markseiden's Profile

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Daruma-Ya Izakaya : fantastic

the only two things you did not mention was the address
(428 Greenwich St, 3 blocks south of Canal) and what your meal ended up costing. Perhaps if i have to ask i can't afford it?

Apr 20, 2014
markseiden in Manhattan

The Marrow: yet another winner for Dieterle

interesting that the cost of this swell-sounding meal cost goes unmentioned. give us a hint.

Feb 27, 2013
markseiden in Manhattan

Ayutla Mexican Restaurant in the Mission, SF - any reports?

yes, it still says casa sanchez in the signage, but on the window, "ayutla (since 1989)." we were there tonight and were the only customers besides some take out. two friendly women were in the kitchen. we had unimpressive albondigas soup and acceptable enchiladas (chicken) with mole. chips (larded) with decent salsa.
good refried beans. distracted service. ran out of dos equis after one. didn't bring us an extra bowl for the soup, or the chips or water we asked for. credit card machine inoperable.
price seemed slightly high for the neighborhood.
ergo, i think the kqed caller was a shill.

Jan 16, 2013
markseiden in San Francisco Bay Area

Paris: Best Foodie Neighborhood?

i agree with you completely. after all of the endorsements for rue cler i velib-ed over there and
walked the entire street. meh. it seemed more like the museum of food than a real market
street. very pretty, expensive, and sanitary, and not very real. compare rue cler with lower rue des martyrs, as an example.

(it also make me question whether the people who like rue cler are actually chowhounds... or possibly foodies in disguise who have infiltrated the community and are DILUTING OUR PURITY OF ESSENCE. so, be aware the Prefect of Food will be doing intensive background investigations of your tastes in couscouz, merguez, pig parts, boudin noir and andouillette as a prerequisite for your further participation). thank you for your comprehension.

Dec 06, 2012
markseiden in France

Best Couscous in Paris?

royal maroc appears to be closed. there's now another (non-couscous) restaurant at its
former location on port royal.

Nov 27, 2012
markseiden in France

Best Couscous in Paris?

i had turnips at hamadi about 3 days ago.

Nov 27, 2012
markseiden in France

Paris: Best Foodie Neighborhood?

at the metro stop "belleville". generally when someone tells you a place in paris, it's the
eponymous metro. but the distances are not so great that a few blocks in any direction
would make much difference. it may be more important to get a good apartment than the
"perfect location". another approach you might take is to do a succession of craigslist sublets
and check out the neighborhoods. other neighborhoods i've liked: the 15th (which reminds
me of the upper west side in the 90s, in some peculiar way), rue mouffetard, rue des ecoles.
if you don't like the upper east side, avoid the 16th. if you like ave b and 2nd st, you might like place de clichy. if you like harlem, you might enjoy barbes-rochechouart. if you like 6th st or jackson hts, you might enjoy being near gard du nord- chapelle. there's no place like flushing, though.

Nov 22, 2012
markseiden in France

Paris: Best Foodie Neighborhood?

i like belleville. one side of the street has arabic food, the other side has jewish, or if you
head north there are the asians and the dive bars.

Nov 21, 2012
markseiden in France

Best Couscous in Paris?

oh, do the Poles have a soft spot in their hearts for couscous?

Nov 21, 2012
markseiden in France

New Sichuan Restaurant in San Mateo: Spicy Empire

two of us ate here for lunch today. (25th ave is turning into quite a foodie street, from edison to the
fairgrounds.) the szechuan cold noodle was excellent - dark sesame sauce and numbing pepper.
the other dishes were a crispy scallop dish (with lots of onion and hot green pepper, and, strangely,
little crackers as a bed that were a lot like pita chips. also dry sauteed string beans that could not
be faulted.

Mar 22, 2012
markseiden in San Francisco Bay Area

"Restaurants" Database To Be Eliminated

i thought it was the equivalent of "let them eat lasagna".

Feb 11, 2012
markseiden in Site Talk

"Restaurants" Database To Be Eliminated

right. this sort of confusion may be a consequence of unclear messaging in the
email to the members from CH management.

(few occasional users seem aware of the difference between a CH posting in a forum
and a CH posting in the restaurants section. for me, the latter often followed an actual visit
to that restaurant.)

Feb 08, 2012
markseiden in Site Talk

"Restaurants" Database To Be Eliminated

as it turns out, some number of my postings appear within the restaurant subtree of the site. a small number. i am slightly surprised that you could not come up with a mechanism to relink these to a sensible place within the site rather than losing the content, but i consider my passing comments on restaurants to be hardly the
equivalent of Proust.

however, having worked a lifetime in the internet, i am completely nonplused that you could not come up with a way to justify essential, useful database features, which make it so much easier for people to find the damn place, figure out if it's open on tuesday or right now as well as link to other essential factoids. either you need to link
to an address book, allow people to link to such info, or provide a place
for one (a database).

the user experience and site stickiness value of the last option should not be underestimated. i second rworange and melanie's expert opinions on this.

you may recall that roger shank, the AI pioneer, described computers as having common sense when they could understand the "restaurant script". you risk
collectively faiing the human intelligence test by throwing out much of
the ontological data for restaurants that has been painfully developed
by the community here.

