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Red Boat Fish Sauce 50N or Salt

I bought 40N within the last couple of months at Whole Foods on Franklin @ California in SF.

Biscuits and Gravy: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2014

I’ve long been a fan of the cream biscuit at Brenda’s French Soul Food, but only recently did I try it with the country sausage gravy. The sausage to gravy ratio was generous, much more than I expected. The gravy was silky but not slimy. The roux was sturdy without over-stiffening the gravy. Most importantly, it didn’t have that over-cooked milk flavor of gravy that has been sitting too long. The impossibly light biscuits remind me of angel biscuits, although I didn’t detect any yeast. They also crumble slightly like a scone, but are never dry. Overall, Brenda’s biscuits & gravy is the best I’ve had so far in the Bay Area.

Brenda’s French Soul Food
652 Polk St (btw Eddy and Turk)
http://frenchsoulfood.com
415-345-8100

you go away for a week, and the food you miss most is....

you go away for a week, and the food you miss most is....

Ditto. Also, very fresh lettuce.

Almond Kringle at Trader Joes

I got 2 at the Cal & Hyde location this morning. As of 10 am, there were ~10 left. Multiple workers told me a few different things:
They will set some aside if you call;
It's best to come early;
They are trying to make it a regular thing;
The bakery doesn't (yet) have the capacity.

Almond Kringle at Trader Joes

They were giving samples of it at the California and Hyde Streets location today, but they had just sold out. A couple of workers told me a guy came in and bought the last of them (an armful) just before I got there. Another worker told me that one of those wire stands that they place near the end caps was full of them just this morning. They said they didn't know when they would get more in, but to check back tomorrow.

Almond Kringle at Trader Joes

I love that almond kringle! The plastic-free packaging is nice, too.

Falafel: SFBA Dish of the Month June 2014

I’m no falafel maven, but after my fourth time trying Liba Falafel, I would say it's one of the best I have eaten. The sesame seed-studded falafel balls are crunchy on the outside, and moist on the inside without being the slightest bit pasty, mushy, or underdone. I think this is because the chickpeas are ground into larger bits than I usually see. Also, I think the larger bits are what make the exteriors so craggy.

These crags catch and hold the 15 generous, self-serve fixin's available from the side of the truck. Because I’m a cootie-phobe, I usually eschew anything resembling a salad bar. However, when the fixin's are that enticing, I simply can't resist. To be honest, I went a little overboard with the fixin’s, but I ask you—what would you do with a roomy and sturdy (but still tender) pita pocket like this?

Showing a pic of my gluttonous crowning of the crags would be too embarrassing, so let’s just say I topped mine with one or more of the following: braised eggplant, Moroccan carrot salad, harissa, raita, pickled red onions, fried pickled onions, apple chutney, and multiple scoops of feta cheese, with a dill-and-cardamom-brined cucumber spear tucked between the pita and the wrapper for later.

After such a filling meal, I barely had room for their house-made peppermint patty. The minty nougat is enrobed in snappy dark chocolate and is served chilled.

Liba Falafel
Brick-and-mortar Falafel Shop coming soon to Oakland
Bay Area truck locations vary– see their schedule on their home page http://libafalafel.com

Hidden Gems: City Discount on Polk [San Francisco]

I'm sad to report that City Discount is closing at the end of this month. The shop owner told me she lost her lease.
Everything is 50% off. A lot of inventory has already been cleaned out, but there are still some good finds—stockpots, bakeware, flatware, etc.

1542 Polk St
between California and Sacramento
415-771-4649

Small, soft chocolates?

NeoCocoa truffles are wonderful and soft.
From their web site:
"Inspired by the traditional hand-rolled French or European style truffles, Neo Cocoa’s 'Hearts of Chocolate Truffles' are shell-less."
http://www.neococoa.com/About-_ep_46....

hatch chilies

Lucky on Fulton and Masonic had them at least within the last couple weeks.

Hidden Gems: City Discount on Polk [San Francisco]

I love City Discount. All the staff are nice; the owner is a gem. One time I was standing in line at Cala (before it closed down for good,) and I was worried about getting to City Discount to buy some "00" flour before it closed for the day. Lo and behold, there was the owner standing in the same line. Even though I probably could have made it, when I told her I was rushing to her store, she insisted on driving me there even though she was on her way home. I kid you not. Also, she has given me recipes and it's so wonderful to hear her describe the ingredients and the process. You just don't get service like that at many places these days.

Like the OP said, they source well, and they are very knowledgeable about the inventory. Despite the small store size, most prices are surprisingly competitive. They have mostly kitchen stuff. They have modern items, but also some good-old standbys. It's one of those places you go when you need something like plain, well-made flour sack towels without all the flim flam that comes with them at the big box stores. You leave the store with the towels, a diminutive cake pan set, a candy thermometer like your mother had, and some tuna conserve. Around Christmas, they usually sell a very good torrone by the slice, as well.

Soft Gingerbread Cookes- Where to Buy?

