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Top Ten Tastes - 2007

I wasn't sure if anyone has done this yet for the year, but here are my top ten “new” (at least for me) tastes of 2007:

1. Pastrami sandwich (Wood Tavern). Available only at lunch, simply the best sandwich period.
2. Abalone and foie gras with yuza (Manresa): a surprising and perfect combination
3, Pork (Outstanding in the Field): The wood-roasted pork at this dinner, held at Devil’s Gulch Farm and prepared Nate Appleman of A16, was probably the best pork I have ever eaten. Just the fat alone, all crusty from the fire, was sublime.
4. Squid pizza with aioli (Pizzaiolo): again, an unlikely combination that works really well.
5. Barbequed Shrimp (Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen): Possible better than the NOLA original. Prefer the appetizer size, with bread, to the entrée over rice.
6. Chicken wings (Fonda): one of those dishes that you can’t stop thinking about. Only served after 9 p.m.
7. Eel banh mi (Sea Salt): Sea Salt does great sandwiches, but this tops the list.
8. Grilled lamb chops (Oliveto): This deceptively simple dish was the best lamb I ever had. Served with long ribs still attached, which you must eat with your hands to get off all of the fatty crusty bits.
9. Tie: Whole Black Bass Stuffed with Morel Mushrooms / Spelt fettuccine with Salted and Dried Swordfish Belly (Oliveto): Despite doing meat amazingly well (see above), Oliveto’s Oceanic Dinners always supply something amazing for my yearly list (last year it was the pasta dish with sea robin and dried octopus)…I can’t decide between the two.
10. Fried Chicken (Luka’s): I am a fried chicken fanatic and this find (served only at lunch) is near-perfect. Dark brown crust, slightly salty and sweet, surrounding the juiciest meat. Huge serving.
11. Bonus: Beef short ribs with Guinness film and peanuts (Alinea): okay, not in the Bay Area, but I had to add it in. The entire meal was mind-blowing.

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  1. Fried chicken at Luka's? for some reason I've missed that on the menu. Going to have to go for lunch very soon!

    but alas, Angeline's was out of bbq shrimp when I ate there....

    this was good inspiration. Will have to think about my top tastes. Thanks!

    2 Replies
    1. re: susancinsf

      My friends and I were at Angeline's on Friday and we were kinda disappointed with the BBQ shrimp. There were 5 shrimps in a bowl of BBQ sauce. The barbecue flavor was good, but the sauce was slightly oversalted even when eaten with the bread. Unfortunately, the pieces of bread that came with the dish was cold and chewy. The dish definitely wasn't worth the $10.95 price tag. Here's a picture of it on the right.

      1. re: susancinsf

        I believe Luka's only serves fried chicken on the brunch/lunch menu on Sundays. But it is fantastic.

      2. Okay, I'll play. No guarantee these were the top 10, just 10 new and memorable bites:

        1. Tiny alfajores from Sabores del Sur (Alemany Market; big ones available at Canyon Market)
        2. Ollalieberry jam from Swanton Berry Farm (Ferry Plaza farmers' market or Rainbow Grocery)
        3. Baochong Oolong tea (Teance)
        4. poached lobster in carrot broth and seared foie gras (La Folie)
        5. grits, fried oysters, biscuits (Brenda's)
        6. escarole, dandelion greens, Erbette chard, pimentos de padron (the magical mystery box from Mariquita Farms)
        7. Hokkaido uni (Sebo)
        8. Irish brown bread (John Campbell's Irish bakery), especially good with ollalieberry jam
        9. roti prata with dipping sauce (Lime Tree)
        10. apricot sorbet (Delfina); cherries with mascarpone (Pizzeria Delfina)

        out of town bonus bites: sausage pizza at Santarpio's, East Boston; fried clams, razor back clams, and lobster roll, Neptune Oyster House, Boston; tartare de cheval at Batifole, Toronto

        1 Reply
        1. Top 10 Tastes so far…we still have a few weeks left!
          1. Burrata from Cowgirl Creamery eaten at home w/ Acme bread, olive oil, sea salt, and sometimes with heirloom tomato slices.
          2. The seafood chowder at Bar Crudo, I’m plotting my secret meals there so I don’t have to share the bowl with anyone.
          3. Thai House Express Kao ka moo, special pork leg, a la carte. Try as I might, I have to order this every single time I go there, it’s that good!
          4. Chocolate budino tart with sea salt and olive oil at A16, I can’t get enough of the salty sweet, rich trifecta.
          5. More than one visit to Hog Island Oyster Bar for kumamotos and sweet waters accompanied by sparkling wine or a crisp, cold white.
          6. Fresh Rigatoni Pasta with Foie Gras Cream, Maitake Mushrooms and Marsala at Myth. Decadent, the small portion is plenty.
          7. Santa Ramen Tonkotsu ramen-the ultimate bowl in the Bay Area.
          8. Pollo asado, al pastor, and carnitas tacos from El Tonayense taco truck, a perennial favorite of mine.
          9. Salsa verde from Cancun near 29th and Mission. It’s in my hood and I often stop by and buy a soda cup of salsa to take home and eat the whole thing! It’s a favorite lazy meal.
          10. Produce from the farmer’s market or my csa box. Sometimes nothing beats cold sweet satsumas, fresh heirloom tomatoes, or roasted beets, etc.
          11. Bonuses-Abroad:The giant slab of foie that I was served in Bilbao, the only serving of foie that I’ve met that was too much for me (almost!) and giant bowls of fresh salmon caviar in a Russian fishing camp. Home-countless meals of carnitas, Bitman’s no knead bread, and lots of home-made gazpacho. Local-Chichen Itza/Popol Vuh for fresh and reasonably priced meals.
          12.To try-Bakesale Betty's, Pizzaiolo, Fatted Calf

          Edited: Forgot to add the pork rib roast section from Roli Roti at the farmer's market, super juicy and delicious, a great value for the price (around $7?).

          1 Reply
          1. re: Candice

            Niiiice list. With particular-ness and heart at the same time.

