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Gator’s at The Grill – Starting Next Week in San Mateo

This is great news Melanie! I last saw Gator a month ago at Bayonne, (which is quite good), and was bummed when he said they would no longer be serving weekday lunch there. I was able to introduce several of my good customers to his menu, and they all loved it! Can't wait to try the new place! As a south Looziana native I really wish there were more good Cajun/Creole places around.

RIP Mr. Robert Volberg - proprietor of Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

We lost him suddenly last Wednesday the 23rd, prayers go out to his friends and family.

Robert was very much a Southern gentleman, a really nice man.

He helped bring my home state's cooking to a new level in the Bay Area.

Please carry on Chef Brandon Dubea and crew - it's the way that Robert would want it.

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Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen
2261 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

is it blackberry season yet

Picked 2-1/2 lbs. of olallieberries yesterday at Swanton, they are marvelous.

Our daily Vitamix smoothie this morning consisted of all Swanton u-pick fruit:
* Kiwis picked there in January (kept in cold storage, now ripening).
* Strawberries picked early June (frozen).
* Olallieberries picked yesterday.

Blackberry u-pick to open there mid-July.
We'll be there.

is it blackberry season yet

Talked with my friends from Swanton Berry Farm at today's Berkeley Farmer's Market and their olallieberry u-pick is now open @ Ano Nuevo, season will probably run 2 weeks. We plan on going out there next Friday.

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Swanton Berry Farm
25 Swanton Rd, Davenport, CA 95017

What is good ham and where do I get it?

The Fra'Mani uncured ham at Berkeley Bowl West is fabulous, even at $14.99/lb.

Highly recommended.

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Berkeley Bowl West
920 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA

Best sausages?

Fatted Calf and Fra'Mani are both most excellent.

Dittmer's and Taylor's are right behind, especially the spicy Cajun links @ Taylor's.

I still miss Bobby Lee's in Hayward on Mission, lost to a fire 5 years ago.

Bobby Lee, the cantankerous Kentuckian who owned the place, was too old (80) to rebuild.

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Fatted Calf
644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

Fatted Calf to go Bricks and Mortar in Hayes Valley

Yesssss!

Don't have to report Saturday AM in Berk or SF to get the goods.

These folks are MEAT GENIUSES !

Fra'Mani products @ Costco

Have been buying the spicy sausage at BB since the inception of Fra'Mani.

Awesome in a pasta sauce.

Fra'Mani products @ Costco

Agreed they were a little pricey, but if you don't have the time or motivation I think that their items were some of the best frozen prepared food items around.

I am also not seeing their spicy Italian sausage at Costco, which is priced well compared to other places you can find it.

Fra'Mani products @ Costco

Lately we have been noticing a real dearth of the excellent products that Fra'Mani has been making for Costco, i.e., the savory meatloaf, the garlic mashed potatoes, the penne bolognese...

Does anyone here know what happened with their relationship and if that is a possible issue?

Will we ever see these products again anywhere?

The quality, like their salumi products, was excellent and very easy to prepare.

Help!!!!

Pliny the Younger Sightings?

This beer is more in demand this year than any other year.

They even cut back the distributors and the beer bar list this year:

Check Vinnie Cilurzo's notes:

http://russianriverbrewing.com/wordpr...

At this point I would be very surprised to find this on tap anywhere, and you could not buy a keg for yourself, they've never offered them through anybody for resale.

It was literally liquid gold this year.

Think I'll have a glass tonight from my growler in the fridge. ; ' )

Pliny the Younger Sightings?

No longer at the pub in Santa Rosa. In fact, if you weren't there the day of its release, February 5th, then you didn't get any there. Went on tap 11AM, sold out at 7PM. The bride and I were there and I still have 3 growlers in my fridge. The most glorious IPA wine ever.

Best Pizza places in the South Bay, CA

Vito's in Sunnyvale on Reed (@ Lawrence Expy.) has a great stringy cheese, good crust, has been there for 20+ years.

DiMaggio's (Joe's nephew) on Monterey Hwy @ Capitol Expy. in San Jose has good pizza, and positively mind-blowing stromboli.

Saw the mention about Cicero's here, another great place as well.

Little Gino's Hot Dogs - Chicago-style dogs in Berkeley

Funny you should bring up Italian beef sammich here. We had read about it here in another thread last week and couldn't wait to try it. It was awesome, they just added it to the menu. What was crazy though is that we went there after the farmer's market Saturday @ about 11AM and he only had enough beef to make one sammich!

STILL haven't had the hot dog here yet but I can recommend both the chili pie and the Italian beef sammich, great stuff. The giardinara is a really nice adder.

Massimo's Organic Gourmet - anyone know about it?

