Il Cane Rosso

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Its hard to say exactly what Il Cane Rosso.  Its a mix of Italian, American, sandwiches, and basically, carnage.  Although, I think one word best describes this place:  hearty.  All the dishes here let you walk away pretty satisfied and fulfilled.  The menu changes daily as well as for breakfast and lunch.  This place is one of the more popular spots in the SF Ferry Building (even though its hidden in the corner), so the lines do get quite long and the dishes sell out quickly throughout the day.  
Beef Stew - #4 on SF Foodie 92 list
Beef stew.  First of all, this does not come with bread.  You have to order it separately, which I recommend.  What's a beef stew without bread?  Also, its Acme bread (my favorite).  When this dish came out, I was expecting more of a chunky meat version versus their grounded beef take on beef stew.  Nevertheless, the stew is quite delicious.  Very comforting and homey.

Warm egg salad sandwich - #14 on 2012 7x7 Top 100 Things to Eat SF
The warm egg salad sandwich is another popular dish at Il Cane Rosso.  Its a simple dish of basic egg salad served on an open faced toasted bread.  Its put in the oven after prepping for a couple minutes to heat up the egg salad.

Address:                        Il Cane Rosso
                                              1 Ferry Bldg
                                              Ste 41
                                              San Francisco, CA

Type:                                 American/sandwiches/Italian

Popular chomps:   warm egg salad sandwich
                                                braised pork sandwich
                                                beef stew
                                               roast beef sandwich

Chomp worthy:       warm egg salad sandwich
                                               beef stew     



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This winter has been unseasonably warm so its been almost refreshing to eat something cold.  Cream is located in the old Mrs Field's location on Telegraph in Berkeley.  You can mix and match your favorite cookie and ice cream then they smoosh it together to make you an ice cream sandwich.  You can even choose two different cookies or even multiple cookies for a layered ice cream sandwich!  Also, its only $2 each!
Sugar cookie with salted caramel ice cream.  One of the best things about these sandwiches is the cookies are WARM, but it makes it a little tricky to eat.  The ice cream melts pretty quickly so be warned and chomp it fast!  I was hoping for a salted caramel flavor similar to my favorite at Bi Rite, but this one lacked the saltiness that gives the flavor its bite.
Chocolate chip cookie with mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich.  You can't go wrong with a classic.  This flavor combination is one of the most popular choices here.

Address:                          Cream
                                                2399 Telegraph Ave.
                                                Berkeley, CA                                 

Type:                         dessert/snacks/casual

Popular chomps:    chocolate chip cookies with mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich
Chomp worthy:        chocolate chip cookies with mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich 


Miette Patisserie

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Miette Patisserie is a french bakery located inside the SF Ferry building and in Hayes Valley.  They sell macaroons, cakes, and cookies.
#48 on 2012 SF Tops 100 Eats - Gingersnap cookies
I'm not a huge fan of gingersnaps, but these slightly crunchy cookies had a bearable taste of ginger with a sprinkling of sugar on top.

Address:                         Miette
                                               1 Ferry Building #10
                                               San Francisco, CA
Type:                                  bakery/french

Popular Chomps:   gingersnap cookies

Chomp worthy:         gingersnap cookies


PPQ Dungeness Island

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It has been a couple months since crab season started and I'm almost embarssed to say this is the first time I've had crab since.  There are couple famous Asian (Vietnamese/Chinese) crab style places located in San Francisco. Thanh Long and Crustaceans are two of the mainstream popular restaurants for roasted crab, but most asian people tend to favor PPQ. 
PPQ provides a set menu depending on number of people, but we chose to just eat crab and the garlic noodles.

Roasted crab.  This is the dish that most people associate with Vietnamese style crab, which is what PPQ is known for.  The dish is a roasted whole crab with LOTS of garlic butter sauce.  Pretty messy, but PPQ supplies you with your own crab cracking utensils and a bib.  The crab meat is sweet and tender with nice touches of garlic butter.
Peppercorn crab.  I prefer this crab over the traditional roasted crab.  It has a lightly fried batter with whole peppercorns that gives the taste a slight peppery spiciness. 
Besides the crabs, PPQ is known for their garlic noodles.  Its pretty common to see garlic noodles served with roasted crab in these types of restaurants.  The garlic noodles here are delicious.  Super garlicy and buttery.  You almost have to stop yourself from gorging out on them.
After all that garlic, butter, and salty flavors, its refreshing to bite into some fried bananas and ice cream.  They give you two scoops of ice cream:  coconut and mango. 
Address:                      PPQ Dungeness Island
                                            2332 Clement St.
                                            San Francisco, CA