            IRT #12 -- Whoa Nellie, are you in for some new list additions! Please add and amend
            your list as you're able.


          2. This year was a blur of great food - here were my standouts (things tasted for the first time this year):

            Spaghettini with cured tuna heart, egg yolk (Incanto, SF)
            Wild nettle tagliolini wtih geoduck (Oliveto, Oakland)
            Fried chicken, candied yams (Declancey's Welcome Table, Oakland)
            Prahuk kthis (Battambang, Oakland)
            Fried rabbit (Chez Panisse, Berkeley)
            (tie) Pork belly with poached egg on frisee (Wood Tavern, Oakland), Open-faced pork belly sandwich with poached egg (Bar Tartine, SF)
            Chiuchow-style rice cake with scrambled eggs, preserved vegetable (BC Deli, Oakland)
            West-style fish soup (China Village, Albany)
            Nan Gyi Dok (Mandalay, SF)
            Pear charlotte with black truffle (Oliveto, Oakland)
            Salted caramel ice cream (Bi-Rite, SF)
            Warren pear from Frog Hollow Farm

            Bonus: rice-cracker encrusted asparagus with slow-poached egg, smoked cheese foam, and chorizo gel (Degustation, NYC), fried brussel sprouts with fish sauce, chilis, and mint (Momofuku Ssam Bar, NYC), Kama toro (Sushi Yasuda, NYC), Cavatelli with long-cooked broccoli, caciocavallo (B+B, Vegas).

            3 Replies
            1. re: daveena

              I went to Bar Tartine for brunch this Sunday, and realized I'd spoken too soon on my 2007 top 10. Daveeena is right: the pork belly sandwich is exceptional. Mine was served with egg salad and pickled cauliflower. Amazing.

              1. re: pane

                Thanks, daveena and pane, for talking about this pork belly sandwich -- I went there for brunch on Saturday, and it was really amazing. My friend said WOW when she had a taste of mine (which, like pane's was with egg salad and picked cauliflower). Another point is that it's a very large serving for not that much money, I didn't expect that much food to arrive on my plate!

                1. re: JasmineG

                  That pork belly sandwich is a thing of beauty - after recently having had a much inferior pork belly dish at an expensive restaurant in LA, I think it's time for me to go back to Bar Tartine...

            2. In no particular order, but numbered so I won't lose track:

              1)BLC (Bacon, Lettuce & Soft Shell Crab) sandwich at Wood Tavern. With remoulade. Like an oyster po'boy w/ soft shell crab. The best of many great dishes I've had at Wood Tavern this year.

              2)Pancetta Piana from Boccalone. Sliced super thin. I was going to fry it up for PLTs, but made the mistake of trying a bite of the first practically transparent slice of crispy goodness. It shattered like glass and tasted like heaven. No way it was ever going to be hidden between slices of bread. We ate it straight.

              3)As always, the Nam Kao Tod at Champa Garden. It varies from satisfying to mind bending (though it never quite matches my favorite at Lotus of Siam in Vegas).

              4)Trotters with tomato jam at Oliveto's Whole Hog. I can feel my arteries harden as I eat this, but it doesn't stop me. FYI, reservations are open for the Whole Hog this February.

              5)Oh Sam Bulgogi at Sura. Korean bacon and squid w/ lots of chili. I pretend it's good for me because of the squid. The carrots and onions help keep the delusion alive.

              6)Peas w/ Maitake Mushrooms at Sea Salt. Bet you thought I'd never get off the pork theme.

              7)Water Boiled Beef at China Village. Wait, no...West Style Fish Soup at China Village. Or possibly the spicy fish and soft tofu soup at China Village...let's just say "a lot of dishes at China Village."

              8)Riso Gelato at Gelato Firenze near the Grand Lake Theatre. So refreshing and clean tasting.

              9)Early in the season, those super tiny strawberries from Lucero. Damn.

              10)An unbelievable Armenian cucumber from Full Belly. So heady I just ate it as is (or was).

              Cheating on my beloved Bay Area: Bacon & Egg Ice Cream on French Toast at the Fat Duck (UK), Faggots & Mash at St. John Bread & Wine (UK), L’Epeautre du pays de Sault mitonné et doré à l’or fin at Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas), Crispy Catfish Salad at Lotus of Siam (Las Vegas), a gorgeous sashimi plate at Shinsei (Dallas).

              2 Replies
              1. re: lexdevil

                thank you for the mention of the riso gelato...have to try that one!

                1. re: susancinsf

                  Is the riso gelato plain (like one would find in Italy?) or flavored with cinnamon? I've been searching for a nice plain riso gelato for the longest time....

                  By the way, FABULOUS thread!!

              2. In no particular order, and I did cheat a bit on the parameters:

                1.) charred cabbage at China Village. love it when a simple vegetable is that great. but yes, as lexdevil says, well, a lot of dishes at China Village (though this one was new this year, including some of the others may be cheating since they are old favorites to me.)

                2.) ditto on kumamotos at Hog Island, the Ferry Building. AND the clam chowder.

                3. ) Can't call it a 'taste' but our Chowdown banquet at Asia Pearl Millbrae: it was the delight of the taste of the entire meal, not one particular bite...well, ok, if you force me to choose I guess I could choose the pork belly...

                4.) the shrimp and fish ahmok at Angkor Borei: great comfort food, and finally I found a dish at this restaurant worthy of the positive reports the place gets on the board (an important discovery for me, since Angkor Borei is one of the closest restaurants to my house...)

                5.) burrata at La Ciccia, imported from Sardinia.

                6.) house made tortillas and the salsa de habanero at Chichen Itza.

                7.) lemon basil ice cream at Aziza.

                8.) yeah, that bacon and squid at Sura. Better than the (very good) much raved about black goat stew. Better yet that this was the year I really started to appreciate Korean food.....

                9.) Takiawase (slow cooked dish) at Kaygetsu, of eggplant in broth with shrimp, maple leaf wheat gluten, broccoli, shitake, daikon (and thanks rwcfoodie for writing it up, never did add to her post how much I loved it, but I think about that meal often...)

