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2014 Top Ten Tastes

Thanks Daveena for getting this started! Here is my list, with links to my Chowhound posts about each bite. I'm limiting myself to foods that I haven't posted on the 2012 or 2013 list.

Korean BBQ at Jong Ga House, Oakland: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/991418

Chile en Nogada at La Torta Gorda, SF: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/864821

Sesame Mochi from Yuen Hop, Oakland: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/983482

"Cold Cauliflower" at China North Dumplings, SF: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/981311

Bun at Kim Son, SF: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/980247

Shrimp balls that you can order for the hot pot at The Pots, SF: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/998854 I didn't write up a full report about this after all...but it was good!

Chocolate caramel croissant at Rolling Out Cafe, SF: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/979977

Jian bing at Tianjin Dumplings in Oakland (copying daveena here...): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/820809

Slice of pizza at the Pizza Shop, SF: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9651...

Fried shrimp cakes at Lam Hoa Thuan, SF: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/970194

Asparagus special and salmon banh mi at Fish Restaurant, Sausalito: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/966670

The coconut-based banana soft-serve at Easy Breezy, SF: They only had this flavor once. I have been requesting that they make it again ever since. I don't think I posted about this flavor specifically, but I posted about this place in general: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/964353

Dill soup at Cafe Europa, SF: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/879522

The Strangelove cocktail at Range, SF: I didn't post elsewhere about this.

I think that's the list for me for Bay Area. I did have lots of other amazing food this year, all over the world. Probably the most memorable is the imam biyaldi I had in Turkey: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/985347

New location in tenderloin for Ha Nam Ninh

Ha Nam Ninh has moved to a new location at 701 Larkin St, which is at the corner of Ellis. The new space is much bigger (more than twice the size of the old location), and today at lunch there were around 30 people eating.

Service was sort of a mess...lots of tables with uncleared dishes, slow wait times for tea and menus (I ended up just grabbing these myself), and we waited about 20 mins just to get a Vietnamese coffee.

But on the plus side, food was really good, once it came. Banh xeo was maybe the best i've had in SF -- nice crispy exterior, plump fresh shrimp, thin slices of pork, bean sprouts that were cooked but still had a bit of crunch, and really nice herbs (as I was used to having at the old location).

Hu tieu nam vang dry style was also very good, though the noodles were a tad overcooked. But everything else about it was very nice, and much like it was at the old location.

Hopefully they will get used to their bigger size and new space and continue to do well! As long as you're not in a rush and don't expect stellar service, it's definitely worth it!

Dave MP

SF Trip - Macanese & Hot Pot?

I really enjoyed The Pots for hot pot in the sunset district of sf. Lots of homemade dumplings and meat/fish balls you can order for your hot pot and a variety of broth choices. It's all you can eat for about $28 IIRC.

NEW: Indochine Vegan in the Mission, SF - Anyone try it yet?

The menu is interesting. Vegan Bun Bo Hue!

I'm curious to hear how this place is, though I will admit that after looking at the website, I am somewhat skeptical.

Taco Grill --> Obelisco Restaurant (Oakland)

I tried Obelisco for the first time yesterday, for lunch. Ordered the lunch special of the day, which was chicken enchiladas con mole. I chose pinto beans (nice creamy texture, lightly seasoned). The lunch special included a large agua fresca, and I chose jamaica, which was very good.

The mole was a tan color, and had a fair amount of cinnamon. I liked it quite a bit, though the flavor reminded me a bit of horchata.

Rice was fresh, the bit of salad was a nice touch, and I ate the whole plate. Total cost was $8.95 before tax and tip.

Best Khao Soi in SF?

Had it again last week at Amphawa. It's still really good. And a big portion considering the relatively cheap price.

Bay Area Burmese Restaurant Roundup 2.0

Ha, more like FIERCE competition :) Which I am losing, by the way. But I might be driving through Milpitas tomorrow night. Is Burmese House worth a try?

are CHILES EN NOGADA available anywhere yet?

When I was there today at 11:45 am, it was pretty quick. Waited for food for about 10 mins.

are CHILES EN NOGADA available anywhere yet?

