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We are in Tokyo now. So far, amazing!

Sushi Tanuki Shingo: it's like going to the aquarium, except you get to eat everything! Seriously though, Tanuki-San is a delightful man, a complete maniac in the best way. He has deep knowledge and puts incredible thought into how he prepares each bite of each fish. He has a glowing, joyous presence. Unbelievably delicious, great variety, I give this place my highest rating.

Thank you, shakti2, for recommending.

Also, we went to Tofuya Ukai for lunch. Such a beautiful experience and lovely food. Like having an afternoon in Kyoto. This was my second time and it lived up to my memory and expectations...

Apr 12, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Tokyo help - family of four

I love Iwasa sushi near Tsukiji.
The have a 'kai set' -- all shellfish -- that is my favorite.
I'm sure you could take the kids there -- it's a hustle-bustle place that gets a bit of a line out the door.

Here's a map...
http://www.iwasasushi.com/en/access.html

Apr 07, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Molecular Gastronomy in Tokyo - As good as Spain and Alinea?

Molecular Tapas Bar is fun. Think of it more like a show than dinner. The pacing is fast (too fast to do wine pairings, we found -- get a bottle of something you like instead). If you are a molecular pro, then you will already be familiar with a lot techniques.

That said, if you go without superhigh expectations, it will be a fun evening and the meal is tasty.

Apr 07, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Question re. multiple kaiseki dinners at ryokans

I have stayed at Ryokans only three times.
Each time, it was for two nights.
Each time, the meals were different between the first and second night.
The breakfasts, I think, were more similar, but again, not exactly the same.

Apr 07, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Help for memorable second to last meal in Tokyo... all other meals accounted for :)

I recommend Ishikawa or Nagazumi.

Note that Nagazumi is open Sunday, if you should choose to switch Tapas Molecular Bar.

Apr 01, 2014
pauliface in Japan

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Thanks so much! Nakamura and maru both sound very promising. Nakamura looks lively which is a plus.

I will also look into Shingo as a replacement for yo shiitake... I. Found other chowhound post about it and it sounds unique and fascinating...

Mar 15, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Locally made frozen foods worth stocking

Pelmeny from Cinderella Bakery.

Mar 13, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area

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Gargle -- what might you recommend?

BTW: Ryugin is off our list, and DEN is booked. :-)

Mar 13, 2014
pauliface in Japan

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We were considering adding a sushi restaurant. We had heard good things about Sushi Yoshitake. But you prefer Takumi-Shingo?

Do you have another non-sushi recommendation?

Mar 12, 2014
pauliface in Japan

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So our upcoming itinerary has two empty slots.
What would you add there?
Does not need to be expensive, but if it is that's okay today.

Thursday Dinner -- Kaikaya by the Sea

Friday Dinner -- ?????

Saturday Lunch - Tofuya Ukai
Saturday Dinner - New York Bar

Sunday Dinner - Nagazumi

Monday Dinner - L'Atelier Joel Robuchon

Tuesday Dinner - Ishikawa

Wednesday Dinner - ?????

Mar 12, 2014
pauliface in Japan
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Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

This was not my experience this last week.

My hotel concierge called, and was told that they do not take reservations through hotels.

Following this, my friend (who speaks fluent Japanese) attempted to make a reservation. But he was told that the restaurant is invitation only...

Mar 12, 2014
pauliface in Japan

House made bagels

I had a startlingly good bagel recently at "The Bagel Bakery" on Townsend street.
http://bagelbakerysf.com/

I was passing by and was going to get a coffee, but the bagels looked oddly delicious. Turns out they make them there with the proper double-process.
Like a proper bagel place, there was one kind that was warm because it had just finished cooking.

Mar 11, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area
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Buzzy, fun, interactive in Tokyo -- a la New York Bar...

Greetings,

We are planning another trip to Tokyo (!!!)

We will be going to some food temples (Ishikawa, Nagazumi, Yoshitake, Tofuya Ukai for lunch) and to some less rarified restaurants we love (Kaikaya, L'Atelier Joel Robuchon).

But we also seek someplace busy and fun, in the vein of New York Bar at the Park Hyatt. (We will be going to New York bar another night as well). We always have a good time there. Generally we sit at that huge granite table and strike up conversations with the people around us. It's often an international crowd, but not ex-pat, which is fun.

It's not important that they serve michelin class food, but they should at least have a bar menu so that we can both eat and drink.

Any suggestions?

Mar 11, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Your best meal of 2013?

I just want to write a thank you note from up north here in San Francisco.

I was in Los Angeles this weekend (James Turrell! The Wooster Group!) and referred to your wisdom on these pages to make plans for our Friday night meal.

Japanese is my favorite, and thanks to you all I chose Shunji, and I could not be happier. It was absolutely stellar.

Oh, and sorry but I kidnapped Shunji and Miki and brought them to SF. They are tied up in the basement as we speak...

