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Clementine closed for remodeling

Mar 06, 2008
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

In Portrero or near height for dinner/lunch for picky eater?

Delessio on Broderick and Oak would probably fit the bill for salad bar/budget/picky eater. They have a hot bar with roasted chicken and other meats, mac and cheese, sandwiches, etc. plus a salad bar. Not really a restaurant setting but a few tables. When I think picky eater I feel like that means people that will love mac and cheese, but it could also be picky eater where the only mac and cheese you will eat is Kraft, in which case it may not be the right place.

Since you are coming up for beer Magnolia Brewery on Haight St and Masonic would also be good. They have good food and also pizza and burger for picky eaters.

The Upper Haight is a bit of a wasteland food-wise, in my opinion. I live on Haight St and don't go towards Ashbury unless I absolutely have to.

Magnolia Pub & Brewery
1398 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

DeLessio Market & Bakery
302 Broderick St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Feb 13, 2008
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to find Piment d'Espelette?

I bought some last week at the Whole Foods in Potrero--I would guess one of the East Bay locations would have it too? At the Potrero location it was with bulk packaged spices/salts near the olive bar.

Feb 04, 2008
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Mushroom and Fennel Bread Pudding

I made this on Thanksgiving to sub for traditional stuffing and it was a hit! Baked it the night before and brought it to room temp before re-heating. I used a country bread with garlic cloves in it since the store was out of ciabatta - don't know if it made a big difference or not. Paired it with roast turkey with pancetta/herb butter and blanched green beans tossed with lemon zest and toasted pinenuts to make it an Italian-inspired dinner.

Nov 26, 2007
cjp in Recipes

Venue for a large party?

You should call Pauline's pizza - they have that whole upstairs dining room and it would definitely be fun and casual. And everyone loves pizza.

More info about their group dining here:

Sep 27, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Can't-miss dishes at Nopa?

I go for whatever roasted meat they have--in the past the best has been the lamb and beef dishes. Also have always had good luck with the soup, gratins (in the sides), and little gem salad (last I was there they had a baby romaine salad that was very similar) and the lamb shank. I miss the squid salad so if it's made a reappearance, I would get that.

Was there last week and had some bad luck with a rib eye. It was just too fatty and there wasn't a lot to salvage. I also would skip the chicken, but my main beef (heh) with it there is that it's just too much (it's a half chicken) and I think it would come with both a vegetable and starch sides.

Sep 13, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Our love affair with all things Tartine-- and the rest of our trip to San Francisco (a long report!)...

Thanks for a great report. I would have a hard time getting through all those restaurants but it sounds like it was lots of fun and you really got to cover a lot of area--nothing like sight seeing via restaurants!

I definitely want to try Bar Tartine now as I've not read many glowing reviews in the past here on CH. In any case, two places I have eaten in NY that I really enjoyed recently were Cookshop in Chelsea and Dressler in Williamsburg. From what I know of Bar Tartine they might be decent comparables?

Sep 07, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Tomato Dinner at Oliveto: Is it worth the $$?

I went with a group last year for the first time and was really excited about going, however, I can't see myself going back. It was a fun experience overall, but I can't really remember much of what we had, except one starter of sweet 100 cherry tomatoes that was basically a plate of tomatoes in olive oil and s&p. It was fine because the tomatoes were good and I guess highlighting their simple flavor was the point, but I was expecting a bit more creativity for the type of dinner it was. What really got me was the price of that appetizer: $14.

Aug 30, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Thurday Happy hours & Cheap Eats

Scott Howard has a great happy hour and also has $1 oysters. They come nicely presented with good asian-y mignonette. Also $5 drinks and a good cheap tomato soup with grilled cheese strips for $7:

happy hour
tuesday thru friday 5 - 7pm
$5 specialty cocktails
$2 bottled beer
$3 well drinks
$1 oysters on the half shell

500 jackson street.

Jul 27, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

New upscale Vietnamese on Van Ness?

According to this week's tablehopper, it is closed:

Jul 24, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Anyone tried Metro Kathmandu yet?

