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Best bites of 2010

It's December, right? Never too early to start a top 10 list.

What were the best new things you ate and drank this year?

- chocolate bread at Thorough Bakery
- Montego Bay cocktail at Flora
- fried chicken wings with sticky sauce at Shanghai House
- perfect cup of coffee at Sightglass, consumed while leaning on bags of beans to watch the World Cup final projected on the wall
- home-smoked trout from La Bedaine
- any sorbet from Delise, preferably with tiny cookie
- breek, the Tunisian crepe, at Cafe Zitouna
- exceptionally fresh ikura (salmon roe) at Sebo

and still room for a couple more before New Year's.

Best out of town: Ketart oysters and beef tartare at Thistle in McMinnville; pastrami at Kenny & Zuke's in Portland; venison carpaccio at Gaumenspiel in Vienna.


517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Cafe Zitouna
1201 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Shanghai House
3641 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

1900 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

Thorough Bread and Pastry
248 Church Street, San Francisco, CA

Sightglass Coffee
270 7th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

DeLise dessert cafe
327 Bay St, San Francisco, CA 94133

La Bedaine
1585 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

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  1. can only think of two right now:
    Commis' amuse bouche egg yolk with onion cream
    Extremely Hot Peppers from Old Mandarin Islamic

    Thanks for posting about the brique at Cafe Zitouna - had that for the first and so far only time in Marseille in 2005 and fell in love with it.

    I'm sure I'll think of some more, tho I didn't go out to as many new places (that i loved) this year as in others...

    Oh, Tony's Pizza Napoletana - The New Yorker.

    Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant
    3132 Vicente St, San Francisco, CA 94116

    Cafe Zitouna
    1201 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

    3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

    2 Replies
    1. re: mariacarmen

      The extremely hot pepper is best on top of one of the Old Mandarin's green onion pancakes.

      I didn't know what I was ordering with the breek until I bit into it, which made it even better. Try it and see what you think. Also it's a steal--$4.50? and served beautifully drizzled with olive oil, lemon, and parsley.

      1. re: mariacarmen

        just remembered another: Burmese Kitchen's fish chowder, with crispy lentils added.

      2. Unforunately the "best ofs" I experienced out of town were significantly better than anything I've had in the Bay Area. They were:

        1. The BBQ oysters at Cochon in New Orleans.
        2. The chicken under a brick at Dante's Kitchen in New Orleans.
        3. The whole fried flounder at Skipper's in Darien, GA
        4. The mustard greens at Mrs. Wilkes in Savannah, GA
        5. The deviled crab at Posey's Steamroom in Panacea, FL
        6. The Warm Cauliflower Sformatino with Soft Organic Egg, Pancetta, Parmigiano at Trattoria Lucca in Charleston, SC

        For Bay Area, I'd have to go with:

        1. The crispy pork belly at Thai House Express on Larkin.
        2. The roasted beets at Osteria Stellina in Point Reyes Station.
        3. The braised beef with shaved black truffles at Cyrus in Healdsburg.


        Thai House Express
        901 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        Osteria Stellina
        11285 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station, CA

        1. The first thing that comes to mind is the Classic deep-dish pizza at Little Star in Albany.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Des Alpes-inspired kale and hard-boiled egg salad at Vineyards Inn.

            Vineyards Inn
            8445 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood, CA 95452

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Robert: Do they have pizza other than deep-dish? I can't abide all that filling. I have no allies in this belief. Everybody loves the deep dish. I think it tastes like a big bowl of tomato sauce.

              1. re: oakjoan

                Little Star in the city has very good thin crust. I liked it better than their deep dish.

                1. re: Windy

                  In Albany, too. The thin crust is surprisingly good--I was expecting thick Zachary-like slabs (which I also like, actually).

                2. re: oakjoan

                  Zachary's deep-dish (except maybe for the spinach pie) is a big dough bowl of tomato sauce topped with an extra layer of dough ("stuffed') and more tomato sauce.

                  Little Star's, at least the Classic, has maybe only half the filling and, like the Uno original, there's more sausage and cheese than sauce. I'm not sure the Little Star has any tomato at all.

