This week, The Whooping Kauff reveals his verdict on "homey and no-nonsense" La Torta Gorda. After sampling quesadillas, tlayocos, soups, enchiladas and a host of other plates, he finds "the Poblano-style food is comfortably unfamiliar — the same palette of masa, chiles dried and fresh, cactus, and beans that shows up in dishes from all over the country — albeit used in a novel way." Of the sandwich-like creations, he likes the pambazo best, but concedes, "Sandwiches may be the lifeblood of La Torta Gorda, but the mole poblano is its heart." [SF Weekly]
Before Bauer Town commences the play-by-play of his return visit to Zazu in Santa Rosa, he clarifies the challenge before it: "When it opened nine years ago, Duskie Estes and John Stewart's restaurant was indeed special, but now the farm-to-table connection is common. Getting great ingredients isn't enough; the preparations have to be spot-on." Bauer chronicles several inconsistencies; and then -- big no no -- a poor server overcharges the man for crostada: "I kept quiet because I was ready to go," he recounts. "...the place was full and I wasn't sure how long it would take to get it corrected. However, this type of minor misstep seems to permeate Zazu." So it's no wonder the farm-to-table resto gets a deuce. [Chron]
And Reidinger, always the sharer of the bunch, tells of his digestive issues after a meal at Burmese Kitchen: "But while the tea leaves themselves laid there docilely while we ate them, we felt their avenging presence later, in the middle of the night. Tea leaves might not have the caffeine charge of coffee beans, but they have enough to make themselves known." Bowels aside, he likes the prawn and sour leaf salad, ong no kau swer soup, and -- best of all -- fried golden tofu: "...the result was something like polenta sticks. The spicy dipping sauce was so good that I finished it off like a shot of espresso after the tofu was gone." [SFBG]
Also worth a glance, the Chron's duel round-ups on food and wine at this weekend's Outside Lands, a music festival that has its sight set on become an epicurean destination; if it hasn't already. Miriam Morgan lists the newcomers to the food tent "A Taste of the Bay Area:" including such unlikely musical bedfellows as Anchor & Hope and Out the Door; and Jon Bonné files his 13 "don't-miss choices," enough to get you way more than buzzed this weekend. [Chron]
The Elsewhere: The Merc is open-minded at Saison; the Marin IJ leaves the patchouli at home for a trip to 123 Bolinas in Fairfax; The CoCo Times makes flavor memories at The Door in Walnut Creek; Metro SV includes a Thai eating lesson in the House of Siam review; and the second Chron review is of Garden Fresh, a healthy vegan Chinese restaurant that gets the two star treatment.