eatzalot's Profile

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Anybody know good sushi places south of San Francisco?

I know nothing about such a "time-honored tradition" (anyway the whole thing about Steve Sawa is his _departure_ from general US sushi expectations, his uniqueness in this region) but regardless of that, to know where Sawa actually fits into your own sushi preferences or notions requires trying the place. I'm surprised to see someone opine about "best consistent quality south of San Francisco" or even "the Bay Area" who hasn't yet tried the most famous sushi restaurant in the South Bay.

My other point was that the OP avowedly had Sunnyvale-area sushi options to choose from. That's like many queries on food sites like this one; advice most helpful to the questioner is quite different from advice appropriate to someone asking where in the world to find the best X. Yet people still often go into broad-brush criticisms based on somewhere distant they've experienced, neither accessible nor relevant to the questioner at hand. No matter how anyone may rationalize that impulse, it's a quirk of these threads, much mentioned offline.

Regarding Sushi Tomi, with all this criticism from goldangl, I feel it proper to point out (1) the place was in the "Top Tier" of Sushi Monster's venerated list that goldangl also cited (and Sushi Tomi hasn't changed appreciably in 15 years, I visit it periodically); (2) goldangl mentions "the waits are long" which, as I explained upthread, is demonstrably untrue except at certain peak-popularity times; therefore I gather goldangl's experience was limited to when Tomi was most crowded (the best time to avoid restaurants in my experience, and even the theme of an entire book on restaurants, ISBN 0385182201). So, other peoples' impressions may, as _always,_ differ.

Anybody know good sushi places south of San Francisco?

Sadly, many Bay Area restaurants of all kinds are mediocre by WORLD standards, but this OP's canvas was merely greater Sunnyvale -- and as I mentioned, it has other options too.

I hope serious sushi fans will also try _Sawa's_ unique omakase. But please, DO go there with someone who knows the place, or at the very least, call ahead and approach it open-mindedly. The guy is so defensive against American shopping-mall "sushi," and the hordes of customers who derive all their perspective from those sources, and who expect Steve Sawa to accommodate their prejudices, that he can seem almost chilly if you drop in as a stranger without suitable ice-breaking communication, introduction, etc.

Goat Cuisine in the Bay Area

First, my understanding is that goat dishes are mainstream meat cookery in India, but have traditionally been adapted to LAMB in US South-Asian restaurants and cookbooks -- traditionally imparting a distorted impression here about prevalence of the two meats there. But that's changing, as goat becomes common here.

Second, it's especially changing among the huge number of South-Asian restaurants in the southern Bay Area. You heard a lot less about goat specialties there just a few years ago.

One very popular, fairly new place specializing in Chettinad cuisine, where I've had exquisite goat stews, is Chennai Kings (named for a cricket team) in Mountain View near the downtown (about six blocks from train station). The restaurant is famous locally among expats for not compromising or "numbing down" spices for a perceived non-Indian customer market, as some do. Another recent restaurant which is oddball for being a hole in the wall, with good food but minimal seating -- many people do take-out -- is the Pakistani Zareen's (located near Google). I haven't had its goat specialties yet, but a dining companion recommended them at a meal there.

New Bay Area French bakery chain: La PanotiQ

I've tried various savory and sweet things in visits to this new MV location. Need more experience for serious opinion, and also it just opened Monday. A little new-employee confusion there, and they also just started with a new tablet-computer POS system (no one very fluent with it) -- but nothing serious or unusual for a new café.

Reasonably impressive so far, new additions to its neighborhood, pricing not too precious. Liked a sandwich (they use a French sandwich style, with narrow baguette baked in convection ovens behind the display counter and made into sandwiches using various charcuterie meats). Tried a couple of the endless sweet pastry range, there's a fine simple tarte Tatin. Many more looked interesting, including cherry clafoutis (card described it as having flan-like dough, though having cooked this homey folk dessert from French recipes, I've always called the typical formulation a crêpe batter; anyway haven't yet tried PanotiQ's, nor know if they followed French folk wisdom of leaving the cherries "on the bone," i.e. pit, for more flavor).

