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Help me tweak upcoming week-long tour: SF and peninsula

Could use some cake for certain!!

Staid is definitely what I'm trying to avoid. [And I feel successful in my prior investigations that Delfina now seems staid to me, although it's the first place I recommend to people heading that way.] The Mayfield is exactly what I'm looking for. Great food, not as fancy as the mother ship, but still nice for the whole group. This may be unbelievable, but in 12 years I've been to none of these alternative rec's in PA. May have been to Amber. There was an Indian elegant restaurant on ECR in MV, where we had 12 different waiters. We'll see if this was it. I think we've gone to Darbar which is a little spartan to me.

Evvia is like Nopalito and Incanto up north. Great to hang out at not-quite-peak hours, but I can't remember what I've eaten there.

Jan 21, 2013
billp in San Francisco Bay Area

Help me tweak upcoming week-long tour: SF and peninsula

Sorry

Jan 20, 2013
billp in San Francisco Bay Area

Help me tweak upcoming week-long tour: SF and peninsula

Wow - those German places all have interesting menus. While I never would've expected to come from Chicago/Milwaukee to SF in search of good German food, let's just go for it. I'm a sucker for most German preparations. Would you know of anyone who will do a Paris ("Pariser") schnitzel? Is Schmidt's kalbschnitzel sandwich kind of close? <Paris> is veal, dipped in egg, lightly coated with flour, and then sauteed. It changed my life the first time I had it. Don't tell my wife.

Also, Bar Tartine is the controversial one I referred to in OP. I don't mind a mix of styles. But my kids don't like it if the service is uneven, as I tend to get cranky.

Would you make Cotogna a destination, or just a good option?

Thanks. This is all helping a lot. We plan to stay the first 4 nights in PA, then go to the city for the last 3, although Priceline is not cooperating. Our main city activity besides eating is walking at Crissy Field. Are any of the motor lodges in that general area noteworthy? I'm very picky about mold-free ventilation. This isn't off-topic. If we don't stay over in the city it's a lot of work going back and forth.

Jan 20, 2013
billp in San Francisco Bay Area

Help me tweak upcoming week-long tour: SF and peninsula

You're right she doesn't want to go to any dives.

Jan 20, 2013
billp in San Francisco Bay Area

Help me tweak upcoming week-long tour: SF and peninsula

My wife and I are the oldest in the party so we're flexible. Did go to Incanto a few years back and liked the vibe better than the food. But we've grown up on pork in Illinois and don't look for more of it when on-the-road. And I ordered a pork dish.

Thanks for the tips - I'd seen Cotogna mentioned and wondered about it.

5 is a tough sized group. For La Ciccia we got a 3 and a 2 hopefully next to each other.

Jan 20, 2013
billp in San Francisco Bay Area

Help me tweak upcoming week-long tour: SF and peninsula

Will have group of 5 in two weeks to celebrate daughter's Stanford PhD. Dined many times over last 12 years in the area. Here's what we've come up with; help me refine if you would. Note: I've done a fair amount of due diligence already from your extensive info. We're willing to pay up somewhat but not infinitely, and midday is always a nice way to try the fancy places.

No special needs: daughter no longer vegetarian.

Meals impromptu: In-N- Out, La Tacqueria, tacos in Redwoods City per El Taquistador (MexCal #5 on list already a favorite of daughter), Swan Oyster Depot (need a sub - Locals Corner?), pizza Delfina, Nopalito, Rosamunde on Mission (never been to either location), Schroeders (what besides potato pancakes?) and Windy's list of Asian/Chinese in Tenderloin (Bodega Bistro, Pagolac, Lers Ros, Thai House Express, Burmese Kitchen - are these sit down or take out?)

Mission places that sound intriguing (Delfina burnout reclamation for me): Poc Chuc, Local Mission, Commonwealth, Mission Beach Cafe.

Mission latino to try for first time: Tacqueria SF, La Santeneca, Tacqueria Cancun, Chile Lindo.

