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Fish for gefilte fish

I want to make homemade gefilte fish this year, but I'm not sure what to do in terms of type of fish. The recipes I'm seeing call for carp, pike, buffet, and whitefish, none of which I've ever seen out here.

Where can I get these types of fish or what (affordable) types of fish can I substitute? I'm in the east bay, so east bay fish mongers preferred, although I'm not above an SF or Marin run.

What cooking gadgets changed your life?... Well at least your cooking?

My citrus juicer. (One of the stainless steel reamers with an attached plate with holes to strain the seeds that fits over a little bowl). We use citrus all the time now, and it's amazing.

Feb 25, 2015
Magelet in Cookware

Graduation Dinner in Berkeley/Oakland


Graduation Dinner in Berkeley/Oakland

Thanks. We're not a big enough group to book out Chez Panisse, and need to have a private room or garden, but I'll check out the rest! Honestly, I doubt we're going to get amazingly memorable, and that's okay, I would have prefered that, but I think it's not likely. Just really really good is okay too.

Graduation Dinner in Berkeley/Oakland

Thanks. I'll take a look. I have a pretty strong preference for the East Bay, but am, as I said, willing to consider SF.

Competent is definitely not what I'm looking for, really great is more along the lines. Rustic Canyon was amazing, although not in the top 5 meals I've ever had, but memorable, and I'd really like to do something memorably delicious.

Graduation Dinner in Berkeley/Oakland

My parents and I are starting to think about where to do a graduation dinner celebration for my graduation. We're considering a few options, including having it at home, but also the possibility of doing the dinner at a restaurant where we can rent out a private room or a garden, which I would love.

15-20 people. Budget TBD, but my sister's graduation dinner last year was at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, which has 30-40 dollar entrees, so once you add in appetizers, dessert and wine, I'm guessing 50-70 a person is fine. (And if it's just a touch over, feel free to suggest anyways)

It's a Saturday night in May.

Not pork or shellfish heavy, and must be able to accommodate vegetarian and gluten free diners. I'm a born and bred California foodie, and love the locavore, letting the ingredients shine for themselves Alice Waters style of cooking. Any sort of cuisine is fine, if it feels like a treat and the food is amazing.

Also, if it's on the quieter side, that would be ideal.

Comal's private room looks like a possibility, as does A Cote in Rockridge (although I haven't eaten there, how is the food?) Where else should we consider? While Berkeley/Oakland is preferred, it might be possible to do Marin or San Francisco.


Honeymoon splurge dinner in SF

La Folie sounds like a good choice for a future fancy dinner.

For our special dinner, we decided to go to Sir and Star. It was lovely. It was plenty quiet enough, and we loved the slightly quirky atmosphere. The taxidermied goose in a waistcoat delighted my husband. The service was great, and we had a lovely dinner.

We ordered a tremendous amount of food and had two glasses of Heidrun Meadery Lehua Blossom mead each which was fabulous.

Our favorites:

Kale Fritters with Veggie Stew - I forget the exact description, it involved Rye Bread, Barley, and some other stuff, but the kale and ricotta fritters had the texture of good falafel, and they were on top of cauliflower delicately cooked in a rich barley sauce. It was amazing.

Corn Soup - This was the platonic form of corn soup. Intense, sweet corn flavor but also rich and creamy.

Kennebec potato chips with creme fraiche and salmon caviar - The thinnest potato chips I've ever seen, with a shot glass of fresh salmon roe and a dollap of creme fraiche. This was very good, and the combination was my husband's favorite.

Bone Marrow with Caramelized Onions - This was perfectly done, a little jelly-y with a nice crust on top, but not at all burned. The sweetness of the onions offset the richness of the marrow perfectly. My husband says it was the best marrow he's had at a restaurant.

Overall, it was a delicious meal. I would say that getting the caviar, duck liver, and bone marrow was a little too much intensity and richness for one meal. We enjoyed our meal very much, and it ended up being in the ballpark we wanted to be in.

Honeymoon splurge dinner in SF

Sir and Star sounds really exciting, and just up our alley, and a little less expensive (at least, without much alcohol, which we rarely do and will do just for this one splurge). I just made a reservation there for Wednesday night, and we'll do something in SF also. We have enough money in the budget to dine well in Stinson as well, mostly cooking our own from the great local ingredients, but it can stretch to Sir and Stars.

Honeymoon splurge dinner in SF

No, I'm kosher-ish. Just not in the same course is fine. Not looking for a kosher restaurant (I know we only have about two of those in the Bay Area). Thanks. I'll look at these.

Honeymoon splurge dinner in SF

We're locals planning to honeymoon in Stinson then head to the city to finish the honeymoon off with one spectacular splurge of a dinner.
I'd like to spend around 200-250 including tax and tip and either including a bottle of wine, a beer and glass of wine, or corking fee for our own wine. (Aka, a moderate amount of alcohol but not a ton). This should include a few courses (appetizers, entrees and dessert, or a tasting menu). If it is TRUELY spectacular and worth it, we could go up to 300, but not over.

We're students, and so our usual splurge fancy date night budget is about 50 for two. We have been to some nice restaurants in the Bay Area though with my parents.

I'm a fan of small plates, lots of little bites. My parter is not, he likes big hearty portions. Feel free to suggest either. We like most types of food. Strong flavors with lots of spices are great. In terms of places we've loved, we loved Ippuku in Berkeley, Sea Salt in Berkeley when it was around, T Rex before it went downhill, Kang Tong Degi, La Limes, Anchor and Hope, Insalata in San Anselmo, Casanova in Carmel, Smoke in Berkeley...

I'm hoping for someplace that feels really special. Not too hip and loud, a little more quiet and romantic, but quality food is more important than atmosphere. Someplace we can linger over the meal.

I have a couple of dietary restrictions (no pork, no shellfish, no meat and dairy in the same course, although my sweetie loves these things) so a place where they are a little flexible is helpful. Or a tasting menu where they can sub a vegetarian course for a course I can't eat.

We'll be going on a Thursday night in August, and I'd like to be able to make a reservation.

Thank you so much!

Shabbat dinner menus for meat-eaters and vegetarians

What do you make for shabbat dinner when you have some meat-eating guests and some vegetarian guests?

I like to make something a little special for shabbat, but most of my special meals are meat. I have plenty of dairy/vegan weeknight meals, but none of them feel special enough for shabbos. (Things like lentil salad with cheese, pasta with veggies, eggs for dinner).

I'm having some guests for shabbos dinner in two weeks and have one pescatarian and one true vegetarian. I'm not opposed to serving a milchig meal instead of fleshig although in that case I would probably want to serve fish, which gets expensive, but I just don't have any special meals which are either all vegetarian, or where there are enough vegetarian parts for a vegetarian to have a full meal and not just a side or two.

I guess that's the real problem. I have lots of vegetarian sides, but how do I make it feel like a real shabbos meal for my vegetarian guests?

There are a lot of vegetarians in my community, so I run into this problem frequently when hosting for shabbos, and it holds me back from hosting as often as I would like.

What do you serve vegetarians for shabbos dinner? Or if you are vegetarian, what do you like to eat for shabbos dinner?

(Note, we can eat small amounts of soy, but can't do large amounts, so any dish which has as it's centerpiece large quantities of tofu is a no-go). Thanks.

Apr 29, 2014
Magelet in Kosher

Traveling to NY for a week with my dad, where to eat?

Hi. My dad and I will be in NY for a week in June. We used to visit a few times a year but haven't been in 4 or 5 years, so while we have old favorites, I'd love some new best suggestions.
We'll be staying on the UWS, at W77th and Columbus. We usually go out to dinner on the UWS, and our old stomping grounds pretty much are Isabella's, Ocean Grill, and Ruby Foo's or sushi takeout on the night we get in. Not bad, if I recall, but I'd love to try something new.

He really loves good fish. I'm a big fan of the locavore, farm to table, slow food movement (although that's usually a bit expensive at restaurants). I don't eat pork, or shellfish. The type of restaurant doesn't matter too much (Locavore, deli, ethnic, italian, mediterranean, french, american, whatever), as long as the food is delicious.

I'd love recommendations for:
Several really good places under $30, ideally under $25, an entree on the UWS, preferably pretty near W77th and Columbus

Good grocery shopping on the UWS. We've never really cooked in NY beyond schmearing bagels, but I've gotten more observant over the years so we will be cooking Friday dinner at home. No idea where to get good groceries. I'm pretty spoiled by grassfed meat, local seasonal produce, super fresh local fish, etc back home in the East Bay (SF Bay Area). I don't necessarily want to spend a fortune on top gourmet ingredients, but I also know that the produce in the corner stores last time I visited was not up to my standards. (Awesome markets downtown would also be fine, but I'd love to know where a good grocery store on the UWS is.)

1 or 2 splurges. Is there anyplace fabulous worth making a trip out of? (We usually head out during the day but then head back to the UWS for a nap and dinner, but might go one night somewhere downtown or across town if it's really special.) This might be a little more than $30 an entree, but not massively more. 35-40 is probably ok, but more than that is too much. Is there anywhere really good we can't miss? I remember a few years ago, we went to Savoy, and I still remember what we ate, even though it was 6+ years ago. Any place like that that we just can't miss?


May 20, 2013
Magelet in Manhattan

Bay Area Korean recap

Oh, and this was for two people.