                10.) oh, and speaking of eggplant dishes at dinners that rwcfoodie arranged: the eggplant at Jai Yun. and the crispy beef with orange peel at the same dinner. Thanks Karen.....

                and finally, my first taste of dungeness this year: enjoyed at home following Alice Water's recipe from the CP Cafe cookbook: nothing like the threat of losing something to make you appreciate the obvious....

                Out of town bonus: I got to the other side of the world this year and did a fair amount of eating, but the best out of town bonus wasn't that far from home: everything I've tried at Sabor a Mexico in LA, most notably the quesadilla estilo DF.

                3 Replies
                1. re: susancinsf

                  adding some links...

                  5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121

                  La Ciccia
                  291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                  China Village
                  1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

                  Angkor-Borei Restaurant
                  3471 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  Jai Yun
                  680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                  Hog Island Oyster Bar
                  Ferry Building,, San Francisco, CA 94111

                  Peninsula Asian Pearl
                  1671 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030

                  Kaygetsu Restaurant
                  325 Sharon Park Dr Ste A2, Menlo Park, CA 94025

                  4869 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                  Sabor a Mexico
                  2622 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018

                  Poc Chuc
                  2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                  1. re: susancinsf

                    Susan, thanks for shaking the cobwebs loose in what passes for my brain! I had forgotten about the Jai Yun dinner: I'd add the crab meat with egg white dish - I could have eaten a whole plate of just that! The crispy rice thing at Champa Garden is on the list for me too - easier to get to than Lotus of Siam and almost as good as theirs... Plus, switching cuisines: The house-made salumi at La Ciccia and that suckling pig too!

                    1. re: RWCFoodie

                      yes, the salumi almost made the cut for me too, even though for me technically I think I probably first tasted it last year! (2006)...but how could I have forgotten the egg white dish!

                  2. Nice topic!

                    In no particular order:

                    -#153 stir-fried rice cakes at Shanghai Dumpling Shop in Millbrae
                    -Lobster and burrata salad at Bar Crudo in San Francisco
                    -Age dofu fried tofu "box" at Minako Organic in San Francisco
                    -Braised ribs and green salad with duck leg at Ad Hoc in Yountville
                    -White grapefruit gummi candies from Miette Confiserie in San Francisco
                    -Carmelized cabbage at China Village in Albany
                    -Candied cock's comb with rice pudding at Incanto's Head to Tail dinner
                    -Chocolate croissant at Patisserie DeLanghe in San Francisco
                    -Sufganyot donuts made for Hanukkah at a friends house: this included Straus milk and butter plus jam made from blackberries from the Alemany market

                    -Out of town picks are xlb at Jia Jia Tang Bao in Shanghai; clam pie and Foxon Park root beer at Pepe's in New Haven, CT; and the Polish platter at Staropolska in New Britain, CT.

                    1. Oooh - I wanna play

                      #1) Standing Rib Roast from the Prather Ranch Meat Company with all the trimmings (cooked by the incredibly talented Mrs. Mousse)
                      #2) Braised Lamb's Neck with gremolata at Incanto
                      #3) Fried Chicken at Ad Hoc
                      #4) Seared Paine Farm Pigeon at Dopo
                      #5) Poached Smoked Salmon with Pickled Cucumbers and Sour Cream at Maritime East
                      #6) Seafood Chowder at Bar Crudo
                      #7) Soft Shell Crab Fritto Misto at 900 Grayson
                      #8) Pumpkin Soft Serve with Candied Almonds and Salted Caramel Sauce at Sketch Ice Cream
                      #9) Bard Rock Hen Terrine from Fatted Calf
                      #10) Blue Cheese Burger at Gregoire (guaranteed to make my list every year)


                      Chicken Livers and House Made Pasta at Osteria (Philly)
                      Smoked Turkey Soup at Topolobampo - part of the best Mexican meal I have ever had in my life by far (Chicago)
                      Kurobuta Pork Belly at Nook Bistro (Los Angeles)

                      1. In no order

                        - sweet potato pie from It's All Good Bakery Oakland
                        - white sapote from Berkeley Bowl
                        - atole from Guatamalan tamale lady in front of La Colmena market in Oakland
                        - mango aqua fresca from Oro de Agua truck in Oakland (thanks Ruth)
                        - feijoada from 25 West in Point Richmond
                        - Cherry gelato from Gelateria Firenze in Oakland
                        - Combo pumpkin soft-serve/gingerbread from Sketch in Berkeley
                        - pumpkin beer from Wunder Brewery in SF
                        - Serra da Estrela from Cheeseboard
                        - pumpkin shake from Ice Cream Mania in Pinole
                        - grated dry jack cheese from Vella Cheese in Sonoma
                        - olive baguette from Phoenix Pastifico

                        Ok ... 12 ... one for each month ... baker's dozen ... ginger ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery SF

                        1. I skimmed through all my posts since January, and I was unable to narrow it down to 10 tastes. So instead, I present 25 of my favorite tastes – there are probably dozens more that I could add, especially dishes made by my friends, many of whom are excellent cooks. But here we go, in no particular order:

                          1) Pork leg noodle soup – Thai House Express, Tenderloin

                          2) Tea leaf salad – Larkin Express Deli, Tenderloin

                          3) Onion Slab – Acme Bakery, Ferry Building

                          4) Frozen Pork Potstickers – Kingdom of Dumpling, Sunset District

                          5) Jasmine green milk tea w/ tapioca – Wonderful Foods – Sunset District

                          6) Vegetarian dumplings – Shanghai House – Richmond District

                          7) Banana cream pie – Mission Pie – Mission

                          8) Buche tacos – Taqueria Vallarta – Mission

                          9) Fresh-made churro – Churro stand at Day of the Dead Festival in Fruitvale

                          10) Steak w/ truffle butter – Suppenkuche – Hayes Valley

                          11) Sweet arepas with cheese – Mr. Pollo – Mission

                          12) Salumi platter – Incanto – Noe Valley

                          13) Marlon’s Garlic Noodles – Chowing with the Hounds Picnic 2007

                          14) The special wontons at dim sum – Hong Kong Flower Lounge – Millbrae

                          15) Mediterranean speads appetizer – Aziza – Richmond District

                          16) Mint ice cream sandwich – Bi-Rite Creamery – Mission

                          17) Chicken/Imperial Roll Combo – Cordon Bleu – Nob Hill

                          18) Chilean Empanadas at Alemany Farmer’s Market

                          19) Duck Leg Noodle Soup – Hai Ky Mi Gia – Tenderloin

                          20) The candied kumquats garnishing my dessert – Chez Panisse – Berkeley

                          21) Banh khot – Lotus Garden – Mission/Bernal

                          22) Tea Leaf Salad – Burma Superstar – Richmond District
                          23) Shrimp wontons – Ming Tai – Sunset District

