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Thomas Nash's Profile

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SF Dish of the Month (July 2014) - Nominations/Voting

Ok, it works. Guess I was just too twitchy and hit the number again...

Jul 18, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

SF Dish of the Month (July 2014) - Nominations/Voting

I tried that... Next time I will try again.

Jul 18, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

SF Dish of the Month (July 2014) - Nominations/Voting

How does one rescind a vote (a recommend clicked in error)? That has happened to me. Easy to do when you are really trying to click on the number of votes to see who has voted...

Jul 18, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

Sam's Chowdermobile in Golden Gate Park

I got them on a bad day also a year ago and haven't been back. I suspect they cook up a big batch in the morning. Lobster has to be cooked fresh or it gets tough.

Jun 30, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

SF Dish of the Month (July 2014) - Nominations/Voting

...and a second Brazilian option

BRAZILIAN CHURRASCARIA

There are several in the area (SF, Palo Alto), and a comparison would be useful, as I have had quite variable results at these places. Sometimes they approach the marvelous and pervasive churrascarias in Rio.

Jun 27, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

SF Dish of the Month (July 2014) - Nominations/Voting

OK, hyperb... you want Southern Hemisphere. And in view of the World Cup, let's consider Brazilian. Two excellent candidates:

First: FEIJOADA COMPLETA -- the Brasilian national dish, a marvelous black bean dish cooked with a variety of (often including variety) meats and sausage, with sides of greens and farofa. Usually eaten at lunch time on Sunday afternoon after coming in from the beach.

I know of one excellent place to get this in SF: Mozzarella di Bufala in West Portal (a Brazilian run pizza place with a quite good selection of Brazilian dishes). Some local area churrascaria places also offer this, inappropriately, on their buffets.

Jun 27, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area
1

World Cup 2014 Viewing and Eats

If food is not at issue, Univision is streaming all games (until the last few) free and live -- the iPad has a free app Deportes. Commentary is in Spanish, which is more interesting than the American English commentary, particularly when there is a GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL. And you can supply your own food.

Univision feed also available on web.

Jun 14, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

Falafel: SFBA Dish of the Month June 2014

Update: the Thursday Liba Falafel location has moved to 650 Townsend, not far away from De Haro, but parking is no longer easy...

The warehouse, whose lot they were using, is being torn down...

Jun 12, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

Kin Khao - Thai-style Thai in SF

Robert, you prompted a visit to the bible, David Thompson's "Thai Food." To my surprise he describes how to cook a chicken Mussaman curry, apparently Persian in origin hundreds of years ago, as well as a very different, southern Thai, presumably Muslim influenced, beef version. The later is what I mistakenly thought was unique. Never seen anything like his chicken Mussaman recipe in the US. Duck is also a possibility apparently.

What is important here is that each is an entirely different recipe, carefully catering to ingredients and balance. No way would one "sauce" be thrown over variable "protein" options in real Thai kitchens.

Jun 10, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Kin Khao - Thai-style Thai in SF

Choice of protein is classic dumbed down catering to every possible real and imagined, necessary and narcissistic, dietary restriction and the stream of uninformed requests to "do it my way" that overwhelm the restaurants. From what I understand, anything but beef with a Massaman curry is a travesty.

When "exotic" cuisines like Thai and Sichuan first hit the US, the restaurants were as authentic as they could be with available ingredients. Then they were mowed down by their felt need to market to the mall masses. Before you knew it, all you could get was an American version, General Tso and the like, and sugar.

Sigh. So let's all keep fighting for the real deal. It is always better, in my experience.

Jun 09, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

Kin Khao - Thai-style Thai in SF

Totally agree that "authentic" is over used and abused, but the word actually has a meaning, and to paraphrase a certain Supreme Court justice, I know it when I see it.

And, I really think it is a very important word, as what so many of us are looking for on CH are places that climb above the common and the common denominator. One hell of a good way to identify such places are when the owners show more interest in being true to the origins than to "American tastes", "California Sensibilities", "fusion", or whatever euphemism is used to indicate the focus is on attracting local customers.

What places like Lotus, Jitlada, Lers Ros demonstrate is that you can focus on the original, the authentic, and the customers will come, in droves.

