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What are the places/things that SF does better than Boston? [moved from Boston board]

b
BJK Sep 26, 2010 05:47 PM

Hey winedude,

This probably belongs on the SF board, but what are the places/things that SF does better than Boston? I'm headed to SF for my first time in about a month and have done a lot of research but would love some advice from someone who's lived in both places.

  1. m
    married4gd Apr 5, 2011 01:22 PM

    where did you end up eating?

    2 Replies
    1. re: married4gd
      b
      BJK Apr 5, 2011 01:54 PM

      Oh my. I'm so sorry for not reporting back! Here's a not quite complete list:

      Breakfasts: Ella's, Dottie's True Blue, Dynamo Donuts, Tartine;

      Lunches: Rosamunde's Sausage Grill, Boccalone, Cowgirl Creamery, Acme Bread, Blue Bottle Coffee, Tacolicious, Tony's Cable Car, Lime Tree Southeast Asian;

      Dinners: Pizzeria Delfina, La Taqueria, PPQ Dungeness Vietnamese, Zushi Puzzle, Out the Door;

      Desserts: Bi-Rite Creamery, Humphry Slocumbe.

      Yank Sing for dim sum.

      And might I add, YUM! Excellent eats all week long, never mind several excellent meals in Sonoma. Thanks so much for the recs!

      -----
      Acme Bread
      1601 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

      Bi-Rite Creamery
      3692 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Cowgirl Creamery - Petaluma Facility
      105 H St, Petaluma, CA 94952

      Yank Sing
      49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

      La Taqueria
      2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Dottie's True Blue Cafe
      522 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      Boccalone Factory - Not Open to Public
      1924 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

      Out the Door
      845 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

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

      Zushi Puzzle
      1910 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

      Pizzeria Delfina
      2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

      Tony's Cable Car Restaurant
      2500 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94115

      Tacolicious
      2031 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123

      1. re: BJK
        m
        married4gd Apr 5, 2011 02:41 PM

        I'm so glad you liked our city...will be asking you for recommendations if I am ever able to get to Boston

    2. h
      hamsoda Oct 8, 2010 04:18 PM

      I'd hit up Dottie's, if you can stand the line. And have a burrito somewhere--Calvin Trillin came pretty close to calling it a regional one-off, like Peruvian ceviche. Farolito usually gets the most votes for that. All the other suggestions are good, too. Rosamunde has its own place on Mission, now, which has seats. As for Anchor Steam, word is that Maytag actually gave away Anchor Liberty to the Sierra Nevada boys, who made a mint on their Pale Ale. Liberty's better, in my opinion.

      Have fun.

      1. a
        atjsfo Oct 1, 2010 05:46 PM

        I grew up in a Boston suburb and I went to school in Cambridge, but I moved out to the bay area shortly after college so I don't know the fine dining options in Boston well. Nevertheless, my thoughts:

        1. Tartine is a unique bakery - highly recommended
        2. Boston is the winning ice cream town, but Bi-Rite is tasty, no doubt about it. Haven't made it to HS yet.
        3. We take produce for granted here, and in Boston you have to look for it in special places; I'm not saying the produce at Safeway is great, cause it ain't; but I think there are many more options for fresh producer in the bay area. I do remember in Boston if I wanted to make guacamole I had to plan it three days in advance to give the avocados time to ripen.

        My favorite Bay Area stuff:

        Gary Danko for a splurge meal
        Tartine for pastries (especially the frangipane croissant/tart)
        LIttle Star (deep dish pizza)
        Nopa - yes, what a great place (especially, but not only, the pork chop!)
        The french toast at Il Fornaio.
        The clams at Hog Island Oyster Company (ferry building)
        Aziza
        Delfina's pretty darn good too.

        I can't speak about Flour + Water yet (but happily have reservation in about a month!)

        but the biggest thing that differs, in my opinion, is the variety of wine, particularly (but not only) california wines - and the wines are priced much better here too. Being able to buy decent wine at Safeway is such a great thing. And wine stores! Golden Gate Wine Cellars is my favorite, but K&L is great too;

        A glass of expensive (but really) good wine at the ferry building wine bar is really nice; you'll get introduced to something you never would have and it will be fantastic. And you can get some great cheese to go with it.