Destination and reserved already - should be highlight of trip: La Ciccia

Haven't been lately and never had the chicken: Zuni

Other SF ideas: Range, Bar Tartine, Fifth Floor, Dosa on Fillmore

Also haven't been lately and lunch is affordable: Chez Panisse Cafe

Penninsula destinations: Evvia, Village Pub Woodside

Thanks for any helpers. It gets a bit confusing on this Board when critics of a place are picking at the authenticity of a restaurant, but others like it. We just like good food - don't care if it's exactly like the old country.

Jan 20, 2013
billp in San Francisco Bay Area

Boulder CO - Breakfast Sandwiches?

Where is this place. We went to Folsom and Arapahoe and couldn't find. If you're going to rec, maybe include some info. Their website is quite vague. Hard to deal with in traffic. Bad experience, your fault.

Feb 29, 2012
billp in Mountain States

Need help with a selected "best of LA" .....

Hi. We're visiting LA this weekend for only the second or third time. We've been to Sushi Roku on Ocean, and In and Out. We've also been to Wolfgang Puck's in Palo Alto where, interestingly, I had the best peanut butter cookie ever (outside of what my mom used to make.)We're staying in Century City and have a gluten-free vegetarian in the group. And ideas for dinner tomorrow night would be most helpful.
But the main point is that, yes, Vienna's are good. And, yes, any natural casing is nice. But I had some large "Klement's Chicago style dogs" recently on a grill that hold up to any. And really, a Chicago hot dog per se is benefitted the most from red (not pink) tomatos and other fresh ingredients. The dog is important but someone who has shivered for 55 years knows that it's the ingredients that make for a great Chicago dog. Buns are very tricky.
So don't let the Chicago transplants bully you too much.
Thanks.

Sep 09, 2010
billp in Los Angeles Area

First timers - 3 meals - moderate budget

Is Due's the only one where the sausage deep dish is one huge patty that covers the whole pizza? If so, go there. BUT, ordering ahead, even if you plan to eat there, can be helpful. Cafe Spiaggia and Cafe des Architectes are great suggestions. We stopped at the latter not too long after the chef there arrived from OneSixtyBlue, but I recall it being a brunch time of day, and not being overwhelmed. But a dinner try seems in order. Cafe Spiaggia used to be unparalleled in service, was a little soft on that last time, but the food has always been a great moderate-priced alternative. As it happens, we're going to be eating hot dogs at the Cub game today, and may have to consider North Pond for a dinner stop. BTW Michael in Winnetka was very good. Your rec's are consistently excellent.

-----
North Pond
2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614

Cafe Spiaggia
980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Cafe des Architectes
20 East Chestnut Street, Chicago, IL 60611

Apr 29, 2010
billp in Chicago Area

Las Cumbres/La Rosita Crystal Lake

We did try that Chinese place that you suggested in the other thread out on Algonquin Rd. west and liked the food. Then we passed on the Asian Bistro after somebody else dissed it. But actually your ideas have been uniformly good so we will try that soon.

Feb 24, 2009
billp in Chicago Area

Las Cumbres/La Rosita Crystal Lake

El Burrito over near Rte. 14 has gotten better too. For sushi, Kyoto has seemed a lot better. And Kiku on Randall at Huntley was great the one time we got there. For breakfast coffee, Benedicts on Williams St. in downtown CL is pretty darn good. Still like to go to Burnt Toast South down on Randall by the tollway. And the Italian place in downtown is okay once in a while.
That's where we've sort of landed lately.
BP

Feb 21, 2009
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

Found it: in the strip mall on the SE corner of algonquin rd. and square barn rd.
still doing some construction and needs a little tweaking for eating in. but excellent egg foo young as advertised and plump pot stickers. They said they do use msg in a few things so make sure to request otherwise.
This was the best Chinese we've had in a deteriorating Chinese food area.
We'll try Asian Cuisine next.

Jan 14, 2009
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

Could not find this place [China Bistro] - is it still open? Is Asian Cuisine the better option?