They had a "friends and neighbors" opening party last night, with official opening happening this Tuesday. Last night they served deep fried shrimp with two kinds of curry-ish sauce, a lamb dish that was cubed kind of like a stew but wasn't in a sauce (sorry, that's a lame description), tomato/cucumber salad, and samosas that came with a dark, sweet sauce. Everything tasted good and I looked at the menu briefly--nothing over $10 and lots of interesting sounding options. I noticed a grapefruit/citrus salad I'm looking forward to trying.

I'm not really familiar with Nepalese/Tibetan food, but my impression from the menu is that it is more of a fusion of South Indian and Tibetan. I may be wrong on that.

The interior is nice and they really opened up the bar area--looks like a good setup for solo dining.

Jul 16, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

is chapeau open?

A friend of mine ate at Chapeau last weekend and the owner (who's name is escaping me) said he was doing a menu re-vamp. I don't remember her saying they were closing down entirely for a period but it seems like that's what's happened.

Jun 19, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Le Metro - how's the new chef doing?

just got more details on this:
They're going to close it for two weeks and re-do the place to make it a chic place that serves Nepalese-style Indian food. Most entrees will be just under $10 and they will open late night 'til 1am. They seem to be comparing the concept to Dosa.

Jun 08, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Le Metro - how's the new chef doing?

Apparently this Sunday (June 10) is the last night that the Metro will be the Metro. Roshan, who brought in the new chef this past year and is the current operator, is closing down the French concept and re-opening as a Nepalese restaurant (he and his wife--who also runs things--are from Nepal).

It'll be interesting to see how it turns out. I think the place that used to be the strange Jamaican place up on Fulton and Divis is Nepalese? Otherwise, I think it'll be good to get something different in there. I don't know what it means for their brunch business--they seem to do pretty consistently well for their weekend brunches.

Jun 08, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

bar specializing in infused spirits?

I have to disagree that not all of the Orbit Room bartenders are worthy of the Alberta-esque mantle. There's one skinny little guy that is a complete mess and makes me never want to go there again. One Friday night we came in and he was completely overwhelmed and the bar back who was helping him claimed he could do nothing more than pour beer and water (he wouldn't even pour wine for some guy). The little bartender man got all stressed out and got into a huge fight with the hispanic dish washer guy who has worked there forever yelling at him above the din of the crowd (which quickly became shocked silence) to "speak english" and "go home"--screaming at him to leave and while about 10 people waited to order a drink, staring at the embarrassing spectacle going on. When he finally came back behind the bar my friend suggested he calm down and he responded "f--- you". I said I had no desire to have a drink made by this guy, so we left.

Next time I was there, another weekend night, the same guy was bartending. He seemed to be managing ok, but not great, then I saw him go over to the dishwashing area and dry-heaved into the sink for awhile and looked like he was completely wasted.

Swearing I'd *really* never go back again, I somehow ended up there on another occasion and there was a really great guy who had ear plugs and a hat who made excellent, Orbit Room-worthy cocktails. I just wish they'd fire the other guy--he's a mess.

One problem I see with the Oribit Room is that it has become the victim of its own success. too many people come in there and say "oh, I like sweet drinks with mint and fruit--surprise me", which means it takes about 10 minutes to make a custom drink while everyone else stands around and the bartender gets stressed out (see above).

oh well--great hot toddies though!

May 29, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Le Metro - how's the new chef doing?

It's interesting that you had a worse experience than before. I, too, was a semi-regular when Babu and Patricia were running things, and even though I thought they are great people, every time I went there it just got worse and worse and I always swore I would never go back.

After Babu got out, a friend told me that someone from Alamo Square Grill, Rashawn, and his wife were now running the restaurant and it was they who brought in the new chef. I don't know exactly where the chef came from but I believe he worked at Masa's at one point? I remember reading more detail about that on the Tablehopper.

In any case, I'm much happier with the menu and food in its new incarnation. It feels a bit fresher, less fussy, and cheaper. I do wish that this restaurant would just stop trying to be fancy and focus more on really great basic bistro fare (roasted chicken, steak frites, etc.), work with the seasons more, and stop with trying to make a big presentation. Make it more of a hangout where you can get good wine and food if you want it. Lately I've been sticking with moules frites and salads, but have also had a good duck breast and rack of lamb there.

