lilitake's Profile

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Cupcake Wars - Who has the best in SF?

i've tried noe, delessio, miette, and sibby's, and sibby's is by FAR the best, taste and texture-wise. sibby's are more homemade than the gourmet-ish delessio and miette, and moist. but not so homemade that you'd be able to duplicate them yourself. they are really quite special.

i had sibby's at a baby shower and we had a wide and interesting selection of both mini (but not as small as delessio's) and normal-sized cupcakes. i'd go with sibby's.

Nov 08, 2007
lilitake in San Francisco Bay Area

east bay: union city up to emeryville?

wow, more interesting stuff than i expected. thanks for everyone's help!

Sep 15, 2007
lilitake in San Francisco Bay Area

east bay: union city up to emeryville?

friends from south bay are looking to meet up with friends in oakland somewhere in-between. any suggestions for a sunday dinner spot anywhere from union city up to emeryville? entrees should be no more than $15 and we're particularly interested in ethnic or trying interesting/adventuresome restaurants in the area.

Sep 15, 2007
lilitake in San Francisco Bay Area

looking for mail-order Japanese sour ume candy

i've had great experiences with wholesale unlimited (aka cybersnacks.com) to buy crackseed (chinese dried plums, etc.) and other hawaiian snacks, though that was a couple of years ago and it looks like they've grown since. in any case, their prices are very reasonable, same as how much you'd pay for the same items in hawaii.

those ume candies sound yum. think i'll order me some of those too.

Jun 03, 2007
lilitake in General Topics

Better ____ in Pasadena/SGV region?

I spent the first 18 years of my life in Pasadena, but have spent the last 18 living elsewhere in the country (currently Bay Area). Whenever I visit my parents back at home in Altadena, which I am doing this weekend, we go to the same ol' restaurants, time after time. Can you please help me expand their repertoire? They don't like to spend a lot of money on dinners out and don't want to have to drive more than 20 minutes from their house in Altadena.

Here is where we USUALLY go when I'm in town. Any suggestions for DIFFERENT, possibly BETTER places try in these same categories, to get them out of their rut?

* Thai: PresidentTwo in on Colorado Pasadena

* Homestyle Japanese: Masa on Colorado in Pasadena (my parents tried the trendy, made-over Masa, and didn't like it; they're Japanese American and want something more old school)

* Sushi Japanese: Ai on Fair Oaks in South Pas (again, they're old school and don't want to go somewhere loud with too-crazy sushi)

* Vietnamese: Golden Deli

* Chinese: Fu Shing on Colorado in Pasadena

* Mexican: Acapulco, the original in Pasadena (ugh)

* Middle Eastern: Lebanese Kitchen on Washington in Pasadena

* Pizza: Domenicos on Washington in Pasadena (would want a good takeout place nearby)

May 11, 2007
lilitake in Los Angeles Area

so sick of Boston bashing...

ouch... i was actually not referring to gelato places in the north end (haven't been to any) but rather the small scale ice cream makers around town that each produce a unique product, and serve them in parlors with lots of local character.

Feb 11, 2007
lilitake in Greater Boston Area

Whats the best kind of mustard you've ever tried?

you're right! i've noticed that too.

Feb 10, 2007
lilitake in General Topics

Whats the best kind of mustard you've ever tried?

Philippe's mustard from Philippe's, Home of the French Dipped Sandwich in LA. The horseradish strikes at the back of the nose with every bite, a lot like wasabi. Makes my eyes water.

If you can't make to to Phillipe's they sell it online for only $4.00! http://www.philippes.com/

Feb 09, 2007
lilitake in General Topics

so sick of Boston bashing...

i agree about the boston ice cream scene. i left boston to move to the SF bay area 5 years ago and while SF does have its mitchell's, boston, cambridge, and environs have a number of small-shop ice-cream places to brag about, each with their own style. don't know if they're all still there, but i loved toscanini's, christina's, rancatore's, jp licks, plus all those dairy farms places on country roads just outside the city. the rest of the country has haagen daaz, baskin-robbins, and now cold-stone creamery, all of which charge a lot more than the boston icecream shops do (in my memory).

and boston is the one city i know where the ice cream is good enough that people are willing to line up year round for it, even when it's 20 degrees out.

Feb 05, 2007
lilitake in Greater Boston Area

Mandaloun in Redwood City

to answer my own question, the chronicle just published a favorable review of mandaloun today: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

that evening we instead ended up going to tarboosh (located right around the corner from mandaloun), and were disappointed by the flaky service and mediocre food, which came across as more generically middle-eastern than lebanese.

looking forward to giving mandaloun a shot.

Jan 31, 2007
lilitake in San Francisco Bay Area

Mandaloun in Redwood City

Has anyone been to Mandaloun in Redwood City lately? Reports back in November (2006) for the brand new restaurant were generally favorable so I'm willing to try it out. But do people have specific recommendations given their various plates (small, medium, hearth, pasta, main) and regions (Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, Spain, N. Africa) represented on the menu?

http://www.mandaloun.biz/

Jan 26, 2007
lilitake in San Francisco Bay Area

Got a gift certificate to Roy's: help!

I agree. Save the gift certificate for dining at a Roy's in Hawaii. I've been to the Big Island, Kauai, and Ko'olina, Oahu restaurants, and have had very fresh fish and good experiences at all of these locations. In these resort areas where there is a serious lack of good local grub, Roy's is often your best bet.

Plus I LOVE the pineapple upside-down cake. One of my favorite desserts of all time.

Jan 09, 2007
lilitake in San Francisco Bay Area

Got a gift certificate to Roy's: help!

