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

YSZ's Profile

Title Last Reply

Help me tweak upcoming week-long tour: SF and peninsula

If you are going to be in PA for a few nights, I would recommend the lunch and brunch buffet at Amber India in Mountain View. Stellar, well-spiced food and very nice folks. I really like how they rotate their veggie dishes. They have lamb on Friday and goat on Sunday. Fun do-it-yourself chaat bar on Saturday and Sunday.

If you need some cake, try Prolific Oven in PA.

Lulu's has a very good chopped chicken salad with an addictive lime cilantro dressing. It's in Town and Country shopping center, close to Stanford if you need a quick lunch. Both Mayfield Cafe and Bakery are solid too (same location), and run by the same people who own Village Pub.

Cafe Borrone is always great for breakfast and brunch.

Jan 20, 2013
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

A week in Mendocino

We just came back from a lovely week at the the Macallum House and managed to eat at many of the restaurants in town (or so it seemed), plus one in Fort Bragg. We were there with our three young children which affected our choices a bit.

Macallum House: Their food is great. We had breakfast there every morning. Highlights were the spicy, savory, breakfast burrito and tender cornmeal pancakes with ginger marscarpone and huckleberries. They make their own bread which graced the french toast on the last day. We indulged in a nightly banana split, easily shared five ways, which featured home-made ice cream (we choose vanilla and caramel pistachio chocolate bark) , caramel, and chocolate sauce. As heavenly as it was, my older daughter preferred the maple pumpkin souffle which managed to be both ethereal and rich. The wait staff couldn't have been nicer in dealing with hungry children. The one dinner we managed was notable for the duck breast with a duck confit. Very yummy.

Good Life Cafe and Bakery: Excellent chicken empanadas and large filling salads for lunch. The folks there were very patient and kind as my kids practiced ordering their own steamed milks. The russian tea cake cookie was light, crispy, and delectable. I appreciated them carrying Irish breakfast tea, my favorite.

Mendo Burgers: A very solid burger. Notable because they sautee their fish in the fish and chips dish, rather than deep-fyring it. It was a really nice piece of rock cod cooked perfectly. They also make the french fries fresh.

Patterson's Pub: Did take-out here, since it really is a bar. Great meatloaf plate with good vegetables, but has gravy (it was tasty, but unexpected). Their salads are good, if you add meat, you get a lot. We had the pear salad with turkey for dinner.

Frankie's Pizza and Ice cream Parlor: Ah, Frankie's... my carb-loving children adored the plain cheese pizza. My husband and I loved the beef chili (very very good) and the large salad with chicken, tomatoes,and feta. The salad add-ons get pricey quickly, but if one is eschewing grains, it allows one to eat dinner. If you have children, eat upstairs at the communal tables and let your kids play with the toys up there. Also have some kid's books that the younger crew enjoyed.

Mendocino Cafe: The kids shared a great plate of veggies, mashed potatoes, and chicken. I enjoyed the Brazillian fish stew with a richly spiced coconut broth and an assortment of seafood. Nice folks and they have a big box of toys for kids.

Los Gallitos (Fort Bragg): A very nice little hole in the wall. I had a tasty shrimp ceviche followed by a bowl of pork chile verde, spicy, tangy, and filling. The burritos were perfect for the kids. And the server was very nice, even as she was slammed by hungry customers. Good guacamole.

In summary, a delicious if expensive week.

Oct 14, 2012
YSZ in California

source for backyard chicken eggs on the Peninsula?

Glaum eggs are great. Very local and sold at Whole Foods. They are humane certified and from the newspaper articles I've read treat their chickens really well. I like the jumbo, non-organic personally.

Feb 20, 2012
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Oren's Hummus Shop in PA

Well, I think you should go try the lemonade and see what you think. I like tart lemonade too, but the juice to water ratio is off so it is very strong in addition to being really tart. Plus it tasted like it had been sitting a while, the aromatics that I associate with fresh lemon weren't there. For my taste, it wasn't very good, but obviously opinions vary.

I don't mean to sound like a jerk of a reviewer, but water, simple syrup and lemon juice shouldn't be that tough to balance well. I'm always excited to see lemonade on a menu and ended up not loving this particular execution.