To me, the vibe seems about the same as before (minus the bad paintings) and I do believe that Rashawn is very passionate about making it work. I'm glad it's in the neighborhood, and I think it's gotten better, but I always wonder who goes there who doesnt' live around there, 'cause it just seems like the basic neighborhood place to me.

May 08, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

What to order at Absinthe?

For years I've gone mainly for cocktails, the awesome french fries, oysters, and the cheese courses. I stuck with bar food after mainly mediocre and pricey experiences off the dinner menu. However, I recently discovered their $16 flank steak with salsa verde, which I've gone back for 3 times in the past few weeks. At dinner it comes with great onion rings, at brunch it comes with fries and salad. I think it's a great deal for how much you get and it tastes great--the salsa verde is full of cornichons and capers, it's just the right amount of fries, and you've saved dollars for more cocktails!

Apr 26, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

NOPA - great argument for cooking at home [San Francisco]

I was definitely not impressed with Nopa the first couple of times I went right after they opened last year (roast chicken with greens for $20???? where are my mashed potatoes??). I finally warmed up to it when I figured out how to order: start with the little gems salad, get whatever roast is on the menu (i.e. I don't have a wood oven rotisserie at home), and a side of a vegetable (have had a great cauliflower gratin there). My boyfriend and I sit at the bar, split the meal, and walk away happy.

Have also had some fantastic soups (never new celery root could taste so good) and the fish stew if i'm not feeling meaty.

As for the overall buzz surrounding it--well, I've lived in the Western Addition (I refuse to call it NOPA) for 10 years so of course I'm excited to have a new good place in the neighborhood. It kind of makes me giggle when i see it listed in Bon Appetit or GQ ("this once gritty stretch of Divisidero Street...", etc.), but I'm starting to think that I see them out there so much because they have a really great publicist? Who knows.

I say definitely give it another shot. It all tastes better and feels better when you can make it more of your neighborhood spot. I do wish they'd just give up on that flatbread--it's never sounded appealing to me--and just make a pizza of the day already. I'm sure it would be way better.

Apr 04, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

New place at Haight/Fillmore ??

are you referring to Visit, next to Cafe International? The Tablehopper had an update 2 weeks ago:
I hate hearing about projects tanking or going south or just not working out. Seems the designer and owner of ~VISIT~, which was going to be a VERY cool space in the Lower Haight, had some irreconcilable differences just before the project was almost complete, back in November. So the owner has been making changes to the design the past three months, and who knows what’s going in there now or what it’s going to look like. All will be revealed? 518 Haight St. at Fillmore St.

Hopefully since it was all lit up things are back on track.

Apr 02, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Larkin Eating Tour

I would vote for a trip to Pagolac over Bodega--get the lotus root salad and pork spring rolls; however, if you have your heart set on something from the 7 course beef menu, I agree on the raw beef salad.

Mar 23, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

$1 oysters

Checked out SH's happy hour last night--had great $5 cocktails and hama hama oysters with a garnish of shallots and, i think, cucumbers. came with a minonette of yuzu and rice vinegar. i was under the impression that the garnish/sauces change periodically.

their bar menu also has a grilled cheese and tomato soup for $7, some short ribs for around $7 and i think 2 other cheaper items.

i'll definitely go back--especially since it goes until 7 every night.

Mar 21, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

SF- Updates on Piccino in Dogpach - Pizza, BB coffee, apple popovers & what else?

The Tablehopper posted a full review today:

Mar 20, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area


I had a great meal at Manka's about a year ago--was so sad to hear about the fire. It sounds like they really want to get back to full service, so hopefully it will happen eventually.

In any case, I've also eaten at the Olema Inn and thought it was fantastic. Was there for lunch and on a sunny day you can sit on their back patio. Am hoping to go back someday for dinner--while it doesn't have that lodge-y feel, I definitely think it has a cozy atmosphere.

Mar 20, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Soft serve in SF

I don't really consider soft serve frozen yogurt and soft serve ice cream the same thing--at least it's not the same where I come from in Ohio where there are lots of soft serve cone places (and it's not yogurt). I read in SFGate's Inside Scoop column a month (?) or so ago that the guy who just bought Clown Alley is planning to servce "East Coast Style" soft serve--this I'm pretty excited about.

Is this corner store's soft serve different from the frozen yogurt you can get someplace like Working Girls?

