied on Rossi's Deli like you, which has always been fine. It's usually empty in the evenings and we've always managed to grab one of the few tables and have a quick "picnic" of cold pasta & salads, charcuterie, cheese, and wine. Thanks for letting me know about the Mexican place; I'll keep that in mind for this year!

Enjoy the festival and I'll be in touch!

Any new places in the Castro district? [San Francisco]

I was at the Val Lewton screening a few weeks back and we ran across the street (half a block down - a few shops up from 18th) to a little wine bar which was fast, uncrowded, and satisfying. I ordered the charcuterie which was very good, especially the pate which I think was wild boar. Good inexpensive wine selection too. We were in and out in under 25 mins. and easily could have done it quicker. It might be easy to walk past as the facade is under construction and without any visible sign, it's easy to miss. It's a good choice if want something better than the cheeseburgers next door.

NYE pizza delivery [San Francisco]

We do have a pizza cutter - good tip!

NYE pizza delivery [San Francisco]

Thanks Robert!

Sounds like Little Star is the winner for tonight. I'll add Gioia to my list too as I love NY style and have yet to find a substitute in SF. We usually just order from Victor's on Polk for convenience but it doesn't come close.

Happy New Year!

NYE pizza delivery [San Francisco]

Gonna play it low-key and order in pizza and wine tonight from Caviar. I'm not familiar with all/most of the restaurants and wanted to get some quick feedback. The only sure thing is that we want really good pizza delivery; nothing else. How would you rank the following against one another?

- Tony's Napoletana
* been many times; the only one I'm really familiar with.

- Capo's
* Chicago style; also been before but not recently.

- Little Star
* also Chicago style but never tried it.

- A16
* never tried it but I like that they offer wine delivery.

- il Casaro Pizzeria & Mozzarella Bar
* never tried it.

- Mozzeria
* Napoli style; not familiar at all.

- Gioia
* Tuscan style? not familiar at all.

What's our best bet for great pizza delivery tonight? Which would you go with; which to avoid?

French Fries: SFBA Dish of the Month December 2014

Oops typo but that's the place!

Anchor Oyster Bar question... [San Francisco]

Bummer... thanks for your 2 cents though.

For a quick bite, I find the burger joint next to the theater servicable. There's a wine bar just across the street that's decent enough as well for charcuterie and cheese. A small Italian grocery as well. Neither are quite what I had in mind nor especially exciting though. Oh well, I guess we can always eat elsewhere ahead of time. I'll plan to do Anchor only one night when we have ample time as it doesn't seem well suited to making a regular nightly hangout.