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Restaurant recommendatins in the Princeville area of Kauai?

In early July, we enjoyed:

*Kauai Ono -- (we did the tented tasting meal, it was fun)

*Hanalei Poi Company -- (truck near wishing well, the lau lau here is excellent. The pan mochi is okay; I am really sensitive to baking soda and I can taste it in the mochi.)

*Bar Acuda -- (Good food and good drinks. We liked the Humboldt Fog with local honeycomb. Even though we live in CA and can get that cheese any time, this was the most memorable dish. Ben Stiller sighting as well! Lots of locals as well as tourists.)

*Garden Cafe -- (Mauka side in Kilauea, lunch only. Organic and pricy, beautiful setting and the food is tasty. It reminded me a little of the Herb Box in Scottsdale AZ.)

*Banana Joe's -- (don't miss out on the banana frosty. Unique and soooo good, dairy free and no sugar added.)

*Hanalei farmers market is a must visit for fruit.

Give the pizza at Kilauea bakery a miss.
Also, even though it's all the way in Lihue, I will mention that the malasadas at Kauai Bakery were actually terrible.

We wanted to try the Japanese shave ice truck in Kilauea (Shave Ice Tege Tege) but they were on vacation. If you're into shave ice, seems like it's worth a try; they make their own syrups and try to use organic.

Aug 29, 2014
Torina in Hawaii

SFBA Dish of the Month (Sept 2014) - Nominations/Voting

PRINCESS CAKE

Aug 29, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area
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Can I substitute virgin coconut oil for butter in flourless chocolate cake?

It tastes utterly delicious when you make pancakes with coconut oil instead of butter. I say go for it.

Aug 28, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #322 - the pre-Labor Day Weekend Edition [through August 30th, 2014]

oh no! feel better.

For your little girl, try smoked salmon. It's smelly enough to disguise almost anything. I have a coonhound with a crazy good nose (he's even named "Remy" after the gourmand rat in Ratatouille because of his nose), and smoked salmon does the trick for us. Or pill pockets carved entirely out of blocks of 3 year old aged cheddar :P but you don't have to use quite as much salmon.

Aug 28, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking
1

Anyone used Good Eggs/Fair Share specialty food delivery services?

I have a friend who is devoted to Good Eggs. They have some very nice products available that can be hard to find elsewhere (small bakery breads, that kind of thing).

Aug 28, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Fresh masa items, made to order

Tamarindo Antojeria (old Oakland) recently had a huarache special with blue corn that was obviously made in house. Just spread with some salsa and thinly sliced radish ... it was a beautiful thing.

Their specials are consistently wonderful. I am looking forward to Chile en Nogada coming into season, but I will call ahead because they vary the specials a bit.

I also love their chilaquiles, which are of the sauteed totopos type (not layered lasagne type). They offer a choice of sauces.

Aug 28, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 2

I totally agree -- meat pies are awesome and there aren't enough of them in the US.

One of my favorite secret tricks ... instead of using puff pastry for a chicken pot pie, I will use a pate brisee type crust and sub in chicken fat for some of the butter or lard. Bake it apart from the fricasee on a cookie sheet (cut to size), deposit on top of the stew just before serving. I have yet to do this in a full crust pie, but the chicken fat (typically rendered fat I've saved from from a roast chicken) adds a wonderful savory flavor to the pastry.

Aug 28, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking
1

What's for Dinner #322 - the pre-Labor Day Weekend Edition [through August 30th, 2014]

Nice! I've been using a lot of pau bhaji masala with that type of combo, mashing and serving on hot dog bun garlic bread (soft dinner rolls are hard to find outside of thanksgiving time!). Makes a great, hearty and healthy veg dinner.

What's for Dinner #322 - the pre-Labor Day Weekend Edition [through August 30th, 2014]

Nothing like having your mom look after & feed you. Glad she is home.

Aug 28, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking
1

What's for Dinner #322 - the pre-Labor Day Weekend Edition [through August 30th, 2014]

Thanks, mariacarmen! You may have seen me on the SF board, I am newer to the Home Cooking board, but I love the warm & supportive vibe in here (plus all the great ideas and recipes!).

What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 2

Thanks for the link! We're going away for Labor Day weekend, and this looks perfect to travel with. On the list for tonight!

Aug 27, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? August 2014 Edition, Part 2

I found beautiful dates at the local farmer's market, and couldn't resist making sticky toffee pudding, despite the fact that it was all wrong for the season.

Used David Lebovitz's version of his friend's recipe (posted to the DL blog), including lots of candied ginger.

The British boyf insists that this be made next time his family visits.

