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Van Hound grayelf returning to Bay Area for spring feeding

After a tough winter (dad's been very ill, poor guy), we are able to sneak away for a few days to our delightful getaway on the Bay. A little later than usual (Apr 27-May 3) but a day longer too. Here's what I've mapped out so far, subject to rejigging PRN. Any and all comments, suggestions, stock tips etc welcomed.

We arrive quite late (10:30ish) on Wednesday night so will just have a snack near hotel (Bush and Powell) if hungry: Chabaa Thai on Geary Street for pad si yu, maybe paenang curry or Katana-Ya for a bowl of ramen

Thursday lunch: Yamo (slowly working our way through all the Burmese in town) or Z&Y (explosive chicken, yum)

Thursday dinner: Canteen (our tradition) then House of Shields (double shot of Leary)

Friday lunch: Shanghai House (order-ahead deep fried salt and pepper pork knuckle with seaweed) -- we had a chowdown here last time and this dish was so good it's haunted me since November

Friday dinner: Off the Grid Fort Mason -- may want alternate plan in case of inclement weather though I understand the new improved setup has a lot more tent coverage.

Saturday visit Bay Model Visitor Center -- anywhere Hounds are loving for lunch nearish by? Poggio, Kissie's (Thai fusion), Fish??? Or should we hit the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market for supplies on the way?

Saturday dinner: Sociale for a quiet dinner with the SO (gotta keep the less Houndy guy happy!)

Sunday lunch: A la Turca pides and manti (only on Sundays) or Shanghai House if not on Fri

Also need your input re your favourite banh mi – if Little Paris is still there, that appeals… we are banh mi fiends at home and have read with interest the many posts on banh mi in SF.

Sunday dinner: Chabaa Thai Outer Sunset branch for Issan "secret menu" or A la Turca (Chowdown??)

On Monday a local Hound has graciously offered to ferry us out to Redwood City for a Mexican fest (possibly with a quick stop for dimsum on the way, and/or Mingalaba in Burlingame for tea leaf salad, LOL). Ankimo noted in another thread to try a taco at Los Gemelos in RWC.

Monday dinner: Sotto Mare (sand dabs!), Barbacco, Basil Canteen (duck curry, lychees in stir fry, whole peppercorns on the branch) or Chabaa if we don’t go on Sunday

Tuesday lunch: the Tuesday burger special at Rosamunde with a Toronado beer for the SO, or Inka's (yellow sauce!), or Wexler's (Scotch eggs!) or Naked Lunch -- depending what we do that day prior to our flight which leaves at 6:40 pm -- we'll probably have an early snack at SFO, Burger Joint or Ebisu, as our "air time" will be over dinner.

If you've read this far, you may be wondering "what about breakfasts?" We've found two meals a day maxes us out but there are so many great breaky/brunches in SF we'll likely pick one or two of the following new-to-us places: Straw, Plow, Magnolia, The Front Porch or the Sycamore. Any faves in there? Other ideas?

We're also looking forward to expanding our coffee drinking experiences at some combo of the Grand Prix Café, Caffe Pascucci, Contraband Coffee Bar, Jane, Ma*Velous, Mirtille and Hooker’s Sweet Treats.

Other random things to try if they fit into the "program" include: Rocky's Navajo Frybread, El Gallo Giro Taco Truck, Gussie's Chicken & Waffles (Buttermilk Fried Chicken Livers for the SO), Showdogs or Zog’s Dogs or 4505 Golden Dog at FPFM, K K Cafe for peanut milk, Heaven's Dog pork belly sandwich,
Magnolia buttermilk fried spring onions and of course, FRENCH FRIES! Starbelly, Marlowe, Chez Papa Bistrot and Flora are all in the running to try.

Whew! We'll be lucky to get half that done, right? I really need to find a way to spend more time in your area :-). But I have faith, and we'll walk a lot. Let me know if there's any duds or swapouts you recommend, and TIA for any feedback. Can't wait!

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  1. A while back another visitor noted that for various reasons (sick child) they didn't get out to eat much but happily ate food from Lers Ros in their hotel room. They're open late and they deliver. You probably could get them to deliver to your hotel....

    No Oakland love this trip?

    1. the Bay Model rocks..NB it is not open on Sundays. Le Garage in Sausalito is nearby and high on my "to try" list. A French Bistro aficionado friend of mine likes it very much. Just to add more fuelk to your food fire-if the SO loves chicken livers see if they are on the menu at Eureka! The Exec Chef-Gaines Dobbins-ex BLVD- is a great cook with deep south bona fides and rocking good Fried Chicken Livers.

      Le Garage
      85 Liberty Ship Way Ste 109, Sausalito, CA

      1. Saigon Sandwich for banh mi. Long recent discussion:


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

        1. Whew! As always, a well researched list.

          I have only a couple of notes: on your coffee list, Grand Prix is part of a mini-chain of independent shops that serve Blue Bottle coffee--that chain includes Special Xtra, Grand Prix and Vega.

          If I wanted to do a coffee tasting, I'd go to Vega on Folsom because it's just a block or two from Sightglass Coffee (and also near Terroir, the biodynamic mostly Euro wine shop that also serves cheese plates), which I think would give you more coffee bang for your blocks.

          I live near Straw and went for brunch once--didn't like it enough to rush back, and probably wouldn't recommend it to an out-of-town visitor.

          Good luck!

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

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

          Special Xtra
          46 Minna St, San Francisco, CA 94105

          3 Replies
          1. re: pane

            @ruthlafler -- great idea for takeaway from Lers Ros. I loved their "appetizer" type dishes when we went which would also be good for a late snack. RWC won out over Oakland this time :-).

            @artychokeasana -- thanks for the headsup on on Bay Model. I believe it is also closed Tuesdays. Will call ahead regardless as they are doing renos too. I hadn't heard about Eureka so ta for that too. It's the place on 18th in the Castro, right?

            @Robert Lauriston -- I had checked out that thread and chuckled a bit over the NYT brouhaha. SS does seem like the go-to rec, for sure. We eat a lot of banh mi at home and the jalapeno is indeed essential, though everywhere I go they ask if I want it here :-).

            @sfbing -- I probably should have added to my already epic length post that we are not looking for the "dac biet" banh mi combo of head cheese, pate, etc. Instead we crave the garlicky "pork skin meat" sausage like stuff and/or grilled pork or beef. Tu Kim is on my (big) list partly because of the report from Melanie you mention which highlights their banh canh http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/587734 Alas I think avoc shake will be too filling though I love them (SO doesn't so no sharing option), especially mixed with pandan leaf, drool.

            @Pane -- I did know that Grand Prix was a part of chainlet serving BBC, shoulda said. It's for the SO's benefit as good coffee within easy walking distance of the hotel early in the a.m. has been hard to come by in the past. We enjoyed Sightglass in Soma last trip (good baked things too). Will keep Vega in mind and those cheese plates sound tempting :-). Thanks also for the Straw info.

            @artemis -- mussels for the SO at Fish, tra la! Thanks for the warning about the crab tacos, I believe I saw that from another poster too (or maybe it was you!). I loves me some good f&c, so we may go that route.

            1. re: grayelf

              Yup!-18th between Castro and Noe. Terrible neighborhood for parking-be forewarned. You'd be close to BiRite Creamery for dessert....

              1. re: grayelf

                I was at Fish again yesterday, prompted by your inquiry. This time we ordered two daily specials. I had the spot prawns over their housemade pasta. They were sweet and fabulous, charred and served on top of a parsley-garlic-chili flake pasta. My SO had the olive oil poached halibut in a fennel-onion-potato broth. The fish was meltingly tender and the broth so tasty that he went back to get some extra bread to sop it up. We also ordered the beignets, which I do not recommend. It was a gorgeous day, and very pleasant to bring books to read while we enjoyed our leisurely meal.

            2. I'm not a huge fan of Saigon Sandwich--possibly b/c I only order combos and their combo seems unbalanced to me (too savory? not enough tart? and their headcheese doesn't appeal). You should go, though b/c everyone else seems to love it.

              Avoid Lee's for sandwiches. The bakery smell is attractive but they aren't very good at sandwich making at this location. Good for their avocado shake though.

              One of the best banh mi combos I've had in the Tenderloin is at Tu Kim. But you almost have to force them to make anything, because they are too busy hanging out. The sandwich was so good that it outweighed the annoyance factor. I think Melanie wrote a report on them for coffee you should look up if you plan on going. It is best to be prepared.