Type:                               seafood/Chinese/Vietnamese

Popular chomps:  set menu
                                             roasted crab
                                             peppercorn crab
                                             garlic noodles

Chomp worthy:      seabass
                                             peppercorn crab
                                             garlic noodles 


Huong Que Cafe

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I had heard Huong Que Cafe's Chicken Pho was better than Turtle Tower in San Francisco.  I had to see for myself.  The menu for Huong Que Cafe is set up very similar to Turtle Tower - simple with mostly chicken items on the menu.
Huong Que Cafe gives you a sauce made from ginger, and green onions to dip your chicken in.  It's probably one of the things they are known for here.  Honestly, I didn't find anything fascinating about it.  I grew up with a similar sauce for chicken dishes.  The ginger-scallion sauce does give you a nice option to dip the chicken in.  The salty flavor of the sauce gives the lightly tasting chicken some spice.  You can make this at home by finely mincing up ginger and green onions, a little salt, and then pouring hot oil on top.
House made jalapenos!  I thought these lightly pickled jalapenos were so delicious.   Even though they were stored in their own juices, each piece remained crunchy and spicy.
I ordered the same style pho ga (without the bone) that I do at Turtle Tower so I could judge both soups fairly.  Huong Que Cafe does offer the pho ga with the meat on the bones, but that is too much work for me.  The broth here doesn't have as much flavor as Turtle Tower.  It seems to be on the watery side.  Also, the noodles are mushy.  The jalapenos and the sauce are probably the only things this place has going for it.  Turtle Tower is still my favorite in the bay area for Chicken Pho (Pho Ga)

Address:                       Pho Ga Huong Que Cafe
                                             1228 7th Ave
                                             Oakland, CA

Type:                               Chinese/Vietnamese/casual

Popular chomps:  Pho Ga
                                               ginger-scallion sauce

Chomp worthy:        housemade jalapenos 


Hershey's Kisses Candy Cane

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Chocolate + candy cane.  I'm not a huge fan of candy canes.  Halfway through, I usually get tired of them.  It's like a mint overload.  I had some doubts buying these, but decided to be festive anyways.  These Christmas kisses had the perfect ratio of chocolate and mint.  One thing to note is that it's actually white chocolate, so it is a little sweeter than the normal kisses.  When you bite into one, tiny candy candy pieces explode minty flavors.   It's Christmas in your mouth.


Ramen Dojo

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I arrived at Ramen Dojo on a Monday, 30 minutes before opening for dinner (5:30) and there was still a line!  I can only speak for the weekdays, but I'd suggest arriving here before 5p to secure yourself a seat for the first seating.   
There are few appetizers to choose from to snack on while you wait for your ramen to cook.  It mostly contained the usual suspects: gyoza, karaage, etc.  The shrimp in fried tofu sounded the most interesting and was one of the house special items.
I was expecting something different based on the name of dish.  Minced shrimp, mushroom, and bamboo shoots wrapped in tofu wrapped and deep fried.  I really liked the crunchiness from the bamboo shoots - really surprisingly delicious dish. 
I'm not sure if my expectations were too high coming into this place (same owners as famously loved Santa Ramen and people swearing this ramen is better than Santouka's).  First of all this ramen is really different than Santouka's.  Ramen Dojo is known for their spicy ramen versus Santouka is known for their rich pork broth.  When I think about spicy ramen, I think about something like Tan Tan Men (check out Tan Tan Men @ Himawari HERE) which is spiced up with chili flakes and chili oil.  Ramen Dojo's ramen is more of a peppery spicy flavor.  I got to taste both their extra spicy and their regular spicy flavored garlic pork broth.  Extra spicy wasn't that spicy, just more pepper.  After slurping down a bowl, I still think that Santouka's ramen is the best in the bay area (check out my review on Santouka HERE) .  The pepper really overshadows the pork broth here.  I do like the noodles here - very dense and chewy.    I might just be a purist when it comes to ramen. 
Address:                          Ramen Dojo
                                         805 S B St.
                                         San Mateo, CA

Type:                               Japanese/ramen/soup/casual

Popular chomps:              spicy garlic pork broth ramen
                                         fried tofu with shrimp
                                         spicy fried chicken

Chomp worthy:                fried tofu with shrimp

Random facts:                 same owners as Santa Ramen


Mission Pie

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As I've gotten older, I really grown to love banana cream pie.  Mushy and sweet bananas all wrapped up in fluffy, smooth cream with a buttery flakey crust.  

