Dumpling Time Review: Juicy, Flavorful Dumplings (SoMa, San Francisco)

On a Saturday at 11am, the line to get into Dumpling Time for the first seating stretches around the block before the restaurant is even open. The wait time on a Saturday can take up to 1.5 hours. I thought it was insane that people were willing to wait that long for dumplings, but after eating there, I completely understood why. 

There is no lack of dumplings in San Francisco, but there are very few spots that are outstanding in quality. Dumpling Time stands out because of that; fresh made dumplings and noodles made with locally sourced ingredients right before your eyes. 

Patrick and I loved everything we ate - xiao long bao, pan seared char siu pork belly buns, seafood gyoza, vegetarian xi'an dumplings, Beijing pork noodles and trio of dessert buns.

Both xiao long bao options, pork and tom yum, are outstanding. The skin on the dumplings are thin with a slight chew, very flavorful, juicy filling. Patrick claims that the seared char siu pork belly buns are the best he's ever had - incredibly fluffy with a great filling to dough ratio. I also highly recommend the seafood gyoza, loaded full of crab, scallop, and shrimp in a spinach skin and served with a spiced chili butter sauce.

I usually don't care for vegetarian dumplings, but I really enjoyed the vegetarian Xi'an dumplings with a filling of chives, garnished with micro herbs, fennel, fresno chilies and cherry tomatoes.

The Beijing pork noodles were good and the noodles had a great texture, though it was my least favorite out of everything because the flavors leaned too far on the salty side for me from the use of soybean paste. 

Our meal ends with a "happy ending", as they like to call it. I am a sucker for sweet dessert buns, so we order the trio of buns - green tea & milk, beet & taro, and egg yolk. The buns were fluffy and I enjoyed each creamy custard filling. 

I left completely stuffed and satisfied, but wanted more. I'll definitely be back. 

Thank you for having us as your guests, Dumpling Time! 

Note: I was invited to Dumpling Time as a guest of the house, but all opinions and words expressed are completely my own. 


Visiting Dumpling Time

Location

11 Division St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Phone

415.525.4797

Menu

https://www.dumplingtimesf.com/menu/

Hours

  • Monday-Sunday 11am-2pm, 5:30pm-9:30pm

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The Bird Review: Ridiculously Delicious Fried Chicken Sandwiches (FiDi, San Francisco)

For over the past two months, I've been going to The Bird at least every other week for their ridiculously delicious fried chicken sandwiches. If you've been following me on Instagram, you can probably tell that I'm obsessed. It is the best fried chicken sandwich I've ever had in my life. For real. 

I've had several fried chicken sandwiches throughout the East Bay and San Francisco, but nothing comes even close to The Bird. My favorite is the spicy chicken sandwich ($8). The thigh meat is huge, so juicy and moist. The meat has this really nice silky texture that's easy to bite into. The exterior is crispy with a nice golden crust that's coated in some kind of spicy paprika all-spice oil that gives off a mild level of heat, contrasting with the bright pickles and apple-celery slaw. 

I may just be lucky, but every sandwich I've had has been unbelievably on point and consistent. I've even taken a sandwich to go all the way home and it was still crisp the next day. Every person I've taken to join me has come back for more. There's usually a line during the lunch hour, so I make sure to get there by 11:30am. They move pretty quick - I usually get my food in less than 7 minutes. The curly fries are great, crispy and nicely seasoned. The loaded fries are a real treat if you're into having your fries dressed with gooey cheese sauce, sour cream, bacon and scallions. 

They recently started serving brown butter biscuit sandwiches ($4.50) for breakfast during the weekdays (ends at 10:30am), which I freakin' love. You can choose from the fried chicken, house made sausage or bacon. My favorite, of course, is the fried chicken, which is about half the size of the thigh served at lunch and comes with irresistible crispy hashbrown bites. 

If you love fried chicken sandwiches, you've got to try out The Bird


Visiting The Bird

Location

115 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco

Website

http://thebirdsf.com/

Phone

415.872.9825

Hours

  • M-W: 8am-8pm, Th-F: till 9pm

  • Sat: 11-4pm

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First Look: Okane's Exceptional Traditional Japanese-Style Breakfast Arrives to San Francisco

There are countless brunch spots in San Francisco, but there's nothing like Okane. Okane officially launched their new Japanese-style brunch menu, inspired by traditional kaiseki—small, beautifully plated dishes served at tea ceremonies in Japan—combined with the type of breakfast offered to guests at a Japanese onsen ryokan (hot spring hotel). Patrick and I went to check it out on opening day this past Sunday and we're already planning on coming back with friends. This is seriously one of the best brunches I've ever had. Japanese breakfast, where have you been all my life? 

Each brunch set offers a creative variety of small dishes at an incredible value. Prix fixe menus are priced at $18, $20 or $22, catering to both vegetarian and meat/seafood lovers. I talked to chef Edgar Agbayani and he explained that the idea behind this was inspired by a trip to Japan that he and owner Kash Feng took last year to research breakfasts at Japanese hot springs. 

Patrick and I tried both the Megumi ($22) and Miyabi ($20) sets and loved them. The sets come with miso soup, pickles and a salad to start. We found the Megumi and Miyabi sets to be very filling yet well balanced, varying from light to slightly heavier dishes.

63° onsen tamago from the Megumi set.

Temarizushi - ocean trout, maguro, and squid from the Megumi set.

Goma dofu from the Miyabi set.

Gyuniku shigureni from the Megumi set.

Gindara misozuke from the Megumi set.

Dashimaki tamago from the Miyabi set. 

Chirimen jako from the Miyaki and Megumi sets.

There's also an a la carte menu that's very enticing and hard to resist. The ebitama okonomiyaki is outstanding, crispy outside and fluffy inside. The savory pancake is filled with cabbage and plump shrimp, topped with bonito flakes, kewpie mayonnaise and a sweet umami sauce.

Towards the end of our meal, Chef Agbayani surprised us with a bite of their sashimi-style beet and shiso brine cured Scottish salmon for us to try. The salmon is absolutely divine, a must order! So silky, buttery and flavorful.

Update 2/18/2017 - The breakfast at Okane was so spectacular that we went to visit again with our friend Sandy, who writes the delightful food blog Foodhoe. I had to order the Megumi set, okonomiyaki, and beet cured Scottish salmon again.

In addition, we tried the Kashiwa set, which is focused mostly on chicken dishes. The chicken teriyaki and curry were very flavorful and delicious! It is a lighter option compared to the Miyabi and Megumi options.  

Chef Agbayani surprises us again during this visit with a claypot of kani lobster gohan for us to enjoy. The best way to describe this is like a buttery Japanese risotto with crab, lobster and mushrooms that have been cooked in a stock made with Maine lobster shells. It is so rich and comforting! 

Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m on Sat/Sun. Trust me and go check it out. You'll never look at brunch the same way again. 

Thank you so much for having us over, Okane! 


Visiting Okane

Location

669 Townsend Street. San Francisco, CA 94103

Website

http://www.okanesf.com

Brunch Menu

https://www.scribd.com/document/338134520/Okane-Brunch-Menu

Phone

415-865-9788

Hours

  • Brunch
    Saturday – Sunday: 10a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 

  • Lunch
    Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

  • Dinner
    Monday – Thursday: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
    Friday & Saturday: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
    Sunday: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

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