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Visiting for a week from L.A.

I'm sure millions of these threads have been posted, so I'm sorry to post another. If you know of one that will be useful, please point me in that direction.

I'm interested, as we all are, in the best of the good food. I don't really care about ambiance, though that can be a plus. Ideally I want the stuff that I can't find in LA. Usually not looking to spend more than $30/person, though I can splurge one or two times if it's worth it.

I'll be in the SF/Cupertino/Palo Alto area for a week. I'll be at the Outside Lands Music Festival for a weekend, so anything in that area that I can go to for lunch would be cool. With that said, I'm absolutely willing to drive if necessary.

Here's some places I've been thinking about:

Dim sum - I'm not as big on the dim sum scene in LA as most people. I ate at Hong Kong Lounge last year and thought it was at least on par with Sea Harbour (for those who are familiar with LA)... I would go back, but I'd be interested in trying more. A friend recommended New Asia in Chinatown?

Tartine Bakery- fresh bread, pastries. I've been here, and I'm almost definitely going back.

Bi-rite ice cream because it's near Tartine

El Torro for the "best" burrito? Been to El Metate, thought their salsas were good.

Jackson Fillmore for Italian? I've heard some good things, may take a date there.

Bissap Baobab for dancing and food.

North Beach Pizza for deep dish.

Pizzaiolo in Oakland for pizza.

Mission Chinese worth it? Seems like it might be a little whitified and has a lot of dishes that are great in LA.

Liguria Bakery in North Beach for focaccia

Burmese - Burma Superstar or Mandalay

Ultimately, I don't really know what I'm doing, so I'm looking for any recs for anything that I must eat. Can be literally any food. I like ma po tofu, I like burgers, I like crepes, I like Burmese tea leaf salad, I like Sri Lankan string hoppers, I like Shaanxi knife cut noodles, I like fish tacos, I like Peruvian ceviche, I like Naples-style pizza.

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  1. For deep-dish pizza, go to Little Star. North Beach Pizza doesn't do deep dish. Whatever it once was, it's now an average or below-average chain.

    1. If you have your sights on Liguria Bakery, you know what you're doing . . . maybe a couple items from Molinari Delicatessen to round out your excursion.

      1 Reply
      1. re: BoneAppetite

        Nope - this list is mostly just recs from friends. I'm guessing most of my friends know what they're doing, but not sure which ones know more.

      2. You know Liguria sometimes ruhs out and closes well before noon, right?

        I like Burmese Kitchen better than Mandalay and Mandalay better than Burma Superstar. At the latter two you need to inform yourself about the menu to avoid the boring Indian and Chinese dishes.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I'm lucky enough to have visited Myanmar, so not an issue. Thanks for the Liguria tip

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            If that's the case, you can cross the park and order a focaccia sandwich at Mario's. They get a delivery from Liguria every morning.

          2. Shan, Cupertino - tandoori chicken leg, goat karahi, & naan. Veg dishes are weak.

            Saravana Bhavan, Sunnyvale - veg S.Indian

            Aachi Appakadai, Sunnyvale - string hoppers were dry but goat curry & appam with chicken kheema were quite good.

            Palo Alto Creamery - fellow hound turned me onto their patty melt. They also have tasty but huge milkshakes.

            10 Replies
            1. re: ceekskat

              Taste Buds, Sunnyvale: usually not in the lunch buffet: Fish Pulusu, specialty rices (lemon, curd, tamarind), gongura curries (ask if in season)

              Da Sichuan, Palo Alto: oily, spicy Sichuan (and I mean in the best way). Love the Boiled/Boiling fish here.

              Philz Coffee, (all over): great drip and their mint mojito coffee is a guilty pleasure.

              Blue Line (all over): deep dish pizza

              1. re: goldangl95

                I love the mint mojito coffees at Philz, goldangl, but I always order them half sweet as they are kind of a sugar bomb. One can always add more sweetener but removing it, not so much :-).

                1. re: grayelf

                  Ha! Good tip. The way Philz makes coffee you are out of luck if you wrongly estimate how much milk/cream you want in it - but sugar is easier to adjust.

              2. re: ceekskat

                If there was one or two Indian restaurants (can be South/North/Gujarat/whatever) I need to try, what would they be?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Anjappar Chettinad is pretty far out of the way and can get quite backed-up/lots of traffic.

                    I'd say Taste Buds for the dishes that I mentioned which are decently unique.

                    Pessarattu if you are not picky about food and can go for lunch (it's a set menu).

                    Sarvana Bhavan is good, it's not particularly unique if you go to say Mayura or Annapurna in LA. It's perhaps a bit better, but it's not worth a special stop.

                    1. re: goldangl95

                      What's the appeal of Pessarattu? "If you are not picky about food" sounds like a place to avoid.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I just meant you have no choice. You walk in you sit they put the set meal in front of you - you eat quickly and leave.

                  2. re: thefatknightrises

                    I do believe the Indo-Pak tandoori items in the Bay Area excellent, therefore I highly recommend Shan. Their tandoori chicken leg & fresh, thin naan with the right amount of crisp/chew are hard to beat (DD put this along with the goat karahi on her "top 10 list" for a college app. And I believe their haleem is worth a try as well. Biriyani is o.k.

                    I would then choose Anjappar so you can try the mutton dishes (based on Robert's rec/link, keep meaning to go haven't made the trek; have had original in Chennai). Otherwise, I was going to say Aachi Appakadai so you can get dosas/appam with the goat curry, but this thread surfaced today http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/983534. Have not been to this new place.

                    Lastly, if you have time (avoid rush hour) when you are in Palo Alto, you may want to try chaat at Chatpatta Corner just over the Dumbarton bridge.
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8661...

                    Tough decisions, enjoy your trip!

                    ps. forgot to mention that I'm addicted to the sticky jasmine beef fried rice as well as the veg. five crop rice at Steam in Palo Alto. http://steampaloalto.com/

                1. There's good Neapolitan-style pizza not far from Cupertino:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755006