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Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

Rephrase: Spelled out clearly enough to anyone actually interested in understanding, rather than quibbling.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

"I've seen the complaints generalizing about craft beer for a long time and they always strike me as lazily hyperbolic."

It doesn't strike you that they could be sincere and based on considerable personal experience?

AFAIK, you personally know neither virtualguthrie nor me, nor what quantity and scope of practical experience lies behind our complaints.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

Um, the aforementioned misreading consists of things like replying "to proclaim that there's some broad exclusion of beer styles other than IPA" to a note that asserted no such thing, or naming 28 beers at one particular pub when I cited "endless eager labels and flash and chatter" among recent beer trends (hundreds on display at one retailer and no, I won't go back there and record them all to post here -- you can do that readily enough if you really want).

I've spelled out precisely what I meant throughout. Some people on these threads who don't LIKE a point prefer to read what they want into it, then respond to that; or demand everything be expressed in their preferred terms. That's part of online forum dynamics, and outside the writers' control.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

In an earlier, related post today you acknowledged "craft brewers for the most part aren't working with these styles," which I think was sufficient.

Josh, you seem more acquainted than most of us with beer making technicalities and available beer labels. That you were able to find some of the styles whose scarcity other people are lamenting is fine, and helpful to report; but it isn't very relevant to (nor does it controvert) the testimonials here from people who find such beers scarce, after searching in otherwise well-stocked beer pubs, and who express honest, indisputable personal judgments like "tired of the craft beer thing because I don't like most of it." De gustibus etc. but I feel that the _practical_ limitations of the modern microbrew scene are real, and are part of why this thread started.

Chinese restaurant trends 2014

OK so I take it if a restaurant did not appear in your regional list because it had already closed, it wouldn't be included here.

Chinese restaurant trends 2014

Note that this automated list misses both of the Sichuanese-kitchen-and-menu restaurants that closed (in 2010 and 2013), which I mentioned in my earlier post on this thread. Those were examples that didn't name themselves citing the cuisine. It may not have even surfaced on Yelp, the "categories" data there is often reader-provided and Yelp's readers (many of whom seem to always order pot stickers and Broccoli Beef and judge the whole restaurant from that) have proven astoundingly incompetent on things like Chinese restaurant regionality.

(I could go into details of the cases but won't, this is getting specific already and my summary here is accurate; I'd guess other CHers could point to further such examples from local knowledge. The point is, some regional restaurants are missed by this methodology.)

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

"craft brewers for the most part aren't working with these styles."

(Finally! It was like a needle in a haystack, but I found it.)

There may also be good reasons why "the beer landscape was completely dominated by" more British or German styles for decades. It will be interesting to see what happens to the tastes of the (largely 20-something demographic) beer-geek crowd with age and experience.

If the pendulum swings back say, 10 years from now, you can count on a long CH thread, one group decrying the new trend, another questioning their data.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

"OK, so you want English beer."

Once again you oversimplified a much broader request -- "pleasant tart malty beer, suitable for multiple rounds, as are many British ales, saisons, beers everyone knows and drinks in Germany, etc. etc.," -- just as you immediately quibbled details when virtualguthrie first remarked that the Bay Area "craft beer" scene has very real stylistic limits (WHATEVER the specific reasons). What's wrong with just acknowledging that reality?

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

' It's not nit-picking to point out that if you say "heavy beer" people will not know that you mean "heavily hopped so too bitter for my taste" '

No, but nor was that the immediate nit-picking I referred to --

"When's the last time you tried craft beer? Heavy IPAs haven't been a thing for a while now. And if the beer is skunky that means it was stored improperly"

-- when virtualguthrie had in fact expressed a personal experience, and an observation of a trend. (Which "makes sense" readily enough to many others, without them asking a bunch of specific beers to be named, while standing on one foot.)

I get that some people are thrilled at the profusion of new beers, but not the defensiveness when parts of the deluge aren't to everyone's taste.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

Robert Lauriston: "Oh, you're talking about bottles in a store"

Well, yes, as a part of a side point that spun off the 9351393 comment, where I mentioned youngish beer geeks who are up on recent beer trends, but also unconscious of beers NOT part of recent trends.

But the accurate, main, problem, which several people have cited in this thread (although others seem to argue that it's somehow not a problem), I've experienced in beer pubs where the bartender is boastful of having this week's new fashionable brewery, yet I must do real searching and tasting to find a pleasant tart malty beer, suitable for multiple rounds, as are many British ales, saisons, beers everyone knows and drinks in Germany, etc. etc., -- which used to be easier to find -- and yes, can be found in some good newer beer pubs too -- but lately give the impression of being crowded out by the trendy, heavy, hoppy, alcoholic, or bizarre.

virtualguthrie expressed something similar here, and was promptly nit-picked on details -- yet virtualguthrie's observation was solid, and is NOT uncommon among people I know.

