Burma Superstar

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Burma Superstar is one of those restaurants that's been around forever and has been on my list of places to eat, but since they don't take reservations the wait can be long.  Even on a Sunday lunchtime, the wait for a table was 30 minutes.  One of the dilemmas here are there are so many dishes to try, but they can't really seat large groups.
Burmese food is a mixture of Chinese, Thai and Indian food.  The flavors are usually spicy, sweet, and sour with a wide range of textures.   
The vegetable samusa soup was featured on Bay Area Backroads and Food Network.  Small crunchy samusas (fried dumplings) are mixed into a complex flavored broth.  Its more of a sweet and slightly sour type taste.  Even though the samusas are sitting in the soup, they still have some crunchy surprises to them when being ladled into your mouth.   
The tea salad here is probably one of the most famous dishes.  Ive had this dishes a couple times before having it here at Burma Superstar.  Burma Superstar has lettuce in their tea leaf salad and others Ive had before omitted this.  Again, as with most dishes here there a wide range of textures in each spoonful.  Its made up of various nuts and seeds as well as fermented tea leaves (said to be flown in from Burma), so its quite crunchy.  The salad is presented with all ingredients in their own neat piles then the server squeezes some lemon and it gets mixed up in a rolling motion.  
When its all mixed up, you get a bit of everything, although the seeds seem to be the one of the ingredients that you need to scoop up at the end.  The salad is refreshing and quite light tasting.  Although its a tea salad, there isn't much tea taste to it.  While everyone raves about this salad, I think its good, but not raveworthy.

 There are couple of options to soak up the various curries here.  A popular one is the coconut rice.  Its topped with some fried onions to give some texture to each bite.  The hint of coconut offers offers a nice dimension to all the tangy and spicy curries and other dishes.

I was slightly expecting the lamb curry to be similar to a lamb vindaloo since Burmese food has so many Indian influences.  Huge chunks of potatoes with tender pieces of lamb are mixed into a sweet curry.  I was hoping it was going to be spicy, but its not at all.  This dish is well made, but I didn't find it to be anything special.  I prefer the Indian lamb curries over this.

The platha bread is a play off of the paratha, Indian fried bread.  This was probably my favorite dish here.  The bread made up of thin layers and deep fried.  The exterior has this perfect crunch without  being greasy. 
You can sort of see the layers of bread here.

Address:                    Burma Superstar
                                   309 Clement St.
                                   San Francisco, CA
Type:                          Burmese/Chinese

Popular chomps:       tea leaf salad
                                  samusa soup
                                  coconut rice
                                  chili lamb
                                  pork belly
                                  rainbow salad
                                  ginger lemonade
                                  pumpkin pork stew
                                  nan pia dok                                  

Chomp worthy:         platha
                                  coconut rice
                                  samusa soup      


DarTealing Lounge

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Tea rooms bring out the little girl in all of us.  (FYI- there are boys here as well, but I think every boy has been forced into playing house or tea party at one time in his life.)  With our pinkies in the air, its a time where we can all dress up and sip tea and play tea party and gossip with our friends.
The tea flavors here range from the traditional Earl Grey to the intriguing coconut flavored tea. 
They even serve PB&J sandwiches with hot cocoa for the little kids.
The teasets are mismatched in a cute Mad Hatter type of way.  I had to go with a traditional Earl Grey and a funky one just for fun - Pear with Eternity tea (pear and rooibos). 
You absolutely need a tea strainer here since the leaves are quite large and annoying float out of the spout.  The Earl Grey was as an Earl Grey should be, light and earthy.  The pear tea was subtly sweet, but still refreshing.
I don't normally take sugar and milk in my tea, but at tea parties its almost a requirement with your Earl Grey.
DarTeaLing offers a couple of different options of tea service and you can add additional tea pots or extra dishes.  The Taste-Tea Service for Two ($34) comes with 8 sandwiches, scones, cookies, sausage rolls, tea loafs, and petite fours.  This tea service lets you pick two flavors of sandwiches.  I kept it traditional with chicken curry and cucumber and fresh herbs.  The tea sandwiches were properly petite, but gave you enough bites to feel satisfied.  The thinly sliced cucumber sandwich with herbs and cream were delightfully delicious.  The chicken curry sandwich had a good curry flavor.  I'm not a scone person, but the scones were fluffy and tasted good with a layer of the cream and fruit jam.  The petite fours, on the other hand, were too sweet with an overpowering almond flavor.  I regretted the one bite of cookie that I had.  Yuck.   
They had two options for biscuit spreads:  fruit jam and lemon curd.  The fruit jam by itself was just ok and worked much better alongside the cream.  The lemon curd lacked any tart flavor and was a bit too creamy.
A cousin of the English muffin, crumpets are a mainstays at proper tea parties, but this one was didn't come with our tea service and was ordered separately.  Paired with a whiskey marmalade, these biscuits have the perfect nooks and crannys for a thin layer of spread that compliments the crunchiness of the crumpet. 
The sausage biscuit was one of the few savory items on the plate.  A flaky pastry wrapped around a juicy meatball.