Jan 12, 2009
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

Will try China Bistro.
Just for the updateable: Benedicts in Crystal Lake is quite good. Excellent coffee, a fresh quiche daily although the ones right out of the oven are better than the reheated. Still, the best quiches I've had for a long while.
They're open for dinner some nights now too but haven't tried.
The fried potatoes are like little pieces of cardboard so pls. substitute there. All in all a nice place for non-prime time b'fast. Mid morning Sat. and Sun. are a little too crowded.
BP

Jan 07, 2009
billp in Chicago Area

Best and Worst Places I ate at in Chicagoland in 2008

Don't have time to read a zillion posts right now, but my family did return to one sixtyblue a week or so ago. We'd gone there with out-of-town company in mid-'07 and it was transcendent. Didn't pay attention to the chef change, but our server did discuss it with us willingly and candidly. Wish we'd known. It is still *good* but for that kind of occasion and dollar, it was not the same. a few items like some sauteed wild mushrooms were not right at all. So this is sad and maybe we'll try the Sofitel. Never been to many other places that you rec, and we live way out in McHenry Ct. But it sounds like Carlos is a good next objective for fancy, and there a lot of ideas in this thread that we've never heard of. So that makes for a hopeful 2009.
Hey, any quick ideas for us and our vegetarian daughter for lunch tomorrow between Crystal Lake and Midway. She flies out late afternoon, so we have flexiblity in the city, but north shore would be a challenge.
Thanks - that first one sixtyblue experience was just what we wanted to impress the in-laws.

Jan 07, 2009
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

The servers had shirts on that said Yellowtails. We dined there Tuesday night. They are open for lunch. The main bar area has a bunch of flat screen TV's. We ate in the westernmost dining room, the one that preceded Porter's. Still pleasant.
I was in a ribs mood and they were very meaty. The server said the chef in French and there menu was sort of "Porter's plus." We had tempura soft shell crabs, which my wife liked, a tuna tartar, sauces nice for both, and the "all you can eat" oysters, available 4-6 P.M. weekdays for sure, not sure weekends. They bring 6, on request for more they brought 2 more, although the server said she'd gladly get more. $5.95 The cheapies were good and absolutely no foul smell. They seemed to have an array of other appetizer oyster selections, including kumamoto's, but we just stuck with the special. For entree, wife had a white sea bass that may have been a bit overcooked, but also maybe that was a different kind of fish than the formerly ubiquitous Chilean sea bass, which is no longer desirable according to Seafood Watch from the Monterrey Bay Aquarium.
All in all, I'd go back and it certainly stood up to the old Porter's nicely. Entrees were $20-22 at worst it seemed, the ribs were less than that. They're fully staffed but not terribly busy, so go now while it's laid back.

Also, we've eaten at Burnt Toast a lot lately, mostly the one down by the tollway on Randall, and they have several excellent choices. Mainly breakfast items, try the grits, potato pancakes, hash browns, scrambled eggs.

Jun 27, 2008
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

Thanks for the mustard suggestions. I like to find smooth, completely non-coarse, brown, spicy, but not sweet or vinegary in any way, mustards, especially for a veal brat as suggested. Mustard like what you used to find in the little crocks at the Berghoff Cafe in times past.
I worked at a Barnaby's downstate in Peoria in the early 70's. It was owned by the same people as Schaumburg. I've been to the one on Rand Rd. in Arlington Heights as well as the Northbrook one. While they're all obviously similar, there is definitely a home turf bias. I've noticed the Schaumburg crowd has an increasing number of Indian (Asian) folks, which is perfectly fine and in keeping with the local flavor. Still, it's a little strange for an aging white male to feel like a minority at a Barnaby's. But we can change with the times.
And as long as we're Barnaby's-bonding, my wife and I prefer to order so that the food comes in 3 stages: first, the basket of fries - "have it come out right away"; second, the cheese pubburger MR; third the pizza. Make sure they don't tie the pizza and sandwich orders together.
It is simply too stressful and anxiety-causing to have the delicious hot fries sit while attending to the burger and also while simultaneously salivating over the pizza. And they are very adept at getting the orders to come out at the same time.
Also, I order EZ sauce but sometimes that comes a little too easy. If you get the sausage and pepperoni, or if you get mushrooms, then the EZ sauce can keep things crispy longer.
And of course Barnaby's has both caffeine-free and caffeinated Diet Coke, a nice choice, as well as some good beers on tap that teenage workers have been known to pilfer during late-night closing duties.
BTW I'm going to reiterate something I may have mentioned before, since a fair amount of the McHenry County thread has pointed to locations outside the county, as anticipated. Onesixtyblue, on Randolph St. in the city, just kicked butt. We ate at Coco Pazzo (River North) for lunch last Friday, as it had been suggested as an option when I was hunting for a city dinner spot earlier in 2007, a hunt which landed us at onesixtyblue. The comparison was night and day, which is not to say CP was bad. But the former had far more complex flavorings, and absolutely fresh and carefully conceived dishes, and impeccable service. If it is a poor-man's Charlie Trotter's, and our evening bill was substantial, still - I'm glad to be poor.

