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Grocery Cafe- Burmese food! [Oakland]

Tried it today for lunch. Very friendly service and a nice sunny space with several tables. I had the dry curry noodle dish, which came with hard boiled egg, chicken curry, cabbage, onions, and lots of crispy shallot and crispy fried lentils. It was mildly spicy, and on the side they brought out some chili sauce to add more spice. Very large portion for $7, and nice flavors. Reminded me of the version of this dish at Yamo in San Francisco, only much better. The noodles and curry were hot, but everything else was room temperature, so the dish came out warm-ish.

Also tried some complimentary Burmese tea and a coconut tapioca dessert. In the cooler case, they have lots of stuff for sale, including two different types of pickled tea leaves (chopped up and whole) and dried shrimp/chili condiment (also a fish version). I will definitely be back to try more items!

Meal at The Progress - San Francisco

Had a nice meal at The Progress last night. We had an early reservation, and I was impressed by the service (casual but very professional), the pacing of the meal (not too fast, not too slow), and the space, which I thought looked great.

Lemon Curd

I've made this recipe twice recently. The first time, I used some small lemons that I got in Ojai, CA. They actually had more of a lime flavor, but the curd came out tasting amazing. We followed the recipe exactly.

Yesterday, I managed to get my hands on some passion fruits grown by a friend of a friend in San Jose. We made this recipe using passion fruit instead of lemon. I basically followed the recipe exactly, but used passion fruit juice instead of lemon juice (we used a fine mesh strainer to juice the passion fruit), and we didn't use any zest. I found it useful to use an instant thermometer to know when the curd was ready to take off the heat. It was ready at 160 degrees. Final results were amazing. So definitely worth a try if you can get fresh passion fruit! It took about 6 to get 2/3 cup of juice (I doubled this recipe)

Jan 25, 2015
Dave MP in Recipes

A sit-down-and-order "cheap eats" that takes rezzies in the Mission or Soma, wine and beer?

I also thought about Limón as an option, though it can be kind of loud.

Gajalee could work for Coastal Indian - they take reservations and have wine/beer.

Blue Plate is maybe slightly too pricy but could work.

New Malaysian in Oakland Chinatown

We ate here for an early dinner on Friday, and two of us shared four things:

- Roti Canai - My favorite dish of the evening. Fluffy interior, crispy exterior, and a tasty curry sauce for dipping. Really good.

- Nasi Lemak - It was an interesting version of the dish (which, granted, I haven't eaten in a long time). Coconut rice, cucumber, hard boiled egg, peanuts, an anchovy/sambal mixture which was a bit spicy and very tasty (served cold), some pickled veggies (also), and a somewhat oily but still very tasty chicken curry dish. The sauce on the chicken curry was similar to what was served with the roti canai, and there were potatoes in it as well. My DC liked this better than I did.

- Curry laksa - This had a nice variety of veggies and chicken, and the egg noodles were cooked perfectly, but I personally found the broth/sauce to be a bit too oily and one dimensional. It wasn't super spicy, and maybe we could have doctored it up a bit to make it better. The best part were the fried tofu/gluten puffs that soak up the sauce really well. I'd have been happy with more of these, and no chicken.

- Water spinach with shrimp paste - This was quite good, and when we ordered, the waiter confirmed that we were okay with shrimp paste. I said we were, and based on what I had read in this thread, assured him that we liked it a lot, so I was pleased that when the dish came out there was PLENTY of shrimp paste in it. This was a pretty good dish, although I also like the version I had recently at Jayakarta in Berkeley, which also contains tofu.

Service was friendly, nice decor and fair prices. I hope they do well, and I'm excited to find other dishes here that I like as much as the roti canai.

Dave MP

Roti canai / roti prata SFBA Dish of the Month January 2015

Had the roti canai at Chilli Padi in Oakland on Friday, and it was really good, like escargot3 describes.

It's been a while since I had the Malaysian version of this dish (I usually get the Burmese version), so the curry sauce was different and a nice change from the coconut-based curry that I'm used to. There may have been coconut in this sauce too, but if so, it was less prominent.