Address:                 DarTealing Lounge
                                470 3rd St.
                                San Francisco, CA 
Type:                       tea/British

Popular chomps:     egg salad w/bacon
                                 cucumber sandwich

Chomp worthy:        cucumber sandwich
                                 chicken curry sandwich   



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Sam's has been in the middle of Chinatown and the North Beach area for as long as I can remember.  Even the days when I would go shopping with my parents in Chinatown I would pass by it without even giving a second glance.  Always empty in the middle of the day, I'd always wondered how it stayed open.  Anthony Bourdain recently made a stop on his trip to San Francisco on The Layover and it kinda piqued by interest.  Its open till 3:30a so its another late night eats option after a night of going out. 

The menu is an array of random items from pizza to fried chicken, but I only had my eyes on one thing.  The cheeseburger.  How good could it really taste?  Not sure if its just because its late night, but the burgers weren't grilled to order and probably laying out for a while in order to sling them out fast to drunk customers.  Usually that would be the first hint to a disappointing burger, but surprisingly at first bite you could taste the charcoal grill in the meat.  Apparently, you can get a choice of a fried egg, avocado, and cheese, but in my overeagerness to get fed I overlooked that part of the menu.
Its not the best burger in town, but it is mighty tasty with a grilled taste.  The mixture of pickles, cheese, and mayo reminded me of Thousand Island dressing.  Surprisingly satisfying and worth a trip back, but next time I'll get a double cheeseburger.
The fries here came out cold, but unlike the cheeseburger, these were not good cold.  They were bland and somewhat hard.  Skip these.

Address:                 Sam's
                                618 Broadway
                                San Francisco, CA
Type:                       burger/American/late night

Popular chomps:     cheeseburger
Chomp worthy:        cheeseburger       


Blue Bottle (Oakland)

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The Blue Bottle in Oakland is their only outpost in the Bay Area outside of San Francisco.  The large building its housed in reminds me of their Williamsburg location.  When you walk up to the building, the size is misleading.  It mostly houses its roasting plant and only a small section is actually the cafe.   
The setup in side is quite tiny with only a couple window seats inside and some tables outside.  I really wished they had a couple brunch items like in the Mint Plaza location, but they do have a small selection of nibblings to compliment your coffee.
All the pastries here, such as the olive oil shortbread, parmesan shortbread with sea salt and fennel, lend a sophisticated taste to the standard coffee nibbles.
Blue Bottle's famous individual drip coffee and their double chocolate chip cookie was a nice way to enjoy some sun in Oakland.
The double chocolate chip cookie is not your average chocolate chip cookie here.  The cookie is soft and chewy with salt crystals speckled throughout the cookie for a salty surprise in each bite.  I'm more of a purist when it comes to chocolate chip cookies and wouldn't really get this again, but the taste is unique.

Address:                 Blue Bottle Coffee Co.
                                300 Webster St.
                                Oakland, CA 
Type:                       coffee

Popular chomps:     New Orleans Style iced coffee
                                 individual drip coffee

Chomp worthy:        individual drip coffee        


Mr & Mrs Miscellaneous

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Only a couple more weeks left of summer to enjoy some scoops of ice cream (although, I'm a huge fan of ice cream in the cold weather).  This is probably the second time I've been to Mr and Mrs Miscellaneous, the first time being a couple weeks after opening.  Since then the popularity of this ice cream shop in the Dogpatch has grown considerably.  Considering there isn't too much in the area (Serpentine and The Hard Knox are across the street), the line trickled all the way outside the shop.  It falls between the the slightly twist on the traditional (Bi-Rite- see post HERE) and the extremely funky (Humphrey Slocombe - see post HERE)

They make around 10 flavors daily and switch them up pretty frequently.  I didn't recognize any of the flavors from my first visit.  They have handmade waffle cones here, but when I arrived (2 hours before closing) they were already sold out!

Not your average strawberry ice cream, the strawberry Quick (yes, the one with the rabbit) was a flashback to my childhood.  It tastes exactly like strawberry quick.  Genius and delicious!

Just for size comparison, this is the junior size, which I found to be a satisfying size.  Whats ice cream without a liquor flavored ice cream.  Fernet! I'm a huge fan of the drink, but this ice cream was disappointingly flavorless.  It didn't taste anything like the herby concoction.  
San Francisco arguably has some of the best options for ice cream.  Although, Mr & Mrs Miscellaneous was deliciously creamy, I still prefer Bi-Rite.  The texture is just a little more creamy there and the salted caramel is too hard to resist.

