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BBQ Hut at 6400 Shattuck. [Oakland]

I went to the BBQ Hut last weekend, tried the ribs, brisket, potato salad, greens & beans. The ribs were baby back, I prefer St. Louis and wish it would have said baby back somewhere, to be fair I didn't ask. They were the best baby back ribs I've had, nice smokiness, tender meat. The brisket was delicious, again so tender and nicely smoked, great bark on some pieces. There were large chunks of fat in it, but it's not meant to be diet food. The potato salad was surprising, orange colored, don't know why, garlicy, a little spicy. Good to me, and I don't usually like potato salad. The beans were sweet with a coffee flavor, very thin liquid, nice overall flavor though. The greens were the least interesting side, just basic collards. The sauces were okay, somewhat thin, I didn't use much of it.

Overall I really enjoyed the meal, and it's walking distance for me so I know I'll be going back. I've never been to the Brick Pig's house, my SO has been and was not impressed. He said it was not smoked meat, just heavily sauced. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Brick Pig's house, maybe my SO went on an off day.

Regarding Smokey J's, loved it when it opened but feel like it's gone downhill since then. I was disappointed when they stopped offering the rib tips and the last time I went the brisket had no noticeable smoke flavor. I've probably been 4 or 5 times and found it very inconsistent. Their sauces are excellent, but I don't eat BBQ for the sauce. I'd like to give them another shot for their burnt ends but I think they only have them one day a week and I haven't made that happen yet.

Offseason Roasted Dungeness Crab

My parents are visiting from the East Coast and have their heart set on getting a Dungeness Crab. Any recommendations? Has anyone tried it at Pier 23 or Woodhouse Fish Co? I'd love to do Pier 23 if the weather is good, but not if the crab is subpar. I'd be fine with Berkeley or Oakland recs too. Thanks!

Pier 23 Cafe
The Embarcadero and Union St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Woodhouse Fish Company
1914 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA

Smokey J's Q House - BBQ in Berkeley

I went the weekend before last, so excited to have a new BBQ spot in the area. They didn't have the rib tips when I was there, I hope they will next time because they sound awesome to me. I got the ribs and brisket, which came with some slaw. Sadly my ribs were way overdone, kind of like pork jerky, that being said, they were still much better than the mushy ribs I've gotten from a few Oakland BBQ restaurants. They had a nice smoky flavor, again, better than the mushy steamed bbq places. And the spicy sauce was terrific, I like that they have it on the side instead of trying to hide the meat under the sauce. That's a mark of a good bbq place to me.

The brisket was really great, best I've had in the bay area. It was moist, smoky & tender. It did have a lot of unrendered fat, but that was easy enough to pull off. The slaw was very simple, seemed like just cabbage and vinegar, it was under the meat so it got some fat on it, which wasn't a bad thing at all. I will definitely be back.

Addie's Pizza Pie, South Berkeley (NY-style pizza & Frozen Custard) - Now Open, anyone try it?

I tried Addie's a few weeks ago and didn't think the prices were too outrageous. Still, I don't think I'll be back. I tried two pizzas, the classico which is margherita with proscuitto & arugula and the southside, which is tomato sauce, sausage, fennel & olives. I usually love proscuitto & arugula on pizza, but this one just fell flat. It seemed bland to me. The southside was better because of the strong toppings, but ultimately it was the toppings that made it, not the dough or sauce. If I just want good pizza, I'd rather get takeout from Amelia's.

I also tried the frozen custard, but this was a dissapointment as well. The custard was very hard, almost crumbly, and I didn't detect any egginess that I usually get in custard. My benchmark is Luv-it in Las Vegas, which is served like soft serve, but maybe that's not the norm, I don't know.

I think if you really want a sit down pizza place, Addie's could be worth the trip, it's a nicer spot than Lanesplitters, but I'll stick with take out from Amelia's or Rotten City.

Addie's Pizza Pie
3290 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703

Truffle Season

I went to SPQR for an anniversary dinner at the end of October and was very excited by the option of this truffle pasta. I ordered the second one mentioned above, with the ricotta and the egg. However, it did not live up to the description or the price. I was slightly confused by the type of truffle as well: the waitress pitched the dish as having shaved white truffle, while the server and a different hostess said it was a summer truffle, which didn't make much sense considering the price, preparation or the time of year. The disappointment had nothing to do with the name though, it just wasn't truffle-y. I expected that amazing truffle aroma and it just wasn't there. I saw lots of truffles, but didn't smell them, and barely tasted them.

I had just come back from Italy in late September, where I had and was blown away by truffles in Orvieto, I was expecting something remotely similar from these truffles, and it just wasn't even close.

1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

Chop Bar: Sunday pig roasts

I was so excited about a pig roast but it took me till the last roast of the summer to get over there. Unfortunately, my experience was not very good. I got there at 5:45 and saw a line, but happily it was moving pretty quickly. By the time I got to the front the pig pickins were getting slim, they did have another pig but it was still in the caja china. They had changed the format that it's no longer all you can eat. They said on the website that portions would be "generous, including seconds", but when I was in line and asked about seconds I was told that I could get more once everyone else had eaten. I did not feel that my portion was generous, but I didn't make a thing of it, thinking I'd get seconds. I was unable to get a seat, as many people were saving them for others. All the food was cold, which isn't shocking since it was a cold evening, but when you are standing out in the cold, eating cold food, it doesn't make for the best experience.

The pig was tasty, even cold, and I was happy to get some crispy skin. There was also a salad, black beans, green beans & cornbread. I liked everything except the black beans. After my husband and I finished, we waited for a bit hoping to get our seconds, but the line never died down enough and finally the cold got to us and we headed home.

