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Top Bay Area Food Writers Reveal Candid Faves on KQED

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Radio host Michael Krasny probed current food trends and dining out in the Bay Area during this "Restaurant Roundup" chat hosted yesterday on KQED. Herein we get the rare opportunity to hear SF Weekly's Jonathan Kauffman, Marcia Gagliardi of The Tablehopper, Stett Holbrook of Metro Silicon Valley and San Francisco Magazine's Jan Newberry speak casually about their favorite spots to eat and what exactly they like to order. Lucky for you, a talented Eater stenographer distilled this hour-long radio segment into usable take-aways for your future enjoyment.

The conversation begins with Marcia Gagliardi's picks of the moment.
On Bruce Hill's pizza at Zero Zero: It has "fantastic crust."
On Ragazza: I'm "personally excited" for the pizza with "unique crust" coming from Sharon Ardiana of Gialina in September.
On Nombe: "I just adore it."
On Bar Tartine: Chris Kronner is crafting "one of the most decadent burgers" at Bar Tartine with the option of "a thick swath" of bone marrow. Kronner also serves chicken in a cast-iron skillet that's like two meals for the price of one.
On NY-style pizza: North Beach's new Tony's Coal-Fired and Arinell on Valencia are where it's at.

Holbrook then goes into top picks in the South Bay.
For fine dining: Manresa, Plumed Horse and Kaygetsu are the obvious favorites. He later adds Chez TJ and Baume to the mix.
On ethnic eateries: They're "the South Bay's strength" and many are in strip malls. He likes South Indian fare from Udupi Palace and Dosa Place and Korean from Jang Su Jang.

Jan Newberry speaks up for the East Bay.
Destination eateries: Daniel Patterson's Plum is one to look out for and Commis, of course, is exceptional.
On True Burger: Newberry confirms it's an "excellent burger," calling it "updated fast food." The fries and milkshakes also provide great pre- and post-show eats.

Host Krasny moves on to the hotly debated subject of burgers.
Kauffman: Serpentine is the "juiciest burger I've ever had."
Gagliardi: North Beach's Don Pistos has a "transcendent burger" that's "all kinds of decadent" with bacon and onion cooked into the patty.
Holbrook: The Sand Hill burger at Madera is grilled over oak and the Rosewood Sand Hill Resort is a "beautiful restaurant and atmosphere" in which to eat it.

Banter then moves to general favorites.
Kauffman: Sons & Daughters is "new and different." He mentions the herb salad.
Newberry: Tamarindo is "some of the most sophisticated, nuanced Mexican in the region" and they just opened a tequila bar, churning out "excellent margaritas." She also likes Charlie Hallowell 's new Boot & Shoe Service and calls the two-year-old Camino a "great success" despite its "limited menu."

On to Kauffman's declaration that 2010 is the year of the food truck before Krasny changes the subject to vegetarian restaurants where you can wear a coat and tie. Gagliari chimes in on behalf of veg menus at La Folie and Fleur de Lys.

Next up? Cheap Eats
Newberry: Octopus tostada at Mariscos La Costa
Holbrook: Eel tacos and short rib quesadillas from the Korean-Mexican BBQ Kalbi food truck
Gagliardi: Chasu pork belly over noodles at Danny Bowien's Mission Chinese Food
Kauffman: $8 pork curry lunch combo from Burmese Kitchen in the Tenderloin

Newberry spends a moment on the wine lists she likes at À Côté in Oakland and Nopa on Divisadero Street in SF. At both places, she says, one can find interesting wines, "beyond Pinot Noir and Chardonnay."

Krasny then asks Newberry for more of her favorites outside San Francisco. She mentions Morimoto Napa's "great high-end Japanese" food, Pizzavino 707 from Alice Waters' ex-husband Steven Singer in Sebastopol and Scott Howard's Brick & Bottle in Corte Madera.

On to top dessert choices. (After the guest calling in raves about the Castro's Thorough Bread & Pastry and its caramel Napolean for a bit.)
Gagliardi: Michelle Polzine's desserts at Range, churros at Chilango and pastry chef Bill Corbett's creations in the lounge at Coi
Kauffman: Kyle Caporicci's coffee and cigarettes dessert at Thermidor
Holbrook: Almond croissant from Fleur De Cocoa in Los Gatos, Ryan Shelton's "extraordinary" creations at Baume and fresh-picked stone fruit from Andy's Orchard in Morgan Hill
Newberry: Commis pastry chef Carlos Salgado's chilled cream of white peach soup and chocolate brioche

Ice Cream recs!
Holbrook: Kulfi, in pistachio, rosewater and saffron flavors, from Bombay Cafe on El Camino Reale
Gagliardi: Humphry Slocombe always has lines. (Krasny also reminds us that the the ever strange Bangkok-based Bud's of San Francisco used to be where people lined up for ice cream.)

Next up a call-in provokes the topic of cheesesteaks. Holbrook gets a moment to speak on behalf of Amato's on Saratoga Avenue, Jersey's "nice, cheese and fatty" creation in Campbell, and BBQ Kalbi's Korean Philly Cheesesteak.

And now, it's time for the final plugs:
Gagliardi: Cibo in Sausalito is a "little gem" that has "extraordinary breakfast" and just started dinner service three nights a week. She also loves Poggio, especially the francobolli with brains and the wine program at Heirloom.
Kauffman: Baker & Banker
Holbrook: Kaygetsu in Menlo Park has "Japanese unlike anyone has every had."
Newberry: Emilia's Pizzeria in Berkeley

So you see, a lot of ground was covered by the top voices in Bay Area food media today. And we're curious to hear your thoughts . Any major oversights here? Do tell.

Emilia's Pizzzeria in Berkeley, a Jan Newberry's "go-to." [Photo: FireplaceChats]


2491 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 681-7150 Visit Website


2214 Broadway Street, Oakland, CA Visit Website

Emilia's Pizzeria

2995 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA

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