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goldangl95's Profile

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Moving to North/East Bay

Unfortunately, the hill ridge that separates Berkeley/Oakland from Lamorinda has been a psychological "barrier" for a long time. Lamorinda could easily fit in as the wealthiest suburb of any midwestern city and the city planning/councils/population are determined to keep it that way.

Public schools are great and it's an easy 25 min. commute on BART (though one will have to stand and get to the parking lot early). There's also a lot of rideshare options.

Lots of parks and open space. There's some solid theater/playhouses but otherwise not much in the way of city culture or diversity (and as a result, it's a pretty hopeless food area with only a handful of standouts).

Residents like it that way - and even though Oakland and Berkeley are really vibrant city areas esp. for food, most of the residents feel much more comfortable in Walnut Creek (which could be the main shopping drag in any wealthy suburb in the country).

about 7 hours ago
goldangl95 in San Francisco Bay Area

Girls Weekend Wine Etiquette

I don't see how what they spend on other things matters? If they budget x amount for this wine trip - and it's totally off - that's economics. Some people cannot swing surprise/unexpected swings in their budgets. It doesn't matter if they are currently spending $5000 a month in rent.

It's not mooching if no one is told what the expectations are. Mooching is being told the amount to spend on the wine they bring if they want to come on the trip - and they ignore it.

You need to set explicit expectations and guidelines for the type of wine bought for the trip. Another option is to ask everyone to give you the money and you buy the wine.

Or you can just be upset every trip. It's your choice.

about 8 hours ago
goldangl95 in Wine

Moving to North/East Bay

These aren't necessarily the best - but they give you the best idea of the area:

Lamorinda (Orinda and Lafayette are both very sleepy. Walnut Creek is where most residents go to shop/hang out, but it's also easy to get to the Berkeley/Oakland area):

Peet's Coffee in Orinda/Lafayette/Walnut Creek

Orinda:
Village Inn Cafe (breakfast and lunch, sunday is breakfast only)
Loard's Ice Cream

Lafayette:
Pizza Antica
Chow

Walnut Creek:
Morucci's (sandwiches)
Tender Greens
Pyramid Brewery
Caffe La Scala (coffee)
The Old San Francisco Creamery (Ice Cream)

about 9 hours ago
goldangl95 in San Francisco Bay Area

Girls Weekend Wine Etiquette

Oh dear. I would not go on a group trip that was organized that way - where there were two clear economic classes of people.

I would hate to go on a trip that has no organized budget and then be shamed by the other people for not being able to afford the $40-60 bottles. Let me know beforehand that that's the budget expectation - and I just won't go.

about 11 hours ago
goldangl95 in Wine
2

Girls Weekend Wine Etiquette

I like the pitch in on an agreed selection of wines. It's how most group things I've organized work - we agree on a budget (or someone dictates the budget) - and then a trusted person goes shopping on that budget.

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What is horrible - is not stating the budget up front - and then shaming people who can't afford it. If you want the budget to be $40- 60 per bottle than say so explicitly from the beginning.

about 11 hours ago
goldangl95 in Wine

Takeout ideas for bar party (San Francisco)

Bi-Rite caters things like this if more creative options don't come through.

Robert Parker: High wine prices creating ‘caste system’

Robert Parker's point was he thinks professional wine appreciation may be dying with the millenials because they cannot afford the best/top wine producers in the world even if they were to try and split a wine bottle between 2 couples (unlike basically any other alcohol). The question is has the transformative, life changing wines priced themselves such that a new generation will never taste them?

I cannot recall a transformative $5 bottle wine ever. Transformative as in ah! What was that taste? How do I get more wine that tastes like THAT. I can't imagine converting people to oenophiles with $5 -10 wines. If you have been able to, I would genuinely love a list.

Mar 25, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

Robert Parker: High wine prices creating ‘caste system’

Agreed. I am sorry if I implied that no economic rules applied. I just meant the supply and demand curve for basic goods that you first learn doesn't apply.

Mar 25, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

Robert Parker: High wine prices creating ‘caste system’

I'm sorry but a 5 dollar bottle of wine in the US is not going to be any good compared to a 5 dollar pour of bourbon or a 5 dollar bottle of beer.

The coca cola experiment is not how we conduct our normal lives. No one is priming me in a blind taste test when I drink wine with dinner. Without priming people who know and appreciate wine can tell the difference between a 5 or 50 dollar bottle assuming no tricks ( eg the 50 bottle has a known flaw). Now that breaks down pretty quickly as you go higher in the price points due to wine pricing no longer being tied to production methods and grape quality. But at 5 vs 50? Yeah you can tell.