Chinese restaurant trends 2014

hyperbowler, your linked thread mentions "Sichuan and Hunan cuisine continue to gain in popularity" and this thread acknowledges that to be part of a longer trend.

But I'd caution you about reading too much trend into recent years, because Sichuan and Hunan restaurants were such a Hot Thing here already in their first big wave in the 1970s (unlike parts of the US that just recently got them), and have ebbed and flowed constantly since. I'd be surprised if there were fewer than, say, 30 Bay Area Sichuanese-kitchen restaurants by 1980. I frequented some of them, others were actively discussed by the food journalists at the time (I may still have clippings). Some didn't use "Szechuan" (long the common US spelling) in their names, and some used other variants (e.g. Albany's Chin Szchwan -- which, BTW, was part of a mainstream Bay-Area Top Restaurants list around 1982).

I don't know how reliably you can find counts or opening dates for recent years online, given both the name inconsistencies (e.g. two Sichuanese kitchens that closed near me in recent years had no hint of Sichuan in their names) and limitations of anecdotal reports. Details provided on Y*lp are especially unreliable.

All this comment is prompted by your first graph, whose simple-looking trends, extrapolated backward, might imply that Sichuan restaurants here started from zero around 2002! I believe a complete, decades-long graph would show ups and downs (and like all restaurant genres, turnover), but the full data would be quite a task to research.

Helping a sweet tooth discover the Bay Area... (Oakland/ Berkeley/ SF)

Nice looking list!

Trivia note, FYI: Fat Apple's (Berkeley) opened under its original name of Fat Albert's (on Grove Street, itself later renamed MLK), but became obliged by some trademark to change its name to Fat Apples (just as Rolling Rock brewery had to rename itself Triple Rock, some year later). The El Cerrito location came later.

Some locals still refer to it occasionally as Fat Albert's.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

Yes, Josh, that specific Belgian niche has long existed. Along with some other European beer variants that have NOT caught on or become fads here yet.

But try to understand me please. The me-too novelty US beer labels I mean in previous post are hardly many hundreds of years old, nor do I expect them to endure any fraction of that much longer.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

Also, Josh, I didn't refer earlier to bartenders not knowing their microbrews (I agree that's a problem too), but bartenders who DO know their microbrews, yet don't realize that Bass was an "IPA" before any of them.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

See, relizabeth, I know exactly what you mean (and IMO, so does anyone else who has visited any real range of such places in the Bay Area AND is open to the observation). And I could readily name some of them -- and won't, since it'd single out those uncharitably, and I (too) find various merits in them, separate from the style thing. Doesn't bother me, but I can see how it'd put some reasonable people off.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

No, bigwheel042, you misread me. You just named 20-odd beer styles at one pub, many of which I'd probably consider "interesting," and with staying power.

I referred to the several HUNDRED different bottle labels crowding the shelves of my local "beer store." Many of them copy-cats, or with double-digit alcohol (without the rest of the flavor profile needed to balance it), or Novelty Items -- flavored with fruits or other things far removed from the traditional grain, yeast, water, and hops.

A great many of which, for my money, won't be around (or missed) in another five years. (If they traded a stock, or index, based on a cross-section of currently offered beer-oid beverage labels, I'd buy "put" options on it.)

No knead bread - large loaves and dutch oven size

Congratulations (by the way) on posting the millionth-numbered Chowhound thread (link URL is .../topics/1000000). Something of a milestone.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

You really don't consider the US small-brewery labels seriously overcrowded? Let's revisit that point in a few more years.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

"to proclaim that there's some broad exclusion of beer styles other than IPA is to engage in some pretty serious hyperbole."

I for one referred to a class of youngish beer geeks as unconscious not of beer styles besides *IPA* but rather, beer styles beyond fairly recent trends. Which as goldangl just mentioned, embrace endless eager labels and flash and chatter, far beyond the number of beers that're really interesting. Thus just a few years ago (certainly recenter than early 2000s), fashionable beer geeks seemed to chase after high alcohol for its own sake, whether or not it tasted any good.

Ironically for most of the last 130 years the most widely known beer labeled an "IPA" was Bass Ale. A data point that has been, generally, completely off the radar of modern-beer-knowledgeable bartenders when I ask them for lighter-styled IPA suggestions.

