My family is visiting the Bay area in about a week. We lived in Oakland from 2000-2005 (I wrote a lot on the old Chowhound site, under my current username, if you want some deep background) and this is our first time back. We will be staying in north Oakland and making some forays into Berkeley and San Francisco.
We're looking for interesting, relatively cheap, easygoing spots that can deal with what I like to call our Carnivorous Toddler (really, all we need is a high chair-- she has a voracious palate). Further, we are looking for restaurants that serve sustainably-raised (aka non-factory-farmed) meat.
Back when I was a roving chowhound in the early aughts, I loved pho joints and taco trucks, but since I left the factory farms behind, those pleasures have become few, far between, and mostly homemade. But I am wondering, in the five years since we've lived in the Bay area, are there any good noodle joints/taquerias/other ethnic specialists that source their meat from sustainable sources?
We're happy with vegetarian food too -- two of our must-visits are Vik and Cha Ya -- but I'm curious if there are, say, any excellent pho joints or taquerias that use Harris Ranch beef or something. That'd just make my trip.
I'm also curious about the must-visits that have popped up since we left. I have heard about Pizzaiolo, both their pizza and their donuts; I wonder how Dona Tomas is faring; and let me just raise the spectre of noodles again... hm?
I know this is one of those posts that makes you want to tell me to scroll down and read the board. Worry not. I will. i have been. But I want to know if there are any places that you think we just shouldn't miss, in or around Oakland/Berkeley and in downtown (or easily BART-able) San Francisco.
Thanks in advance for your advice,