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What's your favorite way, way out of the way food obsession (Bay Area)?

What single food item or meal is so good that you'll go to any lengths to get it? Maybe a grocer or specialty shop in Antioch that sells a candy bar that can be gotten nowhere else, even though you live in Daly City, or the trek from San Jose to Sonoma for that one little dive diner where the $5.99 pancake platter makes it worth the trip. What lights up your board so much that the trip (relatively Bay Area only, please) is inconsequential to the destination?

I want to know the true obsessions here! The ones where you'll go at least 15 miles out of the way for it without a question.

To start, my personal obsession is the chai at Raman's Coffee and Chai in Half Moon Bay. I will regularly drive 45 minutes in each direction, east bay to HMB, braving bridge tolls and horrible (yet beautiful) driving on 92 where it goes to 2 lanes just for a $3 cup of this liquid heaven. Sometimes I'll even get several and put them in a thermos to last an entire day.

Raman's Coffee and Chai
101 Main St
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 712-1257

Who's the next crazy person to add to the list?

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  1. Even though I live in the East Bay near the highest concentration of Korean food in the Bay Area, I buy my kimchi in the SF Richmond district, which is an hour round trip if there's no traffic.

    We occasionally drive to Napa for the lard-fried chicken at BarbersQ.

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    BarBersQ
    3900 D Bel Aire Plaza, Napa, CA 94558

    First Korean Market
    4625 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Why the kimchi better than what is available at Koreana? Is it hotter, crisper? Do they have a greater variety?

      1. re: wolfe

        It tastes better. I have no idea why. The stuff is made fresh in the back of the store, and it contains just vegetables, hot pepper, garlic, salt, and salted shrimp. They pretty much always have cabbage, daikon, and bachelor radish, occasionally other seasonal vegetables such as cucumbers or spring onions.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Fresh is not a term I'd use to describe any kimchi I've ever eaten :-). This sounds most intriguing...

    2. Bar.b.q'd oysters at the Marshall Store, up the coast in Marshall, right on Tomales Bay. Heaven on a half shell. About an hour from Mill Valley, where I live, but the drive is gorgeous, and the absolutely fresh, barely sauced and grilled bi-valves are the best anywhere.

      4 Replies
      1. re: annabana

        I wouldn't drive out there just for that, but it's a great place to stop after a hike in Point Reyes.

        To my taste they're pretty heavily sauced. if you want them with just a drop, order them grilled plain and add sauce to taste.

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        Marshall Store
        19225 Hwy 1, Marshall, CA 94940

        1. re: annabana

          Where is this place? We must have driven past it numerous times! Where is it in relation to Tony's or Hog Island? Can you see it from Hwy 1?

          1. re: Sarah

            Sarah, The Marshall Store is just north (maybe 1/2 mile) of Tony's on route 1., on the bay side, right next to a small boat yard. There is usually a large painted sign saying fresh oysters. RL, I have to disagree, to my taste (which of course is subjective,) the q'd o's are not oversauced, as they come to the table swimming in their own almost completely clear liguor. Just my opinion tho'.

            1. re: annabana

              There's a photo on their site:

              http://www.themarshallstore.com/

              It's just a matter of taste. I like the way they do them fine, but when I grill oysters myself I put just a drop of Tabasco.

        2. The two I'm thinking of are Gumbah's in Vallejo (for Chicago-style Italian Beef sandwiches) and Wild Floud Bakery in Freestone. I'm sure I'll have a few more to add.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Agent 510

            I grew up on Mare Island in the late 80's and fondly remember Gumbah's. Is is still around?

              1. re: wolfe

                I'm actually going to have to stop in soon instead of driving by. I wonder if they decided to keep the old name since that is still the sign on the restaurant.

                Anyone know if they decided to stay with the Gumbah's name?

          2. I specificaly drive from the East Bay to Hardin Gardens in Sonoma. I love their produce.

            In season, I'll drive to the Crane Melon Barn in Santa Rosa for the melons

            Ninth Annual Chowing with the Hounds Picnic! October 3rd, 2009
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/652687

            2 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              I've driven 45 minutes out of my way for the wings at Russian River Pub.

              1. re: tvham

                I think this would be a better topic if it were "what would you go 45 minutes out of the way for"

                especially in a place like SF, how much time it takes out of your schedule is often more important than actual mileage, considering how slow it can be to drive from certain parts of the city

            2. Pizza at Little Star in SF from where we live in San Jose. They have the best pizza in the Bay Area. Simply great Chicago style deep dish with an amazing crust.

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              Little Star Pizza
              846 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

              Little Star Pizza Valencia
              400 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

              1 Reply
              1. re: katya

                Oh, how could I forget Ad Hoc?!? I've been four times from SF specifically for dinner, including on a Monday for fried chicken.

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                Ad Hoc
                6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599