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Are restaurants open late in the Bay Area? What time do most places to res until?

You can get a great, late sit-down meal at Nopa ( They are open until 1am.

Dec 13, 2011
marysf in San Francisco Bay Area

Is anyone making a Gingerbread House this year?

The gingerbread recipe from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas makes a great house.

Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)

1 cup butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar, well packed
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

2. Cut patterns for the house out of cardboard.

3. Roll the dough out (approximately 3- or 4-mm thick) on a large baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the dough pieces in place.

4. Preheat the oven to 375'F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Dec 09, 2011
marysf in Home Cooking

dishwashers:Bosch?? Miele?? Asko??

Our Bosch is 6 years old. At the time of purchase it was one of the lower end Bosch models (it has 4 cycles and the cost was just under $600). We have it installed at the end of an island and since the unit is exposed on 3 sides it's not quiet. I'm sure it would be much quieter if it was surrounded by cabinets or a wall and only exposed on the door side. The sound doesn't really bother me.

My only issue with our Bosch is the condensation drying. Most items on the bottom rack dry fairly well, but top rack items do not dry at all. Our top rack is filled mostly with plastic food containers and mugs. When I unload the top rack, I have to carefully remove the items so that I don't drip water everywhere. I shake out the excess water over the sink then I towel dry the items. I found out a co-worker does the exact same thing with her higher end Bosch so it's not just my unit. YMMV depending on what you put on the top rack.

Nov 16, 2011
marysf in Cookware

Help Me Find: Stuffing with Chestnuts and Sausage

I do a variation of this stuffing/dressing every Thanksgiving. For my chestnut and pork sausage version, I like using sourdough bread (usually Acme's sour loaf because I like the crumb) but I've also used other breads like focaccia and ciabatta.

24 ounces bread, cut into 3/4- to 1- inch cubes
6 to 8 cups add-ins *
3 to 4 cups homemade turkey or chicken stock
3 to 4 tbsp melted butter or olive oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
3 tbsp chopped fresh sage
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauteed celery (2 cups)+
sauteed onion (3 cups)+
roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped (1.5 cups)+
cooked mild pork sausage, coarsely crumbled (pre-cook weight ~1.5 pounds).

Two 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pans. Bake at 375F for 50 to 60 minutes total. (Cover pans with buttered foil during first 30 min, then uncover for last 20-30 min.)

Nov 01, 2011
marysf in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? October 2011, part 1 [OLD]

I made the (in)famous Crack Pie using the LA Times recipe adapted from Momofuku. The pie was sweet, salty, buttery and absolutely addictive.

Sidenote to the OP: Now whenever I see the name "buttertart" I think of crack pie even though the butter tart is something different. :)

Oct 11, 2011
marysf in Home Cooking

All-Clad pasta pentola insert

blondelle - It never occurred to me that it would take more time to come to a boil and cook, but I guess that makes sense. I do make a lot of stock and blanch veggies so thanks for those suggestions.

Jun 21, 2011
marysf in Cookware

All-Clad pasta pentola insert

I have an All-Clad 7-quart stockpot and I'm thinking about buying the pasta pentola insert for it. Is the insert just an expensive colander or are there other redeeming qualities that I don't know about? All pros and cons welcomed. TIA.

Jun 20, 2011
marysf in Cookware


Bayoucook & Caitlin McG - I adore Ottololenghi (the shop) as well as his 2 cookbooks. I'm not sure if I'm following the rules by posting this link here, so I apologize in advance since I'm a newbie COTMer.

Link to the amaretti cookie recipe from Ottolenghi -

Apr 23, 2011
marysf in Home Cooking

Help!!! Brownie Cheesecake

I have never tried baking the brownie and the cheesecake separately and then setting the cheesecake on top of the baked brownie like you described. But I have made one where I made a bottom crust from a brownie batter which I first baked in the springform pan. Then I poured my cheesecake batter on top of the baked brownie bottom crust and baked the whole thing.

Theoretically, my recipe should work with a store bought boxed brownie mix instead of making the brownie from scratch. HTH.

