bbulkow's Profile

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Muslim dining?


It seems, reading about, that as long as everything is washed to standard US standards, and basic cross-contamination rules are followed, most Muslims would accept as halal a meal made with all halal ingredients.

Doing a bit more reading, it appears the common distinction of alcohol is the table, as long as alcohol is not consumed at your table, one may eat.

I am adding this because when I hear "business dinners with people from saudi arabia" I think of a high standard of food. Attaining Halal at many of the "usual suspect" mid-high places would seem unlikely, thus going high end might be an option.

Note: I am not muslim, nor am I a cleric, I am just trusting the internets! I understand the correct saying is not "the internets know best" it is "god knows best".

about 3 hours ago
bbulkow in San Francisco Bay Area

Late night dining in SF -3am-?


Can you describe how to get there, from the terminals, maybe, or if you've parked in short-term as a non-worker or non-taxi-driver ?

about 3 hours ago
bbulkow in San Francisco Bay Area

My Hunt for a California Burrito in the Bay Area.

This article claims Belly in Oakland has korean / cali burritos.

Reports ?

Muslim dining?

I would call all the high end tasting menu places and ask if they can accommodate halal. I would bet they'd accommodate, but that's only a guess.

You know, Coi, saison, benu, etc.

Halal is generally about meat and meat related things, and fish with scales are definitely in, and univalves and bivalves are slightly controversial but mostly considered halal.

Should be easy for them.

Late night dining in SF -3am-?

Has anyone explored the food for taxi drivers in the middle of the short term SFO parking structure?

Being horribly lost last week, I took a funny turn, and came into the parking structure through a bottom entrance that I've never seen before. Basically, go around "departing flights" until almost 320 degrees, and there's a "short term parking" entrance.

This comes in at the very basement, and there's a huge lot of taxis waiting for fares, and a little deeper, a food truck, a fixin's cart, and a couple of pick-nick tables.

I was driving past and trying not to be lost, so I couldn't tell if one could park somewhere and wander over to the truck. It wasn't a yuppie food truck, it's an actual food truck (a real roach coach) for people who are taxi drivers (and possibly airport workers).

Anyone know what's up with this, and when it's open?

Mustards Grill: My Theory [Napa]

Thank you for your addendum that FSPUCF can be great.

In musical terms, do you like a good pumping soul/funk horn section, or a ultra-note-y new york style post-bop quartet?

The former doesn't require much analysis --- does my booty move, and is the house rockin', with smiles and toe taps all around?

The later does require analysis. Knowing the songs they're riffing from, familiar enough with the changes and tonal structures, which rhythms come from where. The intellect is more deeply engaged.

I haven't been to mustards since the mid-90's. It has a warm spot in my heart, and I would try it again.

When I'm feeling weary - and I do get weary - something new and bright usually gets me off the floor. My heart's lifted by something adventurous and unusual, or at least a type of food I've never had before. That usually means what you would call ultra-composed food. I dearly miss Plum, because I could get a single bowl or plate without the time & money of a tasting menu.

Sometimes my heart is lifted by a standard, a classic, done to perfection.

This weekend has been a study in that. Friday dinner was Coi (now I know, prounounced"co-wah"). Everything tasted fresh. New ideas. New concepts. Not without soul, but highly intellectual.

Second great meal was the big pig feast after the Tour De Fuzz bicycle ride in sonoma. A huge roast pig, done to perfection timed with the end of the race, to feed 2000 hungry souls, and Lagunitas beer at the peak of freshness. Absolutely classic, absolutely perfect.

Today I'm happy.

Help finalizing restaurants, deserts, cocktail/speakeasy, as well as opinions on SF staples

"high and inexperienced"

I always that "are you experienced" means "have you gotten high"

Shishitos at Skool

The padrones I've had which are hot are BLINDING. I had one at Ceasar (the real Ceasar) that literally took might sight away for 10 seconds --- probably because my entire brain was focused on WOW THAT HURTS.

The owner/maitre-d guy rushed over with a sugar cube to suck on. I was alright in about 15 minutes.

I've never had a shisito that hot, but the two strains are clearly linked by a lot of genetics, and we don't know what makes some padrons hot. Everyone says there are more hot padrones later in the year.


San Jose, Half Moon Bay and Sausalito


I looked through all your posts to see what you've liked in other cities, and I've got nothing. With the kind of short "what's good" requests and few posts about likes and dislikes, it's hard to make a good targeted suggestion - otherwise, one recycles the "standard recommendations".

One of my favorite spots right now in San Jose is Blackbird Tavern. It's right downtown thus easy to get to (the city parking lots are $5 all night, and there's one within 100 yards). It has live music, solid cocktails, farm-to-table food, and an inventive chef --- but can be a little loud. But I don't know if you like that kind of thing.

First to Market is a place that I've got my eye on, and there's Nemea, both of which have more typical restaurant-like experiences, and quieter. But I haven't been to either.

Classic places in SJ would also include Vung Tao.