                  The one time I tried Little Star's thin crust, a chicken pesto pie, I thought it was pretty good.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Didn't like the chicken pesto, dull with dry chicken. Did like the Italian Combo.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I always go for the Little Star deep dish, but the couple of times I had the thin crust (chicken pesto too, I believe), it was good as well.

                3. Arctic char and roe at Bar Crudo.

                  Sweetbreads at Bouchon (Yountville).

                  Bar Crudo
                  655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

                  6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: steve h.

                    I loved the arctic char when I had it at Bar Crudo too.

                    Have you seen it on a menu anywhere else in town?

                    Bar Crudo
                    655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

                    1. re: Windy

                      The horseradish cream and the wasabi make this dish pretty unique as far as I can see. I'm glad you enjoyed the dish. Bar Crudo is one of my favorite haunts.

                      Bar Crudo
                      655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

                      1. re: Windy

                        how is it prepared? tataki serves arctic char, but the whole time i was eating it, i was thinking about i'd rather be eating salmon

                    2. Oooh, what a fun task. A few off the top of my head:

                      - potato "chicarones" at Plum (the most addictive thing I've ingested in my life)
                      - satiny cold tomato soup at Osterla Stellina
                      - goat's milk and beet sorbet duo with pear jus at Aziza
                      - peach leaf panna cotta with double cherry coulis at Range

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: originalfig

                        Ooh, the 4505 Chicarrones have to go on my list, for sure. And I think the Xocalatl de david caramel bacon bar I had just yesterday has to as well.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          Shouldn't Portland get credit for Xocalatl de David? I didn't realize you could get them here. (And do they have foietella?)

                          1. re: Windy

                            I got them at Fog City News -- they several different bars. Foietella?

                            Fog City News
                            455 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94105

                              1. re: Windy

                                Yeah, I went and looked at it on their website. Sounds revolting, but if someone is willing to get me a jar I'm willing to try it!

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  And will they get to have a tee shirt saying "I made Ruth Lafler try foietella?

                      2. * Dixie cake by Gabriel Mitchell at the Summit

                        * braised beef cheeks with onions, jalapenos, and horseradish over fresh wide rice noodles at Mission Chinese Food

                        * ribollita and nduja at Barbacco

                        * gazpacho from Bi-Rite

                        * carnitas at Chilango

                        * dry-farmed tomatoes from Two Dog Farm

                        * lamb ribs in the Chongqing-chicken style from Z&Y

                        * Lao sausage and Lao green papaya salad at Vientiane (West Sacramento)

                        Mission Chinese Food
                        2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                        235 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: david kaplan

                          I'm a fan of Z&Y. Haven't noticed the lamb ribs on the menu. There's a mention of yelp of some sort of "spicy lamb chops on a secret menu" . . .

                        2. My top ten for the year, in chronological order:

                          1. Tacos Campechano at Taqueria Reynoso (Oakland) – a magical mix of chorizo and carne asada – a proportion of the asada is fried hard, so that it hits a magical texture between jerky and bacon. On good days, there's an extra sprinkling of crispy bits on top.

                          2. Zucchini Pupusa at Tamales Mi Lupita (Oakland) – I’ve enjoyed all of their pupusas, but the zucchini is my favorite. I’d actually ordered as a concession to vegetarian friends, then had to restrain myself from hogging the whole thing.

                          3. Nan Gyi Dok at Little Yangon (Daly City) – these thick rice noodles, yellow with split pea powder, tossed with curried chicken, onion, and bean sprouts, were much spicier than other versions I’ve had, and absolutely delicious.

                          4. Fermented bean paste salad at Little Yangon - this was a small dish of mostly red onions and cilantro and a bit of pungent fermented bean paste. The flavor was fascinating – eaten straight, the paste tasted almost exactly like anchovy paste. Mixed with the coconut rice, it took on chocolatey overtones.

                          5. Cornmeal waffles at Brown Sugar Kitchen (Oakland) – one of the few things I’ve ever tasted that actually exceeded the hype. Light as a feather and buttery as hell, they’re an extraordinary study in contrasts.

                          6. Menudo at Bocanova (Oakland) – this is probably my favorite rendition of menudo. It’s packed with lots of tender, flavorful honeycomb tripe, without being overpowering. Black-eyed peas were an unconventional but enjoyable addition, and the broth was excellent - great depth and body, nicely spicy and balanced.