Mar 16, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Spiegelau wine glasses in the Bay Area?

This is secondhand, but a friend of mine told me recently that The Wine Club carries Spiegelau glasses; however, on their website they sell Schott Zwiesel, so she may be incorrect. Probably worth a call though:

The Wine Club
953 Harrison Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: 800.966.7835 415.512.9086

Mar 09, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Navarra Gastronomic Weeks (Jan 26 - Feb 4)

I was curious about the Navarra Gastronomy Week after reading about it in the Tablehopper last week.

that cauliflower salad is a pretty normal rotating item on the Cesar menu i believe----i was obsessed with it last summer and made many special trips to oakland in one 2-week or so period to have it as much as possible. i never though cauliflower could taste so good.

was able to replicate it in a somewhat reasonable way off of a cauliflower recipe in the san francisco urban league cookbook.

Feb 01, 2007
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Christmas Eve Dinner

I had christmas eve last year at zarzuela on hyde. it was fun and totally not crowded, so if you are looking for a place for a group, it would probably work great. good food and good prices and interesting wine list. friendly staff. that part of hyde was also cute and festive with lots of christmas lights in the trees along the street.

Dec 12, 2006
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Seller's Market Crab Melt - Disappointing...

I've had the crab melt there a few times. They have it all year now so I'm not sure where they're sourcing it from. Their grilled sandwiches often get soggy the way they package the sandwich and salad in the same plastic container. I've had the ham & cheese too. Kind of the same story--lots of cheese, lots of sog. Ok in a guilty pleasure/bad grilled cheese kind of way.

What I'm really addicted to there is the tomato bisque--it's really good and spicy and always consistent. I get the soup and salad usually. Sometimes the salad sucks because it's overdressed or has crappy soggy pieces mixed in, but overall it works.

Nov 22, 2006
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Dinner Suggestion in San Francisco - Veggie friendly

I was just at Saha last week and noticed they had lots of veg and vegan dishes, but just as many meaty ones as well. It felt like a good balance. They seem like they can accomodate a big group pretty comfortably, and it's a really nice atmosphere and the food was great.

I know Aziza has a few things too (their vegan soup comes to mind), and they have lots of space as well.

Nov 20, 2006
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area

Bourbon and Branch - anyone been?

I just tried it out last night. We decided to make a 6:30 res. since I thought the after work crowd, as opposed to the weekend crowd, might be more enjoyable. I was just in NYC last month and went to the Pegu Club, which is supposedly one B&B inspiration, so I was anxious to compare.

First of all, I don't understand why they want to make it all "underground", but they have a giant, brightly lit sign for their "Anti-Saloon League" right on the major street corner. I can think of a lot of other bars that make themselves known (or unknown) with much more subtlety, but hey...

We were 10 minutes early and I thought they'd give us a hard time but showed us right to our table. Our server was alright, nothing special, and brought us a kir royale amuse while we read the menu. Overall I was a little underwhelmed by the cocktail list. I feel like to anyone who has ever spent time at Absinthe, the "forgotten cocktail" ground has been already covered. The original creations section was fairly short but some stuff seemed interesting. I got one called the Dirty Thumb or some such name that was lemon oil, mint, and elderflower muddled with Plymouth gin. My boyfriend go the Aviation, one of my favorites from Absinthe. Both drinks were strong but mellowed out after a few minutes (or maybe it was we who were mellowing out??), and both were really good. Boyfriend said he recogized one of the bartenders as also working at Nopa (where they also have pretty great cocktails).

I had booked 1.5 hours and, since we hadn't yet eaten dinner, we were pretty well done on one drink a piece. I'd definitely order the Aviation on future visits.

I'm into the decor. It was intimate and overall was just right for an after-work/pre-dinner drink. I can't see spending my whole night here though.

As we were leaving, I asked the door guy about the bar seats--it didn't seem like they were really part of the whole reservation thing. He told me that if they have seats open at the bar, they have no problem taking walk-ins. So that's cool--there are enough other good bars in the area that I would probably do a walk-by in the future to ask about the bar seats.

I though the drinks at the Pegu club were more interesting though overall, but then, I'm not in NY!

Nov 15, 2006
cjp in San Francisco Bay Area