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Fifth time lucky: returning to the Bay Area for more food'n'fun

I will be in SF from Thursday Nov 5 to Wed Nov 11, 2009 with my SO. We will be using transit/walking. Willing to travel for good food but limited patience for long trips before breakfast and long lines anytime. I have a shellfish/crustacean sensitivity but can eat shrimp and prawns (no idea why). This will be our fifth trip since 2003 so we are reasonably comfortable with your different neighbourhoods, though we’ve hardly scratched the surface. Herewith our itinerary and some starred dining out opportunities to fill e.g. dinner on Monday and Tuesday, lunch Saturday, so if you have suggestions for these or anything else we’re thinking of, bring ‘em on. Thanks all. ~ Grayelf

Thursday dinner: Canteen 7:30 pm

Friday breakfast: Olympic Flame Grill [then Lands End stroll/Legion of Honor]

Friday lunch: Dog Off! Zog’s Dogs, Da Beef, Showdogs [Meandering in SOMA] hit Mitchell's Ice Cream SOMA and Tropisueno happy hour con botanas 4-6

Friday dinner: Mi Lindo Yucatan

Saturday breakfast: Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market for tacos al pastor or chilaquiles from Primavera or Mijita [Walking tour of Embarcadero South 11 am]

***Saturday lunch: ???????????????? [then Hyde Street Pier, Aquatic Park Stroll, new Maritime Museum]

Saturday dinner: Burmese Kitchen, Johnny Foley’s for a pint of Murphy's on the way home

Sunday breakfast: If with SO: grab pastries and coffee at ACME bread/Blue Bottle store in Ferry Building
Head to Oakland by ferry for Sunday Farmers Market (Cholita Linda fish tacos) and maybe more Blue Bottle at new roastery, check out Heinold’s First and Last Chance just because, stroll through Chinatown (more snacking but not sure where yet – Rico’s, Café 817, Café 15, Shan Dong Noodles, BC Deli for coconut and shredded pork noodle dish ???)

or if solo: Tartine Bakery to try morning bun, gougere, ham and cheese croissant, bread pudding for brekky
[Walking tour Mission Dolores or the Castro 11 am (if latter, ck out Cliff’s Variety at Castro and 18th)]
Sunday lunch/snacks if solo: La Oaxaqueña for tamal or enchiladas with mole negro; tinga de pollo tacos; tlayuda; avoid pupusas and chips; El Buen Sabor's carnitas tacos; El Cachanilla offal tacos (fish and carnitas also good); avoid pastor
Pirate Cat Cafe btwn Florida and Bryant bacon and maple latte; La Torta Gorda for a pierna enchilada torta or Tortas Los Picudos for a carnitas torta and pineapple agua fresca

Noe Valley to check out Martha & Bros, 24th St. Cheese Co., Noe Valley Bakery, Chocolate Covered [then back to FB for ferry to either Vallejo or Larkspur and back or walking tour of Nob Hill]

Sunday dinner: Lers Ros (I have a long list of reccos by CHers)

Monday breakfast: Moulin Rouge then Hayes Valley ramble plus Blue Bottle (Gibraltar) and La Boulange (chocolate croissant) then Alamo Square

Monday lunch: Nopalito (ck out Falletti’s) [Golden Gate Park after]

***Monday dinner: ???????????

Tuesday breakfast: Mama’s (lineup fallbacks: Curly's, Liguria or Pat's Café)

Tuesday lunch: Jai Yun [Stroll around North Beach/Chinatown, maybe do a tea tasting]

***Tuesday dinner: ??????????????

Wednesday breakfast: Café de la presse (because it’s an old favourite) [Union Square galleries after]

Wednesday (late) lunch: Tadich for sand dabs or petrale [Pick up luggage and BART off to SFO to return to YVR at 7:55 pm]

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  1. For snacking in Oakland Chinatown, I like the grilled pork banh mi at BC Deli and the egg tarts at Ruby King. Very solid, though as I mentioned in the other thread, I would just keep my expectations in check--it's tough to compete with the wealth of great Chinese food up in BC!

    Rico's is great, though I don't necessarily think of it as a snack spot--if I were to get one item, it would be the chocolate banana milkshake. However, the last I checked, it wasn't open on Sundays.

    Doesn't seem like you have Berkeley on your itinerary, but if you do go, I would strongly recommend Local 123 for coffee--I'd much rather do that than hit up Blue Bottle so many times. Best cappuccino I've ever had. Probably a 15 minute walk from BART. Right down the street is the original Berkeley location of Acme Bread. Other decent eats in the vicinity (Indus Village, Sea Salt, Digs Bistro, etc.), though perhaps none that are destination worthy.

    Also a longish walk away is the new Berkeley Bowl West--but I don't know if you're the type who enjoys visiting grocery stores in foreign cities (I do, but I'm probably just a weirdo--still, to me, Berkeley Bowl is the best supermarket I've been to anywhere. The day it opened I was snapping pictures on my cell phone just like a tourist).

    Anyway, I know that's a good bit of walking. But something to consider, perhaps.

    I'll let others chime in about the SF portion of the itinerary. =)

    50 Replies
    1. re: abstractpoet


      Acme Bread
      1601 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

      B C Deli Sandwiches
      818 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94607

      Ruby King Bakery Cafe
      718 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94607

      Rico's Diner
      400 15th Street, Oakland, CA

      Berkeley Bowl West
      920 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA

      Local 123
      2049 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

      1. re: abstractpoet

        As huge a fan I am of Local 123, it's good to note it's a 15 minute walk from North Berkeley bart, not downtown berkeley bart. If you just go to 'berkeley bart' and hoof it, it's 30 minutes each way.

        I am shocked, shocked that Commis isn't on your list, given all the recent buzz, unless you caught it last trip. Like, Tuesday dinner?

        1. re: bbulkow

          If going to Piedmont Ave. in Oakland for dinner at Commis, then I would add a gelato/sorbetto at Lush Gelato either before or afterward to the list of must-do's. (Lush isn't under places yet, so I'll just put the address below.)

          No direct BART access, though.

          Lush Gelato
          4184 Piedmont Ave.
          Oakland, CA

          3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

          1. re: bbulkow

            Commis is closed both Monday and Tuesday (otherwise I would have suggested Commis)

            1. re: skwid

              Lers Ros is open seven days, and Burmese Kitchen is open for dinner on Tuesday, so those are potential swaps. If you're in Oakland on Sunday anyway, why not stay for dinner?

              1. re: skwid

                Perhaps could be swapped with Lers Ros on Sunday, if the OP is coming to the East Bay that day anyway. Could just cab it over after a day of walking/snacking in JLS and Oakland Chinatown (or maybe there's a bus?).

                1. re: abstractpoet

                  Garyelf said they were going to take the ferry over to Oakland which would put them right at Jack London Square. Getting to Commis would be easy with a taxi. However using the ferry to get back would be difficult given that the last ferry back is at 7:10 p.m.. From Camino you could easily take BART (about a 20 minute walk to 19th street BART).

                  1. re: skwid

                    Camino to BART about 2 miles around the lake, at night.

                    1. re: skwid

                      Thinking of BARTing back regardless as SO is not much of a sailor so one ferry trip will be enough for him :-). The reason for Lers Ros on Sunday is that we are meeting up with some folks there if all goes as planned.

                    2. re: abstractpoet

                      Yeah, I would agree with staying in Oakland for dinner on Sunday night if you're going to be there on Sunday. Commis is a great idea if you want a little splurge, and then it's a quick cab ride to the MacArthur BART station afterwards (you could walk, but it's a kind of dreary walk in the dark if you're alone, there's also a bus that will get you there). If you want something less pricey, I'd suggest going to Wood Tavern -- the food is great, it's excellent for a solo diner because you can grab a seat at the bar, and it's about 5 blocks from the Rockridge BART station, and an easy walk.

                  2. re: bbulkow

                    I've been reading about Commis esp on this rather staggering thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/633013 (it was open when we were last there in March) and I did consider it but I think it is outside our comfort level. Let me 'splain: we would feel out of place at a resto that looks like it should have white tablecloths even if it doesn't (see OP singleguy chef's comment) when we're visiting. We're not slobs but we don't travel with "nice" clothes and to be honest we aren't looking for that kind of experience, especially when it seems there are so many wonderful places to try that are a bit more casual cf Canteen (don't get me started on Denis Leary or you will die of boredom -- suffice to say I have huge Chow crush). I don't want to insult anyone so I hope you will get what I mean when I say we tend to focus on the "mom and pop"/"ethnic" places even at home, not necessarily because we are cheap but because that is what we like. Super excited about Lers Ros for example as we just don't have great Thai that is interesting and "authentic" in Vancouver -- and now I've officially exceeded my quota of " " for this post.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      Perhaps consider Dopo or Camino as less formal (and perhaps more rustic, foodwise) options, if you do decide to do a dinner in Oakland. Wood Tavern, which someone else mentioned, is also excellent, and not at all formal.

                      4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                      Wood Tavern
                      6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                      3917 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610

                      1. re: abstractpoet

                        I'm not sure Camino is less formal than Commis. Feels more like a church and less like an architect's office.

                      2. re: grayelf

                        I kind of got that impression from your posts, which is why I recommended Wood Tavern -- this Dennis Leary fan loves it, and it seems in line with the other non ethnic kind of stuff that you've liked.

