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isaac1972's Profile

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Swan Oyster Depot or Hog Island?!

I went to the recently opened Hog & Rocks this week for the first time. We had six odd varieties of oyster, all super fresh and nicely explained both in menu and by the staff. Saw, unsurprisingly, a whole lot of oysters being consumed around the restaurant, so I would imagine there's good turnover. On top of the oysters we had a nice heirloom tomato salad and excellent fish & chips. Great service and nice booze/wine selection as well. A bit crowded at 9PM but lots of open seats an hour later.

Hog and Rocks
3431 19th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Ippuku - Izakaya in Berkeley

I went to Ippuku on Saturday with a group of about 15 Tokyo natives. What a great restaurant!

The grilled stuff was out of this world, particularly heart, knuckle and shiso maki. I agree with Soyo that the grilling technique was particularly awesome. Also had the raw chicken with wasabi sprouts, which I'd never seen outside of Japan. It was quite tasty, with a sashimi-like texture and a very clean flavor. Definitely not for the squeamish though. The goya tempura was also really well done, that's another one I'd not seen in the US. I had goya champuru in New York last month and was really bummed out at the crappy bitter melon they used, so this was a particular pleasure.

Prices were reasonable, between $5 and $12. It adds up, but that's kind of the way it works in this kind of place. Anyways, we went on to consume an ungodly quantity of shochu, including some varieties I'd never heard of - two shochus made from soba and one from carrots! The restaurant design and service were both terrific, and the location is a block from BART. Definitely a new favorite for Japanese food in the Bay.

I've not been to Nombe because of my dislike for the original Sozai but if it's in the same league as Ippuku I will eat my hat.

Sozai Restaurant
1500 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122

2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

2130 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

Okonomiyaki at Saturday Ferry Building farmers market + any must-try vendors?

The Cherry Blossom festival is generally abysmal, I wouldn't get your hopes up about eating much good Japanese food there.

Ryan Farr's healthy chicharrones - “Crunchy crack-in-a-bag”?

I went to this event at Coffee Bar yesterday afternoon. It was really enjoyable, and in a charming venue. The space is quite airy, and the event started right as the rain stopped so it was hazy and bright. We started sipping the Balleto rose as the pig was hauled up the stairs and dumped on a giant cutting board for photo ops. The demonstration started sort of unceremoniously, I didn't realize at first that the chopping had begun. The butchery was fascinating to watch - Farr was clearly adept, and quite gracious as well, taking questions and providing lots of insights and tips (I can't say that there aren't old school butchers around town who could perform similar feats, but I'm not aware of any doing these sorts of demonstrations). The meat was well prepared, seasoned mostly with salt and a little of Farr's spice rub. The whole thing took about four hours.

My only beef (I am hilarious) was that the event could have been a bit better organized - the staff of the venue were setting up for some time while the actual demonstration was happening, which was distracting. There were also people turned away at the door for having RSVP'd late, only to be contacted a few hours later saying that there was room for them because of some no-shows. My friend then hustled back across the Mission, having missed the bulk of the actual butchery, but no discount off the $35 entry fee.

Other than that, good times.

SF- Organic Cal-German with vegan dogs? Anyone tried Gestalt Haus?

I know this is an old post and I'm not sure if anyone cares at this point, but wanted to report a Bad Food Happens to Good People moment at this joint. Somehow the idea of a bartender cooking a sausage didn't seem like a bad idea at the time - how much worse could it be than a backyard barbecue, or the Tamale Lady, for that matter? The answer is quite a bit worse. Ug. Nice enough beer selection but definitely avoid the dogs. You probably already know this. Adding insult to injury the service there is quite horrible. So really you may as well go to Monks Kettle or Elixir.

Seoul Food - Korean Food Truck in SOMA

Seoul on Wheels is kaput:

NY hound for cheapie SF meals (and a few splurges)

good, fresh Mexican food in NY is non-existent?? get thee to Queens, young lady.