Within a short drive of San Jose there's some great indian and Chinese, as there are technology worker expats from those countries. For Indian, I like Anjappar Chettinad. Don't be put off by the Yelp reviews - those are generally by unadventurous eaters. The place is very Indian, which gets you indian-style service, and indian-style spices.

You might peruse Eater's article for some further ideas. The list is pretty fair. You can also look at the map a year early, most of those places are still around and doing well.

Sushi Ran in Sausalito is very highly recommended. I ate their once, thought it was very high quality, but couldn't quite separate it from the pack on one visit.

I would not spend my one meal in HMB at Sam's. Moss Beach Distillery has a good rep among people I trust. For Fish on the Water, I would hit Barbara's, or even Princeton Seafood, either indoors or the window patio. You have to walk down the docks to see which fish are in, then walk to the restaurant and order similar. Crab season starts in Ernest in November (for Thanksgiving Crab!), so I don't know what's really fresh right now. For downtown HMB, Pasta Moon is very good, I also have a soft spot for the big, old hotel, whatever it calls itself. There's an excellent old bar, and they always serve some kind of food which is always pretty good. Great atmosphere.

A very stable place in greater san jose is Parcel 104. It's in a hotel, but it's big (no res needed), and the food is typical of the California style. You can do better with a bit more driving and research, but if you're pressed, you'll have a decent meal.

Unlike Santana Row itself, where you'll find generally mediocre food.

Perdition Smokehouse (downtown Berkeley)

Yes, those I scraped to the bottom of the bowl.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

In a desperate case, I will buy ground coffee and make "cowboy coffee", just steep and drink. Works better than you might think, just drink it quicker rather than less.

Block 34 - Modern American in San Mateo

I saw the signs too, a few weeks ago. Now that you mentioned, it's On The List.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

More generically, anyone hooked to the Hetch Hetchy system is getting great water. In Menlo Park Muni, I did a blind test between tap and brita-filtered tap, the results were random. There was no taste difference.

I still have a very decent filtration system hooked to my espresso machine, it gets its filters replaced on schedule.

Little Sichuan - San Mateo

Oh, crud.

So we not even have to say "like in China", we have to explain that we want it with proper peppercorns?

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

3rd wave espresso tastes like a symphony in my mouth, RIGHT NOW (ok, about 45 seconds, 15 for grind, 30 for pull).

Old Port Lobster Shack - Downhill alert or just wildly inconsistent? [Redwood City]

It's hard to make that value judgement.

There was a LOT of fresh, sweet meat.

But $20 is a LOT of money.

I just spent a minute trying to see what maine lobster rolls sell for in Maine... and every place says "Market price" but I bet they're often $20, looking at the menus.

Looking at the pictures, it's about what I got at OPLS.

Maybe I just have to adjust from 30-year-old prices.

AYCE meat places in Palo Alto down to Saratoga

You'd probably not want the Mongolian BBQ places, which are pretty low quality, but they're out there.

What about AYCE indian buffets? There are some dinner ones, but I'd have to dig up what's still going. P2I used to have some dinner nights, and Mayuri.

Agree about Pampas lukewarm.

Pre-show dinner near Orpheum [San Francisco]

Next time, check Absinthe. Although I think it's gone downhill since I last went, it (was at least) not very adventurous in food type, but well constructed. And, given all the complexity of this equation, you'll probably want one of their well mixed stiff drinks once you arrive.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I was thinking during my bike ride about Coffee Milk.

"Autocrat: a swallow will tell you", and the bird logo.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I am trying, humorously and perhaps unsuccessfully, to indict folks who pooh-pooh "coffee flavored desert drinks", then drink cappuccino.

Consider it a failed attempt.

I like coffee flavored desert drinks! Especially coffee milk, those of you from Rhode Island. Mmmmm.

For dark roasts, Peet's style, I like a little milk in my espresso myself. When I see those kinds of shots, and that kind of bean, I'll call for a macchiato, and demand just a SMALL TEASPOON of foam. A cap, especially a dry cap but possibly wet, seems reasonable.

Beyond a dry cap, I think you're drinking coffee milk. Mmmm, coffee milk.

For third-wave, where extracting the subtle flavor of bean & roast is the goal, with far less bitterness, no-milk is the way to go. Milk seems to mask and interfere with the citrus notes those roasts and extractions bring out.

I have, previously, been uncertain about the citrus and sour in those extractions, but am now 95% behind it. I have learned to stop worrying and love the sour. Mostly.

For the other days, I have a secret stash of Israeli instant coffee. Mix at 3x the indicated ratio, it's a powerful bitter punch to start your day. Add a lot of sugar.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

My point about snideness, was FeeFee34 rather dismissing one coffee place saying "rather than its coffee-flavored dessert drink", then admitting to drinking cappuccino.

Yes, I know there are different strokes for different folks.

I also agree about the amazing nature of 3rd wave espresso, the lack of bitter, replaced by sour-citrus-wine.

I greatly enjoy it, and for someone who simply connects espresso with liquid nodoze, a re-try might be suggested.