I'm sure this would have been a different experience had it been warmer, but I do have a problem with the management of this type of event. It seems unlikely that this cold October night brought in a bigger crowd than the rest of the summer, and if they had an idea of the crowd size I think they should have brought in some extra folding chairs. As much as I like the idea of it, I wouldn't go back.

Patisserie Angelica in Sebastopol

I ordered my wedding cake from them 2 years back and it was so fantastic I keep thinking I need to order another one, a cake, not a wedding cake. They use a lot of organic ingrediants, and a lot of butter, I don't think they use any preservatives. I had a chocolate beet cake with a raspberry filling and a coconut cake with a pasionfruit filling. It would be hard to pick my favorite. Yes, it is expensive, but for me, it was worth it.

Southern Tuscany, Northern Umbria & Rome Trip Report

Wow, I just read through your blog and it sounds like an amazing trip. The truffle hunt/cooking class especially interested me. How much did that cost?

Aug 18, 2010
rosie7477 in Italy

Anyone been to Great American BBQ lately? [Alameda]

I went today and had a similar experience as Pincho and Craig. The sides are fine, I tried Mac and Cheese, slaw and beans and found none offensive but no raves.

The meat is the star! I had a two meat platter; brisket and ribs. Both were juicy, a little fatty in a good way and nicely spiced. I like a little extra heat so Harry brought out his extra hot sauce for me to try. It was great blended with the regular hot which had a little sweetness to offset the pepperiness of the extra hot. I got a generous plate, enough for two meals and I'm looking forward to my leftovers.

Harry also passed on a free peach cobbler, something I would have never bought since I'm always too full. I heated it up at home and really enjoyed it. The biscuit crust was nice and flaky with a cinnamon and sugar top. The peaches were probably from a can but still tasted good. The whole thing was a very enjoyable dessert, and not too sweet which I like. I'll pick one up to bring home next time I go.

I've been to Uncle Willie's once and was very disappointed with my experience, same for Everett and Jones. I am a fan of Bo's Barbeque but don't get out to Lafayette much. High Street is my go to Que and I'm excited that it's getting better and better.

China Village Chowdown - 11/4/07

West Style Soup with Chili - surprisingly not so hot once all the chilis were removed

Zha Jiang Noodles

China Village Chowdown - 11/4/07

Stir Fried Cabbage - So yummy!
Stir Fried Potatoes
Tea Smoked Duck
Water Boiled Fish - I really loved the way this made my tongue tingle!

China Village Chowdown - 11/4/07

Thank you all for organizing this great lunch! I really enjoyed the organic chicken and the water boiled fish. The sauce on the chicken had such a great flavor, spicy and rich and nuanced. By reading this thread I see that I need to go back for the lamb dumplings, fried chicken wings and twice cooked pork belly. I'm uploading the pics but I think I can only do 4 at a time so let me know if there's a better way.

These are the Cold Kidney, Organic Chicken w/Chili Oil, Pork Chitlins and Pork Shoulder (I think).

Mexico DF

It did open this past Wednesday. My friend went last night and said that it was very good but pricey.

If you had to visit just one winery in Napa Valley, which would it be?

I agree with Frog's Leap. The grounds are lovely. I think Heitz is always a great stop. It's probably the only Napa winery that doesn't have a fee and their port is yummy.

Oakland Barbecue

I just went to Great American for lunch this past weekend and I have to say this is the best BBQ in the area, overall. I shared two plates so got to try ribs, brisket, pulled pork, mac and cheese and slaw. Every thing was excellent; nice smokiness, sauce on the table, not slathered on the meat. The sides were pretty good but the meat was definitely the star. I've been to MM, the old Brother in law's, Dougs, Chef Edwards and Bo's. Bo's is the only one that matches up but I'd rather save a little $$ and driving time and go to Great American.

Delfina - Menu Changes?

I know Oliveto's website says that they update their menu daily but the time I went the online menu was not correct.

900 Grayson has the Best Burger in the East Bay

I had it last weekend and I have to disagree that it beats Luka's. My burger was slightly overdone and my bun was burnt at the edges. That aside, the flavors were still good and I did enjoy it, which says a lot considering. I liked the staff and the environment at Grayson, they kicked Luka's butt there. I will definitely go back, especially if they start serving dinner.

Any word on Osha Thai in Embarcadero Four?

I went once and found it to be okay but not as good as the one on 2nd. My co-workers have gone a few times since and they were not happy. I didn't get specifics but they feel the flavor is better at the 2nd street location.

Oakland Barbecue

Is Cliff's still open? I've tried searching for them but can't find anything outside of chowhound.

Brunch at Memphis Minnie's (SF)

So how was the brunch? I couldn't make it but am planning a trip for this Sunday. What is the must eat item?

A la Carte, a la Park, no more?

I remember looking for it last year and hearing that the organizer was looking for a new venue. When I googled it this link gave the most info, though it's not particularly helpful.

Luka's Oakland

The food is great and there's not much in the neighborhood so I go quite a bit. Love the burgers, fries, mac & cheese and, of course, Monday night oyster special. The staff could use some work though. It's not that I find them rude, just often distracted and forgetful. I've sat at the bar more than a few times wishing the bartender would come over for my order.

Overrated disappointments

I am with you on the Carvel, maybe it's just that it reminds me of good times growing up in NY but I can't get enough of it. And I love the Ice Cream Cakes! I don't want cake in my Ice Cream cake, just ice cream, Carvel gets it right. I'm so happy now that one opened up in Berkeley.