Feb 08, 2012
markseiden in Site Talk

visiting hound looking for food of unusual ethnicities (staying in north london)


i'm a chowhound visiting london for a few days who normally lives in san francisco
or new york, and works in silicon valley. i'm looking for unique places/unusual
options, and family restaurant holes in the wall, staying with friends in nw3, but can
take the underground anywhere.

we have good chinese and thai food in san francisco, but i'd particularly
like to find some authentic south indian, malaysian or singaporese food.
or african? i've seen lots of greek (highly represented in new york) and
turkish (underrepresented in the us)...

is there carrot cake in london? (the singaporese specialty, not the hippy dessert...)
is there feijoada here? (tomorrow is saturday, after all).

(these are just two ideas).

on sunday afternoon i'm going to a place unlike those above, namely, st john (i hear
it's an offal place to eat) -- i've been triping it up in france for a week already.

if any hounds are interested in a chowdown this weekend (sat lunch or sunday evening)
i could be there...

Sep 23, 2011
markseiden in U.K./Ireland

Authentic and good Malaysian at Langkawi in San Mateo

we had a very nice lunch here today, with okra belanchan (not at all oozy), red curry shrimp,
and a very health portion of green papaya salad, and the earthy flavored ice tea.
got to return soon. the flash on the web site did not adversely affect the quality of the food.

Jul 05, 2010
markseiden in San Francisco Bay Area

Haltun - traditional Mayan cuisine [SF]

contrary to popular opinion, this place just didn't float my boat. Most of the dishes did not
particularly impress me in any strongly positive way. For me the higher points of the meal were the interesting brazo de reina, the perfectly fine chicken soup,
the mole negro and the Neapolitan-or-is-it-Yucatecan cheesecake, which was more
like a panna cotta.

The turkey in mole blanco reminded me of turkey a la king, with a slightly
gloppy cornstarch-thickened sauce -- perhaps Yucatecan comfort food.

The cochinita pibil, which I had high hopes for, tasted a bit overcooked and dried out.
The point of the banana leaf is to prevent that, but I think it was just decoration. I had this
same dish last week at Reposada, the upscale Palo Alto Mexican on Hamilton Ave,
where it was roughly 2.5 times the cost and despite that, more satisfying. I've had it
some years ago in a very nice place in Merida, Los Almendros. That may be
the place to go for this food.

Haltun Mayan Cuisine
2948 21st Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

May 24, 2010
markseiden in San Francisco Bay Area

Chowdown at Sun's Chinese Cuisine in San Mateo

I agree that the XLB was disappointing. I liked the beef-filled pancake, kind of like a
keema paratha. I also found the fish dumplings (the shape of pot stickers) to be
very bland, and the beef noodle soup to be a bit underspiced. But nothing to
complain about among the cold dishes. One of the best things about this place is
its location: right on the block where the downtown movie mulitplex is, and down the
street from Taqueria Pancho Villa.

Mar 08, 2010
markseiden in San Francisco Bay Area

Sunday @ Trend Restaurant, Mountain View

the second table had
cold dishes:
a6 pig ear
a10 (as above)
a21 spicy beef combo (tendon and tripe)

b9 chinese leeks pancake
b10 pumpkin cake
b21 pork and napa cabbage dumplings

d13 chongqing style spicy beer sauce duck (in "warm pot") (with mushrooms)
e13 chongqing chili chicken (deep fried on a bed of two kinds of peppers)
f16 dry cooked pork intestine
f23 szechwan home made smoke pork
i34 shrimp handmade noodles (or "h&made" as it says on the menu)
L9 "A vegetable" in garlic sauce
L22 Pea greens in garlic sauce
n17 hot and spicy pork shoulder (with baby bok choy)
n19 spicy cat fish

my opinions:
the leek pancake was not a typical scallion pancake -- it had a leek filling, a bit like
a stuffed paratha.
the smoked pork and pork shoulder were delicious and the greens were perfect.

i would not reorder the handmade noodles and the duck in beer broth (which several
said was oversalty). the cat fish, which we ordered because we heard the other table
ordering it, i found to be quite ordinary. several of us expected crispy deep fried
intestines, but it was a saute, and too hot (to my taste) -- the taste of the
intestine was almost invisible (and that takes a lot of hot oil...) (i think i'll take my tripe
caen or italian or in andouiellette...)

as we only had 10 people at the table and we overordered, it ended up $24 per person and
we had some leftovers...