I'll post about the rest of the meal in the discussion about Chilli Padi

Saturday breakfast spot in East Bay: Good food, Not too crowded

Thank you to everyone who responded to this. There were a lot of great ideas here, and I will definitely be referencing this list in the future. I'm also interested in trying the Ethiopian breakfasts mentioned here, since that's something I've never had before.

We ended up going to Casa Latina on San Pablo in Berkeley. It was a perfect spot in terms of its space (lots of tables, not at all crowded at 9:30 AM), though I wasn't really that crazy about the egg and chorizo egg sandwich that I had.

It's totally remodeled now and there's a new owner since I was last there about 2 years ago, so it's a different menu. The place looks nice, and I'd like to go back and try the tamales in the future. Coffee was good (though somewhat expensive at I think $2.45 for a medium, served in a paper cup and no refills) and service was friendly.

Thanks again!
Dave MP

US geography game : Bay Area restaurant edition

I also went to Philly Frozen Custard once and was similarly not impressed.

US geography game : Bay Area restaurant edition

Yellow Submarine in Inner Sunset - Boston-style subs

Boston, MA (Inner Sunset, SF)

Roti canai / roti prata SFBA Dish of the Month January 2015

How is that place these days? Curious about what else you ate there!

Saturday breakfast spot in East Bay: Good food, Not too crowded

Yeah, I know :-/

It's not really that it can't be crowded. It just needs to be a place where it will be okay to linger/eat for about 1.5 hours and not feel pressure to leave. Totally fine if all the other tables are full and it's busy.

I'm thinking a casual cafe type place might work better than a full sit down restaurant, so I'm curious to hear about breakfast at Casa Latina (I've only been for lunch) and other options in this vein.

Dave MP

Saturday breakfast spot in East Bay: Good food, Not too crowded

I'm hoping to find a place for a Saturday breakfast (around 9:30 or 10 AM) that fits these requirements:

1) Good food

2) In Emeryville/N Oakland/West Berkeley area (ideally) or else somewhere else in Oakland/Berkeley (slightly less ideally)

3) Not too busy at that time, so we can sit and chat for a while without feeling like we ought to be giving up our seats.

Casual cafe environment is totally fine, or someplace more like a diner, or whatever—any kind of food, as long as it's good.

I was thinking about Casa Latina in W. Berkeley as a possible option. Anyone know how crowded it would be at that time? But would love to hear about other possibilities.

Thanks in advance!
Dave MP

mẻ - Vietnamese fermented rice

Is that in Andrea Nguyen's book?

I wonder if the market on Larkin Street in the Tenderloin would have it. But I also imagine it's somewhat hard to find here, especially if it's more common in Northern Vietnamese recipes.

Fermented Fish Soup @ Bun Mam Soc Trang in Oakland

Yeah, we must have overlapped! I was reading your OP on my phone as we waited for the table!

Aicha Moroccan on Polk? [San Francisco]

Tried it today, and we enjoyed it. Shared two things:

1) Salad trio: A platter of zaalouk , taktouka and carrots a la Chermoula. The zaalouk (warm mashed eggplant) was my favorite, though the warm taktouka (peppers) was also really nice.

2) Chicken tagine: Big piece of chicken served with plenty of sauce that contained olives. Sauce had sour flavor from the preserved lemon, and was great for dipping bread. Really homey sort of dish, reminded me of something I might make at home (in a good way)

Service was friendly, restaurant about 1/2 full on a Sunday night.

Fermented Fish Soup @ Bun Mam Soc Trang in Oakland

I ate here today for the first time. Arrived at about 1:15 PM on a Sunday, and there was a wait for a table. Waitress said the wait would be about 15 minutes, which was almost exactly accurate. The service here overall was excellent — super organized, friendly, gracious.

Spring rolls were really good. The wrapper had a different texture than at most place, which led me to believe they use a non-typical type of wrapper, but I didn't ask. Maybe it was just really fresh? Nice peanut dipping sauce.

