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From SF to LA [split from SF Bay]

[Note: The original post, from user vasiliki asked these questions on this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8661...

In addition to our SF trip, we leave SF on the 14th (renting a car on the 14th) to drive to Santa Cruz via the scenic 1 for one night which will include dinner there, back in the car the next morning to visit the Monterey Aquarium in the morning, play around in tide pools, then 2 nights in San Luis Obispo before cruising into LA to have dinner at a friend's house before taking the red eye home. I'd also love any suggestions for Santa Cruz/San Luis Obispo, and any not-to-be-missed stops along the way. At that point of the trip, we will be wanting low key, great vibe, casual spots on the water if possible, that involve incredible raw oysters. I also don't want to miss other cuisines not found in Nashville, TN., like Sri Lankan in Santa Cruz. If you have any ideas for me, please let me know. I should have jumped on this a while ago! We are very excited for this trip even though it came together last minute!

-- The Chowhound Team]

While in SLO, I recommend Pete's Pierside Cafe on the Avila Beach pier (just north of Pismo Beach). Great, inexpensive seafood right on the water. Good beer too! Kind of a funky place but fun and really worth the drive from SLO.

Sep 03, 2012
jan_b in California

Chicken fried steak with white gravy, fried okra, and buttermilk biscuits around the Bay Area?

The chicken has always been pretty hot and fresh when I've ordered it at lunch. Sometimes I've had to wait a for it, sometimes they have it ready pretty quickly, so I don't think it is actually fried to order. Best way to make sure it stays hot and crisp is to eat it at one of the little tables they have in the bakery or out in the little park next to it.

May 29, 2012
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Looney's Smokehouse Revisited...

After hating my initial visit to the Bancroft Looney's a couple of years ago (everything tasted like bad leftovers and the brisket was tough)I decided to give the 19th Street one a try one rainy day when I was jonesing for some 'que. It is about 100 ft from my office and Uncle Willie's (which is what I was jonesing for is more like a half mile or so. Looney's was actually way worse than I remembered! Besides the brisket tasting like old leftovers, it seemed to be floating in some sort of oily water. The mac and cheese just tasted limp and nasty. I thought maybe it was because it was tepid (at 100 ft from my office, mind you!) , but heating it in the microwave made it worse. I'd crawl to Uncle Willie's for 5 miles in the pouring rain before I'd cross the street to eat at Looney's! Besides great brisket and stellar mac and cheese UW's has great fried fish. Not crazy about their ribs or chicken, though.

May 28, 2012
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Chicken fried steak with white gravy, fried okra, and buttermilk biscuits around the Bay Area?

Merritt's fried chicken is still wonderful (next best to my mom's) and has very reasonable prices if you get it at the take out window instead of the restaurant. The sides at the take out window are good too, especially the black eyed peas and greens. I've catered several my parties by getting large orders. Good CFS is hard to find in the bay area, but didn't Rico's used to have it?

May 28, 2012
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Monday Night Prime Rib at Lake Chalet, Oakland- reports?

Lake Chalet is a pretty restaurant with a great view and decent happy hour, but I tried the prime rib dinner three or four months ago and give it a big thumbs down. The salad seemed to have been dressed way in advance with greens that were already past their sell by date. Plus their "unique" house dressing just tasted off to me. The prime rib itself had a weird, tough texture and tasted more like beef bouillon than roast beef. I usually love Yorkshire pudding, but theirs wasn't worth eating. The spinach was very good and the baked potato was fine (other than why do restaurants always say chives then give you green onions?). Bottom line: Avoid.

Apr 04, 2012
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Tastiest stop between OAK and Yountville for lunch?

Has Oakville Grocery reopened yet? When I was there in early February the entire interior was under destruction (construction to follow, presumably). Dean and Deluca is a good suggestion for picnic stuff.

Also, I would ignore the Oakland haters and eat at Boca Nova or someplace else at or near Jack London Square rather than trying to make it all the way to Napa for lunch.

Mar 07, 2012
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to Buy Live Dungeness in Marin?

Very true! I didn't realize that their crabs were right off the boat! I have certainly gotten cheaper crabs at the Chinese grocery stores that seem to have been around a little too long. I have never gotten them off the boat. I think I'll give them a try. It is really worth supporting the locals and not driving the extra miles. (Of course, I've also gotten lucky and gotten some very fresh and delicious crabs at the Chinese grocery stores, which is what keeps me going back.)

Dec 28, 2011
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to Buy Live Dungeness in Marin?

You are right, Mr. Bear, I should have been more specific. I was interested in a place near San Rafael but from what you said, I might go for Ranch 99. $6.49 is what you have to pay on one of those Eves or Days (Christmas or New Years) but on a regular day, I'm looking for under $4. Thanks for the advice!

Dec 28, 2011
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to Buy Live Dungeness in Marin?

Where is the best (read cheapest, but still good) place to buy live dungeness crabs in Marin county? Or should I just go to 99 Ranch is Richmond? Thanks in advance...

Dec 28, 2011
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

2011 Dungeness Crab

On Friday I wandered forlornly through all of the usual suspects in Oakland Chinatown and found only empty tanks. Had to settle for $7.69 per pound lobsters from Lucky. Though they were pretty good, I want some live crabs now too!