        Acme bread! how could I forget that? Especially the Epi, wow that is some bread.

        Have a great trip!

        -----
        Delfina Restaurant
        3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Nopa
        560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

        Gary Danko
        800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        5 Replies
        1. re: atjsfo
          Ruth Lafler Oct 1, 2010 07:52 PM

          Just to clarify, the wine bar doesn't serve food, but they're happy to let your bring in food from the other merchants in the building (which includes Cowgirl Cheeses, Acme Breads, etc.).

          -----
          Acme Bread
          Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            Robert Lauriston Oct 1, 2010 08:04 PM

            The FP Wine Bar added food quite some time back: cheese, salumi, nuts, olives, etc.

            http://www.fpwm.com/images/pdf/FPWM-T...

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              Ruth Lafler Oct 1, 2010 08:07 PM

              That's funny, because on their website they say " Our customers have gotten used to grabbing some great cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, some bread from Acme bakery and sitting down to a lovely glass of wine in our bar." But you're right, they do serve food as well now.

              -----
              Cowgirl Creamery
              80 4th St, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                a
                atjsfo Oct 7, 2010 06:18 PM

                I haven't been there in about two years, but I have been there about four times (over a multi year period) and every time I ordered a cheese plate - includes manchego and brie and some olives, and I"m not sure if anything else.

                I never saw anyone bring in (to consume) anything from Cowgirl Creamery (or anywhere else, though to be honest, other than the first time, I wasn't looking for that, so it might have been going on.

                1. re: atjsfo
                  steve h. Oct 7, 2010 06:44 PM

                  I bring in food there all the time. Been doing it since they've opened. They even have caviar now that Tsar Nicoulai (sp?) has left the ferry building.

                  One of my favorite lunch spots.

        2. Robert Lauriston Sep 29, 2010 12:48 PM

          A friend from Boston liked the lamb schwerma at Truly Mediterranean so much that she got a couple of orders to take home.

          -----
          Truly Mediterranean
          3109 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

          1. bbulkow Sep 27, 2010 11:03 PM

            The funny thing about this thread is everywhere listed isn't on my list of favorite places to eat.

            First, fine dining. TFL, Manresa, COI, Commis.

            Second, all the great medium-neighborhood places. I'm looking forward to Plum, for example. I like Salt House even though it's not highly recommendable for visitors. Oysters, cocktails, some nice small plates (fois gras three ways), how could someone not like that? A million little places.

            Third, beer. There's a few good breweries on the east coast, but most are further south (Brooklyn, Dog Fish). Compared to the Toranado, Russian River Brewery, I think we're pretty far ahead.

            How is Boston for street food, like Off the Grid, the Pizza Hacker, etc? There's nothing quite like stepping out of a club and being faced with a bacon wrapped hot dog.

            Boston has traditionally been far, far ahead in ice cream (I lived near the original steve's in the 70's), to the point I stopped eating ice cream here. But between Lush and HS and Tara's and BiRite and even Naia and durian ice cream at Polly Ann's, I'd love to hear that Boston's keeping up --- but I doubt it.

            -----
            Manresa Restaurant
            320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

            Coi
            373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

            Commis
            3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

            Salt House
            2 Shaw Aly, San Francisco, CA 94105

            Off the Grid
            Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123

            14 Replies
            1. re: bbulkow
              b
              boris_qd Sep 28, 2010 06:41 AM

              Just a quibble. There are great breweries in the North East. For instance Allagash in Maine is certainly one of the best in the country and makes standard setting belgian style beer. The Ommegang brewery also does some great Belgian classics. Berkshire brewery in Western MA, the list goes on....

              I live just around the corner from Toranado and haven't spent much time in Boston - but I can say that MA more generally has bars that are just as good (Dirty Truth, Moan & Dove both in the Pioneer valley).

              As far as ice cream goes. We should add Humphrey Slocombe to the list (but I'm also partial to Herrell's).

              Second the street food idea.

              Also, Mexican (say Chilango) and Chinese (many places).

              -----
              Chilango
              235 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

              1. re: boris_qd
                b
                BJK Sep 28, 2010 06:58 PM

                Thanks for the input everyone! I'm really excited for our trip and greatly appreciate the guidance.