Bay Area Korean recap

We went to Kang Tong Degi. It was great. We ordered the spicy fried chicken wings and the short rib. The wings were sweet, spicy-hot, well spiced and delicious. It was a huge plate, served with daikon cubes. The short ribs were so flavorful and rich and tender and delicious. They were served over raw onions which stewed in the fat from the ribs under the heat of the meat and the hot platter, which were so good. They came with rice and kimchi and some sort of noodle thing, and pickled daikon and carrots, and bean sprouts. We also got a side of the salad which comes with the grilled meats, which we loved.
We went at happy hour (6-9 Sun-Thu), so a large Hait (1.5 pints) was 4. We got two.
All of it was $48 including a 20% tip. We were stuffed to the gills and had several chicken wings leftover.
The food was delicious. I highly recommend both dishes we had, the spicy fried chicken wings and the short ribs.
The music was a little loud, but since you are seated in little booths, it was easy to carry on a conversation. We went at 7 on a weeknight and were the only people there.
I highly recommend it. We had a huge amount of delicious food, and a celebratory generous amount of beer for a very good price.

Where to go for an adventurous, affordable East Bay birthday dinner for 2?

Thanks. We had a great meal at Kang Tong Degi. We loved it, it was enough food we had leftovers plus a few beers for well under our budget and super yummy. He was delighted. He didn't try the chrysalis soup, he was considering it, as he likes to try weird stuff like that but the waiter dissuaded him, saying its pretty gross. We split the short ribs and the spicy chicken wings. They came with lots of sides of pickles and rice and such, and we got the salad that comes with the grilled meats. He was so happy. Thank you for the suggestions.

(Full food report will be under the Bay Area Korean Recap thread.)

Ippuku - Izakaya in Berkeley

We just went to Ippuku tonight, and it was mindblowing.
We called last night for a reservation and they said they didn't have any reservations before 9, but if we wanted an early dinner, they could probably accommodate us as a walk in when they opened. We got there at 5:15 and they had no problems seating us.

The food was amazing.
We had:
1 order of the vegetable pickles - I liked the pickled turnips best, they were delicious. My fiancé loved the smoked pickled carrots and I think it was burdock root maybe? Or daikon? best.
2 orders of the chicken goyzas - They were mindblowing, transcendental, one of those food moments I'll never forget.
1 order of enegi mushrooms - grilled king oyster mushrooms, these were so simple and plain but so delicious because of it, perfectly prepared.
1 order of the minced chicken with egg yolk. - Again, absolutely amazing. Incredibly flavorful and tender and delicious. The egg yolk was just that. The dish was a skewer, served with sauce, and a raw egg yolk.
1 order of the chicken hearts - These were so good. I don't always love heart because it is a little tough and gristly for me, but these weren't. They were chewy, but not gristly, and so flavorful.
1 order of chicken breast - This was really good. It was fairly plain, but so perfectly prepared that you loved it plain, with lemon juice and salt.
1 order of the camenbert and honey - 2 triangles of camenbert on a skewer, grilled, with honey drizzeled on top, and spicy pepper on the side of the plate. I'm not a huge camenbert fan, and I liked it. My dad and fiancé loved it.
1 order of scallion pancake - It was one of my fiancé's favorite (with the goyza and rice balls), probably one of my least favorite. A very thick ( 3/4 in to 1 in, I would say) scalliony pancake served with shaved bonito and some sort of seasoned mayo or something.
1 order of grilled rice balls with tare (sweet sauce)-These were delicious. Grilled, hot, sweet, salty, a little crunchy on the outside soft and sticky on the inside.
Nigiri unfiltered sweet sake - 300 ml -very good. Even us non-sake drinkers enjoyed it ($25)
an IPA ($6)

Total for 3 people, including the alcohol mentioned above was around $115 with tax and tip. We came away full.

The must haves, in order of rank: the goyzas, the pickles, the minced chicken with egg yolk, and the grilled rice balls with tare.

Absolutely our new favorite place.

Anyone know a great East Bay Burger joint?

I really liked Victory Burger on Alcatraz at San Pablo. We had the burger on the Arepa Bun and it was really quite good. It wasn't the best burger ever, but it was really good and the Arepa bun was awesome.

Where to go for an adventurous, affordable East Bay birthday dinner for 2?

I'd like to take my fiancé out to his kind of restaurant for his birthday, as we usually go to my type.

His kind means adventuresome: he likes to ask for the non-English menu, to try the unusual (chicken tendons, frogs legs, chrysalis soup, whole sheep head, that's his thing). Spicy food is great, he is always asking for food served not white person spicy, actually spicy (my paraphrasing) but hasn't met his match yet (he's searching for it). The food should be actually really good, not just unusual. He loves big, bold flavors. He likes big filling portions and peasant food, and is not a big fan of fusion/pan asian/California cuisine, especially when it comes with small plates. He wants to be full after a meal.

I'm thinking maybe Asian: Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai you name it. I can't eat pork or shellfish, so there needs to be an English menu or a waitstaff who can find me something I can eat, but I'm not picky. This is about indulging his love of the new.

I can go up to about $60 for two people, no drinks, no dessert, but if I can do less, that would be great. We'll be going on a Wednesday night. It doesn't have to be a romantic feel if it's great, but I would like a place where it's quiet enough that we can actually hold a conversation.

Looking for someplace in Berkeley, Oakland, etc. If it's amazing and affordable, I'd go a little further afield but not into the city. Either with reasonable parking nearby or near BART.


Romantic Dinner in Carmel/Monterey Pennisula

I know for a lot of places, it's not much, but for two entrees, and 1-2 appatizers, no drinks, no dessert surely not impossible. At home in Berkeley, we've been to many places we get out the door for about 30-40. Bistro moulin looks great.

Mar 31, 2011
Magelet in California

Romantic Dinner in Carmel/Monterey Pennisula

My partner and I are taking a trip down to Carmel, and are looking for someplace to have a really delicious, romantic dinner. We'll be staying in Carmel Valley with family, but will have a car, so Carmel Valley, Carmel-by-the-sea, Monterey, Salinas, Pebble Beach, etc, is fine.

I'd like to spend no more than $60 dollars for two, including tax and tip (no alcoholic beverages, and probably no dessert. we'd rather have more to spend on appetizers and entrees, and go get ice cream or something after). If it is absolutely worth it, I'd consider spending up to about $75, but that's really it, and only if it were a HUGE improvement over what we could get for about $60. Also, I hate going to a restaurant and only being able to order the least expensive thing. I like to go in, and have my choice of the menu in my budget.

I love Italian and French food, but he generally isn't a big fan, due to portion size and fussiness. He's happy with peasant Italian or French, and big portions, but haute cuisine with small plates and delicate flavors is not his thing. He also loves Asian food of various sorts, and so do I. Basically big portions and rich, hearty food, intense flavors and amazing. (We're foodies of the highest and poorest degree. This is a very special occasion, we rarely have this much money to spend on a meal, and want to make it worth it.)

We've been to Casanova and both LOVED it, but I'm thinking it's a bit out of budget. (I don't actually recall the prices, if you think we could do Casanova for 60 for two, let me know, but I recall it being a LOT more expensive.) I wonder if lunch at Casanova would be prohibitive.... Any ideas on cost there?

He eats everything, I can't eat pork, shellfish, rabbit, (any land animals without hooves really), or meat and dairy in the same dish. (I can usually work around meat and dairy in the same dish almost anywhere, but some restaurants are almost all pork, or almost all shellfish). Other than that, we're pretty adventurous eaters.

It doesn't have to be some stereotypically romantic spot, as long as it is quiet enough for conversation, nice enough to feel worth dressing up for (even if everyone else isn't much dressed up), and blow your mind amazing food. (I'm even up for blow your mind pizza, burgers etc. I'd happily spend less, and it doesn't have to be super fancy.)

Oh, and we'll be going mid-week (probably wed. or thu.)

Wow us! (And if there is something that we HAVE to order at a given spot, please tell me.) Thanks.

Mar 31, 2011
Magelet in California

Cookbook Question - Whose Cookbooks Rarely Disappoint You? Books Where Recipes Always Appeal?

I haven't read any of her other cookbooks, but Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food is amazing. Everything we've tried has been scrumptious, and most of the recipes are so appealing.

Feb 01, 2011
Magelet in Home Cooking

Kosher Cassoulet?

I'll try to find one. I've never heard of a smoked turkey leg. (at least not for sale in the market.) That would help a great deal. I wonder about adding some sort of cured meat as well? Many cassoulet recipes I looked at had some cured meat involved. I guess salami would be that, but salami is rather different than say bacon or salt pork, much... firmer. (I think salami might be a bit strange, I was thinking more along the lines of lamb or beef sausage in a lamb or beef casing for the sausage). mmmmh I already had dinner but I'm getting hungry thinking about this.

Oct 07, 2009
Magelet in Kosher

Kosher Cassoulet?

I've been day dreaming about cassolet. Any ideas of what meat to use? (I'm thinking I'll be able to find a kosher sausage to use, and duck is fine (and yummy fatty)). but what about the bacon/salt pork/pork shoulder/ ham hocks, I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure all of these are very fatty cuts of meat. Would perhaps adding more duck in work? Are there other meats which would be good for cassoulet? Any one have experience making a kosher version of cassoulet? Thanks!!

Oct 07, 2009
Magelet in Kosher