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Bauer Fired Up at Camino; Kauffman Samples Laotian Fare

[Photo: star5112/Flickr]

With TBD and Penrose firing up his memories, Bauer followed up on open-fire cooking "benchmark" Camino in Oakland, where he found chef Russell Moore's underappreciated concept finally getting some attention. "Moore is a brilliant cook," raves Bauer, and his visit "shows his mastery of the flames and his ability to combine flavors is unparalleled." A "bold" smoked rockfish stew "had that elusive, contradictory quality that distinguishes many great creations," and a half crab was "so succulent" that Bauer secretly wanted more. The cocktails "are as precisely conceived as the savory courses," and "desserts aren't to be missed, either." Bauer "loved Camino when it opened, and it's only gotten better in every respect." 3.5 stars. [Chron]

Jonathan Kauffman surveyed the budding Laotian food scene this week, considering first Sarn Saechao's Sunday night pop-up at Naked Kitchen Naked Lunch (favorite dishes were the Mien pork rolls and transparent tapioca dumplings), then hitting new spot Maneelap Srimongkoun, where fermented anchovies give the green papaya salad "a briny top note" and fermented pork sausage "gets all glittery when you eat it with raw ginger, lemons and onions." [Tasting Table]

Anna Roth skipped a review this week to spend time at two food extravaganzas: the Fancy Food Show, the massive food trade exhibition that introduces new products like this year's proliferation of Sriracha-flavored fare, and the Good Food Awards, which celebrate food artisans. There, she sampled dozens of new products, experienced serious sensory overload, and pondered the future of the small-batch artisan. "Here was a group of people who were choosing to live close to nature, as their grandparents had, and there's now a market to support the goods they make." [SF Weekly]

Cynthia Salaysay visited popular Nabe and found "one of the few authentic Japanese hot pot places in The City." "It takes a couple of hours (and then some) to eat one of Nabe's simple, yet epic, dinners," she advises. "Get the half-and-half shabu-shabu — half spicy miso, half kombu (kelp) and water — for the full treatment." Adding "swished shavings" of Wagyu beef and Kurobuta pork shoulder to the broth brought its "deliciousness" to the forefront, and other nabe options like the kamonanban made with duck breast and leeks were "umami heaven." [Examiner]

Luke Tsai went in search of answers at Lola's Chicken Shack, where the "hand-breaded chicken tender" takes center stage. There, "the chicken is cooked to order and tastes a hell of a lot better than what they serve at [insert name of popular chain here]." Bite into their koji-marinated chicken "and the first thing you'll notice is how tender and moist the meat is," and the lineup of eighteen dipping sauces brings variety to the table. An "Oakland-style" fried chicken sandwich "scratched the itch," but "it might be advisable to pass on the more gimmicky-sounding sandwiches." A proximity to the local high school and movie theater brings hordes of teens to this spot, but in Tsai's view "they certainly could do a lot worse." [EBX]


3917 Grand Ave., Oakland CA