bbulkow's Profile

Title Last Reply

Downtown Berkeley Food Ideas

This board doesn't like Revival much, I do, and it's right near you. Not sure if it's too expensive.

+1 Comal

It'll be an annoying public transit bus ride, but Longbranch is quite nice. It's tres current for california, and the beers are very, very local if you like that kind of thing. Again, not terribly cheap.

Vindaloo SFBA Dish of the Month March 2015

I've eaten a lot of vindaloo in a lot of the world, and the first question is whether you count British Vindaloo or Indian Vindaloo. British Vindaloo is face-meltingly hot (but a step down from Phaal), and not very rich in spices. Indian style is richer and deeper and hot, but with a longer pain.

My old standard for Vindaloo was Sue's in Mt View, which has been departed for many years now. Currently I get my fix at Darbar in Palo Alto, which has a very rich and pungent sauce. It's hot --- very hot --- to the point of being inedible for most of my dining companions, but it's not as hot as a british vindaloo.

There is a Darbar in SF. Any relation? They have vindaloo.

Pakwan, in SF, had a vindaloo special that had substantial richness, depth, and heat. It was quite oily in a good way. I don't think it's a regular dish for them, though.

Viva Goa on Lombard --- anyone tried?

I think I ate Indian Oven vindaloo, was OK nothing great.

In the south bay, I think I've had Sakoon, Passage to India, Amber. Sakoon was a little wimpy, Amber has the best ingredients, P2I was just a bit muted.

Mayuri Santa Clara - good but not a specialty of the house, didn't have the stewy richness of Darbar.

Now that I'm looking at Sunnyvale --- I see a few places like Bombay to Goa

Review: Russian Family Restaurant in Redwood City

I was worried the place would close, but it's still there, and every time I walk past the place is about half full. No waiting, no big thing.

On a related note, there's a new viet place on that block, and the vietnamese crepe was pretty good. Bahn Mi was OK but a little large and with only average bread.

San Francisco HELP

That's hilarious, unless you really did steal it from Yogi Berra.

Entertaining a picky visitor: suggestions we both can enjoy

Flea Street. Very regional, but with a number of straight-ahead dishes. I expect the kitchen will be accommodating but I'm not a picky eater myself.

The mayfield suggestion is also good. Tasty but plenty of straight ahead dishes.

Steakhouse in Oakland?

One word: Koryo

Seriously.... what part of oakland? what level of casual/fancy?

there's meat closer than Rouge, although Rouge is very very good. Oakland has a lot of "new american" which your friend might find "frou frou" but there will be a strong meat dish (steak, steak frites, burger).

Grand Tavern
Chop Bar (oxtail poutine is about as meat and potatoes as it gets)
Luka's (BURGER!)

fiesta del mar [Mtn. View]

Such as Quinto Sol (one assumes their 5th restaurant?) in RWC, which has a GORGEOUS room and good service.

I'm not fond of the Quinto Sol food. It's OK, we eat there now and then, but the tastes are a bit muted across the board (and the margeritas are quite expensive for what you get). Agave opened after Quinto, I believe.

One assumes Palo Alto Sol as well, of which I would say the same about the food. Muted. Huge local favorite though, and I would say I don't like that similar dinner-plate cooking in mexico either, and for the same reasons.

Maybe they cook in an authentic style.

I have always assumed Cafe Del Sol in Menlo Park, but I am not certain. The menus are similar, the light and airy room is always pleasant.

Saison chef counter tickets [San Francisco]

I now see a button on their reservation site that's not active.

Was it active before? Did you find the tickets elsewhere?

Very specific restaurant criteria

But you said no steaks. Tough crowd.

I know Sam's and Tadich are out of the question because they can't seat that many, but what does he think of those places?

Very specific restaurant criteria

Sounds like Harris Ranch to me.

Visiting San Jose -recommendations dimsum/szechuan/bbq/cambodian/etc

The chinese in greater san jose is superior to the chinese in boston that it'll take some adjustment. Although dim sum isn't super strong it's still not bad, but chinese regional places like chengdu cooks and taiwanese military food places and beijing places and hotpot places.... my friends in boston think they have chinese places but I haven't seen many. For chinese regional, it will be good to do research before you show up, make sure you order the "core dishes" of the chef's region.

Vietnamese places are reasonable in greater boston. Vung Tao won't surprise you. There are smaller more down home places around, mostly in eastern san jose, but I can't give you a recommendation.

The two chettinad places are very interesting. There are indian sweet places, chaat places, and some "all arounders".

