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Fermented Fish Soup @ Bun Mam Soc Trang in Oakland

If you're ever near Milpitas, check out Truong Thanh
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1016621

Brown Sugar Kitchen Review [Oakland]

Tried BSK for the first time the other day. I thought the space was really nice and it wasn't too crowded on a weekday morning. Smelled great, thanks to the special of smoked pork hash.

We shared:

Chicken and waffle
Smoked pork hash with poached eggs
Side order of cheddar grits
1 iced tea
1 iced coffee

Food, on the whole, was really good. Waffle was light and fluffy and like others describe, and I really liked it. Chicken was quite good too. Freshly fried, hot and crispy. I enjoy this style of crispy fried chicken that has a very thin layer of batter. The syrup tasted like molasses.

Smoked pork hash was slightly spicy and very good as well. Grits were very creamy and smooth, and I thought they tasted great.

Portions were good sized but not huge -- 2 of us easily finished all of this food and left feeling full, but not overly so. Price was $48 before tip, so we paid $57 in total for this meal with the tip included. Not cheap for a weekday breakfast.

Fermented Fish Soup @ Bun Mam Soc Trang in Oakland

Ate here again last weekend and had another great meal. Once again ate bun bo hue and bun mam, but we also tried a broken rice plate with pork chop, and a bun with grilled pork. Also had an order of fresh spring rolls. The two soups were the standouts for me, once again, although I also really liked the spring rolls. The two dry dishes (rice plate and noodles) were both good, but not as special.

I still like this place quite a bit and was happy to see it so busy on a weekday at lunch.

Mexico City - on a Monday night in July!

Hi cristina,

Evening recommendations would be great! Especially if it's on the casual side, but still a place where we could sit down and be served (and potentially relax/linger)

Thanks in advance,
Dave MP

Jun 24, 2015
Dave MP in Mexico

Rangoon Super Stars - Berkeley

Ate here again the other night, and we had a very nice meal. Tea leaf salad was very large and mixed at the table, with a large quantity of tea leaves. Rainbow salad was also nice, though it's not my favorite dish at any restaurant.

Eggplant with basil was a tad too sweet and salty, but paired nicely with coconut rice. Beef with chili stir-fry used tender pieces of steak and a good amount of spice, including some cumin. Reminded me of Chinese-Indian dishes that I've had in the past. Shrimp with red curry was once again delicious, although also a tad too salty for my taste.

Very nice service, fair prices, take reservations, the beef and lamb are halal. This is one of the closest Burmese places to me now that I live in the East Bay, and I'll definitely be back

Are my coffee beans too dry?

Thanks meshane. The coffee beans I bought were roasted on 6/10/15, so that's just 9 days ago. So should still be good. I'll try grinding it more finely, and maybe a few other methods too.

Jun 19, 2015
Dave MP in General Topics

Are my coffee beans too dry?

That's what I was thinking, but I am not sure.

But if that is the case, do I need to prepare the coffee differently in order for it to taste good?

Jun 18, 2015
Dave MP in General Topics

Are my coffee beans too dry?

Two days ago I bought a sealed bag of coffee beans from a local coffee shop. They are Kokanna Ethiopian beans from Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz.

I opened up the bag this morning, and the beans seemed quite dry and were very light in color. Very little (if any) oiliness to them. I ground the beans in my normal way, and used my French press the same way I do for other beans, and the result was a very watery coffee which wasn't very pleasant to drink. I ended up tossing this, and using a few leftover beans (a House Blend from another local coffee roaster) to make a new batch of coffee.

So, my question is, is there something wrong w/ my Kokanna beans? Or am I just making the coffee incorrectly?

The photo is a color comparison of the two coffee beans I had. Note that the darker one actually isn't all that dark (i.e. a French Roast would look even darker than both of these).

Any help would be appreciated!

Jun 18, 2015
Dave MP in General Topics

Truong Thanh in Milpitas

Ah, yes, thanks! I have edited my post to reflect this.

And here's a link to the posts from PeterCC (and Melanie Wong), also about the hu tieu nam vang (soup version): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9209...

Truong Thanh in Milpitas

On the way to a wedding near Santa Cruz yesterday, we stopped by Milpitas for some lunch. I identified Truong Thanh as a place that offered bun mam (which I was in the mood for), and I found brief mention of it from PeterCC on Chowhound, so we decided to give it a try. We stopped in on Sunday at about 12:30 and it was quite full, but no wait for a table for two.

