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One dinner, four choices

Good intel. Thanks for the feedback.

Apr 21, 2014
sheriff in Manhattan

One dinner, four choices

My wife and I will be in town from San Francisco and are trying to decide between four restaurants for dinner on Thursday night. The candidates are NoMad, Pearl and Ash, The Gander and Antonioni's. I realize that they are all fairly different, so the only real criteria is that it is a memorable experience. The night before, we're meeting old friends for dinner (and probably too many drinks) at The Dutch, but this night is going to be just the two of us so something a little more quiet is in order. Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks!

Apr 21, 2014
sheriff in Manhattan

Cavalier or Tosca [San Francisco]

Thanks for the input. Was thinking about grabbing a cocktail at Tosca and then heading up to Ala Romana for dinner. Sounds like that might be a better option.

Feb 26, 2014
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Cavalier or Tosca [San Francisco]

Hi -

I'm looking for a venue for a non-stuffy business dinner and am thinking about either Tosca or The Cavalier. We don't have reservations for either, but will likely be there early so waiting for a table and having a cocktail is fine. I've been to The Cavalier and loved the food. I'm curious about people's opinions about Tosca. Specifically the noise level. Is it too loud if you are expecting to have a conversation while eating? How about the food? Thanks for your help.

Feb 26, 2014
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

SFO - Terminal 3 - any recs for a carryon breakfast?

In the food court, you'll find a mexican spot called Andale. They have excellent breakfast burritos. I have pretty high standards when it comes to breakfast burritos and these are potentially my favorite in the Bay Area. They are of the egg and chorizo variety and come with potatoes, cheese and refried beans. If you're in a hurry, they have some premade ones that retain their heat nicely, even if you wait to eat it until after takeoff.

Jan 06, 2014
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Solo dining on a Monday

Thanks for all the suggestions! I ended up at Estela. I got there at around 7:30 and it was still pretty empty so it was easy to get a bar seat. The place filled up by around 8:15, but the bar seats turned over fairly quickly, so there were always seats to be had. From a food standpoint, I had the mussels on toast to start and the pork shoulder for an entree. I would say the food and execution was good to very good. My one complaint (and this may have been my fault) was that the use of vinegar and pickeling was very prevalent in both my dishes. While I don't mind that flavor, it can be overwhelming if you have it in multiple courses. The mussels were lightly pickled as were the onions on the pork I believe. I'm not sure if the menu should point this out, but I might have ordered differently had I known. Other than that, not many complaints. Service was great as were the wine recommendations. Thanks again for the recs.

Oct 02, 2013
sheriff in Manhattan

Solo dining on a Monday

Hi - SF chowhound who will be in NYC for just one night on Monday. I'm looking for some dinner recommendations for solo dining. I'd prefer a restaurant that has bar seats (a table for one looks so lonely). I'm relatively open in terms of cuisine, but would like something that showcases the current trends in NYC food. Also, I'm staying at the Midtown Hilton, but am willing to travel to most of Manhattan. Thanks in advance for your help!

Sep 19, 2013
sheriff in Manhattan

Tres Leches Cake -- Delessio vs. Tartine? [San Francisco]

Weird. My wife told me she called Tartine and they said $64, and you needed to order 72 hrs in advance, which is part of the reason that we didn't get it. We were only ordering one day in advance. Maybe she was mistaken.

Jun 14, 2013
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Tres Leches Cake -- Delessio vs. Tartine? [San Francisco]

Ended up getting the 8 inch cake at Delessio. The cake was good, but different then some of the descriptions. Specifically it was not a layer cake as the link that Melanie provided suggests. The cake itself was good, nice and moist, but not to the point of being a gloppy mess. It was covered by a fluffy meringuey frosting that had been browned and was very sweet. Also, there was no fruit. My ideal cake would be layered with strawberries inbetween (similar to the Market Hall cake I believe). Overall, the cake was good, but definitely on the sweet side due to the meringue. One plus was the cake was only $32, half the cost of a Tartine tres leches cake.

Jun 14, 2013
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Tres Leches Cake -- Delessio vs. Tartine? [San Francisco]

Good intel. Sounds like Tartine is out. Delessio it is!