Nov 09, 2008
markseiden in San Francisco Bay Area

Sichuan Chowdown Report: Chili Garden in Milpitas

the restaurant is in an amazing mall where 237 meets 880 in milpitas. it's an all-asian
festival (with a 99 ranch, and at least a dozen restaurants, including a branch of penang,
a seafood specialist, a dimsum place, and generally mobbed at lunchtime.

a few comments on the dishes:

- cucumber in "vinegar sauce" was pickled cuke. duh. the traditional szechuan pickle.
- i was surprised at "twice cooked fish", as i think of fish as a fragile dish and unforgiving of being even slightly overcooked. it was deep fried and then sauted with spices (and not overcooked!)
- singua is the edible loofah. i find it tastes muddy and uninteresting. it's the catfish of vegetables.
- intestine is always an interesting benchmark. we were hoping for something crispy, but it didn't make it that far. i thought it had a slightly offputting pissy taste (typical of
andouillette). somehow the italians manage to avoid this problem with tripe.
- the roast lamb leg was two big lamb shanks, which could have been at home in some
sort of fusion moroccan restaurant. perfectly cooked, crunchy on the outside but not dried out.
- the insipid soup was just a typical egg drop. (hot and sour would have been more interesting).

Jul 16, 2008
markseiden in San Francisco Bay Area

Lunch at Nha Hang Saigon Seafood Restaurant aka Saigon Vien Dong - San Jose

everything was delicious, very fresh, lots of herbs and dipping sauces (including some raw galangal
cut into matchsticks for that indispensable hint of menthol).

the goat was taken off the bone in both goat dishes.

the mild goat curry (served with a baguette for dipping) was worth ignoring, but that's my
conclusion for non-indus curries, so far.

the only small flaw was the sizzling fish (which was delicious and perfectly cooked but, as alice pointed out,
should have been put on a superheated platter so the onion chards would cook) but the
platter was cold.

in the "heaven and hell" department, they have both avocado and durian shakes.

this place has very good price performance, i'd say. CASH ONLY, by the way...

Jun 20, 2008
markseiden in San Francisco Bay Area

where to have a group (12?) dinner near uc berkeley campus?

there's a festschrift for jim gray, the computer scientist who disappeared at sea around
a year ago, this saturday on campus. lots of outta towners visiting for that, and i want to arrange
a group meal. (if any of you are coincidentally participating, you're welcome to join up...
but if you aren't, you probably won't find the conversation that interesting...)

can you help suggest what's the best place to have such an event in berkeley,
preferably walking distance from campus?

it should be quiet enough that a group can converse (although this is always difficult
at a table bigger than 6)...

i am particularly unfamiliar with good chinese places (e.g.) closer than pacific far east mall or
solano, which don't exactly qualify...

i have had indian food at an unremarkable place on university (even closer than shattuck),
which has an upstairs group area.

thanks for any suggestions...

May 28, 2008
markseiden in San Francisco Bay Area

Best restaurant in Montmartre?

i like "la mascotte" just down the street from pomponnette toward metro abbesses.
great coquillage, very homey, full of neighborhood color.

Apr 19, 2008
markseiden in France

sf hound in barca for april, looking for eating partners

hi there. while normally in san francisco or new york,
i'm lucky enough to be in barcelona for most of april
and looking for people who like experimental eating to share meals.

i don't know barcelona well, though i've been doing my research recently.
i prefer dives to upscale places, but if you have an extra seat at the table and like
sharing food, or would like another competent cook for collaborative cooking
and drinking, please count me in...) (best way to reach me is directly by email:
mis at seiden.com -- i read it all the time).

Apr 01, 2008
markseiden in Spain/Portugal

Lunch at Nami nami Mountain View

i had dinner here, tonight and was completely underwhelmed. it took half an hour to
get our first food (and we were sitting at the sushi bar!). we could not get the sushi chef
to give us 6 pieces of nigiri sushi. and then all the food came at once. just a stupid
way to pace a meal. the price performance was not good, either. nice lighting, though.
if that's why you go to a restaurant...

Nov 08, 2007
markseiden in San Francisco Bay Area

Annapurna in Sunnyvale: Sometimes There Are Reasons to Avoid Secret Restaurants in Office Parks

the salty yogurty drink you avoided was a fairly standard salty lassi the one time i was there.

Oct 04, 2006
markseiden in San Francisco Bay Area

Outdoor seating for lunch in Mid-Peninsula

in palo alto, a chinese place with a nice flowery
terrace (and excellent food) is hunan garden on el camino
3 blocks south of oregon expy/page mill. it also has those
infrared heaters if you want.

another option for eating outside is, of course,
cafe borrone (sidewalk seating), and it's next to kepler's

Oct 04, 2006
markseiden in San Francisco Bay Area