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Apr 15, 2008 08:55 PM

Return to SF

We are former SF residents in town for a visit next week. We will be in SF for a few days, one night in Sonoma and then a night in Vacaville. We intend to visit a few old haunts (burritos from Cancun or Guadalajara, Chapeau! and a couple others). I’ve perused the board a bit and have some ideas. An obvious one is a visit to the SF Ferry Building--sadly we won’t be around for the market. I’d like to bend your ear on some specifics.

I used to love Cliffs BBQ, but it appears to have closed down. Memphis Minnies was usual our second choice. We have a baby in tow so I guess that lunch and a drink at Toronado is out of the question. Has any place new in SF opened up that might be worth a visit? Please, I don’t need to hear me that SF has no good southern BBQ—I live in Canada. I have to make BBQ at home. I’m also interested in finding some southern style fried chicken. We won’t be able to get to Ad Hoc. It seems to me our SF choices are Farmer Browns or Front Porch. Am I missing one?

I am also considering Indonesian something that we lack in Toronto. Is the choice still between Bamboo Village, Java Restaurant, Borobudur and Indonesia Restaurant? At present I am leaning towards Bamboo Village.

Fresh Seafood. We like old school like Tadich. Somewhere with Dungeness crab or sand dabs would be nice too—are they in season now?

Vacaville. Is there anything interesting in Vacaville for dinner at all? It seems to be mostly chains.

I guess that’s a good start. Thanks so much for your help.

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  1. Within the past week someone posted about places around Travis AFB - if you do a search for that, you will find the responses - there were several non-chain options!

    1 Reply
    1. It is in Oakland, but Brown Sugar Kitchen has been getting lots of positive posts. That might be a place to consider for fried chicken. The pastry chef who is consulting there is also wonerful.

      The owners of Chapeau also took over the ownership of Clementine.

      Are you interested in BBQ places that might be along 80 between Vacaville and SF?

      7 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        Hmm. Clementine might be a good option. We have a really soft spot for Chapeau! but the tables are very close together and it is quite loud. I did a quick search on the two restaurants. It's unclear to me at which location one would find Philippe or Ellen. And which restaurant has foie gras on the menu.

        We plan to drive to Vacaville via Sonoma, but it's possible that we would visit friends in El Cerrito or Benicia during our trip. So although I'd prefer SF for BBQ, a BBQ place on 80 would be good to know about. I still can’t believe Cliff’s closed. I’ve still got one of their magnets on my fridge.

        I got to thinking last night. I’m also interested in having good Thai. We are staying in the Outer Richmond District. We used to go Khan Toke. Hokey interior but the food was good. Is there any others in Richmond or possibly Sunset(Marnee)? I’m also hoping to get to the Irish Bakery on Geary.

        1. re: mikeb

          T-Rex is a short drive up Gilman from 80. I think the shortribs are as good as Memphis Minnie's.

          T-Rex Barbeque
          1300 10th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Second this, if you're going to be on 80, T Rex is a good detour, and I've really enjoyed a lot of their BBQ (some service issues, though), and apparently they sometimes have fried chicken on that's gotten great reports here (I'm not sure when, though).

          2. re: mikeb

            From what I've read Ellen is at Chapeau and Phillepe is at Clementine. Maybe somone can confirm.

            In Fairfield near Vacaville is CJ's BBQ. I haven't been to that location, just the Richmond spot which is a B - B+ type of BBQ. If you are interested here's the Place record

            Vallejo has three BBQ joints that I know, the best of which is Gracie's.

            It is nothing fancy but nice enough if you take a baby. I have been trying to stop by when they have the baby backs but the planets haven't lined up right for that yet.

            D's Bar-B-Que is strictly take-out. Others like them more than I do

            I have Michael's Southern Delights on my list to try ... can't say other than that.

            Speaking of fried chicken, another place in Vallejo on my list that gets high marks on Chowhound for the pan-fried chicken is House of Soul

            And for something you probably won't get in Canada, there is a terrific little paleteria in Vallejo ... get the coconut paleta dipped in chocolate

            Across the bridge from Benicia is Martinez where Bulldog BBQ just got a good mention. Looks like a nice enough place and there is a good bakery across the street.

            If you are down El Cerrito Way, you might consider T-Rex BBQ ... upscale BBQ ... when they are on ... they are fantastic ... but they can really be hit or miss. Nice beers. Nice restaurant. It is on Gillman in Berkeley but not far from El Cerrito

            You might keep an eye on this thread to see if anyone has feedback.

            New or less-mentioned BBQ in the city of SF

            The places I'm hoping for some comment about are Ironwood BBQ, Pete's Tavern and Johnson's.

            Well ... that's more than you might use ... if any ... but there it is. Hope you report back on wherever you go and have a great trip.

            1. re: rworange

              I've found T-Rex's spareribs consistently great. Brisket was perfect once, next try so dry we sent it back, so no harm done.

              1. re: rworange

                That is correct - Ellen is at Chapeau and Philippe is at Clementine. I also just read that Chapeau reduced their days of operation to Wed-Sun. I believe Clementine has foie gras, but their menu has changed since I was there, so I would call to confirm.

                Clementine Restaurant
                126 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

                1. re: meggie t

                  My girlfriend & I ate at Chapeau! on a Thrs evening in March and we were very unhappy with the crowded tables, the noise and general lack of charm & ambience. The food could have been the best in the world but turns to dust in the mouth when surroundings are uncomfortable. Living in the Richmond now I'll give Clementine a try and have fingers crossed.

          3. I have a foodie friend who swears by the fried chicken at Firefly.

            1. Best Indonesian currently might be Jayakarta in Berkeley.


              1. The fried chicken at 1300 on Fillmore is absolutely could even swing by Yoshi's (the new one in San Francisco) for a show afterwards.