Nov 19, 2011
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

NEW: Kamdesh Afghan Kabab House (Downtown Oakland) - Anyone?

After eating there three times, I have to disagree. I've had the beef tikka (chunks) and the beef kubideh (ground) and both were delicious, especially with the addicting green sauce they have on the tables. The tikka came a perfect medium rare (as ordered) and all the kebabs come with a grilled half tomato. Normally a grilled tomato would hardly be worth mentioning, but they do something wonderful to that tomato! I wasn't crazy about the brown rice (which I think may actually be white rice cooked a some kind of brown broth), but the white rice has that lovely basmati flavor and is a great foil for that green sauce and the sumac that they also have on each table.

Oct 03, 2011
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Oyster Bliss XX April 16, 2011 Kermit Lynch/Cafe Fanny, Berkeley - Any reports?

It was delicious and lots of fun. There was a great cajun/blues trio (fiddle, guitar and triangle), sunshine, cold oysters, hot sausage and good wine. What else could you ask for? We tasted both the Chablis the Muscadet and decided on a bottle of the Muscadet. It was was bone-dry, more full-bodied than the Chablis and was perfect with the oysters and sausage. This is always a fun event (at least it is if the weather is good). It was priced as in previous times, oysters were$10 for a half dozen, grilled sausage with small green salad an chunk of Acme bread also $10.

Apr 18, 2011
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Traditional French Lunch in Downtown SF?

I'm going to a one-day class at the Westin San Francisco at 50 Third Street in December and I want to take myself to a traditional French lunch (I'm talking onion soup, steak frites, maybe pate or foie gras). It has to be walking distance from the Westin. Contenders are Cafe Claude, Cafe de la Presse, Grand Cafe, Le Central. Can anyone give a recommendation for any one of these over the others or suggest something different?

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Cafe Claude
7 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

Nov 19, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Dungeness Crab Prices '10

Just did the cruise through Oakland Chinatown. A consistent $2.99 a pound at all the places I checked (except Orient Market, who wanted $3.39). The crabs looked good-sized and lively and there were a lot of people buying.

Nov 18, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Kermit Lynch Beaujolais Nouveau Party (Co-Hosted by Cafe Fanny) Sat 11/20/10

The events at Kermit Lynch are lots of fun. The food is around $15 a plate and is usually excellent. (Only one selection by Christopher Lee, but Cafe Fanny has their full menu.) Five or six wines by the glass ($5 - $10) or by the bottle. In this instance most of the wines will probably be the beaujolais noveau. At the Day in Provence a few months ago, Lee made a fish soup I still dream about... There's music.

Note that Nov 20 is Big Game day in Berkeley. You may hit a LOT of traffic coming into Berkeley, though the lines may potentially be shorter at the Kermit Lynch event.

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Cafe Fanny
1603 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

Nov 18, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

banh xeo - new recommendations?

Saigon Restaurant at 326 Frank Ogawa Plaza (Oakland City Hall) is my favorite. Lots of shrimp, tender white meat chicken and bean sprouts, plus nice fresh lettuce and mint. (Love the carrots and cucumber too!) If you want it for lunch, it has to be very early or very late (before 11:30 am, after 1 pm) because it's really only on their dinner menu. Mama's at 365 19th St in Oakland was pretty good, but I like Saigon's better. (The crepe is crisper and more delicate.) They have it on their lunch menu as well as their dinner menu. Didn't like Vo's on Grand Avenue in Oakland. Seemed way overpriced and boring.

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City Hall Cafe
400 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94103

Nov 16, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Gimme Your Local, Delicious, Divey Faves

If you'd like a good, cheap sushi lunch, Yama Sushi at 1814 Franklin Street in Oakland (entrance is actually on 19th Street and very close to 19th Street Bart) has pretty much their entire menu for half price after 1:15 pm until they close at 3 pm. And you still get the free miso soup too! They;re only open weekdays.

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Yama Sushi Restaurant
850 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112

Nov 04, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Chinese Mock/Vegetarian Duck/Goose

Thank you both, ipsedixit and tovegigirl! Both recipes look great and are just what I'm looking for! I love the vegetarian duck dim sum and I'm looking forward to trying these recipes.

Oct 26, 2010
jan_b in Home Cooking

Chinese Mock/Vegetarian Duck/Goose

So, Humbucker, it looks like you never got a response. I'd really like a recipe... Does anyone have one?? It can even be fried!

Oct 25, 2010
jan_b in Home Cooking

ISO Shao Xing (Hsing?) Wine in Oakland/Berkeley

Oh, good to know!! I work in downtown Oakland and usually bike over there, but reliable parking for my weekend forays for crab or lobster will be helpful! I noticed that they do have crab and lobster at the Orient, though the price seemed a little high compared to what I've been seeing at my usual haunts.