I can understand that Pim wanted to finesse this argument with "but what does that mean", but I can't think of a better definition for "authentic" than "food that is true to what I grew up eating [in Thailand]". Of course there are ingredients impossible to get here.

Wherever I have travelled it is always enlightening and fun to find places that are cooking traditional dishes in "a more 21st century way". Any great vibrant cuisine, like Thai or Chinese or French or Italian or Japanese or... is still evolving and great chefs are bringing new ideas to the old culture.

Singapore has had several such places (e.g. Sam Leong's departed Jade and his newer, less successful (IMO) Forest, and the new Pidgin Restaurant and Bar (with its foie gras in rojak sauce - talk about traditional and modern! ...), and the truffled XLBs at Din Tai Fong in Taipei!

So, I think what Pim is doing is as "authentic" as it gets.

And BTW, i think it is nonsense to say that she is using "Manresa-style techniques". She and her skilled chef are merging modern and traditional techniques, while staying within the Thai repertoire.

My bottom line is that we need to fight for authentic around here and point out when the word is used as a marketing cover for things that are not authentic.

Jun 09, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

Kin Khao - Thai-style Thai in SF

Yes, I chose my words carefully... and realize that there are probably other places in Thai Town that have followed (or maybe even preceded) Jitlada's lead into more interesting, authentic, food than what is typical in American Thai restaurants. Maybe I should have said there are only 3 locations (of which I am aware) in the USA where you can get...

Looking forward to trying Night+Market next time I have some time down in LA and am not drooling over the choices in the San Gabriel Valley.

Jun 09, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

Kin Khao - Thai-style Thai in SF

Tremendous guilt in not reporting on a wonderful meal 3 of us had several weeks ago at Kin Khao. (Things have been busy around here.)

I have been aware of (only) 3 places in the whole USA serving authentic Thai food. Now there are 4, as Kin Khao definitely joins the others, all excellent, Lotus in Las Vegas, Jitlada in LA, and the Lers Ros places in SF. Kin Khao focusses on a much smaller menu compared to the others which have multi page lists, but that is not a bad thing as the Kin Khao choices are all excellent and promise (I hope) to change with the season. For comparison purposes, last week, we also went to the Lers Ros branch in the Mission (on 16th), which as far as I can tell maintains the standards of the original and Hayes St branches.

Here’s what we had at Kin Khao (with the menu’s description).

Mushroom Hor Mok (curry mousse in-a-jar with a mix of wild and cultivated mushrooms from Connie Green served with crisp rice cakes). Delicious curry with mushrooms, complex and interesting. Hor Mok is a preparation often used for fish wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf. I preferred this mushroom version.

Khao Tung Na Tung (sweet & savory pork+shrimp+peanut dip served with crisp rice cakes) Even more delicious and amazing dip, which brought me back to Bangkok for a moment, as authentic as it could be. Apparently this was something Pim used to take to school in Thailand for snacks and lunch.

These two items were excellent appetizers. I had a teeny problem in that they were both served with rice cakes, which, frankly, are boring to me. I wonder if fresh vegetables are not an authentic alternative to use for dipping, as they are for the ferocious nam phriks (so hard to get in this country).

Kua Kling Ribs (spicy dry-fried pork ribs in southern-style turmeric curry paste, Kaffir leaves). This was absolutely amazing. I have never had it before. Ribs with a fiery hot, complex, delicious paste. Superb.

Chilli Jam Clams (Cherrystone clams in a saucy Khun Yai’s Chilli Jam+Thai basil broth.). Also amazing, and far more interesting than one of my favorite dishes, the clams, at Lers Ros. Very sophisticated and deep sauce, and I applaud using the larger Cherrystone clams.

Khun Yai’s Green Curry with Rabbit (Kiew Wan curry paste, rabbit loin & saddle, rabbit meatballs, Thai Apple eggplants, Thai basil, Bird’s Eye chilli). A fine green curry, and the rabbit was as good as it gets, but I don’t ever feel compelled to order rabbit and this dish will not change that in future visits. Certainly perfectly prepared, but I am hoping to see some alternative curries in the future.

Pim was present and is clearly very involved with making sure all her customers are pleased. Service was good, though not as family as as at Lers Ros. I am already feeling the urge to go back to Kin Khao.