"Beignet" in this display case resembles more the word's standard (French) meaning, i.e. fritter, since they're filled (unlike the offshoot New Orleans sense of "beignet," which some Americans encounter). Yet this pastry looks like neither: I couldn't see evidence of deep frying, they look like jelly-filled doughnuts with baked pastry but again, have to try it.

Serious tea service for a casual café, and diverse coffee drinks, pretty good cappuccino.

Of several pâte-feuilletée products (incl. "salmon in puff pastry"), so far I only sampled a croissant, and that from the first batch Monday morning. It could have been crisper but was otherwise v. sound and I have to revisit, see what's typical.

New Bay Area French bakery chain: La PanotiQ

Just lack of experience yet? (We also hear -zero- on this board about many new restaurants in my usual part of the Bay Area, simply because it's thinly reported in general on CH.)

I will say in perusing other online comment sites, I saw auspicious indications about croissants from PanotiQ. Since it's a genre so routinely hokey and disappointing here compared to its home soil, more good sources would always be welcome. SF is luckier than most of the Bay Area in its artisanal bakeries, but Panotiq stands potentially to spread more authentic basic French baking to arts of the Bay Area where other local bakery chains have emphatically failed to do so.

Jarlsberg?

Yes, of course US has a tradition of genre naming. Labels like "Champagne," "Sauternes," "Rhine wine," "Burgundy, " "Parmesan," and "Swiss cheese" are used almost meaninglessly, in ways illegal in Europe. ("Real Parmesan cheese!" shouts the label of a Kraft™ frozen pizza with only US ingredients, raising the question of what would ever qualify as UN-real Parmesan.)

But formal "classifications" or not, in my 50 years' experience with all these cheese types I've encountered batches of Jarlsberg, Emmentaler, and Gruyère that overlap each other in firmness and moisture content, depending on age, batch, and temperature.

MY point is that in reality, regardless of theory, the US-made cheese labeled "Swiss" in every supermarket or sandwich shop isn't very close to any of those three true European types, its simpler and more bitter flavor being an inevitable distinction; while in other physical attributes like softness _range_ and presence of holes, it can share characteristics with any of the three, certainly including Jarlsberg.

Consequently, if you asked random American non-cheese-experts picked off the street what familiar US mass-market cheese genre Jarslberg most resembled, 100 out of 100 would answer "Swiss" -- and that's the only "Swiss" connection anyone earlier meant in this thread. No need to read anything more into it.

Jan 18, 2015
eatzalot in Cheese

Cheese Import Ban

Looks like the same issue explained in more detail (by cheese-industry people) in the link cited _within_ Melanie's earlier posting on this issue a month ago:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/998679

Jan 18, 2015
eatzalot in Cheese

Jarlsberg?

emintey: "Jarlsberg is NOT Swiss cheese. . . Having holes doesnt make it Swiss"

No, not in any serious sense. It doesn't come from Switzerland, isn't marketed in the US as "Swiss," and is distinctive in style from the two best-known Swiss-produced cheeses (Gruyère, Emmentaler).

On the other hand, Jarlsberg fits within a broader style that embraces both of those true Swiss-made products and also the traditional US-made "generic" cheese sold as "Swiss" (a cheese that has always struck me as a bitter, less subtle cousin of Emmentaler). Also, Jarlsberg's Norwegian origins have clear roots in Switzerland and its cheesemaking.

From the Wikipedia entry (which, for a food topic, is unusually well documented):
"[Jarlsberg] shares similarities with Emmental, introduced to Vestfold [modern name of Jarlsberg county, Norway] by Swiss cheese makers during the 1830s.[2] . . . The [modern] recipe was developed from formulae originating with Swiss cheesemakers who moved to Norway in that time.[1]"

I grew up having Jarlsberg at home in the US (SF Bay Area) from the 1960s, and after first tasting it, always preferred it to US "Swiss" genre cheese.

Jan 18, 2015
eatzalot in Cheese

Foie Gras Is Legal in California Again!

Exactly.

IMO, framing the whole subject as if "force" feeding were inherent in FG, or as if the issue was whether the fowl "enjoy gavage," illustrates "emotionally charged" reductive arguments.

The local experience I reported earlier demonstrated how ravenous ducks become, once generously fed. (That many people opining on this subject appear _unaware_ of that is part of the problem.) Further feeding can be more or less humane, according to details, but regardless, the ducks clamor to be fed and it produces foie gras.