I really like the ones at Flour & Co. Very soft and gingery, with a little bit of candied ginger in the dough—not too much, though.
They also sometimes sell the dough from the freezer, which is nice because you can slice off and bake just one or two at a time. Don't over bake them, though, or else they get dry quickly.
http://flourandco.com

Pretzel Sausage/Hot Dog Buns?

Trader Joe's on Hyde St in SF has some hot dog bun-shaped pretzel buns that are pretty tasty. A little too big for hot dogs, IMHO, but they beg for a bratwurst with some sauerkraut and mustard. 99 cents each.

Flour & Co - NEW Bakery, SF - any reports?

I've had the below and listed them in order of favorites.
- cold-brewed, bottled Stumptown coffee
- lemon bars
- biscuits and gravy (twice)
- pretzel bread sandwich with bacon, manchego and apricot jam (twice)
- gluten-free breakfast sandwich with bacon, cheese, and egg (twice)
- gluten-free coffee cake
- bread pudding
- savory oatmeal

The lemon bars were a perfect balance of sweet and tart. The crust crumbled just enough yet didn't fall apart. The bars were baked all the way through (not gummy like a lot of lemon bars) but still moist.

The biscuits and gravy dish is a nice change of pace because it's a mushroom gravy. I love a good meat gravy, but I feel less guilty somehow because of the lack of meat. Served on two heavenly biscuits, it fills you up without having to wear "yer eatin' pants."

I can't adequately describe why I like the pretzel bread sandwich so much. Maybe because it's salty and sweet without being a bacon donut or a salted-caramel-something.

Charles Chocolates new SF Mission shop now open 3/15/13

Trader Joe's coming soon to Hyde & Calif, SF

A TJ worker who was sitting outside the new store a few days ago told me November 30.

Mexican caterer in SF

Nopalito
http://nopalitosf.com/catering/
Or one of the many businesses that work out of La Cocina
http://www.lacocinasf.org

Where to eat near City College [SF]?

I also recommend the PCR (Pierre Coste Room) at City College.
(415) 239-3438

Also, I hear many good things about Broken Record, although their kitchen team is about to change, if it hasn't already.
http://www.brokenrecordsanfrancisco.com

A good article about that area:
http://www.sfgate.com/food/article/S-...

Best Portable Items from Ferry Plaza Market

NeoCocoa truffles from the La Cocina kiosk come in small, sturdy boxes and they are wonderful!

Where can I find low-sulfite wine?

Trader Joe's sells one called Well Red for $5.99. It's drinkable.
http://www.traderjoeswineguy.com/p/tr...

Tasty lobster roll

Prime Dip in the TL or on Fillmore has a tasty Lobster Dip. For me, it's rich enough on its own; the accompanying portion cup of "hot melted dill butter" sends it over the top. Not to mention the side dish. I usually split the lobster dip with someone, which makes the price of $14.99 for one sandwich a heck of a deal.
http://www.primedip.com

Culinary Team Building Events in San Francisco

La Cocina has unique classes featuring authentic cuisines. I used to work for one of the businesses there, so I know that they sometimes shut down part or all of the kitchen either for their classes (below) or for classes put on by outside businesses who rent the space. I haven't personally rented out the space, but the participants seem happy. La Cocina is walkable from the 24th Street BART station. If you want to keep the party going after the class, your group could convene at a fun watering hole in the nearby Mission.
http://www.lacocinasf.org/events/culi...

Trip Report from Toronto hound

I don't know which impresses me more—your report and pix or the fact that you hit 22 Ess Eff faves in 7 days without a planned eating itinerary. Great job!

Best place to buy Big Green Egg?

I'd be interested in hearing how/ if you like your new BGE. I really have no place to put one, but that doesn't stop me from dreaming about entering the Johnsonville Kitchen recipe contest in which they are giving away not one but two Big Green Eggs!

SF City College's classes for Home Cooks

I took CAHS 244 (Foods and Fitness). I learned more about nutrition than I did about cooking. (Perhaps that's because the class is geared toward beginners and I already had some professional experience before enrolling.) About half of the 4-hour class sessions are hands-on lab time including set-up, break-down, and clean-up. The other half involves sitting in class. If your mom is a beginner cook on a budget and wants to learn about things like low fat baking, this class might be a good place to start.

Edible Glitter in Bay Area?

I've seen it at both Sur La Table locations in SF.

Best Clam chowder and Best Cioppino

I never really liked seafood chowder all that much until I had it at Bar Crudo. They made me realize what I had been missing all these years.

ISO Custom Birthday Cakes

If anyone could make a lobster-shaped cake, it would be Kelly at Inticing Creations. She makes some really beautiful, unusual cakes that actually taste good, too. I know a pastry chef who asked her to make his wedding cake, and he was quite pleased.
http://www.inticingcreations.com/hello/
She makes whimsical cakes, too.
http://www.inticingcreations.com/hell...

Mozzeria? Anyone been? [San Francisco]

The space formerly housed Il Cantuccio.
http://www.yelp.com/biz/il-cantuccio-...