                          24) Pork chops – Lucky River – Sunnyside

                          25) #106 - Soy Bean and Bean Curd Sheet w/ Preserved Vegetables – Shanghai Dumpling Shop - Millbrae

                          5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121

                          Burma Superstar Restaurant
                          309 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

                          Alemany Farmers' Market
                          100 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94110

                          Incanto Restaurant & Wine Bar
                          1550 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

                          Bi-Rite Creamery
                          3692 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                          Lotus Garden
                          3216 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                          Mission Pie
                          2901 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                          Larkin Express Burmese Kitchen
                          452 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                          Thai House Express
                          901 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                          Chez Panisse
                          1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                          Cordon Bleu Vietnamese
                          1574 California St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                          Taqueria Vallarta
                          3033 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                          525 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                          Shanghai Dumpling Shop
                          455 Broadway, Millbrae, CA 94030

                          Mr. Pollo
                          2823 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                          Wonderful Foods Co
                          2035 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                          Hai Ky Mi Gia
                          707 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                          Ming Tai Wun-Tun Noodle
                          2455 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                          Shanghai House
                          3641 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                          Lucky River
                          700 Monterey Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94127

                          King of Chinese Dumpling
                          1426 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA

                          Fruitvale Station
                          3401 E 12th St, Oakland, CA

                          Scharffen Berger
                          1 Ferry, Building San Francisco, CA

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Dave MP

                            hi dave! i'm wanting to tell you how very generous you are to provide all these links/addresses/etc. in your already wonderful post. You make it so much
                            easier for everyone. With your info, i can then go the next step of googling menus,maps etc. I hope to be trying some of your favs later this month. thank you again.

                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                              If you search the places database (or follow the links) you don't need to google. The maps are there as well as many websites and menus. Unfortunately the current Places database has a bug. If you don't match the city/state exactly including punctuation, it creates a duplicate record.

                              Sometimes I think that all the links do is give people the address.

                              Here are the links to the duplicates. My own personal preference is not to directly link unless there is a report. If you click on the URL it will take you the same place.

                              Burma Super Star

                              Thai House Experss Larkin

                              Acme Bread

                              Wonderful Foods

                              Mission Pie


                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                Didn't see your reply until today - I'm glad the linking paid off.

                                As rworange points out, the linking sometimes gets messed up, so it's a good idea to double check that the address provided is the correct one. Thanks also to rworange for pasting the proper links for the duplicates.

                                I am excited to hear where you end up eating!

                                Dave MP

                              2. re: Dave MP

                                Unless I'm mistaken that churro stand is across the street from the Fruitvale BART station every day. My girlfriend used to work near there and when I dropped by to see her I have to agree it was one of the best churros I've had.

                              3. 1) Barking Pumpkin Cask Ale - Magnolia Brewery - Haight

                                2) Spaghettini w cured tuna heart - Incanto - Noe Valley

                                3) Quince-style raviolo - made by a friend and former Quince pasta chef in her home

                                4) Sesame Sourdough bread - Tartine - Mission

                                5) Roast Chicken with Panzanella - Zuni Cafe - Upper Market

                                6) Duck Leg Ho Fun Noodle Soup - Hai Ky Mi Gia - Tenderloin

                                7) Shrimp and Mango Tacos - Mariachi's Taqueria - Mission

                                8) Blackberry Creme Brulee with Oatmeal Cookies - Zin - Healdsburg

                                9) Gibraltar - Blue Bottle Coffee Co. - Hayes Valley

                                10) Meatloaf - Suppenkuche - Hayes Valley

                                11) Biscuits and Gravy with Sage and Fried Eggs - Absinthe - Hayes Valley

                                12) Any crostata from Split Pea Seduction - SOMA

                                13) Pappardelle with Duck sugo - Pesce - Russian Hill

                                Zingerman's roadhouse rye (Ann Arbor MI)
                                Zingerman's Gingerbread Cake (Ann Arbor MI)
                                prefectly fried eggs at the Corner Grill (Bowling Green OH)
                                Vacio at any number of parrillas in Buenos Aires
                                Locro Norteño at La Peña del Colorado, Buenos Aires
                                Pulpo a la gallega (Spanish Octopus) - Amada - Philadelphia, PA

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mchan02

                                  Good call with the blackberry creme brulee at Zin....make that my #26

                                  Also ditto the bread from Tartine - I like this even better than the onion slab I mentioned.

                                2. I love this game. It makes you look back on your notes and brings such wonderful memories.

                                  1. Pork belly with squid and egg salad (Bar Tartine). Damn genius dish. Sounds absurd but it's an instant classic pairing.
                                  2. Smoked foie gras with a cognac fortified white wine - NV Pineau des Charentes, Billet, Cognac (Manresa). The combination of the two is simply unforgettable.
                                  3. Rack of lamb with coconut and yam puree with crushed cauliflower and Indian spices (Manresa). May be the best meat entree I've had in 5 years.
                                  4. Liquid vegetable croquettes (Manresa)
                                  5. Triangole of "pork cooked around the clock" (Oliveto Whole Hog)
                                  6. Pork belly with honey and shaved fennel (Oliveto Whole Hog)
                                  7. Chestnut Polenta (Oliveto Whole Hog)
                                  8. Chocolate souffle with frozen thai tea (Redd). Mostly it was the frozen thai tea that wowed.
                                  9. Shio ramen (Kahoo)
                                  10. Pork Chop (Nopa)


