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good steak fries in oakland or berkeley?

Does anyone have suggestions for places to get good steak fries in Oakland or Berkeley? I used to go to the smokehouse for a quick fix, but they have changed their fries to crinkle fries. Boo! Something that is quick is more preferable, as I have a screaming infant permanently attached to my hip nowadays.


Burritos in Oakland?


It seems like while there is a huge amount of taco trucks in fruitvale, none of them are especially well known for their burritos. Searching the forum for oakland burritos mainly brings up discussions of taco trucks. Does anyone have suggestions for a GREAT burrito place in oakland? The SO wants burritos like pancho villa ( I know, I know, but he has other great qualities).


Crab restaurant in Half Moon Bay?

Hi all:

We are heading down to Half Moon Bay midweek to go horseback riding for my birthday. Now, I usually always get the live crab at the docks and cook them at home. But the BF and other friends paled at the thought of live crabs clawing inside a pot of boiling water, so I figured it might be better if we just order crab at a restaurant. Anyone have a suggestion for a good place to have crab in Half moon bay? The large and fresh, crack it yourself kind ?

I searched the forums, but was only able to pull up posts about luna park and getting crab the docks.


Nellie's Gumbo & Crab Feed Chow Get Together

The SO and I went to Nellie's for dinner last night and I noticed they are having a all you can gumbo & crab feed on Monday april 21st 3-9PM for $39.99. Now if you've never been, let me just say Nellie's has some of the best southern food in the bay area. They are one of the few places in the bay area that has fried chicken and sides that I approve of. I love love their collard greens. I've never had their gumbo nor crab, so I can't guarantee they are good. But it seems like there would be a good chance. Anyways, I thought it would be fun perhaps to do a chow get together for this. I am not sure what the protocol is for arranging get togethers, but I guess you can either contact me via my email or reply to this thread.


Soif Santa Cruz, good for non-drinker?

Hi all:

I am going to visit my sister in Santa Cruz for the first time and dad has given her the checkbook to take me out for my birthday dinner. From the reading that I've been doing on this board, it seems like Soif might be a good choice. But no one in our party drinks wine, and Soif seems to be mostly centered around their wines, will we be okay there? I know the other choice would be La Posta, since they are opened by the same owners, but I read a few not so good reviews about it too.

-thanks guys!

Feb 14, 2008
grow_power in California

Rivoli, recently

In general, I've found rivoli's menus to be like that. Nothing really stands out when I read the menu, but then everything I order is done perfectly, the food sparkles....

Kaffir Lime Leaves? Where to buy?

Where in the east bay are you? I have a kaffir lime tree, and am willing to give you some.

need translation help on chinese measurements

thanks so much! All this info is very helpful. I'll let you guys know when I start the first dish.

Jan 14, 2007
grow_power in Not About Food

need translation help on chinese measurements


I am hoping there are a few old time chinese cooks out there. I am starting a blog translating my mom's old chinese cookbook as a remembrance of her. However, her cookbook uses the measurements 钱, 两 and 斤.

Does anyone know what these translate to roughly in metric or english measurements? I have come across a dictionary dictionary entry that tells me that 斤 is equal to .5KG. But I don't know if that's accurate. Nor do I know how many 钱's and 两's there are in a 斤. Anyone out there with an answer?

Thanks so much! (X-posted to China Board & EGullet)

Jan 11, 2007
grow_power in Not About Food

need translation help on chinese measurements


I am hoping there are a few old time chinese cooks out there. I am starting a blog translating my mom's old chinese cookbook as a remembrance of her. However, her cookbook uses the measurements 钱, 两 and 斤.

Does anyone know what these translate to roughly in metric or english measurements? I have come across a dictionary dictionary entry that tells me that 斤 is equal to .5KG. But I don't know if that's accurate. Nor do I know how many 钱's and 两's there are in a 斤. Anyone out there with an answer?

Thanks so much! (X-posted to Not About FoodBoard & EGullet)

Jan 11, 2007
grow_power in Not About Food

It's open truffle season at Dopo

I love this time of the year: crabs, oysters and truffles; a girl can't get much happier than this.

The word on the street was that the chef-owner at Dopo wanted to give people a chance to try out truffles without the ridiculous price, and that they were doing their truffle dishes at cost. So how could we resist?

First thing first. We started with the house salumi platter for two($24). Six flavors of salumi, each with their own note of happiness (wild fennel was the personal winner) are presented along with little toasts slivers slathered with chicken liver and ciccioli. The ciccioli was divine enough to cause a small raucous to break out at our table over who got the last piece; even better than the one I've had from the Fatted calf.

Next up, white truffles. The special truffles menu had the following:
truffled egg with polenta
mediterranean mussels with braised endive
main lobster with savory cabbage.
The dishes were only $20 each, or $50 for platter for two and $75 for three.
Being greedy, our table opted for the platters. The entrees came out on a huge platter with servings of each dish. Each entree had a generous shaving of truffles on top. Given truffle prices being what they are this year, I am not sure how they could afford to do this.
The truffled eggs with polenta was a bit of a let down. Although the consistency of the polenta was perfect, the eggs probably hadn't sat long enough with the truffles to really pick up their flavor.
The other two dishes, the lobster roll and the mussels both had fans at the table. For me, the surprise pairing of the mussels and the endives really brought out the wonderful aroma of the truffles. The lobster and cabbage was pretty good, but oh, the sweetness of the mussels combined with the earthy muskiness of the truffles.... I literally wiped that section of plate clean with my fingertips.

