L'epi D'or Bakery

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There's nothing more than I love than bread, except Asian breads.  L'epi Dór Bakery is another Asian bakery in the South Bay that serves up some Taiwanese and Japanese baked goods.  Along with various sweets, they do offer a wide selection of savory items, much more than at Clover Bakery (see post HERE) and Paris Bakery (see post HERE).

Up until this point, I've only eaten a couple of these savory Asian bun sandwiches so this fried chicken bun was something new.  Fried chicken strips along wtih crispy chunks cucumber that added even more crunch to the sweet, soft bun.  Pretty good, but I just wished that it was warm or served fresh.

 I've had the yakisoba bun at Clover Bakery and this one is completely different.  The yakisoba (fried noodles) is obviously made from the instant package you can buy at any Japanese market, but its still delicious.  Some added crunch or another texture would have been nice with this one.
With everything fried and stuffed into these mini sweet buns, its no surprise that a hash brown bun is offered here.  One hash brown patty is sliced in half then stuffed with a tomato and some slices of cucumber for crunch.  I really wanted to like this one, but its missing some sauce or another flavor to really kick it up.

Ah, the infamous spaghetti buns are also offered here.  Thin vermacelli noodles tossed in a sweet tomato sauce then stuffed into the bun.  L'epi D'or's version is topped with meatball instead of slices of hot dogs.  I prefer Clover's spaghetti buns to this one.  It seemed flavorless and the meat was dry. 

The fried bun with pickled mustard used the same fried buns that are usually found stuffed with curry.  This time its stuffed withe Chinese mustard greens that offer a little bit of sour, bitter, and crunch.

Address:                L'epi D'or Bakery
                               19675 Stevens Creek Blvd
                               Cupertino, CA 
Type:                      bakery/Asian/Japanese/Taiwanese

Popular chomps:    custard bun
                                bento boxes
                                milk bread 

Chomp worthy:       fried chicken bun
                                yakisoba bun    


Tani's Kitchen

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I've eaten at almost all the known Japanese curry spots in the city:  Muracci's (see post HERE), Volcano curry (see post HERE),Kare-Ken (see post HERE), and Delica with Muracci's being my absolute favorite.  Tani's Kitchen is a favorite amongst people living on the outer areas of the city so I had to check it out to complete my list.   First of all, this place is very, very small and very, very popular.  Its best to order to go, but even then the wait time is quite long.  

Besides the curries and donburis, the tamago is a must order item.  Totally hype worthy, these fluffy tamagos are some of the best I've had in the city.  I never used to give this sushi a second look, but after a trip to Japan, it opened my eyes to how amazingly delicious tamago can be if done right.  Soft with a creamy and spongy texture, this egg sushi oozes just the right amount of sweetness.

Its hard to say why people like the curry from this place, especially when there are some good spots to choose from.  The karaage (fried chicken) was burnt and I actually stopped eating it halfway, which is a rarity for me when it comes to fried food.  The curry was just your standard Japanese box curry with an absence of vegetables, but made much too salty.  No heat either. 

One look at the tonkatsu curry I hoped that the extra dark crust was only aesthetically burnt looking, but it was hard and dry.  The meat inside was dry and overcooked.  The curry only added to the saltiness of the dish. There was a noticeable absence of the red pickle ( fukujinzuke).

Address:               Tani's Kitchen
                              32 Park Plz Dr.
                              Daly City, CA 
Type:                     Japanese

Popular chomps:   tamago sushi
                               spicy hamburger steak
                               karaage curry
                               chicken karaage donburi

Chomp worthy:      tamago sushi


Waffle Amore

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I'm not stranger to liege waffles so I was a little worried when I didn't smell the scent of freshly made waffles floating through the air like at New York's Wafel and Dinges (see post HERE), but my worries were quickly appeased with their gigantic delicious waffles.  If only they had a storefront so I don't go on chasing this yellow truck all around San Jose for my waffle fix. 