              If you are in the Sunset (for Chabaa), check out Irving Cafe. They use a French baguette without rice flour (which is what we made do with back before Vietnamese ingredients became more available) but their sandwiches are quite good. (Better when the older owner was running the shop, but the apprentices seem to have largely corrected their sloppy ways. They are a little too enthusiastic with the pate still.)

              Don't forget you can ask for the sandwiches to be spicy, which basically means the insertion of several slivers of jalapeno. To me, an essential ingredient.

              Tu Kim Cafe
              609 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA 94109

              3 Replies
              1. re: sfbing

                I've never had to ask for jalapeños. Some shops they'll ask me.

                1. re: sfbing

                  I'm into the dac biet combo as well. Have you tried the version at Sing Sing Sandwich Shop made with barbecue pork belly? Here's more on Tu Kim, Sing Sing, et al.

                  And I'll mention that on two other visits to Tu Kim, the porky banh canh has not been available, so I've not ever had it again. If I hadn't taken the photo of it, might have thought it was a dream.

                  Sing Sing Sandwich Shop
                  309 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I've seen people eating all sorts of things at tu kim that are not available. It is an odd place. Kind of reminds me of when kids have members only treehouses in their yards.

                    Will have to try Sing Sing, although the headcheese is my favorite part of the sandwich!

                2. Fish is a great idea. Note that while the regular menu is fairly short, there is another 50%+ more offered on the numerous daily specials. I had mussels from the daily specials, and they were sweetest and plumpest I've ever had. My SO was not keen on his crab tacos off the specials menu (bland, but did have a lot of fresh dungeness). He did really like his fish and chips, and the bbq oysters. The table next to us got the trout for two, which looked *fantastic* - we had entree envy. Also on the daily specials menu when we were there was a king salmon fillet for two which sounded amazing, but I could not resist the siren song of perfect mussels.

                  1. Glad to hear you're coming back- hope you will do another chowdown type event so we have another chance to dine with you! If you do lunch at Poggio I strongly recommend the excellent meatball appetizer. Checking the online lunch menu ( http://www.poggiotrattoria.com/menus/... ) it must be the Polpettine.

                    777 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

                    1. What you pick dates when I am in town. I will be in touch for the RWC Mexican food tour.

                      1. Drat! We'll be in Hawaii during your visit so I'll miss you this time... As always, I look forward to reading your trip report! Have a great visit.

                        1. In Sausalito, both Fish and Le Garage are near the Bay Model. Poggio is back in the touristy center of Sausalito on Bridgeway. Should you ferry from SF (mention of Ferry Bldg hints at this), it will be close to the terminal. Parallel to Bridgeway is Caledonia Street, more local than tourist. The Plate Shop is a new spot there. Further along Bridgeway, toward the Bay Model is another new place, Bar Bocce. Both are operated by experience Bay Area hands and have gotten good reviews as well as strong local buzz. I have yet to experience either so your view on them would be welcome. Here are some links.


                          777 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

                          Le Garage
                          85 Liberty Ship Way Ste 109, Sausalito, CA

                          Bridgeway Cafe
                          633 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

                          Bar Bocce
                          1250 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

                          1. ah this is a fun post.
                            there's enough to try on Ler Ros menu that warrants another visit (over Chabaa on Geary)
                            Lers Ros pretty much blows away all including sai jai thai (though they have a great pork shoulder fried rice), thai house express, king of thai, basil canteen, etc. only visit Chabaa Thai outer sunset for the "secret menu" items
                            if you're gonna have ramen in the bay area, my fave rich broth is Orenchi
                            Yamo or Z&Y are good choices
                            Canteen, can't go wrong there
                            Shanghai house, very good
                            Off the grid, better divide and conquer to stand in multiple lines at the same time
                            for what you're looking for (not dac biet) my favorite banh mi = Thanh Huong or Huong Lan, both in San Jose or Banh Mi Ba Le in Oakland
                            love sotto mare and tadich
                            Plow breakfast is not particularly unique but the flavors are excellent, like their roasted potatoes (partially fried), and their lemon ricotta pancakes
                            did you already do the typical sf coffee: philz, blue bottle, four barrel, etc.
                            gotta fit in 4505 Meats
                            Marlowe is very good
                            oh and at los gemelos, they are the handmade corn $1 tacos with all the great meats and heat
                            if you're coming down to the south bay, hopefully you get to try some of the best such as Sumika yakitori and oyako don or Gaku, Gochi's izakaya (fusion, and their pizza), DishDash shawarma etc, Shanghai Flavor Shop (their sheng jian bao), Thien Long fish, Back a Yard jerk chicken, Lovely Sweets and Snacks (hole in the wall Indian), etc.
                            Gonna go to Saison?