You could have seen this for yourself before the Northern-California farm was shut down.

throw-back saturday: old-style veal parmigiana

Yes, the "veal" was mass-produced breaded patties, perforated or even chopped, as you describe. I forgot the salad (very simple, like iceberg lettuce, oil, and vinegar). I loved that hearty clear vegetable-beef soup and have tried occasionally to reproduce it, without success.

Not high cuisine, but many good times were connected with Bertola's visits. (I remember now trying the new location up north in the 80s soon after the move, finding the food approximately the same, but not the atmosphere.)

Durable, real, unpretentious good-value Americana restaurants like that are to be cherished where they still exist. I think the prototype is Durgin-Park in Boston (traditionally the oldest operating restaurant in the US or as the menu put it with New England understatement, "Established before you were born"). I haven't been there either in 30 years, but at last report it was still bustling, common tables, serving enough "Indian pudding" every few years to float the Queen Mary.

Coq Au Vin, Traditional recipe with fresh blood anywhere in the Bay Area?

Yes, with any fresh slaughtering you'd naturally have blood. For most of my lifetime, poultry were sold live in SF Chinatown and slaughtered on the spot when bought. The practice was banned (or driven out of sight anyway) when NON-Chinese customers complained about it.

Here's another side of the refrigerator-freezer spread that most people haven't heard: According to a Stanford gastroenterologist of my acquaintance, primary malignant tumors of the human _stomach_ are increasingly rare worldwide, and although the exact cause isn't known, their incidence falls consistently with the introduction of refrigerators in everyday use. Evidently some subtle spoilage mechanism, mycotoxin, or the like prevails when food can't be refrigerated.

Coq Au Vin, Traditional recipe with fresh blood anywhere in the Bay Area?

I for one haven't tried every restaurant in France, so can't comment on its availability there. (I'd look for it there in farming areas, Burgundy has some good rural restaurants with old specialties city folk have seldom heard of. Some of them downright medieval.) Of course the Tour d'Argent in Paris still uses the duckling's blood in its signature freshly-pressed duck dish, but that's integral to the dish, particular to just one restaurant.

But the query got me looking for traditional recipes in standard published sources.

Escoffier doesn't mention Coq au Vin, but then he wouldn't: the "Guide Culinaire" omitted most folk cooking in favor of "high" cuisine. Saint-Ange's traditional home cookbook (1927) lists no "Coq au Vin," but says some general things about "l'emploi du sang de la bête pour liaison finale de la sauce" in chicken dishes, as for hares. The 1961 anglophone Larousse G. reproduces an "old recipe" for coq au vin whose last step is to thicken the sauce with the chicken's blood mixed with the pounded liver and some brandy -- and don't cook the sauce further after that liaison, or it will curdle. "Lacking the blood, the sauce may be thickened with 'kneaded butter' " (i.e. including flour).

My sense always has been that blood is a convenient byproduct on farms, likely to be used there because it's free; but in metropolitan French restaurants, per the query (despite exceptions like the Tour d'Argent) other thickeners are just more convenient.

throw-back saturday: old-style veal parmigiana

Wow. That was a standard at the old, iconic Bertola's in Oakland for literally generations of East Bay folk (in my family, from the 1940s through the 1980s at least). A family-style Italian-American restaurant with limited main-course menu (most people I knew selected the "veal," and most meals were around $5 in the 1970s), endless hearty rather peppery soup (made with meat broth, tomatoes, and lots of cabbage), freshly baked bread, spaghetti served with the main course. Cheap cocktails in the busy bar.

Millions of meals were eaten in that bustling place, it would be perfect for this query --but it disappeared some years ago (90s?).

In this day of fashionable ingredients, Vietnamese restaurants, and young diners to whom "dumpling" evokes dim sum, such old-time US standards are scarce.

Foie Gras Is Legal in California Again!

calumin, again you set up a straw man by introducing an interpretation of your own ("characterize the arguments against force feeding as anthropomorphizing"), then proceeding from there. Yes, that would be unfair if it were my meaning -- it wasn't. That's the problem with so much of the catch-phrase-laden presupposition in arguments over this topic.

