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Madurai Idli Kadai in Sunnyvale

Kesari means "with saffron." In this case, a semolina pudding flavored with saffron, with different fruits - mango or pineapple.

about 17 hours ago
mielemaiale in San Francisco Bay Area

New Xi'an/Shaanxi restaurant Terra Cotta Warrior on Judah St. [San Francisco]

We happened upon Terracotta Warrior by happy chance this past (blustery) Sunday afternoon. So glad we did! The new-to-us flavors of Silk Road cuisine were perfect for the weather. The Pita Soup with Lamb was deeply lamb-ey and the little dough bits had absorbed just enough of the lovely broth to be addictively chewy. Continuing our pig's ear salad tasting (Kiraku and China Village in the past week), we enjoyed TCW's version for the lightness in both flavor and texture. Mian Pi noodles in their slick of chili oil were fantastic, though messy to share. I can't wait to go back and try the Sizzling Oil noodles that our neighbors had, as well as as the lamb and pork "burgers." This visit inspired me to go home and pull out Alford and Duguid's Beyond The Great Wall, and start plotting a Xi'an dinner.

Chowdown at Grocery Cafe, Oakland [Burmese]

Having just visited Grocery Cafe the week prior and being underwhelmed by their Kauswey, I was delighted to experience this feast, which blew me away with it's complexity and new-to-me flavor/texture experiences.

Count me in as another fan of the condiments, of which the green serrano with vinegar was an addictive favorite. Also loved the dry-fried anchovy relish.

The platter of greens with the chili/fish condiment was quite reminiscent of Isaan Jeaw-style dips, and a great reminder of the foodways shared by Akha/Hmong/Karen/Tai diaspora spread through the Thai, Laos, Myanmar region. It was also notable to enjoy steamed bitter greens and have a rare opportunity to pair bitter flavors with the salty funk of the fish condiment. The Hovel (can't remember what year, Melanie, I want to say 2006?) that Melanie brought was an amazing accompaniment to the stinky seed that others have referred to.

I particularly enjoyed the ginger salad at Grocery Cafe, it was fresher tasting and had more bright acid than others I have encountered. The tea leaf salad here is the best I've tried also, but my serving was overburdened with peanuts, which was a distribution issue, not an actual flaw in the salad.

I personally really enjoyed the biryani, perhaps because it was nothing like the Hyderabadi or North Indian styles of biryani I'm used to. This was a rare encounter with broken rice, with it's dry, fluffy texture a perfect counterpoint to the warm spice mix folded into it.

I also loved the mohinga, and appreciated the chunky, rustic texture more than the thick pastes I've had other places, but did not share the table's love of the catfish. Something about that gelatinous texture didn't do it for me.

Frankly, from this point forward, all the dishes did blend together for me for a bit. That said, I did enjoy the pork with pickle rather a lot. The banana leaf dessert with a slightly salted roasted coconut center surrounded by mochi or sticky rice (can't remember), was lovely.

Thanks to Melanie for a one-of-a-kind off-menu Burmese eating experience!

Cafe Karla in Berkeley: Burmese food purveyor

I often get Cafe Karla's tea leaf salad at Berkeley Bowl. It's a pleasant rendition, with a generous dollop of strongly fermented tea leaves. As far as boxed salads at the BB cafe go, this is my top choice for a workday lunch at my desk.

Large Indian Grocery Stores like 99 Ranch, etc.?

Kokum is easily available, kodampuli isn't. I believe kodampuli is Camboga, which is what hydroxycut is derived from. I find them far meatier and more packed with smoky astringent flavor than kokum.

Large Indian Grocery Stores like 99 Ranch, etc.?

A few years ago? Darnit. I assumed from your message it was this week. From what I understand, the import has been severely restricted because of the toxic side effects of hydroxycut type supplements.

Large Indian Grocery Stores like 99 Ranch, etc.?