                        1. re: grayelf

                          I haven't been to Commis, but it's in Oakland, so it's not going to be dressy, especially given the overall casualness of dress in the Bay Area. So I wouldn't let that stop you. If it's not your thing, then it isn't, but I'm guessing this is going to be a chance to say "I ate there when...."

                          Piedmont Ave. is actually a nice little neighborhood to stroll in and check out the food scene, from Dopo/Adesso at the north end to Bay Wolf and Commis on the south. In between there's Caeser, Gregoire, Lush, and a plethora of other small restaurants, delis, coffee shops, etc. If you walk all the way to the north end there's Mountain View cemetery (designed by Frederick Law Olmsted), which is supposed to be one of the nicest places to walk in the area (open until sunset).

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            Sorry for the non-food related question but I suck at geography/distances. Can anyone give me an idea of how far it is from Jack London Square to the Piedmont Ave are Ruth describes above? It looks like about 40 blocks crossing two freeways on the map. Is it walkable/strollable for a lazy Vancouverite? How long would it take?

                            1. re: grayelf

                              I would not recommend walking this. It's nearly three miles from the ferry terminal to the beginning of Piedmont Ave., walking down Broadway--and most of that stretch isn't remotely pleasant (unless you like car dealerships). Would take close to an hour (according to Google Maps), maybe a little less if you're starting out from Chinatown. The distance wouldn't be terrible in and of itself if there were anything to see or do along the way.

                              1. re: abstractpoet

                                Right. However, you can hop on a bus on Broadway and be there in short order.

                              2. re: grayelf

                                I've done that walk lots. It's about an hour. You can hit Grocery Outlet, taco truck, soul food truck, Oasis market, Trappist, numerous other attractions.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  The new Oasis market? That's on Telegraph, not Broadway, which means hiking over Pill Hill. It's not an awful walk, but not a particularly nice way to spend limited amounts of time and energy during a short visit, either.

                                  Where does the soul food truck park?

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      Shuga Hill is sometimes in the GrocOut parking lot. And there's often a taco truck with great tortas on the street.

                                      Yeah, there's a little hill in the three blocks from Broadway to Oasis, but then you get to go by the Korean supermarket, Dan Sung Sa, and some other halal places.

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    Take the bus. It's an easy bus ride, but a long and pretty boring walk. Get off the bus at Piedmont or Broadway and West MacArthur, and you'll have a lovely walk down Piedmont Ave, with lots of delicious snacking and drinking (including the new La Farine on Piedmont, great pastries there). If you time it right, you can end up at Adesso right when they open and get the free happy hour snacks, and then move on to Dopo to dinner.

                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                      And, don't forget, Lush Gelato for dessert! That's reason enough, by itself, to make the trip.

                                      1. re: abstractpoet

                                        While Adesso and Dopo are great suggestions both are closed on Sunday.

                                        1. re: skwid

                                          Right, I forgot about that! Best to eat at Cesar then (if staying on Piedmont), or take the bus or a cab over to College and eat dinner at Wood Tavern, then it's an easy walk to Rockridge BART to go back to SF.

                                      2. re: JasmineG

                                        I feel pretty much the opposite, there are some really interesting places along Telegraph and Broadway (admittedly scattered over a couple of miles), while Piedmont is tediously upscale and most of the food is boring and mediocre. It's like Union St. in the Marina or 24th St. in Noe Valley or Solano in Berkeley.

                                        Things have been getting better in recent years, with the opening of Cesar, Dopo, Adesso, and Commis, but Piedmont's not a street where I want to spend much time.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Well, there are also some hole-in-the-wall type places along Piedmont--Simply Greek (for the gyro wraps) and Geta (for cheap but decent sushi and rice bowls) are solid spots I like to get takeout from. Not destination-worthy by any stretch, but, in my view, very good for what they are.

                                          Not to mention Lush Gelato (not to keep harping on that)!

                                          Piedmont Ave. is also, to me, a somewhat nicer area to stroll and window shop, at least if you get there before all the shops close at 6:00 or 7:00-ish. And the movie theater is right there. I like a lot of the restaurants in Temescal, but I'm not really going to go to Telegraph to do anything but eat my meal and leave.

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            I think that there are a lot of great places along Broadway and Telegraph, and so if she had a car, that would be a much more interesting option. But it's a boring and long walk in between all of those places, and she's only in Oakland for the day, if that. Piedmont has fewer interesting food places, but is a much more pleasant walk. However, I forgot that she was going to be there on a Sunday -- in that case, I think that College would be a much better walk; it's easy to get there, easy to get back to SF from there, and there are lots of good food stops along the way (Ici, Taras, Wood Tavern, Cole Coffee, La Farine, Zachary's -- loved by many, hated by some -- Market Hall, Oliveto, A Cote, Marzano, and I'm sure I'm forgetting some).

                                    2. re: grayelf

                                      I hear you, but you really shouldn't be worried about the fancy quotient. Peidmont is a residential area where people don't dress up much for dinner. From the outside, the place seems casual even compared to its cousins: less fancy in tone than nearby BayWolf, Oliveto, A Cote, and appears to be serving better food than any of them. Commis is in a little storefront, has a big kitchen in the middle of the floor, and tables scattered / packed artfully around the room. From the looks of it, the place could be almost anything. Architect's office is apt - and no tableclothes is a cue.

                                      As mentioned, if it's not your thing, it's not your thing. You read the thread, people are very excited about the cooking, if that doesn't sell you, what am I going to say?

                                      If you want some non-fancy before or after, I recommend Cato's next door for beer. They've got about 30 on tap, a good pacific northwest selection, and wood tables and benches. Sunday afternoon music, often - I remember wandering into Duckmandu, the heavy metal accordion trio - bands just hang out by the end of the bar. More refined is Cesar, a quick block up, with actual cocktails, wine, pimentos de padron, desert, etc. No tablecloths either - forks in a big basket on the table.

                                      Regarding transit, the downtown area has a few cab ranks. Generally, any bart station has a few cabs loitering, or the big hotel down there at broadway and 10th. According to Google, a car is 9 minutes (and no waiting), walk + bart is 35 minutes (walk up to 12th, take the bart to macarthur, then walk over on 40th and down), the 51 bus is 25 minutes but you might have to wait 15 minutes, straight walking is about 45. Just so you know - it's a trudge. Going back to SF you would certainly go out to Macarthur bart, although that area is a little spooky for walking at night - not dangerous, but very deserted.

                                      1. re: bbulkow

                                        Thanks so much everyone for your enthusiastic and enlightening responses, including the area cautions and transpo tips. You're making me think I need to come back out to Oakland for more touring and even if I don't make it to all the great places you've suggested, we'll be back in the spring(inshallah), this time with the Senior Hounds (my parents) in tow.

                                        Thanks also for the beer related recs, moto and bbulkow. I didn't mention it but the SO is a bit of a beer Hound so those are valuable.

                                        1. re: grayelf

                                          Re Beer: In Oakland not far from Jack London Square (and on your way toward Piedmont Ave) there is The Trappist (which I think is already mentioned) and Pacific Coast Brewing which is a brew pub that has their own fine beers and several guest beers.

                                          The Trappist
                                          460 8th Street, Oakland, CA

                                          Pacific Coast Brewing Co
                                          906 Washington St, Oakland, CA 94607

                                          1. re: grayelf

                                            not sure if you made it to the Toronado and its sausage serving neighbor on your last visit. Lower Haight. You owe it to your SO.

                                            Toronado Pub
                                            547 Haight St, San Francisco, CA

                                            Rosamunde Sausage Grill
                                            545 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                            1. re: tranewreck

                                              Pacific Coast duly noted, thanks (you're right, already had Trappist!)

                                              Toronado has been on the radar for a while -- we are just so lame that usually after dinner we are ready to hit the sack but will try to make it this trip.

                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                Afternoons at Toronado are mellower (if one can use that descriptor for T) and you get happy hour prices. Consider Memphis Minnies for some Q to carry across the street.

                                              2. re: tranewreck

                                                I agree. and if you go there you can definitely skip Pacific Coast Brewing.

                                                1. re: susancinsf

                                                  I like the idea of bbq (I've only heard of getting sausages from Rosamunde's) -- on the list!

                                              3. re: grayelf

                                                You really should spend some time in oakland. From what you say, being "non table cloth" kind of people. I mean, is there another Michelin one-star that goes without? Only in oakland.

                                                Re: piedmont vs Telegraph/Broadway, Telegraph/Broadway is far more mom&pop. There's some great beer options (Lanesplitter, get what's on the cask!), the korean places, the ethopian places, Bar Lata, a couple of others. A bit grittier. I agree with Mr Lauriston that Piedmont is a little dull, but I'm a big fan of the Catos/Commis/Caesar combo - and I lived in that nabe for quite a few years. If you want to try something different, check into Piedmont Springs between food excursions, an amazing hot tub place. For a few bucks you can get an open-air, real-wood hot tub room for an hour - and they're open pretty late. It's located between Commis and Caesar.

                                                Pacific Coast is really on the bubble for me. I like the place, I meet people after work there on occasion, it's "fine", but it's not a destination. The beer is just not all that. The Trappist is a destination. Lanesplitter (did I mention the cask?). Cato's. Luka's (good beer made great by authentic belgian fries).

                                                1. re: bbulkow

                                                  Looks like we'll we be spending a good portion of Sunday in parts of Oakland, bbulkow. Telegraph/Broadway does sound good. And rest assured I am compiling all these great recs for my future file, as we couldn't possibly hit them all this time...

                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                    Now you've got me thinking about Korean.