                            1. If you'd like Leary for Lunch (or breakfast), The Sentinel (by House of Shields) and Golden West (Trinity Pl, an alley off Sutter, just west of Montgomery) do wonderful breakfast baked goods (who thought a muffin could be so wonderful and the brioche dough used in their morning bun is perfect) and take-away sandwiches (try short rib sandwich on a brioche roll). Another vote for Lers Ros--esp the stir-fried pork belly with crispy rind (#62), but look for the many threads on this board for suggestions from their dizzyingly varied menu.

                              Golden West
                              8 Trinity Pl, San Francisco, CA 94104

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: dordogne

                                @artychokeasana -- thanks, and I should have said we'll be transiting everywhere we can.

                                @charliemyboy -- another Chowdown would be great! Maybe Sunday?? And the tip on the polpettine is welcome.

                                @yimster -- what are your fave spots for RWC tacos?

                                @RWCFoodie -- sad to miss you but chuffed you'll be enjoying Hawaii; perhaps you will be kind enough to make a few reccos...

                                @alfairfax -- locational data on Sausalito restos much appreciated as I am geographically challenged. We are hoping to go from the Ferry Building as you surmise.

                                @ankimo -- I had thought about hitting Lers Ros again as the menu did seem pretty "deep" and we are sorely lacking in decent much less good Thai in Vancouver. I do have a yen for some Issan sausages which was what was swaying me toward Chabaa's secret menu. I did like the catfish larb at the Tenderloin Thai House Express FWIW. We are awash in pretty good ramen at home -- Katanaya was in case we were starving when we got in. Plow is definitely up there. And you're right, we have "done" the more well-known coffees/places in previous trips, with Blue Bottle emerging as the favourite so far. What do you love at 4505? The burger? Los Gemelos recco noted. Great list for the south bay, now I just have to figure out where that is :-). Not sure if Saison is my type of place but it seems to be getting a lot of love around here. BTW we had your namesake for dinner as part of a wonderful seven-course omakase for $30 tonight -- but that's a story for a different board!

                                @dorgogne -- I have a massive chow crush on Chef Leary. It isn't a trip to SF without at least a dinner at Canteen. Sentinel has the best corned beef sandwich I've ever tasted. Haven't tried the morning bun at Golden West (not a big sweets for breaky person) but we had the egg'n'beans and the biscuit and gravy last time and yum yum yum! Does the pork belly come with gai lan perchance? If so it is on my list already, if not adding #62 immediately.

                                1. re: grayelf

                                  There are a lot of places and I will list them next week when I have time to do the reco. East Palo Alto has a new Mi Pubelo market with a real neat lunch counter.

                                  Middlefield road is a taco heaven. See you on the Monday. New to RWC is a drive taco stand which I have not visit yet. But will before you get here.

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    at lers ros have you already had #9 pork shoulder, #69 boat noodles, #114 chili fried fish? their pork belly is as good as anywhere else i've had it in the US. at chabaa i liked trying the gaeng som cha om. thai food makes good use of complex flavors and then adding tangy to the mix.
                                    south bay is just a little farther than RWC, so look up those recs and see if they interest you.
                                    at 4505 they rotate the options but I do like their sausage breakfast variations -- just be prepared for cholesterol-laden meal, at the ferry building, did you already try the sandwiches at il cane rosso? and eat at boccalone?
                                    wish you could try the ankimo at Ino Sushi in J town. very nice there. have you had foie gras sushi at Kabuto?

                                    1. re: grayelf

                                      For such a brief visit, there's really nothing on the Peninsula to justify the downtime of the drive.

                                      1. re: grayelf

                                        The Lers Ros pork belly #62 doesn't come with gai lan, but rather basil leaves, some mighty spicy peppercorns on the stem, perhaps some other vegetable. Promise of paradise.

                                        1. re: grayelf

                                          I've marked my calendar for Sunday May 1-- I'll be especially pleased if you choose Chabaa Thai as I've been eager to try more Lao and Issan food.

                                          Chabaa Thai
                                          420 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                          1. re: grayelf

                                            I'll do my best to report back on Oahu (I know, this goes on the Hawaii board).

