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May 9, 2012 02:44 PM

Just moved to Mountain View from New York. Help an east coast hound find his new favorite haunts!

Hey everyone, we just moved to Mountain View from New York and are looking for new favorites both nearby and far away (very willing to travel). We love cooking and eating just about anything and would love your help to find any of the following:

1) Markets! -- We've found Whole Foods and Trader Joes, but are there smaller markets anyone recommends for either ethnic ingredients or quality meat/produce? What about:
1a) Butchers?
1b) Bakers?
1c) Fishmongers?
1d) Farmers Markets?
1e) Produce?

2) Weekend brunch spots -- Willing to travel, but would love local recs too. I want everything from your typical American spot, to ethnic (bonus points if it's Latin American), to dim sum, to fancy-shamncy-only-on-special-occasions brunch!

3) Coffee, both individual drinks and coffee by the pound. I love strong black coffee and am excited to try all of the Bay Area's small, local roasters.

4) Wine Shops -- we stumbled upon K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, which is pretty great. Any other recs?

5) California food -- not sure what I mean by this exactly, but I guess I mean all the stuff you think is unique to the area. What are the staples I'm missing? What is the place or thing I'll try and never be able to live without again?

6) New York food -- Pizza? Bagels? Pickles? Pastrami? Does it exist out here? Is it any good? I've gone a couple of weeks, but can I really go the next few years? Help!

7) Fast food/Take out -- Extra points for food trucks and great burger joints.

8) Indian -- we've had some amazing Indian food so far in Sunnyvale, and these have just been random walk-ins. If this is average, what's the best?

9) Vietnamese -- we've seen tons of Pho places around, and recently drove around a neighborhood in San Jose with tons of Vietnamese restos. Any standouts?

10) And finally, your favorite restos of the area. Price is no option, but we want variety -- expensive, medium, cheap, and dirt cheap. No taco is too small, no umpteen course tasting menu too grand.

Thank you for recs!

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  1. Beltramo's is another good wine shop on the Peninsula.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      The place I miss most from when I was working down there is Martins West. Nothing like it.

    2. My 2 cents: The Mt. View farmer's market is quite good. I live in Menlo Park and prefer to do my produce shopping at Sigona's (locations at the Stanford Mall and Redwood City) and usually visit Schaub's Meat, Fish & Poultry next door at Stanford at the same time. Sigona's is inexpensive and usually has the speciality items I look for at the farmer's market (green garlic, tangelos, pastured eggs...). There is a Penzey's in downtown Menlo Park for quality spices.

      You should try Napoletana Pizzeria in Mt. View, along with Spot Pizza off of University Ave in Palo Alto. Grullense on Middlefield (the one across from Costco) in Redwood City has excellent carnitas tacos (the other Grullense locations are not nearly as good -- I wasted 2 years eating at the one on El Camino in Redwood City).

      1 Reply
      1. re: emily

        +1 for Napoletana Pizzeria. As good as it gets around here, especially for those who prefer thin crust, minimal toppings, fresh flavors. Our fav is the sausage. Grind of meat is a bit fine, but guess the lighter weight is a necessity when supported by the thin crust. Another tasty option is the ricotta pizza, where the cheese is stuffed and hidden inside the outer edge crust.

      2. For wine, I like Artisan Wine Depot, 2 shops in Mountain View. They're young people, to me at least; who really like wine, but focus on value rather than snob appeal.
        Also very Mt View is the corner of Rengstorff and Middlefield, where you'll find Taco La Bamba, and La Coste~na side-by-side for great tacos.

        2 Replies
        1. re: misterb

          We all have our preferences/favorites and mine is the less frequently mentioned Los Altos Taqueria, located kitty-corner from La Costena. This completes "the burrito triangle" and has never disappointed since they opened about 15 years ago.

          For coffee beans, I like Graffeo, the storefronts in North Beach (SF) and San Rafael (have not been in years) are a cool throwback to an earlier time -- no coffee drinks are available -- only beans or ground to your order. You can try this product from the self-serve bins at Draeger's Market in Los Altos, then order online, by phone, or at the store.

          Fishmongers: Cooks Seafood in Menlo Park is fantastic, for fresh products, advice, and service.

          Let us know how this adventure goes, please.

          1. re: anyhow

            second cooks. also as a quick lunch spot as well!

        2. As far as New York food... I'm going to generalize based on San Francisco, and I don't know if the San Jose food scene is completely different, but...

          1. Pizza - If you were one of those people who had strong opinions about "best slice in NYC," you're going to be pretty disappointed. There are places with okay slices in SF that approximate the sort of paper-thin crust you're used to (Arinell's and Victor's are okay), but there are other styles of pizza here that are quite tasty. And if you were a regular at Una Pizza Napoletana, he's got a spot in SF now, huzzah.

          2. Bagels: If you were one of those people who had strong opinions about "best bagel in NYC," you're going to be REALLY disappointed. Nothing even comes close. In the typical SF bagel shop, they will automatically toast your bagel without asking you first, because that is the only way to make those things palatable. Once in a blue moon someone opens a bagel shop that purports to sell the real thing, and people get excited about it (lately it's Schmendrick's, which doesn't have its own space yet), but if you were in the habit of eating a bagel every day, you're going to have to make a lifestyle change. Sorry...

          3. Pickles -- I'm not a pickle guy, sorry. I did notice that the pickles you get with your sandwich here are always half-sour, instead of full-sour. Dunno why.

          4. Pastrami -- Um, well there is pastrami here that I think is decent. It's been too long since I've regularly tasted Carnegie or Katz to make comparisons with strong convictions, but I think places like Moishe's Pippic do an okay job. There's apparently a single distributor from whom all the good pastrami places get it from; there's a thread about it here somewhere.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dunstable

            There have been some positive reports here about A Slice of New York, two locations, Sunnyvale and San Jose.


            The Refuge in San Carlos does a non-traditional but tasty pastrami sandwich.

          2. Wine Shops:
            K &L and Beltramo's are our standbys.
            There is also Vin Vino in Palo Alto - though their selection is rather specialized in pricier Rieslings and Burgandies. I feel more comfortable at K & L and Beltramo's.

            Philz has a few locations in the peninsula/southbay and has a great drip coffee. It has a somewhat chaotic ordering process.
            The Zombie Runner Store in Palo Alto has a great espresso machine.
            The Sufi Coffee Shop in Mountain View does great coffee - both in the Middle Eastern way and standard espresso drinks. The owner can be slightly surly, and keeps somewhat sporadic hours. The little area in the back is nice on a warm day.

            For Indian, I am very partial to Tastebuds if you like very spicy food. Try their Fish Pulusu and ask for it spicy.

            California Cuisine:
            Completely breaking the budget - Manresa
            Good, somewhat expensive, and probably better versions in SF:
            Flea Street Cafe
            Station 1
            Decidedly Mediocre:
            Scratch in Mountain View, high-end places on University Ave. in Palo Alto

            Redwood City:
            Donato Enoteca does satisfying, Italian food
            I second Martin's West for gastropub food.

            Pizza - Chicago Style:

            DishDash in Sunnyvale has great Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food

            1 Reply
            1. re: goldangl95

              After eating again at the Cantankerous Fish On Castro, I would like to put in a rec for the restaurant.

              It looks like it was bought by Scott's Seafood and so won't be in existence much longer, but the seafood is traditionally good, if a little over salted, and is certainly as good as Scratch across the street.

              It's fallen out of favor, but I'm not quite sure why. Certainly not a destination restaurant by any means, but I've been decently satisfied with the meals there.