Address:                        Mission Pie
                                              2901 Mission St.
                                              San Francisco, CA

Type:                                dessert/casual

Popular chomps:   banana cream pie

Chomp worthy:         banana cream pie


El Hurache Loco

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Hurache with cactus salad (nopales) - #60 on 2011 7x7 SF's top 100 Things to eat
Its always nice to try something different than the usual tacos, and burritos.  Huraches are a flat oval tortilla stuffed with refried beans.  This is my first time having hurache so I don't have much to compare it with.  I made a special trip to the Alemany Farmers Market (Saturday AM) just to taste one.  I chose the cactus (nopales).  The texture of the tortilla is kinda doughy and slightly chewy.  Its topped with jalapenos, diced bits of cactus, cheese, and cilantro.  Tasty, spicy, tangy, and full of flavor!

Address:                          El Hurache Loco
                                                various famers' markets
                                                1803 Larkspur Landing Circle
                                                Larkspur, CA 

Type:                                 Mexican/casual

Popular chomps:    Hurache nopales (cactus)

Chomp worthy:          Hurache nopales


All Star Tamales

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Mmm..tamales...little packages of yummy goodness. Unfortunately for me, I don't have anyone to make these babies fresh for me anymore so I've had to resort to buying them.  The worst is buying them, only to unwrap them and find that they are either too dry or the meat/filling to masa ratio is disappointing.  All Star Tamales makes an appearance at a couple different Bay Area Farmers markets (Civic Center, Alamany, Walnut Creek, and Oakland)  through the week.  Also, these tamales are lard free! 
Red pork tamale.  Pork tamales are my benchmark taste test when it comes to tamales.  So tender and flavorful!  This tamale probably has the most amount of filling I've ever had in a tamale - super plus!  It comes with two sauces, but the shredded pork is so flavorful that the sauce is unnecessary.  Tip - If you buy them in cold and in bulk, it's cheaper.

Address:                     All Star Tamales          
                                    various farmer's markets
Type:                          Mexican/casual

Popular chomps:         green chile
                                     red pork
                                     spinach and cheese
                                     chicken mole
Chomp worthy:            red pork tamale


Shanghai Dumpling King

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Waiting outside for our table I heard someone say to her friend, "I heard the Shanghai Dumplings are good here."  Jeez, what gave that away...
The restaurant is really small so the wait can get quite lengthy.  Right before you sit down you preorder with a server so your food will arrive by the time you sit, so make sure you look over the menu while you wait.
I wasn't really keen on ordering a vegetable dish, but the server urged and upsold us on the daily vegetable of the day.  Today, it happened to be pea sprouts with ham.  I'm glad we ended up ordering.  The vegetables were really well cooked and so fresh.
"Lion Head" Meatballs (dry). (#37)  This dish actually shows on the menu as a soup, but, again, the server said dry is better.  These meatballs were so tender and juicy.  The meatballs just fell apart when you cut them.

Hung zhou crab & pork steamed dumplings.  The wrappers on these dumplings were really thin and delicate, which challenged my chopstick skills (it needs work apparently).  Each bundle contained a lot of soup, but somehow weren't steaming hot when pierced. 
Xiu Long bao - #13 on 2011 7x7 SF's 100 Things to Eat
Finally, the xiu long bao (aka xlb) arrived.  What a disappointment!  The skins were a lot thicker than the crab dumplings and hardly any soup. 
Tianjin Steamed Dumpling.  Honestly, when they brought this steamer to the table I didn't have any interest to really eat this since I was here to eat the soup type dumplings.  These dumplings turned out to be even better than the other two trays of dumplings.  The bun is really soft and fluffy with a hint of sweetness that makes it pretty addicting.  Inside is minced meat with glass noodles.  Delicious!