Mar 09, 2014
pauliface in Los Angeles Area
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Sunday night dinner: Sons and Daughters vs AQ or Commonwealth [San Francisco]

If you can stretch the distance and a bit more money I would go to Atelier Crenn.

I was hugely disappointed in Sons & Daughters.
Have not been to Commonwealth.
I would go to AQ over S&D, but Atelier Crenn is truly splendid. Their 'Signature' menu of 9 courses is $120. Definitely no need to go for their $195 blowout.

Mar 06, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area

Russian restaurants in SF/Bay area?

Red Tavern is my current favorite Russian restaurant:
http://www.redtavernsf.com/

I like it better than Katia's or Russian Renaissance.

Also in SF, European Foods is a market that has some great prepared stuff:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/european-food...
They have chopped liver and stuffed cabbage that taste (almost) like my grandmother's. Also excellent homemade gefilte fish and if you are lucky and they have their cherry cake or poppyseed cake, get it.

New World Market on Geary is good for red caviar (they carry 4 grades), half-sour pickles, smoked fish and cold cuts, sour cream, and russian sodas.

Cinderella Bakery has great pelmeny. You can order and eat it there, or get it frozen to make at home.

Feb 27, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area

Tokyo and Kyoto help

To combine your two requests, I would suggest Tofuya Ukai in Tokyo.
We went there for lunch last trip (about 6 courses I think for about 6,000 yen without drinks)
I believe dinner is more expensive.

We had a really wonderful lunch that centered around their homemade tofu in different styles.
The atmosphere is kyoto-like, in that they have a large property with private rooms, and service by waitresses in kimono.

The food was really lovely. Lunch lasted almost 3 hours, if I recall correctly.

A wonderful experience.

Feb 10, 2014
pauliface in Japan

Espetus Churrascaria? [San Francisco]

Ahh. Good thing I did not make a wisecrack at the restaurant, reserving my ignorance for the ENTIRE WORLD to see.

Feb 06, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area

Espetus Churrascaria? [San Francisco]

Heh. So I went here with an all-male group of friends last night.

What was hysterically funny is that the place was filled with large groups of men. It appears to be the man-cave of restaurants. There were like 5 women in the whole joint, and about 10-12 large all-male groups of 6-10 people.

I guess when groups of men (like me and my buddies) feel like going out for a big fun meal, they all come up with going some place where they can get lots and lots of different kinds of tasty grilled meat. I've never seen anything like it.

The food was about as expected, actually a bit better than I expected. A large variety of meats, most of which were very nicely done. Favorites were the beef ribs, flap steak, and sirloin. Lamb chops were disappointing, as they were sliced so thin that they were very much overdone.

Cocktails were disappointing, and at a place that is serving meat they should be excellent, as in a proper steakhouse. The staff is constantly recommending "brazilian mojitos" (is there any other kind?) and caipirinhas. I had a mediocre sidecar, and when I tried a caiprihha I had to send it back because it was undrinkably sweet. Traded for a passable but not excellent martini.

Overall it was fun, in a manly sort of way, but overpriced. I would not motivate a trip back, but if someone had his heart set on going, I would join in, if only for the male bonding.

Feb 06, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area food gifts to bring to Berlin

Feb 04, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area food gifts to bring to Berlin

See's candies. Nuts & chews, dark chocolate assortment.

Feb 04, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area

French Laundry corkage fee - $150 Wow! [Yountville, Napa Valley]

My best wine pairing was at Le Cinq in Paris.
It was unbelievable.
I don't recall the price. Maybe 150 euros?
But the thing is, once that was paid, they were pulling incredible things out of their wine cellar, which they have been stocking for decades.
They served some very special things, one wine from the 1970s, and something from each decade between then and now.
Granted, they probably bought all these things at reasonable prices at the time and have just held onto them.

But it was as if for the price of our wine pairing, we had given the sommelier the keys to the wine cellar with the invitation to 'go play and find whatever would be best'.

Feb 04, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area

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

VEAL PICATTA

Feb 03, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area

Hot Pot Garden [San Francisco]

I was having my computer repaired over by Taraval & 22nd (Cosmic Computer -- cannot recommend them enough!) and afterwards thought I'd catch a bit to eat.

Hot Pot Garden had a line out the door and since I was alone I rightly surmised I could sneak in quick and sit at the counter.

This place was great. I am a fan of shabu shabu, but it was kind of like shabu shabu on steroids.

The menu is about $28 for all you can eat. I usually shy away from all you can eat, because quality suffers. But everything was super fresh,

The restaurant is clean and bright, happy and buzzy. Lots of groups of friends enjoying themselves kind of place. The staff is very friendly and cheerful.

Menu-wise, you pick two broths that come in a big divided pot. I chose tonkatsu broth (which had chunks of daikon and corn) and a chinese herbal broth (which had a bunch of herbs and berries I did not know). Both were delicious.

A tip: they have condiments in the kitchen that you can ask for such as sesame sauce, ponzu sauce, and vinegar. I stumbled onto this by asking about the soy-sauce which was in little custom bottles on the counter.

After that there are 4 more sections. You can basically pick as many things as you want from all of them, but of course only a few at a time.

From the meat section I tried kurabota pork and ribeye. Both delicious.

From the seafood section I tried only shrimp, which were fantastic. these were very fresh, head-on shrimp on skewers. The blew the doors off shrimp I've gotten at shabu-shabu places in SF.

From the fishcake/dumpling section I tried lobster balls which were the only thing I did not particlarly enjoy.

From the vegetable section, napa cabbage, spinach, enoki mushrooms, puffy tofu were all quite nice, especially the mushroom and spinach.

I loved this place and had a great time there. I intend to bring back a group of friends. I think this will replace shabu-shabu in my repertoire from here on in...

Jan 26, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area

8 Night Tokyo/Kyoto/Hiroshima Itinerary - Feedback Greatly Appreciated

Takazawa is a long and heavy meal. I think tempura dinner after that may be too much.

As for a replacement for Ryugin -- I would try Ishikawa (established 3-star kaiseki, more traditional than Ryugin but quite sublime) or Nagazumi (younger 1-star maverick with his own counter). These were the standouts on my last trip.

Here's what I had to say about Nagazumi:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9308...

Jan 21, 2014
pauliface in Japan

To-go food for a flight [San Francisco]

I know it's a completely different neighborhood.

However, for anybody living in the duboce triangle, upper terrace, northern castro area:

Courtney's Deli is my go-to place for food when I'm going on an airplane. They have great, inexpensive sandwiches and little salads. it is a neighborhood treasure.

It is also the official pre-picnic place on the way to corona heights park, buena vista park, or golden gate park.

Jan 18, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Ultimate Tokyo foodie trip 2!!

I visited both Ishikawa and Koju during my last trip. I also prefered Ishikawa.

I also visited Nagazumi last trip.
This was a very special evening. It is hard to compare because the food is quite different, but I definitely prefered Nagazumi to Koju. Somehow, because it was a Sunday, the only people in the restaurant were me, my friend, and the chef, Ogo-san. His two helpers had the night off. And because the chef's equipment is all at the counter, it was like being two people hanging out in the kitchen while Ogo-san cooked for us. As always in Japan, things began slightly stiff and awkward, but within 30 minutes we all began to loosen up. Ogo-san is a very sweet and talented man. The food was amazing, he was trying new recipes for us, some of which were mind-blowingly good (a raw oyster treatment that he had made up the night before, and a recipe he was trying for the first time, small fish that were fried, then boiled, then topped with a sauce, and for the meat course venison, which I've never had in Japan, that was incredible). I think we were very lucky to have this intimate experience and I do not expect to ever have such an experience again. Iit was a night to remember always.

Jan 16, 2014
pauliface in Japan

State Bird Provisions closing Aug 10 - for how long? [San Francisco]

I don't generally have a hard time eating anything. No allergies, little trouble mixing things, high tolerance for alcohol. We were drinking wine with dinner but honestly not much -- a glass and a half over dinner.

I do think it was because the foods were getting higher and higher in fat as we went on, though. My partner ordered the duck-liver-and-muffin thing at the end and I could not even look at it -- I made him eat the whole thing.

Jan 09, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area

State Bird Provisions closing Aug 10 - for how long? [San Francisco]

Actually, Robert, it may be the opposite. Since Xmas I've been eating very light to counterbalance the holidays and this was my first meal this heavy in a couple weeks.

Honestly, I kind of feel terrible posting what I did because the food is so tasty. But I was curious whether others had had the same experience and this site is, after all, in part for comparing notes.

Jan 09, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area

State Bird Provisions closing Aug 10 - for how long? [San Francisco]

So, I went back the other night. First time since the close and reopen.

The place is a bit bigger but not much.
But here's why I'm writing. I'm curious if anybody else feels the same way I do....

I have not been for several months, of course. The food is still delicious, though not terribly different than before. The service is great, the atmosphere is fun.
I would recommend it without reservation to anybody going for the first time.

But here's the thing: I felt like, good as it is, I hit an eating wall really really suddenly. It's kind of the dim sum effect I guess, except this time we did pace ourselves relatively slowly. Nonetheless, at a certain point, a bite went in my mouth, and I was unable to eat another thing. No more, no dessert, just a check please.

And in the aftermath, even though I enjoyed the meal and don't regret a thing and still have warm feelings about the place, I kind of feel like I never want to go back. Can't imagine eating it again. It's like a reverse craving, my body telling me please-don't-do-that-to-me-again. I kind of felt this way after my previous experience, to a lesser degree, but so much time had passed, and because of the reopening I wanted to go again.

It's weird, and I cannot recall this happening at a place I enjoyed so much. Maybe it's just because the food is so rich? And because it starts lighter with oysters and crudos but before you know it you're eating burrata and pancakes?

Anybody have a related experience?

Jan 09, 2014
pauliface in San Francisco Bay Area
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