Jul 11, 2011
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Oren's Hummus Shop in PA

We finally got a chance to try Oren's - I keep thinking the name is Oren's Hummus Hut - Hummus Shop on University in Palo Alto this afternoon. Some things were very good, others not so. Two adults, two children and a baby - we ordered a decent and representative chunk of the menu.

Hummus classic plate - very very good hummus garnished with olive oil, paprika, and a bit of tahini sauce in the middle.

Vegetable kebab - I was dubious about this one, but we ordered it anyway and it was fantastic. The chunks of eggplant were particularly good and they nailed a perfect amount of char on the red pepper.

Israeli chopped salad - little cubes of cucumber and tomato, herbs and a tart dressing. Just delicious (and too labor intensive for me to make at home so I am happy to find it at a restaurant).

Babaganoush and Romanian eggplant - I liked both of these quite a lot, Smooth and savory. The Romanian eggplant dip had fire roasted red pepper in it. V. tasty.

Chicken kebab - this was fine. The chunks were a little tough on the outside but edible.

Tabouli - It looks like it is made with quinoa which I find weird. I only got a bite, it didn't blow me away.

Falafel - Very crunchy, but small, super oily, and pretty tasteless. They should look north a bit and copy Mediterranean Delite in San Carlos. These should be really good and they are not.

Lemonade - home made lemonade with fresh mint. I was envisioning/hoping for something like Holy Land's blended delicious slushie of a drink. Instead, it is an overly tart, very strong lemonade with fresh mint sprigs. My two juice-deprived children each took a sip and then left it alone. It comes out of a big jug on the counter, rather than being made fresh for each customer.

Pita - My husband was delighted that they offer whole wheat pita. This is where your pita preferences come into play - I like thin and chewy pita. This was thick and very very soft; underbaked in my opinion.

Service - Fine. Not mega-personable, but fine. A waiter checked back in with us regularly. Crayons for children were a nice touch.

Venue - cute and stylely. Noisy. The hours are great; it is open until 12 every night.

I think I'd go back and order just the salad, kebab, and hummus. I do like that they have lots of vegetable side dishes. It is a nice way to round out an order.

Jul 10, 2011
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Local honey

Great topic!

The honey sold by Filoli is delicious. Light and floral, very fragrant. I believe it comes from their hives on the estate. You can buy it in their gift store and cafe. It is one of our go-to gifts during the holidays.

86 Canada Rd, Woodside, CA

Jun 26, 2011
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Old Port Lobster Shack

I haven't. It looks good and I've seen lots of people eating there, but a $20 lobster roll is more than my usual lunch budget allows.

Jun 20, 2011
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Old Port Lobster Shack

the Portola Valley location is open now if that helps...

Jun 20, 2011
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Dongbei and Shanghainese at Bamboo Garden in Mountain View

Just to clarify, you got the soup with a to go order of the two sets?

Feb 09, 2011
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

ny foodie moving to peninsula. looking for best food events big or small... need shopping sugestions.

aupif, have you tried Mayfield Bakery's breads in PA at Town & Country? They are turning out some nice loaves there. The currant country pecan baguette, levain, and the multi-seed sandwich bread are really very very good. I go to WF a fair amount, but not for bread anymore, between Mayfield and farmer's markets

Mayfield Bakery & Cafe
855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

Feb 02, 2011
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Persian-Azeri-Georgian Sour Plums - Where to Buy in SF, Berkeley, Oakland or North Bay?

Make sure that you get pitted ones! I bought sour plums with pits at Rose Market in Mountain View and spent an annoying forty-five minutes pitting them.

Oct 27, 2010
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Bona Restaurant --- Polish in Menlo Park?

Could you elaborate? I was looking forward to trying it soon. I can deal with service issues,but don't want to bother if the food isn't tasty.

Oct 27, 2010
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Tomatoes in the South Bay / Avoiding BPA

I am fairly sure that the WF boxed tomatoes are not organic, otherwise I would be buying them. I'm currently using the jarred puree/sauce or fresh tomatoes. I think in the winter, I'll buy the organic romas from mexico at TJ and WF.

If I had a chest freezer, I'd seriously consider chopping and freezing a bunch of farmer's market tomatoes now.

Oct 14, 2010
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for the best Donburi

I had a very good oyako donburi at Muracci's Japanese Restaurant in Los Altos. They only serve donburi at lunch though. There are other ones on the menu and given their curry specialization, I should hope they can make a good katsu.