Had it today at La Torta Gorda. It's much like Prabhakar describes. The sauce was cool, which made me worried, but the inside of the stuffed chile was still really hot. It was stuffed with a slightly sweet meat mixture, with lots of fruit and raisins. Sort of like the filling in a Turkish stuffed grape leaf. I thought it was really really good, and worth the $16.00 price tag. Pomegranate added a very nice crunch.

They said that they'll continue to have this dish for a while, as long as pomegranates are in season. Definitely worth a try. First picture is what it looked like when it arrived, second is the chile cut in half.

Vietnamese grilled beef with betel leaves

Just had them at Thien An (Bolsa location) and they were really good. Also got another beef dish, stuffed w onions (blanking on the name). Attaching pictures!

Best Khao Soi in SF?

What did you like about it? And any other suggestions of what's good to order there? I want to check it out!

Classic Guilin Rice Noodles - Oakland Chinatown

Is it a soup or a dry dish?

Burmese Kitchen closing, another victim of the out-of-control hi-tech economy. [San Francisco]

Like soupcon says, I have never seen fried fish in this dish anywhere. But I have sometimes seen little bits of fried dough (like doughnut, almost) in mohinga, or pieces of chickpea fritter like soupcon mentions. Both of those could potentially contain wheat though, so it's worth asking the restaurant about that.

Noriega Street, SF - Recent Observations

Here are photos from Thai Nghiep Ky Mi Gia. The broth was nice and not too salty or MSG-laden. And my ho fun noodles had a nice flavor thanks to the ground pork and the fried garlic.

Noriega Street, SF - Recent Observations

I was on Noriega Street in San Francisco last night, in the stretch between 19th Avenue and 22nd Avenue. There's a lot going on there these days, food-wise. Some of it has been around for a while and has been mentioned here already, but other places less-so.

A few places had big lines around 7 PM on Saturday night: Fujiyama-Ya Japanese Restaurant, where I have never eaten, and Cafe Bakery & Restaurant, which is a Hong-Kong style place with (according to Yelp) bottomless milk tea. I'm curious to hear about both of these places, and why/whether they merit the wait and the crowds.

I ended up eating at Thai Nghiep Ky Mi Gia, which has a similar menu to Hy Ky Mi Gia in the Tenderloin, where I have been many times. I had wonton ho fun noodles, dry style, and my dining companion had the egg noodles w/ roast duck, dry style. Both very well done, friendly service, just as good as the Tenderloin. Not very crowded, though not empty either. They give you free soymilk with your meal, either hot or cold!

Other places worth mentioning:

The Crew is a new-ish Korean place for Korean Fried Chicken. I ate there once and thought it was decent, but not super special.

Won-Ton House seems to be remodeled and expanded, and it looks kind of nice in there now. I have no idea when this happened (maybe I just haven't noticed?) but I swear it didn't used to look like that. I should have taken a picture.

Golden Island Cafe is a decent Hong Kong style dessert place. I've only been there once and I liked their sesame rice balls in the sweet soup.

China North Dumpling was pretty busy too, and I have been enjoying that place. I believe I have already discussed this elsewhere, and I know others have too.

All of this is within a 3 block stretch of Noriega, not to mention a bunch of other places that either weren't open or didn't look as exciting to me. Curious to hear what other people think is good in this stretch.

Mission Pie - Walnut Pie! [San Francisco]

I don't usually even like walnuts, and I think this pie is good!

The banana cream pie at Mission Pie is also nice, although I don't really like the crust there all that much. I prefer the crust at Chile Pies, but I like the fillings (and the overall atmosphere and mission) at Mission Pie much better.

Jayakarta - Berkeley

Yeah, my picture actually makes the rendang look wetter than it was. There wasn't very much sauce, and I don't think the sauce contained any tomato.

You're correct that the mie tek tek has peanut, which is why we didn't get that one.

Best Fried Rice in SF

I really like Toyose's fried rice too. Thanks for the reminder!

Best Fried Rice in SF

The first thing I thought of was the mango fried rice at Champa Garden. I wrote about it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9035...
However, I ate there recently and wasn't that amazed by the food (although on this second visit I did not have any fried rice).

I am excited to hear more answers to this question about best fried rice.