                          7. Pancit at Patio Filipino (San Bruno) –the best pancit I’ve ever had, period. This version was so rich with shrimp paste it was flecked with black, and lightened with a generous squeeze of lemon.

                          8. Classic Corpse Reviver #2 at Sidebar (Oakland) – a stellar rendition of this drink. The anise from the absinthe hangs like a ghost over the core of citrus. Delicious.

                          9. White Chocolate Parfait at Plum (Oakland) – most things this delicious fall short on repeated tastings, but the white chocolate “parfait” (an apparently laser-cut bar of white chocolate semifreddo on a crisp wafer base, with huckleberries on the side) has yet to fail me. I think I’ve returned for it four times already, and each time it amazes me.

                          10. Chicken with Green Beans at Homeroom Racing Café (Alameda) – Homeroom Racing Café is actually my sleeper restaurant of the year. The chicken with green beans may be my favorite dish on their short but well-executed menu - the paste of pounded aromatics that flavors this dish is so addictive I would slurp it up by the bowl, if it weren’t for the searing chili heat.

                          Patio Filipino
                          1770 El Camino Real, San Bruno, CA 94066

                          Brown Sugar Kitchen
                          2534 Mandela Pkwy, Oakland, CA 94607

                          542 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA

                          Tamales Mi Lupitas
                          3340 Foothill Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

                          Taqueria Reynoso
                          3329 Foothill Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

                          Little Yangon
                          6318 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

                          55 Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94607

                          2214 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

                          Homeroom Racing Cafe
                          1305 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: daveena

                            Wow, great list. I haven't eaten anything on it. Have been to Little Yangon (yesterday in fact), but these sound like more interesting dishes than what I've had there.

                            Little Yangon
                            6318 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

                            1. re: daveena

                              Drooling big time, daveena. Can you clarify which type of pancit you had at PF in San Bruno? My understanding is that pancit means noodles and there are myriad variations including bihon, palabok etc.

                              1. re: grayelf

                                You know... the menu says Bihon, Canton, or a mix, but I could swear the version we got had glass noodles.

                                1. re: daveena

                                  Cool -- never had that in our Pinoy restos here but they are not (in general) stellar. Will have to get San Bruno on the radar for our next trip.

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    It's really close to SFO - prob a pretty quick cab ride from the airport.

                              2. re: daveena

                                in terms of focusing only on newer restaurants this year... (had a lot of good eats outside of the bay area)
                                I liked these:
                                1) toro tartare with nori paste, freshly grated wasabi, creme fraiche, chives, avocado puree, crispy rice balls, and housemade dashi at Morimoto (Napa)
                                2) Amuse: Slow Poached Farm Egg, Smoked Dates, Onion Cream and Malt at Commis (Oakland)
                                3) Turnip Apple Miso Soup -- Pepper Cream Shiso and Mushroom Dashi -- Yuba Tofu Greens at Plum (Oakland)
                                4) "Faux" Shark Fin Soup with Black Truffle Custard at Benu (SF)
                                5) Cauliflower Creme Brulee, Sunchoke Escabeche, Truffled Wild Arugula at 25 Lusk (SF)
                                6) Summer squash, Chilled Soup Fried Blossoms, Shaved Salad, Vadouvan at Commonwealth (SF)
                                7) Salsify and Celery Root Soup with Chicken Confit, Baby Turnips, and Sunchokes at Frances (SF)
                                8) Chicken wings at SO (SF)
                                9) Momo at Gaku Yakitori (SC)
                                10) Pork Sage Sausage with Maple, Bacon, Baked in a Brioche at 4505 Meats (SF)
                                Brussels Sprouts Chips with Meyer Lemon & Sea Salt at Marlowe (SF)
                                Chabaa Thai (SF) "secret" menu (grilled pork neck)
                                ice cream at Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous (SF)

                                1. re: daveena

                                  Here is a picture of the White Chocolate Parfait on Kelseats blog.


                                2. Best coffee was experienced in Panama at Finca Lerida, their honey-processed estate, specifically. Two other favorites that were first experienced in late 2009 but enjoyed throughout the early months of 2010 were those of the Amaro Gayo Mill roasted by Barefoot and another Ethiopian - home roasted Haile Selassie.