Dec 10, 2007
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

update on the sausages at Joseph's
Stiglmeyer and Schmeisser's are different, although the former may be involved in distribution of the latter. Stiglemeyer Weisswurst is full of MSG. Will check out the Schmeisser Bavarian Bratwurst, which was the original suggestion.
Also, we've had some uneven Koop's Holland Style Mustard just as I posted here. So scratch that for now. We redeployed to Gery Poupon until we can find something workable.

Dec 10, 2007
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

Yes! The food loves me, the staff can be ambivalent.

Dec 07, 2007
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

Here is a summary of things learned so far. I've excluded controversial areas and places that haven't been checked recently enough (I was a culprit on that score) This serves for me to highlight places to try that sound very good and need immediate evaluation - the taco place by Kief's Reef is haunting me daily for example.. I started from the most recent post and worked back. I'll report on any contrary experiences.

Tony's Subs in Lillymoor, best sub places anywhere.

Lake Villa a place called Scott Dog's a hot dog joint with killer soups

Penang2201 S. Wentworth Ave. (Cermak Rd.) Chicago, IL 60616 312-326-6888

Bonefish

Francescas Campagna 127 W Main, W Dundee

enjoying the Texan for the most part but the beef brisket was a bad call there

on Randall near Burnt Toast that the Sushi Station will be opening soon.conveyor belt or you can also order from the sushi chef's.

[Crystal Lake} new - Benedicts will be like the one in Dundee Benedicts in East Dundee is awesome--breakfast and lunch, all eggs, frittatas, benedicts, etc, sandwiches and salads.

Burnt Toast on Randall, owned by the new Reece's. We really loved the food there.

pizza at Randall Roadhouse

Kaminari EXCELLENT or Palatine--Sushi Ai

AH agree on Alt Thai and Bangkok

El Zarape is very good

Chez Pierrer across Pomeroy St. from Vogue Cleaners, at the corner of Pomeroy and Rte. 14 [CL] (815) 444-6180 246 Pomeroy Ave

Petit Creperie right on the Square in Woodstock wonderful food even better than Chez Pierrer

[Woodstock] The place next to the cinema (underneath the realty office) IS pretty good . The panaderia next to Swiss Maid bakery is quite good

Blue Fin in Wicker Park---fresh, nice stuff. Very tasty and I'd definitely go back [Also]If you're looking for recommendations in the city for sushi, you may want to peruse this topic for recommendations: www.chowhound.com/topics/362763 [Very helpful

]

Joe's Stone Crab in downtown Chicago

a fish market place on the border of Beach Park/Zion at Sheridan & Wadsworth called Captain Porky's that has fresh catch lake fish and shrimp, oddly enough they also do bbq 39210 N Sheridan Rd Zion, IL 60099 (847) 872-4460

the Italian Bistro but it is two blocks south of the intersection of IL-31 and Algonquin Rd [Algonquin]

some interesting cheeses and breads (at some steep prices). It is worth a look.
Dawn's Bread Le Petit Marche' 19 N. Williams St. Crystal Lake, IL

I used to do all my shopping there until Caputo's opened

[mine] Tacqueria Las Cumbres 93 Grant St. Crystal Lake, IL 60014 815-455-8200
just go to Richard Walker's and relax {others - Richard Walker's, and I thought it was a poor imitation of Walker Brothers (probably true) www.walkerbrosoph.com - went to Richard Walker's tonight and wow, it was great
}Portillo's in Crystal Lake for fast food is very snappy Ask for hot fries and they're burn-your-hand hot almost every time.

