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Al's place in the Mission review [San Francisco]

Thanks for the report and the great pictures.

How much does the family tasting menu cost?

Lanxang Kingdom - Laotian Pop-up at Tenderloin Turtle Tower [San Francisco]

Hmm, strange. The downloadable PDF menu is missing the noodle soup section. I see it on the picture they posted to FB though.

Lanxang Kingdom - Laotian Pop-up at Tenderloin Turtle Tower [San Francisco]

What about silk worms and red ant eggs, which are also on the Facebook menu?

Interesting that the menu doesn't include any soups.

Help me brainstorm options for dinner in SF?

Ended up at Tuba and it was a good choice. I liked the appetizers much better than the main dishes. One exception was the manti, which I thought were really nice. For appetizers we had haydari, stuffed grape leaves, cevizli ezme, eggplant and white beans, and I thought all were good. Nice homemade bread served with everything. Lamb stew w/ eggplant and veggies was just okay (lamb was somewhat tough and flavorless, maybe too lean a cut?), mousaka was also just okay, and falafel salad and shrimp salad were mediocre. The actual falafels and shrimps were good, but it was mostly just greens in a bland dressing.

Desserts were quite nice, though. Signature künefe was excellent, and rice pudding was creamy and cool.

Thanks again to folks who suggested places. I had thought about Kin Khao too but it was too late to get a reservation.

Dave MP

Had a great time at Vientian (Vientiane) Cafe [Oakland]

Visited today for lunch and had the Khao Poon with fish. They use tilapia, and there were very small chunks scattered throughout the soup—no big pieces. Lots of bamboo shoot and bean sprout and some pork blood (you can order it without this), in a slightly spicy coconut broth with round rice noodles. This soup was really good. I'm unfamiliar with khao poon, but this version reminded me of laksa. Generous serving for $7.95

This was my first ever visit to Vientian Cafe and I definitely plan to be back.
http://www.vientianecafe.com/

Dave MP

New hot pot place coming to Inner Sunset? Former location of South Sea Seafood Village (Irving @ 14th Ave) SF

South Sea Seafood Village, formerly in the Inner Sunset, has been closed for a while now, but when I biked by this location yesterday (1420 Irving St), I noticed new signage and maybe some construction. I don't think it's open quite yet, though I'm not sure. Anyone know any details?

Help me brainstorm options for dinner in SF?

Here are the specifications:

-- I can make a reservation (or be sure I can walk-in) for a party of 6 on Thursday evening around 7:15 (i.e. in 48 hours from now)

--Within a 5-10 min walk of one of the downtown or Mission BART Stations (Embarcadero thru 24th)

--Has good vegetarian options

--Casual, but still a real sit-down restaurant (i.e. you sit and place your order when the server comes to your table)

And obviously good food, especially something that would be interesting to visitors from the east coast. One place that immediately comes to mind is Old Jerusalem, which I really like. But any other places that could be good? How is Tuba for Turkish? Another possibility is Angkor Borei for Cambodian? The latter is a place I've been to many times, including quite recently, which is a reason it's not a top contender right now.

I feel like there must be lots of great places that could work, and I'm hoping my initial suggestions will help trigger some ideas in others? Probably less interested in standard pub/burgers/pizza type places.

Thanks very much in advance!
Dave MP

Boiling Point - So-Cal hot pot chain hits Fremont

Can't comment on the Fremont branch, but I wasn't too impressed when I ate at Boiling Point down in LA. If I'm having hot pot, I prefer to share it with others (instead of having my own individual one), and I definitely prefer to put in my own ingredients as I want to cook them. At Boiling Point, the hot pot comes out with everything inside it already, and each person orders their own.

I didn't try the desserts when I was there. I do remember that they had good passion fruit green iced tea, though.

Dave MP

Korean BBQ in SF ?

