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Next Week in the <I>Times</I>: What's the Deal with Naan?

What's with the uproar over this article? It was in the Sunday travel section, not the Wednesday food section, and so it's not intended just for those who are knowledgable or adventurous about food. Some of the comments in the related Media thread smack of elitism.

Mar 20, 2007 in Features

Oakland birria crawl, tejuino & question about ice cream at Cinco de Mayo

I had high hopes for Chava's, but again the meat was too beef-like and more of a bowl of soup with big chunks of meat. It might be that the places around here are serving mostly trimmed primal cuts and what I like are the shanks and joints and other cuts with lots of connective tissue.

Oakland birria crawl, tejuino & question about ice cream at Cinco de Mayo

No, the pequin chile salsa looks like ground up onions and garlic with flecks of dark brown chile bits. It's deceptive because the initial taste is onion and vinegar and then the chiles come on hard and the burn lasts. Great stuff.

Oakland birria crawl, tejuino & question about ice cream at Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo has a typical taqueria menu and I think that most of the other patrons were not eating birria.

Birrierias typically have standard Cal-Mex menus but everyone is there for the chivo. I don't remember ever seeing any other non-Hispanics at these places except for my group. But I guess it's like how a Chinese restaurant that caters to a Chinese clientele still has Chinese-American dishes just in case. I'd love to try goat tongue but since there's only one tiny one per goat, it's got to sell out quickly.

Oakland birria crawl, tejuino & question about ice cream at Cinco de Mayo

All of the birria de chivo that I've tried around here seems dull and lacks the gamey goat taste that I like. In Fruitvale I've been to Cinco de Mayo and (I think) Otaez. Could have been beef if I didn't know better.

I started eating birria in LA where there are restaurants that specialize in goat. You can choose the cut of meat and there's this excellent salsa made with just onions, vinegar, and dried pequin chiles that I've never seen in the bay area. This Jonathan Gold column is a good starting point:

What is a sea cucumber [Split from L.A. board]

People are writing it has little taste and now you write that it has no taste. Not helpful for someone who has never tried sea cucumber.

By itself, it has a faint taste of the ocean and is somewhat similar to some seaweeds but not vegetal. The texture can vary from a slight rubbery crunchiness to soft and very slippery and even sticky depending on how it's prepared and the type (breed?) of sea cucumber.

Mar 07, 2007 in General Topics

ACME baguette near UC Berkeley?

Andronico's on Telegraph a couple blocks south of Dwight.

Kingpin Donuts now trans fat free

I'm not the best judge because these days the only time I stop by Kingpin is to soak up the booze after Cal football. The fritter was decently crunchy around the edges as before. Mouthfeel was okay. Don't know how well it will keep.

Kingpin Donuts now trans fat free

The venerable Kingpin in Berkeley has a banner proclaiming that the fry oil is now trans fat free. I looked inside and saw containers of... palm oil. So now there's no trans fat phobia excuse for indulging in their apple fritters and you can be sure that there's lots more good saturated fat!

Mongolian Hot Pot - Milpitas Ranch 99?

Coriya Hot Pot is definitely mediocre, but if you want to gorge on the cheap, it might work out. The spicy broth is made from a jarred Sichuan style paste and adds on a surcharge of a few bucks. While it's somewhat ma-la, it definitely lacks complexity.

I find that grilling on the aluminum foil lined tray around the hot pot to be dirty business. Lots of smoke and splatter.

If it's Saturday, it must be Cauliflower

I've lived around the corner from the Cheeseboard for many years and on most weekdays I'll take a peek at the offering. Strangely enough, I've never had or seen a pie with cilantro. But I typically avoid that stretch on Saturdays around pizza time so I can't say if it's more common then.

I usually ask for extra parsley so I'll have to keep an eye out for a cilantro pie.

If it's Saturday, it must be Cauliflower

I think you've confused cilantro for the flat leaf parsley that's sprinkled over the pie. Not the same taste at all.

Looking for 4 dozen oysters tomorrow--Berkeley Farmers Market perhaps?

Berkeley Bowl normally carries three or more varieties of oysters.

How do east- and west-coast Chinese-American food differ?

Chow mein in the west isn't usually crispy except for the Hong Kong style which is now sometimes called pan fried. Having only experienced Chinese food in the east in Manhattan when I lived there, a big difference is in the type of noodle.

At most Cantonese restaurants in the west, the mein is a fresh egg noodle that's thin and chewy. What I immediately noticed in the east was the thicker, perhaps all wheat noodles that were used in lo mein and the ubiquitous sesame noodle, which tasted more like peanut butter than anything else.

