IanW's Profile

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Big Island Update?

I am also staying at the Hapuna Prince in April! It doesn't look like there are a lot of new options. Do you have any recommendations for a romantic dinner with the wife? Should I stick with the Mauna Kea (Manta?) or go to Merrimans? Last time I went(with the kids and grandma in tow) I didn't get a chance to try any really nice restaurants.

Mar 03, 2015
IanW in Hawaii

Uno Dos Tacos (SoMa) [San Francisco]

I went for lunch a couple of days ago and got a carne asada salad bowl. The steak had a good flavor to it but the salad component was nothing to write home about. Overall it was alright but really this place is just a slightly upgraded Chipolte at least for lunch.

Jun 17, 2014
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Good, cheap places in Oakland (within 5-10 min walk of BART stations)

I saw that they just reopened with an all you can eat special. Has anyone been to Koryo since the re-opening?

Nov 12, 2013
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Is there anything good and inexpensive in Japantown these days? [San Francisco]

Suzu's Udon used to be my go to in J-Town when I lived in the city many moons ago. At one point they made their own noodles I believe. Still looking for a great Udon place in the Bay Area...I miss U:don in Seattle and the great Sanuki in Gardena.

Sad to hear about Maki as that used to be the best restaurant in the mall. It was one of my splurge restaurants in the early 2000's.

Jul 29, 2013
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Commonwealth or Commis?

Having gone to both, I believe Commis offers a far more consistent experience. Commonwealth was more experimental but a lot of the dishes(with the exception of the "pumpkin" dish-which was incredible) just didn't appeal to me. I thought that the flavor combinations at Commis were exceptional.

May 20, 2013
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for local gems along 880

Tacos el Gordo across from the Burger King on International near High Street. The Al Pastor tacos in my opinion are the best in the Bay Area. They are open late(my favorite stop after Warriors games).

In Fremont there is a whole bunch of good afgani restaurants but none of them are open too late.

Mar 23, 2013
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

bye bye black cod?

There has been a huge price increase in Black Cod/Sablefish. In Seattle the price has been around $25.00 dollars a pound. When I was living in the Bay back in 2010, I could find Black Cod for around $10-12/lb.

Jul 24, 2012
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Fast food Greek

Mr Gyro's on Greenwood near 85th is a good bet. I just picked up a Gyro from there today and thought it was better than Georgia's and much cheaper at $4.95.

Mr Gyros
8411 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

Aug 13, 2011
IanW in Greater Seattle

Food Truck Names?

There is a El Camion across from Qwest Field if you are coming from downtown. Yeah the food truck situation is pretty sad here but it looks like more are popping up. Of course Portland has a far superior street food scene(with the pods scattered throughout the city) , but overall Seattle has lot more going on for it restaurant wise than Portland.

Jul 07, 2011
IanW in Greater Seattle

Din Tai Fung: Opening date?

I went to the Bellevue DTF last Friday with my wife and was less than impressed with the quality of the Pork and Crab XLB. I have had better at a standard Dim Sum places here in the Bay Area. I also had their standard Pork noodles which were pretty bland. It kind of reminds me of Yank Sing in San Francisco-expensive, nice decor, and mediocre. Based on my experience here and what I have heard on the board it sounds like I will need to make a weekend trip to Vancouver/Richmond if I want good Dim Sum/Dumplings when I make the move to Seattle next month.

Feb 08, 2011
IanW in Greater Seattle

El Molino Central, Boyes Hot Springs [Sonoma]

I agree. The freshness and richness of the Masa makes the Tamales and those Chalupas standout. That had to be the best tamale I've ever had. Looking forward to going back this weekend.

Aug 23, 2010
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

best authentic indian food in the bay area?

Who is the new chef at Sakoon? I went on Father's Day and the food was excellent but the old menu was still in effect.(Service however was another story...)

357 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

Aug 03, 2010
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

my first taste of Oakland's Flavor Brigade -- amazing ice cream

This place is great. I have been here a couple of times with my daughter and their ice cream compares with the other more popular high-end shops in the East Bay. I especially like their Italian Ices as I am lactose intolerant and have great memories of eating these as a child.

Aug 02, 2010
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Ippuku - Izakaya in Berkeley

I had only two or three dishes at Nombe so it is hard to judge but one of the dishes was a little fussy(I liked the beef hearts though). I will have to give this new place a shot if only to try their raw chicken dishes. It is nice to have a true Izakaya in the East Bay and relatively close to my house.

