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Report from Boston-based, former SF-resident (Dopo, Ton Kiang, La Taqueria, Tartine, Que Tal, Emmy's, Zuni)

nomadfromcincy | Jul 11, 200506:26 PM

(I put most places in the subject for search purposes)

I've spent the past 9 days in the Bay Area, so I wanted to share a round-up of the culinary activities... which were bountiful.

We started in Sonoma, but we only checked out two places - it is so easy to make meals out of cheese and wine. We first stopped at Juanita Juanita - super-fresh tacos - I highly recommend anything with their chorizo. We also went to the General's Daughter. I wouldn't recommend this place - we couldn't get into a Girl and a Fig and then chose General's Daughter over John Ash because we were told it was a better value. Go to John Ash in the future. Would love to hear other recommendations in the Sonoma -to- Santa Rosa area.

Back in Oakland, we had a good brunch at Sunny Side Cafe on Solano - I had a delicious turkey burger stuffed with Pt.Reyes bleu cheese.

Friends took us to Dopo - I really like the concept of this place. Small, ever-changing menu with fresh pasta and ingredients. I think they could really succeed if they had wine storage so that they could offer a more extensive list (or at least vary the wine options nightly to match with the menu). Same night we stopped in the Chez Panisse cafe for dessert - definitely didn't blow me away and I was annoyed that they forgot to bring out the coffee order. I've had good experiences there in the past, but this wasn't one of them.

We also ventured around the Berkeley farmer's market on MLK (Tuesday) - good selection of stuff. Nice to know if I ever move back.

When I got back into the city, I tried some random spots in Chinatown - I forgot to write down the names or addresses but had a delicious sticky rice at a place on Grant, between Washington and Jackson (on the left heading north).

Hit up happy hour at Hog Island - good deal even if you can't choose which oysters you get. Would have ate 2 dozen, but you can tell I was eating plenty already.

Mini-crawl thru the Mission (mainly old haunts) - fruit, yogurt, granola at Que Tal - underrated? Always fresh and usually all ripe fruit. Nice way to start. Bought some copa at Lucca's for later - guys behind the counter helpful and friendly. La Taqueria for a lengua taco con queso - as good as I remember... Ahhh... Finished up at Tartine - waited in line and bought a gougere - so rich - ended up stuffing a little of the spicy copa from Lucca's in there - highly recommend this random combo.

Zuni - I mainly go for the people-watching and unfortunately it was a quiet night. But still had good company and a nice meal. Only a few ooos and ahhs - I think the potato-avocado soup was a winner. The chicken is still great and nary a fry was left on the table.

Wife had an Emmy's Spaghetti Shack craving we had to fulfill so went in early before a Giants game. Same good spaghetti though prices are a little higher. For parents, this is a great place to take kids early to train them on restaurant behavior... at least that was my observation.

Pier 23 for fish tacos - not bad, but forgettable in a city with some much good food.

Lastly had dim sum at Ton Kiang - everything was as a remember. I really like the egg custard rice cake. The baked pork bun was a major loser.

Wish I had had time: Swan Oyster Depot (touristy but still good), Bacar Friday happy hour, OneMarket's special wine deal
Saved for next time - A16, Quince, Cafe Kati, taco truck at 4th and Harrison, Taqueria Cancun...

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