                                            Also, if you do decide to come down to the Peninsula, as far as I'm concerned the 2 best meats at Los Gemellos for tacos is cabeza and barbacoa. But as someone mentioned it might not be worth schlepping all the way down to Redwood City (I think it was bbulkow)

                                            1. re: RWCFoodie

                                              I really love their birria and aporriadillo (dried beef with eggs - the beef had a tasty funkiness to it); although, the barbacoa is great as well... I really need to go back there and get some tacos soon... yum

                                              If the OP does come all the way down to Redwood City, they could grab a beer at Gourmet Haus Staudt (it is like side tripping to Germany) or a drink, the blue cheese and short rib pastie, and scotch eggs at Martins West to make the trip more worth while.

                                              1. re: lrealml

                                                Couple of weeks ago, Gourmet Haus Staudt had a habanero brat that was brilliant. Paired with a few german beers, it was outlandishly good.

                                        2. From info on CH, I've been to Los Gemelos twice and loved it BUT, next time I go there, I'm going to bring along my own (perfect) avocado for the tacos. They don't have it available. I think they had guac but it was very thin. Real avocado slices would be ideal.

                                          1. Grayelf:
                                            Bay Model is Dry now & they hope maybe in Aug. to fill it, but they don't know when. Probably not worth a trip to Sausalito unless you really want to leave SF.

                                            Caffe Pascucci isn't a good place for serious coffee, more for dessert-type drinks with barely any coffee in it.

                                            Hope you can try Trouble Coffee in Outer Sunset - take the N Judah.

                                            Have lunch at Outerlands, near Trouble Coffee:

                                            Showdogs - not worth the money, just ok hotdogs.

                                            On my list & hope you can try it Fatted Calf (Hayes Valley) for Meatloaf Sandwich:

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: hhc

                                              Showdogs burger is the best in the city....IMO

                                            2. If you cancel Sausalito due to the Bay Model being dry, I suggest you make a day trip to Oakland instead. The Fruitvale neighborhood on a Saturday is like teleporting to Mexico.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                I think telling grayelf to go to Fruitvale is like carrying coals to Newcastle.

                                                1. re: wolfe

                                                  Wasn't there a long discussion before about downtown/uptown oakland, with a ferry ride to Hangar One in the middle? That's still a nice plan - especially with Plum out there.

                                              2. Let me put my vote in for Sightglass coffee, and especially my new favorite...... Contraband on larkin and California. The S.O. espresso they are pulling through their 2 group Synesso and versalab grinder isjust about the best i have had in the city.

                                                34 Replies
                                                1. re: poser

                                                  @artemis, hhc -- reading books while eating lunch sounds perfect. We may not make it to Sausalito this time re the "dry" Bay model but will mark this thread and replies for next trip. Trouble is on our "big" list, Fatted Calf added re meatloaf. Dessert type drinks sound pretty good to me :-).

                                                  @ankimo, charleymyboy and dordogne -- Les Ros info noted -- went there once for a Chowdown and loved the apps in particular -- adore peppercorns on the stem though. I think Turkish is winning at the moment for a Chowdown this time -- I can hear the manti calling me from here :-). We only have one Turkish restaurant in town, sadly.

                                                  @bbulkow, rlauriston -- we're willing to traverse a bit for new eats (and new scenery) as this will be our eighth trip since we found CH, 9th in the oughts. Not that we've done more than scratch the surface of your dining scene... May well return to Oakland, Fruitvale which we loved or a banh mi off plus we do have the old itin bbulkow referred to which got canceled when our local guide fell ill.

                                                  @ poser: Contraband is on the short list and will be interesting to see how it compares to Sightglass. SO just bought Rancilio Silvia paired with a Vario Baratza for home use and is having fun experimenting with it and spying on local baristas' styles for tips which we will continue in SF.

                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                    If you've already been to Fruitvale, maybe downtown and uptown Oakland. There's a lot going on there, probably the most lively scene in the Bay Area. Fridays and Sundays there are good farmers markets.

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                      Yes, yes, yes to Oakland. I am itching to try Sidebar (despite chow meh), Plum is worth a voyage, and have a date for Homeroom in a week.

                                                      1. re: bbulkow

                                                        I like Sidebar. The burger is one of the best in the East Bay. And they used to do one of my very favorite restaurant desserts: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5948...

