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Dec 27, 2009 07:17 AM

Thanks for all the info

Just wanted to say "thanks" to all the SF chowhounds for the extensive posts, follow-ups and general info on the board. Except for asking one question about groceries in North Beach, I was able to get all the info I needed just by following the board for a few weeks. We avoided North Beach tourist traps, ate wonderfully, and cooked some great things with produce from the Ferry Building Farmers Market.

A great vacation. Thanks.

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    1. re: Shane Greenwood

      Actually, we followed a few of your suggestions in another post about North Beach - Cafe Greco, for good panini, Capps also for drinks and some soup. I stopped at Tadich for lunch and we went for dinner (cioppino for lunch, sea bass and sand dabs for dinner) Liguria bakery. We ate at "home" quite a bit, since we grabbed cheese from Cowgirl creamery and produce from the farmers market. We never got to all the places that we wanted to for various reasons, but what we had was consistently good.

      We did get snookered at Alioto's on the wharf; my wife loves their sole sandwich, so we went, and my daughter's seafood ravioli was okay, but their crab cioppino was awful. greasy and whole legs in it, making it really hard to eat. But Tadich made up for that.

      1. re: mike_d

        What made Tadich's cioppino easier to eat than Alioto's?

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Last time I had the cioppino at Tadich the crab was all removed from the shell. Easier to eat, but ease comes at the expense of flavor because the crab got so soaked in the broth.

          1. re: Shane Greenwood

            I can see your point about the taste. But 'ease' is an understatement. Trying to crack a leg with a tool that's greasy is an interesting experience. but beyond that the rest of the dish at Alioto's was subpar. Just a few shrimp or very small prawns and no fish at all, and not really broth, but sauce-like. Compared with 5 clams, 4 good sized prawns and bay shrimp all over the place at Tadich. Not to mention the 1/2 lb of fish (conservatively). Plus much superior flavor. I'll admit it, I waddled away ;-)

            Two other points - at this writing.

            Alioto's was a roll of the dice on my part, so my note of warning on the ciopinno pays you all back somewhat for all the advice.

            Second, we're heading to Capp's for a real dinner tonight. The first time, my daughter and I were out, bending our elbows, and looking for something to take home for later (we'd stopped at Pompei's for a snack earlier, not bad at all crab sampler and some shrimp.) and were in Capps having a couple. So, we asked for some soup to go and they comped us the soup, which I probably shouldn't say....

            But a great place if you're looking for a regular "joint" amid the crowds. I'll follow up in a few days. Tomorrow is the flight home.

            1. re: Shane Greenwood

              Removing the crab would make it easier to eat, but that's not traditional. Cioppino's supposed to be full of shells.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Agreed, I think the cioppino at Tadich should be more accurately called a seafood soup. Not that far off from a Manhattan Clam Chowder.

                1. re: Shane Greenwood

                  I'm not going to presume to debate this with the two of you. I am but a chicago boy raised on "red lead" in my grandmother's kitchen where seafood didn't exist.

                  But a question, the broth, it should be a broth, correct? Taking Beard's recipe in American Cooking as a possible starting point, the seafood stock is enriched with the broths from the clams and crab and fish as they cook. That was more my complaint with Alioto's, the thick consistency of the sauce/broth as well as the flavor of the fat. There was plenty of oil in Tadich's, but nothing that left you looking for a dishrag and soap.

                  I'm for tradition, in spades, and bring on the shells, but I've got to question a soup with the thickness of a sauce.

                  1. re: mike_d

                    Yes, I think it should be a broth and not too thick. I haven't been to Alioto's since I was about 10 years old, and I remember not liking it then! Anyway, I'm not sure what's going on with their "broth", but the traditional cioppinos I have had were never thick but closer to a Bouillabaisse. Now, that said, there are many variations on the recipe since it's a homestyle meal that was developed in many different households (as opposed to a French style recipe that has a defined and strict style). I'm sure there are some delicious recipes that create a thicker broth, I just never had one. I would expect Alioto's to do a crap job with any recipe.

              2. re: Shane Greenwood

                I believe Tadich and other places call de-shelled crab in cioppino "lazy man" or something like that.

                1. re: ML8000

                  A quick follow up before I drag my jet-lagged self to work.

                  First, a correction - I meant Beard's American Cookery.
                  Second, one of the things I like about cioppino is variety. Beard has a whole list of possible variations. And likewise, love the various Portuguese stews that employ pork. Xmas dinner in for us was cod/leek/prosciutto stew, with leeks from the Ferry farmers market.
                  Third, we enjoyed Capps for dinner (man they were getting slammed on Sunday night and were shorthanded too, but held their own) the veal tortellini, spaghetti, and fettucine with prawns were all pretty good.

                  Last, thanks again to all. You guys do a great job on this board.

            2. re: mike_d

              Thanks for the follow up. It's always nice to hear what people liked so we can keep the recommendations up to date. Sorry about Alioto's!