I went to Um Ma Son on Friday after reading about it here. It was actually my second visit—I didn't remember my first visit until I arrived and recognized the room (which is very sparse). We shared a dumpling/rice cake soup and a dolsot bi bim bap. Panchan were simple but good, kimchi serving was tiny (we asked for seconds, and they brought out another tiny portion). By tiny, I mean that I could eat the entire thing in one bite. The food was pretty good. There is nothing special about it, but it was well-prepared. When we arrived at 7 PM on Friday, it was nearly empty (bad sign?) but it was about half-full when we left.

Two women appeared to be running the whole show—serving, cashier, cooking, etc. They were great, but I can see how service would slow down a lot if the restaurant were full.

I think I still prefer Shin To Bul Yi on Taraval to this place when it comes to simple preps of Korean dishes (non BBQ). I also think Manna has better food, but Manna usually has a long wait.

Bay Area Burmese Restaurant Roundup 2.0

Thanks for the heads up! I'll hopefully try it someday soon.

Dave MP

Duck Leg Ho Fun @ Hai Ky Mi Gia, SF

Looks good! Although I still always order it dry-style with wide egg noodles :)

Casserole House in Oakland (Korean in Temescal)

I ate at Casserole House last night for the first time in many years. It was a cloudy evening, so I was craving some sort of soup or stew. Arriving around 6:45, the restaurant was nearly empty, though by the time we left at 8:00, the main dining area was mostly full.

There's an existing discussion about this place here, though it hasn't been updated in a while: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/515982

Three of us shared two items:

1) A medium-sized beef dumpling casserole, which costs $35. It was enough to fill four large individual bowls, so it was plenty for the three of us. The beef dumplings are big and round with a soft filling (couldn't really tell what else was in there besides beef). The stew also contained clear noodles, some rice cakes, various veggies (onion, pepper, cabbage, bean sprout), and mushrooms. Broth was slightly spicy, but not at all overpowering.

2) Seafood pancake. This was definitely freshly fried and really good. I wouldn't say it was packed with seafood, but the overall flavor was nice and the crispiness made up for everything else.

Panchan were plentiful and there were some less-common items: sauteed eggplant, marinated fried tofu, steamed broccoli, kimchi and radish, an omelette sort of thing, bean sprouts, and maybe 3 or 4 others that I'm forgetting. Our meal came with a bowl of rice for each of us.

Total bill for all of this was $56 before tip, and this included one coca cola, but no other drinks. They serve some hot barley tea at the beginning of the meal, which had added ginger, which was a nice touch. Complimentary sweet rice drink for dessert.

This felt like a good deal for the amount and quality of food that we ate. We ate almost everything, but all left very full. I've had the goat stew before and remember it being great, but I'm curious if folks have other stew suggestions. Looking forward to returning soon.

Dave MP

Where to get chocolate writing on cake

I know that Whole Foods (at least the one at Dolores/Market) will custom-decorate cakes at their bakery department. I wonder if you could go there, and ask them to write on a piece of chocolate (which they would either have, or you could buy?) and then you could stick the chocolate on the cake? Or maybe they have some other solution. This doesn't really entail having the writing be in chocolate, but it could maybe work.

New Oakland Safeway complex in Rockridge. College @ Claremont... Critiques?

My biggest critique of this Safeway is that there is no cell phone service inside the store, at least for ATT. Not sure why, but a few other friends have commented on this too.

This was annoying for me when I was there, because I was trying to look up a recipe to be reminded of an ingredient I needed, but couldn't do that. Also wanted to make a call to ask someone a question about a recipe, and couldn't do that either. I had to leave my shopping cart, go outside and make my call, and then go back in and continue shopping.

Akemi - North Berkeley (Solano Ave), CA

Inspired by nicedragonboy's review, three of us tried this place last night. I was pleased that I was able to make a 7:30 reservation on the phone, though the restaurant never got 100% full while we were there so it probably wasn't necessary. We started with:

Brussels Sprouts: Topped with bonito flakes, and in a sweet/sour dressing. These were quite good, though serving size was quite small (the bonito flakes made it look big)

Gyoza: Nothing special, but good. Served with chili sesame oil (which wasn't actually very spicy) and a ponzu dipping sauce.

Kara-age - My dining companions liked this the best, and I thought it was decent. Bite size bits of fried chicken. A bit greasy but freshly fried.Tasted good with the beer we were drinking.