Jun 07, 2013
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Tres Leches Cake -- Delessio vs. Tartine? [San Francisco]

Hi - I need to get a tres leches cake for my wife's b-day tomorrow, and I'm wondering which one to get. We've had the one from Delession before and have enjoyed it. The cake has a very nice, custardy texture but still is a cake, not a gloppy mess. My one critique is that it could have used more strawberries (we only tried the individual slice and it had one strawberry). We've also heard good things about Tartine's version, but I think it's pretty pricey. I'm wondering which the experts prefer?

PS - We've also thoroughly enjoyed the tres leches cake at Market Hall in Rockridge, but are city bound and can't make it over there to pick up.

Jun 07, 2013
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Breakfast Sandwich - SF Dish of the Month June 2013

I like what I hear. Sounds promising.

Jun 06, 2013
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Breakfast Sandwich - SF Dish of the Month June 2013

Nope, that's what I remember too. Now, that was a 17 years ago, so inflation has probably taken its toll, but still...I agree with hyperbowler, the hard roll is a big difference, and you just can't find those out here (I've attached a picture). But I think the fried, as opposed to scrambled, egg is just as important. Done right, the runny yoke creates a nice sauce. You can get a fried egg with some of the more high end breakfast sandos, but I refuse to pay over $10 for one.

Jun 06, 2013
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Breakfast Sandwich - SF Dish of the Month June 2013

This is a good category. I've been in California for 17 years and haven't found a breakfast sandwich that is comprable to the simple bacon egg and cheese on a hardroll that is pretty much ubiquitous on the east coast. I don't want to turn this into an east vs west rant b/c I hate those and both places have their strengths (try getting a breakfast burrito in NYC), but this seems to be an area that is lacking. The breakfast sandwiches I've sampled fall into two categories:

1) The cheap/everyday places: These are places like you would find in the Financial District in SF. The problem with these places is that they either microwave or scramble the egg instead of frying it, so there is no potential for nice runny yoke.

2) The fancy places: The problem with these places is that they make the sandwich more elaborate than it needs to be. They don't need wilted chicories or siricha aoli. Inevitably this just ends up making them more expensive, and I have a hard time spending more than $8 for an egg sandwich. I just need a fired egg, good breakfast meat and decent bread (roll, biscut, english muffin), no need to make it any more complex.

All that said, my go to when I have a craving and am at work is Andersen Baking Company which has numerous locations in the financial district. They do microwave the egg which is sad, but they serve it on a really nice soft french roll which partially makes up for it.

PS - I suggest breakfast burritos and the dish of the month next month.

Jun 04, 2013
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Schmidt's: Bad service. Ok food. [San Francisco]

Just want to provide another opinion to counterbalance. I've been to Schmidtt's many times (but never in a large group), and have always found the service to be pleasant, albeit casual. We've been many times with our newborn (ticking timebomb), and they always get us out of there in just about an hour.

In addition, I've always had good experiences with the food, but then again, I get the sausage and beer and probably am not expecting much. I do think it's good value though, often taking home lots of potato salad and sausage. I agree that the pork chop is too sweet, and can't remember the schnitzel at all. In general I think of Schmidtt's as a reliable place (that accepts walk-ins) for a casual dinner, and have always been quite happy with the experience.

Apr 04, 2013
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Headstart on holiday party

My company in being VERY proactive and is already planning our holiday party. I need to provide some recommendations to my EXTREMELY particular boss for a venue. I'm looking for a place that has good food, is relatively contemporary, and has a private room that seats approx 40 people. Geography doesn't matter so much, as long as it's in the city. In the last few years we've been to Absinthe, Farallon, and Foreign Cinema. For some reason the only "newer" place that I can think of is Wayfare Tavern. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Apr 04, 2013
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Recs for tomorrow eve near Kabuki in SF, please?

I would recommend Fat Angel in the Filmore Center. Great beer list and good food.

Jan 29, 2013
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Casual business dinner near downtown

We ended up at Vernick. I was deciding between that and a.kitchen, but really wanted to go to Vernick. Really glad we did. Three of us split a half Amish chicken and the steak, along with some sides and appetizers. Everything was excellent, especially the chicken. Also got the blueberry pie which was delicious. Great beers and wine too. The place was a hit with the whole party. Thanks for the advice!

Nov 16, 2012
sheriff in Philadelphia

Casual business dinner near downtown

I can't remember the name of the hotel, but it's on Market two blocks away from city hall. Right by the BNY Mellon building.

Nov 09, 2012
sheriff in Philadelphia

Casual business dinner near downtown

Hi - San Francisco hound looking for a place to have a casual business dinner. We're staying right downtown and are willing to travel, but not too far. Last year, I went to Supper, and thoroughly enjoyed it. A place with a similar vibe and feel would be perfect (preferably some nice beers/wines and simple, local fare). Any help you can provide would be much appreciated!

Nov 09, 2012
sheriff in Philadelphia

Delivery Options in SF

thanks to everyone for the ideas, will definitely try these out!

Aug 15, 2012
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Delivery Options in SF

My wife is 8 months pregnant and I am anticipating an increase in the volume of delivered meals eaten in our household in the not too distant future. We don't really get delivery too often (usually if we're going to pay for food, we go out), so all I have for delivery options are the standard pizza/chinese places. I'm wondering if Hounds have suggestions for some good eateries that deliver. Bonus points for options that are different than the standard delivery fare. Also, we live in Pacific Heights. Thanks for the ideas!

Aug 08, 2012
sheriff in San Francisco Bay Area

Trip Report - San Sebastian

On our recent trip to Spain, we sandwiched in a 2 day trip to San Sebastian in between 4 days in both Madrid and Barcelona. While the weather did not cooperate, I can see how San Sebastian is a destination for both beach and food lovers. It is truly a beautiful spot.

Day 1 - The San Sebastian leg of our trip started with an early morning flight from Madrid to Bilbao. From Bilbao we rented a car and drove to San Sebastian with a detour to Axpe for a memorable lunch at Asador Etxebarri. We opted against the tasting menu due to dietary restrictions and ordered off the a la carte menu starting with the smoked goat butter and a plate of jamon and chorizo. The smoked goat butter was very unique and highly enjoyable. From there we shared the lagostines, which were huge and delicious with the slightest hint of charcoal to add to their flavor, and the clams which again were cooked to perfection. Next we split the chuleton which is a large steak sliced thinly. We asked them to cook it on the medium side of medium rare, but it came out pretty rare. Regardless, it was delicious. Very tender, but with a perfect crust on the outside. Definitely a winner. For desert we shared the biscuit soaked with orange syrup and goats milk ice cream as well as an apple tarte which was delicious. All in all it was an exquisite meal. After such a large lunch, neither of us were hungry for dinner, so we decided to take a stroll around San Sebastian instead.

Day 2 - On day 2 we continued our glutinous ways with a delicious lunch at Bodegon Alejandro. This is an unassuming restaurant in the basement of an old town building that offers great basque fare at astonishingly reasonable prices. The menu del dia was 16 Euro and included three courses wine and bread, all of which were excellent. We started with a pumpkin soup with ravioli stuffed with mussels. For main courses we had braised veal cheeks in broth and a velvety fish stew with tuna, shrimp and potatoes, that was the highlight of the meal until desert came. For desert we had the apple crumble and the pain perdu, which I think may have been the best thing that I ate the entire trip. It was so custardy and delicious, that I may be forever ruined for regular french toast. I can't say enough about the value of this place. We left there with a bill less than our bill for 4 tapas and 3 drinks at Arzabal in Madrid. Despite still being full from lunch, we persevered through a tapas crawl in old town for dinner. It was a monday night and many of the places were closed, but that did not stop us from being wildly successful on our quest of glutony. We stopped at La Cucharra de San Telmo for a delicious risotto, with goat cheese and mushrooms and grilled rabbit. Next we stumbled over to Goiz Agurri for more pinxtos incuding the best shrimp we had on the entire trip.

San Sebastian is truly a remarkable place. There is food of outstanding quality every where you turn. I feel like we merely scratched the surface while we were there. I guess that just means we'll have to go back for another fact finding mission!

Apr 09, 2012
sheriff in Spain/Portugal

Trip Report - Barcelona

It was a great experience. Camp Nou is a place that every soccer fan should go, and of course, Messi is unbelievable. We were seated right below the Milan fans and they were not too happy about the second penalty kick, which I must admit was a little cheap, regardless, they were not going to win that game.

Apr 09, 2012
sheriff in Spain/Portugal

Trip Report - Barcelona

Barcelona was our last stop in Spain after being in Madrid for four days and San Sebastian for two days. We were there for four days during Holy Week. At first I was worried because a lot of the restaurants I wanted to try were closed for Semana Santa, but we were still able to eat very well. Highlights included a dinner at Hisop, eating those delicious little sandwiches everywhere and another dinner at Paco Merlago Alta Taberna. The only major disappointment was the weather, it rained every day that we were there! For those planning a trip to Barcelona, I would highly recommend Maribel's guide which can be dowloaded on the web. We used it quite a bit and all her recs were spot on.

Day 1 - We arrived in Barcelona in the afternoon and were going to the Barcelona - Milan Champions League game that night, so we went to the Boqueria and got some snacks for the game and grabbed some pregame tapas and drinks at Taller de Tapas near Las Ramblas in the Barri Gotic. Taller de Tapas is a small chain geared towards tourists, with english explanations. Standard tapas fare and cold beer. A servicable option.

Day 2 - Late lunch at a few places in the Barri Gotic and El Born areas. El Xampanyet, Irati Taberna Basca and a bakery/sandwich shop that I can't remember the name of, but was right of the Jaume metro stop. El Xampanyet was good for pan am tamaquet and some fo the canned seafood (muscles, razor clams). The bakery had great little flauta sandwiches and the Irati Taberna Basca was a good option for basque style pinxtos. We had delicious mushroom croquettes, apple and goat cheese things and other tasty treats there. Dinner was at Hisop, which was phenomenal. Because my wife is pregnant and has specific dietary restrictions, we did not do the tasting menu, but at 60 Euros it seemed like a great value. We opted instead for the a la carte. For starters we had broad beans with shrimp and bacon and something else which is currently eluding me, but it was good. For entrees we had grilled hake and I had suckling pig. Both were delicious. The only slight misses were the deserts which seemed a little forced. I had the chocolate bread and beer which consisted of chocolate cake, bread ice cream and beer foam. The only thing I really enjoyed was the cake, the rest was not memorable. Service at Hisop was also fantastic. It was one of the few places took notice of my wife's restrictions and made helpful suggestions.

Day 3 - Lunch was more sandwiches early and then Euskal Extea in the El Born which is owned by the same people that own Irati Taberna Basca. We ordered a la carte and had grilled chorizo, a chuleton (steak), potatoes and a green salad. The chorizo was spicy and plentiful and the steak was nicely prepared. Also after days of protien heavy diet meals it was nice to have a green salad! Service was also very accomodating. After a long day of sightseeing, we stopped at Tapac 24 in the l'eixample on our way back to the hotel. This is a newer tapas restuarant. When we were there it was full of tourists, and the only people speaking Spanish were the waiters. Nonetheless, we had a delicious lentils dish, lamb skewers, pa am tomaquet, and bombas (meatballs with potato).

Day 4 - This was Good Friday and a lot of restuarants were closed. We ate lunch at Restaurant Allium in the Barri Gotic. The food here was fine, but I didn't think it was anything special, in fact I can't for the life of me remember what we ate. Our final meal was quite an enjoyable tapas feast at Paco Merlago Alta Taberna in L'eixample. I would highly recommend that anyone planing a trip to Barcelona visit here. There we had delicious grilled cockles, Taloso (red bean dish), sauteed shrimp, bombas, grilled suckling goat chops, asparagus and the ubiquitous pa amb tomaquet. Dessert cosisted of Catalunyan french toast, toast with chocolate and some type of cream filled pastry. Everything was top notch and another highlight of our trip.

As I stated, the only disppointment was the fact that some of the places that we were hoping to visit were closed. Restuarants like Taktika Berri, Cal Pep and Sant Joan were high on my list and we were unable to visit them. Also, each time we went to the Boqueria, Pinxto Bar and El Quim were closed. Oh well, I guess that's just incentive to make another trip!

Apr 09, 2012
sheriff in Spain/Portugal

Trip Report - Madrid

Just got back from an 11 day trip to Madrid, San Sebastian, and Barcelona. Here is a summary of some of the places we went in Madrid. On the whole, I did not think the food in Madrid was as good as the other two places we visited, but that may have been a function of the places we visitied, and a lack of preperation on my part (I focused most of my research on the other two cities).

Day 1 - We got a did some basic sightseeing and then had lunch at Casa Mingo. The rotisserie chicken was good, but nothing too special, and the rest of the food was unspectacular. Not great, but not terrible either. Either way, I don't remember what we got. I believe the cider was the best part of the meal. In the evening we met a friend at Lateral in Plaza Santa Ana for drinks and Tapas. We got some standard tapas fare like patas bravas and some pork loin with foie and bree and croquettes. All were very good. Later on that night, we hit Mercato San Miguel and sampled the wares at many of the vendors, all were good, and I would definitely recommend a visit.

Day 2 - Lunch at Restaurante Puerto Rico (a Rick Steve recommendation). Pretty basic Spanish food. We had a veal chop in gravy and some type of pork cutlet. The veal chop was the better of the two. Dinner consisted of a few tapas bars (Arzabal and La Castela) and dinner at Casa Portal. I was pretty disappointed with Arzabal, I thought it was grossly overpriced. We got fried artichoke (15 euros!), sauteed shrimp that were mushy and overcooked a cheese plate and something else that was not memorable and the bill came to 60 Euros. Maybe we didn't order correctly, but I left feeling like there was a great disparity between quality and price, and 15 Euro for an artichoke seems absolutley absurd. Luckily, from there things got better. We had great seafood at La Castela, especially the cockles. Final stop was Casa Portal which is a small, unassuming restuarant that specializes in Asturian fare. I don't believe it gets much tourist traffic, but the Fabada (bean stew) was delicious, and potentially my highlight for Madrid.

Day 3 - Lunch, can't remember. Dinner was at Gabinoteca, a trendy tapas bar with a modern take on some of the classics. The place was packed. I would highly recommend getting there early. We arrived at 10 and had to wait an hour for two seats at the bar. We ordered asparagus, some type of shrimp fritter that was tasty, sauteed shrimp, a paella or seafood risotto and tataki version presa de iberico (pork). Everything was well executed, but nothing blew my socks off.

Day 4 - Lunch, a bakery that did pizza and empanadas in the Malasana neighborhood. Can't remember the name. It was ok. Dinner was a tapas crawl in the La Latina neighborhood centered mostly around Cava Baja. Favorites were Casa Luca, Casa Lucio, Txakolina and the gelato place at the end. Casa Lucas we ordered a variety of small plates and everything was good, although I can't remember what we got. Txakolian was a basque style pinxto bar and everything was great there as well, the highlight for me being the morcillo. Initially, I was skeptical of Cava Baja because it is touristy but we ended up eating pretty well there.

I wouldn't say that I was disappointed with the food in Madrid, but that I may have set my expectations too high, and didn't go to the right places. Admitedly, I spent the majority of my time researching Barcelona and San Sebastian, and probably should have spent some more time on Madrid. Also, my opinion of Madrid may be skewed unfairly by our visits to both San Sebastian and Barcelona which provided some of the best dining experiences of our lifetimes.

Apr 09, 2012
sheriff in Spain/Portugal

Asador Etxebarri Transportation, HELP!

I was just there on April 1st, and I second the car rental recommendation. We flew into Bilbao, rented a car and drove there for lunch, afterwards continuing on to San Sebastian. It was not too dificult, especially if you have a phone with google maps. It is about 60 kms for San Sebastian, so I would imagine a taxi would be quite expensive. Either way the food is phenomenal, so I highly recommend a visit.

Apr 09, 2012
sheriff in Spain/Portugal

Good Friday in Barcelona

Hello - My wife and I are in Barcelona and I'd love some restaurant recs for Good Friday. A lot of the restaurants that I wanted to try are closed for Semana Santa. Places like Taktika Berri, Cal Pep, El Xampanyet, Sant Joan are all closed. We went to Hisop already, and out wallet is now tapped out for the expensive places. Any ideas where we can get good authentic Cataluyan food? I ask for authentic b/c we went to Tapac 24 tonight, and while the food was great, the only people speaking spanish in the place were the waiters. we'd like to go to a place where the people of Barcelona go. Any ideas for a good menu del dia open on Good Friday would be much appreciated. Thanks so much!

Apr 05, 2012
sheriff in Spain/Portugal

Etxebarri and Barcelona questions

Thanks so much PBSF. Hisop sounds like exactly what I am looking for. I will report back after our trip!

Mar 25, 2012
sheriff in Spain/Portugal

Good spot to watch FC Barcelona play

Hello - My wife and I will be visiting Barcelona April 3rd through the 7th. FC Barcelona will be playing Milan in the Champions League quarter finals the day we arrive. We haven't decided if we are going to the game, or if we should watch it at a bar yet. What does everyone think, is it worth it to go to the game? Does anyone have any recommendations for a good place to watch the game if we don't end up going?

Mar 23, 2012
sheriff in Spain/Portugal