Bauer Takes a Crack at Duende; Hirsch Finds Great Filipino Food at a Food Court

Duende Photo: Lara Hoke/Grub Street

Michael Bauer is mostly pleased with Duende, the new Basque-inspired restaurant in Oakland’s Uptown from longtime Oliveto chef Paul Canales. He says that Canales’s paella is “excellent” and “a fine example of an often-maligned dish.” He also loves the “soulful” duck fideua, which is a toasted pasta dish also served in a paella pan, and a dish of shredded Savoy cabbage with lemon, olives, and pistachios. East Bay Express critic Luke Tsai commented on the lightness of Canales’ pork albondigas, but Bauer finds them “dense” and “anemic” looking. He also praises the service, but in the end it gets two and a half stars, and on the blog today Bauer elaborates that “the food, while good is still a work in progress.” [Chron, Tsai’s Earlier Take]

Meanwhile at the Examiner, we have Jesse Hirsch taking a Filipina friend to check out Inay Filipino Kitchen, which just opened its first S.F. branch last summer at the Metreon food court. He’s a big fan of their sisig fries, which consist of shoestring potatoes topped with pork shoulder, cheek, and ears, sauteed onions, melted cheese, an over-easy egg, banana ketchup, and Sriracha ranch. He also says they make a decent lumpia, and “a fine caldereta, a tomato-based, cumin-heavy Filipino beef stew.” He’s a little put off by the very pungent, very Filipino dinuguan, “a purple-black stew of pork offal and blood,” which his Filipina friend says she was forced to eat as a kid before she knew how to say no. And all in all, neither of them can believe someone is serving this stuff in a mall food court. [Examiner]