Aug 27, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking
1

What's for Dinner #322 - the pre-Labor Day Weekend Edition [through August 30th, 2014]

Since Hatch Green Chiles were being roasted at a local store, we made a beautiful chile verde/posole with country pork ribs and Ranch Gordo hominy (unfortunately, I didn't soak the hominy quite long enough and it didn't bloom, but it still tasted good). Served with corn tortillas, crema, cotija (I don't think this is the "correct" cheese to use, but we like it), cilantro ... all the Cs. Delicious. Next time I'd use an even higher ratio of chiles.

Meanwhile, a few pounds of the chiles are in the freezer, waiting for a winter's night that deserves them.

Honeymoon splurge dinner in SF

Thanks for reporting back!
And, congratulations :)

Aug 27, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Alternative to State Bird? [San Francisco]

WRT the quail, maybe we were there on an off night ... it was I think a Tuesday (definitely was a weeknight) and we were the last seating.

By the way, have you tried Ippuku in Berkeley? Was there last night, and it reminded me of this conversation. Japanese food is less familiar to me than Chinese, so likewise the 'wow' factor may be different for others. But I think you, Eudoxus, would like it because you do get many, many small plates and all of them are excellent.

Last night, two stand out "how did they do it" dishes ... a "tatami mat" of baby sardines. Really, really interesting texture and presentation. And also a tempura of Brentwood corn that came out as an incredibly airy cake. Never seen any tempura like it before. I wasn't sure what to expect when I saw it on the menu, was thinking possibly strips cut off of the cob, but they were kernels tossed with batter but somehow fried with lots of spaces in between bits of batter (and seemed evenly fried throughout).

We also ate beef tongue, fresh tofu skins, and handmade soba noodles, amongst others.

Aug 27, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Alternative to State Bird? [San Francisco]

So, on value, I'd agree that SBP is pretty good value for money. But that aspect diminishes if you're paying extra for a task rabbiter.

I would agree with Frosty Melon on the level of innovation. I'm sure that, in part, our reaction was influenced by the incredible hype around this restaurant. We did overall enjoy our meal and had a nice time, and we would return. Service, once we finally got seated, was good. The novelty of getting western food on dim sum carts and trays was great -- I do love the immediate gratification aspect after having waited around for our table to turn.

But I agree that there are other restaurants doing more interesting stuff food-wise. For example, when I go to Camino once every 6 months or so, I find something pretty new to me and interesting (last time it was fig leaf ice cream). Nothing at SBP made me exclaim "how did they do that?!" (technique) or "how did they think of that?!" (combo of flavors). Maybe we are just a spoilt and blase crowd. Also, maybe they are taking stuff from cuisines I don't know as well (I'm very familiar with Chinese food, so borrowing ingredients or combinations from it doesn't particularly blow me away). So ... mileage may vary!

Here is a rundown of our impressions:

Hits:
* smoked trout with avocado, early girl tomatoes, and potato chips (so good we had it twice - but was it super innovative? nah. I can make it at home.)

*"short stack" corn pancakes with red hawk and garlic chives (basically tasty. innovative, yes. Worth waiting 3 hours in line? no. Was I so excited by it that I hope that other restos will copycat? no.)

*salmon tartare with crispy quinoa atop cucumbers (nice texture. quinoa was a new touch.)

*duck liver mousse with almond financiers (delicious, two elements taken from a french playbook and combined in a new way)

*nocino and date ice cream sandwiches (tasty, the flavors are very chinese but the form is different)

*plum shrub was fan-fricking-tastic, and I take my hat off to them for it. I like the shrub trend, and they were on point.

*world peace is very tasty, but the flavors are not unlike some nut-enhanced smoothies. Texture is actually smooth, though.

Misses:
*cumin lamb and squid with bok choy and snap peas (okay so this is obviously a play on a well known Chinese dish, but there is no sichuan peppercorn. The ingredients are fine, but I didn't find this innovative or elevated, in fact I'd say it was dumbed down, and I regretted ordering it.)

*oysters (whatever was on them overpowered their delicacy. and yes, raw oysters are nice, but not new.)

*beef tartare (bland, not new)

*"state bird" itself -- batter was way too thick and overwhelmed the bird. We were nonplussed.

*blue bottle's ethiopia yirgacheffe gelena abaya natural was french pressed into brightly acidic mud

Aug 26, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Alternative to State Bird? [San Francisco]

I will "third" Central Kitchen. The chef's choice tasting at $70 is a pretty good value, too. When we went, there were 3 salads, two starters, two mains and dessert. Everything will be from the main menu. There will be asian accents, but they will be more subtle than State Bird's.

I find the atmosphere very relaxed. It's also easy parking and decently close to Bart. And next to Trick Dog if you want a drink before or after.

Aug 26, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Picky eaters are the bane of my existence...and now I live with them

Reminds me of when I was little and my parents bought me "Bread and Jam for Frances". :) Now I've probably gone a little too far the other way and crave what might be an excess of variety!

Excellent advice.

Aug 25, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking

Jamming, canning and preserving 2014

I really, really like black currant! :)

sounds delicious.