Amazing and fairly easy appetizer to bring to xmas eve?

Bacon-wrapped dates were mentioned already, but in the bacon-wrapped genre the best thing I've ever encountered (and it was easy to reproduce) was whole (NOT sliced) canned crunchy water chestnuts, each wrapped in half a strip of bacon and roasted (350 F or so) until the bacon is cooked. Spear each on a toothpick (right after cooking, IIRC) for easy handling.

Dec 23, 2014
eatzalot in Home Cooking

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

I was describing places I'VE been, mostly peninsula (cited in various CH threads, recent years); but even beyond beer-pubs, the general micro- and craft-brewery market, which has seemed for a while to be, as they say in solution chemistry, "supersaturated" (an unstable state).

In a newish local shop selling nothing but bottled beers (considered a beer geeks' paradise), there were many hundred labels, often less than five years old. Yet it was a challenge to the knowledgeable clerks to recommend things along the lines of the satisfying British and German ales so routinely and prominently available in the '90s at BevMo, and in the '80s at BevMo's Bay-Area predecessors (Liquor Barn and earlier still, Asgard).

This is a sub-topic, started by virtualguthrie, of this thread. But Mission's title question here first reminded me of Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt) in "Casablanca," who wants Police Prefect Renault (Claude Rains) to close the popular hang-out.

Renault: "But everyone's having such a good time!"

Strasser: "Yes. Much too good a time."

Muracci's - 2nd location now in Los Altos & open Sat + dinners.

"it closes on the early side and it's a little hard to find."

Kobe Curry is literally, "180 Castro rear." Face Shabuway (180 Castro), look down the alley to its left; you'll see Kobe's sign and entrance (the two restaurants share a kitchen). For sit-down dining, use the sidewalk tables for Shabuway: both Kobe and Shabuway servers attend them.

I 've used Kobe for lunches (11:30-2), sit-down and take-out.

Anyone else getting tired of "new" Craft Beer,Gourmet Burgers & 3rd Wave Coffee joints in Bay Area?

"Most of the beer centric places are focused on heavy beers and for some reason, light drinkable beers are in the minority."

That too has been my anecdotal experience, especially at newer places.

Those places have also been most popular with a notably narrow demographic group of 20-somethings, majority male. Beer geeks in that group, in recent years, seem focused narrowly on certain styles (double this, ultra-hoppy that -- specific variants go rapidly in and out of fashion, witness Josh's "Heavy IPAs haven't been a thing for a while now," yet they were the only thing "anyone" was drinking not long ago). All to the broad exclusion not just of drinking, but even knowing much about, beer styles that were already popular in the longtime beer-drinking cultures of Europe before those geeks were born, and will likely still be popular there in future generations.

It was almost easier to find a lighter drinkable style in Bay Area beer pubs 15-20 years ago, though the total number of brands sold was much smaller.

Muracci's - 2nd location now in Los Altos & open Sat + dinners.

A little closer to Muracci's 2 than Cupertino is Kobe Curry, opened May in downtown MV (180 Castro rear) in an unusual format, no indoor seating, uses outdoor table spaces shared with parent restaurant Shabuway (best not to visit during rain, maybe) -- Have you tried it?

Kobe Curry is among the diverse little empire of a Japanese restaurant family that runs many places around the peninsula, and recently got local publicity for opening a novel Ramen-Izakaya place (ramen at lunch, izakaya at night) nearby at 152 Castro, a former Taqueria La Bamba (Salvadoran) site.

After posting to that Kobe Curry thread, I tried the competing product at Muracci's and then again a couple more times at Kobe. Unlike Muracci's which had a diverse Japanese menu, Kobe focuses just on Japanese curry rice ("kare raisu") plates with options, actually a wider "curry" menu than Muracci's. So to answer a Q. originally posed in the linked Kobe thread: Looking past some server screw-ups at the newer restaurant, we all preferred Kobe's curry rice -- the sauce itself seemed more substantial, based on a fine curried beef/mushroom stew with beef tenderloin bits.

Cooking Papa (Mountain View)

Has been closed for a couple of weeks for "remodeling." Maybe K K knows (as is often true) more details?

However, shortly before then, a group lunch (which I missed :-( tried a wide range of things and loved them. Including Marinated Tofu, Roasted Pork Belly, Steamed Beef Balls w/ Orange Peels, and at least one of those Rice Noodle Rolls (RNRs), which one friend, who grew up in another part of the US, dubs "chitterlings" from the visual resemblance.

