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Everything posted by merle

  1. If the dorms really are at the old Y (25th and Broadway) and she's going to CCA (52nd and Broadway) then either she doesn't mind a decent hike or will be getting a bus pass. In either case the Lake Merritt farmer's market (or the Chinatown one, or the Jack London Square one) will be within range. Oakland Chinatown probably is the best bet, as others have mentioned, for good yet dirt-cheap food. It's a long bus ride but just south of UC Berkeley has some inexpensive places if you look around -- there's a salad place on Telegraph whose name I forget, but I recall splitting an excellent $6 salad three ways and being satiated.
  2. Ah, yes, it's all coming back. The place (whichever it is) in New Orleans town also offered the beef stew in a sourdough bread bowl. That was what made it fantastic. And the bread bowls really were amazing. One would not think Disneyland would have great bread, but it really tasted as though it had been recently baked...
  3. I spent five days in Disneyland, and the place we kept returning to was in New Orlean town. Or whatever you call it. Didn't hurt that Pirates of the Carribean was nearby. It was either the French Market or the Cafe Orleans. The beef stew was the best food we found in the park, and it was slightly off the beaten path, so it was quiet (well, as quiet as Disneyland gets!). Seem to recall the jambalaya being good, too. Neither are fancy restaurants, but they were good values, and a big step up from hot dogs and churros. No idea about CA Adventures. I live here! Why would I go to a themepark about where I live? It would just disappoint me once I got home...
  4. Ah, when I was in Redding a few months ago, Black Bear was on my list. We ended up not trying it, though, since my wife said (in a horrified voice) "but that's a chain!". But I'll try it out. There was a great diner on I-80 between Sacramento and Reno. Yeah, I know, that's very vague. In Auburn? Colfax? Something like that. It's one of the cheaper gax exits. I can even draw what the roads off the exit look like... but the names are eluding me. [googling...] Ah! Rosy's, in Colfax. Rosy's (first item) Always wise to write up trip reports for when the neurons stop firing. ;-)
  5. I like that place, and agree that it's nice that it's cleaner, but the selection seems less exciting than it used to be. I'll swear that the Do Ha Na cooks duck out to buy ingredients from there during lunch (it's just two doors down). They have little wrapped lunches of various spicy veggies and fish that can make a great, cheap lunch, if a bit monotonous by the end: best to get one of these and maybe some banh mi elsewhere, and split with someone. Their seaweed selection seems pretty limited, in my mind, but that's easily remedied by the Chinese market on 7th between, I think, Franklin and Webster? No idea what it's called, though.
  6. Very interesting that the easy bay listings include no Oriental cuisine (yet SF has a number). Oakland Chinatown has a number of places much cheaper (and in my humble opinion, better) than the House of Chicken'n'Waffles. I've eaten dim sum in large groups and been completely stuffed for $9 (including a generous tip) at both Yo Ho and Joy Luck. But I suppose anytime you are listing just six restaurants in the "east bay" you're going to miss quite a few places...
  7. ...stuff about heat... I'm with you, tanabutler. I had forgotten that it gets hot during the summer. Living in Oakland, I'm fairly aghast when it gets above mid-80s in the summer. (yeah, I'm a heat wuss... just call me acclimated) I can wait until fall comes around, or maybe take a second quickie vacation in April. Guess it's the northern coastal areas for me in the summertime!
  8. Oh, yes. Not just for Chez Panisse, in my opinion, but combined with four or five other restaurants... if my passport were still valid, I might head to Vancouver for just such a restaurant run...
  9. This all sounds great, many thanks! And to think we were resigned to the long drive to Las Vegas, thinking we had seen most everything... I think we're going to hit Ashland first, since it's further away (and we're looking for a 4-5 day trip next week) -- then maybe a couple of forays out to 49 in the summer and fall, saving the rest of the list for next year. Anyone have fave places to stay/eat in Ashland? (bbqboy's list looked pretty good for food...)
