OliverB's Profile

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Bostonians with kids need to vet our dining plan

I'm not familiar with Bodega and have had mixed experiences with Bar Tartine. Some tend to love it and others not so much; I'm in the latter group. Locanda is excellent and my favorite of your selections, the menu is really well rounded and everything I've ever had has been excellent. SPQR is more hit & miss. It feels like the kitchen is more into experimenting, which doesn't always work. Some things are done really well and when they're firing on all cylinders, it can be great. I've never had a 100% consistent meal at SPQR however. We always end up with a couple of dishes that just don't seem to work for us. Don't bother with ramen in SF. There is really no good ramen to be found, unfortunately. You can find good Asian near GG Park in the Richmond District. If you're set on Japanese, there's a pretty good izakaya nearby - the name escapes me but I'm sure someone will chime in. I'll let others expand on the strength of Asian food in the Richmond as it's been several months since I've been out that way.

about 22 hours ago
OliverB in San Francisco Bay Area

Pizza Margherita: SFBA Dish of the Month August 2015

This is exactly what I thought as well and like doubledeuce80, this used to be my go-to date night spot for a casual evening in North Beach with a cask of house wine, fagioli or burrata salad, prosciutto and melon and a pizza to share followed by lungo espressos and maybe a slice of tiramisu. I was also really bummed that they fancied up the warm and inviting interior in the most boring and generic possible way. Gone are the nostalgic red checkered tablecloths and tiled floors; replaced by a sleek and soulless re-design with dark wood, track lighting, flat screen television, etc. They even turned the food counter display in the back of the dining room into a cheesy looking bar. It's like a bad cliche of what neighborhood gentrification is supposed to look like or something. My wife took friends for dinner only weeks prior to my last visit and said that it still had that old style family neighborhood feel so I guess the renovation must have been pretty recent. I won't likely be back anytime soon.

Roast Dungeness crab with garlic noodles: PPQ, Lotus or other? [San Francisco]

Were the Dungeness from Washington?

I used to love PPQ but haven't been in almost 2 years for some reason. I plan to fix that as soon as the local season rolls around!

Pizza Margherita: SFBA Dish of the Month August 2015

I just had dinner at BaoNecci two weeks ago and ordered the Margherita. I had not been in almost a full year but this used to be my benchmark for Neapolitan pizza in the city and truth be told, I was a bit disappointed. The crust was too soft, thin and watery even though sauce was minimal. I asked for an extra well done pizza, expecting a crispier yet still fluffy and charred crust. Overall I just thought that it wasn't nearly as good as previous visits. Anyone else feel the same?

great spicy noodles without soup

Just one addition: if you're not entirely fixed on hot spice levels, I have to say that Azalina's hokkien mee is one of my favorite noodle dishes in the city. Thank you sopupcon for turning me on!!

great spicy noodles without soup

Muracci's do a pretty good (though not earth shattering) udon noodle smothered in spicy beef curry. You can choose your level of spice.

I did a take-out order from SO Restaurant in SoMa last week and while it doesn't really fit the 'spicy' criteria, their black bean noodles were truly excellent though rather mild, despite the inclusion of diced jalapenos. They have many noodle dishes and while I won't list everything that we had in this particular thread, I'm eager to explore more of their menu.

Best pancakes in Bay Area?

I haven't had them in years but I used to really like Mama's in North Beach, minus the line-ups.

Who does the wall menus at crepe places?

This sounds like the setup to a really good Seinfeld episode.

They are done by a master painter who was driven out of his native Breton; alienated by his rebellious spirit, unabashed creativity and virtuoso technical abilities which flew in the conservative faces of authority in the crepe world.

Just kidding, I have no idea.

Anything good or noteworthy around Silver Lake?

Thanks SO much, ricepad! That is such a huge help and I really appreciate it!!

Jul 19, 2015
OliverB in California

Fresh pasta?

Does The Italian Homemade Co. not fit the bill?

Dirty Water - SF

Maybe they're Standells fans?

Japantown area [San Francisco]

There's a small and seemingly disengaged movement to save J-Town from it's inevitable wholesale cultural displacement, as I'm sure you know that much of the land and real estate has been purchased by wealthy SoCal investors who have been waiting for terms of due diligence to expire for the mall and hotel. I think the Kabuki is under threat as well. There's actually an ongoing "exhibit" (I use the term loosely) on the second floor of the mall in one of the many vacant retail spaces which is sort of a sad reflection on the way the community is ineffectually "mobilizing" to address the future of the neighborhood. Even passing through the mall, you would hardly know that it's there. I've seen more thoughtful and better realized projects in elementary schools. The city could care less (I wonder if the majority of the population is even aware of what's going on in that neighborhood) and I guess the residents and passive business owners aren't outspoken either which leaves me to wonder if there's any vested interest in preserving the cultural identity of Japantown for the future of San Francisco at all?

Japantown area [San Francisco]

I'm not sure why Octavia gets neglected so much on this board but you could add it to the list as well. While it's entirely different and perhaps not fair to compare, I much prefer it to SPQR.