At Lers Ros, we also had the clams. There they are little necks, which are far more common on West Coast menus. As usual the basil sauce was wonderful, but simply nowhere as wonderful as the Chilli Jam Clams at Kin Khao. We also had the pork belly, excellent as usual, but we noticed how similar that sauce is to the one on the clams. So the combination was not good menu selection on our part. The duck larb at Lers Ros was perfect and interesting as usual, and a great reason to go back, particularly because 16th Street is very convenient for us, and the prices are more every day than Kin Khao.

All in all, what a delight to have two such first class authentic Thai places in San Francisco. Now, why don’t we have at least one first class Indian or French in SF, but those are complaints for another day.

Jun 08, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

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

We stopped by here last week and 3 of us had a fine meal. I agree this is the best Lao in SF, much better than Champa. We stuck to the Lao offerings, though there are some Thai temptations I see on the menu (e.g. soft shell crab in yellow curry.)

The Lao Papaya Salad was appropriately spicy at the requested "5" and had delicious raw crab in it. The Lao version of this salad has much more shrimp paste than the Thai and some may be "challenged" by it. My dining partners loved it. It might have been a tiny bit tamer than the one offered at Rose Garden in San Pablo.

Also excellent was the Num Tok, a Lao version of grilled marinated beef or pork in a lime juice and chili salad. We had the beef and it was as good as it gets.

The Kao Poon, a Laksa like curry with chicken and vermicelli was good, but the comparison with Laksa raised my expectations too high. Laksa has seafood and a much more intense flavor. Nonetheless the Kao Poon is a good choice.

We were less thrilled with the Nam Kao Tod, ordered crispy, which was good but the dish doesn't seem to me to have that much potential. It is crispy rice with raw preserved pork and (somewhat) spicy lime sauce.

This is very much a family place and the service was friendly and efficient. We will be back.

Jun 08, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

Falafel: SFBA Dish of the Month June 2014

You beat me to it!

IM-not so-HO Liba Falafel's truck has the best falafels I have had except maybe one I was offered straight out of a big frier on the street in the Old City of Damascus - she is that good.

And she has a little buffet of a dozen superb condiments to put on top. The fresh falafels are served either 3 in a pita or on a salad. Condiments include various chutneys, pickled salads, and (to load on the guilt) incredible fried pickled onions.

Thursdays at lunch (11 ish to 2 ish) she is always at De Haro St near Alameda in San Francisco very visibly parked in a warehouse parking lot - at the bottom of Potrero Hill near the Design District. There is always parking.

In SF, I think the truck shows up sometimes at the Civic Center, but it is mostly an East Bay enterprise with a brick and mortar on the way.

Also decent are King of Falafel on Divisidero, but they don't come with that wonderful condiment buffet.

Jun 08, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Tashi Delek: Tibetan, Nepalese, Indian & Bhutanese in El Cerrito

Oh, please, please expand on this source of Bengali food in the South Bay. Can non-caste folks partake? I am drooling.

Wish we had visited the GAU airport and avoided a 12 hr train trip from hell to NJP at Siliguri.

May 15, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

Porcellino [San Francisco]

Went last night. Porchetta was excellent, flavorful, crisp skin, as good as it gets. Carbonara was fine, a good second dish for the two of us. A few slices of San Daniele prosciutto were excellent, though they proved to be more than we needed.

Can't say I was thrilled with ordering at the cash register/bar. One person was slowly dealing with confused customers, credit cards, drawing draught beer. Just like at SuperDuper Burger. Seems quite inappropriate for this level of food, even given the very creditable informality of the place. What's wrong with a waiter/waitress taking orders?

May 02, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

Report on 3 days in SIN by a San Francisco hound

Pidgin was a great suggestion. It is exactly what a fusion restaurant should be, here using western techniques with Singapore food stall ingredients, spicing,and sensibilities.

The foie gras with rojak was a most interesting and effective combination. I would be saying it was the best foie gras I have had if the generous piece of pan sautéed foie gras had been flavored more interestingly (and without a very small unidentified off flavor from the pan or oil ?? or ?). It was, nonetheless excellent, but missed spectacular.