Passion fruit juice wasn't fresh like advertised, but it was refreshing and served in a very tall glass. Vietnamese iced coffee (not pictured) was strong and very good. Took a while for them to make it, which I took as a positive sign.

Fresh spring rolls contained shrimp, lettuce, Chinese chives, rice noodles, and maybe bean sprouts? No pork. Chives look pretty, but were kind of chewy. Wrapper was the soft kind that I really like. Overall, quite good.

Bun mam was nice. Pieces of eggplant, pork, fish balls, catfish in a fermented fish broth. The waiter checked to make sure I really wanted this when I ordered. I slightly preferred the version at Bun Mam Soc Trang in Oakland, but this was really nice overall. See my report on BMST here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8296...

We also ordered hu tieu nam vang, which I am happy to report is the third best version of this dish that I have ever had. 1st place was in Vietnam, 2nd place is at Ha Nam Ninh (still winning in the Bay Area), but this was a runner up. A difference in this version was that it contained thin pieces of Chinese celery, which made the dish taste like a non-spicy version of Thai boat noodles (I am guessing/thinking that these dishes are related?!?)...anyway, we ordered it dry with soup on the side. Noodles stuck together a bit, but otherwise I had very few complaints. Maybe a tad too sweet and salty, and a lot of offal (which I don't prefer). If you're a fan of this dish, give this place a try.

Service was efficient and friendly. Prices were reasonable. It's in the same plaza as a new 85 Degrees, and also a place called Foodie Hall, which has Yunnan, Guangxi and Sichuan noodles and an impressive condiment bar for adding stuff to noodles. Looked good! Yelp reviews are mixed and I'd be curious to hear Chowhound reports.

Dave MP

Cigkoftem - Vegetarian kofta wraps - Harringay Green Lanes [London]

A person from the restaurant wrote to let me know that they have an updated website, which can be found here: http://www.cigkoftem.co.uk/

Jun 09, 2015
Dave MP in U.K./Ireland

Bibimbap: SFBA Dish of the Month June 2015

I ate at Manna in the Inner Sunset this evening. It continues to be my favorite dinner spot in the Inner Sunset.

Dolsot bibimbap was very good — the pot was very hot and there were lots of pieces of crispy rice once it cooled. Panchan selection is small, but both kimchee and fish cakes are excellent.

Also had kimchee pancake, mandu gook (dumpling soup), soft tofu soup w/ beef, and japchae, and I thought all were very good.

I forgot to take a picture of tonight's meal. Sorry about that!

Boiling Beijing (San Bruno)

I also checked out Boiling Beijing tonight. I suspect you were at the table next to me, Thomas Nash. I ate alone, but wanted to bring home leftovers to share, so I ordered three items:

Jian Bing - pretty much how hyperbowler describes it. I liked this quite a bit. I think I slightly prefer the version at Tian Jin Dumplings in Oakland Chinatown, but this was different since it had the larger donuts inside. Definitely worth ordering.

Sweet and sour cabbage was decent, but not my favorite preparation of this dish. It had big chunks of both ginger and garlic, several pieces of dried chili, and a sauce with a prominent Sichuan peppercorn flavor. Not particularly spicy, but the numbing factor from the Sichuan peppercorns was present. Sauce was a bit sour (from vinegar), but I had been hoping for an even dryer version. Generous serving, and cabbage was not overcooked, so that was a plus.

Dao xiao mian (knife shaved noodles) were very good. I ordered them stir-fried with pork (also included cabbage and onion), and while there was no chili in the dish at all, there was some Sichuan peppercorn. The flavor was lacking at first, but once I added a generous amount of the chili sauce on the table, the dish was greatly improved. The chili sauce actually isn't all that spicy, so it worked well and added both saltiness and spice. Texture of the noodles was great—thick parts had a nice bite.

Service was steady (neither fast nor slow), and other tables were ordering all sorts of nice looking hot pot dishes. I definitely want to go back here, and I hope this place will be successful.

Dave MP

Mexico City - on a Monday night in July!