Mar 25, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

Robert Parker: High wine prices creating ‘caste system’

Really? I find that hard to believe - most populous centers in say France don't have many drivers. Plus consumption of other alcohols are rising.

Mar 25, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

Robert Parker: High wine prices creating ‘caste system’

They are trying to maximize the brand name but the Birkin bag itself may actually lose money. For example I believe all the couture lines lose huge amounts of money for the brand.

Many wineries are even worse than the Birkin bag as they are not profitable but are maintained as a vanity/prestige/luxury by the owners. That or while the luxury producer is not profitable they are part of a larger conglomerate that offsets the loss with more profitable products.

Mar 25, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

2 wine pairing questions

Yeah for me it won't matter either way. Because of how slow I drink wine, I am nursing that pour for a good 10 if not 15 mins. On the other hand, I inhale a course in about 3-5 mins.

I am definitely going to taste the wine without the food, but unless I consciously prioritize it, I won't taste the food without the wine.

Mar 25, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

Robert Parker: High wine prices creating ‘caste system’

Luxury goods do not follow your basic Econ 101 for supply and demand. Hermes could make more Birkin bags a year but does not. They also could charge even more for the bags then they currently do to cut down the waitlist but they do not. The goal is to keep an elitism and mystery around some of their products even if they don't make great profits.

when the wines we are talking about are priced they are priced high enough to convey a message but low enough that they will have far more willing buyers than supply. Even if yields are high in a particular year they are not going to change their pricing strategy and may sell off grapes instead of making more wine under their own name. They want to always stress scarcity and inaccessibility.

Parker is pointing out that wine, even in the great Bordeaux producers, used to be priced and made for consumption (like say cheese) but now the price and availability is more like a Birkin bag.

Mar 25, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

Robert Parker: High wine prices creating ‘caste system’

I'm impressed you find lots of enjoyable wine for under $10 - I certainly don't.

Very few cultures drank wine with every meal the way they do beer or grain liquor. Only in copious grape growing regions.

Adding at least 50 dollars a week to your budget is not nominal in the US let alone in most of the world.

Wine consumption is decreasing in Europe and wine consumption has not penetrated well in most of the world except as a luxury item for elites.

Mar 25, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

2 wine pairing questions

On#2, I like to take a bite of my food first if the food is presented first (it isn't always). That way I get a taste of the food without the wine influence.

If there are generous pours, the wine is going to linger with me after the course is over and so I will get a good sense of what the wine tastes like without the food.

Mar 25, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

Robert Parker: High wine prices creating ‘caste system’

I don't know - there has definitely been an increase in CA wines. Of the well-known and respected wineries in California, your cheapest white is going to run $20 a bottle and cheapest red $30 a bottle, with the median somewhere around $30 for white and $45 for red.

This is ridiculous in context considering you can buy a great bourbon for $50 a bottle or buy a sixpack of some of the most lauded beer in the country for $15.

Considering the sophistication of conversation around bourbon and beer in my area of the country, if someone was going to get 'into' something as a hobby wine has the highest barriers of entry (not only price but also ease of consumption by oneself).

Mar 24, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

Robert Parker: High wine prices creating ‘caste system’

Do you need wine to live? To carry on your day to day life? No.

Almost all societies these days require clothes.

By definition wine is not an essential.

IF you want to talk about luxury as in an aspirational - wine is that as well. You can get a beer for 50 cents to 1 dollar in a restaurant in many places of the world that is palatable and drinkable. Wine is 5x that. Beer can be made in practically any corner of the world. Wine needs very specific growing conditions to do well.

Mar 24, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

Robert Parker: High wine prices creating ‘caste system’

I don't know if I buy that. While all wine rating systems are problematic, I've heard a lot of great things about Wine Advocate (in CA at least) giving a chance to small producers with very little pedigree much more frequently than say Wine Spectator.

Parker set out to democratize wine from previous elitism - and in the process - contributed to a new elitism. But promoting new, small producers and new wine regions has always been a mission of the Wine Advocate and I respect that.

Mar 24, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

Robert Parker: High wine prices creating ‘caste system’

Clothing is a silly analogy. There are very few cultures in the world today where clothing is a luxury item. Most people in this world today, even the very poor wear clothes. Plus, clothing can be worn multiple times and be shared/passed down etc. Even if I can't afford D & G at Neiman Marcus, I could find D & G clothing items on ebay etc.

