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"The Best Thing I Ever Ate" in the Bay Area

wutzizname Mar 12, 2010 12:43 PM

I’m heading up to San Fran for a week and have compiled a list of Bay Area dishes profiled on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” show.

However...living in Los Angeles, I’ve seen that while many of the L.A. dishes they’ve featured are worthy of the hyperbolic praise, several others definitely are not…some to the point of near criminal misdirection.

So…I’m wondering which of the items you all think have rightfully earned their way onto the following list? And which appear to have been erroneously slipped in by one of their shill-happy “celebrity” chefs?

Baked BBQ Pork Buns at Yank Sing
Sam's Sundae at Bi-Rite Creamery
Tsar Nicoulai Sampler at Tsar Nicoulai
Kumamoto Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co.
Leg of Beast at Incanto
House Smoked Bacon Flatbread at Nopa
Salumi Cone from Boccalone Salumeria
Bacon Apple Maple Donuts at Dynamo Donut & Coffee
Indonesian Corn Fritters from E&O Trading Company

  1. CarrieWas218 Mar 12, 2010 01:00 PM

    My thoughts:

    Baked BBQ Pork Buns at Yank Sing - I prefer Koi Palace
    Sam's Sundae at Bi-Rite Creamery - the Sundae is overkill, just go and get your favorite ice cream (the Burnt Caramel is especially good)
    Tsar Nicoulai Sampler at Tsar Nicoulai - they closed up shop at the Ferry Plaza and we are anxiously awaiting their reopening somewhere around Union Square
    Kumamoto Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co. - Meh. I'll take the oysters at Swan's any day.
    Leg of Beast at Incanto - Pretty darn good, yes.
    House Smoked Bacon Flatbread at Nopa - Also pretty darned good.
    Salumi Cone from Boccalone Salumeria - Exceptional (note, same guy does meat at Incanto). I prefer their Mortadella Cone, actually...
    Bacon Apple Maple Donuts at Dynamo Donut & Coffee - Yes, yes, yes! Their spiced chocolate doughnut is also noteworthy.
    Indonesian Corn Fritters from E&O Trading Company - I'm not a fan of E&O generally.

    3 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218
      calalilly Mar 12, 2010 01:35 PM

      Ditto. I agree with CarrieWas218 except on Swan's. I've always felt that place to be over-hyped and prefer Hog Island.

      I saw a recent episode that included The House of Prime Rib, which I highly recommend if you're looking for an old school atmosphere with lots of meat.

      1. re: CarrieWas218
        ysaw Mar 14, 2010 09:19 PM

        I've been dissapointed in Boccalone's cone, but then again I always love the Boccalone salumi plate at Berretta. Maybe its just being surrounded by the tourists in the Ferry Building that puts me off...

        1. re: CarrieWas218
          Euonymous Mar 15, 2010 04:35 PM

          I'm not a fan of E&O either, but their fritters (and the dip that goes with them) are very tasty.

        2. t
          timpoblete Mar 12, 2010 02:03 PM

          Sam's Sundae at Bi-Rite Creamery - Chocolate Ice Cream, Olive Oil, and Salt is a good combo. It's one of those that you seek out because it sounds interesting and don't crave for it (although I do once in a while) afterwards. I'm more often in the mood for one of their other sundaes which include fruit.

          Kumamoto Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co. - I've had the Kumamotos at another location (Sea Salt in Berkeley) and they were pretty good. Not "the best thing I've ever had" good, but good.

          1. n
            NoeMan Mar 12, 2010 02:56 PM

            I disagree with the other poster, he fritters @ E&O are terrific. All the others on your list are worth their hype too.

            1. v
              vulber Mar 12, 2010 03:01 PM

              kumamotos are definitely my favorite oysters, but not unique to island. wherever you go for them, make sure you go for a $1 happy

              you do get really good bread at hog island

              the baked pork buns at yank sing are good, but not what makes them stand out

              tsar nicoulai is closed

              the bacon donuts at dynamo are very good, but i just can't justify $3 for a donut

              1. l
                LarryW Mar 14, 2010 05:02 PM

                The only thing I would have put on the "best" list is the caviar sampler, but closing down killed that one.

                Everything else is above "meh" level, but nothing overly superb.

                Let's start part 2 of the list- What do we chowhounders think an angelino should try here as a "best I ever ate":
                The Mamaburger and fries at Val's in Hayward.
                The chai at Raman's in Half Moon Bay.
                The rack of lamb at Tadich Grill in SF.
                Macarons at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville.
                The Retro Tropical Shag cake at Citizen Cake.
                The pumpernickel bread at Grand Bakery in Oakland.

                We got good food here. You come up to our neck of the woods, you go home full and happy.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LarryW
                  toncasmo Mar 15, 2010 08:45 AM

                  the other night they had on hot and spicy crab from penang garden-how's that? it was described as being so hot that it seems it would overpower the crab taste

                2. l
                  lamster Mar 15, 2010 02:58 PM

                  Another item that was mentioned on "best of..." was the donut muffin from Healdsburg bakery, also available at their stand at the Ferry Building Farmer's market. Totally worth the hype.

                  1. h
                    hilary1211 Mar 16, 2010 01:17 PM

                    Ice cream from Humphry Slocome in the Mission, particularly the "special breakfast" (bourbon and cornflakes) and the olive oil.

                    Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
                    2790 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    1. myst Mar 16, 2010 01:26 PM

                      Yank Sing - Try the Shanghai Dumplings. That is what makes Yank Sing special.
                      Ice Cream - Lots of great places in the city.
                      Hog Island: I'm not an oyster lover, but they are certainly fresh. I like the tiny ones.

                      Other things I like/crave when in San Francisco:
                      Genki Crepes on Clement Street
                      Egg Tarts at Golden Gate Bakery
                      Fried Banana at OSHA
                      Pumpkin Pies at Phillipe's Patiserrie on Townsend

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