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San Francisco Food Forums and Blogs

Planning a trip to the Bay area and would appreciate links to SF food forums and blogs. Thank you in advance!

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  1. The Chowhound SF board is the best for planning a trip.

    The other essential tool for planning an eating trip is Patricia Unterman's San Francisco Food Lover's Guide.

    http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Unterm...

    1. What part of the Bay Area?

      Unterman's book is great for detail. I agree it is among the best books. The same year that Unterman's revision came out, The Chowhound Guide to the SF Bay Area was published.

      Both books are still very useful. The Chowhound Guide is lightweight, easy to carry with you and has over 1000 recs for the entire Bay Area. For all that I read Chowhound, I still use this book. It is in the car and quite dog-eared. You can peek inside the book on Amazon to get an idea.
      http://www.amazon.com/Chowhounds-Guid...

      For updates to the Chowhound Guide (at least since July of 2006, there is the Chow Digest on this site.
      http://www.chow.com/digest

      Monday thru Friday there are two new daily entries about new stuff taken from the boards.

      Not to be smarmy, but I agree that the best forum if you want to know about food is Chowhound.

      Read some of the board ... there are a ton of '3 perfect days in the Bay Area" type threads. Do some homework and then ask about your iterary. The more info you give us the more you get back. The Etiquette section has some good tips for the ways to get the best response to your inquiry
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/367605

      Egullet just doesn't have the traffic and the info has to do with the restaurants everyone in the world knows about like French Laundry. At one time they were a better source of info in the Napa/Sonoma area, but some of the better contributors in that area aren't on the board as much these days ... or at all. One of my favorite egulleters died last year.

      Yelp is a great source for restaurant addresses, but it is geared toward the 20-30 crowd, is less about the food and more about the attitude ... there are good yelpers that focus on the food, but you have to do a lot of picking to find them. I have to say it is good the reviews are not interactive like Chowhound. There are some people I'd like to slap verbally. Who CARES if the server dissed you? What did you eat? What really kills me is that so often you have to read paragraphs about the ambiance and how it ticked someone and at the very end is a sentence that says ... but the food was really great ... sheesh.

      Mouthsfuls ... or something like that ... needs good moderators ... I have yet to find a good tip from them ... and wading through the sometimes banal, nasty comments is not worth my time ... which will probably generate some banal, nasty comments about me on that board for saying that.

      There are a couple more smaller food forums that keep trying to get off the ground, but they don't have the traffic.

      Citysearch is largely shill. When they started as sidewalk.com, they were great. These days I use them ONLY if there is no other info on the web and then I take the review with LOTS of grains of salt. I don't even use them for addresses either. I use yelp for that.

      Opentable has links to lots of upscale restaurant websites, summary info about the restaurants, links to professional reviews and a restraurant reservation system. Now THAT's an ad I'd click on A LOT if it was on chowhound.
      http://www.opentable.com/start.aspx?m=4

      Menupages.com has lots of SF restaurant menus from the bottom dive to the top of the top. Now that's a useful site that I wish Chow would buy and add to this site.
      http://sanfrancisco.menupages.com/

      Two good blogs for SF are

      Bunrab
      http://www.bunrab.com/

      Tablehopper a good source of what is opening
      http://www.tablehopper.com/

      And I apoligize for the gazillion great blogs out there which I use more for specific restaurant information. I just use bunrab and tablehopper more often.

      The SF Chronicle for it's deficiences has a good restaurant section. Just be careful about some of the pricy restaurants ... well, that's just me ... different taste from the reivews ... anyway, a lot of the restaurants trafficked by San Franciscans are there for current restaurants since Unterman's book was published.
      http://www.sfgate.com/food/

      Unterman is (was?) still writing somewhere, but the paper she is writing for is so annoying to access on the web that I just gave up. I think it is the Examiner.

      I don't have the links and don't know where you are traveling but the Marin Independant Journal has pretty good coverage for the Marin area. The San Jose Mercury News is good for the South Bay.

      In the East Bay, the East Bay Express is a good source.
      http://www.eastbayexpress.com/

      Robert who gave the tip about Unterman's book does some nice reviews for the SFweekly which I don't have a link to because I never read it because the previous critic was abysmal using the column as a personal diary with a few lines about the food thrown in. I like Robert's columns when I read them ... but the thing is I kind of know his opinions on stuff from Chowhound so it's a bit repetative for me, but for someone who doesn't read Chowhoud daily it is a good summary of some of Robert's thoughts about Bay Area food.

      Anyway, like asking about restaurants on the SF board, more info about what you are looking for would get you more of what you are interested in. There are some bloggers that are specialists in their intersests like a recent block I found on dives or taco trucks (not a great one) ... so I don't want to do big lists that might not be a good match for you.

      1. The Mouthfuls site you mention is mouthfulsfood.com. (Don't go to mouthfuls.com, especially on your work computer.) The SF commentary is even more sparse than that on eGullet and it's very NY-centric, but I do like the site.

        1. Agree with everything rworange said. For blogs, I like the restaurant review index on Becks and Posh:

          http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/200...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            I have to second Becks and Posh, one of my all time favorites. She used to be a big contributor to these boards, I know I'm not the only one who misses her.

          2. Someone on the SF board posted a link to one of Patricia Unterman's columns in the Examiner. There's not a lot on the site, but here's the link.
            http://www.examiner.com/San_Francisco...

            Cliick on the search link, enter "Unterman" in the search box and use the 'no limit' and 'San Francisco radio buttons.

            Just an example of Unterman's writing from a few reviews

            A overview of new eats in 2006
            http://www.examiner.com/a-478304~Bay_...

            A review of a SF board favorite, Aziza
            http://www.examiner.com/a-441942~The_...

            She writes of the couscous ...
            "one of San Francisco’s great dishes. One cook devotes himself to making it every day from 7 a.m. through dinner. The lucky eater feels each miniscule grain against the teeth; the nutty semolina flavor explodes on the tongue. This couscous is not a starch; it’s an experience."

            Another review on KL Restaurant which is a little Chinese joint ... lucious photos of some of the food
            http://www.examiner.com/a-540114~Boun...

            I wish the Examiner would realize what a treasure they have in Unterman and not make it so difficult to get to her reviews.

            1. I enjoy reading Michael Bauer's blog.
              http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgat...
              And the Chronicle Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants is worth checking out.
              http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...
              Of course, you have to check out the Ferry Building.
              http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/

              3 Replies
              1. re: jwbarth

                Be aware, though, that Michael Bauer and his lists are held in wide disdain by Bay Area chowhounds.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Michael Bauer is not to be trusted. I have no idea how he got his job.

                  1. re: uptown jimmy

                    Bauer was hired as editor of the food section, encouraged the two existing critics to leave, and chose himself as their replacement.

              2. Another useful SF resource:

                http://sf.eater.com/

                2 Replies
                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  robert, thanks so much for that link. does that column appear every wed? do you have any idea if the sfchron. has a service like the nytimes- where you can sign up for email notification of current articles containing certain topics/ keywords etc.? I appreciate your help.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    I don't know about that, but you can sign up for their Food and Wine Newletter.