I agree. Save the gift certificate for dining at a Roy's in Hawaii. I've been to the Big Island, Kauai, and Ko'olina, Oahu restaurants, and have had very fresh fish and good experiences at all of these locations. In these resort areas where there is a serious lack of good local grub, Roy's is often your best bet.

Plus I LOVE the pineapple upside-down cake. One of my favorite desserts of all time.

Jan 09, 2007
lilitake in San Francisco Bay Area

Sushi in Scottsdale ?

toyama is cheaper than sushi on shea, in my experience. and it doesn't at all feel like a north scottsdale establishment -- it's in a strip mall with a safeway.

Jan 01, 2007
lilitake in Southwest

Sushi in Scottsdale ?

i too was encouraged that most of the people at hiro were japanese nationals, but i found the sashimi to be sub-par, less fresh than toyama so consistently is. the atmosphere at hiro, though, is fun. the bar is lively and people are definitely enjoying themselves, drinking lots.

Jan 01, 2007
lilitake in Southwest

Sushi in Scottsdale ?

Toyama at Pinnacle Peak and Scottsdale Road: http://www.toyamarestaurant.com/

Freshest sushi I've ever had in the Valley, plus none of that pretention you can get at trendy Scottsdale sushi places like Blue Wasabi. Not as expensive as Sushi on Shea. This restaurant is small, with a nice neighborhood feel. Seems like mostly locals there. I also love the ginger salad dressing on their house salads.

Only thing I haven't loved are the scallop roll (? think that's what it was called) --- no rice on the outside but tempura battered and some sort of miso sauce and hot sauce squirted on the plate. It was not really sushi, which is what I was expecting. This was on their special menu, not the sushi menu.

Jan 01, 2007
lilitake in Southwest

Sweetbreads in Phoenix or Scottsdale?

i've never heard of voltaire -- thanks for the tip. and great idea to look at other french restaurants' menus. will let you know where i eat them. maybe once i know what they're *supposed* to taste like (and like them), i'll try making them myself.

Dec 31, 2006
lilitake in Phoenix

Sweetbreads in Phoenix or Scottsdale?

One of my new year's resolutions for 2006 was to try sweetbreads and tripe. I got around to the tripe (in pho), but not the sweetbreads. Any suggestions for restaurants in Scottsdale or Phoenix I can hit before 1/1/07 to check that resolution off my list? Where in town are sweetbreads done particularly well?

Dec 30, 2006
lilitake in Phoenix

Does local tap water matter for cooking?

according to the new york times (article by ed levine) and oprah, the best pizza in the country is made by chris bianco of pizzeria bianco in phoenix, arizona. and phoenix has the nastiest-tasting, hardest, residue-leaving tap water i've ever had. but maybe it's all the extra calcium and magnesium in the water that makes his naples-style dough so (supposedly) good.

Nov 17, 2006
lilitake in General Topics

Rancho Pinot Grill or Atlas Bistro? (PHX)

We ended up going to Rancho Pinot Grill, and really enjoyed it -- thanks for the review, geg5150! It did feel like most diners in the room were locals, even regulars, and the room was warmly lit and tastefully (!) adorned with wacky western memoribilia such as those stuffed rabbits with antlers.

Several items on the menu were seasonal. For example, I had a persimmon, asian pear, and pomegranate salad to start (~$9). Others were Rancho Pinot classics that have supposedly been on the menu for years, such as the skirt steak with chimichurri sauce (+fingerling potatoes, spinach, and bacon, ~$29) that geg5150 mentioned, and the grilled squid salad (with frisee and preserved lemon, ~$10). This was what my boyfriend had, and both were fabulous. I got the roast halibut with baby artichokes and cipollini onions in addition to my salad (~$29), delicious but not as good as his steak. Despite the western decor and feel, I would say that the primary influence here is Italian, though they probably wouldn't call themselves an Italian restaurant. (sorry, don't recall actual prices of dishes)

Service was *very* good -- professional yet comfortable. No pretention here. We ended on a high note with two great desserts -- pineapple upside-down cake with a in-house made, not-too-sweet coconut icecream, and an olive oil cake with braised (?) apples and caramel ice cream, both $7. My boyfriend "dislikes" dessert but he ate exactly half of each, which means they were exceptionally good. I, on the other hand, would have picked up both plates and licked them clean if I could. They should make spoons out of spatula material...

We are are not big drinkers and so I just had a glass of wine, and he had a beer. Note that this place is known for its great selection (hence the "Pinot" in the name); sorry I can't be more informative on this front. The total bill before tax/tip came out to $119.

I highly recommend the place.

Next stop, Atlas Bistro.

Nov 12, 2006
lilitake in Southwest

Rancho Pinot Grill or Atlas Bistro? (PHX)

Thanks for the review, geg5150. But wow, $190 is expensive! Rancho Pinot Grill and Atlas Bistro are the only two places we haven't been to on Howard Seftel's 5-star restaurants in Scottsdale, and we're just trying to figure out which one to cross off the list next.

Nov 08, 2006
lilitake in Southwest

Rancho Pinot Grill or Atlas Bistro? (PHX)

Which one is better? My s.o. and I want to dine at the one with more of a *local* feel (and great food, of course!), rather than a restaurant you might find in any large city. Anyone been to both? How do they compare?

Nov 07, 2006
lilitake in Southwest

What to eat with cottage cheese?

hey me too. half cottage cheese, half vanilla yogurt mixed up. makes the yogurt not so sweet and the cottage cheese not so salty.

Oct 25, 2006
lilitake in General Topics

"Secret single foods"

micro-bake a russet potato, split in half lenth-wise, spray cut side with olive oil, fresh ground pepper and LOTS of lawry's seasoning salt. broil 'til charred and blistery. eat open-faced with fork and knife and squirts of ketchup (heinz of course).

Oct 19, 2006
lilitake in General Topics