Aug 25, 2014
Torina in Home Cooking

Best one-stop supermarket?

I always read 'european style' as cultured. Does it just mean higher butterfat content?

FWIW, it didn't taste cultured. Hate to simply say their product tastes bad, but I guess it does (to me).

Aug 25, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Best one-stop supermarket?

I haven't checked the label in a long time because I didn't like that butter when I did the taste test, so I'm not sure. But if you like the Strauss butter, it's worth trying.

Again, it was several years ago, but our little group tasted about a dozen butters, and the TJs organic was identical to the Strauss at that time. I like "european style", ie higher butterfat content, cultured butter, and was a very happy customer back when they sold Plugra at TJs. Maybe I just didn't care for the flavor of the culturing agent Strauss used.

Aug 25, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Oakland CSA rec

Anyone interested in doing a special, more detailed thread for comparing CSAs with pictures, poundage, pricing, etc? I would be happy to photograph and review what we get this Wednesday from TFF (we take a Medium sized box) ... but I'm also really interested to see what people get at Full Belly, River Dog, and other places, and comparing prices.

Also, are there any really special things that your CSA farm does? For example, TFF grows "painted serpent" cukes which I have not seen at the Lake Merritt farmers market from other vendors (I think TFF goes to Berkeley market instead), although I have seen other Armenian cucumbers. Heirloom tomatoes are excellent and diverse, but they seem to have stopped growing heirloom cherries (maybe a labor decision?). Where do they fall down? I wish they grew eggplant, and their strawberries were very weak this year.

Aug 25, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Jack's Oyster Bar & Fish House-Jack London [Oakland]

Thanks for taking one for the team ... All these reports are seriously bumming me out! I was hoping for a Sea Salt (in its good years) replacement conveniently located in JLS.

Aug 25, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Best one-stop supermarket?

So the homogenized full-fat milk is Clover?

That's the one I buy. Tastes good to me. I agree with Robert about the clotting on the cream-top, I find it off putting.

Did a side-by-side tasting of the organic butter vs strauss butter and it was definitely the same, but that was several years ago (and I don't care for Strauss butter, so I actually buy conventional).

Aug 25, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Best one-stop supermarket?

Dairy products -- in the bay area, their organic line is Strauss. I absolutely adore the texture of their whole fat Greek yogurt with honey and it is a daily staple for me. Butter is cheap. They carry things like bellwether creme fraiche for at least a dollar cheaper than regular grocery stores. Cream cheese, St Andre, fresh mozz is all fine. They do carry lots of cheeses I won't touch.

The belgian "pound plus" chocolate bars are great, I love that they have a variety of %s.

I'll admit it's hard for me to spend $8 on pastured eggs with regularity, so I buy organic/free range at TJs for about half that.

Dried fruit and nuts. Water crackers. Those triple ginger cookies are damn good. Ice cream mochi :)

Often buy their pastrami or their sliced roasted turkey breast, it's convenient and is fine for weekday sandwiches.

I like their toiletries, triple milled lemon verbena soap is heavenly, but that's very personal.

I will buy a chicken for roasting from there, but only in a pinch. I like their "black forest" thick sliced bacon. Sometimes I'll buy their nitrate free all-beef hot dogs.

oh yeah! And their house brand of Pirate's Booty ... they have some fun snacking foods.

Aug 25, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Hatch Green Chiles 2014

Glad you got your chilies after all!

Aug 25, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Oakland CSA rec

We also use Terra Firma and love it. Their boxes are very well thought out and balanced, and there are three size options. I personally enjoy Pabilto's newsletters as well.

FWIW, I got sick of zucchini from Eatwell when I gave them a try, although I did like the egg option.

Aug 23, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Oakland (Adam's Pt, Lakeshore) Birthday Dinner Rec?

Another spot that hasn't been mentioned yet is Michel Bistro, on Lakeshore Ave. A recently opened bistro with Provencal flavor serving well cooked classics. Their fish is perfect.

Aug 23, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Hatch Green Chiles 2014

What a shame! Sounds like it was just bad timing :(

I went by at 4 pm and he was out of mild chiles but had medium ones for sale (already roasted, still hot), and hot ones in the roaster. Picked up 4 lbs of medium and on my way.

He did say he would be there again tomorrow but it would be the last day. Maybe call ahead to the produce department and have them reserve from for you to pick up at a certain time? I had no idea it was so hit and miss with the timings.

Aug 23, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area

Hatch Green Chiles 2014

The pizza place in Alameda Marketplace is pretty good, and I plan to stop by the Natural Foods in the marketplace for Rancho Gordo hominy (fingers x'd it's in stock) to make our family's chile verde / posole hybrid. I've also been meaning to hit up the Obelisco near Fruitvale Bart, not far from the Nob Hill (lots of reviews on CH).

Aug 22, 2014
Torina in San Francisco Bay Area