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wanderlust21's Profile

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Truffle Dinners 2014

I enjoyed Oliveto's truffle menu last week. Choose your own whole truffle or order shavings by the gram. Price was $6 per gram and we got a whole truffle for the table which was shaved on dishes as they arrived. In the past few years I thought the secondi outshone the pastas, but this time the pastas were the highlight.

North Beach/Telegraph Hill/Chinatown [San Francisco]

As a former resident of NB, I agree with Foodeye's walking directions. I like Mario's Bohemian for a sandwich on focaccia, either sausage or meatball. There's also Molinari's sandwiches for a snack. Tosca or Vesuvio for a drink. Golden Gate Bakery for egg tarts. I also liked the tiramisu at Cafe Greco. My friends liked the truffles at the tiny place further down Columbus (past Wash Sq Park) near the new "old school" take out place. Tony's wasn't there when I lived in the area but I like the thin slices from his take out window and its nice to sit outside.

Zagreb Trip Report

Dalmina, Thanks for the recommendations. The food and the setting of Mala Hiza look lovely, unfortunately I'll be travelling in the other direction. But I'm looking forward to trying one of the Zagreb recs.

Any similar recommendations on the road from Zagreb to Split, via Plitvice?

Sep 09, 2014
wanderlust21 in Europe

Zagreb Trip Report

I am looking for any recommendations for traditional inland Croatian food in Zagreb. (We will be heading to the coast for seafood specialties.) Any recommendations other than the ones mentioned above? Thanks.

Aug 25, 2014
wanderlust21 in Europe

Kas and the Turquoise Coast - Turkey - Report

Looks like you ate well in Kas and in Istanbul. I ate a bi'lokma in Kas several years ago and enjoyed it, but we really liked this small restaurant in the main part of Kas, called Simpathi -- we loved the manti and the well executed homestyle cooking. We liked it so much we ate their twice. The manti --

Aug 25, 2014
wanderlust21 in Europe

Monsieur Benjamin (Hayes Valley, San Francisco)

I was there this month.

Monsieur Benjamin (Hayes Valley, San Francisco)

I like Benu very much and was looking forward to trying MB. I went on a Friday night, the energetic atmosphere and decor of the restaurant (black and white, lots of glass), reminded me very much of a NYC restaurant. For starters, we tried the potato and leek croquettes, pate de campagne, and steak tartare. The steak tartare was nicely presented and the meat was of high quality, but it was a bit acidic for my tastes, this was likely an atypical fluke in execution. The croquettes and the pate were good, straightforward renditions. Our mains were the Steak Frites, Artic Char Amandine and the Sea Bass with Mussels. The steak was juicy a bit smokey and perfectly cooked. The sea bass was nicely cooked, if underseasoned to my tastes. I found the mussels provencal topping, a bit bland. The frites were mainly tough (as Melanie described).

The Artic Char Amandine was my favorite dish of the night - the crunchy almond topping went beautifully with the browned butter sauce. As far as sides, we liked the grilled gem lettuce, a nice bright sauce brought out the flavors of the lettuce. I would order both the artic char and gem lettuce again. We also had the potato and artichoke gratin which was fine. Familiar dishes can be so satisfying if executed perfectly or include some element personal expression, unfortunately neither was the case here. Nothing was bad but nothing was particularly remarkable. It seems they have found their audience because the restaurant was very busy. The service was both warm and professional, so I would return for a drink and hors d'oeuvres before a show.

Okonomiyaki: SFBA Dish of the Month August 2014

Agree about the Okonomiyaki at Iyasare and remember it exactly as you described. Elevating simple dishes doesn't always work, but I thought theirs was a home run.

Guanciale in SF

I've seen it a few times at Lucca on Valencia/22nd. Oh and Fatted Calf too.

Fine brisket at Memphis Minnie's (SF)

Thanks the only newish bbq I've tried is 4505, I prefer the brisket I just had at MM. I haven't tried any of those new places you mentioned, which one would you recommend for brisket?

As far as comparisons to Texas, I understand using it as reference point for the places you mentioned. I'm sure there is better Texas brisket in Texas, and better xlb in Shanghai and ramen in Japan etc., but I'm generally looking to find good eats within driving distance of San Francisco...

Fine brisket at Memphis Minnie's (SF)

I've had plenty of brisket in Texas. My favorite brisket so far is Franklin BBQ. The brisket I had at MM this week was very good. We must have very different tastes. I thought Rudy's was terrible the one time I had to stop at one.