                                                        Not a destination restaurant by any stretch, though. But Plum certainly is. And when is Syhabout's new casual spot, Hawker Fare, opening? Cannot wait for that...

                                                        1. re: abstractpoet

                                                          @ rwcfoodie, lrealml: Los gemelos reccs noted, also psyched about another option for Scotch eggs!

                                                          @RobertL, bbulkow and abstractpoet -- it will be a Saturday for Oaktown so no farmers' markets I fear (though we have been to the Jack London Square one). Sidebar sounds good if we're in burger mode (will avoid the bleu). Only four places in Vancouver will serve a burger cooked to order so I love how easy it is to get that in your zone.Prolly back to the city for dinner but Plum is on the radar. Hawker Fare also noted for future.

                                                          Other Oakland options abound... Fries at Flora now a possibility too as is mac'n'cheese at Homeroom. Is the chicharon de queso at Tamarindo still good? That sounded like my kind of snack. Pican for chicken livers for the SO? BC Deli, Ba Le or Cam Luong for banh mi? Maybe the noodle dish with shredded pork and coconut at BC too? Pizzaiolo for apple turnovers for the SO (he loves apple-y pastries)? Other, better options y'all know about?

                                                          We are aware of the Blue Bottle near JLS (and that BBC is based in Oakland) but in need of other coffee options. I understand Contraband roasts its beans in Oakland and I know about Mr Expresso but that's it. Any thoughts?

                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                            For an interesting coffee stop, you might consider making it over to Sweet Maria's, the mail order/retail spot dedicated to home roasters. Not sure if they're open sunday. Plum is worth it.

                                                            1. re: bbulkow

                                                              Sweet Maria's is never open in the sense of having a shop or display room. They take walk-in orders Tuesday through Thursday but you pretty much need to figure out what you want from the Web site first.

                                                            2. re: grayelf

                                                              Pican is great. I liked the chicken livers, but I absolutely loved the pork chop, served with chow chow and hoppin john. If the restaurant were a little bit less expensive, we would go a lot more often than we do.

                                                              For coffee, I can't remember if you made it over to Local 123 during your last trek to Berkeley. Still my favorite coffee shop in the Bay Area. Great espresso drinks (cappuccino is my standard order), and one of the drip coffees on their current menu (the "Argentina," actually an El Salvadoran bean) is especially nice.

                                                              One coffee shop I like a lot in Oakland is Remedy, which is in Temescal (not too far from Homeroom, which I haven't tried yet; also near Pizzaiolo and the stretch of good Korean restaurants in Oakland). They serve Ritual coffee. Good espresso drinks, probably as good as at 123. As an interesting bit of trivia, the guy who "invented" the Gibraltar (which I know you like) is the green coffee buyer for Ritual now. I bet they'd make you one at Remedy if you asked for it, though I don't know if they have those glasses.

                                                              Kefa Coffee makes a decent cup, not at all in the same vein (somewhat darker roast, just one house brew, an Ethiopian Yergacheffe). Excellent breakfast sandwiches. Amazing egg salad sandwich. But probably completely out of the way, unless you plan on trekking all the way to Alameda for some reason (the monthly antiques fair on May 1st, perhaps?).

                                                              If you were to have brunch (or some other meal) at Camino, they serve really good coffee there. Both Ritual and Blue Bottle options, I believe. And, lastly, the Cafe Cubano at Cana is kind of interesting, if not really my thing--really, really sweet, but they use Blue Bottle beans. Their pastries (sweet or savory) are very good.

                                                              3917 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610

                                                              Kefa Coffee
                                                              422 29th Ave, Oakland, CA 94601

                                                              Pican Restaurant
                                                              2295 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

                                                              Remedy Coffee
                                                              4316 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA

                                                              Local 123
                                                              2049 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

                                                              Cana Cuban Parlor & Cafe
                                                              530 Lake Park Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

                                                              1. re: abstractpoet

                                                                Re: Kefa Coffee
                                                                -they have a shop opposite the lake merritt bart station. took over the e-lane operation. hours mornings till mid afternoonish.

                                                                Kefa Coffee
                                                                77-8th St
                                                                Oakland, Ca.

                                                                1. re: shanghaikid

                                                                  Ah yes, now that I think of it, I noticed their sign a few weeks ago and then promptly forgot all about it. Will have to check it out.