Wine is a luxury good and somewhat aspirational. In order for it to remain so, people need to conceive of a world in which they will be able to taste or drink something like it.

We all have the imagination and knowledge to know the basics of clothing. But if I'd never had wine before....would I want to develop an appreciation of it, not knowing the pleasures and tastes, and knowing the extreme costs? I'd probably want to stick to something that has more stepping stones of accessibility (say whiskey).

Mar 24, 2015
goldangl95 in Wine

Your go to fat?

Depends.
Refined canola for when I need the oil/fat to be completely neutral tasting. Ghee/Clarified butter for North Indian food and items cooked at high heat that would benefit from a rich "nutty" taste.
Coconut oil for items to be cooked at high heat that can handle the slight taste of coconut oil.
Regular butter for finishing and for items cooked at low heat (like eggs).
Olive oil for finishing.

I only use bacon fat if a recipe calls for it.

Mar 23, 2015
goldangl95 in General Topics

Birthday Dinner: Ame, Acquerello, or Benu [San Francisco]

Which brings up a good point, I didn't find the dessert at Benu particularly exciting BUT that's where a lot of change has happened so maybe it's better now.

I really wish we did proper dessert in the Bay Area - I love ice cream, fried dough, and custards, as much as the next person, but an endless rotation of them is tiring.

Birthday Dinner: Ame, Acquerello, or Benu [San Francisco]

A few years ago but the menu hasn't changed it's fundamentals since then. I enjoyed the meal a lot and it took the standard 2.5 to 3 hrs. I like lighter influences and Asian influences so it worked for me. I was stuffed at the end so my partner had to finish off my last courses. I am not a big eater - my partner was pleasantly full and he's a big eater. The beverage pairings really made the meal for me - they were picked with a lot of care.

It is not a touchy-feely overly friendly dining room or service. Very professional and kind but a lot less obtrusive then some. this is what I prefer, but it is very different from some of the others.

Donato Enoteca, Redwood City

Yes. I would say so if you don't want to wait and don't want to eat outside.

But it's not the type of place (in general - you may have bad luck) that has waits of more than 40 mins as it's a very large restaurant.

Birthday Dinner: Ame, Acquerello, or Benu [San Francisco]

Acquerello and Benu are quite different beasts. I don't have recent experience to share but:

Acquerello is a much more traditional experience - with the setting, service, and food one would expect of an old institution type restaurant.

Benu's dining room is very minamalist and stark (bright no tablecloths), the food has Asian influences, and there aren't the 'standard' or familiar progressions of a tasting menu. It's not as modernist as Atelier Crenn. I haven't been since Benu got its third star.

Donato Enoteca, Redwood City

Not super recently. But about a year ago, they were still turning out competent Italian with some california twists. A solid restaurant, and I am glad we have it in the area - but falls short of the greats in SF.

South Indian with Cocktails/Good Atmosphere

For me, "hole in the wall" means a restaurant that has a physical location but may as well be on the street.

Often implies poor service, worn or grimy atmosphere, and concerns about the cleanliness standards of kitchens/washrooms.

I could care less, but for some in my family eating at such a place negatively affects their enjoyment of the food.

Mar 23, 2015
goldangl95 in U.K./Ireland

Please tell me your favorite dim sum and favorite sushi in San Francisco?

Second Monsieur Benjamin super convenient for the symphony. The quail takes some time to prepare so start dinner at least 2 hrs before the symphony starts if you are going to do apps, mains, and dessert.

Please tell me your favorite dim sum and favorite sushi in San Francisco?

I dont really bother with much sushi in SF as far as I can tell our best places on the Penninsula are just as good. I've heard good things about Kukasabe. Some people on this board like Koo but I was unmoved.

I've heard if you form a relationship with the chef at zushi puzzle you can get good stuff, but I am not the type who develops those type of relationships.

Please tell me your favorite dim sum and favorite sushi in San Francisco?

If you are coming from LA or NYC, I'd skip sushi. I agree with everyone's recommendations.

South Indian with Cocktails/Good Atmosphere

Thank you everyone for the replies! The SF Bay Area has drastically expanded its South Indian offerings over the last few years but it's still very underrepresented. I was curious whether it was worth checking out some places in London the next time we go, but there is (sadly) an aversion to hole in the walls by some in the family.

Mar 22, 2015
goldangl95 in U.K./Ireland