                                                  2. re: bbulkow

                                                    Third on skipping Pacific Coast. Perfectly nice brewpub but with Trappist a couple of blocks away I'll probably never go there again.

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                      That's a perfectly fine choice Robert, but your beer types a pretty limited at the Trappist. If all you want is Belgian style beers then the Trappist is a perfect place. However the beer types at Trappist are fairly limited and I'm not always in the mood for Belgian beers and would much rather go to Pacific Coast Brewing during those times.

                                                      1. re: skwid

                                                        Skwid, that is helpful as the SO is not a huge fan of Belgian beers, which I should have stated.

                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                          For true beer fans - it's Mecca.

                                                          1. re: malachi

                                                            Also the Trappist in Oakland.

                                                            The Trappist
                                                            460 8th Street, Oakland, CA

                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                              But as noted above not the grayelf's SO.

                                                              1. re: wolfe

                                                                Trappist has non-Belgian beers too, e.g. right now Pliny the Elder on tap.

                                                          2. re: grayelf

                                                            If you do end up going to Toronado, but find it's a zoo, "The Page" is about 4 blocks away, on the corner of Page & Divisadero. Much more low-key with plenty of chairs instead of all stools, 2 pool tables, around 15 beers on impeccably clean taps, and a decent selection of bottled beer. Not total beer nerd heaven, but things like Anchor Steam Barleywine are on tap, which I've never seen anywhere else. Something to file away in your "backup plan" notebook.

                                                            On the Corner
                                                            359 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                            2. re: abstractpoet

                                              Thanks for the specific recs at BC Deli -- I've never had banh mi in SF Bay Area so that would be a good option to get the coconut noodle dish too. I'm trying to like egg tarts so may test the ones at Ruby King :-).

                                              Thanks for the heads up on the Sunday closure at Rico's, abstract -- I need to keep that in mind more generally, though I've finally beaten it into my head to beware of Monday closures at least.

                                              I kind of have a yen to try a big ol' burger while we're in SFBA, and thought that might be the opportunity (split of course -- the Alternate Stomach and I are getting very good at sharing to maximizie tastes). Maybe the Bix burger will get one of our open dinners after all??

                                              For some reason I have my heart set on the ferry to Oakland this time but I do have a great list of Berkeley options and will add Local 123. We are both big fans of Blue Bottle (esp the Hayes Valley blend), having tried Dynamo, Ritual and a few others, hence the seeming proliferation of BB stops.

                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                My favorite banh mi is the meatball banh mi (with a fried egg added on top) at Banh Mi Ba Le (on International Blvd. in Oakland). That would be a fairly long walk from the Fruitvale BART station, and it's probably too much of a detour for you, unless you plan to hit up some Mexican joints in Fruitvale anyway.

                                                Local 123 does Flying Goat coffee and is excellent.


                                                Banh Mi Ba Le
                                                1909 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

                                            3. If you end up in Jack London Square, go to Chop Bar - they have some of the best sandwiches I've ever tasted. They served up some fantastic roasted pig on flatbread at a street fair a few weeks ago - unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be a regular on the menu. I've also had their grilled tri-tip panino with roasted pasilla peppers, grilled vegetable mojo, and queso ranchero - smoky, flavorful meat that melded beautifully with the other components. I've heard that they have two chefs, so the menu can appear a little all over the place, but so far, I feel pretty confident that anything with grilled or roasted meat should be good.

                                              Yes on BC Deli's big coconut noodles with shredded pork! It's one of my favorite dishes ever, and I don't think I've seen it anywhere else. It's not posted on the wall though, so ask for the regular menu. I like their Chiu-Chow rice cakes with scrambled egg and pickled veggie, too. My other current favorite Chinatown snack is the egg puff at Delicious Food Co.

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: daveena

                                                Ah, so Chop Bar opened! Haven't noticed any reports on this board, but I'm excited to try it--that roasted pig on flatbread was the best thing I had at that whole festival. What's the vibe of the restaurant? Gastropub-ish?

                                                1. re: abstractpoet

                                                  Not quite gastropub... maybe luxe hipster hangout? Lots of reclaimed wood, stone floor. They have some nice pictures (and the daily menu) on their blog:

                                                  1. re: daveena

                                                    Thanks, daveena. Wine on tap! I think that's the first I've heard of that. Menu looks pretty appealing, and the prices seem very reasonable.

                                                    1. re: daveena

                                                      daveena, I couldn't find any mention of beer on the website. Am considering it for a future group dinner for which beer is a must. Would it work for a thirsty group of ten to twelve who also like good food?

                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                        Hey Susan - I only got a sandwich for takeout and didn't check out the beverage options myself, but I scanned the Yelp reviews and a few mention beer. I wonder if they can fax you a copy of the beer list?

                                                        1. re: daveena

                                                          The Chop House menu does look interesting/varied but they seem only to have brunch on Sundays, no sarnies... will definitely wander by for a look at least, thanks daveena.

                                                          1. re: daveena

                                                            thanks! one of the other diners that will be participating in the group the night I was planning for called, and yes, they have a beer selection (including a fair number of Belgians, apparently) that met her criteria, and she is definitely a beer person. Looks as though it may work for my group, and if we go I will report back! I really like the looks of the menu...

                                                  2. Mitchell's isn't in SOMA, it's way down in the Mission, about a 15-minute walk from the 24th ST BART station.

                                                    You probably know this, but Burmese Kitchen closes at 8:30.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                      Thanks for the correction, Robert -- I was going by an old SF Gate article that said there was a Mitchell's at 3rd and Mission.

                                                      "Mitchell's Ice Cream: Fans of Mitchell's Ice Cream, a longtime San Francisco favorite, can finally get fresh scoops somewhere other than the store at 29th Street and San Jose Avenue. This little 16-flavor scoop shop, opened in 2002, makes for some great downtown ice cream breaks. Mitchell's has been around for almost 50 years, making its mark with unusual flavors like mango, avocado, purple yam and a Chronicle Food staff favorite, baby coconut. Traditionalists can still get chocolate, mint and outrageously rich praline and nut. -- SF Chronicle 825 Mission, (near Third Street), (415) 495-4237"

                                                      We'll hit BK early (thus the pint of Murphy's after, a big night for us elves!)

                                                      1. re: grayelf

                                                        I guess that location didn't last long. It's currently Green Papaya.

                                                    2. I think we are switching places for those days - i will be in Vancouver.

                                                      Anyway, at Primavera I also love their seafood tostadas if they have them. Sometimes if you are there early enough and there isn't a line, they will do a split dish with half sizes of two entrees. You have to smile nicely though and hit at the right moment.

                                                      If you want ice cream in SOMA there is the Island Market at the Metreon with Tara's. They have an interesting product and flavors. Also some other rotating grub there. If you haven't been to cocoabella it is near there too. I love Lillie Belle farms which they carry - Oregon based not local though.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: jsaimd

                                                        Oops looks like Tara's might have left the Island market - anyone know for sure? I know they were thinking about leaving in August.

                                                        1. re: jsaimd

                                                          +/- Tara's, thanks for the reminder about the Metreon market which had fallen off my radar -- will deffo stop by during our SOMA sojourn, jsaimd. And I trust you will be posting on my home board before your trip to Vancouver!

                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                            Colour me red, jsaimd, the penny just dropped. You've been getting great advice from the Vancouver Hounds already. I'm very bad with screen names, sorry :-(.

                                                      2. Planning on going to Lers Ros this weekend, I've looked at many posts, but haven't compiled a list of favorite ch dishes, can you send me your list?

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: saeyedoc

                                                          My pleasure, saeyedoc. It's reasonably complete, even including things I can't eat like clams :-). I'll look forward to reading your additions/subtractions on the appropriate thread after your visit!

                                                          Recommended: catfish salad with green apples and cashews, crispy pork belly, koh moo yang, or grilled pork shoulder (slices, great sauce), Kao Kaa Moo rice plate (well stewed pork leg in 5 spice soup with green mustard, chinese broccoli, and chili vinegar sauce), silver noodle salad was excellent with bright flavors, stir fried clams, stir fried pork with crispy rind and chinese broccoli, deep fried whole tilapia, salted egg salad, spareribs with roasted chili paste, yum koh moo yang (grilled pork shoulder salad), tom yum pla kra pong (sea bass in spicy and sour soup), Som Tom Poo Dong shredded green papaya salad w/ chili, cherry tomatoes, lime based salad dressing & crabs, fish cakes (excellent), calamari with chili sauce, raw shrimp salad, beef salad, fried quail, fried tofu, thai herb sausage, boar with housemade chili paste (#105?), pork larb, fried trout, fried sun-dried beef jerky (Nuer Tod) #62 pork belly dish and the #103 beef dish with young black peppercorn, rad nah has great sear on the noodles and the gravy was full of flavor, Gai GaProw , duck larb--Larb Phed Yang, pork belly with cracklings and basil

                                                          Skip: green curry, Pad ped moo pah- boar stir-fried w/ a house made chili paste, eel w/chili paste and galingale, whole steamed bass with lime juice

                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                            you list the boar with housemade chili paste in your recommended list, but mention another boar with housemade chili in your skip list, with its thai name. i had one of these and loved it, but i don't remember there being a second boar dish on the menu. i can't find my copy of their take-out menu, but are they separate dishes?

                                                            1. re: augustiner

                                                              Drat, I knew I should have reread that list before I posted it. It's either a typo or a disagreement. Sorry about that.

                                                              Oh and just to be clear, these are the (apparently ineffectively) compiled recommendations of Chowhounds from threads on your board -- I've not yet been to Lers Ros.

                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                              That's the thread I got the recs from Robert.

                                                          2. J'aime beaucoup 24th St. Cheese company.
                                                            I'll be going there saturday myself, as I am making a little french dinner for friends on saturday night.

                                                            40 Replies
                                                            1. re: pauliface

                                                              Thanks, pauliface. I've spent zero time exploring Noe Valley so should be fun.

                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                I like the 24th St Cheese shop, but there really isn't much more to explore in Noe, especially food wise. About the only other store there that is really worthwhile, IMO, is the Mystery Book Store if that is your thing (well, the wine shop isn't bad but I swore it off after two visits in which service was awful).

                                                                Which Mi Linda Yucatan are you referring to? If the one in Noe, on 24th St, skip it and go back to Poc Chuc instead.

                                                                1. re: susancinsf

                                                                  I read the MLY in Noe was Noe good (sorry couldn't resist) and then that it had closed. I meant the one at 401 Valencia Street btwn 15th and Sparrow. I was tempted to go back to Poc Chuc but thought it might be fun to try a different Yucatecan resto (plus I think this one has a licence) unless you Hounds warn me off this one...

                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                    I haven't been to the Valencia Street one (if the one in Noe closed, I guess it was fairly recently), but if it were me, I'd still go back to Poc Chuc.....I guess other hounds will need to weigh in on that one.

                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                      meant to add: until a few months ago I had nothing good to say about Noe Valley bakery. I always thought the baked goods were mediocre, and the service was not great. However, when I was selling my house I found myself in the neighborhood fairly often since my realtor's office was across the street, so I would go there for anti-house-selling-stress snacks. Not sure if it was the need for comfort, but I will say that while I can't remember details, whatever I ate on my last two visits were quite good. They may be on an uphill swing.

                                                                      Still, if I were coming from Vancouver, I'd spend more time exploring the Mission instead....and why Martha & Bros?

                                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                                        I found a little walking tour of Noe Valley that included a few places (Mystery Book store too actually) and thought I should branch out. It may be moot however as it looks like the Oakland jaunt is going to work out :-)

                                                                      2. re: grayelf

                                                                        I thought the food at Mi Lindo Yucatan (the original on Valencia) was about as good as at Poc-Chuc.

                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                          Thanks for the perspectives on MLY. I really would like to focus a bit more on Mexican this trip, since you have so many options and we have almost none here. I am therefore going to switch my Mission stuff to Saturday morning (may even deep six the FPFM, much as I like it, to score a Mission-Mexican breakfast -- Los Jarritos looks good). As I think I mentioned, the BIL lives near Valencia which would give us a chance to hang out with him together as well. So that should take care of Saturday lunch opening.

                                                                          As for the Monday and Tuesday night dinner, I had a chance to review my now 24-page long SFBA restaurant list and this is what I came up with, all open both days except as noted:

                                                                          Bix for the club burger
                                                                          SPQR if we can get a reso (via opentable only I understand - argh)
                                                                          Incanto (closed Tues)
                                                                          The House
                                                                          Inka's (closed Mon)

                                                                          Here's my rationale: Bix sounds fun and we have to get one good burger in somewhere, right? We LOVED La Ciccia as a reference point for our Italian tastes. Contigo included 'cause Spanish food is in short supply at home. The House just sounds like my kind of place... Range has been on the list forever, particularly if they have that pork in coffee dish -- we've seen the interior and know what to expect. Not terribly familiar with Peruvian but keep reading about it as an option here and for some reason (Chowdown notes, maybe?) picked Inka's. Are there better choices for comida peruana? Any thoughts on these options?

                                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                                            I like Perbacco but I'm not sure it's quite in the same league with those other Italian places. La Ciccia is in my top 5.

                                                                            My favorite Peruvian place is Mochica. La Mar is great, too--good happy hour. I haven't been to Inka's but they don't make tiraditos, which is one of my favorite dishes.

                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                              SPQR is in a state of flux due to Appleman leaving for the Big Apple and I heard from a friend that the revamped menu is unnecessarily fancy.

                                                                              I would skip House. It is fine if you're there, but not particularly special.

                                                                              Inkas and Mi Lindo Peru (across the street) are down home kind of places as opposed to Mochica and La Mar. Inkas has the addictive aji amarillo table sauce, the nicer environment, and I think the better ceviche pescado of the two. Mi Lindo Peru has better chicha morada, anticuchos, lomo saltado, and rice dishes.

                                                                              1. re: sfbing

                                                                                SPQR's menu is online. It has definitely changed quite a bit, and seems to have lost what Roman focus it had.


                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                  There are way too many commas in that menu.

                                                                                2. re: sfbing

                                                                                  Okay so leaving off Perbacco and SPQR for this trip anyway (still on the big list!).

                                                                                  Just looked up tiraditos (told ya I don't know much about Peruvian food!) and they sound up my alley, as I sometimes find the raw onions in ceviche a bit strong, so that's a draw for Mochica. The reports on La Mar have frankly put me off a bit -- the space doesn't sound inviting to me and the food seems uneven plus pricy. I rather like the sound of "down home" (are you all sensing a pattern here in my tastes?) Is Fresca still on Fillmore? A friend went last year and liked it fine. What about Limon? Or are these too "upscale" for me? It was the Chowdown at Inkas and BernalKC's followup post that led me to choose it, plus the mysterious and alluring "yellow sauce" :-).

                                                                                  Side note: found the menu for the now defunct Scott Street MLP and they used the same font as I did on my wedding invitations :-)

                                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                                    Definitely do Peruvian -- I didn't realize you hadn't yet. I'm going to throw the Oakland Peruvian option -- La Furia Chalaca -- into the mix, as it's just a couple of blocks from Jack London Square. Just a warning: do not go to a Peruvian restaurant when you are on a tight schedule. While I'm sure there are exceptions, my experience is that the service in Peruvian restaurants can be glacial. It's happened too often for me not to think it's cultural.

                                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                                      I think you're on the right track with Inka's. Not so pricey, with very homey and welcoming ambiance. And I'm no expert on Peruvian cuisine, but Inka's sure comes off as authentic.

                                                                                      But Limon Rotisserie also fits the bill. And it has a more modern, lively vibe that might be better for a visitor and may evince the current Peruvian meme a bit more than Inka's.

                                                                                    2. re: sfbing

                                                                                      I also like Inkas quite a bit. For what it is worth the only report about the new SPQR was quite positive:


                                                                                  2. re: grayelf

                                                                                    I think Los Jarritos is only ok to good for breakfast. I'd go for Pastores even though it is further out Mission. Best chilaquiles and huevos rancheros in the City, probably. For that matter, while I am not a huge Primavera fan (though I know many are) I'd rather have Mexican breakfast there at the FPFM, than at Los Jarritos. But Pastores beats them both, hands down, no question.

                                                                                    Or better yet: (especially if you or BIL will have a car?) plan to go to Pastores and if for any reason they are closed (Saturday's a good bet though) you can head over to the Alemany FM and have breakfast at the tamales stand there as your backup....

                                                                                    for Monday or Tuesday I'd either go to Incanto or back to La Ciccia (closed Monday) or perhaps Range if I was in the mood for a really nice cocktail. Or you could hit both La Ciccia and Incanto and give us a back to back comparison :-)

                                                                                    Pastores Restaurant
                                                                                    3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                                    901 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                                      I had really good tacos and sopes at Chilango two days ago. It is new and is doing Mexico City street food quite well. I also really like La Torta Gorda for Mexican.

                                                                                      For Italian, you could also consider Bar Bambino. Great wine list and laid back atmosphere with simple good food.

                                                                                      1. re: Amy G

                                                                                        Inkas is ahead by a nose right now for our Tues night dinner. I can't say I'm surprised by the comment about time -- the South American concept of sobremesa is not foreign to me :-).

                                                                                        Adding Chilango to the list -- first time I've come across it. We hit Torta Gorda last trip and loved it, though haven't sampled their actual tortas yet.

                                                                                        One of the reasons I was considering SPQR was because I heard they had arancini (maybe not now with new chef/menu) but you made me recall that BB also is supposed to have them. Will think on...

                                                                                        These last two dinners are turning into a lottery!

                                                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                                                          didn't you want to hit Mitchell's? If so, it is only a few blocks from Inkas. Baby coconut ice cream sounds like the perfect dessert after Peruvian food to me. :-) Although if you didn't get to Humphry Slocombe you should go, and it is not too, too far from Inkas (remember, HS is closed on Mondays, and closes at nine pm other nights, which I consider to be too early for an ice cream place).

                                                                                          1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                            Will have to see if the BIL is interested in heading out to Pastores/Alemany, which I would love to do. Otherwise, if anyone has other breakfast recs for Mexican a little closer in the Mission I'm all ears...

                                                                                            The fact that Mitchell's is so close just added to the Inkas allure, assuming it is open later than 9. We did manage to try HS last time and BiRite before that so...

                                                                                            Sorry to hear that the fried list is gone from SPQR -- just fell way down the list for me. And to be honest we've been eating a lot of stellar Italian here at home lately which is maybe why I'm not jumping at it this time. Will definitely be taking the parentals to La Ciccia in March as they would LOVE it.

                                                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                                                              Mitchell's is open till 11 pm nightly. About a two block walk from Inka's; just cross Mission and walk up 29th St. And get the baby coconut (buko) :-) (although the seasonal pumpkin is supposed to be good; and my sister swears by the mango).