Jayakarta - Berkeley

I ate at Jayakarta in Berkeley last night for the first time since 2008, and had a pretty good meal. The decor was more casual than I remembered it being (maybe I am just older now and notice this more?) and it was not crowded on Friday at 6:15 PM (granted, Giants were playing). There's actually a TV in the restaurant, and the baseball was on TV.

Three of us shared:

Egg rolls, roti canai, water spinach w/ shrimp paste and tofu, mee goreng, beef rendang.

The egg rolls (fried) were meh. Won't get them again. Served with a peanut dipping sauce that tasted like peanut butter. I don't have a picture.

Water spinach was surprisingly great. Pretty strong shrimp paste flavor (which we all enjoyed), pretty spicy (lots of visible pieces of fresh chili), and a nice balance of flavors. Generous serving, and I liked the bits of fried tofu mixed in with the greens. I didn't get a picture.

The other dish descriptions are with the pictures.

Top spots for Vietnamese food in Oakland

You should try Pho 84 in that case! I actually like the wide fresh ones, so this makes me more excited to try Ma Me House.

Top spots for Vietnamese food in Oakland

Cool, thanks for this recommendation. What is distinctive about food from Binh Thuan? And how does it play out at this restaurant? I imagine seafood plays a role, and it does look like many of the noodle soups on the menu involve crab and/or other seafood.

Where to eat Saturday night near Castro Theater? [San Francisco]

Right in the Castro, I like Eiji, where they have made-to-order tofu. Old post about it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/359111

Top spots for Vietnamese food in Oakland

Their website says they are only open until 7 PM each day. Is that true? That'd unfortunately mean they might not be the best option for dinner for me usually.

Top spots for Vietnamese food in Oakland

I've been spending a lot more time in the East Bay lately, and am looking to try the best Vietnamese food that Oakland has to offer. So far, I haven't tried that much, so I'm hoping for suggestions on what to try next.

A while back, I had a nice meal at Tay Ho in Chinatown: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/399234

I also ate more recently at Monster Pho, which I wrote about here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9830...

Last night, I ate at Pho 84, which is in Uptown. The restaurant was fancier and pricier than I expected it to be. We tried three items: Beef pho, Chicken salad (goi ga) and Vermicelli with grilled chicken. Chicken salad came out first, and it was really nice (and quite big), with cabbage, tender chicken, cilantro, basil, and thin slivers of celery. It came somewhat dressed, though we added more sauce to it. It also came with four big pieces of rice cracker. Pho was also really good. The broth was some of the best I've had in the Bay Area..no noticeable MSG, but lots of rich beef flavor. Came with thin beef, brisket, tendon and meatball, and I tried all but the tendon, and all were great. Noodles themselves were nothing special, but overall I would be back for this bowl of pho, even at the price of $9. Finally, the vermicelli was the only disappointment. The grilled chicken was very good, and the presentation was nice, but the noodles were too wet and there was too much veggie (both raw bean sprouts and lettuce) and not enough herbs or garnish. Pretty lackluster, and I like the vermicelli better at most other places in the Bay Area.

So, where should I try next? Anywhere in Oakland is fair game, and maybe even neighboring towns/cities, too.

Dave MP

All-You-Can Eat Korean BBQ at Jong Ga House in Oakland

This description sounds right! Thanks drewskiSF!

All-You-Can Eat Korean BBQ at Jong Ga House in Oakland

The marinated pieces of beef were thicker pieces, but were off the bone. They took a little longer to cook and were a little bit chewy, but in a good way. I'm not sure if they were short ribs, but they definitely weren't the typical thin-cut bulgogi that I have eaten elsewhere. Sorry I can't describe it better, but I hope this helps!

All-You-Can Eat Korean BBQ at Jong Ga House in Oakland

I really liked that panchan too! I thought it was sweet potato, but your description makes more sense.

Zin Restaurant & Wine Bar, Healdsburg

I don't think I've been since 2008 (see my post here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/518194 ) but I'm glad to hear it's still good!

Andytown Coffee Roasters, SF Outer Sunset - Snowy Plover & Scones w/ PICS!

Do they still sell sausage rolls there?

Also: Nice pics, hhc!!