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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?


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.


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.

Pleasant veg friendly dinner near Mikkeller bar [San Francisco]

Lers Ros? Kin Khao? Zero Zero? MY China (not a big fan of the location, but the food's pretty good)?

Query - Quick SF visit for the end of January, 2015

I still say Tartine Bakery is worth a visit, though choose your items carefully. I really like their morning bun and coconut cream or banana cream tarts. Lots of other recommendations on this board. And at 4:30 pm, you can get fresh bread, which is really their pièce de résistance.

I am not a fan of Craftsman and Wolves. Three trips, maybe 10 items tried in total, none have made me want to go back. I've given up on them.

Further south in the Mission, Knead Patisserie has some killer items, like their pomme d'amour and butter pecan croissant. I also like their lemon ricotta pop tart. Some items sell out fast on weekends so go earlier.

+1 on b patisserie. Their kouign amann (plain, chocolate or otherwise filled) are all amazing. I believe they come out at different times during the day, though, so early arrival isn't necessary.

Special occasion dinner in the South Bay

Wakuriya is also special occasion worthy, though outside of the South Bay search radius.

lunch in Santa Cruz?

To me, US Meals is slightly nicer fast food. Cheap and decent but not much more than that.

Nice-ish lunch: Assembly or Laili (downtown) or Ristorante Avanti (west side).

Mexican: depends on what dish you want. If you're looking for a taqueria, my preference is Taqueria La Cabana (also west side). Lots of people really like Los Pericos, which I think is pretty good as well. Morenos has lots of fans as well. I like it OK but prefer the above two better.

The Picnic Basket (closed until Jan 17) has good sandwiches (this might be GH's mystery spot). Zoccoli's (downtown) is decent.

I would recommend either Linda's Seabreeze Cafe or the Silver Spur, both local institutions. They have good old-school sandwiches and burgers - not fancy, but to me quite satisfying. Their turkey (roasted in-house) sandwich is excellent. And if one doesn't want a sandwich, you can get breakfast all day.

Jan 13, 2015
bouncepass in California

Growler fills 'this side' of SF?

Although some places (like Russian River Brewing) opt not to refill growlers unless it is one of their own. I suggest checking with the brewery ahead of time just to make sure.

Growler fills 'this side' of SF?

While I think Sante is one of a handful of the world class breweries in Northern California, growler fills aren't their strong suit. Most of the time, you are limited to one of their beers (typically their 831 IPA, which I do quite enjoy), though on occasion you do have a choice of two beers.

Not quite within the boundaries of the OP, but I think the best growler fills near to the requested region are from Cellarmaker.

Where should we eat dinner? [Cupertino / Saratoga area]

FD's suggestions are good. I'd add Chinjin Eastern House as close to 85. If you take the slight detour of 280 S to 17 S, you could try Michelle's Pancake House, the place formerly known as A&J (nothing other than name has changed) or Tong Dumpling in Cupertino Village, Shanghai Garden (I really like their fish fillets in wine sauce)...

Best Khao Soi in SF?

Agreed. Some dishes at Kin Khao were excellent, but that wasn't one of them IMO.

Week in San Francisco – Montrealer and first time visitor needs help with itinerary

+1 on Mikkeller, City Beer and Toronado for beer. Would add Cellarmaker for excellent west coast style hop-forward beers (one block from City Beer too), and Monk's Kettle and Abbott's Cellar in the Mission for other interesting beer lists. Zeitgeist is pretty good too, but I like these others better.

Surprised that no one has yet mentioned Lers Ros for superior Thai and one of the Burmese places... traditional CH faves. Note that Burmese Kitchen is closing before your trip.

I'd consider Garaje for Mexican-inspired delicious high calories bombs. In a good way.

I think that Tartine Bakery, B Patisserie and Knead Patisserie are all outstanding for affordable deliciousness.

Pho Ga : SFBA Dish of the Month November 2014

My favorite pho ga for a long time was the now-shuttered Pho Ha Noi. The replacement has been Pho Kim Long with fresh noodles (not on the laminated menu but likely hand-written in Vietnamese on one of the walls). Not quite as minimalist as Ha Noi but broth has good flavor and the chicken is nicely done.

A friend with a Vietnamese background suggested I also try Pho Ga Huong Que Cafe. I see why my friend likes it... but to me it tilts towards Chinese enough (noodles and the focus on ginger/scallion dipping sauce) that it's almost a different species. Tasty but not what I think of (or experienced when visiting Hanoi) as pho ga. A warning that their hours can be a bit erratic as well.