                                  Favorite dish was corn custard with sea urchin, chorizo, lobster emulsion, and sweet hot jalapeno pickles at Commonwealth

                                  Favorite beer was AleSmith's Horny Devil.

                                  Best burger and fries at Broken Record

                                  Best chicken wings at Hog n' Rocks - but sadly they haven't been consistant

                                  Broken Record
                                  1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA

                                  1. My favorite post of the year!

                                    I've been in the Bay Area for not much of 2010, so most of my favorites are elsewhere. The local favorites I'll remember are:

                                    - Corn soup at Wexlers
                                    - White Chocolate Parfait at Plum
                                    - Tortilla soup at Chilango
                                    - Bacon from the new Fatted Calf in Hayes Valley
                                    - Brioche rolls from Golden West/The Sentinel

                                    - Any glass put in front of me by the excellent sommelier at Commis, but especially a Norman cider
                                    - Barrel-aged Martinez cocktail at Blackbird
                                    - Rodenbach Grand Cru flemish red ale from Healthy Spirits

                                    Healthy Spirits
                                    2299 15th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                                    Fatted Calf
                                    644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

                                    3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                    235 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: pane

                                      Rodenbach Grand Cru was on tap a few times this year at Trappist. One my all-time favorites.

                                    2. Some of the most favorite things I've had this year, going backwards...
                                      - Tajarin in Bianco with shaved fresh white truffle at Delfina
                                      - Warm chocolate cake at Bistro Elan
                                      - Sisig Tacos, Chicken Tikka Masala Burrito at Oakland's Eat Real 2010
                                      - Inverted Cherry Tomato Tart at Coi
                                      - cocktails at Bar Agricole
                                      - Everything we had during our trip to Spain last May (got some great tips from CHers!)
                                      - Clay pot rice at Gochi
                                      - Monte Bello multi-vintage tasting at Ridge
                                      - Chocolate souffle at Cafe Jacqueline
                                      - Veal sweetbreads at Commis

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

                                      Bistro Elan
                                      448 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306

                                      Cafe Jacqueline
                                      1454 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                      Bar Agricole
                                      355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                      3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: arlenemae

                                        Yea, the claypot rice at Gochi in Cupertino is pretty tasty -- especially the crispy rice bits!

                                      2. (1) Smoked and Braised Short Ribs at Bottega (Yountville).

                                        (2) Abalone Grenobloises at Benu (San Francisco).

                                        (3) Bacon-infused burger at Broken Record (San Francisco).

                                        (4) Korean Fried Chicken at Namu (San Francisco).

                                        (5) Ma Po Tofu at Mission Street Chinese (San Francisco).

                                        (6) Mexican Hot Chocolate with Soy at La Oaxaquena (San Francisco).

                                        (7) Mandalay Beef (with the best hot sauce in the business) at Mandalay (San Francisco).

                                        (8) Fried Chicken + Waffles at Restaurant James Randall (Los Gatos).

                                        (9) Spinach sformato with grana padano fonduta at Cotogna (San Francisco).

                                        (10) Pork Rib Chop at 25 Lusk (San Francisco).

                                        (11) The Tejano burger at Roam Artisan Burgers (San Francisco).

                                        (12) Smoked Trout appetizer at Brunos (San Francisco).

                                        (13) Chicken Skin Yakitori at Nombe (San Francisco).

                                        (14) Popovers at Wayfare Tavern (San Francisco).

                                        (15) Slow Poached Eggs with Niman Flank Steak on Pan De Mie at Out the Door's Brunch Menu (San Francisco)

                                        (16) Steamed Pork Belly with Pickled Daikon in a baked bun at Chairman Bao (San Francisco).

                                        439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

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

                                        James Randall Restaurant
                                        303 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                                        6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                                        Broken Record
                                        1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA

                                        La Oaxaquena
                                        2128 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

                                        2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                        Chairman Bao
                                        San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

                                        Roam Artisan Burgers
                                        1785 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                        Wayfare Tavern
                                        558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                        22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                        1. and another: escargot "lollipops" from Spencer's On the Go.