My first choice, the liege waffle, was all sold out that day, so the Brussels waffle would have to do for now.  Their savory take on the Brussels waffle included a bacon cheddar waffle.  Bacon and cheddar is baked into the waffle then topped with sour cream, cheddar, and green onions with the obvious option of a runny egg for me.  Each bite of the waffle gave a nice balance of salty with sweet bits.  The waffle has a nice golden crust, but its light and airy inside.

     A dessert waffle is a must, especially knowing how delicious their waffles are.  The waffles are buttery and sweet, but surprisingly not heavy.  I love how the caramel rum sauce soaked into the nooks and crannies of the waffle.

Address:                Waffle Amore
                               San Jose, CA
Type:                      dessert/food truck

Popular chomps:    liege waffle
                                banana fosters waffle
                                bacon cheddar waffle

Chomp worthy:       banana fosters waffle
                                bacon cheddar waffle         


Tribune Tavern

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Right below the historic Tribune tower lies the Tribune Tavern.  Dark and mysterious, but with some awesome outside and window seating, Tribune Tavern is great place to enjoy the upcoming warm summer nights.  Its best to come hungry with no plans to do anything after.  The food is heavy and filling, but exactly the type of menu when you think of a tavern.

Possibly the most generous amount of spreadable meats I've ever had.  The potted rabbit was creamy and delicious.  Even with a generous coating on each piece of toast, there was quite a bit of rabbit leftover.  A couple more slices of toast would have been perfect.

The grilled ox tongue was so tender it could melt in your mouth.  The sliced radishes brought some freshness and crunch to each bite.

The pork trotter and cheek fritter was kinda delicious.  Tender shreds of meat encased in a fried shell.   Its hard not to love anything fried.  The sprinkle of fava beans made you feel less guilty about eating something fried.

Chuck and brisket make this burger flavorful, but oddly it lacked any juiciness.  $2 extra for bacon, but at this point it was meat overload for me.  The fries were nice and crisp with a good amount of salt.

Its hard to find sheperd's pie in the Bay Area and Cheesecake Factory doesn't count.  Usually, I find that most are too salty or oily, but Tribune Tavern's was quite tasty.  Double meat filling made with lamb and braised beef .  I only wished the Parmesan mash had little more flavor and texture. 

Its a shame that TCHO chocolate was made into this pot de creme.  The marshmallow topping made it all too sweet and hard to enjoy the lovely TCHO chocolate. 

Address:                 Tribune Tavern
                                401 13th St.
                                Oakland, CA
Type:                       American/British/gastropub

Popular chomps:      guilty fries
                                  bangers and mash
                                  shepard's pie

Chomp worthy:         potted rabbit
                                  grilled ox tongue
                                  pork trotter and cheek fritter


Rich Table

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Finally after months of trying to get a reservation, I scored some weekday seats. I did notice that when Rich Table first opened seats were easily attainable, but now with all the recent press its impossible to get a table 30 days out.

Seems like these days the "in" bread is the levain bread.  Rich Table's own version is douglas fir levain bread.  Although I love and adore the slight bitterness from levain bread, I found this one to have a strange aftertaste.  Also, the bread is cut much too thick for my liking.  Loaves are available for $7.
Sardine Chips at Rich Table-  2013 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats

A new meaning to chips and dip.  Small fried fish are interwoven into a thinly sliced potato chip like a work of art.  Horseradish and chive dipping sauce with oddly placed arugula leaves.  Creative and fun. 

These fried porcini balls of dough are a savory take on doughnuts.  Although delicious and earthy, these doughnuts did get heavy and filling after the first one.

The chicken cannelloni along with the porcini doughnuts were probably my two favorites from this meal.  While the leaves looked strangely like something from my parent's garden, the pasta was delicious and the chicken tender and flavorful.

The pasta here is on the hard side of al dente.  The tagliatelle was mixed with dry aged beef, and charred cabbage.  Good, but felt like it was missing something.  Also, I wasn't so into the sprout topping.  While I love sprouts, I just didn't see the point and thought the dish could do without it.

