Let's Start a Feeding Frenzy! And a Little Get-to-Know-You Survey

(maria ascarrunz) #1

Hello Fellow SF-Bay Area HOs! (That’s what we’re calling ourselves, right??)

Our Fearless Founder reached out to a few of us – hyperbowler, ernie_in_berkeley, and myself, mariacarmen – to see if we could help brainstorm ideas to invigorate this board. We all know what a vibrant food area we live in – why don’t we have more activity here? What are we missing that we had over at CH?

I will admit I’m guilty – leaving CH opened up time I didn’t know I was missing, and other things filled in the void quite quickly. Life is busy, but… you have to eat! And we all love to talk about eating, and food, and where you get it, how you find it, and what you think of it. We think this board has the potential to be much more dynamic than it is, and to be a great resource to the locals as well as visitors.

Maybe we all just need to commit to posting more regularly. Think about how much you posted on CH… it often felt like the more I posted, the more I wanted to post, and the more I recommended others to the site. It was an invigorating discussion.

Perhaps HO can be a more personal place than CH ever was. While we may not want the focus to stray far off our main reason for being – food – we all know that food is life, and we all have lives. Perhaps more personal stories attached to our food reviews, anecdotes, remembrances, etc. Of course, not everyone participates in that style, and shouldn’t have to. But maybe we can encourage more interaction with each other if we open up a little more.

This is not to say we want to hear about your dog Spot every day. Nor about my goats (yes, goats) every minute. Nor about your uncle’s hangnail – like, ever. But if you had a bad day and want to talk about how a restaurant made you feel better because of the food, ambiance and service, why not?

What ideas do you have for making this board a more exciting, inviting place? We would love to hear them! Tell your friends, post about HO on FB, Pinterest, etc. Let’s work together to bring more hungry mouths and knowledgeable posters to our forum. It can only enhance everyone’s experience.

To start things off, why don’t we follow NotJrvedivici’s lead on the NJ board and get to know each other better here?

What part of the SF/Bay Area do you live in?
What’s your favorite thing to order in a restaurant (of any type)?
What do you want to learn more about, food-wise?
Things people should ask me about?

[Oakland, Fruitvale] Nyum Bai- Cambodian eats
Let's introduce ourselves and get to know one another better
(maria ascarrunz) #2

Maybe we want to encourage more Ho-Downs – meet-ups with other HOs at local restaurants to maximize ordering potential and varying perspectives from attendees to report back to the community. If you haven’t participated in one before, they’re a great, informal way to try a place and order more dishes than you’d be able to enjoy on your own or with just a friend or two. And because you’re splitting the check with anywhere from 6-10 people, the per-person cost is usually very reasonable.

[San Leandro, CA] HO-down at Kendejah, Liberian cuisine. 4/8 Sat 11:30am

LOL. I picked a restaurant for HO-down that’s the antithesis of the type of restaurants you are describing here. Its expensive (to me). Its not sharable. The time is anti-social. But hey, my indifferent-to-Japanese-cuisine wife is out of town, even if I have to haul a 2 year old to the city going through 8 courses, I am doing it.

(maria ascarrunz) #5

hah! no i would totally have done that with you if i could be anywhere at that time of day, but i’m at work. i hope you get some takers - and it doesn’t matter about the price, if people want to try a place they haven’t been to it’s the cheapest way to get the most dishes for the least amount of money!


I’ll start.

What part of the SF/Bay Area do you live in?
What’s your favorite thing to order in a restaurant (of any type)?
Pizza, and Cantonese pan-fried noodles with mixed seafood. Since L&B Cantonese seafood in El Cerrito closed down, I’m looking for another source (other than the Ranch 99 and downtown Cantonese restaurants, where parking is a problem.
What do you want to learn more about, food-wise?
The subtle distinctions of regional cuisines in China, Italy and France. Hyperbowler’s posts are a great resource for China.
Things people should ask me about?
Ask Me Anything!


What part of the SF/Bay Area do you live in?

What’s your favorite thing to order in a restaurant (of any type)?
Not necessarily my favorites but given that I don’t eat out much, my most common orders are: Carne Asada burritos, pho, Chinese-American lunch specials, banh mi

What do you want to learn more about, food-wise?
I like learning about new dishes from different cuisines, especially their history and evolution. I would like to learn more about gardening.

Things people should ask me about?
My contribution could be about Vietnamese culture & cuisine. I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a blog or guide called “Behind the banana leaf”. If you’ve ever been to a Vietnamese deli, there are all sorts of treats wrapped in a banana leaf and they are often unlabeled or only labeled in Vietnamese. What’s inside? Is it sweet or savory? Is it vegetarian?

(maria ascarrunz) #8

i love the idea of your blog!

(maria ascarrunz) #9

ok, me:

I live in the Mission District in San Francisco
favorite thing to order in a restaurant: i would have to say sushi since that’s one thing (of many others) that i don’t make at home.
what do i want to learn more about: like ernie, i want to try all the different regional foods of China, and also of Thailand and Vietnam. Any cuisine, really. so much to learn.
Things people should ask about me? Goats! they’re not actually my goats, i volunteer with them every weekend. They’re goats that get hired out to munch on overgrown brush. i have stopped eating goat since working with them (though in truth i’d only had it a couple of times previously.)
Also, to go back to food, i write the restaurant review column for Mission Local, an online news site that deals exclusively with the Mission District. It’s fun but fattening!


I live in Santa Cruz . Every now and then I like driving North to the city on hwy 1. Usually in the morning . I park in the parking garage next to the police station on Vallejo . Then walk down a block to my favorite bar Vieni Vieni on Stockton st . A couple doors down there is a Italian cafe that has the best panna cotta and cannoli . Pick up some to go . Head to Cafe Graffeo for a espresso . Then back up to Molinari Bros for some deli goodies . Another beer at Vieni Vieni , then back to the car where the food goes in my ice chest . And back to Santa Cruz on hwy one . That is my usual M.O .

(maria ascarrunz) #11

what a nice excursion. i work right at Columbus and Kearny. I’ve wondered about that bar as i am partial to dive bars. is the cafe A. Cavalli and Co.?


Vieni Veini is a great dive bar . Good drinks and good people . Yes it is Cavalli and Co a couple doors down . You have to go there for the panna cotta and the cannoli , Maria .


I forgot to mention my pinnacle on my round about’s . I absolutely love the Liguria Bakery . I have been going there for years . Looking into the back of the bakery you see the history in the ovens . The one woman , I love with the slight scowl from her when you order; as you are eyeing the board for a minute , if you get there late . Hoping to order the rosemary garlic , or the raisin focaccia . Most likely you will be told . " Only pizza ! " Though it has become more popular . What ever you end up with . A beautiful focaccia wrapped in paper , and tied up with string . I love going back in this time machine . Love this place .


What part of the SF/Bay Area do you live in?
San Francisco / Castro

What’s your favorite thing to order in a restaurant (of any type)?
Something that tells me about the chef - tastes, ideas

My comments…San Francisco focused…I wish there was less focus on Asian foods and more on things like (these are my list), white table cloth lunch spots, SF neighborhood restaurants with better than diner food, info on places that are getting better / places that are getting worse. Comments / experiences about established places (anyone eat at Commonwealth / Foreign Cinema when they aren’t taking tourists along?). What to order at established restaurants (there’s a lot of comment on this about Asian restaurants but what about the same for else where). Best in the neighborhood.

(maria ascarrunz) #15

I’ve been to Foreign Cinema mostly without bringing visitors, now that i think of it, although it’s been a good 9 years or so… and not because i don’t like it anymore, there’s just so many other places around. Commonwealth - i went once and hated it - everything but one dish we had was sub-par - but i have been tempted to go back since it still gets so many accolades. again, too many other places around.


I would very much agree with you that the board is over-weighed on Asian foods these days, mostly because of the interests of the active posters coincidentally. I would very much love to learn more about all types of food/ neighborhoods that are now underrepresented because of one reason or another.

What really helps is if certain topic interests anyone, start a discussion asking/ talking about said topic. Sometimes all it takes is someone to get the ball rolling. Some ideas: ‘Best in [my neighbodhood]’ thread, e.g. Best in Castro. ‘Uphill/ downhill alert’ ‘SF neighborhood restaurant recs’.

I think there’s also a dearth of discussions about the established restaurants. I guess they have been around for a while people tend not to think much about them and we tend to write about new stuff, but in my opinion newer isn’t necessarily better. there is a lot of value to write about the old classics.


Do you go to San Jose much? I found the choices pretty bewildering there given the concentration of Vietnamese restaurants, would love to hear your take on the scene there.


You and @Hyperbowler would make a great dining couple. I think he mentioned sometime ago that this is one of his favorites.


Yes, we’ve discussed it at a Chowdown. In addition to L&L, there was a wacky Hong Kong cafe in El Cerrito, where you could see industrial-sized containers of MSG in the kitchen, that had an over-the-top version. It’s also gone now.

But why is your response hidden, and how did you do it?


I grew up in San Jose and my family is still there so I visit quite often. However, I don’t eat out often so I haven’t tried many of the new places or kept up with the changes. I have my standard “go-to’s”. My brother and his family love to try new restaurants so I hear reviews from them. I’d be happy to share if you have specific questions.


I just pressed the wrong button inadvertently.

Would love to learn more about others on the forum too. Here’s a little about me:

What part of the SF/Bay Area do you live in?

Currently the Southern end of the Peninsula. Lived all over the Bay Area in the past. Outer Sunset, Berkeley for a few years. Silicon Valley for a few years.

What do you want to learn more about, food-wise?

I love learning about different culture. Before I had kids I love traveling all over the world to learn more about the unique history of every place. After I have kids, they take up all my time and money and the ability to travel anywhere beyond a day trip from home. Since food gives a glimpse into every culture, eating out is a more manageable way than traveling to learn about other culture- why they eat certain things, or spice certain way, or use certain ingredients, etc. I have, at various points in time, wanted to learn more about cuisines from various provinces/ parts of Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Italian, French, Sichuan, Morocco, Japan, Middle East, etc, though that’s an evolving list. But in general, someone writes something interesting and I will read it.

Things people should ask me about?

Because my young kids don’t eat spicy and love kids food like noodles, pizzas, I tend to eat a lot of those things too out of the convenience of not having to deal with kids sitting around a table refusing food. So I post more about those things. I also grew up in Hong Kong, and its similar to California cuisine that the emphasis is to let the ingredient shine through in a subtle way, so food like that tends to melt my heart more than than others (and others may consider these food bland). although I do love strongly flavored food done right, e.g. from the Indian subcontinent, Morocco. I am no expert but I can help with questions about Cantonese cuisine as much as I can. Although arguably I don’t eat Cantonese frequently at all in the Bay Area. I save my cravings for the infrequent trips to Hong Kong.

What’s your favorite thing to order in a restaurant (of any type)?

I order what’s good at a restaurant or what the chef is most proud of, but the question of what’s good at a particular restaurant seems to leave servers perplexed- everything is good/ depends on what you want to eat (fair enough). so that’s why i am here, to learn what others here like to eat at specific places and their preferences, and form an idea of whether i will similarly enjoy the place.