                                          1. For me 2009 was the year of Cauliflower. 2010 was Oxtails.

                                            Gazpacho - Café 15
                                            Ox Tail and Beef Cheek Burger - Plum
                                            Marinara Pizza - Boot & Shoe
                                            Ox Tails - Yardie Jerk
                                            Tongue Terrine - Locanda de Eva
                                            Pork Adobo Sandwich - Café Gabriela
                                            Pluck Fra Diavolo - Incanto
                                            Vegetable stew with summer squash - Café 15
                                            Zucchini Crudo - Bocanova
                                            Oxtails - Scends

                                            55 Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94607

                                            Yardie Jerk
                                            3301 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94608

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: 10foot5

                                              Was at Dopo last night and reminded of one more:

                                              Fried Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic - Dopo

                                              4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                                            2. A few new bites (for me) this year ... didn't go out as much as other years:

                                              1. Brussels Sprouts – Barbacco
                                              2. Crispy Pork Shoulder Confit – Wood Tavern
                                              3. Onion Rings – Public House
                                              4. Braised Pork Sandwich – Café Biere
                                              5. Goat’s milk ricotta cavatelli with smoked bluefish – Oliveto (Oceanic Dinner … runner-up was that crazy delicious desert of White Shrimp Crèma Fritta)
                                              6. Marin Sun pork katsu – Peko Peko Catering
                                              7. Tandori Portabello Mushrooms – Ajanta
                                              8. Smoked sausages – La Bedaine
                                              9. Fried Chicken with Mac-n-Cheese – Pican
                                              10. Suicide Burrito – John’s Snacks and Deli

                                              I am sure I am forgetting a few...

                                              Wood Tavern
                                              6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                                              Ajanta Restaurant
                                              1888 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                                              Oliveto Cafe
                                              5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                                              Pican Restaurant
                                              2295 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

                                              La Bedaine
                                              1585 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

                                              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                              Public House
                                              24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94101

                                              Peko Peko Catering
                                              584 64th St, Oakland, CA 94608

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: The Dive

                                                Why were the onion rings at Public House memorable? I haven't been there but I'm a big fan of rings.

                                                edited to add: I liked the fried sprouts at Barbacco, too.

                                                Public House
                                                24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94101

                                                1. re: steve h.

                                                  I was really stunned by them -- perfectly dry and crisp, but not a bit a grease. Salty and herby too. Usually the thin style will be crispy but greasy too -- but not these.

                                              2. This was actually a very big food year for me and could easily list 40, but to be fair and make it hard on myself I will give 10. I could easily change my mind in the next hour but here it goes:

                                                1.Bear claw at Golden West
                                                2.Egg yolk amuse-bouche at Commis
                                                3.Sweet corn agnolotti w/chanterelles at SPQR
                                                4.Duck Bastilla at Aziza
                                                5.Blood pappardelle with trotters and foie gras at Incanto
                                                6.Moh Hinga w/ fries split peas & hard boiled egg at Burmese Kitchen
                                                7.Sea urchin & almond tofu w/caviar at Benu
                                                8.Durian paste puff pastry at Koi Palace
                                                9.Foie gras ice cream sandwich at Humphry Slocombe
                                                10.Fried kabocha pumpkin strips in salted duck egg batter at Hakka Restaurant

                                                ..that was tough

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

                                                1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                                3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                                22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                                Golden West
                                                8 Trinity Pl, San Francisco, CA 94104

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: benv

                                                  My favorite thing to eat this year was Pan Fried rice noodle with XO sauce at Asian Pearl restaurant in Richmond. Wide rice noodles are pan fried so that one side is crunchy while the other is soft. They are fried with dried shrimp, dried scallop and chilies. Served with a sweet sauce on the side. I think they are better without the sweet sauce. Only problem is that it can sometimes be difficult to get them to bring you the correct dish. This dish is so amazing.

                                                  Other things I enjoyed:

                                                  Ma Po Tofu with crab at China Village

                                                  Pizza and pasta at Oenotri

                                                  Asian Pearl
                                                  3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

                                                  1425 1st St, Napa, CA 94559

                                                2. Banana Fois Gras dessert at Meadowood
                                                  Curry Butter Poached Lobster at French Laundry
                                                  Miso Pear dessert at Cyrus
                                                  Butterscotch with Halva Ice Cream at Mr and Mrs Miscellaneous
                                                  Chicken Liver tostada at Primavera
                                                  Potato chive amuse buche at Meadowood (pretty much that entire meal)
                                                  A lentil crepe thing (not a dosa or uttapam, but somewhere in between) from Madura
                                                  Almond pink peppercorn sorbet from Scream

                                                  Have to fill in the last two later

                                                  The French Laundry
                                                  6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                  1. limited to dishes which i tried for the first time this year....