                                                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                You know, if you hop on a bus you could be at Pastores in no time from the 'central' Mission; for that matter, it is only a 15 to 20 minute walk (and I am a fairly slow walker) from 24th St BART. Alemany is a bit more of a challenge without a car...

                                                                                                I am thinking hard but coming up empty on other good places for Mexican breakfast in the Mission. One I haven't tried, and which has had mixed reports on CH (though one hound I know and trust swears by it) is Regalito Rosticeria. They have huevos rancheros, chilaquiles AND machaca on the weekend brunch menu. I really want to get there to try the machaca one of these days....

                                                                                                Another place I have had excellent huevos rancheros in the Mission is at Poc Chuc! (I am determined to get you back there :-)) They don't open till 10:30 and it was a special the day I was there, but they were quite good...and you know, I'd bet that Poc Chuc is the type of place where if you called ahead and said you were really looking to have them, they could do it for you. And their tortillas and habanero sauce are such heaven...

                                                                                                Here's my report on the huevos at Poc Chuc:


                                                                                                1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                  I seem to remember that Pastore's is one of those maybe open/closed without warning places. Is that wrong?
                                                                                                  Edit: Asked and answered.

                                                                                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                    If I can talk the SO into it, I think we'll try for Pastores for breakfast (assuming I can figure out transit from Union Square! I known, 511.org but I am challenged I tell you. We could call in the a.m. I guess as well to test the agua... I must see if the sort of hours are listed anywhere.

                                                                                                    Nifty tip re Poc Chuc -- I bet the eggs are great but I don't think we'll be able to wait till 10:30.

                                                                                                    Re Mitchell's -- you are talking to someone who lives in a city with NO good ice cream (unless you count the odd gelato store and certainly not till 11 pm) so I'm betting your not great ice cream is going to taste heavenly. I'd like to try it to complete my "set" of three places so often mentioned :-).

                                                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                      one thing about Pastores: if you get there and it looks closed, try the door anyway. Sometimes she keeps the blinds down and the place looks shut, but isn't...

                                                                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                        Noted. And with that, my trip itinerary just went over 8 pages (!). Am also thinking I need to try to hit Tartine Bakery somewhere in here, as I still haven't been and the SO just informed me that HE WENT WITH THE BIL LAST TIME WITHOUT ME. Talk about losing Chow face :-).

                                                                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                          The coconut cream tart at Tartine is pretty amazing. A perfect dessert.

                                                                                                          1. re: abstractpoet

                                                                                                            I am a savoury pastry and/or lemon gal but will pass the coconut tip on to the SO! I've got my eye on the morning bun, gougere and/or pain au jambon. Are there any lemon lovelies there I should nab?

                                                                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                              There is a lemon cream tart on the menu at Tartine. Don't know if they have this every day. I haven't tried it, but I'll bet it's wonderful.

                                                                                                              If you make it over to Telegraph in Oakland, Bakesale Betty (better known for the fried chicken sandwiches, which I think are just OK) often has a lemon bar that might be the best I've had.

                                                                                                              And, not quite as lemony, but if you go to Local 123, their by-the-slice carrot cake has a lovely lemon cream cheese frosting.

                                                                                                    2. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                      for breakfasts in the Mission:
                                                                                                      Los Jarritos (8 am)
                                                                                                      Red Cafe (7 am
                                                                                                      )El Delfin (9 am)

                                                                                                      El Delfin
                                                                                                      3066 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                                                      Red Cafe
                                                                                                      2894 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                                                      1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                        I've never had breakfast at El Delfin, only dinner, (and didn't reallize they were open that early) but that sounds like a very good bet to me. What's good for breakfast there?

                                                                                                    3. re: grayelf

                                                                                                      Don't get your hopes too high for Mitchell's. Some of their tropical flavors are very interesting but the ice cream itself is not that great, not at all in the same class with Bi-Rite or Humphry Slocombe.

                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                        Plus one on that. I like ice cream a lot and find Mitchell's more of a curiosity than a destination. I'd rather go for Durian ice cream at Polly Ann's, or try to find Maggie Mudd in Bernal Heights. But that's just me.

                                                                                                        1. re: bbulkow

                                                                                                          Right next to Dan Cleaners with the big blue awning at Gates and Cortland. Actually not that far from the Alemany Farmers Market.

                                                                                                          903 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                                                          1. re: wolfe

                                                                                                            Thanks all for ice cream data (re durian; tried that in gelato in Van, once was enough!), more Mex brex and lemon lineup -- all duly noted. May have to bring extra piece of luggage for my eating itinerary and backup resto list thanks to all your wicked good suggestions :-)

                                                                                                            BTW if I haven't singled you out for thanks please don't be offended -- I'm reading and noting every post but don't want to clutter the thread up too much.

                                                                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                              Tartine pretty much always has lemon bars and a lemon tart with a nice quenelle-shaped blob of cream on top. As a rule, tartine does a lot to bring out the savory aspects of everything, from pre-cooking the lemon bar crust until it's deeply golden brown, to including plenty of the tart/bitter lemon zest in the lemon items and not using too much sugar. Some bakeries over-use sugar, but I've never found that to be the case at Tartine, where they prefer to incorporate as much delicious butter as is physically possible into every recipe ;)

                                                                                                              1. re: SteveG

                                                                                                                As a fan of lemon, they also have a passionfruity cake thing that i find enjoyable as well.

                                                                                                  2. re: grayelf

                                                                                                    No arancini / suppli on the current SPQR sample menu. They used to have a whole section of fried things, that's gone too.

                                                                                      2. don't know if you've visited the temescal 'hood on Telegraph Ave, Oakland, an easy, flat terrain walk from the BART (use due urban caution at night esp.) one of the better cali-cuisine/artisan pizza places in the area (Pizzaiolo, which does take reservations for two if you have a tight sched.), a casual, fun, not expensive tapas den (Bar Lata), several good Korean joints (with different specialties, not really homogenous).

                                                                                        If you decide rather to stay in lower downtown closer to the ferry, chinatown, and Old Oakland and have a fancy for exceptionally well-kept ales and craft beers on tap (limited munchies, basically cheeses and charcuterie), the Trappist is a pub that can compare to the best anywhere.

                                                                                        You will surely have a great time wherever you choose to go, travel in health and safely.

                                                                                        1. Have you spent any time in Fruitvale yet? Given your documented interests, I think you're better suited for Fruitvale than either Rockridge or Piedmont Aves, and there's a lot of activity immediately near the BART station, so no long walks or cabs. Also, being there on Sunday's a plus - lots of places only serve certain dishes on weekends (barbacoa and menudo, off the top of my head). Plus, there are a bunch of street vendors (Sonoran hot dogs, nieves, churros, homemade flan) that set up right outside the church on 34th street before and after services, on Sundays only.

                                                                                          I'd take the ferry to Jack London Square, poke around JLS, Old Oakland (Trappist is a great rec) and Chinatown a bit, then take BART down to Fruitvale and spend the rest of the day there.

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: daveena

                                                                                            We went to Fruitvale last time and loved it after culling from a typically amazing thread that I call the "pilgrimage post": http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/562094

                                                                                            Here's my report if you're interested:

                                                                                            The return to Fruitvale idea is very tempting, esp re the only-on-Sunday options (some places were closed when we were there on a Monday).

                                                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                                                              It's away from the main Fruitvale action, but the carnitas at Jalisco (weekends only, I think) are worth the walk or bus ride. Get the "mixed" rather than the other version. Great Laotian nearby at Green Papaya and an interesting Laotian market.

                                                                                              Jalisco Cafe
                                                                                              1721 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                Also not far from Banh Mi Ba Le (previously mentioned), if you want to give that meatball banh mi a try. And Chai Thai (quite a bit) further down the street for excellent Thai (and some Laotian) food.

                                                                                                Chai Thai Noodles
                                                                                                545 B International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

                                                                                                1. re: abstractpoet

                                                                                                  Note that Chai Thai's food and menu are very, very similar to the Larkin & Geary branch of Thai House Express in SF, where the chef used to work.

                                                                                          2. Well, I'm confused about where you are currently in your plans.

                                                                                            I'm guessing the Vallejo or Larkspur option is off the table. If not, then pick Larkspur. You really need a car in Vallejo and even then Sunday is a dead day. There's a nice little place making pupusas in Larkspur. Not sure if the joint replacing the Swedish bakery will be open yet.

                                                                                            Are you still walking down to Fisherman's Wharf? There is Mitchell's Ice cream down that way at Norman's Ice Cream and Freezes. It is Filipino so you can also get a halo halo. If seeking out ice cream there's the new DeLise Cafe in FW that makes their own in Asian flavors. No reports yet. And you could do a trifecta and go to Ghiradelli. The latter is just for atmosphere but the ice cream seemed as good to me as Mitchell's. You don't need to order a sundae, just buy a single scoop and add the dark hot fudge ... split it. Giradelli will have the Christmas tree up, so that will be nice.

                                                                                            There's a What's Up Dog at FW at the Cable Car stop. Melanie also mentions an Argintinean truck at the other cable car stop

                                                                                            There is a Brazilian joint near Ghirardelli. Scoma's, IMO, is the best choice of the seafood restaurants in that area. The have a three course lundh for about $22. Lunch hour ends at 3:30

                                                                                            Tropisueno has free food atfter 10 pm on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. There's the new Burger Bar at Macy's but I don't remember a report.