On the other hand, I thought the crab croquettes were spectacular, with fascinating lemon grass and other local flavors. The signature duck confit was also superb, beautifully plated, crispy tasty skin, with a great aromatic intense lychee sauce, with crispy smashed small potatoes, probably also fried in the duck fat, and several whole lychees. A most fascinating transformation of a French canard rôti avec cerise.

The beet root salad with a good goat cheese was not what we were looking for. But the aromatic lychee sorbet was perfect.

Great place. Also, the neighboring "grocery" stores were quite impressive, even by SF standards. Huge variety of foie gras, caviar, and French cheese. I guess it goes with the gated palaces we passed on the way there. Only lacking were some of our great California and Vermont cheeses.

Somehow the cab ride from the airport cost SG$35 via the northern route and on return only Sg$24 via the southern route, though both show as the same distance on Google maps. Airport surcharge?

Thanks for recommendation and help.

Apr 28, 2014
Thomas Nash in China & Southeast Asia

Bengali food in Kolkata, a revelation for an SF hound

Stopping in Kolkata on the way back from travels in the Himalayas. Every place has its socially redeeming feature(s) and it seems here it is the phenomenal Bengali food. Can’t get anything like it in the US and I gather it is pretty rare elsewhere in India.

Most of our experience was in early March when we passed through. I had gotten some tips from psb who posts on the Bay Area list and who I met at a China Village (Sichuan) dinner. He is from Bengal and pointed us at several places with help from one of his work colleagues. All we tried out were spectacular.

Bhojohori Manna at Esplanade. There are several branches and this was the most convenient. We had the huge prawns in a Bengali chili/mustard curry (Bati Chingri). So large, they hung out over the dinner plate. Fascinating sauce. We also had a vegetable, believe the name is mocha, banana flowers. surprisingly starchy for a flower. I believe the dish was Mocha Chingri and had some small shrimp in it (but not sure anymore). Certainly a delicious local special like nothing I have seen elsewhere. Finally we had another local special, Bhalo Laga Bhekti Patoori, Bay of Bengal bekti fish with a mustard sauce (there is a mustard theme here) wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf. The restaurant at this location is small and up a narrow stairs. Not much atmosphere, but the servers were extremely helpful in making recommendations. There is a large menu on the wall, but only a ~20% subset is marked as available at any time. Probably this place is best for lunch as it seems they can run out of things by the evening meal — and you wouldn’t want to miss those giant prawns. Prices were extremely reasonable. I think we paid about $20. This branch is next door to an extremely famous, apparently hundreds of years old sweet shop KC Das. So famous it is even the name of the bus stop on Google maps. They claim to be the originators of gulab jarmun which comes in superb white and brown versions.

Another famous Bengali dish is a Bengali fried fish, again bhakti. psb pointed us at Bijoli Grill, a tiny place in an alley, half hour walking distance (when the temperature is reasonable, unlike today when it is 43 C, pushing 110F) from the Kalighat Temple. We arrived around noon, but fish guts were still all over the sidewalk, and we needed to wait an hour. But it was worth it. The batter for the fish is very spicy and I believe there is a strong mustard sauce involved, perhaps under the batter. This place is incredibly famous among Bengalis and apparently does a huge catering business. Looks aren’t everything. And cheap. If we spent $3 for 2 of us, I would be surprised. I had fried fish elsewhere in West Bengal and it never came close to Bijoli.

In this area are some branches of another very popular sweet place, Balaram Mullick Sweets. The sweets were good, but maybe, as my wife pointed out, we didn’t get the right things. So I didn’t get the sense of the spectacular reputation for Bengal sweets. [Actually on a buffet at the Sarovar Premier hotel in Siliguri there were sweets, presumably from a place nearby which our driver, on the way to Kalimpong, had pointed out as great, and they were quite excellent.]

Another big hit with us in Calcutta was the Arselan near Park St (off Ripon St close to Mocambo and Peter Cat, which we didn’t try). It is famous for its biriyanis. First night we went, was a day of the week or whatever when “meat” was not available, so we had a chicken biriyani which was fine. Another night we had the mutton version, which was OK. Frankly I was most impressed with the tandoori chicken and seekh kabobs. Juicy and delicious. Wish something near home would approach these.