                                                                  I find the original 29th Ave. Kefa location a pleasant place to sit and work for a couple hours. There's free parking, and most people order to go, so it's never any trouble snagging a table. And the price of a cup of coffee includes one free refill.

                                                              2. re: grayelf

                                                                There's a great farmers market in Oakland on Saturdays -- Grand Lake, probably the best of the bunch.

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  Grand Lake gets many of the best prepared-food stands, including Boccalone and Scream Sorbet.


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

                                                                  Scream Sorbet
                                                                  5030 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                    They do! Has anyone reported on the organic dim sum stand? I almost tried it last week, but I'd promised myself porchetta.

                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                      Is that Tru-Gourmet? If so they sell at Marin on Sundays.

                                                                      1. re: wally

                                                                        Yes. Have you tried anything from them?

                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                          I really like the things they call "pockets". Filled usually with chives. Not really like restaurant dim sum that I have had. Anything with seafood seems to be excellent. Everything is very fresh. Very attractive. Small perfectly formed dumplings, one bite dumplings. I once had rice and chicken in a leaf(not sure what kind) that was bad. It had a scorched taste. That was a while ago and personnel has changed since then.

                                                                          1. re: wally

                                                                            Thanks! I was attracted to some of their more unusual seafood items, so it's good to know they're worth trying.

                                                                2. re: grayelf

                                                                  If you're in Oaktown on Saturday, you might want to stop by the Grand Lake farmers' market, which has a great selection of prepared food vendors (including Roli Roti and, beginning about a month ago, its estimable porchetta sandwich), Fabrique Delice (excellent duck confit, toulouse sausages, other charcuterie ), Barlovento chocolates, Boccalone Salumeria (many but not all of their offerings), live music, and, last week-end, a heron perched on the marquee of the Grand Lake Theater, scavenging for scraps.

                                                                  Here's a vendor list, but may not be current:

                                                                  Roli Roti
                                                                  , Hayward, CA

                                                                  Fabrique Delices
                                                                  1610 Delta Ct # 1, Hayward, CA

                                                                  Boccalone Salumeria
                                                                  1 Ferry Building # 21, San Francisco, CA

                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                    i personally cannot imagine eating anything else for about 6 hours after eating an order of mac-n-cheese from Homeroom. Really. But the egg and bacon one is to die for.

                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                      I had a terrific cup of coffee at Cotogna in SF last weekend that turned out to be from Roast in Oakland - the retail shop is in Emeryville (prob not that accessible for you) but you can get it at a lot of Bay Area restaurants - Chop Bar might be a good option, if you're going to ferry to JLS.

                                                                      If you're at all thinking about going to Sidebar, know that it's very close to the Grand Lake farmer's market - it's a shorter walk from the 19th Street BART, but a pleasanter one (mostly along the lake) from the Lake Merritt BART.

                                                                      I am a big fan of the chicken livers at Pican. Also, the fried chicken benedict at brunch.

                                                                      You just reminded me I haven't had those noodles from BC in a long time... I'll let you know if they're still good. Their Vietnamese coffee is very good, and I'm a fan of their bright green pandan waffles. They also have little cassava waffle-type cakes shaped like red blood cells that are pretty good.

                                                                      Pican Restaurant
                                                                      2295 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

                                                                      490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                                                      1. re: daveena

                                                                        @ daveena: PANDAN WAFFLES?!?!?!?! Oh now we are going to have to go to BC. Lots of roasteries in the East Bay, huh?

                                                                        @mariacarmen: egg and bacon mac'n'cheese sounds like a perfectly balanced breakfast to me -- wonder how early they open? ;-).

                                                                        @dordogne, ruth and rlauriston: thanks for setting me straight on the GLFM as I had got it into my head the FMs over there were all on Sunday. This one sounds perfect as it will bring together a bunch of vendors that I'd have to traipse all over to try on their own.

                                                                        @bbulkow -- Sweet Maria's sounds intriguing but alas we will be there on a Saturday. Would have been cool as the SO is also looking to buy some beans while he is in town.

                                                                        @abstractpoet -- we are definitely into the espresso based drinks so your reccs are great. Local 123 noted for future Berkeley trips. I am liking the sound of the cafe cubano at Cana (the SO is the harder core coffee guy; I like sweetened coffee drinks and am more of a dabbler, which you may have gathered from the earlier posts you evidently read, loved the Gibraltar trivia!).

