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Best Chinese available for takeout in the Menlo Park area

I agree that Da Sichuan >> Fey for food. Converse for decor.

I talked to one of the folks at Crouching Tiger on my one visit (with a very large group) and they told me that you can ask for Sichuan spicy.

Best Chinese available for takeout in the Menlo Park area

I really enjoy Da Sichuan in Palo Alto on El Camino near Page Mill. The cooking is complex although leans more robust than refined.

Breakfast around Union Square [San Francisco]

Crumb cake donut is king for me. So good. And I don't usually even like cake donuts. Apple fritter can be very good fresh as well.

ISO: Arthur from Hill Farmstead in the Bay area

You picked what some consider the best brewery in the world to find a replacement for. There just aren't many good alternatives. Sante happens to be one of the few, IMO.

I would say that it's a huge dropoff from Sante to any of the other local breweries. Discretion can be decent, as can Corralitos (not opened when that article was published). The rest are, for me, below the bar though I don't have sufficient experience with Hop Dogma (only tried a couple of their offerings) and New Bohemia (whose focus is lagers so probably not the right style).

If one is in the area and beer-interested, check out Lupulo (downtown), Aptos St. BBQ or Beer Thirty (Soquel). They often have lots of great beer on tap, including (to make the post more board-relevant) Bay Area notables such as Cellarmaker, Faction, Rare Barrel (occasionally), and Altamont.

ISO: Arthur from Hill Farmstead in the Bay area

Agreed with Spatlese's suggestion of Sante Adairius as a more locally available replacement. Even in nearby beer-soaked Waterbury, VT, you can usually only find one or two different HF beers, with Edward being the most common (for good reason - it's excellent).

To the list of Sante beers above in the appropriate vein, I'd add Nonna's Blend. I cracked a bottle of #6 a couple of days ago and it was amazing. Saison Bernice and Cask 200 are consistently terrific as well.

One beer you can find in local stores that is really good and also similar is BFM 225. BFM = Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes, and the label looks the expression for "square root of 225". It's not cheap, but then again you can pick it up today and not have to drive too far. Here's the beer advocate listing for it: http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/prof...

Saison Brett from Boulevard is also really good and in the ballpark.

Santa Cruz and Surrounding areas...trying to give a gift card to which restaurant?

La Posta - pasta dishes
Bantam - pizza

Jun 11, 2015
bouncepass in California

Dinner Tuesday evening (8PMish) somewhere near SFO?

+1 for Pizzeria Delfina.

In case others have a similar query, I also really like Yakitori Kokko in San Mateo. Open late (11:30 pm most days) and the food is excellent. I thought the grilled fish and skewers were the standout dishes. Not quite to Ippuku's level, but I enjoyed it as much as (if not more than) Sumika in Los Altos. The one skewer I wouldn't get again is the nankotsu (cartilege), which is a dish I normally love but here was done quite poorly. Otherwise, neck, skin, momo, tsukune, heart plus beef tongue, duck breast (among others) were all great.

lincoln in altadena/pasadena

I tried their croissant for the first time today. Had a nice rich color on the outside, and good buttery flavor, but it is far too dense for my liking. I'd say it's in the 95th percentile for density among decent croissants. The one I got was similarly sized to the others, so it wasn't a complete anomaly, but perhaps it's part of day-to-day variation that others have been critical of.

Jun 05, 2015
bouncepass in Los Angeles Area

San Francisco's Local Seafood

My impression is that it was one of his signature dishes at the original Matsuhisa. And not exactly low profile, given that in the 90s, Matsuhisa was a hot bed of movie industry types and other well-heeled Angelenos. It was almost impossible to go and NOT see famous people. So it seems to me the popularization started in LA rather than in NYC.

I agree that sablefish doesn't show off any chef's abilities, SF, NY or otherwise. It is simple to cook well at home since the high oil content provides a huge margin of error.

San Francisco's Local Seafood

Nobu Matsuhisa's first successful North American restaurant was Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills, which opened in 1987, followed 7 years later by the first Nobu in NYC.

San Jose without a car

Walking distance:

Da Lat Cafe: Honestly, I could probably eat lunch here for a whole week without being bored.

Bakery Mexico: I really like their tortas (I mainly go for the Milanesa). As good as above-average ones in Mexico City.

Nemea: I've never been, but it's on my list of places to try. Upscalish Greek.

Pizza Bocca Lupo: San Pedro Square. Also never been, but heard good things.

I don't know the best taquerias in the area, but I'm convinced there are good ones close by.