                1. re: boris_qd
                  bbulkow Sep 28, 2010 10:13 PM

                  I'll give a bit on the beer front, but will also admit that I'm a fool for the west coast IPA style. Good point about Alagash - I actually had one a few weeks ago at The Refuge.

                  1. re: bbulkow
                    m
                    mdg Sep 29, 2010 12:02 AM

                    If you think San Francisco is ahead of the New England / Boston area in beers, I think you may need a remedial visit to Redbones in Davis Square on your next visit back! I think the two areas are equal in quality; which you prefer is a matter of style rather than quantity or quality. It's definitely worth sampling for a Boston visitor since the best brews have such distinct personality. Prohibition Ale is one of my favorites here; Ipswich Ale is one of my favorites in the Boston area.

                    Herrell's is gone from Harvard Square - they're out in Western Mass. now - but Toscanini's still reigns in Central Square.

                    Michael

                    1. re: mdg
                      b
                      boris_qd Sep 29, 2010 10:00 AM

                      But we do have great beer in SF too.

                      In fact, let me be bold. The US has reached to point where excellent beer can be had in almost every region. It's been a long time coming, but folks, there are good local brews to be had in all corners.

                      1. re: boris_qd
                        m
                        ML8000 Sep 29, 2010 10:35 AM

                        Anchor Steam in SF pretty much started the whole micro-brew thing singlehandedly. I don't think anyone needs to defend NorCal in the area of beer. You could call Fritz Magtag the Alice Waters of U.S. beer given the way he changed the landscape for the better.

                        1. re: ML8000
                          h
                          hazelhurst Sep 29, 2010 12:21 PM

                          It's a good thing he had the money to go it alone...Budwweiser and other evil "beer" companies had crushed many a small producer before.

                          I has some excellent Anderson Valley beer this summer on the Mendocin Coast and I also had a superb clam chowder up there, as good as any I have ever had..and that includes years of my life in New England.

                          1. re: hazelhurst
                            m
                            ML8000 Sep 29, 2010 12:53 PM

                            Maytag's biggest contribution might be after Anchor became popular, instead of expand and go big (where he couldn't guarantee quality), he helped other micro-brewers get started so they too could make good beer. Imagine if he didn't come along.

                            Any way, if it were crab season I'd say get some cioppino.

                            1. re: ML8000
                              h
                              hazelhurst Sep 29, 2010 12:56 PM

                              Quite true...I met the "Pete" of "Wicked Ale" years ago in NYC Gingerman and we had a chat about what would have happened to micro-brews in the twenty years prior.(It was not a pleasant idea). Of course , some are almost as much garbage as the Big Boys..and some that were good went to hell. Par for the course.

                              1. re: hazelhurst
                                Robert Lauriston Sep 29, 2010 01:48 PM

                                Pete's Wicked Ale was acquired by a big conglomerate in 1998. Anchor is still independent.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  h
                                  hazelhurst Sep 29, 2010 01:50 PM

                                  Yes..he had sold out and was living thru his non-compete era but was anxious to get back on board. He was vsiting his kid who was in school somewhere nearby. This was in about 2000..I thinkmaybe he wqas on his second sell out....

                          2. re: ML8000
                            steve h. Sep 29, 2010 02:25 PM

                            FYI

                            Fritz Maytag has sold the brewery to a consortium. I was at the brewery the week the transfer took place.

                            Here's a copy of the press release.

                            http://www.anchorbrewing.com/Anchor-B...

                  2. re: bbulkow
                    t
                    Tumkers Oct 2, 2010 08:55 AM

                    I will have to try Lush and HS. I have stood in the long lines for Bi rite and Ici and was disappointed in the ice crystals in Bi rite and the tiny scoops at Ici of precious but faint flavors. Ici is for people who want to taste ice cream but not eat it. When I have ice cream at Toscanini's in Central Square, it is like a religious experience. I had a nectarine flavor there that made me weep with joy.

                    I think Vermont/ New Hampshire organic milk tastes really good and has good body. Here the organic milk, tastes like regular milk. I don't think the cows are as happy here as has been reported. I miss the full round dairy flavor in the ice cream and in the mozzarella in my pizza.

                    Innovation here is high but be sure to add at least 15-20% to your expected food budget over and above what you would pay in Boston restaurants.