  10. Errr... sorry, it's more like two and a half hours.Don't let that stop you, though! ;-)
  11. I'm with Krys, I feel "native" (been here for fifteen years, don't want to ever leave), but my experiences are based on... let's just say "a midwest state". 1. What type of cuisine did you grow up eating? Beef'n'potatoes. Standard midwestern fare. 2. When did you first try another ethnic cuisine? I was probably four or five. Chinese. I was precocious, meaning I knew that if we were going Out To Eat, I should order an expensive item -- so I tried the curry prawns. I liked them, and continued to order them as often as we went there. 3. When did you start noticing ethnic restaurants? Given that the Chinese curry prawn dish is bright yellow and looks nothing like cube steak, taters, and green beans, I'd say #3 is answered by #2... 4. Do you remember which types of ethnic restaurants first opened in your neighborhood? What came after? And so on and so on. I lived there back before this sudden explosion of cuisines. There was Mexican (gringoized for the most part), and Chinese. When I returned one holiday from college I was amazed that they had a Benihana. It's very diverse now... but these days, every town of 5,000 people has a dozen restaurants (however bad) of different ethnicities. It's the essence du jour. 5. What was the first ethnic meal that you had an ethnic friends house. Probably when we went to a Jewish friend's house (dietary restrictions effectively make it ethnic), but I did not notice that meal at all. The first one I can actively recall was at the home of an Indian Sikh friend. It was incredible: vegetarian, but spicy(!), and there were these crispy bread things (papadum) that were beyond description. A huge selection of items, too. Considering that just one woman cooked them all, in a fairly short time, I was very impressed. I wished I could move in with them...
  12. esvoboda, bbqboy: Ashland sounds good. That directory of restaurants makes it quite appealing. ;-) I drove through there once, and it reminded me a bit of one of the SF north bay towns (Corte Madera? not sure). All that came to mind when I thought of it was "Shakespeare", though, which is why I had not considered it. (I don't mind the plays, but it wasn't enough to make it a "destination". winesonoma, esvoboda: 49 sounds good, too. I would probably want to set up "base camp" in one of the cities and roam up and down. Columbia, or somewhere else? And would it be better to wait until apple season for this region? (or is it apple country?) esvoboda: We had thought about the Humboldt/Eureka/Arcata area back when we did Fort Bragg... just never drove the extra hour or so. It looked nice, but mostly it looked like "1900 Victorian houses and $$$$$ bed'n'breakfasts". I don't mind expense per se, but Eureka kind of felt like a tourist trap. (of course, I'm judging based on the B&B web sites I found and how little there seemed (based on those) to do in the area). Was I mistaken? Carolyn Tillie: Wow, Julian looks like a lot of fun! Not sure it's worth an eight hour drive, but it's going in my book of "if I lived near X, I would...". I'm positive there's a place like that near here (maybe the Apple Hill area). I just need to find it... Carolyn Tillie: How did you like Inverness and the Russian River Valley? Those were both possibilities on my list. (Inverness mostly for the name and connotations, no other reason, which is why I never went). Thanks, all -- I knew there must be interesting places left to visit! BTW, I picked up an interesting looking guide book from the library - "The Best of the Pacific Coast", by Gerald Olmsted. It's twenty years old, so a tad out of date -- but he does try to find off-the-trail places, and his description of Fort Bragg is about how I felt about it (only a lot more eloquently phrased). No idea if there's a more recent edition, but it's turning out to be a fun read.
  13. I'm looking for some ideas for short road trips in CA (or not too far into adjacent states). These would be places we can get to within a day, where there are enough things to do, buy, at eat to last for a one to three night stay. In terms of food, I prefer local non-chain places, where meals are in the $2-20 range. No seafood, not much interest in fancy places: just good food and friendly faces. Ethnic foods preferred, but living in Oakland, barbecue counts as "ethnic" (since it's pretty mediocre here). For things to do/buy, I enjoy museums, short historical tours, used book stores, and crafts stores. It doesn't have to have much to do: our last trip was Redding, where we saw the bridge, the museum, and the nearby dam, but otherwise drove around, shopped, and hung out in the B&B. Neither of us is into outdoor activities aside from short walks. Places we've gone in the last few years include: Redding, Monterey/Carmel, San Luis Obispo, Fort Bragg, Sacramento, Yosemite, and Reno. And the Napa area, a few times. I can dig up notes on what was good on those excursions if folks are interested. And, of course, feel free to post about non-SF-based trips, or places that do not match my criteria -- any road trip can be a fun one. Thanks!
