Arizona Cuisine Food Restaurant

Pizzeria Bianco


Pizzeria Bianco
623 E Adams St
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 258-8300

Ok, this is my last restaurant review for the day.  I’ve finally caught up with my backlog of blog posts.

This place hardly needs another review, but let’s just say that it is one of the first places I go for dinner whenever I am back home in Arizona.


This place is the ultimate in slow food.  Every pizza is handmade by chef-owner Chris Bianco and baked in a wood-fired oven.  The restaurant is in an old “historic” building (ok 1920’s counts as historic in Phoenix).  But come prepared to wait.  They don’t take reservations for parties of less than 6, so show up an get in line at 3 or 4 pm for opening time at 5.


Start out with the antipasto plate ($12) or a Caprese salad (above – $9 -Americanized as “handmade mozzarella, local tomato and basil with extra virgin olive oil” on the menu).


For the main event, my two favorite pizzas are the Rosa (above – $11) and the Wiseguy (below – $14).  The Rosa has red onions, Parmigiano Reggiano, rosemary, and AZ pistachios, and is bursting with vegetarian umami goodness.  The Wiseguy is a meat-lover’s delight with wood roasted onion, house smoked mozzarella, and plenty of fennel sausage.


Cuisine Food Restaurant San Francisco

Mandalay Restaurant


Photo: Buddha of the Balada

Mandalay Restaurant
4348 California St., in the Inner Richmond
San Francisco, CA 94118
415-386-3895 OR 415-386-3896

The restaurant review marathon continues (I’m catching up after a week or two of eating).

Kris and I try to get out to Mandalay in the Richmond as much as possible, despite the slightly out-of-the-way location.  Burmese cuisine seems to synthesize some of the best elements of Chinese, Indian and South East Asian elements.  Mandalay may not have quite the buzz of “the other Burmese place,” Burma Superstar, but it’s had a solid history and continues to do a brisk business.  This is what we typically order:

Tea Leaf Salad (Lap Pat Dok)
Salad prepared with imported Burmese tea leaves, tossed with fried lentil, grounded shrimp, fried garlic, green pepper, sesame seeds, peanuts & dressing

Unlike many other places that serve tea leaf salad, Mandalay doesn’t dilute their salad with lettuce or cabbage, just tea leaves and crunchy nutty goodness.

Burmese crispy pancake with curry dipping sauce

The balada is Burma’s answer to the crisp pancake and curry combo known as “roti canai” in many other parts of SE Asia.  It’s rich stuff, a bit greasy, but really good.

Mandalay Special Noodle
Burmese fat noodle with mild coconut chicken or tofu, yellow peas, lime juice, lime leaves, onion, and fried thin noodle on the top

This stuff is amazing.  The curry and noodles are rich and fragrant, and the addition of lime leaves adds to the aroma.  This dish is similar to the Thai noodle dish khao soi, but the curry part is more of a sauce than a soup.  The menu has no indication of what it’s called in Burmese, but I haven’t found it served in any other Burmese place in the Bay Area or in New York.

For a drink pairing, I suggest the fresh young coconut juice served in a coconut.  For dessert, we sometimes order the mango sticky rice, which I guess is actually Thai, not Burmese.

While Burma may have excellent food, the political and human rights situation leaves a lot to be desired, so learn more and take action here.

Cuisine Food Restaurant San Francisco



Mifune Restaurant
Japan Center Kintetsu Building
1737 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94115

Kris and I went to Mifune in Japantown for lunch last Saturday for some old-school Japanese food.  We had mixed tempura, fried oysters (kaki-fry), and zaru soba (cold buckwheat noodles with dipping sauce). We washed it down with some Koshihikari Echigo beer, which is made with rice, similar to other Japanese lagers; it tasted pretty similar to Sapporo.  Good solid traditional Japanese food.  From the photo above, it seems like the Guide Michelin agrees too.


Cuisine Food Restaurant San Francisco

Spices II: Szechuan Trenz


Spices II: Szechuan Trenz on Yelp
291 6th Ave
between Cornwall St & Clement St in the Inner Richmond
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 752-8885

Spices II on MenuPages

Kris and I had a late afternoon snack at Spices II Szechuan Trenz last weekend.  Despite the crazy decor and over-the-top graphic design and typography, this place serves up some great Szechuan and Taiwanese food and is definitely worth the trip out to Richmond.  We had a light and crisp scallion pancake ($4.25) and the Spices! Cold Noodles ($7.25), which are more room temperature than cold and come in a beautifully fragrant spicy sauce.  Despite the two-star spice warning, the richness of peanut butter and sesame in the sauce balance out the spice for a complex sophisticated taste.


Cuisine Food Restaurant San Francisco

Dosa on Valencia


Photo from

995 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 642-3672

Dosa on Yelp

After many aborted attempts to eat dinner at the much-hyped Dosa due to long wait times, we finally snagged a reservation last week.  We ordered:

Panipuri, a kind of chaat. $8 – Mondays and weekend brunch only

According to Wikipedia:

It comprises a round, hollow “puri”, fried crisp and filled with a watery mixture of tamarind, chili, chaat masala , potato, onion and chickpeas. Its size is small enough to fit in the mouth.

This is the first time I had tried this dish, but I was looking forward to it ever since my ITP classmate Sonaar was singing the praises of panipuri at Wo Hop after the ITP Post-Show Party.

I liked how the panipuri a Dosa were fun and DIY, but I don’t understand why they couldn’t have been assembled in the kitchen.  I’m sure these things only cost pennies from street vendors in India, but in a yuppie-friendly SF restaurant, they are 8 bucks an order.  Reasonably tasty, but the crispy shells tasted a bit stale.  Definitely like the idea though. 

Habanero-Mango Masala Dosa spread with spicy Habanero chutney (watch out!) $10

The waitress warned me that this was REALLY SPICY, but I felt safe seeing that most of the diners at Dosa were non-Indian.  I normally have a fairly high tolerance for spice, but this was a weapon of mass destruction.  It was all heat, with none of the fruitiness of fresh habaneros and I couldn’t taste the mango at all.  This dish might have been saved by the contrasting sweetness of mango, but alas, it was just overwhelmingly hot with no complexity.

Tomato & Onion Uttampam topped with onion, tomatoes and green chiles $10

This was pretty right on, similar to the uttampam I’ve had at other places.  A nice contrast to the atomic heat of the habanero-mango dosa.

In conclusion, Dosa was a little underwhelming despite all the hype.  The wait times are just not worth it and the food is a little pricy for this kind of Indian food.  For my next South Indian food fix, I’ll probably just wait until I’m back in New York and go to one of my usual places in Curry Hill: Tiffin Wallah, Saravanaa Bhavan, or Tamil Nadu Bhavan.