That place looks interesting! Only open until 6 pm, though, which could be doable. Do places generally *completely* shut at that time, or would it be normal to enter the restaurant at 5:30 and linger until 7ish?

Dave MP

May 27, 2015
Dave MP in Mexico

Mexico City - on a Monday night in July!

Anonimo and Steve, thanks for the recommendations. I am probably less interested in going to Colonia Roma because that is the area I stayed in during my other visit to Mexico City. I'm more interested in Coyoacan because we spent so little time there (plus, I LOVED the churros and chocolate).

I think ideally we would:

1) Take late-afternoon taxi to Coyoacan (or another neighborhood)
2) Walk around, eat dinner (mid-range or lower-end or even street food...I remember seeing tlayudas in Coyoacan)
3) Find a cafe to relax in for a bit -- maybe get dessert or a drink. This could potentially be a low-key bar, too
4) At 10 pm or so, take a taxi back to the airport

Any recommendations for an itinerary that looks like this based in Coyoacan?
Thanks!
Dave MP

May 27, 2015
Dave MP in Mexico

Friday afternoon snacks in eastern parts of Portland

I didn't get that, although I think I had it last time I was there.

Thanks for the breakfast recs!
Dave MP

May 25, 2015
Dave MP in Metro Portland
1

Favorite Portland Breakfast Spot

We ended up eating at Broder Nord, which I liked overall. We arrived at 9:15 and were practically the only people waiting when we arrived. We were a party of six and there was a party of 10 in front of us. Unfortunately, it took about 1 hour to get a table, which was much longer than we expected. There was free coffee to drink while we waited.

I had the baked egg scramble with trout topped w/ horseradish crema, and while it was fine, I wasn't too impressed. Eggs were a bit dry, and they reminded me of the ones you might get on an airplane. That sounds meaner than it's meant to be—perhaps I just shouldn't have ordered baked scrambled eggs. Toast was mediocre. Bacon, which I chose as my side, was smoky and very good!

My DC's Swedish meatballs were quite good, however, as were the crispy smashed potatoes that he chose with it. So I liked his meal quite a lot.

I think the long wait (which wasn't communicated very well) soured the meal a bit, and I thought portions were on the small side, but it was a nice place overall. Service was efficient and friendly once we were seated.

We weren't super full when we left, so we swung by the Mississippi branch of Blue Star Donuts on the way to the airport. The line was excruciatingly slow (only one person working, and he had no pre-made boxes to pack donuts in, so he had to fold one up for every single customer). But the donuts were awesome. Passion fruit w/ chocolate nibs, buttermilk raspberry and blueberry were the highlights. They are expensive donuts, but I enjoyed them.

Photos of the meal at Broder turned out quite nice. Credits to my DC for that!

May 25, 2015
Dave MP in Metro Portland

Friday afternoon snacks in eastern parts of Portland

We ended up going back to Viking Soul Food and had two nice lefse: smoked salmon and rhubarb jam w/ goat cheese. After this quick snack, we headed up to Hood River!

I'm still in the market for a nice Monday breakfast idea: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1008...

Dave MP

May 23, 2015
Dave MP in Metro Portland

Friday afternoon snacks in eastern parts of Portland

I'll be flying into Portland tomorrow (Friday) -- renting a car at airport, and then heading to Hood River. But I'd love to get a quick snack or mini-meal before hitting the road for Hood River.

I am tempted to go to Viking Soul Food again, since it's not *too* far out of the way, and I loved it last time I was in Portland: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/908604
Should I just do that? Or anywhere else coming to mind?

I'm curious about other recommendations, from donuts up to more substantial snacks. This will be happening between 2 and 4 pm, or in that general time frame. I could potentially go to two places if it were worthwhile.

Thanks in advance!
Dave MP

May 21, 2015
Dave MP in Metro Portland

Favorite Portland Breakfast Spot

I'm going to be in Portland (briefly) this coming Monday (Memorial Day) during breakfast time, so my follow up to Emmanue's question is:

Do you have any favorite breakfast spots that you think will be open on Monday AM?

Tasty N Sons is not going to be open.

Would be fine with casual places, like trucks, donut shops, etc. —— but ideally an experience I can't get in SF.

Thanks!
Dave MP

May 21, 2015
Dave MP in Metro Portland

Boiling Beijing (San Bruno)

Sounds awesome. Thanks for the report! I will be trying this place soon,

Dave MP

Mexico City - on a Monday night in July!