Apr 21, 2011
marysf in Home Cooking

Loaf pans: Williams Sonoma Goldtouch vs Chicago Metallic Commercial II nonstick?

A while back I wanted see if the WS Goldtouch loaf pan would produce a better loaf than my tried and true Chicago Metallic nonstick loaf pan, so I did a side by side comparison by baking 2 loaves of banana bread. (My banana bread recipe happens to make enough batter for 2 loaves.) I baked them at the same time in the same oven. My unscientific conclusion is the Goldtouch pan doesn't make a difference. The 2 banana breads looked and tasted exactly the same.

Apr 19, 2011
marysf in Cookware

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Apr 18, 2011
marysf in Recipes

I have almond paste!

I made it once without the glaze and it was still so delicious. The almond paste makes it so moist. I just love that lemon sugar shell so much that I can't bear to not have it. :)

Apr 01, 2011
marysf in Home Cooking

I have almond paste!

I like to use almond paste to make this almond cake from the Tartine cookbook (adapted from Flo Braker).

Apr 01, 2011
marysf in Home Cooking

Raw egg yolk substitue for frosting recipe?

Is it the frosting for Beatty's chocolate cake? If it is, then you can leave the egg yolk out of the frosting. The frosting is good with or without the yolk. (I've tried it both ways).

Mar 24, 2011
marysf in Home Cooking

Do Alice Medrich's Recipes Work?

I've tried the lemon bar recipe as well as 5 or 6 other recipes from Pure Dessert and I find myself constantly going back to bake them again and again since they always turn out so well. So I guess IME her recipes work.

Mar 21, 2011
marysf in Home Cooking

Le Creuset 3 1/2 qt low oval @ Amazon for $97.75

Last month I ordered the LC 3.5 quart wide oval French oven from Amazon when it was priced at $97.75 and I just got the package today. It's the WIDE oval not the regular oval so it's not as deep as I expected. It's just short of 3.5 inches tall (see attached pic). I know it's my own fault for not looking carefully at the dimensions when I ordered it. Contrary to the description on the product page, the pot lid has the black phenolic knob not the stainless steel knob. I haven't decided if I will keep the pot or not.

Mar 11, 2011
marysf in Cookware

LA Girl would LOVE any help on venue suggestons on Chinese Banquet style Wedding in SF !!! Please!!!!!

On a scale of 1-10, I give Empress of China 5 for food and 6 for decor. (Just for comparison and to get a sense of my personal preferences, I would give Yank Sing 8 for food and 9 for decor and Koi Palace 7 for food and 7 for decor. )

Koi Palace Restaurant
365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

Empress of China
838 Grant Ave Ste 5, San Francisco, CA 94108

Mar 11, 2011
marysf in San Francisco Bay Area

LA Girl would LOVE any help on venue suggestons on Chinese Banquet style Wedding in SF !!! Please!!!!!

I've been to at least 20 Chinese wedding banquets in the SF Bay Area and all of them have been at a Chinese restaurant. I have never been to one at a hotel where they cater it Chinese banquet style so I cannot offer any thoughts on that topic. But a hotel would definitely be easier on the eyes than most Chinese restaurants. :)

Even though I have been to the Empress of China 4 or 5 times for wedding banquets, I had no idea that they had a rooftop garden. I wonder if it really looks as nice as the pictures on their website?

Empress of China
838 Grant Ave Ste 5, San Francisco, CA 94108

Mar 11, 2011
marysf in San Francisco Bay Area

LA Girl would LOVE any help on venue suggestons on Chinese Banquet style Wedding in SF !!! Please!!!!!

Yank Sing is lovely venue for a Chinese wedding banquet. The food is pretty good and it's clean. But, like you already know, it's pricey. If your budget allows, then I would choose Yank Sing.

- Koi Palace (in Daly City on Gellert Blvd.) and Asia Pearl (in Millbrae on El Camino Real).
Both have decent banquet food, but it really depends on who's cooking that night. Easy parking. I would not use the word pretty to describe them, but rather "generic nice Chinese restaurant decor". In my experience, the food at Koi Palace is more consistent than Asia Pearl.