Fine brisket at Memphis Minnie's (SF)

Went to Memphis Minnie's for the first time in about a year. In the past, I've found that the bbq can be hit or miss (probably because BBQ doesn't keep well and their business is variable). Today, the brisket was exceptionally good - moist, tender, just the right amount of fat and the seasoned ends were just perfect.

The Presidential @4505 Burgers & BBQ - Divisadero [San Francisco]

I tried the brisket, pork ribs, baked beans, and potato salad. Perhaps I caught them on an off day, I found the brisket rather dry. (Though I did get one good bite of the fattier end.) The white sauce and mustard sauces were very good and pretty much the same as what I've found in the South. I used some to moisten up the brisket. The Parker roll was also dry save for the buttered top. The baked beans were fine if a bit sweet. I enjoyed the pork ribs, they were nicely marbled and the seasoning balanced well with the smoke. I also liked the potato salad which was exactly as Cynsa described. I've had their burger a few times at their stand and it's great, so I would go back for the burger and the ribs. I can definitely tell the meat itself is of high quality, hopefully it was just a fluke, but I'm in no rush to go back.

Breakfast more or less near the Ferry Building [San Francisco]

The Plant Cafe on the Embarcadero

Best Lobster Roll in the Bay Area?

I have not been to NE Lobster Co. I like Sam's Chowder House, specifically the restaurant in Half Moon Bay. The lobster roll is good, but I think what really makes it satisfying is sitting outside on the deck with a great view of the coastline and sea breeze in your face. It is quite popular on sunny weekends, but they do take reservations.

Porcellino [San Francisco]

Agree with Barley, the porchetta is juicy and delicious, the portion size is very substantial -- I happily took some home. On Friday, they also had a tuna heart pasta listed as a special.

Korean Banchan that is better than SF

Thank for the recs and the mouthwatering picture. We'll try to hit at least two of these places!

Apr 09, 2014
wanderlust21 in Los Angeles Area

Korean Banchan that is better than SF

I'm visiting SF and looking for a recommendation for a Korean restaurant with particularly good banchan variety. Seafood, Jjige (stew), pork neck Jjige a plus. We are considering On Dal2, Jun Won, Ham Ji Park, or Soban - any comment on which would be your go-to is welcomed.

We are staying close to the Westside but are willing to drive anywhere in the central LA area. Cost is not an issue. Thanks.

I've already been to Parks BBQ, Soowon BBQ, BCD, Yu Chun, Jeon Ju, and Yong Su San.

[This is a repost of a more general request:]

Apr 08, 2014
wanderlust21 in Los Angeles Area

Recommendations for Japanese - non sushi?

Great thanks! Yes, no need for ramen recs. Any favorite out of this list?

Apr 08, 2014
wanderlust21 in Los Angeles Area

Recommendations for Japanese - non sushi?

Hounds, I'm visiting SF and looking for a few recommendations.

First, is a Japanese restaurant that is not limited to sushi. One member of my party is allergic to fish, though she can eat shellfish. (The rest of us love sushi, but will go for a separate meal to a sushi specialist.) I searched around and the latest thread on this seems to be from 2009. House made tofu a plus.

Second, is a Korean restaurant with particularly good banchan variety. Seafood, Jjige (stew), pork neck Jjige a plus. We are considering On Dal2, Jun Won, Ham Ji Park, or Soban - any comment on which would be your go-to is welcomed.

We are staying close to the Westside but are willing to drive anywhere in the central LA area. Cost is not an issue. Thanks.

Apr 08, 2014
wanderlust21 in Los Angeles Area

Sunday night dinner: Sons and Daughters vs AQ or Commonwealth [San Francisco]

It looks like you've decided on SBP, but I know plans may change at the last moment, so I'll contribute my two cents.

You said that you value "inventive, new flavor combinations" I think that SBP is a great pick. If you end up having to go to one of the others you mentioned, I would pick Commonwealth.

I like Frances and everything I've had there has been well executed, but in my opinion, their flavors are on the familiar-side and might not be what you are looking for. At AQ, their menu has interesting and inventive flavor combinations, but ultimately their high concepts didn't work for me. I prefer Commis, Coi, or Benu among others in that category. I haven't been to Commonwealth in a while, but I've found their tasting menu both interesting and delicious.

Any tasty upscale mexican in SF?

I like La Urbana. I've had a number of items on their brunch and dinner menus and liked every dish. Some are on the heavy side and there is no want for salt, but the flavors are all well balanced. I have always gone on the early side so I've avoided the busy scene, but if you are looking for a social drinking atmosphere you'll find it there in the evenings.