                                                                                            Lot's of places carry Mitchells Ice Cream these days. Don't miss the pumpkin ice cream. I still haven't found any place in the entire Bay Area that does it better ... and I've tried everywhere. Joey's Laudermat and ic cream has it in the Tenderloint. Which reminds me ... there's a Mexican Market across from Cordon Blue that has breakfast. Haven't tried the place yet though. For breakfast have you considered Cafe Andre or Cafe Bean?

                                                                                            About Oakland.

                                                                                            Chop House isn't exactly in Jack London Square. I find itodd for it to be referred to as being in that area when another post specifically says it is not. It is NEAR JLS, but the walk is deadly on a Sunday ... or seriously anytime. Kind of boring wharehouse area which is pretty much closed up after 9 am and wouldn't be open at all on Sunday.

                                                                                            Does visiting Hangar One interest you. That is nearish JLS.

                                                                                            Pick your area in Oakland. Don't run around. Don't walk to it. Sunday is dead in Oakland and walking to wherever is a poor choice with very, very ... very ... little bang for the buck, IMO.

                                                                                            The choice for an afternoon would be Piedmont, Rockridge or maybe Fourth St in Berkeley. Temescal is dead in the afternoon and not worth overriding your Sunday in SF plans.

                                                                                            You could take a bus to 4th St which has a lot of nice little shops. Tacubaya is probably on the level of a Tropisueana. I'm not a total fan but I think they make supurb menudo on the weekends. It is tasty and not scary. Thinks can go very, very wrong with menudo. Lots of people like the Cafe Rouge burger. The pasta shop is one of the better cheese shops in the bay area and much better than the Noe cheese shop. It also has lots of interesting epicurian food. Betty's Oceanview diner is nice but crowded. My favorite sweet shop, Chocoletier Blue is there. Great, elegant truffles and equisite pastries. The owner was once the pastry chef at Charile Trotter. Very lovely and down to earth couple despite all that. They have ice cream too though it wasn't very popular when they first opened. Still, they allow tastes and you can decide for yourself.

                                                                                            You can also get over to Local 123 sort of easily from 4th St. Walking to Acme from Local 123 is insane in my view ... sorry ... too long and not enough interesting stuff ... yeah, you can pick out one or two marginally interesting joints ... but really .... don't do it.

                                                                                            Rockridge also has a Pasta Shop, however to me it is not as interesting an area as 4th st. The advantage is the BART station is right there.

                                                                                            If you go to Piedmont take a cab and maybe have the driver do a quick drive by of the new Cathedral and Lake Merrit. You could then have them drop you at Lush Gelato a nice midpoint on Piedmont. Don't remember if you've been to Gregoire yet (there's one near the Chez Panisse in addition to the Piedmont location).

                                                                                            About Commis

                                                                                            I just know I'm getting my butt over there ASAP. It has nothing to do with the actual food. It has to do with the rare opportunity to sit at the counter and have the rare opportunity to watch a top chef at work. Yes, there are open kitchens ... but not this open and personal.

                                                                                            On the restaurant link above at the very bottom of the restaurant record is a section with reviews and blog links that I just updated yesterday. Take a look at Foodhoe's blog. If the photos and descriptions don't appeal to you, then just write them off. I can't remember if you've been to Ubuntu, however if you have and didn't like it, write Commis off.

                                                                                            The Bay Area has been very influenced by Chez Panisse. However, there are the new seeds out there that come from Manressa in Los Gatos ... Ubuntu and Commis (French pronnuciation ... coe-me ... commie? ). IMO, Commis could possibly be the next Chez Pannise or French Laundry. I suspect a year from now it will be impossible to book.

                                                                                            If I do go next week, I'll post. Right now in my inscrutable fashion, I'm trying to decide between Commis or Wild Boar Wednesday at the San Pablo Casino ... AYCE wild boar buffet for $9.95 ... there's only so many times I can look at that sign and it is getting to be the time of the year when wild boar sounds appealing.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                                                              Dead on a Sunday?

                                                                                              grayelf is talking about taking the ferry to Oakland. It's about ten blocks from there through the hopping Sunday farmers market and Jack London Square to Chop Bar, and about three blocks from Chop Bar to Chinatown, which is also hopping on a Sunday. And it's a few blocks from Chinatown to Trappist, which is around the corner from B, which has great brunch and the amazing $20 Sunday Supper. Strolling on there's Penelope, Cafe van Kleef, Flora, one of these days Hibiscus, 2022 / Ave, Luka's, Franklin Square, Pican, Mimosa, Ozumo, Vo's ...

                                                                                              I walk around those neighborhoods all the time, and it's not because I like to be bored, hungry, and thirsty.

                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                Damn it. Now I can't edit my post and it hasn't even been an hour. Crummy bug ... crummy, crummy bug.

                                                                                                Anyway I was going to add that my perfect Sunday for you would be the farmers market at JLS followed by Hangar One with dinner at Commis and finishing with Gelato from Lush. Here's the Hangar One link

                                                                                                RL, I don't see any scenic route signs along that route. You are making this sound a whole lot more compact and interesting than the actuality which I think does a disservice to someone on a limited schedule. As amazing as the Sunday Supper might be at B bang for the buck wise,the only thing I can think of overriding the planned get together with friends Sunday night in SF would be Commis. If that is not her thing, then she should pick and afternoon spot in Oakland or Berkeley and head ack to the city at night.

                                                                                                To save time, let's agree to disagree ... or you can follow up with additional comment but you think it is worth it, I don't. Grayelf has enough info to decide.

                                                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                                                  I think this disagreement is mostly based on how much of a "walker" you are. To some people ten blocks is a nice stroll, and to others it's a tedious hike. I personally think that you can make a nice meander from the farmers market, through Chinatown and Old Oakland, but starting about 10th there's not a lot of bang for the shoe leather heading uptown. Sit down restaurants like Flora, Luka's, etc. are great if your goal is to have a meal, but the 20 or so blocks from 11th to Piedmont Ave. don't have the density of places of chow-interest to make them worthwhile for someone who only has a day to spend in Oakland.

                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                    Yeah, I'd go with that.I didn't even think of Chinatown because greyelf's hometown version trumps anything in the Bay Area. Any recs for greyelf on stops. I tend to think of Oakland's Chinatown as more utilitarian than SF. I could tell visitors places to stop in SF, but in Oakland it is more about my personal need at the moment. I don't have any standout favorites I'd take visitors to.

                                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                                      She specifically mentioned Chinatown and has listed a bunch of possible stops there.

                                                                                            2. I was at the Jack London Square Farmers market today, and it was really lovely -- reblossoming since the construction ended. Don't miss ScreamSorbet. The nut flavors are always good, and they usually have at least one interesting vegetable-based option (two weeks ago it was beet-lemon, this week it was Anaheim chile). The hours have expanded to 9-2 in case you feel like going earlier. There are several bakeries (like my "local" Feel Good Bakery, which makes excellent pastries) there, if you want to check them out instead of pastries from Acme; I don't think there's a coffee vendor, though. Downtown Oakland is dead on Sunday. If you want to head to another part of Oakland, don't walk: take the bus (51 line, which runs down Broadway, or if you want to check out the little cluster of Middle Eastern markets Robert mentioned on Telegraph, you can take the 40 to about 30th and Telegraph, and then walk over the hill on Hawthorne to the corner of Broadway and Piedmont Ave.), or if you want to check out Rockridge, take BART from 12th St. (12th and Broadway is a big transit node on the west edge of Chinatown).

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                I like the ScreamSorbet nut flavors better than the analogous gelato flavors, which are among my favorite for gelato. Hazelnut is amazing.

                                                                                              2. I have to pipe up in defense of Mitchell's. This is close to off topic, but here goes...

                                                                                                Yes, the tropical flavors are what sets Mitchell's apart. I love the Macapuno. The Mango and Pineapple are good too. More importantly, I love the texture and creaminess of their ice cream. Not too heavy and sweet, with flavors that complement the creamy richness without overpowering it. My favorites are the black walnut, Mexican chocolate, coffee, and anything mocha. Their flavors of the month are a good bet too.

                                                                                                I've only had HS twice and so far I just don't get it. The secret breakfast was OK. But the balsamic caramel was awful. And the sample I had of salt & pepper was worse. And totally surprisingly, the texture was off. I know they get props for well made ice cream (and I have not had Bi Rite and I have high hopes they're product is better made) but I had the opposite experience. I'm guessing they appeal to kids raise on Ben and Jerry's whimsical flavors and like the less saccharine, more creative flavors of HS. But what do I know? For an old guy raised on the creameries all over New England, I think Mitchell's ice cream is superior if less edgy and artistic.

                                                                                                18 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: BernalKC

                                                                                                  Thanks rw for some great additions -- duly noted. We've tried and like Cafe Bean but not Cafe Andree. Herewith the updated itinerary, with some attributions but again please accept my thanks everyone who contributed. Still thinking about Monday night but leaning toward Range if they have room for us.