Reading the other thread, I think I need to try Sumika too.

236 Central Plz, Los Altos, CA 94022

Jun 05, 2010
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Stockholm in May (Part 1)

We're visiting Stockholm for a week and while my husband is at a conference, I'm roaming the city. Here is where I/we have been so far. When I was planning the visit, I didn't find a whole lot on Stockholm, so I hope this will be useful for others. I also took the liberty of emailing the slow food Stockholm chapter for ideas.

Backfikan: Went there for dinner Saturday night dinner. Definitely on the small and cozy side, still we were seated more quickly than I would have expected. Good bread selection (bread and crisp crackers), paper napkins. We shared the SOS platter (which stands for herring, cheese, butter), got several kinds of herring (in mustard sauce, dill, etc), a couple of slices of cheese, and more crackers from the house bread basket. Yum. My husband was turned into a herring fan on the spot.

I ordered the husmanskost (local specialty/fare), one of two specials that night, and got coalfish with beets and capers, boiled potatoes on the side. Very good white fish, pan-cooked, with a nice sweet and sour balance from the garnishes.

My husband chose the salmon with dilled potatoes. Somewhat to his surprise, this was a big helping of cured salmon artfully arranged into a giant rosette and a side dish of warm creamy potatoes. He liked it, but had expected a sauteed filet.

Other people sitting nearby had ordered the meatballs and I have to say, it looked delicious, a large mound of potatoes with many meatballs, accompanied by cucumber salad and lingonberry sauce. Definitely going back for that one.

We walked over to Gamla Stan for dessert and ended up at

Chokladkoppen: A small cafe on the square in Gamla Stan. I had a large, not too sweet hot chocolate. We shared a piece of the white chocolate cheesecake. It was huge and very very light, good if you like that style of cheesecake. It took forever to get our order - I think perhaps they had run out of milk. Nonetheless, it was pleasant to sit under our blankets, look at the square, admire a couple of random fencers whacking the cobblestones and each other, and contemplate how late the sunset is in northern Europe in May.

Sunday saw a sumptuous breakfast at our hotel,

Scandic Anglais: This is a really great buffet of about fifteen kinds of bread, five or six cheeses and an equal number of meats, fruit, a muesli bar, juice your own OJ station, eggs (hard and soft-boiled, and scrambled), soft pancakes, etc etc.

The weekday breakfast omits the pancakes sadly.

StikkiNikki: After an exhausting afternoon at the Livkrustmuseet (carriages, arms, and clothes), I needed ice cream and found my way to StikkiNikki for some of their homemade tastiness. They only had a few flavors, coffee, vanilla, pistachio, cookies and cream, and apple/pear sorbet. As I was deciding, they brought out a fresh tub, cherry. I tried their cherry and pistachio. I liked the cherry a lot, vanilla ice cream with swirls of cherry puree and fruit. Pistachio was okay, I think I prefer a more intense pistachio flavor. It was very pleasant sitting by the river in the sun eating ice cream.

I ended up tasting the coffee and stracciatella too. Nice threads of dark chocolate in the stracciatella. Like the pistachio, I prefer a more flavorful coffee taste. Both were good, just my subjective opinion.

Today I hit
Rosendals Tradgard: In a gorgeous garden setting, there is a cafe and a bake shop. It is not hard to find, but if you are riding a bike as I was, it is up a little hill which a three-speed can't handle. It would be a decent walk from the Djurgarden bridge and I'm not sure about bus service. They pride themselves on their wood-fired oven and resulting breads.

I had a great bowl of potato soup garnished with green onions, almonds, and some kind of oil, along with two slices of their bread. All the pastries and cakes are on a central table and just looked lovely. I decided to try the cardamon cake, since I love the spice, but don't eat it in anything other than indian food at home. I think I actually got lemon poppyseed instead, a little dry but very flavorful and well-suited to the blob of whipped cream I added. You can eat inside or outside, but I chose to sit in one of the greenhouses under a big vine. Lots of mothers with babies both there at the cafe and walking around the island, which makes sense. Get some exercise, eat some good food, have a nice outing with the baby.