[McHenry - need to check] Alex's is the place to go for Chicago style Vienna food, the beefs, dogs and polishes are spot on to anything you will find in the city. And the Kronos Gyro's are superb

Curry House today--SO yummy India Curry House 1332 E Algonquin Rd. Algonquin, IL 60102 (847) 854-7030

[LITH/Algonquin - suburban hell - need to check] Lamai Thai 4077 W Algonquin Rd, Algonquin, IL (224) 569-3999
Gourmet House 1740 E Algonquin Rd, Algonquin, IL - (847) 458-7883

[fine dining - need to check] Dunnhills (815) 578-0600 1501 S Il Route 31 McHenry, IL 60050 /// 1776 it rarely knocks your socks off staff and people are great
[don't gamble stick to Francesca's for now]

Tacos del Norte (Lake in the Hills) has pretty reliable food. The best of the places is a small restaurant across from Kief’s Reef on Rt176. I believe that the place is Carlo’s River Café.

[Boonies] In Union, Checkers II serves excellent broasted chicken Also, the VFW has a great Friday fish fry and bake year around.In Hebron, Crandall’s also features broasted chicken and a good fish fry. In nearby Genoa City, WI, Fitzgerald’s hosts a fishboil on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights Also in Hebron, the Royal Oak Orchard has an excellent restaurant in season that features their fine bakes products, apple cider donuts, and a chicken pot pie that is outstanding

Dec 07, 2007
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

I have been to El Zarape twice now, and I apologize if I wrote something already. It is very good. Clean, as mentioned. Their salsa for chips is perhaps a beef base or maybe tomatillo - anyway it's greenish brown with lots of good things in there. Worth the visit all by itself. The salsas in bottles are very hot. Tonight I had enchiladas verdes and was very happy - spicy green sauce but not overwhelming, and there's some potato chunks in the enchiladas when you get meat. I had beef. Recommended. Wife had vegetarian burrito and was happy.
I've seen one of these in Cary - don't know how many there are.
Much better than El Burrito nearby. (and it's not bad.)
So Jan's stock continues to rise on this thread. I still plan to get out and check some more of the ideas here. And we are getting some excellent Lake County suggestions so I'll try them too.
One day when I run out of things to do, I'll maybe summarize what we've learned here so far into 3 categories: a) good for certain; b) need to try or check again; and, c) not good no matter what anybody says.
BP

Dec 05, 2007
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

Went to King Wok in LITH and to Crystal Lake Rib House, just to see if my prior reporting was accurate.
Egads!
I'm going to try some other options because these are very poor ones.
Also went to Joe's in River North (city) for Manhattan clam chowder per an earlier suggestion. The chowder was good, but the crab cakes and the Nantucket scallops were TO DIE FOR. Also a very nice seafood salad.

Dec 03, 2007
billp in Chicago Area

Jackson Hole Food Review

We have been to JH several times and are going again in a couple of weeks. While we'll have vegetarians along for part, the Gun Barrel sounds like a good option. Haven't been to the Wort for food either. Have really liked Snake River Grill, Blue Lion used to be very good, Koshu was fun, Bunnery decent in the A.M, Sweetwater for lunch. Mind if I ask how Togwotee was, for food, lodging, fun, and location?

Nov 29, 2007
billp in Mountain States

Good food in McHenry County?