We are flying through Mexico City in July and have a long layover, so I'm hoping to get into the city for a bit. I was last in Mexico City in September 2012, and had a great time. I wrote about it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/870467

We will be arriving on a Monday at about 3 PM, and then our flight out is not until 1 AM....so we have about 10 hours. I really liked the evening we spent in Coyoacán so I was thinking about heading in that direction, but I could be convinced to head to a different neighborhood instead, especially if there were good churros and chocolate there.

But mostly I'm looking for a restaurant for dinner that would be relaxing but casual. We could (and may) end up eating at a street stall like we did in Coyoacan last time, but I'm curious about sit-down places. Probably don't want anything super heavy, since we'll be flying later in the night.

We loved Contramar and would potentially go back there if they were opened a bit later (they close at 6 pm on weekdays). Any favorites in that price range, or cheaper, in Coyoacan? Or other options to consider?

Also not sure about how we'll get around (bus vs. metro vs. taxi), but I think we'll be able to leave luggage in the airport (or have it checked directly through). We both speak Spanish, so I'm pretty comfortable getting around.

Thanks in advance!

Dave MP

May 20, 2015
Dave MP in Mexico

Mountain View Advice? Ramen?

Yeah, it was clear that they weren't even remotely trying to make the gyoza good there. It's just an afterthought/filler.

Mountain View Advice? Ramen?

Thanks again to everyone for the recommendations. We ended up eating at Maru Ichi, and I liked it. I'd never fried kuru ramen before, so it was new to me, and I enjoyed the flavor.

I got a combo, which included the large ramen, as well as a small plate of California roll and three gyoza. The gyoza and California rolls were mediocre (at best), but I liked the ramen. There was a plastic container of kimchee on every table—I enjoyed this quite a bit.

Dining companion got ramen w/ pork curry (also mediocre, in my opinion) and a salad. Other dining companions got the vegetarian ramen (which looked nice) and tonkotsu ramen.

Service was very quick, and it was easy to get a table at 5:30 PM. Mountain View does have lots of restaurants! For dessert, we followed ssfire's advice and checked out the new Midtown Cafe for the gelato. I got the mojito sorbet, which was light and refreshing, and others had flavors like chocolate, honey lavender, and cardamom-orange. Thanks ssfire for the tip!

Mountain View Advice? Ramen?

Thanks everybody for the responses so far! Sounds like I need to make it down there more often!

Will be consulting with my dining companions, and I'll report back.

Mountain View Advice? Ramen?

Four of us would like to get an early dinner (5:15 or 5:30 PM) in Mountain View on Sunday evening, and we need to be out of the restaurant by 7:00 PM at the very latest.

I'd be interested in eating something that I can't get as easily in SF/Oakland, so some of the ramen places came to mind. Shalala, Ryowa, and Maru Ichi all sound like possibilities, so which one is best these days?

Would also love to hear about newer options (particularly Asian, but doesn't have to be) in Mountain View that could be worth a try. We definitely want casual and relatively quick (given timeframe).

I hardly ever am in Mountain View so I'd love the advice!
Dave MP

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

Yeah, I sometimes boil dumplings, let them cool a bit, and then pan fry. But like Melanie says, the dough on the potstickers is thicker, and I don't think it would come out quite as nice to boil them.

Thanks for the tip about Tian Jin Dumpling. That'll probably be my new go-to spot!

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

Aside from the potstickers, I mainly just buy bags of frozen 'pork and cabbage dumplings' and 'pork and chive dumplings.' Sometimes, if they are making dumplings fresh when I am there, I buy whatever they are making at that moment (I've tried various, including pork and celery which I also like). I haven't tried their non-dumpling items (like buns).

Potstickers : SFBA Dish of the Month May 2015

I often make potstickers at home using frozen dumplings that I buy at Yummy Dumpling (on Irving @ 18th Ave in Inner Sunset). I really like their pork potstickers, and since I am moving to the East Bay soon, I'd love to know if there are any places to buy frozen potstickers in Oakland or Berkeley.

Brief Angkor Borei Report [San Francisco]

Nice report. I agree that this is the best ahmohk that I've tried in the Bay Area