Wednesday, February 25, 2015

San Francisco: Bangkok Noodles & Thai B.B.Q.


Bangkok Noodles & Thai B.B.Q.  110 Powell St., 2 blks. to Union Square, (415) 397-2199.  Cash only.  Daily 11am-1am; $.  You can observe the kitchen in action through a window from the sidewalk before you enter this little hole in the wall, which serves up delicious noodles and rice plates.  My favorites are #S4 Udon Pad Se-lew—stir fried fat udon noodles with Chinese broccoli, black bean sauce, and really good white-meat chicken—and #20 Pra-Ram Long Srong—chewy flat rice noodles topped with spicy peanut sauce.  Next time I’ll try #26 Khao Pad Ped—fried rice with roast duck, and #S7 Udon Pad Tom Yum—udon noodles with yummy Tom Yum sauce and shrimp.  #45 Tom Kha Gai—chicken-mushroom-coconut soup--and #18 Pad Thai—the classic rice noodle with shrimp dish—are also on my radar.  Condiments are on the table to fine-tune the kick.


kitchen at Bangkok Noodles & Thai B.B.Q. in San Francisco



#20 Pra-Ram Long Srong at Bangkok Noodles & Thai B.B.Q. in San Francisco
#20 Pra-Ram Long Srong


#S4 Udon Pad Se-lew at Bangkok Noodles & Thai B.B.Q. in San Francisco
#S4 Udon Pad Se-lew
Bangkok Noodles on Urbanspoon

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 



Monday, February 23, 2015

80 North: Berkeley, Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar


Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar  2367 Telegraph Ave., Channing Way, (510) 405-1000.  In the space that once held Larry Blakes is now this fast-food venue named after the winningest Cal football coach ever--Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf.  Place your order at the counter, then select a stool at the window to watch the street parade or just about anywhere else to watch the TVs providing heavy sports coverage.  The menu is a variety of burgers and salads.  Look out Michael Moore—supersize is alive and well on Telegraph Avenue!  And the potato salad is almost as good as what my Mammy used to make.  Pool tables are downstairs, which becomes the LUX nightclub at 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

interior of Pappy's Grill & Sports Bar in Berkeley, California

 burgers at Pappy's Grill & Sports Bar in Berkeley, California

Pappy's on Telegraph on Urbanspoon

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

80 North: Emeryville, Arizmendi Bakery and Pizzeria


Arizmendi Bakery and Pizzeria  4301 San Pablo Ave./43nd St., (510) 547-0550.  M 7-3, Tu-F 7-7, Sat-Sun 8-7.  Located in a sort of strip mall with plenty of parking in back, this worker-owned cooperative is named for a Spanish priest who established worker-owned co-ops in the Basque region of Spain.  Organic flour and natural ingredients are used to prepare pastries, cookies, breads, and particularly good pizza.  A different slice pizza is available hot each day after 11:30 a.m.  When I was here it was a surprisingly delicious roasted cauliflower with cilantro.  More varieties of whole pizzas and bake-at-home pizzas are also available, and you can call to reserve one.  Organic coffees and teas are also served.  A few tables are provided inside, but many more are outside on a sheltered patio.

interior of Arizmendi Bakery and Pizzeria in Emeryville, California


roasted cauliflower pizza at Arizmendi Bakery and Pizzeria in Emeryville, California

 Arizmendi Bakery & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

101 South: Millbrae, Hong Kong Flower Lounge Restaurant

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Hong Kong Flower Lounge Restaurant  51 Millbrae Ave./El Camino Real, (650) 692-6666.  L-D daily; $$.  Reservations advised.  Free parking lot underneath; valet parking across street, $3.  Perched atop a corner lot, this popular restaurant features a large, yet stylish, dining room with several alcoves and plenty of large windows.
interior of Hong Kong Flower Lounge restaurant in Millbrae, California


Favorite menu items include authentic Hong Kong-style fresh seafood dishes, the restaurant’s signature Peking duck, and dim sum--which arrives fresh from the kitchen continuously, via carts and trays.
shrimp-peanut dumplings at  Hong Kong Flower Lounge restaurant in Millbrae, California
dried shrimp-peanut dumplings

taro balls at  Hong Kong Flower Lounge restaurant in Millbrae, California
deep-fried taro balls

pea sprout-prawn dumplings at  Hong Kong Flower Lounge restaurant in Millbrae, California
pea sprout-prawn dumplings

Shanghai dumplings at  Hong Kong Flower Lounge restaurant in Millbrae, California
Shanghai dumpling


custard cups at  Hong Kong Flower Lounge restaurant in Millbrae, California
custard cups

Hong Kong Flower Lounge on Urbanspoon

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Friday, February 13, 2015

80 North: Berkeley, Gather


update of previous post

Gather  2200 Oxford St./Allston Way; downtown.
Charis Wahl was recently promoted to Executive Chef and has added some new items to the menu as well as her own touches to some existing items.  I began my dinner with an as yet unnamed cocktail made with Tequila, blood orange juice, habenero chiles, and cilantro.  It was shaken, served straight up, and delightful.

Tequila cocktail at Gather in Berkeley, California


A starter course followed of Housemade Pickles and Ferments—a delicious and colorful array of six that included cauliflower with curry and mustard seed (my favorite) and pickle-like cucumbers with garlic and dill—served on a wood plank.

housemade pickles and ferments at Gather in Berkeley, California


Keeping our own shared meal 50/50, we had more veggies in the form of the chef’s Crispy Brussels Sprouts spiced up with fermented jalapeno, pickled radish, and cashew butter.

Brussels sprouts at Gather in Berkeley, California


Our next item was Roasted Half Chicken which couldn’t have been more moist and delectable; it came with scrumptious crispy buttermilk polenta and rounds of squash panzanella, one placed jauntily on the leg.

roasted chicken at Gather in Berkeley, California


Our thin-crust Fontinella pizza with tomato sauce, blistered mozzarella, and pancetta was quite delayed, but it gave us time to prepare space for it.

Fontinella pizza at Gather in Berkeley, California


We weren’t able to eat all of the last two items, so we took them home.  It turns out I was really pleased to have the delicious leftovers the next day, when I made wonderful sandwiches with the breast meat and a luscious dinner with the reheated pizza slices (unfortunately, they were stuffed into too small of a container and so were quite squished but still very good).  But we did wedge in a lovely little Pistachio Cake dessert enhanced with grapefruit curd.  Overall, I was impressed with the general full-flavoredness of the dishes.   

pistachio cake at Gather in Berkeley, California

Gather on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

80 North: Emeryville, Trader Vic’s

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Trader Vic’s  9 Anchor Dr./Powell St.  Free valet parking.  The original Trader Vic’s opened in Oakland in 1934 and is said to be where the Mai Tai was invented in 1944 (the name of the drink is coined from the Tahitian phrase “Mai Tai, Roa Ae,” which translates as “Out of this world, the best”).  Be sure to order the Original Mai Tai if you want that tasty version and all-fresh ingredients.   

the Original Mai Tai at Trader Vik's in Emeryville, California


That location closed and then reopened in this new incarnation.  Now it is a link in the world-wide chain of Polynesian bars and restaurants.  Famous dishes include bongo bongo soup (spinach and oysters) and Calcutta curry.  At lunch—the perfect time to be here because the lovely water view can be fully enjoyed--I had a macadamia nut chicken salad sandwich that was delicious, though the nuts were chopped too small to taste and I couldn’t figure out what made the potato salad side Hawaiian.

chicken salad sandwich at Trader Vik's in Emeryville, California


Next time I’ll order either the Chinatown chicken salad, the Green Goddess salad, or something smoked in the big red Chinese wood-fired ovens (you can view them in action through glass walls).  Another great time to be here is on a rainy day because your car is dropped off and picked up under a covered drive-thru.

red Chinese wood-fired ovens at Trader Vik's in Emeryville, California

Trader Vic's on Urbanspoon

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Monday, February 9, 2015

San Francisco: Presidio Officers' Club and Arguello restaurant

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Presidio Officers’ Club  50 Moraga Blvd., (415) 561-4400.  Tu-Sun 10-6.  Free.  Public events scheduled Thur & F eves; kids’ events Sat & Sun; free.  This storied former Victorian building was converted to Spanish Colonial style in a 1934 remodel.


Moraga Hall in Officers Club at the Presidio in San Francisco, California

Once an elite gathering place for military brass and accessible only with an officer, the lovely main Moraga Hall—which was always a celebratory room--has been recently brought back to life as the site of an array of free public programs that include lectures and films.


Mesa Room in Officers Club at the Presidio in San Francisco, California

The adjacent Mesa Room, which was a billiard room in the 1930s,  now is a museum where you can see exposed adobe walls, 1930s stencil work, and hand-distressed wall beams.


military uniforms displayed at Presidio Heritage Gallery in Officers Club at the Presidio in San Francisco, California

Upstairs, the high-ceilinged Ortega Ballroom is modernized with concrete floors and exposed ductwork and has been transformed into the Presidio Heritage Gallery museum.  It displays artifacts, photographs, and rare videos as well as some of the 60 species of bee that live in the Presidio.


Andrew Goldsworth's "Earth Wall" in Officers Club at the Presidio in San Francisco, California

A patio is home to the Presidio’s fourth Andrew Goldsworthy art installation, “Earth Wall.”  Installed in 2014, this piece is made of dead-found Eucalyptus logs protruding from a rammed-earth wall.  A tree line shows above the wall and gravel ground is below.  This is to be Goldsworthy’s last piece at the Presidio.  Andrew Goldsworthy's other installations at the Presidio. 


the bar at Arguello restaurant in Officers Club at the Presidio in San Francisco, California


carnitas tostadas at Arguello restaurant in Officers Club at the Presidio in San Francisco, California

Arguello  (415) 561-3650.  L-D W-Sat, SunBr; $$.  Owned and operated by local celebrity chef Traci Des Jardins, this small restaurant is just off Moraga Hall--the main room of the Officer’s Club.  Bar bites and cocktail service are available there.  It is named for Luis Antonio Arguello, who was Presidio commander from 1806 to 1822 and then became the first Mexican Governor of Alta California.  Mexican cuisine is the specialty, including tacos and Tequila cocktails.  I was particularly fond of the carnitas tostada, but the meaty mushroom quesadilla and the shrimp taco were also delicious.  A simple but tasty jicama salad with orange, avocado, and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds made a good starter and some powdery wedding cookies provided a nice ending.  An outdoor courtyard with fire pit and heaters is particularly inviting in good weather.

Arguello on Urbanspoon

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, February 6, 2015

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Auburn, Machado Orchards


Machado Orchards  100 Apple Lane/Bowman Frontage Rd., across the freeway from Ikedas at the Bowman exit, (530) 823-1393.  Daily 8:30-6:30.  In addition to well-priced produce, this fruit stand sells fresh pies already baked or uncooked to be baked at home, fresh apple juice, hand-dipped caramel apples, and jams (I adore the Damson Plum).  I thought the house-bottled peach halves tasted no better than store-bought canned versions, but I’d go out of my way to come here to purchase the totally addictive Habanero Chunk Pickles.  Restrooms are reached outside and feature an apple-orchard-side waiting area.  An annual Apple Festival occurs each October. 

pie shop at Machado Orchards in Auburn, California




preserves at Machado Orchards in Auburn, California



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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Auburn, Ikedas

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Ikedas  13500 Lincoln Way (¼ mi. E of Auburn Ravine-Foresthill exit off I-80), (530) 885-4243.  Market:  M-Thur 8-7, F-Sat 8-8.  Restaurant:  M-Thur 11-7, F-Sat 10-8; $.  Since the 1950s, the casual Burger Bar here has been serving travel-weary diners fast-food fare:  fresh-ground hamburgers, hot dogs, rice bowls, sandwiches, chicken pot pie, fruit pies, and thick fresh-fruit milkshakes (the peach is my all-time fave).  An adjacent produce market sells terrific car snacks, among them giant cashews and pistachios, both of which are grown in the area, as well as fresh produce and whole pies to take home (unfortunately, I’ve been disappointed by the crust). 


hamburger at Ikedas in Auburn, California

Ikeda's Tasty Burgers on Urbanspoon

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Auburn, Placer County Museum/Courthouse

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Placer County Courthouse Museum  101 Maple St., (530) 889-6500.  Daily 10-4.  Free.  Located on the echoing first floor of the landmark Placer County Courthouse (the entrance is at ground level under the formal steps that are reminiscent of an Aztec temple), this museum’s exhibits include a Native American habitat, a restored circa 1915 sheriff’s office, and the Pate Collection of Native American Art featuring more than 400 artifacts from throughout the U.S.  The jail serves as a gallery, and a spectacular 52-piece gold collection worth more than $350,000 is displayed in a vault in the gift shop.  Kids particularly enjoy a hands-on telegraph and telephone display.  

Placer Country Courthouse seen from Old Town Auburn, California

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image ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers