Takeout “greatest hits” (SFBA)

I was wondering if people could discuss their takeout “Greatest hits”. Dishes they order again and again because they like them so much.

There are two that we are addicted to and order repeatedly:

Pad Kee Mao with shrimp from Imm Thai Street Food in Berkeley. Divine unctuous velvety wide noodles with wok-char and delicious flavors. We order it “very spicy” which is too hot for us and we are spice fiends. I keep saying I will order it the next level down but keep forgetting because it seems unnatural for me to not order “very spicy” if that is an option. When I get this I always order Pad Kee Mao with chicken (mild) for our next door neighbor who loves it also.

Szechuan style soy sauce fried rice from Royal Feast in Millbrae. It’s easy to forget how amazing good fried rice can be. Which is why we are addicted to this fried rice and get it frequently. Our next door neighbor loves it too and we also get her an order as well.

Something we have noticed in our takeout from various Asian restaurants: There seems to be a problem with musty tasting dried red chilies. My winemaker husband calls it “TCA (stands for the chemical 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole)” the same thing that causes cork taint in wine. We have noticed it at multiple restaurants and have started complaining to them about it. It not only imparts an unpleasant musty flavor but also mutes other flavors (does the same thing in wine). Has anyone else noticed?


The best sushi I’ve gotten via delivery so far has been from Sushi Shio in the Mission. The shari in particular is a step above some of the other sushi places I’ve ordered from.

This is the 8 piece omakase ($33). Unfortunately they don’t say what each piece is.

Also tried the negi hama roll - hamachi and spring onion ($8) which was also good.

Another favorite is the pho ga from Turtle Tower ($11), which travels pretty well as the soup is separate from the noodles and toppings. Here’s a picture of a bowl after reassembly:


Alameda County delivery only:

Our neighborhood listserv turned us on to Pizza Matador. Slow-rise dough, thin crust, not glopped up cheap tomato paste sauce. High quality ingredients, fresh mozzarella.

We are cheese lovers so I always add some extra shredded mozzarella to the top, LOL (which I do for every pizza except sit-down dining anyway).

They also just started selling crust-only shells, sold in pairs. Over the years I’ve taught my spouse the difference between good bakery doughs and great doughs, so he’s become a real fan of PM’s crust. They do a three-day rise and it makes a big difference.

We like a crisper crust than the instructions produce, so I bake it on a rack rather than a sheet pan.


We’ve gotten Turtle Tower a few times for takeout. I would say in some ways it’s even better than dining in. Last few years, we had stopped going because they seem to overcook their noodles. But with takeout, they seem to parboil the noodles, and when combined the soup + 30 seconds in microwave, it’s still got some firmness and spring. Very nice!


Thanks for the rec! What’s the temperature recommendation for the oven finishing at home?

Are you aware of any other pizza place around the Bay Area that does multi-day rise?

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Pizza Matador suggests 450 degrees in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes.

I’m sure there are other multi-day rise pizzeria doughs around, but like most folks we tend to stick close to home for our pizza delivery/take-out.

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Got Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement fried chicken for my birthday picnic. It was maybe slightly greasier than I remembered, but I like the addition of rosemary. The Emeryville public market was empty on Sunday around noon. It seemed like a pretty safe option.


I’m not sure if this counts as a “greatest hit” as I only had it once but the hon maguro donburi from YUBU by The Shota that I had for dinner tonight was really good. The Shota is an omakase-only sushi restaurant in the Financial District that has changed to a takeout and delivery restaurant with Japanese sandwiches at lunchtime and rice box dinners.

This had negi toro (chopped up tuna with spring onion), slices of lean tuna that I think had been marinated a bit, lightly seared medium fatty tuna, and a few snap peas and mushrooms. Simply delicious. Even though the toppings are all tuna they had different textures and flavors due to the different fat content of the slices along with the marination on the lean tuna and the chopped texture of the negi toro. I didn’t get a shot of the rice underneath, but it was very good and had little bits of carrot and I think pickles. The donburi came with a couple sheets of crispy toasted nori that I used to make little rolls with some of the rice and negi toro. It also came with a bowl of red miso soup, the standard ginger and soy, and what I think was a bit of freshly grated wasabi. A bit of a splurge at $45 but really high quality especially for tuna lovers.


Was it enough for 2 people?

I polished it off myself, I think it would be a bit light for two people by itself for a full meal.

We were in SF on Saturday to walk our dog on the beach and I decided to give The Shota a try for lunch. I really love good egg sandwiches as does my husband and we recently watched the episode of Midnight Diner where the chef made egg sandwiches. We got two of the egg sandwiches as takeout. First off they looked visually stunning, I wish I took pictures but forgot till it was too late. The sandwiches are made with soft white bread and topped with a soft boiled egg and salmon roe. They were fantastic! The soft texture of the bread combined with the creamy smooth egg salad had a amazing texture and satisfying egg flavor amplified perfectly by the salmon roe. I highly recommend the egg sandwich. I definitely want to try dinner takeout from them.


Paella for your personal "bubble"

We loved Venga Paella/Oakland when the brick & mortar was open. This was as close to authentic Spanish food as one could get - not the American style of over-flowing protein on top, with all kinds heaped together - but classic, simple, intensely flavorful and high quality.

We’re meat lovers but his vegetarian paellas were always wonderful.