Wow, kodampuli? I've found kokum readily at Viks, but never found kodampuli outside of Kerala and Coorg. Would love to get my hands on some!

Quince in the East Bay (berkeley, oakland ideally)

Ah, great to know. Sorry I'm seeing this a little late. Will go check out tomorrow!!

The Trappist in Rockridge [Oakland]

We had the same reaction as the posters below. Found the atmosphere stark and uninviting, with communal seating that didn't seem convivial enough to be enjoyably communal. It was freezing in there the afternoon we walked in. The bartender looked annoyed when we interrupted his conversation (after standing at the bar for about 10 mins) to ask for menus. The beers seemed startlingly overpriced. We left and went next door to the bar at Wood Tavern. Which is the opposite of hip but very welcoming. Oh and this was opening day, when we might have expected friendlier proprietors.

Community Survey: Dan Dan Noodles (Simplified: 担担面 Traditional: 擔擔麵 Pinyin: dàndànmiàn)

I'm a fan of the Dan Dan Mian at Golden Bowl as well. It's certainly the best version I've had locally. But my alltime favorite is my homemade version from Land of Plenty, the Xie Laoban version.

Quince in the East Bay (berkeley, oakland ideally)

Having just given away my last jar of poached quince, I went over to BB West this week hoping to stock up on more quince. To my horror, they said they were out, likely for the season. Aaaah!

Any sightings of quince at Monterey Market or anywhere else this late in December? I will travel if I need to, but would be so happy with quince tips in Berkeley, Oakland, El Cerrito etc. Thanks!

2012 Le Dîner à San Francisco (en blanc)

I didn't go, but I do wish there was a similar flashmob style event for Thanksgiving! Not hosting this year, but do so want to get together with foodies for good food in a nice environment that's not a restaurant, and not an "orphan" Thanksgiving!

chana dal dishes in restaurants?

I use a mixture of chana dal and hulled urad dal as part of my spice mix for South Indian tarkas - vegetable dishes, rice "salads," sambar, rasam, etc. I also use chana dal to make South Indian "dry chutney," which essentially involves roasting chana dal and maybe a couple of other dals until golden and then buzzing them with chilies and curry leaves in a spice grinder. Typically these are eaten with dosas and such, with a little ghee drizzed on them. Super yummy. Don't throw away your chana dal!

Cheese pairings for a sweet wine tasting party

5, I think.

Cheese pairings for a sweet wine tasting party

We had a pretty good selection - a few really nice Kabinetts, a 2007 Tokaji, a 2002 Sauternes, a Beumes-De-Venise, an Anderson Valley Muscat, and an odd, syrupy Australian Muscat.

Cheese pairings for a sweet wine tasting party

Thank you to all for your helpful advice. The party was a hit–5+ hours of sitting around the table with the afternoon sun streaming through. We ended up supplementing our Costco loot with an Epoisses, and a deliciously ripe, melty goat that I can't remember the name of. The accompaniments made the party, I think - balsamic gelatina, saba, apple chutney, honeycomb, and then all the fruit and nut accompaniments. The Kirkland blue turned out to be really, really nice. Probably wouldn't have taken first prize in a blue vertical tasting, but without any competition, did a really nice job, and got lots of compliments. I did not exactly advertise its provenance, admittedly. By the way, the inexpensive (under $7) large wheel of Alouette truffle brie was perfectly acceptable and highly recommended at the price for an everyday truffled cheese.

Cheese pairings for a sweet wine tasting party

Made the trip to Costco yesterday - picked up a Gouda, the Parmigiano (looks fantastic), an aged English Cheddar, an Alouette Truffle Brie (inexpensive, so we'll see how it goes), and, well, the cheap Kirkland Made in Wisconsin Blue. The reason for the last is because I didn't want to shell out $$ for that huge amount of Pt. Reyes Blue and then have a bunch of it left over to be thrown out. All the other semi- expensive cheeses are hard, so we'll get some mileage out of leftovers.