A Kolkata couple we met in Darjeeling were impressed with our foodie experiences in their city. We were trying to figure out where to go that was not too far in this late April heatwave. They recommended Aaheli in the Peerless Hotel. This is an upscale Bengali cuisine place. (They claim to have been the first Bengali restaurant in Calcutta.) It was pricey, but really excellent. In comparison with Bhojohori Manna, it was always at least as good, often even better. The place is far more pleasant, beautifully decorated, with brass oil lamps, and comfortable sitting. Waiters are in traditional dress and 3 musicians were playing Bengali music (in competition with a beer moghul's birthday party going on nearby in the not so Peerless Hotel). We ordered the large non-veg thali which had maybe a dozen dishes, including 3 non veg. We also ordered the Bati Chingri in addition and it was even more delicious, and slightly more genteely presented. There were 6 giant prawns for ~$30. The thali included another giant prawn dish, Chamoki Chingri Malai, in a slightly sweet and delicious coconut gravy. We also ordered the Mocha Chingri, which had lots of small prawns in the spicy, starchy banana leaf dish. The thali also included a superb Bhalo Laga Bhekti Patoori, maybe better than at Bhojohori Manna. And a mutton braise that was OK, but not necessary. Several vegetables included a grilled eggplant (which they call brinjals around here) served with Leuchis (a Bengali variant of Poori). Also a lentil cake in a tomato sauce and an excellent cauliflower and spinach with mustard, Palang Sorse Diye Phoolkopi. And white gulab jamon and a lemony yogurty creamy panna cotta-y cup were memorable deserts. With no alcohol — an excellent mango lassi and a fermented slightly spicy, slightly salty green mango drink (great when it is over 40C), we spent just about $100. The place is not cheap, but it is excellent, and a really good place to sample the great Bengali kitchen at a very convenient location (near many hotels including the Oberoi). The lead waiter was extremely helpful in guiding our choices and explaining every dish and checking on us frequently.

And last but not least, the apparent originator of the famous Calcutta Kati Rolls, Nizam’s in the New Market area. Again when we went in March there was no “meat” but the chicken Kati Roll was wonderful, spicy, fragrant, juicy. Street food at its best. This is a paratha rolled around the filling and wrapped in paper, for ease of street eating. Better to sit down and enjoy rather than try to eat it on the street dodging runners pulling rickshaws, tuk tuks, etc … Tonight’s plans include running out (well, walking slowly in the heat) to NIzam’s for hopefully the mutton Kati Roll and maybe a beef version apparently now only available from a nearby branch. Then we will head out to the airport for the flight to SIN, HKG, SFO.

PS Just back from Nizam's. What a wonderful last meal in Kolkata: double mutton Kati rolls, one with egg. Better than chicken. Flavorful, spicy, and well balanced. This is a don't miss place, in my book. $3.70 for 3 Kati rolls.

Apr 27, 2014
Thomas Nash in India & South Asia

Report on 3 days in SIN by a San Francisco hound

So, I was thinking laksa on our 12 hr stopover in SG on Monday, but your description of Pidgin Kitchen & Bar got my attention. So I booked a table at 1PM.

Now I see it is out by the Botanical Gardens and I am trying to figure out how to get there without breaking the bank or walking a mile in the heat or rain... Is the best way to take the train to, say, the Holland Village stop and then find a taxi? Are there taxis around those stops? Can the restaurant call a cab?

We get in around 630 am and need to be back at the airport by 330 or 4PM for the 630 pm flite to SFO.

Any advice, or do I just revert to the laksa plan A?

Apr 26, 2014
Thomas Nash in China & Southeast Asia

Report on 3 days in SIN by a San Francisco hound

Thanks klyeoh, I will take you up on your offer...
On our way back to SFO we have a long enough layover in Singapore to get some laksa in the Katong laksa neighborhood that's not too far from the airport. Which place are you recommending these days?

Or another suggestion a short cab or subway ride from airport.

We have been in Bengal, Assam, Bhutan, and I owe a write up on some incredible food we had in Kolkata which I will post after we spend a couple more days there on the way back.

Apr 16, 2014
Thomas Nash in China & Southeast Asia

Tashi Delek: Tibetan, Nepalese, Indian & Bhutanese in El Cerrito

Crossed into Assam from Bhutan yesterday! Loved the green bean datsi and the shame datsi and most of all the spicy ema (chili pepper) datsi the first 6 or 7 times we had them. After 3 weeks in Bhutan, not sure I could look at one of these dishes again for a few months...