In this case, it starts with interposing the charged phrase "force" feeding. Yet birds are also (a) fattened via "tube" feeding that isn't "forced," it mimics processes in normal swallowing of fish and feeding of young; (b) fattened without any aid such as tubes. (a) reflects the avian physiology differences that FG critics love to ignore (the actual "anthropomorphizing" I referred to). Moreover, "a half-kilo of food shot through a pneumatic feeding tube in 2-3 seconds" is another straw man: one of those demonized European practices not employed in the pre-ban California FG farm, AFAIK; in any event, a practice NOT fundamental to FG production, so please don't take it for granted like that. I already posted here earlier about witness accounts of CA FG ducks frantic to feed THEMSELVES, with or without help. The very opposite of "avoidance behavior."

The distinctions I'm trying to point out have nothing to do with imposing assumptions like "if you're a francophile (or a foodie)" but rather, trying to understand the complexities of poultry farming in this context, vs. trying not to understand them (i.e., reducing them to charged clichés).

Foie Gras Is Legal in California Again!

That's fine too -- and I certainly resonate with your larger point there.

However, I don't "think that the only people who think gavage is cruel are extremists with an anti-meat, anti-pet agenda." I don't even assert it.

I objected to argument by misinformation and dubious sources, to deliberately oversimplifying a complex reality.

Publicizing the issue in California via disturbing photos from practices in other countries (not California).

Anthropomorphizing without apparent comprehension of bird physiology differences, or that well-cared-for birds eagerly accept overfeeding (including via tubes), without evidence of distress or "cruelty." Or that fat livers can be achieved even without any tube-feeding (the sheer avoidance of that point, as being risky to simplistic propaganda, is telling).

In general, taking their cues _uncritically_ from Pacelle & Co. -- thus becoming stooges for someone ELSE's fanatic agenda.

New Alexander's patisserie venture, downtown Mountain View

This place has steadily diversified its offerings since opening. I've been there maybe 15 times so far, for take-out or occasionally to eat there with coffee in the small, rather garishly appointed sit-down area. A visiting friend was suitably entertained during a post-dinner dessert visit by the loud discussion behind us of a couple of Young Silicon-Valley Entrepreneurs (straight from Central Casting), carrying on about how many millions they'd allocate for this or that, and how much they'd make out of it themselves.

Among other diversifications, Alexander's Patisserie has been making BREAD for a month or so, offering various small levain loaves etc. in its display cases.

I've found the dessert pastries lean toward extremely refined and/or rich (though one friend has become addicted to the little canelés, possibly the least rich of Alexander's pastries per-se, which isn't saying much). Some sweet offerings (like "l'orange") consist mainly of intensely flavored dessert creams layered with different forms of chocolate -- surely as much fat, overall, as in a stick of butter.

For simpler, less over-the-top dessert pastries, the popular Olympus Bakery-Café a block north (near the train station, same side of Castro) offers a rotating selection of often very fine European dessert pastries from its master baker, the proprietor's father (and always, Turkish specialties like multiple kinds of fresh baklava). Directly aross Castro from Alexander's is the modest, hole-in-the-wall Hong Kong Bakery, whose steady inventory includes lots of sponge-cake products (including swirl roll cakes, whole or sliced, with various fillings), averaging maybe a tenth the average fat content of Alexander's sweets.

And the long-pending other new specialty dessert bakery nearby, La Panotiq at 331 Castro (a new chain with a separate Chowhound thread) has been on the verge of opening, delayed by holidays I guess. I happened to speak to two owners who were checking the fixturing (and interviewing new hires) three weeks ago -- it's more of a full restaurant, with substantial seating area and food menu, than Alexander's.

