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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Wrapping Up the Farmers’ Market Tour

Dommy has finally finished writing up some hounds’ (sort of) recent tour of the 3rd and Fairfax Farmers’ Market (see link at end for earlier posts):

There are a bunch of bakery stands at the market, but T&Y stands out for its beautiful loaves of rye and other hearty Eastern European breads. Challah is gorgeous, not too soft, and probably would make great French toast…if it lasted that long at home.

Magee’s makes their own peanut butter ($5.50 for a small container), churning it expertly so it never separates. The nut flavor is in-tense! No salt, though…BYO.

Littlejohn’s is one of the reasons the Farmers’ Market is considered one of the city’s most chowish destinations. There’s no better fresh toffee around. Unfortunately, the chocolate that covers it isn’t as high in quality. Pralines are good for some, but oh-so -sweet. English toffee, $16.95/lb. Pralines, $2.35 each.

If you feel the need for picnic fixings while wandering in the Grove of commerce, head to Monsieur Marcel. OK, it’s overpriced, but you can get good cheese ($10-24/lb) and good olives–barely ripe tiny ones, big green ones stuffed with almonds, and shrively oil-cured ones that melt in your mouth ($9/lb). Skip the bready, gummy baguette and get some crackers to go with that cheese.

Bob’s is often named as a doughnut fave, but Dommy found the fried hunks o’dough disappointing. The lauded apple fritters, she says, have hardly any apple and taste fairly standard. Glazed, jelly, and bar doughnuts are Krispy Kreme-esque, light and fluffy. If you like that kind of thing. As for their crumb doughnut, it’s nothing compared to the version Sepulveda and Centinela, she says.

Tbilisi and Yerevan Bakery [Fairfax Village]
6333 W. 3rd St., at Fairfax, Los Angeles
Map

Magee’s [Fairfax Village]
6333 W. 3rd St. # 624, Los Angeles
323-938-4127
Map

Littlejohn’s English Toffee [Fairfax Village]
6333 W. 3rd St. # 432, Los Angeles
323-936-5379
Map

Mr Marcel Gourmet Market [Fairfax Village]
6333 W. 3rd St. # 236, Los Angeles
Map

Bob’s Coffee & Donuts [Fairfax Village]
6333 W. 3rd St. # 450, Los Angeles
323-933-8929
Map

Board Links: Doing the Farmer’s Market–ALLOF IT!! Pt. 4: Magee’s Nuts, Bob’s, Mr. Marcel, Little Johns and the PROOF!

Cafe Fanny Changes – Perfect Ice Cream and Sorbet

Cafe Fanny has acquired a new pastry chef–and their desserts have drastically improved.

rworange had a few less-than-delicious scoops under their old dessert regime. The new pastry chef has changed everything–the ice creams are truly stunning. Caramel ice cream is smooth and creamy, with an intense caramel taste. It inhabits the soul of the caramel. It is highly, highly recommended.

The mango sorbet is magnificent, especially its silky smooth texture. It’s like an elegant ganache, only full of tart mango.

$5 a scoop, though…

Cafe Fanny [East Bay]
1603 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley
510-524-5447
Map

Board Links: Oh MY !!!–Cafe Fanny–Organic Caramel Ice Cream & Mango Sorbet–They got it right … really, really right

Hot Cocoa Hotties

Hot Cocoa Hotties

We like our chocolate rich and a little bitter. Hold the marshmallows. READ MORE

Classic Bran Muffins and Blueberry Pie

FatApple’s serves up stunning pies, and classic bran muffins, says rworange. They currently have fresh blueberry pies. These are serious blueberry pies, just like glazed fresh strawberry pies (with a little custard under the fruit), only with blueberries–good blueberries, tasty ones. The glaze is excellent, and more light than gloppy. It just enhances the blueberry wonder of the pie. There’s some respectable whipped cream on the pie. All their pies are wonderful, says ChowFun-derek.

The bran muffin is nicely balanced, with big chunks of walnuts, plenty of raisins, and a nice, semi-moist texture. The bran itself is nutty.

Karen Schaffer says they make the best rhubarb crisp she’s ever had–a perfect combination of tart rhubarb and crisp, sweet, crunchy topping. If you get it with ice cream, ask for it on the side–otherwise it melts too fast. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, they have rhubarb crisp and forget to put it on their menu or chalkboard. Just ask for it.

FatApple’s Restaurant [East Bay]
1346 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley
510-526-2260
Map

FatApple’s Restaurant [East Bay]
7525 Fairmount Ave., El Cerrito
510-528-3433
Map

Board Links: FatApples–FRESH blueberry pie, fresh raspberry pie, apricot-ollieberry & the bran muffin

How Fake Meat Is Made

Fungus, soy, and wheat gluten all need styling gel before they're ready to play the part of meat. READ MORE

How Much Does It Cost to Go Organic?

We shopped at large chain stores (Safeway and Albertson's) for most regular and organic groceries and turned to Whole Foods to get harder-to-find organic items like meat and certain condiments. Organic food is invariably packaged in smaller sizes and, as READ MORE

Why Are Shopping Carts So Hard to Steer?

Why Are Shopping Carts So Hard to Steer?

It's not you, it's those pesky wheels. READ MORE

Should Your Wine Guy be Selling Cars?

Andy Besch and Ellen Kaye, authors of _The Wine Guy: Everything You Want to Know About Buying and Enjoying Wine from Someone Who Sells It_ tell you how to grill your wine seller. READ MORE

That’s Not Wasabi

That’s Not Wasabi

Fresh wasabi is virtually unheard of outside Japan. Faking it is easier and cheaper than trying to find the real thing. READ MORE

Burden of Proof

Burden of Proof

When compared with, say, a typical 86-proof cognac, your typical wine would seem about as threatening as a bottle of Evian --right? But the alcohol level in wine varies. READ MORE