I've been to the MV site 6-7 times since it opened in May and been pretty satisfied overall. One tip: If you're new to the wide range of Rice Noodle Rolls offered, don't order a lot of them at one meal because their similiarities can then overpower their differences.

Muracci's - 2nd location now in Los Altos & open Sat + dinners.

This appears to be the basic Muracci's-Los-Altos thread (stravaigint started a second, brief one in 2013 ), therefore the natural place to post this info of its imminent CLOSURE -- attributed to "rising value of Los Altos real estate" (Muracci's owners quoted as not being offered lease renewal).

The report also sketches the Muracci restaurants' overall history:

New Profile Setting: Collapse Previously Read Comments (also defaults to "See All" page)

Thanks for info!

I notice that the URL format also recently changed, for links to individual comments. These are often used in posts, for cross-references. I haven't tested this yet, but I hope it's backward-compatible -- i.e, that the many thousands of already posted links will continue to work. That's important to the integrity and value of the existing site content. Some organizations (e.g. the US Food and Drug Administration) have neglected it when updating their sites, causing countless links to and within their website to "break."

New Bay Area French bakery chain: La PanotiQ

And the downtown Mountain View site is poised to open in a few days (I looked inside and talked to owners). And getting journalistic notice already.

It was something of a remodeling job -- the space was long an office (a Scientology office) so the facilities, plumbing, etc. had to be re-worked for a restaurant.

(Separately, soupçon posted that the Marina location opened:

South Bay Dining

Jared Gallagher took over from Joey Elenterio just around that time (a year or two back) -- local news coverage is online about Gallagher's arrival, if you want more. Elenterio had seemed pretty fired up when he started, but as I understand he had to leave rather soon for personal reasons unrelated to TJ (spouse relocation or something).

The reason I mention the ceaseless chef changes is that more than for maybe any other restaurant I've seen, they've rendered TJ a _constantly_ changing dining experience. That's the one true constant. It's impossible to fully, intuitively, grasp how important that factor is there until you've experienced several chefs in succession, and how deeply each changes things. So I caution anyone who tries to characterize the place from an experience with a previous chef, it's reliably misleading -- which becomes obvious with more experience of TJ.

After the 1994 death of TJ ("Tom") himself, there were two brief chefs, one leaving quite abruptly (again for unrelated personal reasons). Her sous, Andrew Trice, took over in 96 and managed a steady style (French comfort food was his special interest, even taught classes). Kirk Bruderer succeeded him and maintained (IMO) a lower-key, more modern-international style (more fresh local ingredients) - that was really the transition from TJ's "French" restaurant roots. Both of those people (at 3+ years) had long tenures by later standards.

Josh Skenes brought a totally new, edgy direction, raw seafood and things, then Chris Kostow with an experienced hand -- he'd been around the block a bit -- brilliant, the outstanding chef of the place's history, in my experience. (Each of those two now, of course, has Michelin *** elsewhere.) Then came Chemel, his acrimonious departure, and three others in sequence.

At points after most of those took over, I heard one or more people comment that Chej TJ seemed to be hitting its stride, to've "arrived," etc. It has seen bursts of heavy publicity, including "Gourmet." It may too have "lost" its stride on occasion, but so many very good chefs have worked there (especially in their young days, before being "famous") that I view the turnover as an opportunity for real value. The sort of thing that will appeal to diners who like to gamble a little. (If you want constancy, there are several more conservative high-end restaurants north and south.) The same factor makes TJ defy any _durable_ characterization at all.

ETA: Gallagher arrived in 2012 (written up locally Dec. 2012). 2014 article on what IS consistent there:

Palm Springs Splurge Meal

Ridge, I'm guessing you refer to Johannes (no apostrope -- as in "Johannes Brahms" or in this case, chef's first name), on Indian Canyon in PS.

I think Johannes should be appreciated for what it is: a respectable outpost of real Viennese cuisine (Wiener Küche) -- rare enough in the US, let alone California. That cuisine can be fascinating in its own right, it's one of Europe's deep comfort-food traditions (of many). A classic US book by Wechsberg describes some of the cuisine and its origins, here's a 2007 CH posting referring to Vienna itself, but also the book:

Being fond of that cooking (which is rare here in the US), I send people to Johannes for it if they're in that part of California. Johannes also has served as a focal point for the local (i.e. southeastern-California) food and wine world, so if you have contact with local gastronomes, wine trade, etc., don't be surprised if you encounter the same people also at that restaurant. In a town that's a major Winter tourist destination, those details aren't of interest to all diners, but still if they are of interest, Johannes is worth knowing.

Dec 18, 2014
eatzalot in California