                    1. re: Tumkers
                      j
                      jsaimd Oct 2, 2010 10:16 AM

                      I am an ice cream fiend and so when in Boston I hit several - Christina's, Toscanini's, Ranc's, Kimball Farms. Boston has a great ice cream scene with Tosc being my favorite, second Christina's, Kimball was fun but sweet and I wasn't a fan of Ranc's. Humphrey Slocombes will be different and in that way fun. I have been enjoying Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous lately too - their basil chococolate chip, candied violet and burnt sugar (not as burnt as Tosc) I really like. Their butterscotch sauce is great too. Given Toscanini's I don't know that I would stand in line at Bi-Rite myself. I like Bi-Rite, but it isn't better than the Boston ice cream scene.

                      We have a lot of ice cream, many are mediocre here, some really great.

                      I don't know - I felt the value was better here in restaurants than in Boston. But maybe I was in the wrong places.

                      -----
                      Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
                      699 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                  3. achefsbest Sep 27, 2010 02:26 PM

                    I've been to Boston and it's a beautiful town. The seafood there is superb.

                    But here I think, if you come right now, the produce at the Farmers' Markets, and all the ethnic food, especially Mexican and Asian.

                    1. m
                      ML8000 Sep 27, 2010 01:29 PM

                      I'd grab some Mexican food...a ginormus amount of taquerias and taco trucks, a few sit down places. I'd hit up Taqueria Cancun, La Taqueria, El Faralito, El Toyanese Taco Truck or Nopalito or Poc Chuc.

                      -----
                      Taqueria Cancun
                      2288 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                      La Taqueria
                      2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                      Poc Chuc
                      2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                      1. b
                        BJK Sep 27, 2010 12:53 PM

                        Hi all. If any of you happen to know both SF and Boston well, I'd love your input regarding my questions above & below.

                        Thanks!

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: BJK
                          m
                          mdg Sep 27, 2010 02:06 PM

                          It's been 15 years since I lived in Boston, but I get back to that area about once a year, usually to Cambridge. The Asian and Mexican recommendations are spot on. I would also recommend a California cuisine place like Zuni Cafe in San Francisco, or Chez Panisse in Berkeley. With California's year-round growing season, the overall quality of produce is so much better than what you can get in the Boston area. (There are always some exceptions, like apples this time of year.)

                          The ingredient effect also makes it worth trying some of San Francisco's Italian restaurants; though Boston is strong there, San Francisco's are different. Perhaps the best choice for different-from-Boston is La Ciccia, which serves Sardinian food.

                          I have yet to see a barbecue place in the San Francisco Bay Area that is anywhere close to the barbecue you can get at Redbones, and I know people say that there's even better barbecue that has opened up in the Boston area over the years. So I'd give barbecue a pass.

                          Fish and seafood overall isn't as good as in Boston, but do try some of the local fish while you're here. You'll miss crab season, but black cod / butterfish and petrale sole are flavors I haven't tasted in Boston. Local sardines are a treat too, and abalone if you can find it. It may make more sense to get seafood entrees at a Cal / Ital / Asian / Mexican place than to go to a seafood specialist.

                          Enjoy!
                          Michael

                          -----
                          Zuni Cafe
                          1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                          La Ciccia
                          291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                          Chez Panisse
                          1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                          1. re: mdg
                            b
                            BJK Sep 29, 2010 02:09 PM

                            Some sort of California cuisine would be of interest, too. Would an almost 3-year-old toddler be out of place at Zuni Cafe? Perhaps we do that for brunch or lunch?

                            A splurge would be good, too. In a week in SF, we'll probably go out without the offspring once or twice, and have made a reservation at Gary Danko for just that purpose. If we're better off spending big dollars elsewhere, I'm all ears.

                            -----
                            Zuni Cafe
                            1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                            Gary Danko
                            800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                            1. re: BJK
                              Robert Lauriston Sep 29, 2010 02:19 PM

                              Nothing against Gary Danko, but their menu is in large part the kind of international French food that might be made just as well in Las Vegas or Dubai.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                b
                                BJK Sep 29, 2010 06:41 PM

                                I got that impression myself from their Website. It was highly recommended by two friends whose opinions I trust, but at the same time, I've been to Paris several times and would far prefer something truly, uniquely SF. Is TFL out of the question? Too far to drive? Impossible to get a reservation? Any other high end splurges worth considering instead of Gary Danko?