Oct 25, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Need SFO to Healdsburg route/restaurant and winery ideas/feedback

Marshall might be a good lunch stop for you if you're taking the coast route. For a quick stop, the Marshall Store is fast, reasonably priced and delicious. (Hurrah for retail for beer and wine!) Though oysters are the big draw there, they do have a limited menu of other stuff . (Their clam chowder is pretty good). If you want more variety in the menu, Nick's Cove (also in Marshall) has a great view and though I haven't been, I hear that it is good.

http://www.themarshallstore.com/\

http://www.nickscove.com/

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Marshall Store
19225 Hwy 1, Marshall, CA 94940

Nick's Cove
23240 Hwy 1, Marshall, CA 95450

Oct 25, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

ISO Shao Xing (Hsing?) Wine in Oakland/Berkeley

Thank you, SteveG and KC72! With KC's tip on the Orient Market and Steve's help with what to look for, I had a successful trip to Chinatown and found the Shao Xing. (BBQ Pork Wonton Noodle Soup at Gum Wah was a bonus.) Funny, I'd never been to Orient Market before. I guess I'd always stayed between 8th and 11th. It is a real find! Bigger selection (and seemed maybe a little cleaner) than some of the other markets in Chinatown.

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Gum Wah
345 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

Oct 25, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

ISO Shao Xing (Hsing?) Wine in Oakland/Berkeley

Does anyone know where I can find Shao Xing wine in Oakland or Berkeley (preferably Oakland Chinatown)? The grocery stores I've checked so far just look at me blankly or send me to the sake. I have a recipe I want to try and I want to use the real thing.

Oct 25, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Surf Clams in Oakland Chinatown?

Reading Melanie's recent post on R and B's surf clams in Palo Alto set me longing for those bivalves. New Oakland Seafood Restaurant used to be my go-to source. (And they didn't fill up the shell with noodles! It was all sweet, tender clam! ) Two orders of surf clams and an order of their delicious seafood fried rice was a fantastic lunch for two that came to about $12 per person with a generous tip. Tragically they closed sometime in the last year. Does anyone know of a restaurant in Oakland Chinatown that has them?

Sep 13, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Tomales Bay, Marshall General Store, Hog Island - Oysters in July?

We were at the Marshall General Store a week and a half ago and both the barbecued and the raw oysters were delicious. With a beer on a sunny day, it doesn't get any better! While in Point Reyes Station you should go to the Bovine Bakery where they have these amazing things called (I think) dunbars, that are made of chocolate and nuts and oatmeal and are so good that they may change your whole outlook on life.

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Bovine Bakery
11315 Shoreline Hwy, Point Reyes Station, CA

Jul 21, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Hungry Hunter, near SFO

The Hungry Hunter near SFO had excellent prime rib as of about two years ago. I was a devotee of the Hungry Hunter in Lafayette and had purchased some discount gift cards from Paragon. When the Lafayette location closed, I used up the cards at the SF location. Both locations had old school, good cold salads, your basic baked potatoes (though their version of "chives" was chopped green onions), and excellent, tender, flavorful prime rib. I never could figure how they manage to always get the whole cut a perfect medium-rare. It had a lovely salt and herb crust. If it wasn't so geographically challenging for me, I'd be a regular there as I was at the Lafayette location.

Jun 01, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Bistro Jeanty or ad hoc

If you'd like to try a Keller restaurant but want more menu flexibility, you could try Bouchon, also in Yountville. It is excellent. Unfortunately they're doing something to their website so you can't look at the menu online but if you yelp it, you can see people waxing eloquent about their food and get an idea of what they serve. I haven't been to ad hoc yet, but in my mind Bouchon has a slightly more celebratory air than Jeanty. Jeanty's decor is french country grandmother; Bouchon's is french brassiere.

Jan 14, 2010
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Dungeness crab price $/lb for '09 season

I did a walk through of Oakland Chinatown crab prices today. Most places $3.69 (Lucky was $3.99) though the tanks looked pretty empty at around 1 pm. Lucky and Surf and Turf told me (if they are to be believed...) that the price would be the same tomorrow for NYE. I'll be there tomorrow!

Dec 30, 2009
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Anyone have a recommendation for Mexican Shrimp Cocktail in Oakland, please?

Thanks for the options, but since it was too cold to face going to a taco truck, I ended up going back to Mariscos Manzanillo. It had been a couple of years since I had been there, but it was as good as I remember. Still the bouquet of radishes on each table; nice warm chips (though I'm not crazy about their salsa). The large shrimp cocktail was $12.95 filled with sweet tender shrimp and chopped avocado and onion. It comes in some kind of cloudy broth, but after adding ketchup, lime and hot sauce, I ate every last spoonful. With a nice cold Negra Modelo for $2.95, it was a great lunch. The only thing that had changed since the last time i was there was that instead of the old fashioned jukebox, it was a new video screen model.

Dec 30, 2009
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area

Anyone have a recommendation for Mexican Shrimp Cocktail in Oakland, please?

In spite of the chilly weather, I have a hankering for a Mexican shrimp cocktail; one of those gazpacho like concoctions with chopped up avocado, onions etc and big plump shrimp. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm! I usually go to Mariscos Manzanillo on International (love the bowl of radishes on each table) but I wondered if anyone has a suggestion for a different place to try.

Dec 29, 2009
jan_b in San Francisco Bay Area