Have had their pizzas, they are fresh and a number of great varieties, i.e. pepperoni, margherita, rustica. I actually met Massimo several years ago at the Whole Foods in Mountain View and he was very proud of the organic ingredients that they use. Nice guy too.

I would suspect that their other foods are good as well. I still buy their pizzas @ Whole Foods, they are a real treat.

Best holiday beers on tap

The Bockor Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge is a very nice holiday sour, have the young Scotsman in the back bar at the Trappist pronounce it for you.

The Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper is a smooth dark stout, with a great lingering aftertaste. Found it on tap @ Pacific Coast Brewing, right around the corner from the Trappist.

Also, even though it isn't necessarily a holiday beer, the Deschutes Black Butte XXI is also at Pacific Coast and is excellent.

Marvelous chocolate and coffee flavors, it comes in at a mighty 11%.

This is a really great beer. Do not miss it.

Queen's Louisiana Po Boy Cafe [San Francisco]

Went there Saturday, and as a Baton Rouge native I can vouch for the oyster po-boy with its great crispy cornmeal breading, and the famous NO sweet french roll. Agree w/ Calvinist, the gumbo is very nice, great consistency and wonderful flavor. They even have the file (ground sassafras) on the tables so you don't have to axe(sic) for it.

Met both Danielle and Troy, nice folks. I axed Danielle about the muffuletta and she told me they are having a hard time sourcing the right Danish ham for that sammich.

Parking as mentioned in prior posts is a pain, but find one, you gotta go get this stuff.

Wonderful place, down home food. My kinda eatin'.

Little Gino's Hot Dogs - Chicago-style dogs in Berkeley

Paid a visit there today after the Farmer's Market to try the Frito Pie. My wife has been making this for us at home for years, she call it "chili boats". She's from SoCal, so that's probably just another regional reference name.

The Chili Pie is wonderful. They add cheese and onions if you like, and they offered us a mix from Chicago to spice it up. The mix consists of jalapenos, carrots, cauliflower in an olive oil. It's somewhat spicy, and really jazzes the chili up nicely.

Can't wait to go back to try out the dogs.

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Little Gino's Hot Dogs
2109 Milvia St, Berkeley, CA 94704

Kiwi berries

Anyone know where I can get kiwi berries?

These are the "baby" version of kiwifruit, a different variety but smaller and the same delicious flavor.

Was at BB West today and asked about them, was told they were done for the season.

I had purchased some there 2 weeks ago.

Per Hurst Berries on their website the growing season in Oregon doesn't end until December.

Any suggestions as to other likely places to look for these locally?

creole cajun recommendations

The head chef Brandon Dubea is from my hometown of Baton Rouge.

Podnah sure knows how to cook man yeah.

creole cajun recommendations

South Looziana ex-pat here. Here's the way I see it.

East Bay (Berkeley)- Angeline's FOUR STARS

Great etouffee(esp. over the fried grits), fried chicken, BBQ shrimp, beignets, pecan pie

SF - Yats FOUR STARS

Great etouffee, drippin's poboy, gumbo

Peninsula (San Mateo) - Gator's Neo Soul Kitchen THREE STARS

Great jambalaya, cheesy grits, Missippi mud pie

South Bay (San Jose)- Po House Bistro TWO STARS

Great muffaletta sammich, beignets, jambalaya

Laissez le bon temps roulez!

What to eat at Great American Music and Food festival at Shoreline Sat?

This story made the channel 2 KTVU news this morning. Sounds like refunds for all.

I went to a number of the New Orleans events @ Shoreline and the music was always good, but at points they ran out of food early and the organization wasn't that great.

Being a native of South Looziana I thought the food was aight but not spectacular. The first festivals were better than the last ones, when they had the traveling band of actual Loozianans cookin', instead of the local show-up-at-any-event pseudo Cajun groups.

Berkeley Bowl West - The promised land ... west of Eden

Went there for the first time today and was suitably impressed. Parking was a real breeze in the basement. What a difference from the old joint.

Picked up the shrimp and peas dish in the deli, pretty good combo. I was told they are going to be doing a lot of experimenting with the hot serve food. Deli meat counter was very slow, new help evidently.

Really like the organic produce selection here, lots'o'good stuff. Was a little confused when the bulk stand clerk offered to weigh and tag my produce purchases - I guess it might make it faster at the checkstand. No rubber bands were available for the berry clamshells, and no BB red bell pepper pesto - I complained to the deli manager.

Apparently lots of things still to be ironed out.

Still, an impressive and beautiful place, and so remarkably calm @ 10:00 this morning. Looking forward to the cafe opening.

PS The observations about the B and P designations on the elevator buttons are humorous. However, it is a building, and the B (or L for lower, if they used that) makes sense. An M for main might make more sense than P for plaza. Especially because none of us had been there before, and knew nothing of a plaza!