Easy bus distance:

Walia is 26 mins by public transit. It's the best Ethiopian in the area IMO (better than Zeni, which seems to be a popular choice).

Public transit to Japantown is pretty easy and close. I like Gombei but there are lots of other choices that I haven't explored.

If it were me, 5 lunches would break down as: Da Lat x 2, Walia, Bakery Mexico, and maybe Nemea to try something new.

Nice early Sunday dinner in Palo Alto, plus transportation help

+1 on Lure + Till. Good for a range of people, it's fairly nice (but not stuffy) and the food is well done.

If I were graduating, though, I'd choose Pizzeria Delfina. Love that place!

mail order pastrami from Katz

I brought home a 2-lb pastrami from Katz's and did the same: steam for nearly 3 hours. We were also super happy with the result. Some good rye bread and mustard - delicious!

May 02, 2015
bouncepass in General Topics

Iroriya in Santa Clara: Robata Dining

Had a terrific meal here. 4 people shared a number of items. Among the most memorable were three sashimi dishes (saba, lightly cooked on the outside; tai; and firefly squid - cooked not raw); the himono hokke (a type of mackerel); the fried sea bream; the home made tofu (it is poured into a bowl and curdles while you wait 10 mins as instructed); large grilled prawns; a stewed tai in ginger and white soy sauce broth; and the beef tataki. Total was $75 per person including tip and corkage (which is a reasonable $20 per bottle for wine, $30 for shochu, and $35 for sake). Service was outstanding.

An all-around fantastic experience! On a Tuesday, it was maybe 80% full when we arrived at 7:30 pm. Reservations were easy to get a few days in advance.

Restaurant 1833-Monterey

Has anyone been to the retooled version of 1833? Am thinking of going next week but was hoping for some up-to-date scouting reports. Thanks!

Apr 19, 2015
bouncepass in California

Trappist Bug Fest tomorrow (Sat 4/18)

Tomorrow The Trappist and Trappist Provisions are having a sour beer fest, a.k.a. "Bug Fest". The list is quite impressive. But the below second announcement caught my eye ("we" refers specifically to The Trappist in this case):

Special Culinary Announcement

We’ll be offering a very special Bug Fest snack this Saturday: Bugs. Yes, actual bugs. “Gusanos” and “Chapulines”, aka meal worms and grasshoppers were a staple of Pre-Hispanic Mexican cuisine. Our talented friend and next-door neighbor Gloria Dominguez of Tamarindo is presenting this exquisite snack in the form of tacos - a specialty of the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Come on down and crunch on some bugs!!

2 Days in Berkeley

Hi Frod,

Thanks for all your Miami board contributions. Super helpful when I was spending a lot of time there!

I love Ippuku but for me, the menu items that shine are the yakitori. Fortunately they offer 20-ish different parts of the chicken. My one suggestion if you go is to go early so that they don't run out of all the best skewers, like the oyster or nankotsu.

Kiraku is also excellent, but more similar to what's readily available in Miami (e.g. Yakko-San) unless a yakitori-specialist has more recently opened. I personally would stick to sashimi and grilled dishes. Their fried dishes seem to be done with a bit less finesse.

Comal is also a great choice. The best analog in Miami is Talavera, but Comal is substantially better.

+1 on dissuading you from Gather.

Tasting menu for neanderthals?

I've never done it, but Flour + Water has a pasta-only tasting menu that would satisfy the "recognizable food" criterion. Not sure about portion sizes.

Downtown Berkeley Food Ideas

I would make sure to get to Chez Panisse Cafe. Still operating at a high level.

+1 on Comal. In addition to the guac and chips, I think their quesadillas are terrific. I particularly like the wild mushroom version.

From SF - Michelin and casual, delicious places

Also from the Bay Area. I would skip Tori Shin. Just take the BART to Ippuku in Berkeley which, to me, is far superior. It's not even close. Cooking is better, price is better, and you can choose exactly what skewers you want to order (instead of being forced to do a set menu).

Mar 02, 2015
bouncepass in Manhattan

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

Thanks for pointing out the CNY issue. I hadn't thought about that timing.

It sounds like Koi Palace is definitely opening in Milpitas, which should dramatically improve on anything in the area and maybe even ratchet up everybody else's dim sum game. There are recent threads suggesting that it will be in the old ABC location in Milpitas, with a tentative July opening date. I bet someone more connected could provide additional info.