Jan 03, 2007 in General Topics

Best Dessert Dishes in China

"Ginger runs into milk" is a warm buffalo milk pudding that has a consistency softer than flower tofu. Sugar and ginger juice is put into a single serving bowl and then hot unpasteurized (raw) buffalo milk is poured in. I don't know if it's because of the ginger or something else that's put in, but the mixture sets up into a curd. Quite good.

Saigon still Gone?

Saigon (now HCM City) and Sai Kung are the same characters in Chinese (Xi Gong 西贡)

No signs of construction. The parking lot is taped off and it's still mostly boarded up.

Prawns with Walnuts that are pecans

I've been going to Cantonese restaurants for over 30 years now and am sure that this mayo dish appeared suddenly in SF maybe 20 years ago, not the 10 previously stated. Old native Cantonese speakers (whom I can somewhat understand) at the time were talking about how this wasn't a traditional dish but was brought over from HK.

Point is that I doubt that this dish started out as a Chinese American dish like sweet and sour pork as chica claimed.

Dec 27, 2006 in General Topics

Yangzhou Fried Rice

Absolute nonsense when it comes to Yangzhou fried rice. I picked up printed treatises on the glories of the Yangzhou style when I was there. While I haven't translated every character, wiki's claim that "A fried rice dish with no relationship with Yangzhou" is bollocks.

Prawns with Walnuts that are pecans

That shrimp with candied walnuts and mayonnaise dish was a Hong Kong invention from about 10+ years ago or so. Not so much in fashion these days on the banquet menus. I've never seen pecans used in the SFBA but with the bitter skin of walnuts, pecans might be the better choice. (Of course pecans go rancid more quickly than walnuts)

Dec 27, 2006 in General Topics

Yangzhou Fried Rice

The local fried rice dishes that I've tried in Yangzhou were uniformly light in both color and oil. Now depending on price the ingredients will vary from fine ham to something like spam! The other standard ingredients are just a bit of egg, shrimp, and scallion.

Fukien (Fujian, Hokkien) fried rice is very different. I think that both the rice and seafood laden sauce on top should both be pale. But recently I had a disappointing version at a Cantonese restaurant that had a dark chicken gravy on top.

which dumpling did i eat? [Moved from S.F. board]

It's a "fun gor"

There are many versions of this, some flat (homestyle)...

some not (Chiu Chow)...

and fried, not steamed...

Dec 24, 2006 in General Topics

How to eat Korean BBQ? [Moved from the LA Board]

The name in Mandarin is actually Zha2 Jiang4 Mian4 (zhajiang = fried bean sauce, mian = noodle). Typically in China it's made with a brown bean sauce rather than the black bean sauce in the Korean version.

Dec 24, 2006 in General Topics

Dim Sum Thoughts

Isn't the chrysanthemum / pu-erh combo called guk-bo?

Dec 20, 2006 in General Topics

Name this Cantonese rice dish, please

hopefully this link will work...

Dec 20, 2006 in General Topics

Best Hawaiian plate lunch in Bay Area

It was a year ago so they're still open. I don't work in that area anymore so I haven't been back since.

It's good to support a little mom n pop operation with all the chains that have moved in.

Tortillas in Berkeley.

La Finca tortillas delivered fresh every day to Mi Tierra one block south of University on San Pablo.

Rockridge/College Ave spoiled us. HELP us in San Leandro

Don't expect anything decent to eat at the Englander. Wide beer selection and very popular for sports, but the food is truly awful.

But do go to Ricky's for football. You'll have a cultural experience that you can't experience in Rockridge.

Best Hawaiian plate lunch in Bay Area

Is it still open? I remember seeing it shuttered.

But they're definitely on island time there so bring lots of change to feed the meter, or better yet call ahead.

New! Platano Salvadorean in Berkeley

"Can someone explain what's with the creepy funeral-parlor atmosphere at all those restaurants on that block? Walk past a strip of restaurants in downtown SF around the same time..."

No tourists, students have gone home, cold weather keeps people away from the distant movie theaters and bars. Most places in downtown are busier at lunchtime.

But Ryowa always seems to have a decent amount of business and Taiwan keeps at it even though it's getting more and more threadbare. The pizza place a couple doors up has changed hands several times in the past couple years, as has the sushi place across the street. How the Ghanaian place and the Tibet Cafe have survived the lean times amazes me.

I've been to Kaliente; didn't know the two spots were related.

Cafferey's Irish Ale

I've had Caffrey's on tap at Edinburgh Castle, but I'm not sure if it's always available.