Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

Prabhakar Ragde's Profile

Title Last Reply


They seem to be open. Anyone been? Any reports on the menu? I could walk down and try it but it would be nice to know what I am getting into. (I have fond memories of C from its prime...)

Narrowing down SF resto picks

Well, what can I say, we must live in alternate universes. For me, the Tartine line, in the past few years, tends to be glacial, the service indifferent, and the tourist ratio much higher. Perhaps the difference is that the latest I've been to b. has been about 11am, and I typically go in the first hour they're open. I'm more or less resigned to b. becoming like Tartine eventually. When I think of how well things work at top Parisian places, I just shake my head.

Week in Vancouver solo, critique/augment my list

Thanks for the detailed response! I will add your suggestions to my list (and strike some off). And thanks for the Friday 6th offer; I'll try to gauge my energy level midweek (these conferences can be exhausting) and drop you a line if I think I'll be fit company.

Yes, Itoga is the rebranded Sushi Mart. I have fond memories of Sushi Boy and other good inexpensive places from '97. SF is frustrating on that front.

Bel et al. are possible light breakfasts or late desserts; if the conference offers anything in the morning, it is likely to be wretched. After reading bbulkow's recent thread on coffee, I am bringing an Aeropress and Porlex hand grinder and will DIY (DIM?) in the hotel room. My tastes differ from his a bit, I think, but I may be even pickier (I roast my own coffee, even in SF).

And, alas, my dollars are Canadian. I remember alcohol sticker shock coming from Ontario in '97. I had trouble getting decent table wine for under $10 then. Between that and the intellectual demands of my visit, probably I won't imbibe much.

Narrowing down SF resto picks

There are lines and then there are lines. The line at Tartine is nearly always out the door and down the block (except maybe just before closing - certainly going early is no help); the one at b. varies a lot in length, and it goes more than twice as fast, thanks to friendly and efficient service. Really, considering the quality, and the local tolerance for lines, I'm surprised that it has taken so long for it to start to be an issue at b.

Week in Vancouver solo, critique/augment my list

I'm coming up from San Francisco, where I'm based for a while, though I usually live in southwestern Ontario. I'm attending a conference at the Hyatt Regency Aug 29 to Sept 5 and I'll have a half-day on either side. I'll be kept fairly busy by the conference (which provides lunch), I won't have a car, and it's supposed to be mostly raining, so I'll probably stick to the West End, unless something is really convenient by public transit. I lived in Burnaby 1997-98 (my food page from then is still up if you want mild amusement) but haven't been back to the area since then. I like good food and am adventurous but I'm also a cheapskate with a modest appetite, so I might focus more on small plates and happy hour nibbles/sips. I also resist making reservations though I will if I have to. Here's some of what I've gleaned from Chowhound searches. I won't hit all these places but will see what time and weather permit.

Kingyo, Guu, Hapa
Kintaro, Santouka
Sushi Itoga, Kyzock
Dinesty, Bao Bei
L'Abbatoir, Left Bank, Pidgin, Nook
Bel Café, Thierry, Breka

Back in the Burnaby days the best out of the seventy-odd places I ate at was Vij's. I don't feel the need to return and mess with those memories, but I wonder if anyone has an opinion on his food truck, if it is in the vicinity.

Oh, and hi in advance, grayelf.

Narrowing down SF resto picks

San Franciscans appear to love to line up at popular brunch places. I don't understand this, considering the typically limited palette of offerings, but to each their own. The breakfast pastries at b. patisserie are exceptional and you will probably not have to wait long (table turnover is good but you are at the mercy of chance).

Which Berkeley Bowl is less annoying?

I've had luck with Dirty Girl dry-farmed Early Girls in past years, but the ones I bought a couple of weeks ago were meh. Maybe I am just lousy at selecting, but I haven't had much good luck with tomatoes so far this season. I've had decent Cherokee Purples from Happy Boy at the Castro Farmers' Market.

Which Berkeley Bowl is less annoying?

When visiting Berkeley, I used to go to BB East just after it opened on a weekday. I could park within a block, on Shattuck or Russell (never bothered with the lot) and it wasn't very crowded.

I'm curious where you get your meats, Robert, and what wines you return to at TJ.

Something happened to TJ in the last fifteen years or so, notably the expansion in private-label products that are inferior to the brands they replaced (King Arthur, Muir Glen, Double Rainbow). I get some of the items you mentioned, plus their dried fruits, but I've stopped buying many of the things I used to get there.

Hatch Chiles 2015

I live close to the Castro store, which was the first Mollie's on the schedule. They were set up on the sidewalk outside. They had 10lb boxes and 25lb cases to carry away and seemed to have more than was necessary to fill preorders. I asked about smaller quantities and they said clamshells were available inside, but there weren't any roasted chiles inside, only fresh ones. (There are also various products available, like pork and chicken sausage with roasted chiles.)

Narrowing down SF resto picks

I've been to Cockscomb at 5pm twice, for happy hour, and it is pretty much empty. If you tell them you're trying to get out fast, I'm sure they will be able to feed you promptly.

Hatch Chiles 2015

I second the disappointment with Nob Hill Alameda's roasting. The ones I bought (last year? two years ago?) were not roasted enough; half the peel remained on the peppers and could not be dislodged. A shame, really, because I do appreciate the effort they go to.

Pizza Margherita: SFBA Dish of the Month August 2015

I had a pizza margherita at a VPN-certified place in Eugene, OR in June. It had a thin, soggy, pale crust that was nothing like the pizzas I had in Napoli (only about half of which I cared for, by the way - some had major pools of water in them from improperly drained mozzarella). My sense is that the VPN designation, like just about everything else in Napoli, can be had for the right amount of money. At least the beer was decent in Eugene (is hopeless in Italy in general).