Definitely a farmer's cheese.

I think Tashi Delak means Welcome.

Do they have momos? Dumplings which can be quite good filled with meat or cheese and onions.

Enjoying the Indian food in West Bengal (e.g. Kolkata thanks to psb of this list who I met at the China Village chowdown) and Assam. So much better than anything we get. Complexity of flavors in the stuffing of a chili chutney yesterday at Dynasty Hotel in Guwahati was astounding. Interesting topic I will return to when we get back, is why American Indian food is so comparatively unsophisticated.

Regards from Shillong.

Apr 11, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Report on 3 days in SIN by a San Francisco hound

Here's the mostly great, and some unfortunate and surprising, experiences we had this week in Singapore. In chronological order.

Arrived 6AM direct from SFO, where the Laksa in the SQ lounge was the best I've had in the Bay Area, with 6 hr layover in Seoul, so decided to hit the breakfast buffet at Edge in the Pan Pacific. Huge, expansive buffet with a bit of everything, but not quite everything since I was dreaming of more laksa and they serve that only at lunch. Items of uneven quality from all over Asia, but many Asians were at the American breakfast counter. Guess it is exotic.

Afternoon headed out to the Old Airport Rd Food Centre for some crab and rojak. The rojak at Toa Payou Rojak was marvelous. The old man was assembling the orders, helped by his son.

The crab at Mattar Rd Seafood BBQ was ghastly. I really don't know what happened as I expected this to be a high point as Rick Bayless, a Chef hero, had raved about it. Maybe I shouldn't have taken the Makensutra recommendation to have the white pepper crab. Maybe it was because I asked for a larger crab for 2 and got one a bit over a kilo. Maybe I am just spoiled by the juicy tasty Dungeness crabs we get at home. We got a she crab with massive amounts of roe, which was so overcooked as to be hard and bitter. The crab was dry and uninteresting. Sauce mild and bland. The cook seemed to be the owner. Can anyone explain what happened?

Things got better when we found the Nam Sing Hokkien Prawn Me Stall which was just closing. So we were given a take out order from a freshly made batch. It was wonderful. So 2 for 3 at Old Airport Rd were spectacular.

Next day we went to the Sunday 'buffet' dim sum at Jade in the Fullerton, which I had booked in December. Absolutely the best dim sum, including Hong Kong, TPE, SF, and LA. One of the best meals in years. Every item was refined most were creative upgrades from standard or new creations. Example, truffled small fried taro puffs. High point and best dish in years came at the end, and was fantastic even though we were quite full, was the stewed grilled lamb loin. Shredded soft braised lamb, marvelous flavor, with a charred spicy crust in a little square cake, slice for presentation with pickled veggies. Wow!

For dinner headed to Maxwell St for chicken rice. Arrived at TianTian at 6, just as they sold their last order, not to us, despite almost a display of tears for me. Discovered Ay Tai 2 stalls down just before a huge line formed. Lady in the line said she slightly preferred TT for the rice, but like us she had come to Maxwell St with her heart set on chicken rice and Ay Tai was almost as good. For us it was incredibly good and we now appreciate why this dish is such a big deal in Singapore and surroundings.

Next day, excellent beef murtabak at Zam Zam. Never have seen this so light and tasty. Earlier stumbled on a Din Tai Fong, with incredible XLBs. No where else comes close. Lots of excellent soup. I see y'all have more DTFs than TPE. Lucky you. Don't know why we can't get a branch in the Bay Area.

Then headed out to crazy Sentosa for dinner at Sam Leong's Forest. We had experienced his creative modern take at Jade a few years ago when that was his spot. I still think he is one of the most interesting chefs around, much like Wolfgang Puck in his prime. We had foie gras with duck breast in a crispy tofu skin cup with interesting unfamiliar flavors. Shrimp stuffed with smoked oyster with was I sauce, a fine dish. I over ordered heavy meat dishes, but both were excellent, Wagyu beef cheeks, pressed duck with yam. Impressive, maybe not as exciting as he was at Jade. Not sure why this has to be tucked away in a remote corner of Sentosa.