                                                                                                  Thursday dinner: Canteen
                                                                                                  Friday breakfast: Nob Hill Grille
                                                                                                  FISHERMAN’S WHARF walking tour of Piers (not so much the actual Wharf area)
                                                                                                  Norman's Ice Cream & Freezes (pumpkin Mitchell’s Ice Cream) near Ghirardelli (also halo halo)
                                                                                                  Ghirardhelli just because, and to see the Xmas tree (good tip rw)
                                                                                                  IN-n-OUT Burger a look in, again just because
                                                                                                  Beach Street Grill for a humita empanada, because I have a thing for non-meat SA empanadas (if only I could find the deep fried cheese one I had once in Van at a Chilean dance…)
                                                                                                  Friday lunch: Dog Off! Zog’s Dogs Matrix or Bobo, butterflied Da Beef to share a Vienna dog Showdogs for a Schwartz or 4505 maybe organic Duck for the SO with 1/2 the usual kimchee
                                                                                                  maybe Balompie in SOMA for pupusa snack or Sentinel for a sarnie in Yerba Buena Park
                                                                                                  check Tea Garden for gua bao per Pei
                                                                                                  Miss SaiGon for Bun cha ha Noi and Bo luc lad dac biet with filet mignon, maybe crispy fried rice
                                                                                                  Metreon Farmers Market and more skulking around SOMA till we need:
                                                                                                  Tropisueno happy hour con botanas 4-6 before
                                                                                                  Friday dinner: Mi Lindo Yucatan
                                                                                                  Saturday breakfast: either brekky at Farmer’s Market or
                                                                                                  to the Mission for Tartine Bakery morning bun, gougere, pain au jambon, for later: bread pudding (eggy). coconut crème tart, lemon crème tart
                                                                                                  or full Mexibrekky at either Los Pastores, El Delfin, Los Jarritos (in that order of preference)
                                                                                                  Walking tour of either Mission Dolores or Castro 11 am
                                                                                                  Saturday lunch: bits and bites from some of La Oaxaqueña mole negro; tinga de pollo or tongue tacos; torta de venado; chicken soup; tlayuda with cecina; avoid sopes, pupusas and chips
                                                                                                  El Buen Sabor ‎ carnitas tacos and carne asada
                                                                                                  El Cachanilla eye, brain, cow head and lengua tacos, fish and carnitas good too but avoid pastor
                                                                                                  La Torta Gorda or Tortas Los Picudos for (duh) a torta
                                                                                                  coffee time: Pirate Cat to try the ABNR-famed bacon and maple latte;
                                                                                                  Haus for Ritual or maybe cab to Ritual itself (chk for chicharrones) and visit to beloved 826 Valencia (pirate gear running low)
                                                                                                  then a stroll around Noe Valley (we’ve been warned) or if we need some nature, trundle out to Lands End
                                                                                                  Saturday dinner: Burmese Kitchen (closes 8:30) followed by pint o’ Murphy’s at Johnny Foley’s (can’t get Murphy’s on tap in Van)
                                                                                                  Sunday breakfast: grab pastries and coffee at ACME bread/Blue Bottle store in Ferry Building if with SO or wait till I get to Sunday farmers’ market in Oakland and forage there (fish tacos at Cholita Linda stand sounds great for breakfast!) – high hopes of meeting a friend who knows Oaktown and has a car which will help immensely with seeing even a fraction of the great places you’ve all posted about
                                                                                                  Sunday dinner: Lers Ros Chowdown (thanks Cynsa)
                                                                                                  Monday breakfast: Olympic Flame Cafe or Moulin Rouge for SO’s favourite: greasy spoon omelette (you know the kind, almost crunchy edges on the eggs, thin, light on the cheese – he loves ‘em, go figure, and it’ll be well past time to be making him happy!)
                                                                                                  or maybe Orale Orale
                                                                                                  BAWDY & NAUGHTY walking tour 11 am (you may think this is also for the SO but I have a friend who did her PhD on prostitutes… TMI?)
                                                                                                  Monday lunch: Nopalito
                                                                                                  ck out Falletti’s, peanut milk at K K Café, Alamo Square, Matching Half to try Verve coffee (thanks Ruth)
                                                                                                  then amble over to Hayes Valley on a self-guided walking tour then more coffee (my beloved Gibraltar) at Blue Bottle on Linden and maybe a pain au chocolat for the SO from La Boulange
                                                                                                  or Golden Gate Park or Lands End/Legion of Honour if missed on Sat
                                                                                                  Monday dinner: to be decided
                                                                                                  Tuesday breakfast: Mama’s if we get there early enough to avoid egregious lineuppage (fallbacks include
                                                                                                  Curly's, Pat's Café or Liguria for a piece of foccacia in the park (still haven’t tried it) followed by some Italian pastry/coffee (XOX?) and a look into La Spiaggia to see if they are making arancini;
                                                                                                  Ferry Plaza to check out indoor stores and Tuesday market since we will have missed the Sat one this time (I know it’s much smaller)
                                                                                                  lunch at Jai Yun
                                                                                                  Then it’s a North Beach/Russian Hill/Coit Tower stroll
                                                                                                  Tuesday dinner: Inkas Chowdown (thanks Ruth) followed by Mitchell’s
                                                                                                  Wednesday breakfast: Café de la presse because it’s close to the hotel and the first place we ever had breakfast in SF (and we like it)
                                                                                                  *take a ferry across to Vallejo or Larkspur and back to get the SO out on the water
                                                                                                  Wednesday lunch: thinking Tadich Grill if we haven’t managed to have any grilled fish (mmm, petrale and sand dabs) for a late meal or
                                                                                                  Miss SaiGon as above if we didn’t go on Friday (I am on a hunt for shaking beef)
                                                                                                  Stroll around Union Square galleries (never done this, though we always stay near Union Square)
                                                                                                  Pick up luggage and BART off to SFO to return to YVR at 7:55 pm

                                                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                    Is the ferry on Wednesday something you accidentally left in from cut and paste or something you meant to do. Are you planning a ride back and forth or planning to walk around? If the latter, I guess I'd ask just what interests you in Vallejo..

                                                                                                    The restaurants near the Vallejo ferry are amoung the worst in the Bay Area. The nearest good place is a restaurant that makes Chicago food. Now this is great stuff if you are from Chicago and need some sort of fix ... any fix.

                                                                                                    While I have some respect for Vallejo it is a hard town to love and really depressing to me. It is blue collar that hasn't seen the laundry in a long time. It has been hard hit by the recession with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country and it wasn't too high on the economic ladder to start. The city has faced bankruptcy a number of times. Currently some schools are closed due to a swine flu breakout. There's food in vallejo, but it is really sprawled out in this suburb and requires a car.

                                                                                                    Not that there is much really close to the Ferry at Larkspur. There's a mediocre mall across the street. You could always take a bus or cab to downtown that has a little more charm and some ok places. I was mixing up Larkspur with Tiburon. Have you ever been to the later? Lots of litte shops right near the Ferry and some cute houseboats nearby. For some reason the restaurant database is not showing all the Tiburon restaurants.

                                                                                                    If you get a ride around Oakland from a friend, IMO Berkeley Bowl West is really worth a stop.

                                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                                      Thanks for the headsup on Vallejo/Larkspur. What I should have put was "catch a ferry across the Bay and back to somewhere just to be on the water" because we've only ever boated to Alcatraz and that was in 2003. It's crazy to come to SF and not be on the water. I will be going over to Oakland so will get my "sea legs" but the SO may not accompany me. That is why it is there. It would literally be an over and back, non-food oriented jaunt... sorry for the confusion.

                                                                                                      1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                        There's nothing near (walking distance) Larkspur, either. The only "destination" that's interesting is Sausalito -- Fish. is often recommended for casual dining (at not-so-casual prices), and there are a couple of other place where you can have a drink on the deck overlooking the picturesque harbor. If you want to continue your ice cream survey, there's Lappert's, which is actually a chain based on Hawaii that has a very strong following.

                                                                                                        The other option is the Bay cruise. I know it's a tourist thing, but if you just want to be out on the water, at least it will take you out under the Golden Gate bridge, which is kind of cool.

                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                          Adding Sausalito... been warned off the Bay Area cruises too many times (the loud music and commentary would not go over well with the SO, nor with me for that matter). Too bad none of the commuter ferries from FB go in that direction. Tiburon is on the "future" list (I think it goes from a different dock, right?)

                                                                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                            Hmmm ... after all that, if I had the time I might go to Vallejo. It is the longest commute and if there's no food requirement at the end its probably the only time you'd get up that way ... though there was someone IIRC was going to take the ferry to Vallejo and then the bus to French Laundry ... heh.

                                                                                                            There is a little coffee shop next to the ferry. Nothing memorable but decent enough. Don't know if the Vallejo ferry has booze or snacks on board. Never took that trip.

                                                                                                            There are whale watching cruises that go under the Golden Gate bride and on a food-related note you should bring crackers with you. The water gets choppy. When I was down Fisherman's Wharl recently I noticed some fishing boats did little trips around the bay in the afternoon. Now if you could talk them into stopping for lunch somewhere, you'd have something.

                                                                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                                                                              Good to know about the choppy -- the SO's not the best sailor. Is that only under the Bridge or everywhere?

                                                                                                              Thanks for the coffee shop idea at Vallejo too -- always good to have in the back pocket.

                                                                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                How much information do you want ---

                                                                                                                The wind funnels through the golden gate bridge, so everything downwind (east) is choppy every day, all the time. The wind at GGBR usually runs 15 knots, give or take. As you go further inland, you get wind shadows (lee-sides of various islands). Going up the sacramento, the chop subsides north of berkeley a bit, and certainly by the richmond bridge it's fairly flat.

                                                                                                                The ferry building ferry terminal is in the lee of san francisco, pier 41 isn't. Going just about anywhere from the ferry building, you pass through "the slot", the downwind choppy part of the bay, but those ferries are super-big (a lot bigger than most of the seattle ferries I've seen).