The menu was limited, so we rated Venga second to Zarzuela. But it was a whole lot easier to get to West Oakland than SF, as well as to park, LOL.

Venga eventually closed but continued its catering business. I was happy to receive their latest mailer today (8/19/2020) in my e-mailbox. The catering business is apparently still going strong!

If anyone is interested, they deliver all around the Bay Area, and will even cook on-site:

Chef/owner Eduardo Balaguer/Venga Paella


Another good paella is from a food stall at the Kensington Farmers’ Market on Sundays. They’ve skipped a few weeks because of a new baby, but they’ve been back for the past two. While you’re there, get some ramen from Ippo Ramen in a bowl (ie, not take-out containers) and enjoy it in the lawn area above the market. I typically get the ramen for lunch, and take home the paella for dinner.



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@geo12the, thanks for suggesting this topic. It’s fun to gaze from afar at the East Bay sections!

We live in SF with small children, and though we ate out for lunch, restaurant dinners have been exclusively take-out or delivery for a couple of years now. Here’s the current rotation:

Hot food

  • Media Noche has been optimized for takeout since they opened. My favorite items are the croquettes and (bean) empanadas, which are both crisp and greaseless. The Gloria, an Eggplant sandwich with coconut slaw, is my go-to now that they stopped doing monthly guest sandwiches.
  • Beijing restaurant’s Boiled Lamb with Preserved Vegetable in Warm Pot, Five Colors Vegetables with Beijing Style Clear Noodles, cumin lamb, Jing dong meat pancake. Do others have favorite take-out items here?
  • Reem’s two breads with briny akawi cheese, Cheese Man’oushe for pre-order, or the Fatayer Jibneh, if I’m just walking by. But really, their bready items are all stars. They do takeout rather than delivery, and their ready-to-go options are stellar.
  • Rajas con queso torta with a heavy helping of the housemate chipotle sauce at La Torta Gorda (pickup)
  • carnitas at Gallo Giro truck. Others emphasize that they’re best enjoyed in tacos, but having to sustain a walk home to eat, I prefer those dry crisp carnitas shreds in the midst of wetter burrito ingredients (pickup only, you can pay with Venmo). For the kids, and as leftovers for us, we get the quesadilla with sour cream and guacamole. Speaking of carnitas, Roli Roti offers a good sous vide one from their truck At the Thursday Mission Farmers Market. You brown it at home.
  • The Valencia St. Little Star Pizza has upped their game in recent months. Compared to years past, the “Brass Monkey” has less acidic tomatoes and the crust is more corny and resilient.
  • Pizzeria Delfina’s arancini and the Napolitana pizza (anchovies, but not cheese). We were pleased with their post-COVID frozen lasagna and will get that again.
  • Little Gem maiitake mushrooms on beans or the fried chicken
  • RT Rotisserie chicken fat rice, avoids heaviness and is more chicken-ny than Hainan chicken or Khao man Gai I’ve encountered.

Heat/cook at home

  • Frozen Men Ding Rou Bing at YH Beijing
  • Avedano’s butcher’s meatballs and (frozen) soups—- meaty pozole; Fish stew; ham and bean soup. Their sausage sandwich is quite good for lunch (pickup only, open 12-6pm).
  • We regularly eat Peaches Patties pies, which come frozen as part of the La Cocina weekly food boxes. You can also get packages of twelve directly from La Cocina on certain days. Spinach FTW.
  • Wise Sons does a Shabbat dinner that we plan to get monthly, and it comes with candles too! The main dish, apricot chicken, is a thoughtful balance of sweet and umami, and far from the typical cloying versions. For their regular menu, the mushroom reuben and the open faced bialy with smoked salmon are my regular orders.

@Mr_Happy, I took your lead and got Turtle Tower earlier this week. Their chicken congee was delicious and packed with shredded chicken. As a bonus, I picked up a quart of chicken broth for $5.50. It’s about half the price as more gelatinous stocks I’ve recently enjoyed from Avedanos and Tartine Manufactury.


Wow this thread made me realize how little I get any take-out since Covid hit and have not been out to eat at all.
Take Out: La Coroneta burritos semi-regularly (usually prawn - love their pickled onions and habaneros sauce); Ming Kee’s roast pork/duck rice plate a few times; Was in Redwood City last week so picked up some lobster rolls, chowder and fish and chips from Old Port Lobster Shack (fish and chips were great, but I make a better lobster roll); Blue Line Pizza deep dish Mediterranean [I’ll have to go back to Little Star based on @hyperbowler’s note above since Blue Line isn’t what Little Star was at its peak); Molinari’s sandwich and Saigon Sandwich banh mi when I have to buzz into the office on rare occasions.
Heat/cook at home: Delfina’s pizza kit (fantastic); Kingdom of Dumpling frozen dumplings - these are great and taste homemade (as they are), but I need somebody’s Chinese grandmother to tutor me on cooking technique because I always seem to have 3-4 stick to the pan and break open.

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I am not a grandmother. But I always stir constantly when i first put the dumplings in, until they start floating a couple minutes later. Nothing sticks that way.


So what I do is put them in a nonstick pan with water and a dash of oil, then light boil until water cooks off to let the oil give them a little sear - is that right? Do you just bring water to boil first then add them?

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Maybe we are talking about two different kinds of dumplings? I kind of think you are both right…

I’m going to ask the nice ladies who make and sell them next time I restock.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold