Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Try These Places Before They Heat Up

To be cool in San Francisco requires more than forgetting to wear a sweater in the fog, it takes dedication to finding the newest places beloved by local hipsters, foodies and seriously stylish drinkers.  Alas, that is more than BADSF can manage  on it's own.

Luckily, Thrillest has made the determination of which are the newest, coolest places to imbibe and eat in the San Francisco Bay area.  The Thrillest folks are too cool to name a top 50, so here is a link to the Thrillest list for the Top 47 coolest eating and drinking establishments right now.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Restaurant Round Up for SF, North, South and East Plus the Lastest in Dine About and Restaurant Week Info for SF, Oakland

Here's an excellent resource for dining in the Bay area (San Francisco, East Bay, North Bay and South Bay) from KQED FM, a local NPR affiliate.

Click on this link for the audio of a recent program featuring local food critics and authorities discussing their restaurant recommendations and a list of those restaurants (with a Google map).

The only flaw is that the list of restos doesn't have links so you'll have to seek those out yourself (sorry).

And while we are on the subject of Bay area restaurants, Dine About in San Francisco is up and running (January 15-31).  Special deals on special meals!   Follow the links for more info and a list of participating restaurants and on-line reservation resource.

Oakland's Restaurant Week gets started tomorrow, January 18, and goes to January 27. Check the site for full list, deals and reservation info.  Since Oakland's resturants don't get the coverage SF's do, I thought I'd highlight some of the participating Oakland restaurants I've tried and can recommend.

Amba
Bay Wolf
Bocanova
Camino
Disco Volante
Flora
Italian Colors
Yoshi's

I've written about a meal at Yoshi's sometime ago, you can see that here.

Several of the Oakland restos are near BART stations.
For transit directions to all the Bay area restaurants, please go to the 511.org trip planner.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

North Beach -- From Murals to Eats

North Beach was the first neighborhood I lived in when I first moved to San Francisco.  Here's some contemporary neighborhood highlights from VIA magazine.

Monday, December 26, 2011

East Bay Options for New Year's Eve 2011-2012

From Tom Walton of Fortune Public Relations:

These Berkeley and Oakland restaurants still have seats available for New Year’s Eve 2011.

Ajanta
1888 Solano Avenue, Berkeley CA 94707
510.526.4373
http://www.ajantarestaurant.com/

(Note from FJK: One of the most gourmet and tastiest Indian restaurants in the Bay area. Very much a white table cloth establishment)
Open from 5:30 to 9:30 PM. Serving the regular a la carte menu plus a $25.00 three-course “Best Of The Best At Ajanta” Chef’s Tasting Menu with a main course that includes Galina Shakooti, Lamb Rib Chops, Methi Machi and Badal Jaam. A vegetarian prix fixe option is also offered for $22.00.

Gather
2200 Oxford Street, Berkeley CA 94704
510.859.9180
http://www.gatherrestaurant.com/

Seating from 5:00 to 10:00 PM. Serving a $75.00 four-course prix fixe menu with choices, vegan and omnivore selections for each course, and wine pairing available for an additional $25.00.

Italian Colors
2220 Mountain Boulevard, Oakland (Montclair Village) CA 94611
510.482.8094
http://www.italiancolorsrestaurant.com/

(a note from FJK -- this is my neighborhood trattoria, always a good meal.)
Seating from 5:00 to 10:00 PM. Serving a special holiday a la carte menu that includes Green Scarves Lasagna with grilled vegetables, and fried sweet onions; Duck Breast seared medium rare with butternut squash ravioli, braised Swiss chard, and duck jus; Dungeness Crab Stuffed Filet Mignon with au gratin potatoes, baby vegetables, and bordelaise and béarnaise sauces; Butter Poached Lobster Risotto with chanterelle mushrooms and saffron; Sea Scallops with turnip puree, blood orange gastrique, and baby vegetables; 72 hour Braised Short Rib with mascarpone polenta, chipolin onions, roasted root vegetables, and Chianti sauce; and Salmon en Croute or fresh fish napoleon, sweet pea puree, baby vegetables.

Joshu-ya Brasserie
2441 Dwight Way, Berkeley CA 94704
510.848.5260
http://www.joshu-ya.com/

Open 10:30 AM to 10:00 PM serving their regular a la carte menus. Complimentary hot sake during dinner service.

Lake Chalet
1520 Lakeside Drive, Oakland CA 94612
510.208.5253
http://www.thelakechalet.com/

(Note from FJK:  Great views of Lake Merrit. Haven't eaten there yet, but have had enjoyed my meals at its sister establishments Park and Beach Chalets in S.F.) Seating from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Regular a la carte menu served until 5:00 PM when a special holiday a la carte menu becomes available. Guests ordering three or more courses from this menu will receive a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. Holiday special entrees include Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna; Braised Beef Short Rib; Breast Of Chicken; Lamb; Black Angus New York Steak; and Scallops.

Origen
2826 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley CA 94705
510.848.9200
http://www.origenberkeley.com/

Seating from 5:30 to 11:30 PM, bar open until 1:00 AM. Regular a la carte menu plus a $65.00 five-course prix fixe menu with optional wine pairing or sparkling wine pairing available. Holiday entrée choices will include Lobster and Cheese Purses over butter stewed quince; Scallop and Avocado Ceviche with pomello, watermelon radish and housemade flat breads; and Blue Hubbard Squash Gnochi in a braised duck ragu with housemade Mascarpone. Complimentary sparkling wine toast at midnight.

Revival Bar & Restaurant
2102 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley CA 94704
510.409.6274
http://www.revivalbarandkitchen.com/

Seating from 4:00 to 11:30 PM, bar open until 1:00 AM. Holiday a la carte menu and artisanal champagne cocktails. Special menu items will include Oysters with Meyer lemon marmalade, persimmon and pomegranate salsas; housemade Brandade; local Crab Bisque; Winter Salad; housemade Porchetta; Chestnut and Chanterelle Ravioli with parsnip cream; Bouillabaisse; and goose fat fried potatoes. Live music beginning at 9:00 PM, party favors, and complimentary sparkling wine toast at midnight.

Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto
1919 Fourth Street, Berkeley CA 94710
510.845.7771
http://www.spengers.com/

(Note from FJK: Always fresh and delicious. Get the fish!) Open 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM; bar is open until midnight. Serving regular a la carte menu. Complimentary sparkling wine toast at midnight. A specialty of the house is personalized private parties.

Monday, September 26, 2011

San Franicsco - 49 Square Miles of Food

Check out the San Francisco Chronicle's new series on the food of San Francisco -- a tasty tour of each of the city's 49 square miles.

Here's the overview and first installment.  Check back every week at http://www.sfgate.com/  for an update on another of San Francisco's culinary square miles.

What a great idea. Kudos to the Chronicle's Food and Wine staff for coming up with it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blog Appetit Gets Visitors

My sister, brother-in-law and almost 15-year-old niece arrive today for  R and R (Rushing Around and Relaxing) in the Bay area.  They got pretty shook up by the East Coast quake so don't know how much they will like the rock and roll of our little quake last night and aftershocks if they continue.

Anyway, we have lots of fun things planned for their visit.  I will try (I no longer promise, I'm so bad) to write up the highlights of what we do as a resource for BADSF.

We have had other visitors this summer.  With one couple we did this day trip along the Pacific Coast although Bonnie Doon had changed its wine tasting location so we missed it.  They have moved the wine tasting room into their new restaurant. Go to https://www.bonnydoonvineyard.com/ for more information on that.  The White Raven (Felton) chai was just a great as we remembered.  And we saw some seals at Pigeon Point lighthouse.  All in all a great day.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dine Around Town is Back -- June 1 - 15

San Francisco's greatest dining bargain -- multicourse lunch ($17.95) or dinner ($34.95) at some of San Francisco's favorite restaurants is back for its 10th anniversary.  See the Dine Around site for more info on participating restaurants and availability.  (Here's what I've written about the event in the past.)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Where to Eat in San Francisco's Theater District (Plus How to Score Half Price Tickets)

While you are in San Francisco, take in a play.  We have our own mini theater district centered around the A.C.T. Theater and the Curran with other, smaller venues near by.  While you are in the area, check out one of the restaurants on this list of where to eat before the theater from MenuPages.

Also check out the half-price ticket booth  run by Tix Bay Area at Union Square for discount ducats to theaters in this area as well as around the city and Bay area. The service also has a large number of shows with discount tickets you can buy on line in advance. The Tix Bay Area site also gives a good overview of what is up with the theater and performance scene in the Bay area.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Eat Like a Student and Get an "A" in Savings -- Good Cheap Eats on Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley

You don’t have to be a student to enjoy the budget restaurants clustered around Telegraph Avenue near UC-Berkeley (a short bus or BART ride from San Francisco).  A recent walk on the avenue found a number of interesting spots that offer value, good food, and a taste of life in Berkeley.  All are open for lunch and dinner, and many of the restaurants also offer food to go.

I found Durant Square by following my nose to Steve’s Korean Barbeque with its enticing aroma of grilling marinated meats. Durant Square,  is sometimes known as the “Asian Ghetto” for its collection of Chinese, Korean, and other Asian restaurants featuring large portions and low prices.  For $5-$8 expect to fill up on food from any one of these establishments.

Steve’s Korean Barbeque is popular and its offerings range from $6.99 for grilled chicken to $8.49 for barbecued beef short ribs. Steve’s also cooks up vegetarian and seafood options as well as other Korean specialties.  Like many of the restaurants on the square, it is open for lunch and stays open until late. (No website. 2521-F Durant Avenue. 510.848.6166)

Another restaurant in the complex, Gyspy’s Trattoria Italiana, is a mash up of old-fashioned Italian-American restaurant and budget fast food place, with slightly more ambience than many of the other places on the square.  Expect to pay under $6 for most vegetarian pastas, under $7 for seafood, beef and chicken ones such as Crazy Alfredo with chicken, sausage, roasted red peppers, and red wine in Alfredo sauce tossed with fettuccine.  The daily special is a plate of pasta, salad and soft drink for $8.99. The food is plentiful, hearty and filling.  Gypsy’s also offers pizza, calzone, salads and sandwiches.

Another alternative for Italian food is Pasta Bene. The food here is a bit more refined as is the atmosphere.  The restaurant, a relative newcomer to the avenue, features a daily happy hour, outdoor seating and a $5 pasta lunch special.  A starter of fried calamari is $5.95 and an order of linguini with chicken breast, artichoke hearts and vegetables in olive oil-herb sauce is $7.95.  Most pasta dishes are $7-$9 and Pasta Bene also offers stone-fired pizzas, sandwiches and salads.

A large sandwich on incredible honey wheat bread, a salad bowl that seems bottomless and a perfect place for people-watching, that’s the Café Intermezzo experience — one I’ve long enjoyed.  Join the quick-moving line (usually out the door), see what others are eating and check out the wooden menu on the wall for the day’s specials before ordering.  Soups and stews are also offered daily. Sandwiches and salads start at under $7 and portions are large so consider sharing. It’s a Berkeley institution that briefly changed names and owners (but not menus) last year, and is back under the original management.

Since this is Berkeley after all, every café and restaurant around campus will have vegetarian options, even the cheesesteak place,  but everything at the recently opened Maoz is not only vegetarian but kosher.  Maoz, part of a chain that began in Amsterdam, offers falafel, salads, and Belgian and sweet potato fries in an unlimited number of combinations that you create yourself by adding on toppings from its extensive salad bar.  “Meal deals” with sandwich, fries and a beverage start at $7.15.  Ala carte sandwiches start at $4.25.

Bongo Burger has been stuffing hungry students on a budget with falafel and other goodies since 1968.  It has several locations around campus, with one just off Telegraph Avenue. Besides Middle Eastern specialties such as shish kabab and tabouleh, Bongo Burger specializes in juicy hamburgers. My favorite is the Persian Burger with seasoned, ground lamb at $6.50.  An “All American” with a third-pound of Niman Ranch beef is $4.25.

Looking for place to eat a bit away from the Telegraph Avenue scene?  Right across from campus is an elegant café that offers morning pastries, lunch, and gourmet dinners as well selling classical music cds. The Musical Offering also has special event dinners.  Luncheon items include hot and cold sandwiches and salads, most under $8.  Dinners start at a few dollars more but offer items such as lamb quesadillas and chicken flatbreads.  Menus and specials change often.

Just need a quick bite?  Try Gordo’s for overstuffed San Francisco/Tex-Mex style burritos, Blondies or Fat Slice for slices of pizza, King Pin for donuts (on Durant Square), or a grilled hot dog or sausage from Top Dog.

Update (12.17.12) Maoz closed the Berkeley location.  Cafe Intermezzo, very sadly, burned to the ground.  Rebuilding and reopening are an option, but a distant one.  The fire also destroyed Raleigh's Pub next door, a favorite place to take our kids to play pool (yes, really).
----------------------------
A version of this post first appeared on poor taste magazine.
For transit directions, go to 511.org
As long as you are in Berkeley for a nosh, you might want to check out the campus. Click here for info on the campus and free walking tours.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oakland Taco Trucks -- A Feast in the Streets (With a Public Transit Option!)

Clockwise from upper left -- El Ojo de Agua, Tacos Los Michocanos,
Tacos El Novillo and Tamales Mi Lupita
If we are talking street food, and we frequently are, and if we are talking tacos, which are also a frequent topic of conversation around here, it's very likely we are already on our way to the Fruitvale section of Oakland where licensing laws and Latino culture merge to create one of the Bay area’s best feeding grounds. 

The number of the highly decorated taco trucks in the area changes, but Oakland has issued permits for 120 loncherias (catering trucks and push carts), half of which are in the Fruitvale area, one of only two neighborhoods in Oakland they are allowed. This concentration makes it easy to go from truck to truck and sample a taco with carnitas here, a tostada with cerviche there as you wend your way through the neighborhood. They are generally open from morning to well after the dinner hour, but be flexible, hours, location, and menu offerings do change. Be prepared for an adventure and bring your appetite.

My Oakland taco truck crawls have all been by car, but it could also be done by bicycle  or even AC Transit.  Amy Sherman, a veteran food blogger, travel writer and taco crawler has put together a tour with all stops convenient walking distance to the Fruitvale BART station.  Thanks to Amy and bloggers Genie Grotto and Shelly Butcher for accompaning me on my appointed taco rounds.

To devise your own crawl, here’s a sampling of some of my favorite taco trucks plus an overview of some typical taco truck menu items. Menus are usually colorful signs mounted on the side of the truck, often in English and Spanish.

While many taco trucks offer the similar fare, the style of cooking, seasoning, regional differences and whims of the chef can make for interesting and tasty variations. These trucks specialize in tacos (usually two stacked small soft corn tortillas topped with a few tablespoons of filling with chopped onions, fresh cilantro and salsa) with a slice of lime. Squeeze the lime on top, fold the taco and eat in a few quick bites over your car hood, the taco truck’s thin ledge of a counter or perhaps a weathered picnic table and try not to drip on your clothes. The accompanying chunks of cucumber, radish or pickled carrots and jalapeno peppers help cut through the rich meat taste. Tacos generally cost $1.25-$2.

Besides the tacos, most trucks offer burritos and some also have quesadillas and tortas (sandwiches). Fillings can include carnitas (shredded, crispy pork), lengua (beef tongue, my favorite), suadero (beef rib meat), cabeza (beef head or cheeks), al pastor (roast pork), chorizo (spicy pork sausage), tripa (chitlins), birria (goat), carne asada (steak), stewed or shredded chicken and more. Trucks specializing in seafood also offer cerviche (raw, marinated fish salad) tostadas and griddled fish tacos (tacos de pescado or tacos de dorado).

Wash it all down with a refresco (soft drink). Or try an agua fresca or atole fresh fruit drink in flavors ranging for horchata (an almondy-cinnamon flavor) to jamaica (hibiscus) to pina (pineapple).

Below are just a few of my favorite Oakland taco trucks. One fan of the area’s loncherias created this Google map to help enthusiasts plan their own taco truck crawls. It includes the taco trucks listed below and many more.

Tacos El Novillo, 1001 Fruitvale Ave. (near E. 12th St.)

This truck offers tacos made with chicarrones (deep fried strips of pork skin.) The chicarrones are delicious, but I liked them better mixed with the al pastor tacos. Get one of each and make your own combination plate.

El Ojo de Agua, 3132 E. 12th Street (at Fruitvale Ave.)

The tacos are great, the tortas are excellent, but they are also known for their drinks, especially their licuados (Mexican milk shakes).

Tacos los Michocanos, 3524 International Blvd. (near 35th St.)

The difference here is the hearty and earthy style of Michoacan style cooking. My last taco there had some of the best lengua I’ve ever eaten. Plus I love the killer salsa. On weekends Los Michocanos offers a homemade tortilla option.

Tacos Sinola (two trucks), 2138 International Blvd. (at 22nd Ave.)

This is more of a two-truck “surf and turf” complex. The truck closest to International Blvd. offers an array of tasty meat-based tacos. The truck further back specializes in seafood, particularly in fish and shrimp tacos. In between are parking, covered seating and a colorful shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe.

One of my favorite trucks is technically not a taco truck I guess since it specializes in El Salvadorean food. But Tamales Mi Lupita offers sensational cheese and other pupusas (kind of stuffed corn tortillas) served with tangy cabbage slaw, chicken pastilles (little fried pies of deliciousness) and banana empanadas (somewhat like pieces of bananas fried fritter style), among other delights.  It can be found at 34th Ave. and Foothilld Blvd, next the Pupuseria Lupita Restaurant on Foothill Blvd.

For more on taco trucks in Oakland and elsewhere in the Bay area, check out the California Taco Truck blog  or the Chowhound forum discussions on the topic.
Note: A version of this post first appeared on the Poor Taste SF website. Have a taco truck favorite not listed?  Leave a comment and let me know.  I'll try to check it out and include in a future taco truck roundup.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Some East Bay New Year's Options

From Tom Walton, my one of my favorite local restaurant promoters, restaurants in the East Bay with available New Year's seating, including one with vegan options.

New Year's Eve
Gather / 510.859.9180

2200 Oxford Street, Berkeley
Open 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM for lunch, 5:00M to 10:00 PM for dinner. For dinner serving only a $65.00 four-course prix fixe menu with entrée choices of Blue Hokito Squash “Steaks” with Sangiovese braised pardiña lentils and sunchoke bay leaf salsa; Braised Beef Cheeks with Yellowfin potatoes, celery root, Savoy cabbage, horseradish and crème fraiche; or Whole Roasted Local Fish with winter citrus, fennel and fresh pressed olive oil. Vegan options will be available.

Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto / Berkeley
1919 Fourth Street
510.845.7771
Open 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; bar is open until midnight. In addition to their regular a la carte menu, Spenger’s will be serving special holiday a la carte entrees including fresh local crab and prime rib. With every dessert ordered, the restaurant will offer a complimentary glass of sparkling wine or sparkling cider. A specialty of the house is personalized private parties.

Zut! on Fourth / 510.644.0444
1820 Fourth Street, Berkeley
Open for two seatings, the first from 6:30 to 7:30 PM and the second from 9:30 to 10:30 PM. Serving only a four-course (plus an amuse bouche and a glass of Moscato d'Asti) prix fixe menu with entrée choices of filet mignon, shellfish risotto, or vegetarian ravioli. Early seating priced at $70.00, the late $90.00, plus $30.00 additional for paired wines by the glass. Mal Sharpe's Big Money in Jazz Band will play during the second seating with live music TBA during the first seating. Complimentary midnight toast and dancing.

New Year’s Day 2011 dining out options

Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto
See Above
Open 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM. Regular a la carte menu plus a la carte holiday specials including fresh local crab and prime rib.

Friday, July 30, 2010

SFChefs 2010

If you are going to be in the Bay area from August 9-15, I encourage you to check out the SFChefs 2010 event -- lots of food celebrities, lots of food and lots of spirit (including the alcoholic kind) centered around Union Square in San Francisco. There will be workshops and discussions, demonstrations, classes, tasting opportunities and more.

Proceeds from the event will support the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Foundation. The foundation grants financial scholarships to students from the Bay Area entering culinary and hospitality programs.

Here's a schedule for all the events.  Spaces are limited.  To buy tickets in advance, click here. Prices start at $20 to attend a panel discussion. To volunteer for the event, go here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

SF Best Bets for June 2010 from Budget Travel

Going to be in the San Francisco Bay area this month --- check out the top five "deals."
Click to the Budget Travel post for more info.

One of their picks is free and available anytime, not just in June -- downtown's "Tenderloin National Forest."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

So You Walked Across the Bridge, Now What?


Thanks again to Budget Travel -- here's a list of things to do once you cross the Golden Gate Bridge by car, bike or foot.
________________

About the photo: Sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge looking toward Marin County.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

San Francisco Top 100 Restaurants

Here's a link to the Bay Area's Top 100 restaurants, prepared annually by the San Francisco Chronicle.

I've eaten (over the years, not necessarily recently at 16 of them. Only 84 left to go.

Urbanstomach Does the Eating So You Don't Have To (But You'll Want To)

A relatively new (to me at least) food blog covers the true San Francisco treats -- its humble (and some not so humble) eateries, street carts and more.

Check out Urbanstomach. It will leave you hungry for more.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Five SF Guided Walking Tours

Click here for info on five walking tours of San Francisco from Budget Travel -- explore the city's architecture, Latino murals, Chinatown's alleyways and the mythic Barbary Coast. Those tours have a fee associated with them. Budget Travel also recommends a free guided tour of San Francisco's famed "painted ladies" (colorful Victorian buildings). Check out sfcityguides.org for 50 free walking-tours.

Friday, October 2, 2009

SF Essential Restaurants

Click here to see one blogger's list of the 38 "essential" restaurants in San Francisco, complete with Google map. Lots of deserving old favorites, a smattering of newcomers that have proven their worth and a few neighborhood hangouts worthy of inclusion.

Check them out.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Foodie Resources in SF -- Eat, Drink and Shop Like the Food Bloggers Do

Check out this comprehensive post from BlogHer for where to shop for foodie resoures.
Or this one on where to drink in SF.
Here's one with eating recommendations.
The above are from Genie of the Inadvertant Gardener

Here's some BlogHer recommendations from Heather from where to eat in the city that knows how (to eat at least).

Heidi of 101 Cookbooks
http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/san-francisco-favorites-recipe.html

More later. including a clean up of this very messy post

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Eat Real Festival

Live in the Bay area or visiting this weekend -- plan to stop by Oakland's Jack London Square (get there by bus, BART or ferry) for the Eat Real Festival. Sample the best of street food, local farmers and even tour the new Blue Bottle coffee roasting plant. More information here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Not Camera Shy

Budget Travel photographer David Fenton posts his 20 favorite snapshots of San Francisco along with commentary here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Have You Heard the One about the Ox in the Dim Sum Shop?

Looking for the best dim sum tidbits in the San Francisco Bay area?

SF Chronicle comes to the resuce with a Lunar New Year themed round up of local dim sum ("little bites of heaven") restaurants in the region.

Here's the link.

Includes rules for proper chopstick (or is it chopstix) use and photos of some of the different kinds of dim sum available in local joints.

Have a happy lunar new year.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Catch a Ride on the Culture Bus

File this under I had no idea and now it's (almost gone)

San Francisco has a special bus line -- the 74x that connects downtown and Golden Gate Park cultural attractions and museums.

The bus is being cut back from every 20 minutes to once an hour.

Check 511 for info and routing or read the San Francisco Chronicle story here. Check out the sfculture bus site or call 311 (as on your phone) within San Francisco for info.

This is huge news, it can take lots of transfers to get between these sites and lots of time. Plus you avoid parking and traffic jams. The bright yellow buses do cost $7 (good all day), but that's lots less than a cab and by showing your ticket at the DeYoung Museum or the Academy of Sciences you do receive discounts. If you have a SF Muni passport (which you really should if you are visiting -- it will save you a fortune on cable car rides), the culture bus is just $3.
-------------------------
About the image -- from www.sfculturebus.org


UPDATE 8/09 -- The culture bus could be a gonner due to budget cuts. Check 511.0rg for info before planning on using it.
UPDATE: 9/9 -- the bus is gone. Sigh. A victim of budget cuts.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Only in the Bay Area? Sundays at the Thai Temple

There is a remarkable experience available every Sunday in a residential neighborhood in Berkeley where the local Thai temple serves an amazing brunch. Members of the congregation cook and serve and people throughout the bay come for the steam table Thai food, the colors, sights and smells of alfresco dining, perhaps a peek at Buddha and the temple, and a feeling of connection with each other and with a country half a world away.

I first went to the Wat Mongkolratanaram temple brunch a few years ago, had a wonderful time and took some nice photos and filed it under "I need to blog about this," but got busy with other things and kinda forgot about it.

Now the Sunday morning tradition is endangered since it seems that the temple's residential neighbors are a little tired of some 1,352 visitors for brunch every Sunday and the temple's operating permit from the city only allowed three such brunches a year. The temple has filed to revamp its permit and has tried to ameliorate some of its neighbors' concerns as to parking, hours, trash, etc., so I hope some compromise can be reached at the February 12 Berkeley Zoning Adjustment Board Meeting since not only is the brunch a remarkable event to participate in, it raises a lot of money for the temple and its cultural center.

When I went, the food was good, not great. There were vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. I remember the mango sticky rice dessert with a lot of fondness. We had waited for a nice day, since all seating is outside. We went into the temple and enjoyed talking to the monk who was there from Thailand.

The site I found for the temple was all in Thai.
Info on the Thai cultural center (in English)
Save the Thai Temple has updates on the permit and links to the planning board and other sites.
This article in Harboiled, the UC Berkeley Asian American news magazine, has a lot of background
There is a Facebook page dedicated to saving the Sunday brunch and helping the Thai temple.
For more info on the food and the brunch experience, check out the temple's Yelp listing here. There are something like 271 reviews of the experience listed.

Note: Brunch hours are now 10 to 1. The temple is located at 1911 Russell St., Berkeley, CA 94703. Phone is (510) 849-3419

While I cook Thai food quite often (and eat it out even more often), I really haven't blogged much about it. You can read some of my Thai curry recipes here and here. But do what I do when I am looking for a Thai recipe, check out Chez Pim's Thai recipe category.
If you need to use public transit to go the the temple, check out 511.org to route yourself there and back.

Update: As of 4/1/09 - the temple has won prelim. approval. Brunches -- and the legal process -- continue

Friday, January 2, 2009

Some East Bay Restaurants for You to Try

Looking for some place to eat in the Oakland - Berkeley area?
I just posted a write up of my experiences at Flora, Herbivore, Vik's Chaat House and Lalimes over at Blog Appetit.

You can read all about it here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dine Around Town is Back and Some SF Foodie Goodies

Get ready for two weeks of gourmet lunches and dinners from January 15-31. A three-course lunch is just $21.95 and a dinner is just $34.95.

For all the details and more information, click here. There are oodles of restaurants to pick from, including Absinthe, which I write about here.

The Dine Around Town site is part of Taste SF, sponsored by the vistor's bureau. Check out the other features of the Only in San Francisco Taste SF website including chef profiles, info on farmers' markets and Foodie 411 , a blog all about the SF restaurant scene.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Are You a Local?

It pays to be a Bay area resident.
Show proof of a local zip code and recieve a discount or freebie from a number of San Frnacisco merchants and restaurants throughout the month of December.

Click here for more information.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Today -- Help the Hungry by Getting a Bite to Eat

From The SF Food Bank:

DINE OUT AGAINST HUNGER DECEMBER 18
13 Top Restaurants Will Donate a Portion of Proceeds to the San Francisco Food Bank

Restaurants have seen a real slump in business lately, but the folks at Maverick realized some people are facing worse circumstances – the 150,000 San Franciscans at risk of going hungry this holiday season. So Scott Youkilis and Michael Pierce created Dine Out Against Hunger, and organized some of the city’s top venues to donate up to 10% of today’s [December 18th] dinner sales to the San Francisco Food Bank, which supplies over 600 food programs throughout the city.

Participating Dine Out Against Hunger restaurants are: Maverick, Slow Club, Serpentine, Foreign Cinema, Magnolia, Sociale, Slanted Door, Kuleto's, Delfina, Americano, A16, Incanto and SPQR. Maverick will also take 10% off the tab for any customers making an additional donation to the Food Bank.

The focus is on raising cash, because for every $1 donated, the Food Bank can distribute $9 worth of food into the community – thanks to its relationships with retailers, growers and distributors. San Francisco Food Bank’s goal is to distribute 66,000 holiday meals this season.

For reservations, contact the individual restaurants; for more information, visit http://www.sffoodbank.org/.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A guide to the Ferry Plaza Market

The blog Bunrab is actually several blogs in one, a true destination site on the internet.
It's guide to the Ferry Plaza complex and its wealth of good eats is amazing.
You can find it here.

Consider this what Wikipedia calls a "stub. " I'll fill it out later with lots of links and some pix of the Ferry Plaza and its farmer's market.

Meanwhile, enjoy this taste courtesy Yummy Chow of Bunrab.