                                                    might change...

                                                    -egg amuse at Commis
                                                    -goat cheese stuffed ravioli with lime butter at Range
                                                    -seared ahi tuna wrap at Broken Record
                                                    -braised lamb cheeks at spencer on the go
                                                    -candied violet ice cream at mr. and mrs. miscellaneous
                                                    -french toast at bar tartine
                                                    -beef and lamb shabu shabu at shabu house
                                                    -pastrami sandwich at deli board
                                                    -ahmok at angkor borei
                                                    -cheesesteak at phat philly

                                                    Broken Record
                                                    1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA

                                                    3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                                    1. In random order:

                                                      Foie gras with seaweed cracker (approx name) on tasting menu at Commonwealth

                                                      Barbecue at Skylight Inn, Ayden, NC

                                                      Sliders and Fries at L'Atelier de Robuchon, Las Vegas. (On top list last 3 yrs … and next 3 yrs.)

                                                      Pork Belly Baked Bun at Chairman Bao Truck

                                                      Fish and pickled cabbage soup at Beijing Restaurant

                                                      Cumin Lamb at Beijing Restaurant

                                                      Boiled Beef (aka Beef in Flaming Hot Oil) at Spices II

                                                      Salted Egg Coated Crab (or Pumpkin Strips) at Hakka Restaurant

                                                      Poularde en Vessie at Benu

                                                      King Crab Empanadas at El Chejo Restaurant. Quemchi, Chiloé, Chile. (Perhaps the best restaurant in southern Chile, on a coastal gravel road.)

                                                      Spices II
                                                      291 6th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                                      Beijing Restaurant
                                                      1801 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94112

                                                      Hakka Restaurant
                                                      4401 Cabrillo St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                                      22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                                      2224 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Thomas Nash

                                                        Hope you posted about that place in Chile on the South America board, which could use some more traffic.

                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                          Done. The food pickings were slim on an otherwise incredible 6 week roadtrip in Patagonia. I posted the select best.

                                                          1. re: Thomas Nash

                                                            Farmed salmon and french fries, brings back memories.

                                                      2. just had a fantastic bite of my dad's dinner at Suppenkuche in San Francisco - he ordered the special sausage - a delicate white sausage made of chicken, pork and truffles, with the silkiest most buttery puree of potatoes, and lightly creamed peas. my roast goose was wonderful, but his plate was a perfect meshing of yum.

                                                        525 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                        1. Butterscotch pudding--Paulines Pizza
                                                          Olive Oil ice cream with sea salt-Paulines Pizza
                                                          Burger 'zilla style--4505 meats
                                                          Bone Marrow- Bar Tartine
                                                          Roasted Sardines with Oranges, chili and roasted chickpeas--Contigo
                                                          Carnitas Burrito--La Palma
                                                          Fluffernutter ice cream-Humphrey Slocombe
                                                          Slow-cooked pork ramen-- Happa Ramen
                                                          Peanut Butter sandwich cookie--Pinkies Bakery
                                                          Pork Katsu Sandwich--Rhea's Deli

                                                          Bar Tartine
                                                          561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                          Katsu Restaurant
                                                          20861 Redwood Rd, Castro Valley, CA 94546

                                                          1. I can play. I was here a few mionths.

                                                            Canoli at Cafe Citi in Kenwood

                                                            The canoli is filled to order, the shell perfect crunchiness. The filling ... that fabulous filling. My first bite made me think I would be disappointed because it seemed to be filled with whipped cream ... but no ... it was sweet cheese whipped to a texture of rich whipped cream. There were also little bits of ricotta in it. There was lots of fruit marinated in rum or something and lots of pistascho's. It didn't hurt to be drizzled with chocolate. This is not only on my top ten of 2010, it is at the top of my list. It will be one of the first things I seek out when I return.

