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The Punchdown - Oakland "natural" wine bar

Has it reopened? I don't see anything on facebook, but not sure that is a reliable source...

Apr 02, 2014
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Home Espresso Maker

I'm not sure what you will get out of this thread. CoffeeGeek and HomeBarista.com forums will give you much more detailed debate on the different machines.

I had a Silivia for about ten years (and a Rocky) and had it dialed in pretty well. I forget now, but there was some surfing with the lights to get the best results.

I finally upgraded straight to a Vivaldi 2 from La Spaziale, and I really like it. I make both straight espresso and milk drinks. The dual boilers is great, but not what you need.

I thought long and hard about the E61 machines, but I was a bit concerned about the flushing of the water to get the brewhead at the perfect temperature.

With the dual boiler, you set the water temp you want and hit "go". I rarely change water temps, so I focus on the grind and the tamp, and then watch the espresso and shut off at the right time. It will shut itself off when it hits the programmed amount of water, so you could go automatic, or manual with the volume.

Vivaldi has its own forum here: http://s1cafe.com/

May 02, 2013
Bryan Gros in Cookware

Home Espresso Maker

I'm not sure what you will get out of this thread. CoffeeGeek and HomeBarista.com forums will give you much more detailed debate on the different machines.

I had a Silivia for about ten years (and a Rocky) and had it dialed in pretty well. I forget now, but there was some surfing with the lights to get the best results.

I finally upgraded straight to a Vivaldi 2 from La Spaziale, and I really like it. I make both straight espresso and milk drinks. The dual boilers is great, but not a big deal if you're not steaming milk.

I thought long and hard about the E61 machines, but I was a bit concerned about the flushing of the water to get the brewhead at the perfect temperature.

With the dual boiler, you set the water temp you want and hit "go". I rarely change water temps, so I focus on the grind and the tamp, and then watch the espresso and shut off at the right time. It will shut itself off when it hits the programmed amount of water, so you could go automatic, or manual with the volume.

Vivaldi has its own forum here: http://s1cafe.com/

May 01, 2013
Bryan Gros in Cookware

michael bauer on "authentic" (Miss Ollie's)

You're right! they are arguing about the "authenticity" of the food when one party hasn't visited, and isn't inclined to.

The same kind of quality debating we get from our politicians...

Apr 30, 2013
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

New Zealand brewpubs/breweries

will be in NZ over Christmas and New Years. We're beer and food lovers.

Any suggestions for beer sites not to miss?

We'll be hitting Christchurch, Akaroa, Marlborough, Wellington, Napier and Auckland. Rotorua maybe.

Thanks.

Oct 31, 2012
Bryan Gros in Australia/New Zealand

Rumbo al Sur - Oakland

Thanks for the notes.
It is rather odd--I drive by quite often and just last week I told my wife "Gee, is this place ever going to open?". No signs or obvious signs of life. (Generally drive by during the day).

I'm glad it isn't just another standard mexican-american place.

Jan 23, 2012
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Are blood oranges to be found in S. Bay area?

Farmer Joe's in Oakland has them. Not sure which variety.

Dec 22, 2011
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Dungeness crab prices for '11

Anyone selling crab off the dock? SF or other?

When they were striking for $2.50 a pound, I was thinking they should just sell it for $3 a pound at the dock. Should have plenty of customers.

Dec 22, 2011
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Eat Real Festival 2011

I heard that Friday only had a subset of vendors. Wasn't that crowded on Friday when I was there, but less choice too. The paella was my favorite.

Ici was there, and while the line wasn't long, it was very slow. Someone remarked it was the entire Berkeley experience, with the wait and all. (The molasses ginger ice cream was worth the wait)

Sep 29, 2011
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

St George Single Malt Whiskey Bar Gelato by Naia

They were at the real food festival in oakland last weekend. I really enjoyed the vanilla flavor of the Madagascar vanilla. And the single malt was also tasty, but subtle.

The texture, though, I thought was a bit weird. Almost rubbery rather than creamy. Not so bad I wouldn't buy again though.

Sep 27, 2011
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Prague - trip report

Getting ready to leave prague.
We did not get a chance to stop at Lokal, as others have recommended. But we found the Czech food at Mlejnice to be excellent and a good value. It is on a small alley just south of the old town square. Seems to be crowded too and couldnt get a reseration one night.
Also stopped by U Medvidk, which our apartment recommended as a trditional Czech pub. Didn't eat there, but the beer was good. It is a brewpub.
So much pizza and pasta in Prague. Crazy.
P.s. Pilzn is worth a day trip. Brewery tour was worthwhile and it is less touristy.

Jun 27, 2011
Bryan Gros in Europe

anyone have feedback on dishwasher drawers?

Thanks for the feedback. The F-P models I looked at said a 165F sanitize cycle. But there is no heated dry I guess. (which I hardly use anyway).

I've also heard that the original model did have a lot of problems, but F-P is on the third design now and it is supposed to be much improved.

I need to go see some in person.