Anything good or noteworthy around Silver Lake?

Thanks so much, ricepad -- for the interesting history lesson, funny anecdotes, and very helpful information!

I know and love Munnerlyn's ice cream and we've been a number of times on past trips in the area. Initially, I was going to take the I-50 through El Dorado and Diamond Springs to catch the US-88 but I've decided to take the slightly longer and more interesting state route through the foothills instead so we're going to stop at Giannini's in Pine Grove for dinner on our way in followed by Munnerlyn's and probably a quick stop at Teresa's Place in Jackson on the drive home for an early dinner, time permitting.

I've already made dinner reservations at Kit Carson Lodge for Saturday night, mostly for the sake of convenience and the picturesque deck overlooking Silver Lake. I wouldn't want to spoil the sense of escapism and slow pace of time with extensive planning, driving, etc. I'll probably stick with whatever the simplest preparation is on the menu, though we'll definitely be visiting Kirkwood for lunch over the weekend.

Thanks again!!

PS - I know this is entirely off-topic but could you recommend any moderate day hikes (no more than 3-4 hrs) in the area to get into the high country and hopefully see some wildlife, experience the most scenic views, glacial lakes, etc. while avoiding heavy foot traffic? I've read that the Carson Pass trail to Round Top and Winnemucca Lake can feel like Fifth Ave on summer weekends. I plan to pack some granola and trail mix, forgo breakfast at the loge, and head out for the high sierras at sunrise.

Jul 18, 2015
OliverB in California

Anything good or noteworthy around Silver Lake?

If we end up taking the 88 route instead (doubtful!) would Teresa's Place in Jackson or Gianni's in Pine Grove be better recommended for a dinner en route?

Jul 18, 2015
OliverB in California

Anything good or noteworthy around Silver Lake?

I actually love driving along the old Gold Rush route and we usually try to do it once a year. I love all of the old mid century road stops and weathered Victorian hotel saloons. We've actually uncovered some great food along the route. We're venturing deeper into the Sierras this time though. I'm really bummed to learn that Poor Red's Bar-B-Q in El Dorado was shuttered last year. Apparently the owners were jailed for tax evasion! Thankfully, I've read that the restaurant is slated to reopen at some point this summer, after some minor work to bring things up to code. Their tel. number is still in service and I just called to leave a message. It's highly unlikely that they'll be back in biz by the time we blow through, but I'm crossing my fingers nonetheless as I was looking forward to stopping in on the drive up. I suppose we could always have dinner in Sacramento though.

Jul 17, 2015
OliverB in California

Anything good or noteworthy around Silver Lake?

Northern California; near Carson Pass in the El Dorado Nat'l Forest.

We're staying 2 nights at Kit Carson Lodge:


I just discovered Kirkwood Inn approx. 7 mins. away, which looks like a great spot for lunch with plenty of old Sierra atmosphere. The food looks surprisingly great for such a remote location - especially the blackberry pie. We'll definitely be trying it out for lunch.

There's also another historic road stop right around Amador in the Sierra foot hills called Ham's Station. It's a bit out of the way, has extremely polarizing reviews, and doesn't seem to be worth the effort. It's about 25 mins. from Kit Carson Lodge and situated at the edge of the old forty-niner route, NE of the historic gold rush towns of Pine Grove and Volcano. It's a bit too divey for me and I doubt we'll bother.

I'd prefer to stay in our immediate surrounds as the lodge is very much a destination. The only downside is that food options are usually few and far between (and servicable at best) in such remote locations. Kit Carson purports to have an excellent dining room but their website isn't entirely convincing. If I could get a decent quality steak for dinner, I'd be a happy man but I was really hoping to find some hidden gem in the area that serves up really excellent local fare like fresh caught lake trout and homemade pies, etc. Nothing fancy, just simple but soulful lodge cooking. So far Kirkwood Inn looks like our best option for that type of meal. I'm also considering a pre-road trip visit to the SF Ferry Bldg before we leave to pack a cooler for the weekend, though I'm not sure how well items will keep. At the end of the day, food is not the focus, so we'll just have to adjust expectations and hope for the best!

Jul 17, 2015
OliverB in California

Anything good or noteworthy around Silver Lake?

I just booked a last minute getaway at Kit Carson Lodge for next weekend and I was wondering whether there is anything good to eat in the area? Also interested in fun places of historic interest; mid century and earlier. Can anyone comment on the restaurant at the lodge?

Thanks for any help!

Jul 17, 2015
OliverB in California

1 French restaurant/bistro needed for upcoming visit!

Thank you so much! Majestique is another new place that wasn't on my radar but it looks just like my speed!! What was this place previously, an old greasy spoon? Does it get really crowded at night and do you know if they serve oysters during Sunday brunch?

We actually aren't blowing through until mid-September but with so many friends and family to reconnect with, I figured it best to plan far ahead.

1 French restaurant/bistro needed for upcoming visit!

One more question: is Au Pied du Cochon still doing Sunday brunch and is it still walk-in only? I can't find anything about it on their website.