Address:                         Shanghai Dumpling King
                                               3319 Balbao St.
                                               San Francisco, CA  

Type:                                 Chinese/casual

Popular chomps:    Xiu Long Bao (XLB) (#4)
                                               Green onion pancake (#21)
                                               Sugar egg puff (#141)
Chomp worthy:      Tianjin steamed dumplings (#6)
                                Lion Head Meatballs (#37)


Lucca Delicatessen

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Lucca is in the heart of the Marina district.  Its a small Italian deli where you can pick up sandwiches or Italian goodies.
This place is always crowded.  Make sure you walk to the middle of the counter and pick up a number to place your order.  Plan to wait at least 15 minutes from walking in to sandwich in hand. 
The potato salad is served by the pound and one of the more popular side dishes here.  The potatoes in this salad are sliced versus the usual cubed or chunk potatoes.  It gives it a nice smooth, creamy texture, but still makes you feel like you are eating potatoes.  A very light tasting potato salad with a hint of tangy, vinegary taste. 
The homemade ravioli are filled with beef and spinach.  So good!
Super Sandwich #1 - #57 on 2011 7x7 SF 100 Things to Eat
You can customize your sandwich, but the #1 is the most popular sandwich here.  Its an Italian sub with lots of meat between two slices of bread.  Everything includes ham, salami, mortadella, provolone, tomato, lettuce, Italian peppers, mayo and mustard.  I had it on dutch crunch, but the dutch crunch was as crunchy on top as I'm used to.

Address:                        Lucca Delicatessen 
                                              2120 Chestnut St.
                                              San Francisco, CA  

Type:                               Italian/sandwiches/deli/casual

Popular chomps:  super sandwich #1
                                              potato salad
                                              homemade ravioli

Chomp worthy:      homemade ravioli


Kwik Way Drive In

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Nestled right in the heart of the Lake Merritt area of Oakland is this retro burger spot.  It has the most random menu items - from enchiladas to fried chicken.
Kwik Way is supposedly known for their milkshakes.  I'm not even sure if they use real ice cream (highly doubtful).  Although it tastes pretty good compared to the rest of the food, you can tell from the picture its a syrup.
Nothing special about the fries here.  I think its sprinkled with parsley and has a slight garlic flavor, possibly from a garlic salt or powder. 
This burger is really unusual for a couple differerent reasons:  the patty is seasoned like gyro meat and the cheeseburger comes with white cheddar.  Really odd and doesn't really seem to work well.

Address:                       Kwik Way
                                      500 Lake Park Ave.
                                      Oakland, CA
Type:                            burger/casual      
Popular chomps:          milkshake
Chomp worthy:             nothing  

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

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The Absinthe burger is a popular item here and one of the favorite burgers in the city.  Marin Sun Farms ground beef, aioli, red onion, housemade pickles, gouda, and lettuce.  A juicy burger, but I wasn't a fan of the smoked gouda.  I really enjoyed the housemade pickles, though.
Light, thin, crispy fries fried in rice oil.  Yum!

Address:                    Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
                                    398 Hayes St.
                                    San Francisco, CA 
Type:                        French/burger/brunch/casual

Popular chomps:       burger  

Chomp worthy:        fries


Bouchon Bistro

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Mmm.. you can never go wrong with a half dozen Kumamoto oysters.  Sweet, but slightly briny.
Moules.  Steamed mussels.  Fresh and delicious.
and frites!  Can't have moules without frites.  Bouchon probably has some of the best fries outside of McDonalds.  Thin, but crispy. 

As much as I love Thomas Keller, Bouchon has to be one of my least favorites.  While Bouchon bakery churns out some really great breads, Bouchon itself is very average.  If you MUST come here, I'd suggest going for brunch and/or getting the seafood platters.

Address:                           Bouchon Bistro
                                                 6534 Washington St.
                                                 Yountville, CA                                

Type:                                   French/casual/brunch

Popular chomps:     Croque Madame
                                                  fruits de mer

Chomp worthy:        fries        
Random facts:        Other locations include Beverly Hills and New York


Namu @ the SF farmer's market

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Namu's Korean taco - #89 on 2011 7x7 SF's 100 Things to Eat

Address:                          Namu @ SF Farmer's Market (Saturdays)
                                                Ferry Building
                                                San Francisco, CA

Type:                                  Korean fusion/casual

Popular chomps:    Korean taco

Chompworthy:          nothing

Random facts:         Korean taco is #89 on 2011 7x7 SF's 100 Things to Eat