- Grand Palace (in South SF on Grand Ave.)
I haven't tried Grand Palace for a wedding banquet, but I have been there for birthday dinners (usually around 60 guests) and a red egg and ginger party (around 100 guests). Service and food were decent but each time our party host knew the manager or chef so we may have gotten special treatment.

These are in San Francisco's Chinatown. I would not call any of these "pretty". Difficult parking but not impossible. So-so food. A bit greasy. A bit dirty.

-Empress of China (on Grant Ave.) They can seat up to 800 guests but even with only 500 it's a tight squeeze.
-New Asia (on Pacific Ave.)
-Gold Mountain (on Broadway)

Like with many Chinese restaurants, if you are sharing the restaurant with another wedding party, service and food quality will suffer.

HTH. Good luck.

Koi Palace Restaurant
365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

Grand Palace
359 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Mar 10, 2011
marysf in San Francisco Bay Area

Food shopping while visiting London

@greedygirl -

Thanks for that info. Nice to know there's one so close.

@zuriga1 -
We will try to avoid some crowds at the Borough Market by getting there early. I am curious to see the differences between Whole Foods in the US and abroad.

@gemuse -

From my web research it does seems that M&S has a lot of prepared foods which might work out for some of our meal needs. But generally speaking I like preparing my own food. Glad to hear the the Waitrose at St. Katherine's Dock is big and not too crowded, but we will definitely pop into the more exciting locations of Waitrose (on Oxford I think) just for the experience.

Sep 13, 2010
marysf in U.K./Ireland

Food shopping while visiting London

@CTownFeedR -

The landlady who is renting the flat did mention that the flat is fairly close to the Borough Market so we will definitely check that out. From what I've read, the BM is pretty touristy, but so is SF's Ferry Building and Seattle's Pike Place Market. I love both those markets and the touristy nature of them doesn't diminish the quality of the food sold.

@abbyd -

Thanks for letting me know which location of M&S and Waitrose is the nicest in London. The Marylebone farmers’ market sounds like a good start to our Sunday morning. Time Out London says that Marylebone is for "mums and Waitrose types". Not sure if I would be considered a "Waitrose type" but I'm looking forward to seeing Waitrose and finding out.

@r.vacapinta -

Thanks for your ex-San Franciscan's perspective on Whole Foods vs Waitrose. Waitrose sounds like foodie shopping heaven! Bloomsbury is not too far from where we'll be staying. I will definitely do some research on those places you listed.

Sep 07, 2010
marysf in U.K./Ireland

Food shopping while visiting London

My husband and I will be visiting London (from the US) for the very first time. We're renting a flat that has a kitchen and would like to prepare our own breakfasts and lunches. We will dine out in the evenings.

Any suggestions for some high quality London markets? The Tower Hill tube station is the closest to the flat. We're fine with walking 1-2 miles or carrying the groceries a short distance on the tube. We usually shop at the SF Ferry Building farmers' market and Whole Foods. And even though London has Whole Foods it would be nice to shop places that would give us a more "London experience". We're mainly looking for fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, deli meats, and cheese.

Do Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Tesco fit the bill or not? What are the can't miss farmers' markets?

Thanks in advance!

Sep 06, 2010
marysf in U.K./Ireland

Lunch in Civic Center during jury duty

I have jury duty at the Civic Center courthouse (McAllister and Van Ness). Any good recommendations for "foodie" lunch spots within walking distance? Lunch break is about 1 hour. No fast food please. TIA.

Jun 18, 2010
marysf in San Francisco Bay Area

Your best cheesecakes, please. (No savory ones!)

I used a chocolate brownie as the crust for my latte cheesecake:

BTW, love the idea of a scone crust!

Aug 16, 2009
marysf in Home Cooking

Humphry Slocombe vs. Bi-Rite Creamery... Help me decide

On any given day, I guess it would really depend on what flavor I'm craving. Bi-Rite's flavors have a more mainstream appeal. HS's flavors are ususual but really quite delicious. I really enjoyed the peanut butter curry. But if I had to choose just one, I'd pick BR over HS even with the long wait at BR. It's not because of the flavor selection, but because of the texture. The ice cream seems creamier at BR.

Jul 23, 2009
marysf in San Francisco Bay Area