1 French restaurant/bistro needed for upcoming visit!

PS - I just noticed that Le Comptoir does brunch now. Would anyone recommend that?

1 French restaurant/bistro needed for upcoming visit!

Thanks so much everyone. It sounds like it's a toss up between Bouillon Bilk and Le Comptoir. While most of you seem to champion the former, I'm still not sold on the ambiance. I think we might do Le Comptoir for old time's sake as I haven't been in many years and I like introducing the wife to spots I've enjoyed in the past. We'll try Buvette for wine and maybe a charcuterie and cheese plate.

Re. APDCD, I should have clarified that my wife doesn't eat any red meat or duck so that pretty much rules it out. The only thing left on the menu is the seafood platter or daily catch and I don't want to take her to a place where she only has one single menu option.

1 French restaurant/bistro needed for upcoming visit!

Thanks Josie!

How's the atmosphere at Bouillon Bilk? I was a bit apprehensive from the photos I'd seen online... they sort of reminded me of the reception room in my grandmother's condo; ie. plain white walls with no visible artwork or any semblance of interior design that I could detect, bright recessed canned lighting, etc. Is it warmer and more inviting than the photos as described?

Re. Balsam Inn, I made dinner reservations because I figured it suited the atmosphere better but I suppose we could switch it to lunch and squeeze in an extra meal. If so, I'd probably try to switch around some of our reservations for a table at Nora Gray.

1 French restaurant/bistro needed for upcoming visit!

Since annual visits to Montreal are few and far between (typically a once per year affair with the missus) I want to make the most of meals during our limited time. I'd like to make a reservation at one of the following and would appreciate your input from recent experiences to guide my decision.

The options to select from:

- Bouillon Bilk
- La Buvette Chez Simone
- La Salle à Manger
- Le Comptoir
- Le Serpent

Here are the other reservations that we have booked for our upcoming trip:

- Balsam Inn
- L'Express
- Maison Publique
- Wilfrid sur Laurier ~ (Brunch)

(I'm also considering a meal at either Da Emma, Impasto or Nora Gray)

And to further guide your suggestions, here are the restaurants that I have introduced my wife to on past visits:

- Les 400 Coups
- Le Club Chasse et Pêche
- Joe Beef
- Liverpool House
- Garde Manger
- Le Bremner
- Brasserie T
- Les Trois Petits Bouchons
- Laloux
- Au Cinquième Péché
- Leméac
- Le Chien Fumant
- Le P'tit Plateau
- Dominion Square Tavern
- Lawrence
- Milos
- Pintxo
- Kazu

Along with the standard Mtl fare (bagels, smoked meat, rotisserie chicken, old school casse-croutes, Olive et Gourmando, seasonal markets, etc.) - The goal is to visit new places on each trip!

Of the 5 French restaurants/bistros above, I've only been to La Salle à Manger and Le Comptoir before, but that was years ago when I called Montreal home. I don't think I've ever eaten at La Buvette Chez Simone or Bouillon Bilk and Le Serpent is obviously a recent addition. I know there's Le Filet as well, but living on the West Coast, it's hard to get too excited about seafood and I'd probably sooner go back to Joe Beef or Liverpool House for that purpose as I prefer the ambiance. Also worth mentioning that the missus isn't into over the top meat-centric places and doesn't eat foie gras so I've never bothered with APDC.

I'm pretty set on the above five choices and would really appreciate your help picking one out. I'd love to get your opinions on which you feel is the strongest kitchen. My memory seems to suggest that Le Comptoir could probably be ruled out and perhaps saved for wine and charcuterie rather than a full meal; would this be the general consensus?

Thanks for your help!

Ugh... Balsam Inn is good

Do you know if the same (full) menu is offered at lunch and dinner and is the lunch crowd similar to DST where walk-ins are easily accommodated?

Chinatown: mid-range with kids [San Francisco]

Since this thread has been revived I'd like to ask if the tea tree mushroom dish that people seem to really enjoy at Z&Y is the same as the dish that's served with bitter melon and thousand year old egg? I believe flash fried?

Crabpaws, we all enjoyed our meal at Z&Y and I actually just ordered the braised string beans and silky tofu for dinner tonight with hot and sour soup because I was feeling lazy. I'd avoid the Peking Duck though if it's anything like we experienced. Otherwise, everything was top notch. What's your beef with meat/seafood dimsum?

Changes at Miller's East Coast Deli in San Francisco

They even serve pizza.

Changes at Miller's East Coast Deli in San Francisco

I've had their matzoh ball soup often and it's over salted but passable. I wouldn't consider it good though.

Roast Duck: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2015

I ordered the Peking Duck and frankly, it was just poor quality in both the preparation and the bird. Flavorless, dry, mostly cartilage, fat and bone, not properly carved, etc. I did a take-out order from Z & Y several months back and it was so much better.

Lunch location between Pac Heights and Noe [San Francisco]

If you can hold out until 5pm, Octavia is wonderful.