Of course, today I deeply regret my cheap-assedness. Anyone tried the Kirkland blue? Shall I run out and buy some Stilton/Cashel/Rocquefort?

Also, today is my Cheeseboard pilgrimage. Any recommendations for a puddingy, ripe goat cheese?

Cheese pairings for a sweet wine tasting party

We're throwing a fairly last minute wine tasting party this weekend, and I was hoping to get a quick heads up from Chowhounders about cheese deals (on specific cheeses) that you all could recommend. I'm looking to buy: blue, cheddar, some ripe cow's and sheep's milk cheeses, maybe some drier cheeses.

So here's the deal. I'd like to know if you all have seen any great in + outs at places like Costco, Grocery Outlet, TJ's. I'd like to get some larger pieces at any of these locations, and then supplement with smaller quantities of more esoteric cheeses from Cheeseboard.

I'm relatively new to Costco, and not very familiar with their cheese selection. Almost never buy cheese at Trader Joe's either.

While we're at it, any recommendations for good quality crackers from any of these retailers that you might have spied recently, would be welcome.

Thanks so much!

Crusty bread for Boxing Day

Does anyone know of a bakery (Acme, Cheeseboard, La Farine caliber) that is open on Boxing Day (Dec. 26th) this year in Oakland or Berkeley and environs? I'm having my annual Porchetta Boxing Day party, and want to serve fresh crusty mini-baguettes with the pork, but don't want to buy them at Acme or Cheeseboard on the 24th to be served on the 26th.

Thanks much!

Haggis / Burns Night in San Francisco

The haggis, the beer, the Scotch eggs, and the service were excellent at Commonwealth last night. I'd never had haggis before, and this savory, unctuous yet toothsome rendition, with a delicate rosemary flavored sauce and smashed neeps and tatties was to die for. I'd eat this haggis any night of the year.

CommonWealth Cafe & Public House
2882 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Curry Dive Chowdown Report: Viva Goa in San Francisco

I'm not sure if the two most recent posters were disagreeing with my review directly or not, but either way, I do agree that if the tomato paste was removed in the recheado, and the vinegar, heat and spices were amped up in some of the other dishes, the dishes would have good Goan flavor. In other words, different than that was served, and what I reviewed. I hope they get more fearless and authentic too. It'd be great to have a good Goan restaurant in the area!

Oh and I do think the flavoring was less authentic, not just "more inviting to the unfamliar masses." I recently dined at Fort Aguada Resort in Goa, a 5 star resort by global standards, and while the spicing was less rustic/more creamy than beachside shacks or even local restaurants, the flavors were an elegant riff on a Goan profile. The Recheado at Viva Goa, to my taste, was not even in the ballpark.

Also, the vinegary, spicy flavor of a true vindaloo or a sorpotel is amazing and addictive. I disagree that it's not a flavor that curries favor (pardon the pun). If everyone thought like that, I doubt that we would ever have Sichuan Spicy Boiled Beef popping up at multiple restaurants all over this city.