Foie Gras Is Legal in California Again!

calumin, I for one am much less a "foie-gras supporter" than misinformation opposer. This crusade relied on misinformation and spin -- people (even now, here!) citing the likes of Pacelle (with his avowedly anti-meat, anti-pet agenda, his utterly pretentious "Humane Society of the US" http://www.humanewatch.org/the_humane... ) -- as if they were credible information sources. (HSUS was exposed as a massive, self-serving, lobbying and fundraising empire -- whose very purpose most Americans misconstrue when polled -- long before this FG campaign. HSUS paid millions in a racketeering case brought under the anti-mafia RICO Act: http://www.humanewatch.org/hsus-and-c... )

Playing successfully to human instincts for both compassion and self-righteousness, the crusade (1) popularized misinformation ("mechanical force-feeding," "diseased state"); (2) thoroughly evaded the subjects of natural and non-forcefed FG production (after all, that would undermine the desired ugly message); and (3) likely RAISED California FG consumption, just as Chicago's temporary ban did there. By calling FG forbidden fruit, and bringing it to the attention of diners who'd never have noticed it otherwise. This countereffectiveness is very characteristic of self-righteous prohibition crusades, whose advocates own responsibility for the resulting consumption increase -- a consequence of their actions.

Foie Gras Is Legal in California Again!

Wild and farmed fowl differ in many ways anyway (as those who've compared them are well aware). I have in my freezer right now some ragù from wild ducks bagged late 2014 and very gamy.

The point was that fattened duck livers per-se occur quite without any human intervention, and routinely. Very contrary to the clueless knee-jerk claim that it's somehow a "diseased" state. (Though I wouldn't be surprised if it makes sense to some CA legislator to try to outlaw the ducks doing it themselves, for their "own good.")

Foie Gras Is Legal in California Again!

In the 1990s, when CH was starting and right around when the fresh-Foie-Gras fad came to US restaurants (for decades prior, FG had been a lower-key item, generally served cold with toast etc.), some Bay-Area chefs I know visited the Sonoma farm that was raising FG ducks locally, to check out the animals' treatment for themselves.

What they reported is remarkably incongruent with everything the media and "animal rights activists" focus on. The birds were already pretty fat, but they mobbed the human feeder who appeared with a supply of food. It sounded like a scene worthy of a certain Hitchcock film. The visitors came away concerned that the feeder (not the ducks) might be the one to worry about. (Why do you never see THOSE images being posted when this subject comes up?)

Subsequently, FG was identified as an easy target by the likes of Wayne Pacelle, the very controversial radical vegan activist (on record opposing pet ownership, not to mention meat production) who gained control of the commendable-sounding Humane Society of the US, a fund-raising empire unconnected to local animal shelters (though Pacelle exploits his organization's name so effectively that news media assume he somehow speaks for all those shelters). http://www.humanewatch.org/humane-soc... The imagery of mechanized force-feeding used by the likes of Pacelle's group to whip up public outrage over FG were from overseas, showing practices not in use with California FG ducks -- but the innocent citizens who took the images to heart didn't question them. With rare exceptions, those people had never even heard of FG before the California ban campaign, and got their whole perspective on it from the unscrupulous propaganda of partisans like Pacelle. The whole thing is a case study in demagoguery. (Critics point out that Pacelle's goal is eliminating all meat production, and that FG was an easy start.)

Ducks and geese produce FG themselves in nature, when they fatten up for migratory flights.

Chinese restaurant trends 2014

The 1970s Sichuanese restaurateur trend wasn't uniform around the US at all. (A few years ago on another CH board, some people cited the arrival of the first Sichuanese restaurants in their region a decade or two ago, and from that experience assumed -- and insisted -- that it was the first arrival of Sichuanese restaurants in the US; whence my comment about not experiencing that advent in earlier times elsewhere.)

I remember a sea change in the Bay-Area Chinese restaurant scene starting in the late 1960s. New restaurants with far more diverse and "Chinese" menus were springing up. I came to associate it with a new wave of immigrant Chinese entrepreneurs and cooks from agriculturally rich provinces (Sichuan, Hunan, Canton), not to forget Hong Kong and Taiwan -- possibly related to the immigration-law change.

Tadich updates? [San Francisco]

"I think Doris Muscatine's 1963 "Cooks Tour of San Francisco" book has a recipe for cioppino allegedly from Tadich."

Alas no (and Doris's book has no index listing under cioppino, but does have a crab cioppino recipe from Sam's Anchor Cafe in Tiburon).

The Tadich chapter does have two recipes given her by the Buich family: "Coney Island clam chowder" and a tomato-leek sauce used for baking fish there since 1910. (Not to mention a bunch of recipes from Trader Vic's, like saté skewers; from India House, vindaloo before many Americans had heard of it; and from Sam Wo, an account of "the liveliest waiter in all the city," with the unforgettable name of Edsel Ford Fung.)