By the time we got to dessert, we were more or less stuffed. And as lovely as dessert was, my heart was still wishing for more of those delicious truffles.

The usual deets:
4293 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611
I don't know how long they'll be doing the truffle menu for. And if you have a party bigger than 2, you should definitely call ahead to see if you can avoid their infamous wait. They are technically taking reservations for parties of 5 or larger now.

pizzaiolo dissappointing

My sister is in town this weekend, so we planned to have our one nice dinner at Pizzaiolo. Having read all these rave reviews and often walked by the lines outside the restaurant, I was excited to finally give the place a go.

Based on reading previous posts, we got there at 5:30 sharp to try avoid the wait and get decent service. There were already about 6 tables seated, but there was no hostess at the door. We stood by the front door for about 5 minutes before a waitress even acknowledged us and told us someone would be right with us.

After we got seated, it took about another 5 mins before someone brought us menus, and even longer for bread and water. After we decided on the food, we waited and waited and waited. And then waited some more. My sister even put our menus on the side of the table to indicate we were ready, but no go. Finally, we had to flag someone down.

We ordered the fritto misto to start, avoided the pasta based on other board posts, got bollito misto as an entree, and also a summer squash pizza topped with pounded garlic and parsley.

The fritto misto came relatively quickly. It was a combination of fried stuffed squash blossoms and fried green beans topped with a scattering of halved sungold tomatoes tossed in a little vinaigrette. The cheese stuffing in the squash blossoms were superb, perfect hint of salt against the squash blossoms. However, overall, everything was a bit too greasy. Things squirted grease when I bit into it, that is NOT how fried food is suppose to be, folks. At least, not when they are fried right. My sister and I were divided on the vinaigrette, she thought it was a bit too much, but I was okay on it.

Next came my bollito misto, which is basically just boiled meat. When done right, it can be lovely, but this was just blah. Not horrible, not great. Although I did really like the little side of sauce that it came with. But not all that great for $22.

My sister's pizza took much longer to arrive. The infamous wood oven bottleneck again. Now, she ordered the squash pizza with pounded garlic and parsley. She wasn't really crazy about the idea of summer squash on her pizza but had wanted the pounded garlic and parsley. After a few bites, she realized that it had summer squash and red onions (which she hates and there was no mention of on the menu), but no garlic and parsley. I ate a piece and confirmed that she was right. We hailed down our waitress, another titanic effort, and asked her to check on the pizza.

She came back and reported that the chefs apparently forgot to drizzle the garlic and parsley oil on our pizza. But she brought us a little dish of the oil and my sister ate the rest of her pizza using the oil as a sauce.

Tastewise, the pizza was spot on for me. The dough was perfect, crisp, thin and chewy and I really liked the summer squash topping.

My overall impression:

They really had no excuse for the bad and slow service; since we arrived early, they weren't yet busy, and we were clear about our order.
Our waitress didn't give us attitude, but she was brisk, hard to locate and never checked in on us. Again, I could understand if they were really busy, but this was at 5:30-6:00.
If they messed up our order before they were busy, I would hate to see what happens if we there during the dinner rush.
Besides the pizza, the rest of what we had was a little lackluster. When your menu is small like theirs, everything should really shine.

I think Dopo, just seconds away on piedmont ave, has much better service. I am hoping that when they open up the new section of the restaurant, the service will remain the same. Foodwise, I think dopo and pizzaiolo are at about the same level. Dopo's pizzas are a bit smaller, and a little different but still very good.

Oliveto is pretty much in a different category IMHO.

p.s. The waitress did take 10% off of our bill because of the pizza misstep, which was really nice. But coming so late in the game, it only influenced my experience a little bit.
Overall bill came to about $60 with tax and tip (no wine/beer).

Town hall, sketch, hooker's gumbo shack, coi, and pizzaolo (some questions, stupid ones)

closest bart station to pizzaiolo is macarthur, which is on 40th and telegraph. The walk only takes about 10 mins, but it's not the nicest of hoods. Although it is my hood, and I've never had any problems.

possible truffle chow event at oliveto in nov?

no, the menus are actually a la carte. They are just built around the main ingredient.

possible truffle chow event at oliveto in nov?

Hello all:

Oliveto is having their annual truffle dinner Nov 14-17. I am trying to get a group together to attend. I went to their tomato dinner a few weeks back and it was divine. Inside sources tell me I should book soon for the truffle event. Dates I am looking at is either Nov 14, or Nov 15.

There's a sample menu from last year on it.
Oliveto is located right next to the rockridge bart station for those worried about transport.

Also, bring your wallet, cause truffles aint cheap, follks.

Anyone interested? If so, please email at


Oakland (Temescal) - Cafe Pippo – Best EB free-range chicken dinner deal (gratuitous nutella & banana panini mention)

Their foccacia doesn't deserve your benefit of the doubt. I've had it two times now and I have nothing good to say about either of the experiences. The chicken is a great deal for the price. It costs me about that much to just buy organic chicken raw. A little bland but not bad for the price.

I really enjoyed my sides though. A simple tomato and mozzarella salad and a gigante bean salad. The beans were melt in your mouth but not mushy and the marinade was spot on.

All in all, rated a 7 on my dollar per bite scale. I would definitely go there for a simple dinner and then save the leftovers for lunch.

dopo closed for remodeling

Just general FYI for those who haven't been by. Dopo in oakland on piedmont ave is closed for the next few weeks for remodeling.

After they open, they will be twice the size as before. Hopefully that means less of a wait for dinner.