Then the three of us shared one each of the two ramens: tonkotsu and spicy miso.

The ramen was much like nicedragonboy describes. The soft boiled eggs were perfect, and I liked the bamboo shoots as well. Noodle texture was also just like nicedragonboy describes. In the tonkotsu ramen, the broth was a bit plain (and perhaps undersalted, even), though I am not sure how it's supposed to be, so maybe this was intentional. The pork meat itself, though, was really tender and flavorful. All of us liked the miso broth much more, and I think my ideal ramen here would be to have the pork in the spicy miso broth :) Total bill for this food, plus one big beer, was $60 before tip.

This was a decent amount of food for 3 people, but we did not leave super full. Fortunately, this provided us an opportunity to try iScream, where I had never been. I had samples or tastes of blueberry, Mexican chocolate, regular chocolate, and salted caramel. The salted caramel is really salty, and had a great soft texture—I preferred it to Bi-Rite's version. The Mexican chocolate was also really nice....tasted like a melted cup of hot chocolate that I drank in Mexico City.

I don't think that Akemi is the type of place that I would rush back to, but it's worth a try if you're looking for something in the neighborhood.

Easy Fish Tacos

Made this the other night using some cod. It was a little bit hard to tell when the fish was cooked, especially since my pieces weren't all the same thickness. The result was that when I put it on the plate, most pieces sort of fell apart. I guess this is okay because I needed it in smaller pieces anyway for the tacos.

Instead of cabbage salad, I used thinly sliced fennel tossed with grapefruit, orange, olive oil, salt and pepper. Also put on some sour cream, salsa and avocado, and the tacos were delicious.

Mar 05, 2015
Dave MP in Recipes

Black Cuisine Festival [San Francisco]

I think I did go to this two years ago. I arrived sort of late, and if I recall correctly, it was raining (or had rained?) But I do remember getting to eat some good food, though I can't remember specifics. Hopefully someone can go this year and report back!

Dave MP

Maneelap Srimongkoun Restaurant -- New Lao Food Option in the Excelsior [San Francisco]

Went here today, my second visit.

Rice ball salad was very good, and had plenty of crispy bits. I did ask for it to be crispy, though not sure if this matters. I avoided the dried chilies, and the salad was otherwise not at all spicy. Served w/ lettuce and lots of mint.

Coconut chicken noodle soup had round rice noodles, bits of chicken, cabbage, bean sprouts, lemongrass and other spices in a mildly spicy coconut broth. The temperature of the soup was warm, but not hot, like others have mentioned, but I thought it was really good.

I noticed that they have boat noodles on the Thai portion of the menu. Anyone tried these?

Is Philz Coffee That Good?

I like Philz just fine, but I don't think it's *that* good.

Traditional Korean in SF?

Yeah, hyperbowler is right. I think the prices may be even higher now.
I was there last year and I think two of us paid about $40, before tip and with no alcohol, for our meal.

Dave MP

Traditional Korean in SF?

I did post about bibimbar, although not about the bibimbap, which is what I ordered there on subsequent visits: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/862036

Traditional Korean in SF?

Some places I like for non-BBQ Korean include:

Shin Toe Bul Yi on Taraval - Pretty good Korean fried chicken, solid bi bim bap and tofu stews.

Toyose in the Outer Sunset - They are also known for their fried chicken, but the best thing I've had there is a big meat stew (costs about $30, if I recall correctly, but is enough food for 5 people). They also have good kimchi fried rice. It gets really crowded.

Manna in the Inner Sunset - This is my local Korean restaurant, and it also gets very busy. Nothing super special here, but they have nice versions of dumpling soup, tteokboki, and bi bim bap.

When I worked downtown, I occasionally went to BiBimBar in the int'l food court on Bush St. and really enjoyed it. I think I posted about that somewhere, too.

As far as Korean in SF, those are the favorites of mine that come to mind for non-BBQ. I went to My Tofu House once a few months ago and wasn't impressed at all— expensive and not any better than the places I've listed here. I liked the place next door to My Tofu House a bit better on my one visit there, especially the cold noodles. If you want to venture over to Oakland, there are a lot of good places to try there too, both for BBQ and non-BBQ.