All I all a great food town youse guys have here. Headed for CCU and when we come back through SIN will have along enough layover to get some of the East Coast Rd Laksa.

Thanks to klyeoh and others on this board who really made this visit work for us.

I've posted some photos, mainly dim sum, on twitter, @tomnash

Mar 11, 2014
Thomas Nash in China & Southeast Asia

Kingdom of Dumpling on Noriega Moving [San Francisco]

Saw them on Taraval, at least a dozen ladies stuffing dumplings, yesterday.

Looks great ... seems like they have fresh XLBs to cook at home. Has anyone had experience with those? I was impressed with the ones at their restaurant across the street yesterday, actually had soup in them (unusual these days).

What's the experience in general with cooking their dumplings and pancakes at home?

Feb 06, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

Shrimp and Grits - SF Dish of the Month January 2014

Can't hide my bad memory from Melanie's searches. I was hungry for S&G at the time, before overdosing in Charleston, and I liked the place, Old Skool. Guess I need to go back and retry?

Jan 30, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Gumbo in SF or east bay?

Mason is the main restaurant I was thinking of. A small fried chicken and waffles take out is a branch called Little Skillet on Rich St.

Jan 26, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

Gumbo in SF or east bay?

Queens is highly recommended for an excellent gumbo (as well as Po Boys, Abita beer, ...

Farmer Brown does good soul food (cat fish!) and a fine gumbo also.

Jan 25, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Shrimp and Grits - SF Dish of the Month January 2014

Have been very silent on shrimp and grits despite it being one of my favorite dishes. Problems are two fold.

First, I had not had a decent S&G in the Bay Area and nothing reported here seemed up to Charleston or Louisiana standards. Certainly not the paltry under flavored portion of little shrimp on cheesy (both senses of the word) grits at the otherwise often stellar Rickybobby.

Now thanks to Mariacarmen, we went back to Front Porch, which had fallen off our list - maybe because we could never get in and maybe because our first try there years ago was not that compelling.

Second, as others have noted this is not a well defined dish. It can be very variable both in concept and in quality of execution. Last summer I tried maybe half a dozen versions in Charleston and maybe I can barely remember one or two as somewhat outstanding. Best were probably at Husk and Hominy Grill, two of Charleston's best kitchens. These are mild and well balanced and probably should be considered prototypical.

The version I really remember, probably on my top ten all time list of dishes, is the version at Galatoire's in Baton Rouge. Shortly after the hurricane closed down everything including Galatoire's in New Orleans, they opened a place in an upscale fancy mall on the south side of Baton Rouge. Probably this was to serve the many New Orleans refugees in Baton Rouge at the time. As a special one day I found shrimp and grits on the menu -- subsequently I think it has become a permanent fixture in Baton Rouge, but never at the original Galatoire's in NOLA.

The Galatoire's version is completely different from what you get in Charleston. It is a smoky version, somewhat of a barbecue or gumbo sauce, with huge (fresh) Gulf shrimp on creamy grits. Incredible dish.

So, Front Porch has done a very creative variation on S&G, not unlike Galatoire's. Actually quite comparable, but maybe not at that stratospheric level. The shrimp are smaller, and have been through a freezer on the way from the gulf. Mine were cooked just right, BTW. And the grits are nice and creamy. The smoky sauce reminds of a barbecue shrimp or a smoky gumbo, and this sense is augmented by the generous pile of andouille slices, a touch I have seen no where else.

Otherwise, the fried okra was OK, maybe too thick a breading. The deviled eggs, spicy and good. The pecan pie first class. The fried chicken was also very good.

Guess we will head back there.

Jan 22, 2014
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area
3

Smokehouse 10 BBQ & Catering in Martinez

I missed Melanie's question first time around... this reminds me to answer that there was a ⅛" (smoky) fat cap on the other wise very moist meat.

Comparing with Louis Mueller's is about the highest complement one could give. Smokehouse is almost at that stratospheric level, but not quite. Yet, I am sure it would be considered a first class place for its brisket in Texas.

Dec 16, 2013
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area

INDONESIAN RESTO. - RAMAYANA

Lime Tree is good, but I think it is more Malaysian rather than Indonesian. Calls itself "South-East Asian". Anyone else have info on this?

Dec 11, 2013
Thomas Nash in San Francisco Bay Area