Tried both the bun mam and the bun bo hue, and I really liked both of them. We got the "house special" bun mam which contains shrimp, fish, crispy pork, and thinly sliced pork. Noodles were cooked al dente—the same round rice noodles used in the bun bo hue. The waitress recommended the fresh chili sauce on the table for the bun mam, and this added some great flavor, along with lime and the herbs (cabbage, bean sprout, banana blossom).

Bun bo hue was served with the mam ruoc (fermented fish paste) and the lemongrass/chili mixture on the side, so you could add to your liking. I really appreciated this, since it meant I could design a lighter-tasting bun bo hue. My DC ate all of the blood pudding, but I enjoyed the other parts of the beef in this dish, along with the same noodles and herbs.

Hot tea was refilled regularly, and there's more on the menu to explore. One of their weekend specials is hu tieu nam vang, so I hope to try that sometime soon. One of the best new places I've tried in a long time, and I'll definitely be back.

Roti canai / roti prata SFBA Dish of the Month January 2015

Had palata tonight at Rangoon Super Stars in Berkeley. More about it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/915998

Rangoon Super Stars - Berkeley

Five of us ate here tonight — it was my first visit, and I was impressed! Sat in a booth in the main dining room, and it was warm and comfortable on a chilly night.

Palata served with coconut chicken curry came cut into 8 pieces. Not as fresh and flaky as the best versions I've had, but still quite good. Chicken coconut curry was nice, served in a small bowl on the side.

Tea leaf salad did contain lettuce, but I actually noted the very generous serving of tea leaves. Seemed like much more than drewskiSF's picture, and more of the actual tea leaves than you get at Mandalay or B-Star. Nice balance of crunchy ingredients, a few tomatoes, and a bit of spice from jalapeno. For me, this was just as good (if not the best) as any tea leaf salad in the Bay Area. The server did a good job mixing it at the table.

Burmese tofu salad - Not quite as good as the version at Burmese Kitchen, but a close second. Many of the same ingredients as the tea leaf salad, but with the chickpea tofu instead. I liked the texture of the tofu—a bit firmer and less grainy in texture than at Burmese Kitchen. Nice presentation, and mixed at the table.

Nan Gyi Dok - This coconut chicken noodle dish is my favorite at Mandalay, so I wanted to compare this version. They used round rice noodles (like the ones in bun bo hue or guilin mi fen), which didn't pick up the sauce quite as nicely as flat noodles they use at Mandalay. There also wasn't any kaffir lime leaf, which I think adds a great flavor at Mandalay, but otherwise ingredients were very similar. I think it could have used a touch more umami (fish sauce?), but otherwise it was still really good.

Burmese curry shrimp (which doesn't appear to be on the online menu) was a generous serving of shrimp in a red curry. It's similar to the fish cake curry at Burmese Kitchen, but a bit more savory. I liked this dish, especially paired with coconut rice.

Chicken and pumpkin curry was my least favorite of the night, but still pretty good. Yellow curry base, some very soft kabocha squash, and pieces of boneless chicken. For me it wasn't that exciting, but my dining companions enjoyed it.

I had a honey jasmine iced tea to drink, which was very nice, and others enjoyed milk tea and a mango lassi.

Bathrooms are single-stall and very nice. No complaints about service.

My dining companions were all new to Burmese food and were really impressed. As an overall experience, I found it to be just as good as any other Burmese meal I've had out recently in SF. Not everything was perfect, but I would definitely return.

Central Coast: Full of Life Flatbread (Los Alamos), Basil Thai (Paso Robles), Kay's Orcutt Country Kitchen (Orcutt), Nautical Bean (San Luis Obispo), Old West Cinnamon Rolls (Pismo Beach)!

This Christmas vacation, I had a chance to explore some parts of the Central Coast where I had never been before.

Best meal we had in the Central Coast was at Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos. This is a popular place, and we were there on a busy Saturday night. We had two local beers as we waited for a table, and were eventually seated. We shared a house salad, a special squash gnocchi dish, and a large flatbread (half sausage, half mushroom/onion). Flatbread was the highlight for me--the huge wood-burning oven in the middle of the dining room gave the flatbread pizza a nice charred crust. Crispy and chewy at the same time. We asked for two eggs to be fried on the top of the flatbread, and this was great---we were able to dip the crusts in the egg yolk. For dessert, we shared the "The Beast", which is not listed on the menu, but is always available. Gooey fudge brownie, topped with a huge marshmallow which is then toasted in the wood burning oven. Served with ice cream. I had heard about this place from a friend, and we were glad we checked it out.