                                -----
                                Gary Danko
                                800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                1. re: BJK
                                  m
                                  mdg Sep 29, 2010 07:04 PM

                                  I don't think Gary Danko shows off uniquely San Francisco like you want, though it's very fine. If you're still 30 days out, Chez Panisse - downstairs, not the upstairs Cafe - would fit the bill.

                                  If you have a car, two of the most individual high-end places these days are in Silicon Valley - Manresa and Chez TJ - and they're about an hour's drive each way. TJ's chef is an MIT alum. Both are easier reservations than TFL, where I think you need to get it exactly 2 months out.

                                  If you want to stay within the city, the Ritz would be an excellent choice. Coi might work too; I haven't been yet but hope to fix that later this year.

                                  Michael

                                  -----
                                  Manresa Restaurant
                                  320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                                  Chez Panisse
                                  1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                                  Gary Danko
                                  800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                  Chez TJ
                                  938 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

                                  1. re: mdg
                                    m
                                    ML8000 Sep 29, 2010 07:09 PM

                                    I 3rd Manresa...sort of a cross between TFL and Chez Panisse. A bargain compared to TFL as well.

                                    Produce-wise, if you have time, head over the Berkeley Bowl (easy by BART) and look at the produce. There's better stuff at farmer's market and the like but there's nothing with the volume, variety, quality and price, perhaps anywhere in the U.S. After looking at this, you will laugh and cry about Safeway.

                                    -----
                                    Berkeley Bowl
                                    2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                                    1. re: ML8000
                                      t
                                      Tumkers Oct 1, 2010 05:51 PM

                                      Yes, I would second Berkeley Bowl. The variety is amazing. The farmer's markets are great.
                                      Papa Beard creme puffs covered with chocolate are a nice afternoon pick me up. Morning buns (a cinnamonny croissant dough bun) are something I haven't seen in Boston but enjoy here. The cupcakes here are good -- I like Kara's Cupcakes.
                                      I am not a fan of the bacon maple doughnut (expensive, greasier than the normal donut) but it is unusual. There are many mom and pop donut shops unlike Boston and you'll see good sugary apple fritters.

                                      -----
                                      Berkeley Bowl
                                      2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                                      1. re: Tumkers
                                        Robert Lauriston Oct 1, 2010 07:08 PM

                                        Beard Papa is an international chain based in Japan. The shells are made with margarine in Japan and shipped frozen. Might be better to save that for your next trip to Orlando or Fort Lee.

                                  2. re: BJK
                                    n
                                    nocharge Sep 29, 2010 07:17 PM

                                    Benu, where the chef used to be the CdC at TFL. Conveniently located in the City.

                                    Coi, the only restaurant in SF with two Michelin stars (at this point). The food may be a little too unique for some people's palates.

                                    Also a little different from the mandatory high-end French places and expensive steakhouses: Ame.

                                    1. re: nocharge
                                      b
                                      BJK Sep 29, 2010 07:33 PM

                                      Thanks guys. I'll check out all of these places. Chez Panisse and Manresa have both come up in other searches, but I haven't really looked very closely at the high end stuff.

                                      -----
                                      Manresa Restaurant
                                      320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                                      Chez Panisse
                                      1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                                      1. re: BJK
                                        bbulkow Oct 1, 2010 08:31 PM

                                        Manresa is amazing right now. My recent mail was beyond speech. The trick there is to do the regular wine pairing. Not to save money; they're just better pairings.

                                        -----
                                        Manresa Restaurant
                                        320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                            2. re: BJK
                              b
                              boki Oct 9, 2010 02:24 AM

                              I live in sf but am from the east coast and lived and spent much time in boston..I work in the food business but haven't been in years, however:
                              see my other posting about Saigon in allston, ma (not sure if extant)
                              there is Great produce back east....the seasons are more defined there, i.e., summer isn't always 5+ months....I cooked at some great restaurants in btown in the early 90s and we got great local produce....(concord/north ansd south shore, etc....)
                              In sf Le Soleil in the Richmond is good vietnamese (Saigon in Allston was superior, though!) Saigon Sandwich in Tloin is also good....
                              Again, haven't been to Boston in years, but in SF, IMHO:
                              Blue Plate
                              El Farrolito
                              R&G Lounge
                              Salt House
                              Marnee Thai (22nd Ave)
                              Grubsteak (LATE night....)
                              Tonys Pizza NBeach...
                              Sebo on a good nite
                              Suppenkuche
                              La Ciccia
                              Phat Philly
                              Canteen for brunch
                              Dotties
                              Pork Store on haight
                              Quince

                              -----
                              La Ciccia
                              291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                              Saigon Sandwich Shop
                              560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                              Sebo
                              517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                              Blue Plate
                              3218 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                              Suppenkuche
                              525 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                              Marnee Thai Restaurant
                              1243 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122

                              Pork Store Cafe
                              1451 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                              Phat Philly
                              3388 24th St, San Francisco, CA

                              Salt House
                              2 Shaw Aly, San Francisco, CA 94105

                              Le Soleil
                              1515 E 14th St, San Leandro, CA 94577

                            3. w
                              winedude Sep 26, 2010 07:42 PM

                              I'm happy to offer my suggestions, though the moderators may move this off to the SF Board, I guess. I'll try to keep it real by comparing it to Boston-things:

                              1. Vietnamese food: I haven't found anything particularly good in Boston, though I'd loved to proven wrong. There's decent Pho here, and some of the main dishes at Pho Pasteur are pretty good. But nothing here compares to Slanted Door. The new location in the Ferry Building is beautiful, they've lost a small step in the charm factor, but the food can still be great if you're lucky.

                              2. Everything else in the Ferry Building, especially the Farmer's market on Saturday. I'm REALLY hoping that the long-promised year-round market in the Parcel 7 buidling would have even just a little of what's there. Blue Bottle Coffee, Rechiutti chocolates, Miette bakery, Cowgirl Creamery, Acme Breads. Wow.

                              3. XOX Truffles in North Beach. The best I've ever had, rustic, small, relatively inexpensive, hand made. There's nothing like it in Boston that I'm aware of--LA Burdick in Harvard Square is probably closest--By the way, I should add LA Burdick Hot Chocolate to something that Boston does way better than SF--it's awesome.

                              Need more?

                              20 Replies
                              1. re: winedude
                                b
                                BJK Sep 27, 2010 08:13 AM

                                I don't mind following this thread to wherever the moderators move it.

                                Bring it on. I've got both Slanted Door and Out the Door on my list. We may end up at Out the Door because we'll have both toddler and parents in tow. So most meals will be family friendly, but wife and I will sneak out for at least one dinner on our own.

                                We also will definitely be going to the Ferry Building, though because we arrive on Saturday afternoon and leave the following Saturday, we'll have to go to one of the smaller farmer's markets there.

                                I've got over 80 places bookmarked at http://brianjkern.yelp.com/ but I clearly won't get to all of them in a week. High on my list at the moment, in addition to your suggestions, are:

                                Yank Sing for dim sum.
                                Dottie's True Blue Cafe, Ella's, and Slow Club for breakfast/brunch.
                                Bi-Rite and Humphry Slocumbe for ice cream.
                                Dynamo Donuts.
                                Rosamunde Sausage Grill.
                                Tartine Bakery.
                                PPQ Dungeness Island Vietnamese Cuisine for garlic noodles & roasted crab.
                                Zushi Puzzle for sushi.
                                San Tung for dry fried chicken wings and dumplings.
                                Boccalone for salumi.
                                Penang Garden for hot & spicy crab.
                                It is highly likely we'll find ourselves at In-n-Out at some point, too.

                                I could use recommendations for ramen, XLB and bahn mi. I've got several places bookmarked for each but nothing head and shoulders above the rest.

                                Thanks!

                                1. re: BJK
                                  Civil Bear Sep 27, 2010 01:01 PM

                                  Wow, you have done your homework!

                                  You can get your XLB fix at Yang Sing, or if you want to go to a smaller place that specializes in them there is Shanghai Dumpling King and Shanghai House, both located in the outer Richmond district (call ahead to make sure they are open).

                                  For bahn mi, Saigon Sandwich in little Saigon is the spot. Don't let the long lines deter you, as they move fairly quickly.

                                  I love all your picks, but unless you like your chicken wings cloyingly sweet be sure to ask the waiter at San Tung to go easy on the sauce.

                                  -----
                                  Saigon Sandwich Shop
                                  560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                  Shanghai House
                                  3641 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                  Shanghai Dumpling King
                                  3319 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                  1. re: Civil Bear
                                    e
                                    Eris48 Sep 29, 2010 10:38 AM

                                    The best banh mi in SF is at Little Vietnam Cafe in the Inner Richmond - definitely has superior ingredients (esp. bread) to Saigon Sandwiches, and cleaner, and friendlier.

                                    However, BJK ... the best banh mi in the U.S. (ok, that I've had, which includes lots of places in New England, New York, LA, and the Bay) is right in your home town of Boston: Mei Sum in Chinatown (on Beach St.). Done.

                                    -----
                                    Little Vietnam Cafe
                                    309 6th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                    1. re: Eris48
                                      b
                                      BJK Sep 29, 2010 01:59 PM

                                      Do either Little Vietnam Cafe or Saigon Sandwich have seating? Or are they all takeout like they seem to be in Boston?

                                      One of these days I'll give Mei Sum in Chinatown a shot. I usually get my banh mi fix at either Viet Cafe in the food court at the former Super88 food court in Allston or at Ba Le in Dorchester.

                                      -----
                                      Saigon Sandwich Shop
                                      560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                      Little Vietnam Cafe
                                      309 6th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                      1. re: BJK
                                        Robert Lauriston Sep 29, 2010 02:16 PM

                                        Saigon has a very few seats.

                                  2. re: BJK
                                    pilinut Sep 27, 2010 09:29 PM

                                    I agree with Civil Bear that you should get your XLB at Yank Sing--they have the best XLB I've had in the Bay Area, though the rest of the dimsum, while by and large decent, does not compare with the dimsum at Koi Palace and Tai Wu in Daly City (both 15-20 minutes by car from the city center). In any of the dimsum places, it is advisable to be there as early as possible in order to avoid the long lines.

                                    -----
                                    Koi Palace Restaurant
                                    365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                                    Tai Wu Restaurant
                                    1080 Foster City Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404

                                    1. re: pilinut
                                      y
                                      yenyen828 Oct 9, 2010 03:49 AM

                                      If you have a car, Koi Palace is definitely the better bet for dim sum. I find Yank Sing's dim sum to be just about on par with Hei La Moon in Chinatown Boston.

                                      -----
                                      Koi Palace Restaurant
                                      365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                                      Yank Sing
                                      49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                      1. re: yenyen828
                                        Robert Lauriston Oct 9, 2010 09:33 AM

                                        I didn't think Koi Palace's dim sum was worth the drive or (unlike Yank Sing) the relatively high price.

                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5843...

                                        -----
                                        Koi Palace Restaurant
                                        365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                                        Yank Sing
                                        49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                  3. re: winedude
                                    p
                                    pauliface Sep 27, 2010 01:19 PM

                                    Weather!

                                    Okay, that and...

                                    As you seem to have found out, a lot of asia-related stuff is better here.
                                    I second Saigon Sandwich for your banh mi.

                                    A couple of things may interest you that are not restaurants, per se.
                                    First, go into any Safeway and compare the produce to Star Market. If you cook, that should alone should make you want to move here.
                                    And safeway is the bottom of the barrel compared to the Ferry Buidling or any farmer's market.

                                    Second, if you like Sake, make sure to stop by True Sake. It's the US's first sake-only store and their selection is amazing.

                                    Sushi on the east coast can be great. Don't know about Boston but I know in NYC there are some great places. But I might try omakase at Ino Sushi, Zushi Puzzle, or Yume (in Alameda).
                                    Each is a different, but very SF as constrasted with Boston. Ino is a quiet sushi master, the place is very plain and quiet, but the food is sublime. Sushi Puzzle, the guy is a hoot, with great food. And Yume is a little in between the other two (if you go there make sure to get the giant scallop). All have wonderful food. Also, Kiss Seafood has a delightful 5-6 course omakase that has a sushi course, and a sashimi course, and other things -- just wonderful.

                                    Aziza - nothing like it elsewhere, especially if you like cocktails.

                                    I lived in Boston long ago and don't remember any bbq. It's not like SF is the bbq capital of the world, but there is a place I like -- Memphis Minnie's in the lower haight - that fulfills my occasional hankering.

                                    -----
                                    Saigon Sandwich Shop
                                    560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                    True Sake
                                    560 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                    Kiss Seafood
                                    1700 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                    Ino Sushi
                                    22 Peace Plz # 510, San Francisco, CA

                                    Zushi Puzzle
                                    1910 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                    Ino Restaurant
                                    25 Miller Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941

                                    1. re: pauliface
                                      b
                                      BJK Sep 29, 2010 02:05 PM

                                      Safeway and the Ferry Building are no brainers. We rented an apartment so we'll definitely be stocking up on snacks and some staples.

                                      True Sake looks great. The wife will love it.

                                      And while we definitely have some excellent sushi in Boston, including a few chefs who trained under Nobu Matsuhisa, my sister and husband-in-law are New Yorkers who absolutely loved Zushi Puzzle, so I think that is a must for us.

                                      And Boston has come a long way on the BBQ front in the past 10 years. It's still no Memphis, that's for sure, but I've got higher priority eats on my list for my SF trip.

                                      -----
                                      True Sake
                                      560 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                      Zushi Puzzle
                                      1910 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                      1. re: pauliface
                                        Robert Lauriston Sep 29, 2010 02:17 PM

                                        The produce at Safeway makes me want to move back to Italy. Boston's really that bad?

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          p
                                          pauliface Sep 29, 2010 03:18 PM

                                          Yes.

                                          1. re: pauliface
                                            m
                                            mdg Sep 29, 2010 06:06 PM

                                            You can get great produce in the Boston area during the summer and fall at farmer's markets, farmstands, etc. And some things like apples tend to be much better than here. But for supermarkets, Safeway certainly is far better than my memory of Star Market - though they may well have improved over the years.

                                            Michael

                                            1. re: mdg
                                              b
                                              BJK Sep 29, 2010 06:39 PM

                                              All the major chains in Boston suck, but there are some options for good produce. Wilson Farms in Lexington and Russo's in Belmont are both farm stands open year round with prepared foods and some meat, fish and eggs. And some of the Market Baskets and Roche Brothers have some decent options. And there's always Whole Foods.

                                              1. re: BJK
                                                m
                                                mdg Sep 29, 2010 06:59 PM

                                                Wilson Farms was a regular shopping stop when I lived in Arlington. Is Arena Farms still out on Route 2? That was another great place, just a few miles outside 128.

                                                Michael

                                                1. re: mdg
                                                  b
                                                  BJK Sep 29, 2010 07:03 PM

                                                  Sadly Arena Farms closed. Hard to believe it was 3 years ago! http://www.boston.com/news/local/arti...

                                                  1. re: BJK
                                                    m
                                                    mdg Sep 29, 2010 07:11 PM

                                                    Oh, too bad - I still remember their Macoun apples. I'm happy to see that Wilson is still there though. We lost our local farmstand a couple years ago. Today I saw the bulldozers out, demolishing the orchard to make way for a housing development.

                                                    Michael

                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            JasmineG Sep 30, 2010 10:28 AM

                                            The produce at Safeway in the Bay Area is comparable to the produce at high end grocery stores (Whole Foods type) in the Boston area.

                                            1. re: JasmineG
                                              s
                                              stomachofsteel Oct 8, 2010 04:34 PM

                                              This may be true in SF proper but I don't know if it's true all over the Bay Area. I lived in San Jose for 2 years after growing up in the Boston area, and I was utterly depressed by what I could buy (produce and everything else) at the local Safeway. But then I'd been shopping at the aforementioned Russo's for years, not at a big chain. Spoiled.

                                        2. re: winedude
                                          b
                                          boki Oct 9, 2010 02:01 AM

                                          Saigon in Allston on cambridge st by co-op (still there?) was an old house turned restaurant w unbelievable Vietnamese food....you'd swear the guy clarified the broths for the pho....super fresh and run by I think a Vietnamese couple...amazing fresh rolls!......ate there a lot.....better Indian in that neighborhood IMHO than in Sf too...also, .Fromaggio Kitchen back in the day truly kicked ass! so did a lot in the North End-Alora, Artu, plus Galleria Italiano near commons (B Lynch's best stuff....)et al....Havent been to Beantown in years though....

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