Address:                Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
                               699 22nd St.
                               San Francisco, CA
Type:                     ice cream/dessert

Popular chomps:   birthday cake
                               peanut butter brittle cookie
                               chocolate chip cookie
                               chicory coffee
                               pink squirrel  

Chomp worthy:      strawberry quick ice cream          


Genki Crepes

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First of all, the parking in this area is horrendous, especially on Saturdays and Sundays, so when I'm in this area I try to hit up a couple food stops to make it worth the fight for parking.  Genki is one of those dessert spots that are pretty awesome for that late night sweet craving since its open till 11:30 on weekdays and 12:30a on weekends.  Not only do they sell made to order crepes, they're also a grocery store that sell small Japanese candies and knick knack items that are fun to browse through while waiting for your crepe.
Genki sells both savory and sweet crepes and both types are popular here.  For those days you are feeling especially gluttonous, they have crepes with whole slices of cheesecake wrapped in.
I'm a simple kind of girl when it comes to sweets and I don't need anything special to make me happy.  Just nutella with some fresh fruit and vanilla ice cream please.  The nutella is drizzled all over the inside of the crepe then stuffed with all things sweet.  The crepe is cracker crisp with a sweet finish.  It hit the spot on one of the last warm weekends of the summer.

Address:               Genki Crepes
                              330 Clement St.
                              San Francisco, CA
Type:                     dessert/Asian     

Popular chomps:   nutella crepes
Chomp worthy:     sweet crepes         


Doggy-Style Hot Dogs

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Doggy-Style Hot Dogs is the Bay Area's answer to Japadog in Vancouver.  I've never been to Japadog so I can't weigh in on how these Asian style hot dogs measured up to the ever so famous Japadog.  The East Bay seem to have San Francisco in the hot dog category.  Doggy-Style definitely beats out the dogs at Pig & Pie (see post HERE), but I guess you can always default to Roseamunde (see post HERE).
  There were so many delectable options here that I'll probably have to make another trip just to satisfy my curiosity.  Funniest moment of the day was when someone came in and asked if they just have regular plain old hot dogs.     

There are 8 specialty hot dogs on the regular menu with a couple as well as a couple special dogs posted around the shop.  If you aren't in a fancy mood, they have your standard hot dogs and a choice of sausages:  polish, hot link, calabrese, bratwurst, linguica, and chicken apple. 

The kimchi dog is a Korean twist on a hot dog.  A hot link grilled to perfection with an awesome snap to it is topped with kimchi, and spicy red mayo.  Cucumber spears are tucked in with the hot link for added crunchiness.  The buns here are better than I've had in a while.  Each bun is toasted and holds up to the last bite, which is surprising considering how many ingredients are stuff into each bun.

The Kare dog is one of the added special dogs in the shop.  It was my favorite of the three I had.  How can I resist Japanese curry and some of my favorite type of pickles - takuwan (yellow) and fujinzuke (red) ? You know how sometimes you eat curry and you just need some bread to sop it up.  Well, no need here, its the perfect package.  The curry is ladled with love over an all beef hot dog.  The crunch from the pickles along with the soft potatoes provide a perfect mix of taste and textures.  The curry does make the bun a little soggy, but it still holds up.
The Doggyzilla is literally a hot dog with all the fixings!  Bratwurst, an asian slaw, wasabi mayo, teriyaki sauce, and shredded nori (seaweed) all stuffed into one nicely toasted bun.  This is the dog that was splashed over Sunset Magazine and other publications, but I still preferred the others better.  High five for a solid tasting wasabi mayo.

Address:               Doggy-Style Hot Dogs
                              1234 Park St.
                              Alameda, CA 
Type:                     hot dogs/Asian/Japanese

Popular chomps:   kimchi dog
                               kare dog
                               banh mi dog

Chomp worthy:      kimchi dog
                               kare dog          


Market & Rye

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I've pretty much missed out on Top Chef Alum Ryan Scott's 3-Sum Eats truck (he's discontinuing them), so I hoped to try his next best thing - his newly opened Market & Rye sandwich shop.  He just recently opened a second location in Potrero Hill in addition to the original West Portal location.  However, the Potrero Hill location is only open Monday through Fridays. 
The sandwich shop is small and quaint.  The plentiful sunlight gives a nice environment when devouring the fresh tasting food.
Market & Rye serves up some seasonal already made salads.  You can pick one for $3.5, two for $7, or three for $10.  I chose the brussel sprout salad and a scoop of the grilled peach salad.  Grilled brussel sprouts were mixed with spicy chilis, and Parmesan dressing.  The grilled peach salad had huge slices of nicely charred peaches, charred onions, bacon, and arugula mixed with roasted shallot-buttermilk dressing.  The brussel sprout salad was my favorite of the two with crunchy brussel sprouts.  I only wished the chilis were cut a little smaller.  The slices from the peach salad were a little too big and the dressing was a little too creamy for my taste.
Originally, I came here in hopes of getting the famous fried chicken sandwich, but unfortunately its only at the Potrero Hill location.  Only till after I visited the West Portal location did I realize the menu at the Portrero location has different and more interesting items.
   One of the interesting items at the West Portal location was the chicken salad with Doritos Ranch chips.  A layer of avocado spread on your choice of bread (rye, sourdough, foccacia or whole wheat)- this one is sourdough- along with a thin layer of chicken salad, a slice of pepperjack cheese, iceburg lettuce, and Doritos Cool Ranch chips.  I really wanted to like this sandwich, but there wasn't much chicken salad in the sandwich and there was way too much mayo for me.  Also, the pepperjack didn't seem like it was even pepperjack.  It was more mild in flavor and I thought it was provolone.  The layer of Cool Ranch Doritos was a nice touch, but the crispiness of that plus the thick layers of iceburg lettuce made the sandwich too crunchy. 

The reuben chicken meatball had 1000 Island dressing, sauerkraut, red cabbage slaw, and swiss cheese.  The sandwich needed some extra oomph and seemed a bit too mild.  Again, the mayo seems to be a little heavy handed at this place. 

Address:                 Market & Rye
                                68 W. Portal Ave.
                                San Francisco, CA
Type:                       American/sandwich

Popular chomps:     reuben meatball sandwich
                                brussel sprout salad
                                truffled egg salad sandwich
                                rootbeer float twinkies
                                cornflake crusted chicken sandwich
                                chicken salad sandwich with Doritos ranch chips      

Chomp worthy:       brussel sprout salad        


Brodard Restaurant

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It seems to be the general consensus among many that the nem nuong cuon (pork spring rolls) are to die for here.  That amongst a couple other dishes seem to draw a huge crowd.  This place has a ridiculous wait.  Just to give you a better picture - this is how many people showed up at 9:30a and even more people were waiting when I was leaving! 
The spring rolls here are so popular they have a nonstop assembly line wrapping them and even with that I still had to wait 20 minutes for mine!
I've seen macarons sold at other Vietnamese shops before, but I've often ignore it.  I read somewhere that Brodard's macarons were superior to that of Laduree in Paris, where they actually wowed me, so I figured I had to pick some up and do a taste test.
For $1.25 each, they offer 12 flavors of macarons here (not in order): coconut, salted caramel, pistachio, durian, taro, hazelnut, chocolate, raspberry, coffee, lemon, orange, mango-passionfruit.  They are pretty good, definitely one of the better ones that I've had, but not even close to the league of Laduree's.  The outside is chewy and the creme is very flavorful with a true showcase of each of the flavors.  Laduree's has a light crisp crust when you bite into it then it has a soft chewiness.  
My favorite flavor of the bunch was salted caramel ( I should have bought more!) and the worst is durian, not that the durian one was bad tasting, more like it actually tasted like durian, which I dislike.
The chao tom cuon (shrimp spring rolls) is rolled with a dense shrimp cake, cucumbers, lettuce, carrot, daikon, mint, and cilantro.  I preferred this one over their original nem nuong cuon.  The shrimp was flavorful and had a nice springy texture and the sweetness of their house sauce complimented well with the sweetness from the shrimp.

Nem chua cuon is cured beef wrapped with cucumbers, cilantro, carrot, and mint.  The cured beef gives this roll a very sour and somewhat pungent taste.  Nem chua isn't one of my favorite Vietnamese meats, but the meat was pretty flavorful with a solid sour kick.

The infamous nem nuong cuon (pork rolls).  Although these are professionally wrapped and not sloppily made by yours truly, I still prefer the ones at Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa (see post HERE).  I prefer mine to have a more standout crispy bit and more crunchy texture, usually from the pickled vegetables I add myself at Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa.  Also, the meat doesn't seem as flavorful as Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa's.  Still it is good if you haven't had Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa's.

I was kind of surprised they gave nuoc mam (fish sauce) with all the rolls in addition to their famous house sauce.  The nuoc mam here is more on the very sweet side and even though it has some chili flakes, it doesn't have much heat.

The nem nuong sauce at Brodards by far superior to that of Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa (sorry, sis).  Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa's is a little flat tasting, while Brodard's secret sauce has more depth of flavors.  I liked how they put a lot of chunks of garlic in the sauce.  

Address:                  Brodard Restaurant
                                 9892 Westminister Ave.
                                 Garden Grove, CA 
Type:                       Vietnamese

Popular chomps:      nem nuong cuon
                                 bun bo hue
                                 bo luc lac (shaken beef)
Chomp worthy:        macarons
                                 nem nuong cuon