Hounding in the Mission: Dynamo, Slocombe, Farr's Chicharrones

The bride and I made a jaunt up to the Farmer's Market yesterday specifically for the chicarrones, which are absolutely mind blowing. I have always been a fan of pork products but this stuff is unbelievable. Really a shame that Fatted Calf can't sell these at the Berkeley Saturday market, as the powers that be don't find it kosher. :insert chuckle:

Proceeded to Yats and we split the Drippin's roast beef sammich, crazy good, and the crawfish etouffee, which had a darker color than usual but the same marvelous flavor. Talked with Jan, the owner, and he told me that he has a "professional" chef that is going to help him tweak some of his recipes come in this week. The po-boys, however, will remain the same, as the chef said he couldn't improve those. Smart man, that Jan.

Proceeded to Humphry Slocumbe for dessert, had tried the BB Vietnamese coffee ice cream a few weeks ago and found it highly palatable. Per Beth at City Beer I HAD to try the Secret Breakfast, which is now quite simply one of my favorite ice cream flavors of all time. Had to get a cup to eat it with the cone because the bourbon is hard to keep frozen. The cup was a helpful suggestion from the counter girl. The bride got the chocolate sorbet, which is very un-sorbetlike. Creamy with a great chocolate flavor.

Can't wait to try the maple bacon donut at Dynamo as my favorite waffle has always been bacon waffles, which can be difficult to get with crispy bacon. After all, I am a texture guy.

Morton, you are dead on with your observation about the Mission junk food paradise. I was so depressed about it that I had to go City Beer afterwards and pick up several Pliny the Elders to bring home to drown my sorrows.

Back home to Fremont, where a new fried Twinkie (& fried everything else) joint has just opened in the Valero station @ Mowry and Fremont Blvd.

My what complicated lives we lead in this wonderful Bay Area.

We get all the great healthy stuff and all the deadly stuff too.

Emergency BBQ, new in San Carlos

The owner is Jeremy Sowers, and he is also the brewer for Jack's in Fremont (at the Hub). Have enjoyed his beers there for a while (I live in Fremont), and I remember his BBQ as being pretty good from several years ago at a Celebrator Beer Magazine event at Trumer Pils Brewery in Berkeley. Am looking forward to paying a visit to new Q place. Thanks for the heads up Mick!

Ryan Farr's healthy chicharrones - “Crunchy crack-in-a-bag”?

Growing up in South Looziana I was raised on pork rinds. Fresh, bagged, spicy, you name it. Saw my friends at Fatted Calf last week at the SF Ferry Building, and bought a bag. The bride and I split 'em, then we headed back to buy two more bags. Pricey, sure, but the flavor is really good. I am a texture guy, and these easily blew away any other rind texture I've ever had before. Nice spicy sweet bite, really unique. I am a fan, sure.

Local beer for a wedding?

For a good summer beer similar to a Belgian, try El Toro Brewing's(Morgan Hill) William Jones Wheat. It's a filtered wheat, light yet flavorful and it only comes in at 5% ABV. This from their website:
This beer is named after the Brewmaster’s father-in-law. It was formulated to make Bill’s “mainstream” pallet happy. Brewed with 50% wheat malt and lightly hopped William Jones Wheat Beer is smooth, light, crisp and refreshing. It is filtered for a clear honey colored pleasing appearance. Its carbonation level is moderately high for the “mainstream” appeal yet remains quite flavorful. Winner of the 1997 and 2006 Great American Beer Festival Gold and Silver Medals for American Wheat Beer.

Any local brewery can supply a nice IPA with nice body. I would suggest Firehouse's IPA (Sunnyvale).

I entertain in my backyard every summer and have had these beers at my parties and they are refreshing and flavorful.

Sharffen Berger

What a joke. Corporate America at its worst again. Good news is that Guittard is still around, and their chocolate is very nice. They are still looking at opening a store in and possibly moving their factory to Fairfield. QUEVEDO!

King Cake in SF or Marin?

OK here's the report. The simple standard issue king cake was moist and delicious. It wasn't as "thick " as other king cakes that I had growing up in La., more like a cinnamon roll, which isn't as chewy as a king cake. It was more like a pastry instead of a cake, however, heating it in the microwave works well. The elaborate king cake was filed with pecans & raisins, and I was not as impressed wiht this one. Still, it's good to get king cakes locally and not pay an arm and a leg for shipping. Laissez le bon temps rouillez! It's Carnival Time!

King Cake in SF or Marin?

Picked up a simple $6.99 and an elaborate pecan and raisin king cake $8.99 today from Cosentino's San Jose (Bascom & Union). I confirmed with them that they will be making them through Fat Tuesday. Will report back as soon as we consume them. PS The king cake baby is on the outside of the cake (instead of the inside) due to the liability issues.