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POLL: Can you walk to an actual grocery store?

Even though we live in a neighborhood that is not considered all that glamorous, we are 2 blocks away from one of the best small organic markets in the SF Bay Area so consider ourselves very lucky. I can also bike easily to any of Berkeley's outstanding larger markets as well.

Mar 09, 2012
kevine in General Topics

Kale Crisis

I usually strip the leaves off of the stalks, boil them for about 15 minutes, drain, then saute in garlic, olive oil and pepperoncini (red pepper flakes) for a few minutes just before serving.

Jul 02, 2011
kevine in Home Cooking

question about duck fat

Same here. I usually use it when making home-fried potatoes. I pull it out of the freezer and slice off a couple of tablespoons worth and use it like butter for frying.

Jul 02, 2011
kevine in Home Cooking

Help me make a sauce.

For any kind of salmon I usually make a homemade mayo, then pound a couple of garlic cloves and some fresh basil leaves with a pinch of salt in a mortar, stirring the resulting paste into the mayo.

Jul 02, 2011
kevine in Home Cooking

Grilled corn on the cob - did I do something wrong?

here's a photo

Jul 02, 2011
kevine in Home Cooking

Grilled corn on the cob - did I do something wrong?

Our favorite way to grill corn is to simply slather the husked corn cobs in olive oil, seasoned with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, throw them over the fire for about 10 minutes turning them a quarter turn during the cook making sure the kernels get roasted but not burnt. Everyone I make them for seems to like it quite a bit.

Jul 02, 2011
kevine in Home Cooking

Help me make the perfect home fries

I use either fingerlings or yukons cut into 1" cubes. I occasionally roast a duck for dinner so save all the fat in containers in the freezer and will typically use that for a frying medium, with bacon fat or lard as backups if I have no duck fat available. I mince an onion, put the fat in an iron skillet, cook the onion to translucence then add the cubed potatoes cooking over a fairly high heat, turning them often so as not to burn but definitely to caramelize. I'll season with salt during the cooking and either fresh ground black pepper or hot pimenton.
With the flavor of the duck fat, the added caramelization of the onion, and the seasoning, this recipe is a great brunch dish!
I'll only parboil when using larger cuts of potatoes, like 2" for roasted.

Mar 24, 2011
kevine in Home Cooking

Saul's-Fantastic Pastrami Sandwich, why all the hate?

FWIW, I'm originally from NY and I love Saul's. Last time in NY, a couple of years ago, we went to Katz's and it was nowhere near as good any longer. The meat was dry and fairly tasteless whereas I always look forward to Saul's version of it.

Saul's Deli
1475 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

Mar 23, 2011
kevine in San Francisco Bay Area

Becker Lane pork - Berkeley Bowl

I once purchased some bad sardines from BB and now will only buy from Tokyo FIsh or Monterey.
Marin Sun in Market Hall is indeed a godsend, a great alternative to both BB and VerBrugge.

Sep 04, 2010
kevine in San Francisco Bay Area

washington sq breakfast

Any recommendations on breakfast around Wash Square? We'll be there from a Sat pm through the next Wed pm so any local recs would be great. TIA

Mar 05, 2009
kevine in Manhattan

Zaki Kabab House - Albany

Finally got around to going last night. Very good addition to the local scene. We split the combo and the chicken and everything was very well made and not at all expensive. And as everyone says here, yes the chicken is **that** good. I highly recommend Zaki though I say that knowing it will just be increasingly hard to get into as time goes on.
The owner, who is the head chef as well, stopped by our table and talked to us for quite a while. He said he plans to expand the room out to the what is now the porch and is just getting started with the menu.
Very nice people, it's the closest we've ever felt in a Bay Area restaurant like being guests in a family's home.
Definitely on the short list for us now.

Feb 06, 2009
kevine in San Francisco Bay Area

Honeymoon is SF from DC suggestions?

In regards to the most expensive places in the area:
We've been to both Gary Danko and the Ritz Carlton several times each and while Danko is very good, we would place the Ritz above it in every category. It also seems much easier to get into for whatever reason.
While the French Laundry remains the pinnacle, it is extremely hard to get into, is extremely expensive and is more of a one-time deal IMO. If you are going to be traveling north of the City, I would highly recommend Cyrus which I think is at least as good as any of the others here with service just as good as the food.

Dec 30, 2008
kevine in San Francisco Bay Area

ISO pork shoulder with skin

Actually I'm going to make an Italian porcetta type meal using a Jamie Oliver recipe to start. It calls for a boneless pork shoulder with skin for crackling with the cut butterflied so that it can be stuffed and roasted. Long story is that we share the holiday meals with several friends. We usually do the Thanksgiving turkey with the others handling Christmas and New Year's Day. This year we switched and got New Year's. The friend who usually does New Year's typically makes a Cuban pork dish so I thought I'd counter with an Italian take on it.
I'm going to use a Big Green Egg for the recipe. I got one back in July and have been experimenting on it by converting all kinds of dishes for it with mostly amazing results. I have no doubt this will turn out well too.
BTW, I called VerBrugge in Oakland and had it ordered boneless and butterflied. Probably not as cheap as Safeway but the first time I wanted to make sure i got what I wanted.