                                  1. Pierre Gagnaie (Paris). Redefined fine dining for me. Everything from the "mousse of smoked cream and bread topped with kanten, beef consommé, and daikon" (aka mock bone marrow) to the classic poulet mousse with spring vegetables to the parade of desserts that included a marvelous violet ice cream with violet caramelized sugar. Pretty much each of the 20-25 tastes was something new and intriguing
                                  2. Soufflé aux pomme at La Bonbonniere de Buci in St. Germain (Paris)
                                  3. Croissants at Maison Poujauran (Paris)
                                  4. Madai at Sushi Yasuda (NYC)
                                  5. Pig Foot “Milanese" at Babbo (NYC). Deboned pork trotter, flattened, and fried until crispy. Literally, a heart-stopper.
                                  6. Steak tartare at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (NYC)
                                  7. Chestnut soup with foie gras and bacon oil at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (NYC)
                                  8. Steak for two at Peter Luger (NYC). I had forgotten how wonderful, tender, and flavorful this steak was. It's always nice to be reunited with old friends.
                                  9. Dry rub ribs at Central BBQ (Memphis)
                                  10. Pastrami and pork jowl sandwich at Cochon (NO)
                                  11. Pickled pork tongue & crispy pig ear salad at Cochon (NO)
                                  12. Chicharones de pollo at Puerto Sagua (Miami Beach)

                                  1. Ravioli from Quince
                                    Caramel Roasted Apple from Spruce
                                    Tomato Soup from Bistro Jeanty
                                    Salmon in its own roe from Manresa
                                    Pork prime rib from Canteen
                                    Pizza with Egg from Pizzetta 211
                                    Italian Meatball Sandwich from Birley's
                                    Burrata at Pizzeria Delfina
                                    Flat Iron Steak from A Cote
                                    Lavender Honey Ice Cream from Ici
                                    Hamburger from Zuni
                                    Masa Boats from Primavera

                                    1. Great thread! I was wracking my brain to recall all of my SF Bay Area meals/bites this past year when it dawned on me that I could just look at all of my food photos to jog my memory. I didn't get up to SF/East Bay or eat out as much as I would have liked in 2007, so I sorta cheated and included more than one dish at a couple of places. Photo journal of each dish is linked at the bottom.

                                      I am sad to not include one Viet dish below, as nothing eaten at a restaurant stood out as top ten material. I apologize to my SJ Viet lunch companions for not having organized a lunch in a LONG time mainly due to increased work load. I resolve to at least have quarterly lunches in the new year, so don't lose hope! I hear there are a couple of new places at Grand Century Mall so it may be time for a visit. Holiday Wishes and Happy New Year to all!

                                      My Top Ten Tastes of 2007 in chronological order of consumption:

                                      1. Pan-fried Onigiri stuffed w/ salmon at Tanto, Sunnyvale
                                      2. Falafel Sandwich at Falafel Drive-In, San Jose
                                      3. Crab Dumpling at Koi Palace, Daly City
                                      4. Suckling Pig at Koi Palace, Daly City
                                      5. Maine Bouchot Mussels w/ saffron-mustard broth & frites at Bouchon, Yountville
                                      6. Bacon Cheeseburger at Taylor's Refresher, St. Helena
                                      7. Assorted Chocolates at Woodhouse Chocolate, St. Helena
                                      8. Ollalieberry Pie a la mode at Duarte's Tavern, Pescadero
                                      9. Kaiso Salad w/ 3 types of seaweed, watercress, mizuna & plum dressing at Kaygetsu, Menlo Park
                                      10. Mushi Gamo: sliced duck suspended in aspic served w/ Japanese mustard & pickled vegetables at Kaygetsu, Menlo Park--if I had to choose the most outstanding taste of the year, this would be it!

                                      Cedar-planked Local Wild Salmon made at home
                                      Chawan Mushi at Miyuki, Watsonville
                                      Minced sour sausage & crispy rice at Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas
                                      Tomato Paella (recipe from Mark Bittman) made at home using Mariquita Farm tomatoes
                                      First-of-the-season Local Dungeness Crab steamed at home
                                      Burnt Ends & Baked Beans at LC's BBQ, Kansas City, Missouri

                                      Photo Journal:

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Carb Lover

                                        "I resolve to at least have quarterly lunches in the new year, so don't lose hope! I hear there are a couple of new places at Grand Century Mall so it may be time for a visit." Dear CL: I hope you are able to do this; I really miss our lunches! Happy Holidays to you too!

                                        1. re: Carb Lover

                                          5. Maine Bouchot Mussels w/ saffron-mustard broth & frites at Bouchon, Yountville

                                          I made these at home, it's incredibly easy. I would highly recommend giving it a shot if you like it even a little bit.


                                        2. 1. The Kim Chee Jun at Jong Ga House on Grand in Oakland
                                          2. The Fig Ice Cream at Naia Gelato on Shattuck, Berkeley
                                          3. Chile Relleno at Tacubaa, Oakland (deep fried crisp, stuffed with cheese and vegetables, sauced and topped with pepitos)
                                          4. Freebie salsa and Chile Relleno at Dona Tomas, Oakland - note chile relleno not battered or fried just lovingly sauced - fillings and sauces vary.
                                          5. Rice paper wraps at Binh Minh Quan, Oakland
                                          6. Guava agua fresca at el Ojode Agua Taco Truck, Fruitvale/E.12th., Oakland
                                          7. Chicken Pot Pie at Bakesale Betty (or the chicken sandwich, or the scones...)
                                          8. Real (raw) chicken from the purveyor at the Ferry Building Farmers' Market - really expensive but the best chicken we've ever eaten.
                                          9. The pan au chocolat (they call it a choclatine) from La Farine Bakery, Fruitvale, Oakland and College, Berkeley.
                                          10. Bread pudding at Citizen Cake, S.F. closest thing to the Cuban Pudin Pan that I've found outside of Florida. Heartbreaking rumor that they may not still make it...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: fruti

                                            Ooh, I've been wondering about Jong Ga House but haven't made it there yet. What else have you tried and would recommend? Would you mind posting a mini-review as a new thread? Thanks!

                                          2. Thanks all...this list will come in handy for when I travel to SF & vicinity. Since I'll be in SJC next week, I'll definitely have to try the Falafel Drive In.

                                            Esp, thanks to all who provided the city location...VERY helpful!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: OCAnn

                                              Check out Falafel Drive In and let us know what you think. The banana shake is also their signature, so many people get the falafel sandwich/banana shake combo. Here's a link to my old report: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/390480

                                              Falafel Drive-in
                                              2301 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128

                                              1. re: Carb Lover

                                                In my search for SJC eats, it was *your* post combined w/this list & a tv spot that compels me to try Falafel Drive In. So thank you!

                                                Thanks to all the chowhounds here for steering me in the right direction. In the past, I've tried Krung Thai, Halu Ramen, Tlaquepaque and the Google Cafeteria and provided quick feedbacks on most. I'll report next week.

                                                1. re: Carb Lover

                                                  Falafel's Drive Inn is the BEST! Best falafel's I've ever had anywhere. So crispy and flavorful...mmmmmm, now I want some! my husband and I take the road trip from SF every few months just to have a yummy falafel sandwich and banana shake combo.

                                              2. fun! In no particular order, the tastes I discovered this year and crave whenever I think about them...

                                                1. Fried chicken sandwich from Bakesale Betty
                                                2. “the Egg” at Manresa
                                                3. Sweet potato fries at the Counter
                                                4. Pumpkin mochi at Gochi
                                                5. Korean Fried Chicken from 99 Chicken
                                                6. Salad of Haricots Verts, Tomato Tartare, and Chive Oil – made from French Laundry cookbook
                                                7. Carmel bars with bittersweet chocolate and sea salt - Tante Marie's Cooking School
                                                8. Kumamoto oysters, from Hog Island or (in a pinch) at the Los Gatos farmer’s market
                                                9. Beard Papa cream puffs – in the US! (still not as good as in Japan, but whatever)
                                                10. Irish brown bread from John Campbell's Irish bakery

                                                Out of town tastes: hot tres leches donut from Donut Plant in NYC, bacon ice cream at Blackbird in Chicago, squash flan with beet sauce at Ditirambo in Milan, first time trying fugu in Tokyo, ice cream float from Milk in Los Angeles

                                                1. Great lists everyone. Lots of stuff to try on this thread.

                                                  My top 10 without thinking about it all that much. Not in any order.

                                                  1. Sobrisada Bocadillo with Alioli and Boquerones at Café Madrid (Oakland)
                                                  2. Koh Sumui (Lemongrass Coconut milk Chicken curry) and Otsu (sesame buckwheat noodles with seared tofu) at Pomelo (SF)
                                                  3. Sweatbreads at El Raigon (SF)
                                                  4. Spicy Tomato Soup at Udupi Palace (Berkeley)
                                                  5. Tofu Jerky and Spicy Braised Tofu from stall at Temescal Farmers Market (North Oakland)
                                                  6. Slow Roasted Pork at Memphis Minnie's (SF – Lower Haight)
                                                  7. Shaved Fennel Lemon Oil Parmesan salad and White Bean/Tuna /Augala salad at Café Oly (Oakland)
                                                  8. Dopo Pizza (w anchovies) at Dopo (North Oakland)
                                                  9. Musseld in Pernod at A Cote (North Oakland)
                                                  10. Lao Sausages (Lemongrass sauages) at Champa Garden (Oakland)

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: 10foot5

                                                    1. Meyer Lemon marmalade from Frog Hollow Farm served with goat cheese and basil at home
                                                    2. House cured duck ham thinly sliced and served with creamy, horseradish deviled eggs and bitter radiccio slaw from Blue Plate
                                                    3. Green Curry chicken at Thai House Express -- possibly the best I've had
                                                    4. 5-spice chicken at Lotus Garden. The chicken is perfectly carmelized and crispy on the edges and served with rice and fish sauce.
                                                    5. The California Breakfast at Betty's Oceanview Diner (Berkeley) Perfectly poached eggs served atop thinly sliced ham and with a lemon herb butter sauce
                                                    6. Carne Asada taco from Taqueria Guadalajara
                                                    7. Walnut Tartlett from Mission Pie-- kind of reminiscent of pecan pie only not to sweet and some of the walnuts are ground into a kind of paste. Served with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. It is small and deeply satisfying.
                                                    8. Pizza from La Ciccia-- gave Delfina Pizza competition
                                                    9. Gyoza from Kiji-- perfect melding of pork and mushrooms
                                                    10. In-n-Out Burger--(Daily City) some In-n-Out tops others. This one is supremely generous on the fixings and does a mouth-watering, animal-style double-double.
                                                    11. Bonus: Pancelotti--Delfina Pizza-- a special appetizer of fried pizza bites that were filled with house cured pepperoni and mozarella

                                                    1. re: finchycocoa

                                                      I think this is the best thread I've ever encountered on any food-related site! I am a list monster so this is my style of topic. And even though I've only been to SF twice, I've actually EATEN ONE OF THE POSTERS' TOP TASTES: tea leaf salad at Larkin Express - kewl :-). Thanks to everyone for providing a Vancouverite who is planning her next foray to the Bay area in mid-April with lots of new ideas -- I've cut and pasted the heck out of your entries.