Jul 27, 2010
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Ippuku - Izakaya in Berkeley

How does the pricing and food compare to Nombe in SF? I liked Nombe but thought it was too pricey for a casual izakaya.

2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Jul 26, 2010
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Sakoon (Mountain View)

My wife and I dined at Sakoon on Sunday. The food was excellent. The Trio of Samosas seemed to be back on target as it was a true trio. I throughly enjoyed it along with the Seafood Briyani and the Paneer Kundan Kalia(which was my favorite). I was looking for an upscale experience on par with the high end London Indian restaurants and I felt the food delievered on that front. Also, all of the food was spicy so they didn't dumb it down like a lot of "high-end" Indian restaurants do.

The service however was a mess. The waitress forgot to bring my second drink though it still showed up on the bill(me and my wife made a bet on how long it would take her to realize it was sitting at the bar...she never did). She just didn't come across as very professional. Also, when we asked one of the staff if we could order a drink- he just said ask our server....the point is for you to ask our server for us otherwise we wouldn't be flagging you down!

It is too bad the service sucks as this fills a badly needed niche in the Bay Area. I feel that Amber India's menu is a little too on the generic side and Ajanta doesn't have the diverse menu that Sakoon has.

Amber India
Mission and Fourth, San Francisco, CA

Jun 21, 2010
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Manresa still has it

I had a spectacular meal there back in September off of the Regular Menu. Which still included a couple of amuse courses including a spectacular egg foie gras one. The Autumn Tidal Pool(with abalone and uni in a dashi broth) was my favorite course and really gave the feeling of eating a tidal pool(albeit a delicious one conveniently located in my bowl) . I would have been hard pressed to eat more than the four course(+some) that were presented. My meal still lasted 3+ hours but felt manageable and the service was phenomenal.

Jun 20, 2010
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Sebo Sushi in SF? Worth Going To?

Hopefully live spot prawns will make it on the menu, that was one of my favorites at Sushi Ota. Sebo has a far more diverse/quality fish list than Sushi Ota and was the site of the best nigiri based sushi meal that I have ever had. Ota is probably the best restaurant in San Diego and certainly the only Japanese restaurant worth visting in the area.

517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Jun 06, 2010
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Fresh rabbit- East Bay, South Bay or Central Valley

I saw it at the Berkley Bowl this weekend but I don't know if it was previously frozen. My local butcher shop on Fruitvale Ave in Oakland Weyland's sometimes has it fresh but I haven't seen the sign lately. Definitely call ahead

Nov 04, 2009
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Michael Mina's RN74 in San Francisco

Having been to RN74 on three separate occasions for work functions,I feel like I have got a sense of the place. As the poster notes above, the room is beautiful. The tables, lighting, everything, it just looks fantastic. You would never know that you were basically in the lobby of a residential tower. The food is good, but not all of that exciting. It basically serves as a foil for the wine which is the true star. I have had the cassoulet, grass fed veal, soft shell crab, tempura mushrooms, a bite of the pork belly, hamachi sashimi, and a few other appitizers or firsts that I do not remember. Since this wasn't on my dime, I have been able to work my way down the pinots by the glass. The wines by the glass selection is fantastic and the sophisticated wine do-hickey that they have at the bar ensures that you will get a fresh tasting glass. In fact, one of the wines that I had actually tasted better by the glass than by the bottle. Out of the entrees, I would recommend the cassoulet since it pairs extremely well with the Pinots which for the most part are fantastic (except that German one I tried but that is what I get for trying a German Pinot). In terms of other expense account restaurants in the area, I would place it above Boulevard (which I think is overrated and overpriced) and below Ame (whose cooking I found more sophisticated than RN74). Would not go if not on an expense account. There are too many better restaurants at that price range in the City and the East Bay. However, I might go back to the bar if in the mood for wine and in the neighborhood.

Jul 05, 2009
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Clam Chowder in SF

I always liked the Chowder at Swan's when I thought that it was fresh. I normally hate canned clam chowder but it must be ambiance at Swan's that makes it taste better.

Sep 09, 2008
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Tacos El Gordo, status of Al Pastor spit?

The spit was up in the truck as of last Wednesday. My tacos weren't great either as the pastor was dry and overcooked.

Apr 20, 2008
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Staying at Broadway and Kearny; affordable, unique places to eat?