                                                            Three course $18.95 prix fixe at Marica in Berkeley

                                                            It is rare for me to return to restaurants. I love Marcia so much I made it a point of being one of my last meals in the Bay Area

                                                            Lemonade at Holy Land - The mint is magic

                                                            "I think it's possible to build a religion around the Holy Land lemonade" It is made to order ... a beautiful mint-green frothy slushie with bits of pulp and mint

                                                            Anything pickled at the Fremont Diner ... almost anything at the Fremont Diner

                                                            I bought some pickles for my road trip tommorow and, as usual they were terrific ... a container of delicious pickled red onions and another of coriander black pepper fennel and mustard seeds ... fabulous. For a bonus they gave me a container of pickled fiddlehead ferns. So good. Had to try them before leaving.

                                                            Pasteles at Smart Coffee BR / A Taste of Brazil in Richmond

                                                            These are huge ... like a big calzone. The tiny warm packet held in a thin, crisp bubbly crust was delicious. The banana was super. The same white oozy cheese was used and brown sugar was involved. These have to be eaten immediately

                                                            Oyster, clam and shrimp po’boy at Up and Under in Paoint Richond. Special of the day

                                                            More than an inch of seafood coated in a great beer batter rested on the perfect slaw which did what slaw should always do for fried food, cut the richness. The lightly toasted Maggioni’s roll held the substantial contents without flaw and didn’t fall apart as a lesser roll might have.

                                                            Cheese bread at Brazil Marin in San Rafael

                                                            The thin, crackly, yeasty crust held an oozy cheesy center.

                                                            Paris-Brest at La Benadine in Berkeley ... anything there, especially the smoked sausages

                                                            choux pastry filled with a light-as-clouds, smooth-as-silk, praline cream, topped with slivered almonds and dusted with powdered sugar

                                                            SF: Katia's Russian Tea Room - pel'meni

                                                            The menu description hardly does it credit 'Tender beef filled dumplings served in a clear chicken bouillon,with a dollop of sour cream. The bouillon is rich and flavorful. The plump little dumplings have an excellent beefy filling. A nice dollop of sour cream was in the center.

                                                            Flatbread from Middle East Market in Berkeley

                                                            The large, long flat sheets and the rounds are the same bread. She said she just liked the smaller shape. Adding cardamom to the bread was her idea. She wasn't having success talking some of the traditionalist customers into the cardamom. Their loss. It is lovely. This bread toast beautifully with a crispy crust outside and a soft center, the flavor and scent of the cardamom intesified. I think I like it toasted even better than hot from the oven.

                                                            Water from the tap ... and there is a option of a tap with hot water ... what a concept. Tomatoes ... even out of season tomatoes in the Bay Area ... 2011 ... Yo regreso ... espero

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                              RW, the last several times I've been to Middle East Market, Jeanette has been nowhere in sight and I've found the flatbread to be slightly subpar. I go less frequently now because I find the husband pretty abrasive, and he always mangles my bread when packaging it and seems put out when I only want to buy a single.

                                                              I might just be going on the wrong (non-baking days), but I feel like even the day-olds were better in the past.

                                                              Anyone know for sure if Jeanette is still the one doing the baking?

                                                              Middle East Market
                                                              2054 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                You love Marica so much you moved it one city closer to you!

                                                                Marica Seafood Restaurant
                                                                5301 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

                                                              2. Late to the party, but here's my top 10 (new, for me) bites of 2010 (with apologies for repeat entries). This year we were all about the cheap eats:

                                                                - Ma-po Tofu Dungeness Crab at China Village (especially the first two times I tried it, when we lucked into some female crabs, bursting with unspeakably rich roe)
                                                                - Also, the West Style Spicy Fish Fillet at China Village--yeah, this was the year I finally "got" China Village, after a lukewarm experience the first year we moved out here.
                                                                - Beef cheek and oxtail burger at Plum--our meal here was one of my favorite restaurant meals of the year.
                                                                - Bacon waffle at Fremont Diner (part of their version of chicken and waffles, but the waffles were what really stood out)
                                                                - The excellent empanadas at Inkas (accompanied by that magical yellow sauce)--the rotisserie chicken wasn't too shabby either.
                                                                - Okonomiyaki w/ smoked pork belly at Bushido, in Mountain View--best okonomiyaki I've ever had; the intensely smoky pork (bacon, pretty much) took it over the top.
                                                                - The "Classic" deep dish at Little Star--as I said in my initial report, I think this pizza is literally ONE MILLION times better than anything I've ever eaten at Zachary's.
                                                                - The "Geisha" drip coffee at Local 123--the most expensive cup of coffee I've ever bought, but for once, a "legendary" item that lived up to the hype.
                                                                - The tripas taco at the El Novillo taco truck in Fruitvale
                                                                - Katsu curry at Marucci's Japanese Curry--the curry is great, but mostly what stood out was the pork: maybe the best tonkatsu I can recall having in the U.S. (though my sample size is admittedly small). Impressive, considering that this is essentially a takeout joint. I wish there were an equivalent to this in the East Bay (I like Geta, but I think there's a pretty big disparity between the two.)
                                                                - Vietnamese roasted crab at PPQ Dungeness Island (not to mention their garlic noodles)