Sunflower Report

I have to respectfully disagree. I moved recently back to the Mission after years in the Sunset spent blissfully dining at places like PPQ on 19th & Irving and Yummy Yummy on 10th, and Sunflower is just not even close. Everything seems very oily, even the bun. Also my pho was made with what appeared to be spaghetti.

I'm sticking with tacos from La Cumbre in my new/old hood.

"Grilled Cheese Invitational" Who is going?!

I am seriously considering it. Is there a comprehensive resource for cooking competitions in the Bay? I'm trying to cajole the recent Chili victor from BOTH to go semi-pro.

Guatemalan Truck at 16th Street BART

For the past month or two there's been a rather shiny truck (or wagon or something) first to the right of the station, and now to the left, serving what I believe to be Guatelmala's Greatest Hits. I've not stopped to try, largely because it's not a particularly nice intersection at which to dine, but am curious to hear if anyone else has.

Also curious about what kind of permits you need for that sort of thing, and whether someone would like to open a mobile izakaya operation in front of my office.

Monk's Kettle

I've been to Monk's Kettle probably a dozen times, and I have lots of nice things to say about it. The always changing beer selection is accessible via their exceedingly well-written and organized menu (dodging the beer nerd bullet that makes Tornado one of the snooziest bars in San Francisco). The food at Monk's Kettle is consistently very good (though I have not had the pulled pork), and the specials are always good. Service at the bar is impeccable, helpful and friendly without being corny and fake. Be warned however, if you are planning to be seated away from the bar and you see the dude with the ponytail is working, go immediately to another restaurant. Only that guy at Sozai is less suited for a job in the service industry.

After Suppenkuche: fun and casual?

Hotel Biron and Place Pigalle are two reasonable alternatives for booze, and Momi Toby's is a nice cafe across the street from Suppenkuche. Orbit Room is kind of creepy, and I've never had a drink there and not banged my knee on those stupid tables.

Where Can I Buy Duck Blood Cakes?

I'm not sure I would recognize a duck blood cake if I saw one, but Sunset Super is probably a good bet. On Irving between 25th and 26th.

Masa Harina close to Amherst, MA

My parents have retired in Amherst, and claim that we cannot make tamales at Christmas unless I bring masa from California. Is there a good shop in Western Mass where I might find such staples? Masa is heavy and I'd prefer not to lug it all the way out there.

Karage Chicken or Bento Box in Bay Area

Eh, I'm not sure Yoshi's has really excellent anything.

Kara age is available at many Japanese restaurants around town, including the underrated and always reliable Kazu on Irving between 9th and 10th. Kitchen Kura, up the street on Irving, maybe 15th or so, is all about the deep fried, and do a brisk business in kara age to go. Nice prices over there too.

Lime Tree redux: tasty Malaysian snacks in the Inner Sunset

Three Singaporeans and two Klang Valley natives report Lime Tree to be very much the real deal.

Sozai - new Izakaya in the Sunset area

I agree, the food and service at Sozai continue to be shockingly poor. Particularly the service, I've had several similar experiences with the owner/host. Very unpleasant atmosphere in there. And with Koo and the very underrated Kazu within walking distance, there's no reason to even consider going back.

dinner near Haneda airport

Mai S, who is sitting next to me and grew up in Haneda, says go to Kamata, which is well-known for Japanese-style Chinese food, in particular gyoza. Take the Keikyu line to Kamata and there's a bunch of places by the station. But if you only have a few hours, the airport is recently renovated and reportedly has lots of good restaurants. "It's actually kind of a cool place to hang out," she says.

Apr 08, 2008
isaac1972 in Japan

best Singaporean foods

I just went there last weekend with two discerning Malaysians, who went on a long tirade about the difference between Indonesian and Malaysian roti, which I couldn't hear because I was busy shoving food in my face. Generally thumbs up for everything, including the exceedingly friendly proprietors, with the one exception of the curry noodles.