                                                  2. Wow - lots of great ideas from these lists. Here's what's coming to my mind as I think back on 2007:
                                                    1. Shrimp and Grits at the General's Daughter in Sonoma
                                                    2. Xiao Long Bao at Shanghai Dumpling King on Balboa in SF
                                                    3. Chicken Tikka Masala at Shalimar in the Tenderloin in SF
                                                    4. Quesadilla at El Castillito on Mission in SF
                                                    5. Tea Leaf Salad at Burma Superstar - SF
                                                    6. Pizza from Pizzetta 211 - SF
                                                    7. Pizza from Gioia - Berkeley
                                                    8. Vegetarian burrito from Numero Uno - Lafayette
                                                    9. Chicken sandwich from Bakesale Betty's - Oakland
                                                    10. Cheeseburger at Chez Maman on Union - SF

                                                    Elsewhere (I just moved back to the Bay Area in August, so most of my 2007 was spent in other locales):
                                                    -Porchetta Sandwich from Salumi in Seattle
                                                    -Roast pork sandwich from Paseo in Seattle
                                                    -pizza with sausage and Mama Lil's peppers from Apizza Scholl's in Portland, OR
                                                    -fettuccine carbonara from Beppe & Gianni's in Eugene, OR
                                                    -croissant from Pierre Hermes in Paris
                                                    -sturgeon at Alloro in Bandon, OR
                                                    -cumin seed gouda from cheese shops in Paris
                                                    -lox from Russ & Daughters + bagels from Ess-a-bagel - NY
                                                    -pastrami sandwich from Katz' - NY

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: CaitlinC333

                                                      Can you tell us more about Numero Uno, and specifically that vegetarian burrito? It's not often mentioned here, and I'm curious about hearing what they might do well.

                                                      1. re: Hunicsz

                                                        Numero Uno is just a typical taqueria/burrito shop - but their vegetarian burrito is one of my favorite burritos in the Bay Area - and one that I crave all the time. It's nothing unusual (no grilled veggies or anything like that) - it's just a regular burrito without meat. However, they have great refried beans, great rice, and they melt their cheese on the tortilla, rather than just tossing it in like way too many places do. Something about the combo of those main three ingredients makes it a great burrito (if you read burritoeater.com, they would give it maximum intangibility bonus points), and one that I think would suffer from the addition of meat because it would overpower the great but subtle flavors (yes, I take my burritos seriously). It also has pico de gallo, guacamole, and lettuce (and would come with sour cream, but I order mine without). It's one of those things that's hard to describe because it sounds so simple, but it's definitely not plain or boring.

                                                        1. re: CaitlinC333

                                                          Thanks for that, Caitlin. I love a good vegetarian burrito, and I know what you mean about maximum intangibility bonus points (yes, I also love burritoeater.com). There's something so great about a well done vegetarian burrito. Sounds simple, as you said, but also so hard to find. Even for us meateaters, sometimes a veggie option can just satisfy. Thanks for the info.

                                                          1. re: Hunicsz


                                                            Numero Uno Taqueria
                                                            3616 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549

                                                            Numero Uno Taqueria
                                                            1125 Arnold Dr Ste D, Martinez, CA 94553

                                                            Numero Uno Taqueria
                                                            4470 Lone Tree Way, Antioch, CA

                                                    2. This is such a treasure trove filled with good stuff - it will take me weeks to discover new things to try. I will share mine. I am not very active recently due to family duties (2 kids) and demands on my career. Here we go:

                                                      1. Little Potato: wrapped sticky rice (forget which flavor-maybe chicken), dongbei spareribs, lamb hotplate, ants cliimbing tree dish and their szecuan dishes
                                                      2. Asian Flavor: great filipino dishes - all you can eat on weekends
                                                      3. Ono Hawaiian on Hesperian next to Kragen: awesome lau pork with edible leafs and saimin. Also good meats and macaroni salad.
                                                      4. Our fellowship (At The Cross) weekly dinners are outstanding. Week after week of food paradise after a great worship is something to behold. Just incredible authentic Indonesian food and also a few Chinese dishes. Free of charge of course. Just had KETOPRAK with incredible yellow tofu. Very garlicky peanut sauce and that tofu !
                                                      5. My pastor's chowfun (yes, the man can cook) is also awesome with hints of spicy and just a tiny hint of liver.
                                                      6. Filipino food at the Serramonte food court is another great find. Great and seldom seen dishes.
                                                      7. Sbarro is a chain but their chicken dish is amazing. It is very moist with a rich buttery sauce and topped with sliced mushrooms. It's a 10 in my book
                                                      8. Jollibee has this great fried chicken. The skin is so crispy and will put to shame most KFC.
                                                      9. Shabu beef place in LA (Rowland Heights) has this incredible beef.
                                                      10. The Thai place accross from #9 has something like 100 Thai dishes - many are very unique.
                                                      11. Simpang Asia also in LA had many great Indonesian dishes. Had this Nasi Rames in banana leaf - very authentic and delicious.
                                                      12. Kurry Korner in Hayward was very good.

                                                      Sorry got carried away with 12 things.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Han

                                                        Han, it's good to know that you're still out there!

                                                        1. re: RWCFoodie

                                                          Yeah, still trying out a few places and new dishes here and there but recently reduced to family type places like Hometown, etc. But I still try to be selective even on those common choices.

                                                          Our Hometown buffet here in Hayward had this awesome brisket beef on Sundays. I think it was one of the best I ever had - as good as in El Dorado(Reno). Moist and full of flavor. Great burger too - of all places in a buffet. The bread is very unique individually bagged in plastic bag to keep the fluff.

                                                      2. Rainbow Salad at Burma Super Star
                                                        Razor Clams at Silver House in San Mateo
                                                        XLB at Happy Cafe in San Mateo

                                                        1. Never got around to doing this but had to once it resurfaced. I didn’t realize this until I was done, but wow… my list is really “egg” heavy. And I don’t normally really “love” eggs. haha

                                                          10. Slow Egg & Abalone (Manresa)
                                                          9. Crispy Shrimp (Salt House)
                                                          8. Pork Belly sandwich with Squid and Egg Salad (Bar Tartine)
                                                          7. Anson Mills grits with pork soffrito and Fried Eggs (SPQR) – must throw in a side order of homemade sausage, too.
                                                          6. Raviolo (Quince)
                                                          5. Salted Caramel ice cream (Bi-Rite Creamery)
                                                          4. Chorizo encrusted scallop with Manilla clams, mirepoix (Cyrus) – perfect paired with a Spanish sherry
                                                          3. Truffled Egg with chive chip (French Laundry)
                                                          2. Pork Trio (Redd – nightly special and not a standard menu item): I can’t remember too many specifics about this dish as it was early in 2007… but I remember sitting there and fawning over every bite.
                                                          1. Almond-milk granita and espresso crema (SPQR)