Heidijoy, Francesca's in W. Dundee is indeed a fine place. It IS part of a local chain, but still it is a nice italian ecclectic place. I'm surprised Biaggi's is mentioned as an alternative; I've been there several times as well (and to the one in Savoy downstate). The latter is sort of a faux italian place - kind of the upscale McDonald's of italian eating. As such it's okay. Francesca's is a cut above.
I'd be interested in more input on Bonefish and Red Star. This is the first I've ever heard anything good about them. I would have guessed they were what jlawrence was referring to earlier on.
BTW Francesca's is not in McHenry County.
And Port Edward - there's a bit of cache to it I suppose - and frankly I've had good food there a couple times. But I guess it's most like going to Fisherman's Wharf in SF.
Sorry, didn't mean to be harsh.

Nov 29, 2007
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

sorry on Yu's
i haven't been a regular the last couple years. i'll go try it one more time just to see if i was hallucinating before. it used to be great, but it was never a white glove kind of place. was your experience so bad i shouldn't go back. please don't go into detail, but was there a dealbreaking experience?

Nov 28, 2007
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

Arlington Heights per J Lawrences post. Use my earlier directions for Yu's and try that first if you're ready for a drive.

Yu's Mandarin
200 East Golf Road. Schaumburg, IL 60173 | tel: 847-882-5340 | fax: 847-882-5458

Nov 24, 2007
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

Asian Bistro for dinner. Nice clean decor. Had pot stickers, cold sesame noodle, chefs special pan fried noodle dish. Daughters had a tofu dish each. Spouse had something chicken. Because we were cautious wife and one daughter asked for mild. It was all very mild. Everything was very noticeably low in sodium, which I'm guessing means there is zero MSG here. It was the closest to deconstructed ingredients I've ever had for Chinese - there's a better way to say it, but the flavors of the foods came out rather than the overbearing *sauces*. In this sense excellent. But I'd like to go some time with someone better at ordering. I saw the link earlier in the thread to the special get-together, but having vegetarian daughters along I felt a little limited and the beef stomache was clearly not going to go.
That being said, I love Yu's Mandarian for its flavors. So for a non-McHenry excursion I'd still recommend it. Will research the MSG issue at Yu's. I will note that the crowds at both places are asian which is a good sign.

Nov 20, 2007
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

The new place going in in Genovese's I think is called Benedicts. We're driving by regularly to see when it opens. Wife is keen on that.
And I would say I've enjoyed Famous Dave's as much as Texan - just reiterating that it's slim pickins. And FD's would be Kane County.
This is a good discussion - I'm learning lots of new places to check out like the Chinese place in AH maybe tomorrow.
Heidijoy - once you've gone to Springhill mall a time or two, learning how to pick through the menus out here becomes increasingly attractive.
Montarra WAS mentioned earlier - any read as to whether it's still good post-HarvestMoon/1776 people retiring?

Nov 19, 2007
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

Kaminari was EXCELLENT! Maybe Friday afternoon at 5 is a really good time to catch them. Hamachi and White tuna nigiri - as good as any I've had - buttery but firm and massive flavor. Spicy tuna rolls very good and a New Orleans roll with cajun crawfish outstanding. Salmon nigiri good. I had some marinated salmon somewhere recently and it spoiled me, but still this was as good as any I've had. But the real note was a shrimp mixture in a dumpling for a hot appetizer - it was incredible, with the chili flavor mixing with a salty influence in perfect balance. I'm guessing the other hot items are going to need a thorough examination. Perhaps their own thread. Amd they gave us a comp'ed "welcome" grenade, which was a salmon and avocado mix in a firm rice cup. I prefer nigiri but the spousal unit was most impressed. Depends on where one finds themselves in their sushi walk.
This rates a smidgeon better than Kamehachi on Ontario or even Sakuma's on 59. So Jan has just saved us all some gas money going forward. I'd compare the ambience to Wildfish in Arlington Heights but the food noticeably better than there and not terribly expensive.

Nov 17, 2007
billp in Chicago Area

Good food in McHenry County?

Chez Pierrer is in my neighborhood and I go by it on everning walks. I was thinking that perhaps the directions to it should be "across Pomeroy St. from Vogue Cleaners, at the corner of Pomeroy and Rte. 14."
We've never been but will try very soon. Right now we're going to sushi option #2 in LITH based on your recs.

Nov 16, 2007
billp in Chicago Area