I then bought some bread, a very flavorful whole grain, some cookies and a canelbulle (cinnamon roll, little twisted butter dough with a well-balanced topping of sugar, cinnamon and cardamon.

On the way back, to my hotel I managed to go by
Ostermalmshallen: which was on my list of places to check out. A multiple vendor food hall in a gorgeous brick building. Ended up buying some pickled herring from the fish vendor at the back. Extremely tasty on bread for dinner. I also bought a couple of apples from the fruit vendor at the front, not the best apples ever. Mildly crunchy golden delicious, but missing sugar and flavor. Really neat to see the building, but I didn't really get enough of a chance to check out the vendors.

Okay, let's hope I have the stamina to post again in a few days.

May 03, 2010
YSZ in Europe

Need food in Amsterdam on Koninginnedag (April 30)

Thank you very much, sufunsified, that is really helpful information. I'll try and route us so we avoid the main squares as we attempt to traverse the city. I've got a guide book or two, so can find hotels in those should the street stalls not satisfy. Vondelpark sounds lovely and may be just the ticket after eleven hours on a plane.

Apr 28, 2010
YSZ in Europe

Champagne tastes with beer money from Boston

Yeah, I do think it is a long bike ride, but since they mentioned swinging through Sausalito, they could break for lunch early, a half-way point as you say.

After reading the other posts, now I want to go to HMB and get some crab off the boats. Next year. Thanks for the info abstractpoet.

Lunch in GG Park, I think the cafe at the Academy of Science is seriously tasty (an especially nice alternative if the weather is bad) and you'll be there already. A little pho, a bao, a cup of tea, yum.

When I read the original posters' itinerary, I realize that my ability to survive fully scheduled days and long stints between food has seriously deteriorated with the addition of two little 'hounds to my life. There's no way I could sustain that pace.

Apr 27, 2010
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Need food in Amsterdam on Koninginnedag (April 30)

Hey 'hounds,

we have a day-long stopover in Amsterdam on April 30. I was initially planning a little walk by the canals, try some rijsttafel, walk some more, eat some cake, and fly on out. After a little guidebook perusing, I'm getting the sense that the entire city is going to be partying in the streets and that most places will be closed. With that in mind, any good restaurants you know will be open, any food stalls we should try to track down, specific holiday do's, or great districts to hit?

Any help will be appreciated because I don't want to spend the entire day sitting at the airport!

Apr 27, 2010
YSZ in Europe

Champagne tastes with beer money from Boston

I would suggest a couple of changes to your itinerary too.

Definitely try to put in Bi-Rite, Tartine, Pizzeria Delfina in there (perhaps day 6 or 7). One of my favorite meals is Delfina's panna piazza with sausage and the tricolore salad, lunch or dinner
If you can't make it to Humphrey Slocombe, the Blue Bottle stand at the Ferry building makes a great affogato using their Secret Breakfast flavor (jack and cornflakes), sumptuous and big enough to share.

In Marin, I wouldn't bother with Tiburon restaurants, but would head a bit farther north to Fish in Sausalito for a water-side lunch. Fresh and sustainable. Pricey (cash only), but order judiciously and you'll bake it out wallet intact. I am particularly fond of their fishsticks (off the children's menu) and a side order of the chile-lime coleslaw.

On your way back from Marin, depending on how long it takes you to hike, you might want to stop at Om in San Rafael for their small but tasty Indian buffet.

Duarte's is only so-so. I'd suggest stopping at Ristorante Avanti for an early dinner on your way of of SC. Unpretentious, excellent Cal-Ital, been sourcing locally for ages, make the most addictive house herb-infused olive oil fro bread dipping ever.

In Half Moon Bay, get a shrimp burrito at 3 Amigos and head down Kelly Street to eat looking at the Pacific.

Pizzeria Delfina
3611 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

3 Amigos
270 Cabrillo Hwy S, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

350 Harbor Dr, Sausalito, CA 94965

OM South Indian Cuisine
1518 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901

Apr 27, 2010
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Best AYCE Brunch

If you've got the cash, the Sunday brunch at the Half Moon Bay Ritz is one of the best I've been to - luxurious, delicious, and sumptuous. Amber is great, but completely different.

Here is a sample Ritz menu:

Apr 21, 2010
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Okonomiyaki at Saturday Ferry Building farmers market + any must-try vendors?