Chinese restaurant trends 2014

"The difference in the 1970s is that there was a lot of "faux" Sichuan food being served, most likely by Taiwanese cooks. . ."

Chandavki, I wrote "Sichuanese kitchen," meaning Sichuanese cooks. I don't know what your experience was of Bay Area Sichuanese restaurants in the 1970s -- indeed, imitation Sichuanese cooking arrived too in Chinese restaurants then (it's now commonplace). But I do know a little about authentic Sichuanese cooking, and I experienced not only a big start of it here in the 1970s, but larger reflections of the trend nationwide too.

It was then that "kung pao chicken" became a new cliché Chinese dish in the US, starting in Sichuanese kitchens, gradually joining the "Americanized" Chinese repertoire. (When I spent time in Boston, one 1970s roommate insisted on learning how to make it well, while college students flocked to Sichuanese restaurants there.) In the popular 1970s cartoon panel "The Now Society," a woman says on the phone "Are you guys hungry? Because we're feeling intensely Szechwanish." Reviewing US eating trends in his 1983 social critique "Class," essayist Paul Fussell wrote that Chinese food was out of fashion, "except for 'Setzuan.' "

So pervasive was the novel fashion for Sichuanese food in the cities where I spent time -- Bay Area foremost -- that when I see someone today disputing its 1970s US advent, I have to assume either they didn't experience those places personally then, or they weren't paying attention.

I don't question the recent migration, but they're hardly pioneers. (In an ironic twist to your comment, when Sichuan-born peninsula restaurateur Lawrence C. C. Chu opened his own restaurant in 1970, he personally decided not to focus on Sichuanese cuisine, so some of his menu might be characterized as "faux" Taiwanese or Cantonese cooking.)

As I wrote above, (real) Sichuanese kitchens have ebbed and flowed _here_ since the 70s. They may be on the rise, but they're hardly any new phenomenon!

patisseries in Bay Area (SF and East Bay) that sell caneles

Prabhakar Ragde: "historically I had good ones at . . . Patisserie Delanghe"

Though a little beyond the OP's (11-months-ago) geographical preference, in case other readers are interested, note that the veteran pastry chef in charge of the flashy new Alexander's Patisserie (the pastry venture, located in downtown Mountain View, of the rapidly growing Alexander's Steakhouse group from silicon valley) is Belgian-born Dries Delanghe, see "Chef" page at http://www.alexanderspatisserie.com/ -- and canelés have been prominent at Alexander's Patisserie almost since it opened. I thought them pretty good, but am no expert. Scroll down on the following page to see (at least in "desktop" view) a photo of them in quantity: https://www.facebook.com/alexanderspa...

I don't know if he was the same Delanghe as at the former Patisserie Delanghe (it isn't mentioned on his bio sketch via 1st link above), but the coincidence caught me eye.

Alexander's Patisserie (besides supplying the group's restaurants, and retail customers in MV) has mentioned plans to sell them wholesale to other vendors, so they may appear elsewhere in the Bay Area.

Tadich updates? [San Francisco]

FWIW, four years is still quite recent on the time scale of Tadich's history!

Best breakfast on the peninsula

Julia, I see that this is your first Chowhound query. If you could offer any more specifics at all (what do you like; what towns of main interest, or not; have you tried anywhere yet on the peninsula; what results looked interesting, or not, from past discussions here that you found via the "Search" feature; etc.), it would greatly aid people to give you useful advice.

Some of us live on the peninsula and know many breakfast restaurants -- but it's much easier to answer a query with some specifics, background, etc. than one phrased only as "best."

(Absent any guidance, my offhand instinct would be to suggest Rick's in downtown Los Altos. Los Altos has, for the peninsula, an unusally heavy concentration of independent breafast places, and Rick's has a modern eclectic menu that many people find worth even a little journey now and then.)

Venerable Ming's (Palo Alto) not closing after all [This just in: Venerable Ming's (Palo Alto)-- closure for reconstruction]

OK I think the latest edited topic title ("... closure for reconstruction") is informative. Ming's long-planned closure for construction was delayed (earlier PA Weekly link: "Originally scheduled to close for construction in March, and then rescheduled for June...") -- point of my original post -- but has now proceeded as reported here in June.