May 26, 2011
Bryan Gros in Cookware

anyone have feedback on dishwasher drawers?

Finally going to get a new dishwasher. We like the idea of the dish drawers.

How well do they work in practice?

thanks

May 26, 2011
Bryan Gros in Cookware

source for not non-stick aluminum anodized pans?

I guess Magnalite Pro was the anodized version.

I just found a couple threads here on Magnalite, and it's change of ownership over the years and its availability on both eBay and by the new company (American Culinary). See thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/351845

May 15, 2011
Bryan Gros in Cookware

Meat Grinder Recs?

I used the KA attachment for years. Works fine, and stores easier. Good way to get started.

I finally bought a standalone grinder (online from Northern Tool), and I wish I had one earlier. Much faster and more power than the KA. Looks like the one in the photo above. I'd recommend it if you're serious. Don't forget to use it for grinding hamburger meat too.

Apr 20, 2011
Bryan Gros in Cookware

source for not non-stick aluminum anodized pans?

I have some old magnalites and want to get some more. I don't care the brand so much, but these pans have been really great over the years. They are non-stick without the non-stick coating.

thanks.

Apr 20, 2011
Bryan Gros in Cookware

Atelier Crenn vs. Saison...

I think it is a trend. Not sure if it was Bauer I heard it from, but with the economy picking up and oil prices up and food prices up, tasting menu prices will follow!

Apr 09, 2011
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to buy pizza dough in the Bay Area

In the east bay, a local gal sells pizza dough. Havn't tried it yet though.

http://www.momspizzadough.com/locatio...

Apr 09, 2011
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Cream-top milk at Trader Joe's

Interesting. thanks for the replies.
I like the less-processed argument. Will have to give it a try.

Mar 26, 2011
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Cream-top milk at Trader Joe's

Curious.
What's the plus for non-homogenized milk?

Mar 25, 2011
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Hosting a crawfish boil in San Francisco

I've definately seen crawfish at Ranch 99 in Albany/El Cerrito. In the past at least.

You can find the dry crab boil at many stores. Pretty sure Ver Brugge in Rockridge has it, Farmer Joes has it. Liquid is harder to find. I've got some in my pantry if you get desperate--I could trade it for some crawfish :-)

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99 Ranch
4299 Rosewood Dr, Pleasanton, CA 94588

Feb 28, 2011
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Somebody please explain to me the obsession with stains on cookware

I remember reading something when I was re-doing my kitchen a while back.

Many Europeans like marble counters, because they are soft and get chipped over time and take on a well-worn look.

Most Americans like granite, because it is polished and doesn't stain and looks new for a long time.

So , to each its own.

Feb 22, 2011
Bryan Gros in Cookware

beer and kids in Prague & Germany

tiny steins! that would be cute. Have to grab one.

And yes, I'm familiar with rauchbier and can't wait to taste it fresh.

thanks for all the replies.

Feb 01, 2011
Bryan Gros in Europe

beer and kids in Prague & Germany

We'll be traveling this summer with my 6 year old. We're homebrewers and beer people, so definately planning to hit the pubs/bars/biergartens and breweries.

Are kids generally okay in these places? No way in hell? somewhere in between?

Thanks.

p.s. we're specifically thinking Prague, Bamberg, Cologne, and the flying out of Brussels. Probably be hitting the wineries too.

Jan 31, 2011
Bryan Gros in Europe

Bay Area Food Festivals - 2011

Beer Week, Feb 11-

http://www.sfbeerweek.org/

Jan 28, 2011
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to get cassoulet beans?

Making cassoulet this fall.

What is the best bean to use? Used Great Northern last year, and they seemed too large and starch/beany.
Previously had used smaller flageolet beans, in a box from Monterrey Market, and they worked well. But couldn't find them last year.

Seems if Berkeley Bowl doesn't have it, you don't need it. But not true in this case.

Any suggestions for dried bean selection? East Bay or North Bay preferred.

Thanks.

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Berkeley Bowl
2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

Sep 28, 2010
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Great carrot cake, east bay?

Sorry for the late reply :-)

Ended up getting a cake from sweet adeline in 2009. But in 2010 I couldn't really remember much about it.
This year, we were camping that weekend and in a bit of a rush before hand, so ended up getting a cake from whole Foods (Berkeley). Cake was moist and fluffy. Frosting was cream cheese and very sweet. All good, except the ratio of cake to frosting was nearly even. Made in house they said. And not cheap, of course.

Jul 26, 2010
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

99 Ranch deals ....... Lobster $6.99

We got two on Saturday and grilled them on Mother's day. They were great. I think the total was about $30.

They were still moving around fine on Sunday afternoon after a night in the fridge.

May 12, 2010
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Brew Supply in the Bay Area

Yea, Oak Barrel isn't much to look at, but the supplies are great and so are the people there.

May 11, 2010
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area

Fried chicken in Oakland?

Chronicle said recently the fried chicken at Hibiscus (18th & San Pablo) was great. Anyone validated it?

May 11, 2010
Bryan Gros in San Francisco Bay Area