                                                                Shoot, that's 11. I guess if I had to cut one, I'd cut the coffee. But it was pretty damn good coffee. And now, upon third revision, I realize I haven't even found room for the delicious pho ga at Turtle Tower, which I finally got around to trying a few weeks ago. Oh well--let's let the list stand.

                                                                Honorable mentions outside of the Bay Area:
                                                                - Seared halibut w/ walnut gnochi at Peerless (Ashland, Oregon)
                                                                - Sausage and rice cakes at Momofuku Ssam Bar (NYC)
                                                                - Oh, and I ate a few good things during my first trip to Paris, over Christmas. =)

                                                                Inkas Restaurant
                                                                3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                1638 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                                                Fremont Diner
                                                                2660 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA

                                                                1. I have to agree with the amuse bouche egg yolk with onion cream at Commis. That may be the best thing I ate all year.
                                                                  The perfect lunch is a half dozen assorted oysters with a salad for lunch outside at Hog Oyster Bar in the Ferry Building.
                                                                  Fried chicken wings at Scends in Emeryville.
                                                                  Soon Du Bu at Stone Korean Kitchen in Embarcadero Four.

                                                                  3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                                                  Stone Korean Kitchen
                                                                  4 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                                                  1. One dish that keeps haunting me was the fresh lumpias at Taste of Manila, partly because I'm often driving through there hungry when they're closed. I've never had anything like them (they're vaguely similar to Vietnamese spring rolls) and don't know where else to get them.


                                                                    Taste of Manila
                                                                    2619 Oliver Dr, Hayward, CA 94545

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                      You could come to Merced and find them at church bazaars and sales a few times a year... ;-) But sorry, don't know where to get really good ones in the bay area. Best lumpia I've ever had have always been home-made, so seriously, if you see any Filipino street fairs or festivals, I'd check them out.

                                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                                        I've seen only fried lumpia at church festivals.

                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                          oh, good point, I missed that in your orignal post, although I have seen both fresh and fried around here.

                                                                          Indeed, just realized that they are on the menu at TFC, the one Filipino restaurant in Merced (along with the more common fried ones; listed on the Short Order section of the menu below). Haven't tried them yet, though. Even though it is the wrong board, thanks for the idea, will check them out.


                                                                    2. I don't think 10 jump out at me, but here goes:
                                                                      1) Puntarelle salad at Bar Agricole, straight up Roman-style flavors and pure deliciousness
                                                                      2) Pasta with Chanterelles at Perbacco. Made me rethink what I know about Chanterelles, and I've cooked with them a lot and eaten them often.
                                                                      3) Cocktails at the Orbit Room, only when Paul is working. He's reviving old classics with modern balance, making tons of house-made bitters and aromatic tinctures, and generally making fantastic drinks. I have cocktails here and there at all the top spots around town and he's a wizard with whiskey, bourbon, and absinthe mixed-cocktails. Probably other types too, but I'm stuck in that groove. He's typically there Tues-Fri or Sat, but does not work late on the busier nights because the carefully blended cocktails take too long for the Friday/Saturday crowds.
                                                                      4) A qualified mention of the chicken wings at Mission Street Chinese. Pure magical flaming-hot goodness with succulent melting texture and a crispy outside the first time, not nearly as good the second time. Recent reports say they've changed hours in an attempt to be more consistent.

                                                                      230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                                                      Orbit Room Cafe
                                                                      1900 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                                      Bar Agricole
                                                                      355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103