Thanks reesie. I'll try Sushi Masa soon, though Namu may call my name loudly enough that I'll have to make a special Thursday trip North.

Maybe the next time I go to Nijiya (MV) I'll see if they have any local recommendations. If so, I'll pass along the word.

439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

Sushi Masa
5363 Camden Ave, San Jose, CA 95124

Mar 23, 2010
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Okonomiyaki at Saturday Ferry Building farmers market + any must-try vendors?

Any suggestions for okonomiyaki in the South Bay?

Mar 22, 2010
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Cocktails in South Bay?

It's just Saturday night, so maybe this is still useful. How about the bar attached to Madera at the Rosewood Hotel in Menlo Park? Very stylely and I enjoyed the one drink I had there a while ago.

Jan 30, 2010
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Susie Cakes in Marin

rworange, I think that the chocolate cake from Prolific Oven (Palo Alto) is pretty darn good. Not too sweet. Their frosting is definitely not a super light buttercream, but it is delicious, especially with a cup of milk.

Jan 30, 2010
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

moving up that way..trying to decide if we live in the Portola valley would we NEED to go into town for good food

Yes, it does take that long. I think my standards are highly colored by years spent in LA, so fifty minutes to the East Bay or thirty to SF doesn't seem bad to me. I wouldn't want to do it every day, but a couple of times a week is very feasible. That said, I avoid rush hour whenever possible.

Dec 17, 2009
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

moving up that way..trying to decide if we live in the Portola valley would we NEED to go into town for good food

I have to agree with a lot of the posters. It's not ideal on the Peninsula, but it's not awful either. I live in Mountain View and routinely hit Berkeley for the Cheeseboard (pizza and cheese), Crixa, and Berkeley Bowl. It's a quick shot down the 101 to Delfina, Tartine, Everyday Beijing, the Ferry Building, Crown and Crumpet (what can I say, I'm an afternoon tea junkie), and Maki. Those are not places we have here.

But yes, the Indian is solid, Fraiche yogurt is great, Mayfield Bakery is turning out good bread, the PA farmer's markets are decent, Shalizaar's Persian food rivals Westwood. It's not a barren wasteland by any means.

I would also keep in mind that the traffic is not as bad here as it is in Southern California. You can get killer dim sum in the San Gabriel Valley, but it will take well over an hour to get there from Santa Monica. It's pretty quick to travel to SF and the East Bay, relatively speaking.

Personally, I enjoy the opportunity to get out of the Peninsula on foodie outings, but would loath commuting on a regular basis.

I think charliemyboy makes some good points.

Dec 16, 2009
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Best dishes in San Francisco with an egg on top?

I am a big fan of the salmon egg bowl at Samovar - brown rice, soy ginger sauce, a nice chunk of smoked salmon and two perfectly poached eggs, scallions on top. So delicious. Kick back, gaze over Yerba Buena, eat, and contemplate the skyline.

Samovar Tea Lounge
730 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Dec 04, 2009
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Quince on the menu?

I haven't been getting out enough to find quince on menus, but Coke Farms has had quince the past couple of weeks at the Palo Alto Saturday famer's market. They also sell at Menlo on Sundays. Nice big yellow fruit, not fuzzy. I cooked one batch of quince paste and am going to try another this afternoon. If you follow in my footsteps and use the Chez Panisse Fruit cookbook, know that it takes a long long time to reduce them to a proper thickness. It's not mentioned in the recipe. Delicious enough to be worth trying though.

Chez Panisse
1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

Menlo Cafe
620 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Nov 02, 2009
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Pick up BBQ in Marin?

Resurrecting this thread to ask the same question. Any suggestions for pick-up barbeque in Marin for 18-20 people? I believe that Frank's only does catering in the summer.

Jul 21, 2009
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area

Loose/Bulk Spices in Santa Clara co. / Sunnyvale area?

The Country Sun store on California Ave in Palo Alto has a very nice selection of bulk spices at a very reasonable prices. I bought clove powder, turmeric,garam masala, and chili powder today. Now I just have to find somewhere that has green mango powder (can you tell I'm starting to cook Indian?).

They also have a lot of different chocolate bars, FWIW.

Country Sun Natural Foods
440 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA

Jul 12, 2009
YSZ in San Francisco Bay Area