Barrone expansion: Menlo Park

Construction at the BBC now!

Rumors of a Rooftop space, as well as a spruced-up interior.

Little Sichuan - San Mateo

Having gone back and thought about it, and eating through the leftovers, I have to go back on my recommendation.

My initial excitement about a place like this is often the menu. It's real chinese dishes. I still get too much american chinese in the south bay, and this place is simply not american. Not much at all.

I did get my food spicy. I had to say "like in china".

Still, every dish was pretty far off the mark. The cumin lamb was mostly hot pepper, little cumin, average meat quality. The mapo-ish dish was mild, no numbing. The dry-fry wasn't succulent.

So, alas.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

" I feel that a good coffee shop should be known for its roasting technique, it’s coffee, it’s espresso, etc., rather than its coffee-flavored dessert drink. "

"cappuccino (my favorite type of espresso drink)"

< resists urge to be snide >

Peet's has a fairly good generic roast, but is nowhere near as "wine-y" as 4B and Sightglass. The beans are also decidedly cheap, compared to 4B ($22/lb vs $15/lb, some lower). Even if it had a major hand in 3rd wave, Peet's is still second wave to me. As I consider Philz. I don't like Philz either, and only get the mocha mint desert drink. Very rarely, if I am meeting a friend.

BB, you should try their espresso. You should.

Regarding smaller, less "name brand" places, I can't say. I have 4 or 5 places in the peninsula who mostly use 4B, Sightglass, Verve ( oh how I miss barefoot ). There aren't any peninsula roasters I like. I want to like ZombieRunner, because zombies are cool, but the flavors aren't as bright or interesting as I like. I keep trying different of their regional coffees, though, hoping for something I like.

San Fran Michelin

Mmmm, linky.

Little Sichuan - San Mateo

Did takeout from here last night, wondering why it gets so little love here on CH

Uptodate URL

The lady answering the phone spoke very little english. Hard to order. I kept getting passed to a guy who spoke a bit more. After some back and forth - one dish was "lunch only", they said they would make a "special dish" (was like a decent Mapo Tofu) - I ended up saying I wanted it hot "like in china". This seemed to kick them out of "white guy spice level".

Chive Pancake - actually was a chive & clear noodle pocket of dough. Really, really tasty.

Dry fried beef - spicy, but cooked a little harder than Crouching Tiger's. Wanted more numbing, but it's tasty.

Mapo-ish tofu - again, wanted more numbing, but a good rendition

Cumin Lamb - pretty good, although I would have taken a bit more cumin and a bit less pepper flakes

The menu is very interesting, the prices are low.
Yelp complains about "too much salt" but I didn't feel it
Also about bad service, which I didn't experience

Would return more if it was closer to my house, but will put it higher on the sunday-night-takeout list.

$50 gave us a full meal and enough leftovers for another full meal (basically, $12/pp)

New Sichuan Restaurant in San Mateo: Spicy Empire

Did not answer their phone last night. Not sure if they're closed on sunday, or something worse.

Oakland Help Please... Need dinner and cocktail/dessert spots for TONIGHT

Music really isn't part of the scene anymore. I can't think of a place with good food & drinks and music.

I have often liked Yoshi's Lounge, where they have a small combo and happy hour drinks & apps, which (if they're still doing it) starts at about 10pm - no cover.

In San Jose there's a lot more, notably blackbird and stritch, this weekend I also tried Poorhouse (food is only so-so, beer has a few good pours, music was excellent - good atmosphere for a no-cover texas/louisana roadhouse experience). The De Anza has a pleasant room but below average food and average drinks. For the mix of food & drinks & music, it's hard to beat Blackbird. If you're willing to give up on the food and drinks and get better music in return, Stritch is your stop.

What's in SF that still has music and food? Jardinere stopped doing music years ago. Bix has both. Du Nord had plausible food and great music, but it's gone - only food in the new setup.

I think it's the war on fun; although simple commerce: people won't come out much for live music. They'll even stay away from live music: too loud, extra cost.

Although maybe it's like having a view - if you're pulling people in, you don't need good food. Likewise, if you've got good food and drinks, you don't need to hassle with musicians and their space requirements.

Palo Alto/Menlo Park rant

It's sort of between University and Willow near 101, in a small neighborhood cluster with a cleaners and a market and a barber.

There's a new Cafe Zoe in RWC, they seem to have branched out (downtown). I don't know what equipment they moved over, the quality of the new spot - but Backyard is away from core RWC, so Zoe RWC might be good stuff.

Palo Alto/Menlo Park rant

The hidden gem in the area is Cafe Zoe, in Menlo Park in a small cluster of stores. They use verve, have a separate grind for their espresso, and if you ask for a ristretto it's a plausible cup.

Redwood City has Backyard, which uses Stumptown I think, and is good.

If you think Red Rocks "single origin bar" is only acceptable, then we may not be on the same scale. Red Rocks standard espresso (the normal line) is, I agree, only acceptable.