Our other Central Coast dinner was at Basil Thai in downtown Paso Robles. We were recommended this place by pourer at Calcareous Vineyard, and we were pleasantly surprised (since we were not expecting very good Thai food in Paso Robles). We shared Meaing Kum (spinach leaves with various fillings, like they have at angkor borei in SF), Papaya Salad (surprisingly spicy and generous portion), and red curry with tofu (pretty standard, but definitely not bad). Iced tea was only OK. Very friendly service, and convenient location.

Two noteworthy breakfasts: the first was at Nautical Bean Cafe in San Luis Obispo. Located in a strip mall, this place didn't seem like it would be good, but I was really impressed. Friendly staff, lots of locals enjoying coffee and breakfast. We had bagel egg sandwiches (mine with bacon, DC's with avocado), and coffee. Their specialty coffee is a chestnut flavored one, which I actually liked (note: I usually hate flavored coffee, especially hazelnut). This is not a destination spot, but if you're driving through SLO and looking for quick breakfast, it's worth it. We also had a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin which was pretty good.

Second breakfast: Kay's Orcutt Country Kitchen. Seems like a real institution, and it was very well run on a Sunday morning despite the crowds. Free coffee while you wait to be seated. DC had the corned beef hash and eggs, which wasn't too great. Corned beef was meh. Eggs were good. Served w/ hash browns (fine) and banana muffin (his choice, also fine). I had a dish which was a biscuit topped w/ bacon, fried eggs, and sweet-potato-battered-fried chicken strips, all topped with gravy. In retrospect, I should have asked for gravy on the side, but this was still pretty good. Bacon was especially good for a diner-like place like this. Also served with hash browns. Strawberry lemonade was huge and very nice. Friendly service, and worth a stop if driving through and looking for a filling breakfast.

Bonus stop: Old West Cinnamon Rolls in Pismo Beach. We made a brief stop here. These are pretty standard but pretty tasty cinnamon rolls. You can get cream cheese frosting for them on the side. I had never been to Pismo Beach, so it made for a nice snack along with a walk down the pier.

We only went to two wineries: Calcareous (great view, good wines) and Tobin James (mediocre wines, but free tasting and a fun place...and I actually really like their sweet muscat wine).

Hope this will be helpful for folks traveling through the Central Coast on 101. Sorry for the lack of photos!

Dave MP

Dec 29, 2014
Dave MP in California

Where should we eat dinner? [Cupertino / Saratoga area]

Thanks for all the recommendations. In the end, we ate dinner in SF and then took the 1 down from SF to Santa Cruz to avoid traffic. So alas, no dinner in San Jose this time. But will save these recommendations for next time!

Dave MP

A Week in King City

Randomly, I was also in King City the other day, and ate at El Lugarcito. It was good, but not that amazing, in my opinion. Shrimp tostada was fresh and nice, but it was a lot of lettuce and the dressing tasted like bottled Italian dressing (though it may not have been this).

Carne asada was decent, served with good beans and rice and tortillas and salad.

Friendly, nice atmosphere. But while the food was perfectly good, I didn't think it was that special.

Dec 25, 2014
Dave MP in California

Where should we eat dinner? [Cupertino / Saratoga area]

Hmm, yeah, that might work actually.

I'm looking for something pretty close to the 85 (will be driving from SF to SCruz), but Kyusu might be okay. This is for tomorrow.

Lyang Lyang is closed on Mondays so that won't work. So is the Indonesian place in Saratoga (which I really liked when I stopped by there before).

Any other good spots near the 85 for any sort of East or Southeast Asian?

Dave MP

Where should we eat dinner? [Cupertino / Saratoga area]

I'm bumping this discussion again, since I am also wondering if there's any worthwhile Thai in this area (Cupertino/Saratoga).

Also, sounds like Lyang Lyang is only OK?

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 [San Francisco]

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?