Curry Dive Chowdown Report: Viva Goa in San Francisco

With some trepidation, I have to be the voice of dissent on all this Viva Goa love. I haven't had a couple of the iconic dishes - xacuti, and vindaloo there, and i hear the xacuti is good. However, I did have the Rechado Pomfret, Chicken Cafreal, and Goan Fish Curry, and feel that this range is good enough for a general overview. To sum up, I did not enjoy the food. It was not authentic (a point that the food reviewer at SF Weekly discusses at length in his review of Viva Goa, coming to a conclusion I disagree with), and it was not tasty. Perhaps my expectations were too high because of my familiarity with Goan food, but I don't think so. Certainly, I look for certain high notes that Goan food should hit - like a sharp vinegar note, a dusky chili note, a savory garlic note, and warm cumin/coriander notes. But other than that, I didn't go in expecting fine cuisine. What I had, though, was mediocre food, period, with very little Goan flavor. I found the experience akin to eating mediocre Thai or even regional Mexican food (which abounds around here). The Rechado pomfret looked good, but the masala was dull and tomato-ey, and was sloppily mashed into the fish so I had a spoonful of just spice paste more than once. No vinegar or red chili tang in sight. The Cafreal again had a dull tasting green spice paste, smeared onto dried out pieces of chicken, and then cooked through so the spices seemed cloddish and caked on. The fish curry - which is the Goan calling card, rich, coconutty, chili hot, addictive in it's umami - was tomato paste and coconut oil with some freshwater fish - probably tilapia. Goa is not known for its freshwater fish dishes. I was incredibly disappointed. There is so much authentic Northern Indian, and even Udupi food and Indian street food happening in the Bay Area, it's too bad that Viva Goa is the standard for Goan food here.

Viva Goa
2420 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

Bay Area Chowhounds looking for good gruc near PDX

My partner and I are going to be in Portland for the better part of this week, overseeing some manufacturing. For a variety of reasons, we ended up at a hotel near the airport, rather than downtown, which was our choice.

We would still like to dine and drink well to offset our rather intense days! Do Portland Chowhounds have some good recommendations of restaurants/bars/cafes near the airport (we're staying at the Radisson Airport Hotel), or between the airport and SE Foster Road (which is where our manufacturing facility is)?

Many thanks in advance for recommendations. We love all food and many types of ambience - ethnic holes in the wall and divey bars included.

Jul 26, 2010
mielemaiale in Metro Portland

Good bloody mary?

The BMs at Zeitgeist are good, solid, vegetal and old-skool. Better on a hot day when the burlesque ladies and the FTMs who love them are out promenading. Elixir's is good for the novelty of choice, but the bartender always rescues mine and makes them best. Zuni has good ones, except for the mignonette-like shallot pieces.

Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Ippuku - Izakaya in Berkeley

Well they had gone up to $12. Which I think is OK. Can I say that I haven't been more excited about a place in Berkeley since the original Cesar opened? Can you sense a pattern here - superb sense of place, something only a dedicated and geeked out Gaijin could do well- plus a really great beverage list. Food ranged from middling to delicious, but looking forward to trying everything on the menu. YUM.

Harsch crocks and sauerkraut, other fermented veggies. Advice, please?

I have cucumber half-sours fermenting on my kitchen counter right now. I put in some grape leaves because I heard they keep the cucumbers crunchy. We'll see.

Also, I always add the contents of a Jarrow probiotic capsule to my ferments. I find it helpful to add in some extra probiotic goodness to help the veggies along.

Lastly, don't oversalt. I am a devotee of Sandor Katz's ratios. I would buy his book, Wild Fermentation, if you don't have it already.

May 07, 2010
mielemaiale in Home Cooking

Lamb sausage -- All sorts -- East Bay

Ver Brugge is selling their homemade rosemary lamb sausages for $3.99/lb today. Sale.

Dopo 2010

Don't know, Robert. But I sure hope you find some and stock it in your bar. it is around the corner from my house, after all, and I plan to while away many a weeknight sipping some good after dinner digestivos!

Dopo 2010

Convinced my companions to pick Dopo over Zachary's for pizza last night - WIN! Started with the unctuous Montalbano, a salumi that is apparently fresh cured, under two weeks. Deep, gamy flavour and good porky, fatty texture.

We ordered the calzone with chard/garlic, and the asparagus pizza. The calzone was astounding, perfect crust perfumed with garlic, and a deliciously simple chard filling. The asparagus pizza was a bit bland and "green" tasting for me.

We capped the night with Del Capo, a gorgeous amaro that was a perfect balance of herbacious and caramel brandy.

4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

April 2010 Cookbook of the Month Voting (Through Saturday)


Mar 15, 2010
mielemaiale in Home Cooking