                                                                                                                Right under the bridge is the choppiest part, because the wind's strongest. The rolling swells (ocean swells) are also strong there, and peter out as you go inland. The swell around here I would call moderate, maybe 3 to 4 feet usually at the gate.

                                                                                                                My favorite "get out on the water" in the area is ferry to angel island, hike around, ferry back. Best eats is to stock up at the ferry building and picnic. It will take half the day, because the ferries don't run that often. Even if you use it as your "out and back", it's a nice run - goes past alcatraz and around into tiburon. The ferry is huge and stable and shouldn't cause any problems for a "non-sailor".

                                                                                                                1. re: bbulkow

                                                                                                                  Awesome and thanks for the detail -- I suppose it is indirectly food related because seasickness could put a serious dent in Chowing plans :-). But I am getting off topic, I know so I'll stop.

                                                                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                    From your comments I think the Sausalito ferry would be just right. On a sunny day you have stunning views of the bay, Alcatraz, Golden Gate, Marin headlands... on a short trip that barely passes through any choppy waters. Even when the fog is pouring in through the Gate, the perspective you get on the ferry very cool. I used to commute via that ferry to a job in Sausalito and I really miss that ferry ride.

                                                                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                      I've never been sick on any of the ferries. That whale watching though ... one second we were under the GG bridge and the next the world changed for the worst.

                                                                                                                      Somewhere in all of this I think you may have mentioned empanadas from Chile. Either you or someone else recently. Anyway if you did there is Chile Lindo

                                                                                                                      1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                        Hey, I mentioned what food to take on the Angel Island ferry!

                                                                                                                        There's food available on angel island itself, and a moderate picnic area where the boats land on the north side of the island. That area gets morning and noon sun, gets shady in the afternoon. One can also walk over to the immigration station, which is all gussied up / restored now. The hike to the top of angel island is about 700 feet of vertical and moderately strenuous - 1.5 hours round trip at a good pace. Trail is well-maintained dirt, and there's a picnic table at the top with one of the most gorgeous cheap eating spaces in the world (beats out the marin headlands because the headlands parking tables are right at roadside). I think it's best later, as close to sunset as possible, when the city's cast in relief. It's hard to do sunset itself there because of the ferry schedules - one has to camp overnight.

                                                                                                                        The little food concession on angel island itself is a burger-short-order affair. I expect they do a great business on afternoons when the wind comes up, selling hot chocolate and chili. Smelled undistinguished; I enjoyed the cheeses we brought from Cowgirl, good baguette, and salami last time over. How could you go wrong with that.

                                                                                                                        There's a much shorter and quicker ferry to Tiburon from Angel Island that runs more frequently, so it's possible to get a ticket to angel, hop across to tiburon, come back from the tiburon ferry terminal. Tiburon has that marin cute / money thing going on, which was fun once and a little dreary thereafter. I liked Guymas in the early 90's before I knew better, I think the burgers at the place on the end (Sam's?) are supposed to be the best bet along the waterfront.

                                                                                                                        Unless, of course, your home yacht club has reciprocity with Corinthian, in which case we wouldn't be having this discussion. I've never heard whether they have a food thing open to random people.

                                                                                                                        But, frankly, you're probably best off just doing Sausalito. The town's puny, but you get out on the water. Write down Angel + Tiburon for a later trip....

                                                                                                                    2. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                      The bay seldom gets bad enough that you'll have a problem on a big boat. It's pretty much just wind waves, and the wind tends to pick up in the afternoon, so if you want to be extra safe, travel in the morning.

                                                                                                                      Running out the Golden Gate is a whole 'nother matter. In the absence of a big storm, wind waves aren't much of a factor. The swell, on the other hand, can be problematic. Especially when it's coming from two directions at once. If you're headed for the open ocean, it's wise to check the marine forecast first.

                                                                                                                      That said, on a day when the sun's out and the water's flat, a picnic on a boat headed up the Marin coast or down toward Half Moon Bay is a pretty special experience. Last time I was out we had hundreds of sea mammals keeping us company and checking us out: pods of pacific bottlenose, a couple of close-passing whales, packs of sea lions, and a bunch of right whale dolphins. Good stuff.

                                                                                                              2. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                Definitely Sausalito over Vallejo, choworthy places and nice walks. If you're interested in tidal action and all the freshwater tributaries that feed the bay be sure and visit the Bay Model Visitor Center, a working model, about two acres under roof.


                                                                                                                It's two miles or so from the ferry docks and the town square, so might want to cab it.

                                                                                                                1. re: PolarBear

                                                                                                                  The Bay Model is very cool if you're at all geeky about things like that.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                    SO geeky (mechanical engineer), me, not so much :-). Had noted the Bay Model but was thinking of just an out and back rekky for this trip, ahead of taking the 'rents there in March (Dad geeky, fish biology guy).

                                                                                                                    Tiburon and Angel Island have been on the list for a while but adding these details... also up or down the coast sounds great. We haven't done the "pick up great chow and do a picnic" thing yet and these are top contenders.

                                                                                                          2. re: BernalKC

                                                                                                            BernalKC: I have to agree with you about the salt and pepper at HS. Actually, my first taste of it was great, but I made the mistake of ordering a scoop. It got tired on the palate after only two or three bites.

                                                                                                            1. re: BernalKC

                                                                                                              Mitchell's: I love their langka (jackfruit) flavor.

                                                                                                              HS: I think I'm starting to agree with BernalKC. The flavors are exciting at first, but I think the ice cream is a little too sweet for me and the texture is off. When you pick the wrong flavor, it can get old fast. For ex, saffron beet. Even with the crowd pleaser Secret Breakfast, what is up with the 3 soggy cornflakes/scoop of ice cream?

                                                                                                            2. Here's a map I put together of stores and bars I stop at when walking around Oakland:


                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                Thanks for that, Robert -- I was planning to download a map of Oakland and this one definitely has major value added :-).

                                                                                                              2. I'd skip both Blue Bottle and Pirate Cat.
                                                                                                                The former has good toast (at Mint Plaza) and mediocre coffee and the latter is kind of nasty.
                                                                                                                Try 4 Barrel instead.

                                                                                                                Blue Bottle Cafe
                                                                                                                66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: malachi

                                                                                                                  Thanks, Malachi. We've found Four Barrel a bit strong and sour for our palates. Of the options at the Ferry Building, we like BB best. We've tried all the BBs now I think including Mint and they all seem to have their strong points but we love the Linden kiosk for Gibraltars (Hayes Valley roast gets the thumbs up). So I guess your mediocre is our topnotch :-).

                                                                                                                  Pirate Cat is kind of a novelty/fun thing we just want to check out for the heck of it...

                                                                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                    You can probably get a Gibraltar at any of them, and many of their staffers rotate locations. The Linden kiosk espresso also rotates, sometimes it's Hayes Valley, sometimes it's one or two other things.

                                                                                                                    Long story short, don't stress the location. If you're closer to a different location, just go wherever is most convenient.

                                                                                                                    1. re: SteveG

                                                                                                                      Hmm maybe it is just my imagination but I've definitely enjoyed the Gibraltars at Linden more than at either Mint or FPFM (front or side, haven't been to the newish bricks and mortar inside yet). It's always been the Hayes Valley blend though.

                                                                                                                2. Pity you have no time for Commis this visit.I went tonight. It is great.

                                                                                                                  I haen't yet made it to Canteen, but I have stopped a number of times at The Sentinal ... Yes I know like comparing Cafe Fanny to Chez Panisse ... but I have a little feeling I think about the chef.

                                                                                                                  I have to think anyone who likes Canteen or any other top restaurant serving California cuisine would like this. It wasn't at all like I imagined it. There was not one thing precious, weird or fussy about it. I can see why it would appeal to Michelan. It has the feel of some of those comfortable intimant one star restaurants in France putting out good chow.

                                                                                                                  A few dishes had my eyes rolling back in my head due to deliciousness. They onlly had three beers on the menu but they looked interesting. Don't know much about beer though I don't think they are the same three on the sample online menu.

                                                                                                                  Another poster in a thread about someone deciding between Chez Panisse or Commis summed up the latter nicely "it feels "comfortable". i.e., we'd feel equally appropriate going casual for a weekday meal or dressy for a special occasion "

                                                                                                                  Maybe next trip ... if it will be possible to get a reservation.

                                                                                                                  Chez Panisse
                                                                                                                  1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                                                                                                                  Cafe Fanny
                                                                                                                  1603 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

                                                                                                                  3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                    I must say I'm being swayed and I've bookmarked your Commis report to re-read carefully later. The only night we could go would be next Friday and I'm guessing they'll be booked already...

                                                                                                                    3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                                                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                      Tables are available for two via opentable.com at 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. so you are in luck.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                          Psst, I managed to bag the last table at 6:30 using Opentable for the first time (I've been very suspicious of it prior). Also spoke to one of the staff and she is giving us the two end seats at the counter as recommended above. Canteen Thursday and Commis Friday... doesn't get much better than that. Oh wait yes it does... Burmese Kitchen, Lers Ros etc etc etc to follow. Hurray for SFBA! Can't wait and thanks again all for the gentle CH peer pressure to convince us to try Commis :-).

                                                                                                                          3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                                                                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                        It was awesome. Things have been crazy since we got back but I finally got the writeups and pix ready last night.I will be posting in far-too-much detail as soon as I get through quarterly meetings at work this week!

                                                                                                                        Thanks again to everyone who contributed, and rest assured that even if I didn't use/acknowledge your recs I have catalogued them for future trips and they are much appreciated.