  14. I would tend to agree with this, on general principles: 99 and 101 are much more interesting drives than I-5.And, to be honest, I don't think they're really that much slower. Last time I headed down to Fresno, I-5 was "faster" at peak speeds, but there were so many trucks that my average speed wasn't really that great. And the random stops along the way seemed a lot more interesting...
  15. Glad to hear someone else feels the same way. Not to say that there are a whole lot of better Cajun offerings in Oakland. But it's not worth going out of your way, especially since some of their "specialties" require calling a day in advance. I think this place gets visited for the same reason Le Cheval does: it's in practically every guidebook that even mentions Oakland. Good PR, I guess?
  16. I would not go out of my way to go to Gingerbread House. For the area, it has some fine Louisiana food... but after staying a few days in the greater New Orleans area, I've found it lacking. But it depends on where you're from, and what you like. I personally go to Irish restaurants wherever I go, since there aren't any right around home. Chez Panisse lunches are cheaper than the dinners, but since it's not a fixed plate affair, you could, of course, spend more. I seem to recall dropping $80 for two at lunch and $130 for dinner a few years back. I'd actually recommend having a smaller lunch there and hiking up a block to the Cheeseboard to grab a slice of pizza, for a completely different sort of gourmet experience. I've yet to turn down a slice of Cheeseboard pizza no matter how bad the toppings sounded. For the most part, I can only speak of Oakland, but for Chinese, I'm fond of Bay Fung Tong (19th+Webster) for their amazing Bay Fung Tong crab, and Peony (around 10th+Franklin?) for dim sum. I usually go elsewhere for dim sum due to cost considerations, but since you're on vacation...
  17. I liked The Field when I last visited... but I'm a sucker for weekend Irish brunches. Memory suggests there was good Mexican in Old Town, and the public transit system makes it easy to get there from the downtown/convention center area.
  18. Katya, on another board, commented on a bunch of them. Here's Blue Nile (along with her ratings).
  19. I used to be thrilled by the english muffins at Arizimendi (the Grand/Lakeshore one in Oakland). Six for $2.50, fresh and large. But they go stale very quickly. Like, overnight. You really have to use them the same day. I still like them, but one can eat only so many english muffins. I go back there when it's a long weekend and we make potato salad, but otherwise we just make our own bread, and bemoan the lack of variety.
  20. I used to love the schwarma at Holy Land -- but that's east bay, not SF. Still, a good option. There's one in the Grand/Lakeshore area just off the freeway. I think there's one in Berkeley as well.
  21. That's an odd page you found. They really only mention two places by name, everything else is "get a dining club card" or "look for this type of food". Guess that means they don't have to update it very often! Ah, that makes it more difficult. I would vote for either of the two main "dim sum price war" restaurants in Oakland: Joy Luck and Yo Ho. Lots and lots and lots of dishes were ordered, but it was under $10 per person both times. Compare this with Peony, where just two orders of har gao would set you back that much.
  22. But what about including fast food places? The OP did say "be brutally honest". ;-)
  23. All in Oakland: Bay Fung Tong (Chinese) Leaning Tower of Pizza (Pizza) (duh) Sahn Maru (Korean) ...but then you can probably see the last few dozen places I've eaten on my journal, excepting home meals. Merle
  24. There's a Silver Dragon, which is often confused with Golden Dragon. I think they do serve dim sum, although I don't know anyone who has eaten there. If it's in Oakland, odds are it was Jade Villa. Just about everyone goes there as their first dim sum in Oakland... possibly because it's on Broadway and very visible. I did not think it was that good. For mid-range Oakland I would vote Legendary Palace, or perhaps Tin's Tea House, although that has gotten a few bad mentions recently. For high-end, Peony has it cornered. On the low-end side there are a couple of places involved in "dim sum price wars", with prices around $1.50 per plate. They aren't the best, but the price means you can order a lot of dishes without feeling guilty. Joy Luck is one, I forget the name of the other. All of these are within a four block radius, maybe a ten minute walk from the 12th St BART station.
  25. San Francisco is kind of a big place.. there are probably fifteen Safeways in the city proper. Market does narrow it down slightly, but that is one of the main drags. Probably, though, they were referring to Thep Phanom, which has a high reputation in many guide books (and wasn't too bad; not my favourite, but I wouldn't mind returning). I would not say it was near Safeway (being about a six block walk away), but I guess that could describe it.
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