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

Sorry to hear that Joy Luck Palace was not good. I was starting to get an inkling of this myself but didn't have nearly enough data points to confidently extrapolate. I was probably last there maybe 9 months ago. Then again, sometimes restaurants have bad days and if the crowds haven't abated, perhaps it suggests you just got unlucky.

With the various similar-quality dim sum options in the area, if one starts to go downhill, I assume (but can't say for sure) that people would slowly flow towards other places. This certainly happened for ABC Seafood in Milpitas, which eventually shuttered a few years later.

Anyone else noticed a JLP going downhill?

Franklin BBQ pop up mid-May?

Any guesses on what time (and day?!) one will need to arrive to be third in line for this SF popup?

Midnight?

lunch in Santa Cruz?

Lupulo has an outstanding tap list. Typically there is a handful of difficult-to-find beers available. Their list is also updated daily on their website, which is very helpful. It's a great addition to downtown Santa Cruz. I only wish they were open a bit later!

Feb 18, 2015
bouncepass in California

Shanghai Restaurant - Cupertino

Tried this place (though their menu calls the place "Shanghai Family Restaurant") with a group, including my stepmom who is Shanghainese. She tells me that this place has the same name as a well-known regional chain specializing in 小吃 ("small eats"). Unknown if there's any connection beyond the restaurant name. There's a dedicated person making xiaolong bao, shenjian bao and other similar foodstuffs a la minute behind a glass window for your viewing pleasure.

As Robert says above, really long menu. Standout dishes were:

xiaolong bao: really great thin skin, good amount of soup, slightly sweet which is appropriate to place of origin

shenjian bao: six to an order, on the small side which stepmom approved of, and fried about a third up the side, nice amount of soup inside

sweetened soy milk: probably best I've had in North America, including Huge Tree in LA which is well-regarded but I thought was so-so

stir-fried green beans: a touch spicy, which I liked but probably not how they would cook it in Shanghai

eggplant with tofu: nice flavor

Not recommended:

stir-fried pea shoots were stringy (not hot enough? not enough oil? both?)

hot and sour soup: wrong place to order this dish so my expectations weren't high and still didn't meet them (but you can't choose your relatives!)

I would return, especially to try some more of the small eats items which they seem to specialize in for breakfast/brunch. Stepmom was very happy to find a legit Shanghainese place and would clearly return. Bonus for her: she can speak Shanghainese with the staff.

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

Perhaps one reason to recommend Da Sichuan over Chef Ma is that eating at the former doesn't require a time machine.

Da Sichuan has its faults: the cooking is not nearly as precise and refined as required to be a top Chinese restaurant. But I like Sichuan food for its robust, strong, complex flavors, and Da Sichuan delivers very well in my opinion. Would it compete with, say, Chengdu Taste or Szechuan Impression in LA? Not at all. But depending on what's available in Boston, it could easily be worth the trip. YMMV.

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

Dim Sum: I think for a few years the best has been Joy Luck Palace. It's been consistently decent for a while now, though I haven't been in maybe 6 months. Further afield is the standard answer for the whole Bay Area, which is Koi Palace in Daly City. Lots of discussion about it on this board. It's easily within your 1 hr range as long as you don't go during rush hour. I've yet to try Tai Pan in Palo Alto, but I have heard some good things about the food (albeit at a somewhat higher price point).

Sichuan: My preference by far is Da Sichuan, but I went for lunch the other day and it wasn't nearly as good as all my past dinners. Different cook at that time maybe? I think it's better than Chef Zhao. I would warn you from going to Fey. The spicing is far too tame.

Other:

Real Ice Cream is very interesting. Kulfis and ice cream in numerous Indian flavors.

Tu Mero Mole has excellent moles.

Orenchi Ramen is much better than what you can find in Boston according to my cousins.

Wakuriya for kaiseki (if you can get a reservation - call one month ahead).

Walia for Ethiopian.

+1 on exploring Vietnamese places. Along with the previously-mentioned Grand Century Mall (I like Com Tam Tien Huong for broken rice plates), Dalat is close by and maybe easier to navigate due to its broader menu. Pho Kim Long for pho ga (ask for fresh noodles) is worth a meal.

+1 on Jang Su Jang.

San Francisco HELP

Thanks for the correction!

San Francisco HELP

Best ramen right now is probably Orenchi Beyond. Most reliable strategy seems to be arriving 30 mins before opening to sign up and be in the first seating. Waits tend to get longer after opening. It's only for dinner, though.

San Francisco HELP

I'd push La Ciccia as it's the most distinct from the best Italian places in Miami like Macchialina.