bbulkow's Profile

Title Last Reply

New Shanghai Dumpling King? Less than a block from my house? [San Francisco]

Must be interesting technique.

Oil at water temperature doesn't fry / brown.

Water at hot oil temp gets exciting - flashes to steam often spattering oil and creating flame.

I really thought at Yang's I saw mostly-steamed going into the oil wok, but admittedly I was a few feet away. I remember the oil bubbling in such a way that water might have been involved, and it's hard to tell exactly how cooked something is.

Any hints to the actual technique would appease the curious.

Donato Enoteca, Redwood City

We drive to HMB occasionally to eat at Pasta Moon. If we're in RWC on that street we'll eat at Martin's West or Vesta.

It seems there are perhaps a couple of key dishes at DE, which apparently I haven't had. That may color opinions.

If you're coming over the hill from HMB on 92, you're in San Mateo, and the strengths are Japanese and Chinese. There are a couple of "californian" places that I haven't tried yet and haven't been discussed here: Block 34, Vault 164, 31st Union.

When I'm in HMB, I always have a good, fun meal at San Benito House. They used to have the full kitchen going, looks like it's just bar food at the moment.

Donato Enoteca, Redwood City

Looks like you want something fancy-ish --- did you consider Village Pub ? I'm not one of the Donata Enoteca fans, I agree they are "competent".

Fey - promising sichuan menlo park

Another somewhat disappointing meal at fey

The hotter szechuan dishes are really just piled up hot pepper (pepper flakes like at a pizza restaurant). Not using interesting hot pepper or much numbing spice.

Quality of ingredients was good. Lots of business, mostly chinese speakers. Large banquet-style area in the back (4 or 5 big tables). The "dragon lady" owner still gives the place good atmosphere.

We ended up enjoying the non-spicy dishes best --- "beijing" mushu, garlic eggplant --- but there was nothing terribly special about them.

I still want to like this place, will keep trying, as the location , atmosphere, and menu is to my taste. Too bad about the food.

Bund Shanghai restaurant [San Francisco]

nice about the cifantuan.

I also found the Dong Po Pork small version on a recent visit. I find few of my friends will eat much of it because of the fat, but everyone around the table appreciated a little taste. The flavor was very sweet with a bit of smoke.

I love this place hasn't been "discovered". On a recent chinatown trip, all of the usual suspects had 30 ~ 60 min waits.

Vindaloo SFBA Dish of the Month March 2015

Darbar in Palo Alto has very tangy, dark-almost-black gravy.

New Shanghai Dumpling King? Less than a block from my house? [San Francisco]

I have always thought SJB were steamed first, fried second. I'm trying to see in my mind's eye exactly how they cooked them at Yang's in shanghai, and I think the last step is the fry --- there was a huge wok in the front of the shop chock full of bao --- but honestly it was a while ago and my memory isn't super clear on that detail.

SF Trip report from a Londoner

I didn't find any indian places in london that matched chettinad places in the south bay, nor curry places in bradford.

But maybe I didn't try hard enough.

Sushi Sam's - My First Time, But Not My Last [San Mateo]

I haven't been to Cafe Sushi but the comparison seems valid. Sushi Sam's so painfully All About The Fish with few other diversions.

One reason I like Naomi in MP is they're a little less traditional. Although not like the description of Cafe Sushi, the owner does do some occasional pickling and will certainly handroll some fun stuff when he gets to know you.

Sushi Sam's - My First Time, But Not My Last [San Mateo]

The uni I had at Saison a few weeks ago was mentioned as sourced "Ft Bragg". Really, really good.

Pi Day - best South Bay option?

We did have dinner at Delfina PA that night. Mostly because of the warm night and large patio, but eating PI for dinner certainly helped that decision.

New "Jules thin crust Pizza" next to Zachary's in Oakland...WTF?

If I complain about you calling it OAKLAND will you change it back?

I found your argument about community names FAR more compelling than naming after the city.

Pi Day - best South Bay option?

Not HIGH quality, but Safeway is selling small 6inch pies for $3.14 with a club card. Unless they've sold out.

This was Menlo Park safeway.

Manresa dress code plans [Los Gatos]

Don't wear golf shorts. You might be turned away.

Jeans and polo shirt or similar. Plenty comfortable.

Grab jacket out of car. You'll be a little more comfortable.


Tommy Thai - Mountain View

Ah, that's happened to me on previous visits.

Tommy Thai - Mountain View


In the writing in 2012 upthread, the 1-10 system is discussed... what have they "switched to" ?

Nothing but Forgettable Fancy Tasting Menus at Bay Area French Influenced High End Restaurants - RANT

1. I do wish there was more a la carte + tasting menu available. Sometimes you want a tasting menu, sometimes you don't. I am sad that places like Manressa have switched to 100% tasting menu.

2. I wish there were more very a la carte but still "tweezer food" places, because I like a bit of complex challenging food once in a while. I loved that about Plum, for example, and you could just spend $10 on a bowl of amazing sous vide egg and get a check. Didn't work out for them, did it?

3a. I like tasting menus. The same way I don't ask for modifications and put myself in the kitchen's hand for a dish, I like occasionally putting myself in the kitchen's hands for an entire meal. Speaking of LA, the sushi omakase only places have finally spread to SF.

3b. My trick for remembering during a tasting menu is to discuss the previous dishes during dinner. Like 3 dishes in, talk about which you like in the different dishes, what you consider the main arc in tastes and themes to the menu. Do it again at 6 dishes. Do it in the car on the way home, do it the next morning. You'll find you'll remember a few standout dishes well months and months later (if not years).

4. I attribute the switch less to greed, and more to reservations & prices --- although who knows the hearts of men? Consider the problem: you have a 2 month 100% booked restaurant. By all rules, you should raise prices. But you don't REALLY want to raise prices, you're already making plenty of money, you'll get more jerks and fewer people who appreciate your food. Cooking to order is a pain, and customers always order boring things like chicken and filet --- you might as well be a cook at dennys. Instead, you switch to 100% tasting menu. You cook more of what you want, on a more relaxed service, without having to put an $80 filet on the menu. The reservation book comes closer to equilibrium, you still make money.

5. The SF michelin guide has 10 restaurants at 2 and 3 stars. We likely have 10,000 restaurants if you include napa, sonoma, and the full san jose area. Are you really complaining about the 0.1 % of restaurants not being to your taste? You're probably really complaining about this "gentrification" or or the loss of SF's weird factor. I miss it too, but I'm not blaming 10 restaurants.

6. Are you really complaining about Bauer, again? I haven't read him in .... maybe 5 years? Consider giving him up.

Here are my high frequency restaurants right now:
Stein's MV
Gravity PA
Vesta RWC
Aachi Aapakadi Sunnyvale
Refuge San Carlos
Borrone MP ; Left Bank MP

Special mention: Mua in Oakland. Burger at the bar.

Lazy Bear Review [San Francisco]

Wine by the glass, cocktails. I talked to the staff and got a nice glass of Donkey and Goat, also had their cold-brew coffee for desert.

I find the discussion of portion sizes peculiar. My dining partner and I often have trouble finishing or even eating tasting menus, and at Lazy Bear we were able to eat the entire dinner and suffered no fatigue or next day issues. I like the idea of a shorter tasting menu, and reject the idea that one has to roll home full --- I just don't consider portion size much at all.

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.