Hatch Chiles 2015

Mollie Stone's has roastings at their various stores from August 16 to September 20, with preorders of 10/25 lb boxes (fresh or roasted, various heat levels).

Bon Appetit's 50 Best New Restaurants List (2015 Edition) Has 6 in SF

There hasn't been much said about Rintaro here, and I was surprised to see it on the list. Can anyone dish on recent experiences?

De Afghanan Kabob House is Baaaaaack! (SF)

Just a warning to readers contemplating their first visit: the chaplee kabob is seriously spicy (though in a very good way).

Fresh Ramen Noodles?

I tried the Nijiya branded ramen noodles. They are made with organic wheat, unlike the Sun branded noodles. But the flavour packets inside (miso flavour) are from Sun Noodles, so I'm guessing that they are made by Sun for Nijiya. They tasted fine to me, as good as the ones branded Sun. The packaging is nearly identical but the nutritional information is rather at odds on the two (further evidence that they just make up those numbers).

Perdition Smokehouse (downtown Berkeley)

Was pretty impressed on my lunch visit today. Their website doesn't mention that they have a weekday $10 lunch special. Had Hampshire pork shoulder, cowboy beans, slaw, cornbread. The pork was moist and smoky (probably the best BBQ I've had in the Bay Area since Flint's went south), the cowboy beans were terrific (I could see having just a side of this and a beer for lunch), even the slaw was notable (red cabbage, carrot shreds, vinegar dressing, and actual bits of green herbs). Only negatives were the cornbread (tiny muffins, somewhat dry and oversweet), the slow counter service (dozen people in line in front of me, took a half hour for me to get to the front, friendly but somehow really amateur), and the noise level (loud even when only a few people present, must be overwhelming when full). Tap selection is pretty good and prices reasonable (except for the Mikkeller selections, why do they cost so much?). I am definitely going back.

Kyu3 in the TL -- Thai Noodles, Japanese BBQ and Squid Ink Fried Rice [San Francisco]

I want Kyu3 with Tycoon Thai's beer selection. Though I did notice that Hopwater Distribution is within walking distance, so maybe a "progressive dinner" is called for.

Arsicault Bakery in San Francisco

I don't care for Tartine's plain croissant, but I don't know of a better local chocolate croissant. (I wonder why b. patisserie avoids them?) I stress "local". It is a not a patch on, say, Pierre Hermé or Eric Kayser at their best. SF is not much of a French pastry town, but it's a long way from France, and has other charms to compensate.

Arsicault Bakery in San Francisco

No, I don't prefer a breadier croissant. And I didn't have the plain croissant at Arsicault; I had the almond chocolate and half of a chocolate. The interior of the chocolate croissant was too moist; the crunch zone on the outside was very thin, and beyond that the dough had a tendency to resist rather than give. I will go back and try the plain croissant.

Arsicault Bakery in San Francisco

I originally commented in the thread linked below (hence Melanie's reference to me in this one). Yes, the pastries do look great.

Fresh Ramen Noodles?

Have you (or anyone else) tried the fresh noodles at Nijaya packaged under their name? I saw them right next to the fresh Sun Ramen packs.

Arsicault Bakery in San Francisco

I was there fairly early in the morning and the sweet pastry selection was about the same (looks like you missed the plain croissants). They're starting out modestly in terms of selection, which is probably good. I hope they tune the recipes a bit, because this place has promise but is not quite there yet.

Help to find Indonesian restaurants in SF area

Jayakarta in Berkeley serves Indonesian food. I had good meals there when it opened but I have not been there for a few years now. Perhaps other Chowhounds have more recent experiences.

Best shop for Loire goat cheeses in Mission/Noe

There's a reasonable selection at Rainbow.

Are there local/domestic cheeses comparable to an aged Crottin de Chavignol? I find most of them too young and mild.

Best bars in San Francisco to get sloshed at?

Lucky 13. Pliny the Elder and Dogfish Head 90 on tap, great soundtrack, okay with bringing in outside food - and Taqueria El Castillito is just around the corner with an al pastor spit. I was considering asking if they had a room to rent upstairs.

Any Shishito peppers sightings?

Happy Boy Farms had them (first time this season) at the Castro Farmers' Market on Wednesday. Whole Foods on Market had Capay shishitos for $10/lb. I also saw them at Capay's Ferry Plaza stall.

Pizzeria Delfina

This just for you? Is a lot of food. I have not had the tripe, but the arancini and pizza are quite good. Which location are you hitting?

Best Bakeries/Patisseries for pastries/croissants in San Francisco

Dropped in this morning. Small space, small selection, slightly awkward transaction (which is rather refreshing, actually). Short hours, 7-1, closed Monday. Kouign amann in a more traditional style, with harder caramelized top. Good, but I prefer the one at b. patisserie. Chocolate croissant was too soft. Not bready, very buttery, but interior was too moist. Tartine is the gold standard here (any others in town worth having?). Almond chocolate croissant was way over the top, with the butter from the laminated dough, a generous amount of almond paste, and oozy chocolate. I ate half and felt as if I'd had my saturated fats for the week. Not nearly enough dough to contain all that richness. I will be back to try the regular croissant and morning bun, but I don't think this will be a destination for me (though it is a nice addition to the area and a good address to know if one is in the vicinity).

Exotic fruits(esp mangosteen) in the Bay Area?

Second this, but be warned that you're at the mercy of what they have and how it's been handled, and you have to read up on what to expect, whether to refrigerate or keep on the counter, when they're ripe, and so on. Sometimes when I buy fruits in North America that I've had closer to the source, they're such a distant echo that it's depressing. And sometimes they bring back memories. It's a crapshoot.