Address:                  Rich Table
                                 199 Gough St.
                                 San Francisco, CA
Type:                       American

Popular chomps:     sardine chips
                                 levain bread
                                 porcini doughnuts

Chomp worthy:        porcini doughnuts
                                 chicken cannelloni      


Jules Thin Crust

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Zachery's a household name and institution in all East Bay homes.  Its thick deep dish pizza has had deep rooted food memories for many people so in a way in makes me chuckle that Jules Thin Crust made its home across the street from Zachery's.  It's literally everything opposite of Zachery's - modern atmosphere, ultra fresh ingredients, and very thin crust.  In a town where pizza is literally everywhere from Cheeseboard (see post HERE) to Arinell's (see post HERE), its hard to see where a place like Jules Thin Crust.  Pizza is often thought of only having two categories: thin crust and deep dish, but Jules Thin Crust puts itself in a category of its own - the very thin crust.
Its hard to choose which slice to eat, but I suggest those with the fresh vegetables.  This veggie pizza was a special that was topped with ricotta cheese, spring peas, and mushrooms.  Crazy delicious, it tasted as if every vegetable was just picked straight out of the garden.

The "01" (left) was topped with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, organic tomato sauce, and mozzarella.  All the ingredients were fresh and flavorful.  While each slice was delicious, the meat ingredients tend to be a little on the oily side and weighed down the lovely thinness of the pizza.  The "06" was a thin crust with buffalo hormone free roasted chicken, gorgonzola, buffalo dressing, celery, arugula, mozzarella.  Loved the little slices of celery that gave the slice a fresh crunch.

Address:                 Jules Thin Crust
                                5804 College Ave.
                                Oakland, CA
Type:                       pizza

Popular chomps:     thin crust pizzas        

Chomp worthy:       vegetable thin crust pizzas       


Trick Dog

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I've been wanting to eat here since they first opened, but the stories of the lines out the door kept me away.  Possibly an urban myth, but I never saw any lines here and was able to be seated right away.  You can opt to eat at the bar or their upstairs table seating section.  Words of advice on ordering here:  the dishes are really well priced and portioned larger than your average SF food; get drinks since the food is a little on the saltier side (not a bad thing).

Fun and creative, Trick Dog puts their drink menu on a pantone menu.

I love pickles.  The more original the better.  This pickle platter was gigantic.  Various veggies with what tasted like three different types of pickling were fun to taste and try.  Most interesting was the jelly looking substance on the wooden plank.  After some poking and prodding, I discovered it was a jelly of pickle juice.  Very creative.

Whats a place in the mission without a nod to its Mexican influences in the area?  The chunks of pork belly are crispy on the outside and cooked with brown sugar, salt and spices.  The dipping sauce is haunting similar to Tapatio. 

When I think of pimento cheese, I think oddly colored cheese dip from the 80s.  This dip was addictively delicious.  Made with cheddar cheese, Spanish cherry peppers, garlic, and vermouth, this dip has a good kick.  Best are the guilt free vegetables provided for scooping into the rich, creamy, "this is so bad for me, but I can't stop eating it" dip.

Deep fried tempura avocados.  There is so many "wow" things from that statement that it was heartbreaking when I bit into the soggy avocado.  Such potential with this dish, but it just needed the battery crunch! 

Of course, beer nuts are a must when you have drinks in hand.  Spanish nuts candied in Miller High Life (yes, the beer!), espelette chili, Lyle’s Golden Syrup & orange.  The texture is similar to boiled soybeans, in other words, soft.  Takes a while to get used to, but they are quite snackable. 

Another item that I think needs to make more of an appearance on SF menus - beef tartare.  The sirloin is sous vide, but still rare and combined with an egg yolk, capers, and mustard.  Fresh tasting and flavorful, its the perfect spread for the crispy toast.

I was really excited seeing scotch egg on this menu.  Why are there not more scotch eggs in the city?  This one was creatively put together with crab meat surrounding the egg instead of sausage.  Crisp with runny insides, the order only includes one egg, so keep this in mind if you aren't the sharing type.

Not just your average hamburger.  Trick Dog's burger is shaped like a hot dog, but its actually a hamburger.  Its fun take on a hamburger almost made me feel confused when I ate it, but its full of flavor and juicy meat quickly had my taste buds recognize this is one damn good burger.