Thanks again all!

Dec 30, 2008
kevine in San Francisco Bay Area

ISO pork shoulder with skin

We're aiming to cook a pork shoulder (or leg) with cracklings a la porcetta but cannot at all find a butcher that sells it with the skin. A friend of mine from Cuba used to be able to purchase at a place in the Mission but last year was not able to find it there. She wound up going to Ranch 99 in Richmond and was able to buy there but we just asked this year and they said no.
We also tried a Mexican/Central American butcher at another place in Richmond but they said no too. Apparently skin is not as a big a deal in Mexico and Central America as it is in the Carribean.

Can anyone point us to a supply or a butcher in SF or the East Bay that has pork shoulder with the skin on?


Dec 26, 2008
kevine in San Francisco Bay Area

Enamel Coated Cast Iron v. Non-Coated Cast Iron

I've made plenty of tomato based dishes in a plain CI dutch oven for years to rave reviews. Never quite understood why the fuss about tomato in cast-iron, I simply haven't had the same experiences. Note typically the sauces have seared ground meat with the drippings in which a soffrito is sauteed into which crushed tomatoes are cooked.

Dec 12, 2008
kevine in Cookware

Making Mozzarella at home... what went wrong?

Great thread.

Report back please!

Oct 08, 2008
kevine in Home Cooking

The New Board Is Slower Than Molasses

I agree.

I'm not sure that the new interface is to blame but for the past several weeks the server response has been atrocious regardless of where I am or which of several computers I log in through.

Oct 06, 2008
kevine in Site Talk

Marinade for a ribeye steak?

Was it grass-fed? I've read recently that grass-fed beef should not be seared the same way as grain-fed, that it should be cooked at a lower heat. I read that after using my time-tested method on a grass-fed NY steak of searing at high heat. The taste was considerably less than I am used to so I suspect it may be due to being from a grass-fed cow.

Sep 08, 2008
kevine in Home Cooking

Making Mayonnaise

I've been making my own mayo for years. I started off with hand-whisking oil into a room temp egg yolk but it never would stay for more than a day in the frig. I've since been using a food processor with the mayo staying whole for a couple of weeks with no problem. This is my foolproof (for me anyway) recipe:
2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg into a food processor (not a blender and not a hand held) with a pinch of salt and a healthy dollop of dijon mustard. Put the top on and **s-l-o-w-l-y** drop a **very steady gossamer-thin** stream of canola oil into the opening at the top while the processor runs. I use about 1 and 1/2 cup of canola overall but you must enter it into the processor very slowly and very steadily. Once I've entered all the canola I top it off, again slowly and steadily, with about 2 TBS of good olive oil. Then I top that off with juice of a 1/2 lemon for acidity and salt if needed.

The great advantage of using a food processor for this as opposed to either a hand held or blender is that the oil can be added very easily in a very steady stream. I've heard that it also helps to have the eggs at room temp but I've never had trouble with eggs right out of the frig when using the food processor as the action of the blade warms the egg up very quickly while making the mayo.

HTH and if not, ask again. It took me a few times to get it right but once I did it was no trouble to do consistently from then on.

Sep 07, 2008
kevine in Home Cooking

Storing Anchovies?

Have you ever tried the ones salt-packed from Italy? I prefer them myself but takes a bit of extra care in repackaging them once they are opened to be kept in the frig. You need to wrap up the can pretty good.
If you use them be sure to wash them well prior to using.

Aug 19, 2008
kevine in Home Cooking

Richmond – Pacific East Mall – Best of Daimo Chinese Restaurant

Glad to hear you had a good time so recently.

We were heavy regulars until recently as we live so close but the past 2 or 3 meals were somewhat disappointing, Good but not quite what we've come to expect there. It seems like ownership changed sometime the past winter and coincided with this.

Maybe they had some kinks to work out. It sounds like it may be time to go back again.

Thanks for the post.

Jul 20, 2008
kevine in San Francisco Bay Area

Michael Mina, Boulevard, Quince, Delfina.........

Another shout-out from this corner for The Dining Room at the Ritz. The head chef, Ron Siegel, is a true genius, IMO, on a par with Thomas Keller.

I agree also that Mina is over-rated. The one time we went, I really liked the seafood but the meat dishes were mediocre at best.

Jun 01, 2008
kevine in San Francisco Bay Area

Family dinner in Seattle

I should at least give a quick report.

We went to Brooklyn with the family and had an amazing meal. Peppered strip steak was phenomenal. Ahi tuna with pork belly? amazing! Others had filet mignon, strip steak, lamb (chops and sausage together), and to top it off, Copper River salmon! A couple of nice salads and a to-die-for key lime pie. (The server, Zoe, was one of the most professional we'd ever seen outside of a four star restaurant.) I'd highly recommend this place to anyone.