Recs for grabbing a quick bite in/around the Dogpatch? [San Francisco]

I go to the Dogpatch for ice cream at Mr. & Mrs. Misc and the beignets at Just for You. If I had to eat in the area, I'd go to: Hard Knox for fried chicken, Serpentine for Burger, Marcella's for mushroom lasagna (more of a pasta dish than a typical lasagna). Piccino is a possibility but I have found it a bit pricey for food that is just ok, though it has a nice atmosphere.

Penrose, Oakland: Food & Drink Report

We didn't find it noisy when we dined here early on Sunday evening. Perhaps louder than Camino, but about the same as Boot & Shoe. We enjoyed the food and the venue. The place started filling up soon after we arrived and they didn't miss a beat with the pace of the dishes. Standout dishes were the beef tartare, the lamb three ways, and a North Carolina shrimp and farro special. My friend also loved his cocktail. We had a toddler in tow and everyone in the front of the house was friendly and accommodating.

Shrimp and Grits - SF Dish of the Month January 2014

Agree with the recommendation of the shrimp and grits at BSK. The problem with BSK is that it's difficult to decide what to order -- everything I've had there has been great.

Chowdown at SF's Grand Hot Pot Lounge

Ericruo, thanks for listing all the dishes. I agree with you on the overall level of spiciness. On many of the dishes I felt the spice level was a bit too mild and there were less szechuan peppercorns than I was expecting. Overall, I thought the food was about average, though I enjoyed the meal I could not help but think of some better renditions of the dishes around town. That said, we had quite a bit of the menu and we happily finished everything so I would be open to trying the hot pot here some time.

Favorites from the meal were the pork with pickled long beans, Chongqing chicken and Dan Dan noodles. The pickled long beans with the pork had good seasoning, acid and spiciness. The Chongqing chicken was nicely executed, though I think I prefer the more szechuan peppered version at Chili House. Dan Dan noodles had good meat sauce, and it would have been even better if it had been paired with some higher quality noodles. The tea tree mushrooms were fine, though I much prefer the Z&Y version which has more char to it. Disappointments were the House Special Fish had a nice broth, unfortunately it didn't make up for the quality of the fish which had very little meat and lots of skin. I prefer the more refined version at China Village that Eric described.

The other items were average -- the couples delight and pig ears appetizers had a thickish sauce instead of the usual glistening red chili oil. The snow pea shoots in broth was simple and well seasoned.

Suggestions for Hot Spots to hit this coming SF Ghost-Town Week?

This was my experience this weekend waiting as a walk-in party of 3. Outerlands lunch Friday - no wait though there were some folks waiting when I left. F+W Friday night - 30 mins (quoted 1hr) no line down the block, just a few people waiting outside the front door. Delfina Sunday night - 10 mins. (There was a wait at the pizzeria and bi rite creamery, but not the restaurant).

For the dinners we did arrive before 7, but I still think my waits were shorter than other weekends.

Looking for the best pie in the Bay Area.

I like the pies at Mission Beach Cafe, though I haven't been in a while.

Outerlands [Outer Sunset District, San Francisco]

I had dinner at Outerlands recently and was happy with our experience. We arrived a few minutes before our reservation and were seated promptly. It has been at least a year since I'd had dinner here and the style is much more refined than I remembered (and very different than their casual lunch offerings). I glimpsed into the kitchen area and didn't catch Brett Cooper, but I believe I saw Brandon Jew.

We tried almost everything on the menu. I imagine the menu changes often, but one constant (and must-order) would be the bread -- the type they served with butter was outstanding. All the vegetables were well executed. A few of the dishes reminded me of original menu at Plum, similar flavors though not as fancifully described. For example, we had a broccoli dish with chicharrones crumbled on top adding texture and a bit of spice. There was a fish dish with perfectly crisp skin which was built on top of some vegetables that were straightforward but outstanding. A turnip soup was a bit under flavored, but we devoured quickly a pork belly entree with a kimchi component to it. One other dish that sticks out in my memory is a starter that had some vegetables with crunchy grains. I look forward to returning.

Need a foodie finish to a day at Golden Gate Park [San Francisco]

I second the outerlands recommendation. I had dinner there last week and tried virtually everything on the menu. We were very pleased with almost every item. Though I usually love their soups, the only miss was the turnip soup which was a bit too subtley flavored. The dishes had a much more refined style than lunch and the previous dinners I've had there. I believe I saw Brandon Jew on the line.