At first glance of this menu item, I almost didn't order it thinking the rice cake was more of the Korean style type rice cake, but good thing I did order it.  The crispy rice cake that reminded me of hash browns was probably one of my favorite items on the menu and made think how can I recreate this at home.  Chewy with crispy edges, its everything that I love about all things rice.  The rice cake soaked up in the lemon grass pork and the fish sauce vinaigrette flavors made it even better.

Giant Kennebec potatoes that are thrice cooked!  They are boiled & twice-fried.  An extra $2 turns these tubers into manimal style.  The tricky wordplay made me think of In-N-Out's animal style, but really its topped with cheese, a pickly vegetable that I think is spinach, and a secret sauce.

The ice cream desserts seem to change, but today's was the fruity pebbles cereal ice cream.  Fruity pebbles made me flashback a little and ask myself, "Do they even sell the cereal in the stores anymore?" The ice cream is creamy and smooth and reminds me of Frozen Custard's cereal milk (see post HERE) with the exact flavor of Fruity Pebbles cereal.  Also, more Fruity Pebbles cereal is crumbled and sprinkled on top, which answered my original question, "I guess they do still sell the cereal".  A pretty perfect ending.

Address:                 Trick Dog
                                3010 20th St.
                                San Francisco, CA

Type:                      gastropub

Popular chomps:     hamburger

Chomp worthy:       hamburger
                                pickle plate
                                ice cream
                                pimento cheese
                                rice plate


Galette 88

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Galette 88 is a little bit of a lunchtime trek.  Its obscure location in Downtown makes it seem like a hidden gem, but once you open the door the crowds make you feel like you are the last to know about this fantastic lunchtime option. 

The Complete at Galette 88-  2013 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats
The Complete has emmentaler cheese, ham, soft cooked egg.  I wish the egg was a little more runny, but it still came out to be the perfect package.  Love the little crunchy bits of crepe on the side.  The size of the crepes are quite large and makes it a good sharing size, if you want to make room for dessert, which I highly recommend.

Smoked salmon in crepes is a love of mine.  Bruce's choice is smoked salmon, caramelized onions, capers, lemon-chive creme fraiche all folded into a freshly made buckwheat crepe.  All the ingredients are just so fresh and tasty.  Love the lightly tossed salads on top of all the savory crepes, which gives just enough acidity to break through the savoriness.  

Even after savory crepes, there is always room for sweet, dessert crepes.  A totally different crepe batter.  Light and airy with just a hint of sweetness then topped with Nutella, bananas, and powered sugar.  Let's face it, anything with Nutella will always be delicious, but the base of this crepe makes it even more delicious and hits the spot.  Hard to say which is better - the savory crepes or the sweet crepes.  Just get both!

Address:                  Galette 88
                                 88 Hardie Pl
                                 San Francisco, CA 
Type:                        French

Popular chomps:      the complete
                                  other mushroom crepe 
                                  bruce's choice
Chomp worthy:         bruce's choice
                                  the complete


Orale Fish Tacos

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I'm still searching for a fish taco in the Bay Area like I had at LA's Ricky's Fish Tacos (see post HERE).  Orale's Fish Tacos is situated in the quiet suburb of Campbell.

With a plethora of seafood options, the only thing I wanted was the fish tacos.  Even just narrowing it down to fish, they had a choice of salmon, halibut, tilapia, and the breaded halibut.  One order of breaded halibut (right) and one tilapia (left) covered the basics.  Seemly similar orange Baja sauce and shredded cabbage topped each of the tacos, but the similarity stopped there.  The breading was too thick and overcooked.  Even with the breading, it didn't stop the unfresh fishy taste to peek through.  Same for the tilapia.  Chunks of white fish that tasted like they were prefrozen, even lime couldn't hide the fishy flavor.

Large chunks of shrimp cerviche piled on top of a crispy tostada.  Unfortunately, the plump shrimp only looked enticing, but the taste was far from. 

Address:                 Orale Fish Tacos
                                1750 Winchester Blvd
                                Campbell, CA 
Type:                       Mexican/seafood

Popular chomps:     fish tacos
                                fish burritos  

Chomp worthy:       nothing