Junk Food & Office Productivity

We get apples and grapes and juice from Costco, but it only lasts two days, and then we have only Diet Coke left.

My inclination, really, is to suggest that we do away with the food altogether. What's the purpose? To keep people from taking lunch breaks?

Aug 28, 2007
isaac1972 in General Topics

Junk Food & Office Productivity

My otherwise enjoyable work environment is marred by a few Chow-related things. First, the closing of the Drift Inn on Bryant has done terrible things to morale, and the Utah and the Gallery Lounge are poor substitutes.

More importantly, our 60 person office is generously furnished with snacks. I've never had this experience at work. It's nice, but weird. There are some nominal attempts at healthy things, but the shopping is understandably done at Costco, so there is a wealth of Pop Tarts, cookies, Coke, etc. I've gained ten pounds in a year and can't imagine I'm generally healthier after eating mini Oreos.

I'm wondering if there are

a) any studies about junk food affecting productivity in an adverse way

b) alternative ideas for bulk office snacks, and where to buy them. Preferably things that taste good and won't result in me being derided as a hippie.

Any suggestions would be awesome, thanks.

Aug 28, 2007
isaac1972 in General Topics

Best coffee in San Francisco?

I just moved out to the Sunset and am quite enjoying that place on Noreiga and 24th, House of something or other roaster? Nice vibe in there too.

Philz is indeed very delicious. Ritual is good, if severely lacking in the behind-the-counter infrastructure. Free wifi is silly. I was in Sac this weekend and really enjoyed the coffee at Naked Ground as well.

Going to Yummy Yummy (SF) Tonight

That's interesting. I've had nothing but good experiences at Yummy Yummy, particularly with pho and bun, and always excellent service. San Tong next door, however....

best Singaporean foods

I had a quick lunch at V2 last week, my office is right across the street. It's certainly MUCH better than the nasty Chinese joint that was in that location before. Looks like they're still finding their footing (they only opened a couple weeks ago), but it was clean and the service was charming. I had a nice green curry that was a little cumin heavy, and my coworker had something that looked like beef and broccoli. No booze license yet. I'll check it out again and report back in more detail.

Indonesian Fair in SF March 4

I can't get these links to work, and googling seems to be of no help - is there any more info about this event online somewhere? Thanks.

Korean Chicken

I'm sure lots of you saw the NY Times article on Korean fried chicken.

My brother's pal is one of the restaurants in the story and he tells me it's pretty amazing. Sounds a bit like Japanese teba-saki, which I've not been able to find much of in the Bay. Any tips on where to find either in the area?

Good Ramen in San Francisco?

I ate at the downtown Katanaya for the first time this weekend, and found it WAY greasier than the one in the Sunset. Some people go in for that sort of thing, but I'm not a fan, especially if there's no oolong to break down the fat.

My friend Jon says there's no excuse for a ramen place not to have corn ramen as an option. How hard is it to keep some frozen corn on hand? Sheesh.

Box lunches in San Francisco

How about those Indian lunchbox delivery things they have in the South Bay? They look quite awesome.

My friend Watt tried to start one up here a few years back but being up at 6AM to make Indian food conflicted with his late night drinking agenda.

Recs in Japan Center or the area

I dunno, people, I think most of those J-Town places are the pits. I like nostaligia as much as the next guy but the family that runs that curry joint on the bridge are straight BONKERS and as for the curry itself, they may as well say Kukure on the menu. All you can eat and drink shabu shabu at Mum's is certainly fun, as long as you don't mind being punished for it the next day. Juban yakiniku is sort of eh, but the Korean joint upstairs is decent.

In general I like Country Station and Oyaji for excellent atmosphere with good food, Koo for really great food and decent atmo, and the fancy yuppie sushi joints like Tokyo a Go Go and Blowfish for superious fish quality and irritating atmo.

Geary & 5th? What's for dinner?

Spices on 6th and Clement is totally insane. I suggest the numbing pickled cucumbers.