                                                                        Local 123
                                                                        2049 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

                                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                                          Grayelf: Homeroom is open at 11:00 a.m. But remember, the waits are loooooong. You'd have to get there probably at 10:30-10:45. (i haven't been this early, so i'm not sure, but i've just heard.)

                                                                        2. re: daveena

                                                                          Deveena, what's BC stand for? How do you order the cassava waffle-type cakes - is it on the menu or pre-made?

                                                                          1. re: hhc

                                                                            You know... I haven't a clue what BC stands for. I should find out one of these days.

                                                                            They usually have one or two orders of the cassava cakes ready made, but they mostly make them to order.

                                                                            1. re: daveena

                                                                              Deveena, where is this BC you're talking about - what city, location, is that the name of a restaurant or bakery?

                                                                              1. re: hhc

                                                                                It's BC Deli in Oakland (818 Franklin Street) - it's a Vietnamese deli. Has my favorite banh mi in Oakland's Chinatown, and a couple of good cooked dishes, plus the waffles and Vietnamese coffee.

                                                                                1. re: daveena

                                                                                  They set up the waffle maker on the sidewalk on weekends. I think Cam Huong has better banh mi.

                                                                                  Cam Huong Cafe
                                                                                  920 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607

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

                                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                    I retry Cam Huong's banh mi every once in a while, and I never like them that much - bread's too squishy, there's always too much, don't like their cold cuts as much, proportion of pate is too low for me. What is it about their banh mi that you (and everyone else, apparently) like?

                                                                                    Cam Huong Cafe
                                                                                    702 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

                                                                                    1. re: daveena

                                                                                      I like Cam Huong's bread. Ba Le makes my favorite banh mi in the East Bay, but in Chinatown I'll take Cam Huong over B C Deli, where I'd order other things.

                                                                                      Cam Huong Cafe
                                                                                      702 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                        Doesn't Cam Huong Bakery supply many of the banh mi shops with their bread?

                                                                                        Cam Huong Bakery
                                                                                        1088 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607

                                                                                        1. re: wolfe

                                                                                          Buiphong Bakery has been around a long time. am sure they supply more banh mi shops. noticed they have 5 delivery vans while cam huong has one.

                                                                                          Buiphong Bakery

                                                                                          2800 International Blvd.

                                                                                          Oakland, Ca.

                                                                                          1. re: shanghaikid

                                                                                            Yes, I wandered in there one day -- you can buy directly at the bakery, but they're basically wholesale to markets and restaurants.

                                                                      2. re: abstractpoet

                                                                        Hawker Fare is supposed to open for lunch tomorrow and dinner next week.

                                                                        Hawker Fare
                                                                        2300 Webster St
                                                                        (near 23rd)
                                                                        Oakland, CA 94612

                                                                        1. re: kc72

                                                                          Yeah, I saw that. 11-6 are the tentative hours for now, until they start dinner service.

                                                              3. I really prefer the Manti at Troya cafe over on Clement. I think it's much better than A La Turca. It's one of my favorite Turkish dishes actually (I'm half Turk FYI) It's just a short bus ride on the 38 (aka Dirty Eight).

                                                                Poggio had a good review from Mr Bauer of the Chron recently, and I have enjoyed sitting on their little patio, watching the tourists go by. I once had some of the most delicious tomato, basil and mozzarella salad there, simple dish I know but it had some the best tomatoes. But I rarely get to Sausalito so don't have much to say about most of the restaurants there.

                                                                A La Turca
                                                                869 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                                                349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                                                777 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

                                                                1. Once again, thanks to everyone who replied. I've made copious notes on all reccs and will be using them if not this trip then next.

                                                                  If I may make another request, it looks like we'll be heading to Off the Grid early Friday (opening). So is there somewhere nearish by you might suggest afterward for any or all of dessert/winebar/tasty beers/cocktails? That we could go to on a Friday night early-ish (7/7:30) without a reservation? TIA.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                    FYI, Off the Grid has beer, wine and cocktails.

                                                                    Restaurants along Chestnut St i the Marina are close by though I couldn't tell you which you can get into without a reservation. But you have many to choose from along that corridor if you just keep walking. I didn't have dessert at Ristobar, but since it's part of Emporio Rulli's empire, I assume the sweets are good. You could probably get be seated at the long wine bar if a table doesn't come up quickly. the desserts and sweet wine list looks great,

                                                                    2300 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123

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