Indian is the only place you'll find a buffet dinner. I'm not that into buffets.

Cambodian: you'll want Tommy Thai in Mountain View, if that's reasonable for you. They have a page of cambodian dishes, and they seem interesting to me but I don't know much about cambodian. If you go there, they want you to say "how hot" and "10/10" actually means "make it the way it's sposed to be made".

Raw Milk in the East Bay.

I have taken up home cheesemaking for the last few years, and I did not start with raw (and would not recommend it), because of two factors: price and freshness. You should make a lot of cheese (and, if necessary, throw away a lot of cheese) to understand recipes and techniques - easier emotionally at $10/gal instead of $20/gal. Second, Strauss at Whole Foods is very, very fresh - they handle their milk well, it's always sitting there when you want it, by which I mean, when you mess up a step and want to start over, grabbing another 2 gallons is a 15 minute trek to the store.

I look for bottles that are about 2 weeks out in expiration - those seem to be the freshest possible. You want bottles where you can't see any cream separation (plug) because that cream is lost to you and denotes less fresh / less well handled milk.

There are only two dairies in CA that can sell raw milk(*), and everyone likes claravale, but I think it sells less well so you'll generally get less fresh milk. here is the store list: Good luck!

* the milk law is quite a bit more complicated, but when you're talking about selling milk in stores, there are only two. Farmer's markets and milk sold directly to cheesemakers for 90-day+ aged cheese is allowed.

** Purchasing raw milk for non-human consumption is also legal. I heard about a animal feed supply store somewhere around south san francisco that gets raw milk in, but I never went there, don't know the quality, etc etc.

Golden Garlic - western san jose

I tried this place recently.

Chef is from Chengdu. My dining companions speak chinese (one brit by way of hong kong, the other native chinese), so I didn't order. We got a lot of the "classics". The "1000 chili chicken" was a different style than I had before, more chili in the chicken itself, possibly the hottest dish on the table. Some kind of lamb dish (not cumin), some kind of fish fillet. Everything else was above average in that it all had heat and flavor, lots of peppercorns. A little "all the same" though.

GF said "I wouldn't drive all the way over there but it was pretty good".

Palo Alto search

I had the Manti at Anatolian Kitchen recently too, liked that quite a bit. Everyone loves med wraps. We get it at work in standard rotation and it's one of my favorite lunches.

Palo Alto search

Fair enough.

I can't see going to Oren's if you don't like the style of hummus. The remainder of the dishes are hit and miss at best --- we agree --- and the lines are unreasonably long.

Palo Alto search

The secret to Oren's is just get the hummus. Nothing else. It's meant to be a hummus joint. They put other stuff on the menu out of desire to please; not their passion.

Palo Alto search

Looking more closely at your other replies: you're looking for "special" food and "don't mind paying for quality", you'll be disappointed in everywhere ---- palo alto is expensive.

So the question now is "where's cheap", because no place is good enough.

I would propose Martin's West, which has good value, Flea Street, whose greatest fault is the menu rarely changes, Vesta, which is reasonably priced for the quality, Steam, Howie's, Oren's. All of these places are "just fine" and you can get in and out for $20/pp if you don't go nuts.

Palo Alto search

You won't find sf style namu gaiji places.

Many of the "usual suspects" listed here are pricy.

Cafe Brioche
Local Union 271
Med Wraps
Asian Box
Coupa Cafe
Vino Locale

Da Sichuan
Curry Up Now is cheap at least and slightly amusing
Nola for burgers


Go to MP for
Cafe Barrone

Go to RWC for
Martin's West

Pub Crawl Near the Palace Hotel [San Francisco]

Isn't lefty's kind of generic? It might have some character, but it's a sportsbar in a town where sportsbars aren't particularly popular or lauded.

Pub Crawl Near the Palace Hotel [San Francisco]

You're at montgomery bart. A quick hop down to 16th and mission is a better place to start. But let's say you want to stay near the palace.

Are you talking cocktails, beer, wine; what kind of atmosphere?

How far is a pub crawl for you? That area has historically been a bit of a dead zone, although now we have a few places worth drinking at. And there's a lot of places that post-date my knowledge of the area.

Local Edition -> kind of new but good drinks & overly polished atmosphere for my taste

Trou Normand -> new SF style, gets crowded - very small

The House of Sheilds - Loud an clubish but a bit of an institution

Romper Room -> sounds fun haven't been

Fly Trap ( a serious favorite of mine, grab a bite )

Here's a list to get you started, focusing on cocktails & old places with a touch more "character".... although some are a bit of a walk.

Not that far....
Gitane (eat here)

It's chinatown....
Li Po
Tunnel Top
Tadich ( famous martinis )

Walk down by the water...
Slanted Door ( enjoy the view but don't bother with the food )
Boulevard ( stick to the classics but what a nice bar )

Go inland....
Hotel Utah

If you went to 16th and Mission, you could spend an entire liver at:
Monk's Kettle
500 Club
[ in my personal order of interest ]
And a few blocks away are:
Elbo Room
Southpaw (bourbon flights)
Beauty Bar
The Lex ( straight men will be out of place )
Rite Spot
Doc's Clock

Longbranch Saloon - Berkeley

Maybe a comment on the food would be in order

It's good.

It's that americana comfort menu that it seems everyone is serving, but well executed. Loved the cheese curds, loved the ribs.

Kitchen open until 11:30 on a friday. The "bar bites" menu was going, but that had everything we were going to order anyway.

Beer selection is very, very good. When the "large" breweries are Lagunitas and Drake's, you know you're in for it.

Dim Sum to go in Santa Clara?

Are you also looking for easy in/out parking and pickup, or are you willing to spend a little time?

US geography game : Bay Area restaurant edition

I don't think that's a thing.

Okonomiyaki in South Bay/Peninsula

Likely Izakaya, North 1st, San Jose . Haven't tried it but there are comments here and there on the internet.

Special occasion dinner in the South Bay

I think that's a great choice. I've been there twice in the last 3 months and I think they're doing very decent food.

re: wine, though you didn't ask, they don't do pairings but if you have a good description of what you like, the wine guy will pull some wines for you and give you glasses at different points in the meal. Not 1-1 paired to the dishes. He'll ask for a budget.

Growler fills 'this side' of SF?

I was going to argue, but then I remember the growler filling I saw recently was in a different state. North Carolina might have more "flexible" laws.

Growler fills 'this side' of SF?

Devil's Canyon, San Carlos, looks like they will fill growlers during their business hours during the week. I don't love their beers. But I drink them, they're ok.

Hermitage claims to fill growlers. Haven't tried their beer.

Clandestine says "coming soon" haven't tried their beers.

Anyone know anything about Strike? I worry when I see more marketing people on their page then brewers.

Now... is San Leandro close enough to the south bay? That would be Drake's, and they have great beer at their brewhouse. They fill growlers.

( Smoking Pig BBQ has the denogginizer on tap, and that and some burnt ends and their "wolf turds" makes a fine evening


My favorite SF/Eastbay/southbay beers? Drake, Speakeasy. YMMV.

Smokestack BBQ [San Francisco]

Mixed bag on a visit yesterday

1. Lots of kids! Very kid/parent friendly! I had a kid in tow so this was perfect.

2. Brisket was a very mixed bag. Outside was overly crunchy in a bad way, the fatty part was nice, the lean part was nice. GF said "too tough". Chopped pork could have used a little more flavor. Sausage was pretty good.

3. Hash and soup were very good of the hot sides.

It's a perfect place to stop with a kid or two if you live on the peninsula and are bringing a hungry kid back from the exploratorium or similar. Parking nearby, alcohol for parents, and ICE CREAM.

Still wish the BBQ was a HAIR better.

Best breakfast on the peninsula

I don't eat much pancakes, but brunch spots on the peninsula "by default" might be St Michael's in Palo Alto and Buck's in Woodside (north of Los Altos).

JX Cuisine: santa clara chinese

Ate a meal here. Sort of.

JX Cuisine is at Homestead and Lawrence, catty-corner from the Kaiser, across the street from Orenchi. It's been open since about Nov 1 2014 (thus 5 weeks from when I tried it).

There's a whole nest of chinese places at the Homestead and Wolfe corner, where the 99 ranch is, but I was on urgent business the morning of new year's day finding some down-home comfort food for a friend laid up at Kaiser. Some of that stuff they serve at the hospital just turns your stomach, and their for-pay cafe is closed on holidays.

Although I wouldn't put JX on any "must try of the bay area", for "the place closer to the hospital than the macdonald's" they're doing a decent job. It seems most of the clientele wanted westernized chinese, but the cumin lamb was serviceable, and a simple "house special tofu" really hit the spot for my friend.

The owner was super friendly, spoke good english, was nice even to the people who wanted walnut prawns.

In case I have to go back down there, are there specific recommended places at the Homestead / Wolfe corner ? I think I've been to Joy Luck and Southland Flavor and they were both worth a trip, but a little hard to order at (very chinese!). Melanie mentioned New Port a while ago.