705 Divisadero, SF | 415.231.6993 | website | facebook


People are always asking me about which is my favorite burger,  and I don’t really have a definitive answer and so I decided it was time for me to find out.  Up to now, my favorite has been the cheeseburger from Cafe Zuni, but the Marlow burger (future post) is some serious  competition, and then when I tried the Best Damn Grass Fed Cheeseburger from 4505 Burger and BBQ on Divisadero, that toppled my burger foundation for good.  4505 Meats is a family owned company based in San Francisco that was founded by chef Ryan Farr in 2009.  Chef Farr is known for his mad skills in whole animal butchery, and is widely hailed as a meat visionary.  He has published a book on sausage making and whole beast butchery, but he really got my attention with his lighter-than-air chicharrones, which are legendary.  They are described as crispity clouds of porkaliciousness, but Arnold of the Inuyaki blog put it best:  They’re incredibly light and when they’re fresh, they snap, crackle, and pop in your mouth like porky Rice Krispies.  ‘nuf said, right?


They also have stands at local Farmers’ Markets where they sell retail cuts of meat, their famous grassfed cheese burger and bacon-studded hot dogs along with other meaty treats. In 2012 they opened a full-service whole animal butcher shop in the Mission, and launched their restaurant, 4505 Burgers & BBQ on Divisadero in 2013.   Wonder of wonders – they inherited a wood-fired barbecue pit and smoker from former tenants Da’ Pitt (one of few in the city), which gives them yet another way to work their wizardry on meat.  I can’t get over how cool Divisadero has become now with BiRite Market, Nopa, Bar Crudo, La Urbana, Mojo BicycleCafe with its Wes Burger popup (another future post), Little Star Pizza, Brenda’s Meat and Three.  Five years ago, it was called the new Valencia, but it really is destination worthy. [click to continue…]


Abura-ya in Oakland

by foodhoe on March 16, 2015

380 – 15th Street, Oakland, CA | 510.835.9515 | Facebook | twitter


Last month, I joined the East Bay Dishing meetup group to check out Abura-Ya, a popup restaurant within a restaurant at the Garden House cafe in downtown Oakland.  The cafe is open during the day and the pop-up is only open for dinner Wednesday thru Saturday nights.   Abura-Ya translates to grease shop and they specialize in (surprise!) Japanese Fried Chicken (JFC) also known as “karaage,” pronounced (kara-ah-geh), a popular and ubiquitous deep fried delicacy that can be found on Japanese bar menus throughout the land.  They also serve izakaya plates, which are meant to be shared like Tapas. You can see their online menu here, which changes according to what is available.  I grabbed this graphic from their Facebook page, which has the location and hours, along with their excellent logo, which is distinctly Ramones-ian.

And in the spirit of sharing, I have copied this great JFC shot by Bert Johnson from Luke Tsai’s review on East Bay Express, where I learned that the restaurant is a collaboration between chef Adachi Hiroyuki, Angelo Hernandez (Hiroyuki’s right-hand man in the kitchen), and Rodrigo de la Raza.  Besides dinner at Garden House, they are now serving lunch at The Hatch which according to the address looks to be on the next block.  The specialty of the house, JFC, are made from skinless thighs that have been cut into large chunks, which are marinated overnight in shio koji (a fermented rice product with magical tenderizing and flavor enhancing properties) and pepper, then dusted in cornstarch and fried twice.  The first frying cooks the chicken through, and the second frying, at a higher temperature, transforms it to crispy golden perfection.

Photo by Bert Johnson from the East Bay Express

[click to continue…]


A brunch and a dinner at Nido in Oakland

March 8, 2015
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444 Oak St Oakland, CA 94607  | (510) 444-6436 | website Mr. K and I recently discovered Nido Kitchen & Bar in Oakland, located in an industrial area west of 880 on the edge of Jack London Square.  Its bright colors welcome you into the whimsical interior that combines raw and finished materials: the bar and planters are made from reclaimed wood and pieces of corrugated shipping containers […]

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Laotian Dinner at Champa Garden

February 27, 2015
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2102 8th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606 | 510.238.8819  I have joined a few Meetup groups to expand my dining opportunities, and found that there are numerous dining clubs focusing on food and wine pairings that have nothing at all to do with romance.  I’ll admit membership in the Fried Chicken Sluts and the Bay Area Noodle Whores, dedicated […]

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@EatWithTracy: a Malaysian Lunar New Year feast

February 23, 2015
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The bay area is full of adventurous diners and  Feastly is a website that connects aspiring chefs with enthusiastic eaters who can enjoy awesome meals served in the cook’s home.  After my first Feastly feast that you can read about here, my friend Brenda who writes Bites and Bourbon and I have been following a Malaysian chef Tracy whose Instagram feed makes us drool.  We signed up as […]

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a feast of dry fried chicken wings at San Tung

February 16, 2015
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1031 Irving St., SF, CA 94122 | (415) 242-0828 | website Last weekend, Mr. K and I met up with a bunch of friends at an old favorite, San Tung Chinese Restaurant in SF to catch up and to plow our way through platters of their famous dry fried chicken…  It’s been a while since our last visit, and they […]

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Dinner at Gather Restaurant in Berkeley

February 9, 2015
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2200 Oxford St Berkeley, CA 94704  | (510) 809-0400 | website Gather restaurant nestles at the base of Berkeley’s greenest building, the David Brower Center, which has the profile of a modern pagoda.  At night, it glows like a magical jewel box that beckons invitingly.  After all the rich fatty foods we had enjoyed in New Orleans, I was quite keen to dine at the […]

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