- Mike Zurer
Reading the alpha chowhound's diary in Slate reminded me to swing through this site again.
Some recent (and not so recent) meals:
It's Mediteranean Something, it's around the corner from my house, and I have yet to be disapointed... 24th Street between Valencia and Mission, where a branch of Twin Peaks Pizza used to reside. Last night I had what the proprieter dubbed (hoping to convince me to order it? - If I wanted pizza I would have gone to Serrano's. See below.) "Armenian Pizza" - It was a puffy yeasty bread covered in ground what I think must have been lamb. Savory, lemony, delicious. Anyone know what this is atually called? In my satisfaction with the meal I forgot to ask. Also some rice with chick peas and almonds. Extremely tasty. In the past, I've enjoyed grilled chicken "schwarma", real schwarma, and felafel. I find everything here tastes noticably fresher than what I get at other Middle Eastern joints in the city. On a moderatley interesting note, every time I go in there, I order Kifta Kebab, and every time he is sold out. When I finally get one I'll post a report. I have so far not had the baklava, but soon...
I continue to really enjoy Serrano's pizza. They cook everything fresh, even if you get a single slice, which is really two slices anyway. For the first 7 minutes, it reminds me of some the better pizza I have had in NYC. After that point, the crust loses its crispness. But the sauce is delicious and the cheese is good (not great). I have noted something odd in SF in re: pizza. The best seems to be made by Brasileiros. Anyone have any ideas why this would be the case? Mozzerella di Buffalo, who makes my favorite non-pizza pizza, the cornmeal crust variety (pace Chicagoans, but that's not really pizza), is operated by Brazilian expats. Serrano's is also between Valencia and Mission, I think on 20th.
I had the opportunity to hit Eos a couple of times in the last few months. I think it is not as good as it was when I was a more frequent visitor a few years ago. Maybe I'm no longer surprised by the food. But it's good. Lemongrass rissoto under blackened catfish, sashimi tuna tower, duck, all delicious. But it's not much of a bargain, and I don't know enough about wine to take advantage of their much vaunted, and apparently reasonably priced, list.
The Mission Street branch of Cha Cha Cha in Old McCarthy's is good. Reasonable prices for extremely delicious Caribbeanized tapas. Last time I was there they had a special of fish and chips which was outstanding - Red Snapper in a beer batter (probably anchor steam) with fried new potatoes and red cabbage slaw. Charanga's next door, started by a former chef at the original Cha Cha Cha on Haight, is also good.
I finally made it to Fina Estampa (across the street from Cha Cha Cha on Mission) a while ago. It was really good. The ceviche in particular was fantastic. I just found out that one of the gas station attendants at the Chevron next to my house plays drums there a few nights a week. I'll have to head back to check him out.
I had dinner at Lalime's in Berkeley a while back. It was quite good. Better than the one meal I have had at Chez Panisse, but I think that might have been an off occurence.
Great to have you back and posting, Mike.
that's "Truly Mediterranean", which you can read about in several of our SF tip sheets (use link below, or check out our Articles and Special Reports index page, easily accessible via the chowhound homepage). oh, the armenain pizza was lahambajin (that might be the Turkish spelling, in which case, PLEASE forgive me all you Armenians out there!!!), and it's a great thing. The baklava is very very good there...check it out.
They make the best falafal I'd ever had...until tonight. See my diary on Slate tomorrow (should be up by 1pm EST) for details; I found God in Brooklyn (where else??)...and He is Iraqi-Jewish.
re: Jim Leff
The usual anglicization here in Fresno (Saroyan's home town, and a center of Armenian settlement) is lahmajoon, pronounced like it looks. I was wondering about Mike's use of the word "puffy" though, since lahmajoon is always dead flat. We buy them frozen in dozen packs from Bedrosian's or the Armenian Bakery and take a couple out when we want some........
I second that on Fina Estampa. Fresh, high quality, and tasty food. But where do they fit the band? The place is deep, but only 8 feet across!