Zippo's Mercury story link reiterates this: "The location will be redeveloped into a new hotel with a new, smaller version of Ming's."

Gluten Free... Overblown, by a lot?

Follow-up to MelMM's links posted earlier today in http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8848...

Thanks MelMM for those excellent references. I especially appreciated the technical papers (the first three) -- relevant information at a much higher quality level than often surfaces in online discussions. (A physician friend complained to me that even publications like "Health letters" sold to the public via the cachet of a prestigious university affiliation, and often created as money-making enterprises within the institution, are routinely written and edited by non-experts, and riddled with misleading information.)

Some highlights:

Rewers's review paper (gastrojournal link) looks at the recent shift in standard diagnostic method from small-bowel biopsy (SBB) to a pair of IgA antibody blood tests (supplemented with gene tests). Rewers again underlines the genetic factor in populations -- celiac disease being "virtually unknown in East Asian populations who also lack this HLA haplotype [while] rates close to those in Europe have been reported from the Middle East and India. Although the disease is believed to be rare in Africa (and in African Americans), the highest prevalence has been reported for Saharavi in North Africa."

One upshot, touched on in a couple of the papers, is that the IgA blood tests by themselves fail to diagnose celiac patients who don't show the antibodies for some reason (e.g. -- the ncbi abstract is more explicit on this -- already following a gluten-free diet; I gather in that case that nothing triggers the immune response that the test looks for).

Maybe the most provocative upshot is Murray's comparison of stored blood samples from 60 years ago to modern samples (all using the antibody screening method), finding an incidence four times higher in the modern population. Murray's comment speaks, I think, to much more than celiac disease:

"Many of the processed foods we eat were not in existence 50 years ago."

Gluten Free... Overblown, by a lot?

FWIW, the 18th-ed. professional Merck Manual (an authoritative physicians' reference) -- this edition was pub'd in 2006 (there's likely another recently out and it would help if someone with access could check for any change in the reported statistics I'll quote) -- has an extensive section on celiac sprue and related malabsorption disorders.

It describes a celiac sprue (gluten enteropathy) prevalence varying with population group, because it's hereditary. From 1 in 150 in southwest Ireland to 1/5000 in North America. (Also, 10 to 20% co-incidence in first-degree relatives and 2:1 female:male incidence ratio.) Confirmed diagnosis requires both a specific small-bowel biopsy and correlative factors (since the characteristic cell abnormalities found by biopsy can also come from tropical sprue, lactose intolerance, and other disease states with separate origins).

Surely, incidence rates are of less importance to celiac patients than what to do about it. It seems now that many people who even demonstrably lack celiac disease still benefit from diets lower in wheat, rye, etc. for other reasons (whether the cause was clinically identified or not; anyone who's looked into related subjects knows that a great deal of SELF-diagnosis is completely wrong as to cause, but that doesn't alter the reality of disease symptoms!). And (a positive theme surfacing periodically in this thread): gluten avoidance (regardless of reasons, or medical bases) is prompting many food producers and restaurants now to expand their gluten-free offerings, benefitting celiac patients.

san jose recommendations

Good to hear it's still going strong!

Chelokababi is well representative of the diverse (some say "ethnic") restaurants that characterized South Bay dining already, long before Chowhound started in 1997. Some of them date to the 1950s (e.g. Ming's, Pezzella's Villa Napoli, Frankie Johnnie & Luigi Too). Others like Chelokababi (and Armenian Gourmet, El Calderon, Chef Chu's, La Bodeguita del Medio, Habana-Cuba, Le Petit Bistro, the Afghani places [Kabul and its spin-off Afghani House]) aren't quite as old, but were around enough decades to become local institutions. Indeed a few of those recently closed, as their proprietors decided it was time to retire.

The South Bay does see some turnover of course. But it's easy to forget right now that except for boom times (late 90s and again now), it has been cheaper to open restaurants in Santa Clara County than, say, San Francisco. Both rents and commercial real estate were cheaper. And if you bought property for a restaurant in the 1960s or 70s, not only did it cost a tiny fraction of what it would today, but it's paid for, and the property tax is at a reduced rate that lags far behind inflation.

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.