                                                          1. Great topic! Okay, here are mine in no particular order:

                                                            1. Crab & Grits, Front Porch, SF
                                                            2. Oak Smoked Brisket, Memphis Minnie's, SF
                                                            3. Cumin Lamb, China Village, Berkeley
                                                            4. West Style Spicy Fish Soup (1000 peppers), China Village, Berkeley
                                                            5. Peruvian Yellow Pepper Sauce, Inka's, SF
                                                            6. Crispy Fried Squid Legs, Zone 88, SF
                                                            7. House Curred Pickles, Boca Steak, Novato
                                                            8. Samosa Soup, Berma Super Star, SF
                                                            9. Crab Bisque, Mendo Bistro, Ft Bragg
                                                            10 Tiramisu, Cucina Italiana, Lake Berryessa

                                                            Best outside tastes:
                                                            Mac & Cheese, Samosa Grill, Charlotte, NC
                                                            Pumpkin Soup, Mesa Grill, Las Vegas, NV
                                                            Smoked Spareribs, Germantown Commissary, Germantown, TN
                                                            Shrimp & Grits, Mert's Heart & Soul, Charlotte, NC
                                                            Spicy Masago Poki over warm rice, Pack & Save, Wailuku, HI

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Civil Bear

                                                              one of my favorite threads of all time
                                                              don't want it to die...or maybe someone will start a new one?

                                                              some memorable things:
                                                              1. Seared Foie Gras with Ginger Carrot Pain Perdu, Tumeric Emulsion from Cyrus
                                                              2. Cauliflower in a Cast Iron Pot from Ubuntu
                                                              3. Pork belly calamari over egg and potato from Bar Tartine
                                                              4. Croque Monsieur w/ fromage blanc from Tartine Bakery
                                                              5. Ankimo from Ino Sushi
                                                              6. Roasted Chicken for two with bread salad, currants, and pinenuts from Zuni
                                                              7. Seared Mascarpone and Potato Gnocchi with Pancetta and Parmesan Butter Sauce from Myth
                                                              8. Salted Caramel from Bi Rite
                                                              9. Macarons from Bouchon Bakery
                                                              10. Eggplant Strata from Dottie's
                                                              I think the mozzarella burrata from A16 is great

                                                              1. re: ankimo

                                                                Myth closed. If it reopens, it'll be a very different restaurant.

                                                                I think you mean salted caramel ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery?

                                                                To ensure that it's fresh, A16 gets its burrata air-freighted in daily direct from the producer, Gioia Cheese Co. in South El Monte, rather than getting it through a local distributor.

                                                            2. Let's call the citrus fruit "yuzu", although I can see how "yuza" might be acceptable.

                                                              This is a 2007 list?

                                                              For me, the most memorable dish possibly came from a meal at Manresa, and there were more than one "top taste".

                                                              This is a partial reprint from http://www.chowhound.com/topics/368820

                                                              Two simple churro sticks in a tall cup, one slightly longer than the other, bent slightly, like a playful modern arrangement in a small vase. This was the third amuse bouche, placed in the middle of the table. On the inside, the velvety parmesan (yes, parmesan cheese) was sweetly soft and demure, and all the sparkle came from the salty crispness on the outside.

                                                              The first savory course. Mesquite wood smoked duck foie gras, with miner's lettuce, rosemary vinegar infused pear slivers. Tonka bean powder was sprinkled on the plate.
                                                              The foie gras was a firm, red, generous portion of heavenly goodness.

                                                              The third savory course was, in a nutshell, a dish of gnocchis, a dollop of creamy cheese, garden vegetables + foam. A little dish. Not so little were the efforts which resulted in this divine creation. Luca the waiter reported, with mock sadness, that the vegetables were living in their own biodynamic garden until that very afternoon, until around 3:30 pm. I located a perky miniature carrot the size of a pine nut. A cute baby turnip. There was a tiny spinach leaf, a broccoli floret the size of my thumbnail, and a tiny piece of light green vegetable I saw in Paris but had never eaten before. More about this fascinating vegetable later. All these baby vegetables were individually poached in its own little pot, in its own rich vegetable broth, with different optimum cooking times. Then they were all assembled together, and presented with pieces of gnocchi and rich vegetable broth foam.

                                                              A circularly laid out amberjack sashimi dish. Imagine a flattened magnolia blossom with thin satiny translucent sashimi petals, flavored with sherry vinegar reduction, accented with little pieces of geoduck and little neck clams. I imagined tasting concentrated konbu broth, but it’s entirely possible these flavors came from the clams alone. Sprinkled on top are white untoasted sesame seeds, slivers of nori, miniscule rings of chives and julienned white radish resembling little daisy petals. Further garnished with baby shiso leaves and flowers.

                                                              As a minimalist, David appropriately chose an ordinary farm fresh egg to express his taste and artistry, also an homage to Alain Passard's chaud-froid d'oeuf fermier, sirop d'erable.

                                                              The EGG is an ambitious concept. This deceptively simple little soft-boiled egg with the top lopped off (the 4th amuse bouche) attempts to represent almost every facet of our contrasting flavor sensations.

                                                              Sweet represented by maple syrup,
                                                              Sour represented by sherry vinegar,
                                                              Salt sprinkled on top,
                                                              Savory soft yolk
                                                              Texture contrast between the salt and the whipped cream top.
                                                              Cooked on the outside, raw on the inside,
                                                              I did taste a bit of pleasant bitterness as well,
                                                              And yes, the egg was delivered hot and cold at the same time.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: grocerytrekker

                                                                i only have 1 to offer right now, but it's so good that I had to take the time to post: the porchetta sandwich from Roli Roti on Saturday mornings at the Ferry Building farmer's market. It's located outside near the Prather Rach stand. AMAZING!!!! crispy bits of pork with micro greens and lots of savory, juicy rotisserie meat that drips on the ciabatta bread topped. SO GOOD. they sell out pretty early.