The food at Yoshi's is good, but not for anyone on a budget. Also, the service is a complete mess. I would skip the restaurant and just eat in the club(which has a good lounge menu).

Apr 14, 2008
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Recs from recent Conde Nast Traveler

I was at Yoshi's in San Francisco last Friday and the food was very good. While the sushi was not out of this world, it was certainly fresh. The real winners were the cooked dishes which included an excellent organic vegetable tempura and a succulent kurobuta pork prime rib. It felt a lot like Ozumo's actually- good food, small portions, pricey and horrible service. Don't go before a show however because they will never get you out in time.

Apr 01, 2008
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Vegas rec's (on & off-strip) for 30th birthday celebration

How long would it take to drive from the strip to Rosemary's? That was actually one of the 1st options I thought of and we are renting a car while we're there so transportation won't be an issue. I just wasn't sure if it was worth the drive or not.

Mar 31, 2008
IanW in Southwest

Vegas rec's (on & off-strip) for 30th birthday celebration

Hi , yes we're actually planning on going dancing at Tao. I looked into eating there but was irritated by the fact that even though you eat at the restaurant you still have to go, stand in line and pay for cover to get into the club. I would think that after dropping a few hundred on dinner, they could at least give you free admission! So that's why we were looking for other food options. If the food is worth it though, then I can overlook the having to pay cover part. I've never been to the original in NY so at least this would be the first time I'm eating here.

In regards to the 1st night, I have been to the Pink Taco and found the food to just be ok and fairly over-priced. Any other options in or around Hard Rock that you would recommend? I would even take the sushi restaurant over Pink Taco I think. What is the name of it? Thanks for the tips!

Mar 31, 2008
IanW in Southwest

Viva Zapatas Fine Mexican - North Las Vegas, NV

How was their tequila menu?

Mar 26, 2008
IanW in Southwest

Vegas rec's (on & off-strip) for 30th birthday celebration

A group of girlfriends and I are heading to Vegas for my 30th birthday. We'll only be there for 2 nights, so we have a limited amount of time to fit good-eating in. Here is my beef with Vegas food (strip restaurants at least)- I feel like every restaurant is a transplant from somewhere else and not quite as good as the original, yet twice as expensive. I'm looking for that hidden gem that is going to make me change my mind. Been to N9NE, Bouchon, Delmonico's, Lotus of Siam, ENVY, Burger Bar and Diego (which I thought was terribly over-priced and mediocre in quality - at BEST). Of these I would visit again, N9NE, Bouchon and Burger Bar. Here is our itinerary for the two nights we're there:

1st - going to a show at the Joint that starts at 8pm, so need to grab something fairly quickly before hand. We're staying at the Monte Carlo so I was thinking either the brew pub or the Hofbrauhaus across the street. Any other suggestions?

2nd - this is our night to do it up. Fun dinner out with dancing afterwards. We're all coming from the bay area so we're looking for something we can't find here (i.e. no sushi). Also our budget is somewhat limited so we can't go crazy (Guy Savoy will have to be for another time). Not opposed to off the strip either, just not so far away that it takes forever to get back and forth. Some place where both food AND drinks are equally as excellent.

I know you chowhounders will help steer me in the right direction! Thanks!

Mar 26, 2008
IanW in Southwest

Sebo Sushi: opinions? [San Francisco]

I have to agree. I ate at the bar at Sebo with my brother in December and came away very happy. The chefs are extremely knowlegable/approachable and there is no language barrier which is nice. It certainly wasn' t cheap, but I can't remember the last time I tried over ten different kinds of nigiri and was completely satisfied with every one.

Unlike a couple of other posters, I am also a big fan of Zushi Puzzle which I used to frequent a couple of times a month when I lived a block away. While the fish level is not up to the Sebo standard it is still excellent for the most part, and having rolls and cooked food makes it easier to take friends who are not sushi purists. Having been recently, the selection of fish has been expanded and the quality is still there. Also, my wife can get one of their crazy rolls and be happy.

Mar 24, 2008
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area

Sea Salt

I had some service issues at Sea Salt when I went there a couple of months back. But most of that revolved around the timing of entrees and waits. However, we were comped both our oysters(which were the big problem-it shouldn't take an hour to get them) and our dessert. The waitstaff was friendly if a bit hurried given that the place wasn't half full.

Feb 19, 2008
IanW in San Francisco Bay Area