I do not know of any other Korean places in the Mission.

I think that every place I have listed here has been discussed on Chowhound before, so you can read about other folks' opinions. Hope this helps, and I hope you report back!

Best Cambodian restaurants in the east bay?

There aren't a ton to choose from. As far as I know, the main options for Cambodian are:

Battambang -- I like it, especially for the dessert: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9141...

Phnom Penh House, which has two locations. I liked their pork ribs and other meat dishes. I have only been to the Laurel location I think...

Apparently there's a place called Angkor Grill in Alameda but I have never been.

If your friend is interested in Lao food, there are other options.

Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken with White Wine Sauce

Made this tonight and had success with it. I followed the recipe almost exactly, except for the final sauce I used sherry and chicken broth instead of wine. I also had to use dried spices, which wasn't as great, but still fine. I used herbs de provence as a sub for the thyme/sage.

I didn't have toothpicks so I sort of folded the chicken over the filling, like an omelette. I was still able to flip it just right. Final product maybe wasn't as pretty, but it still tasted good.

I served it with quinoa and salad.

Feb 25, 2015
Dave MP in Recipes

Basil Canteen [San Francisco]

I wish I had known that that was the target! :) If I end up there again I will try it!

New Woey Loy Goey Restaurant -- amazing lobster with Cantonese (black bean / ginger) sauce [San Francisco]

That sounds really good. Do you know if they are open this week?

Crab cakes SFBA Dish of the Month Feb 2015

I had brunch at M Cafe in West Berkeley yesterday. I had a combo plate of banana pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon. Everything was good, but nothing too special. Nice big, open room, coffee was good, service friendly. I'd go back, but probably wouldn't make a destination of it.

The reason I write about it here is that one of my dining companions had the crab cakes benedict, which is available every day. I only had one bite of it, but I thought it was pretty good. The crab cake had a lot of filler, but was plump and moist, and the hollandaise sauce was pretty good too. I don't know if there are other crab cake dishes on the menu. But if you like crab cakes benedict, I think this is worth a try.

Unfortunately I didn't get to snap a picture.

Dave MP

85 Degrees C (85C) Bakery Taiwanese chain coming to Bay Area (potentially Newark / Union City / Fremont)

Went to the 85 Degrees in W. San Jose yesterday. My first visit. It was very busy. It's located in a new plaza, next to two other food places (well, one is not open yet): Sno-Crave Shave Ice and Hotpot, and a place that hasn't opened yet called Wing Box, which appears to specialize in many flavors of wings.

I like 85 Degrees when I've had it in LA, so it was fun experiencing it closer to home. It's pretty consistent. I just get whatever is hot (yesterday, it was a tuna pastry), and get passionfruit green tea to drink! The grapefruit green tea is good too. Friend had the sea salt coffee, which ends up just tasting like coffee ice cream (quite sweet).

Favorite grocery stores in SF?

This thread has now mentioned almost every place that I shop for groceries. But a few other things to mention:

1) Whole Foods on Ocean Ave. might be relatively close to you depending on where in the Sunset you live.

2) There's a small-ish Asian market about a block away from Sunset Super on Irving, but I forget what it is called. I think it's somewhat newly remodeled, but they have nice looking Asian produce (seems to be better than what they have at Sunset Super). It might be S&B Supermarket? Does anyone else know the place I am talking about?

3) There's a good Korean market in Daly City, Kukje Market. Great for kimchi and panchan that are already prepared, and for other Korean ingredients. OK for produce, but not amazing.

4) Finally, 99 Ranch in Daly City is a pretty quick drive from the Outer Sunset. Maybe a bit more variety than the Asian markets mentioned here already in SF, and generally easier parking and wider aisles make it a less hectic experience, at least on weekdays.

Treats from Ecuador?

Wow, cool! I'm glad to hear this place still exists, 9 years later!

Feb 14, 2015
Dave MP in General Topics