Wife and I also made it to Matt's and the Steelhead Diner. At Matt's we had a couple of great entrees: Copper River salmon (again!) and duck leg, We also ordered a salumi appetizer which was ok but we are spoiled in the Bay Area by Incanto and Oliveto neither of which the dish came close to. The waitress we had was pleasant but completely clueless and the place had, IMHO, a kind of elitist vibe. I'd give it a B+.
We liked the Steelhead better. The vibe was more pleasant, the service was very good, and the food was at least as good as Matt's. Again CR salmon and a fish and chips dish. The dessert was outstanding, a 4-layer chocolate cake covered with roasted almonds and coconut topped with coconut ice cream.

Also a shout-out to Green Leaf, some of the best Vietnamese food we've ever had. Good noodle soup and a fantastic bon bo.

Very nice lunch on Capitol Hill at the Kingfish Cafe. Very cool people and good food with very cool large photos on the wall from the owners family album. We had a good pulled pork sandwich and a nice gumbo. Highly recommended.

Nowhere did we get anything less than very good coffee but other than a very good weekend brunch at the Cafe Campagne, we couldn't find a decent breakfast nor any posts either here or on Yelp about a good recommendation. We'll have to ask specifically about that before we go next time.

We checked out Salumi (Armandino Batali's place) in Pioneer Sq for a late lunch. We split a grilled cotto sandwich with a tasty dressing and sauteed onions. Another place highly recommended but cavaet on the wait to get in there.

Again about Copper River salmon; I was so taken by it that I wound up ordering a whole king from Pike Place Fish and had it shipped home. We're grilling some this weekend with friends and freezing the rest for upcoming meals. For anyone who hasn't had it before or if any visitors get up to the Northwest this time of year, check it out. It really is on a different order from most salmon.

May 30, 2008
kevine in Pacific Northwest

New Mexico Chile Sauce

When we went to Santa Fe in the 90's I fell in love with the cuisine myself. I really like hot food so it was lots of fun eating there.

The breakfast burritos they make there really intrigued me so I asked each place we ate them at the recipe for the red brick chili sauce used on them and came up with the following that we've been using for years.

8 New Mexico dried chilies
1 TBS cider vinegar
2 TBS flour
2 TBS canola oil (real lard works well too)

Open the chilies and clean out the seeds and spines.
Put the chilies into a pot with enough water (4 cups?) to cover. Bring to a boil, cook for 5 minutes and take off from the heat. Allow the chilies to soak in the water for another 15 min.

Pour the chilies and the water into a blender and puree. Strain the puree pushing it through the sieve scraping off the bottom into a bowl.

In a skillet make a roux with the flour and the fat (oil or lard) stirring to remove any lumps, cooking for a couple of minutes. Pour the strained puree and the cider vinegar into the skillet and stir into the roux. Allow to simmer for about 20 min.

This is a great sauce to freeze and have ready for a quick breakfast burrito. My wife makes a filling of chorizo, corn kernels, egg and pre-cooked black beans in a skillet. We then heat up some whole wheat tortillas and add some filling, wrapping up the tortilla into a burrito and draping it with the sauce.

Makes a great Sunday morning breakfast!

May 21, 2008
kevine in Home Cooking

Family dinner in Seattle

Thanks for the help, all.

I think we're going to go with Brooklyn, already made the reservation. Seems like the right location with the right selections for the group. I was also checking out the Tom Douglas places but they struck me as kind of cheesy, don't know if that really is the case.

Hope I can be of help when y'all come down to the Bay Area.

May 08, 2008
kevine in Pacific Northwest

Family dinner in Seattle


My wife and I are visiting from SF at the end of May and are taking out my sister's family who are coming up from Portland to meet us, 8 of us in all.

We'd like to take them to a good place but nothing ethnic or adventurous as they are not into that at all. That said we would indeed like a very good place though. (Wife and I are planning a separate dinner at Matt's which was highly recommended to us but not the kind of place that I'm sure the family would appreciate). So basically looking for reliable non-franchise meat/chops kind of place.

Suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks!

May 06, 2008
kevine in Pacific Northwest

Bay Area grocery shopping rant - is something missing?

JFTR, we have been shopping on a weekly basis at Monterey Market for almost 20 years. However the last three or four times, I have been very disappointed with some of the produce I've brought home. Maybe I wasn't paying much attention for a while. Onions we bought were practically unusable within a couple of days, grapefruits rotten before the end of the week, among other things.

Has anyone else noticed a precipitous drop in the Market's quality of offerings recently?

FWIW, we've started going to the Berkeley Bowl instead on our regular Saturday shopping jaunts now and have been very pleased with the quality of the produce. The seafood pales next to Tokyo Fish though.

Apr 06, 2008
kevine in San Francisco Bay Area

SF Chronicle's Top 100 [moved from San Francisco board]

Overall this gives one a great appreciation of all the great places we can eat at here in the Bay Area. However (and I'm sure there's plenty of room for further discussion) I cannot at all believe some of the places left out to make room for some that have been included.

No listing for the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton? What the...?

Bo's Barbeque makes the list with no mention of Memphis Minnie's? Scandalous...

Apr 06, 2008
kevine in Food Media & News

Lunches - 3rd & Market

Cool, thanks for the tip. I know the one you mean, I'll give it a shot.

Mar 26, 2008
kevine in San Francisco Bay Area

My Berkeley/Oakland faves, tell me yours

Thanks for the note. I guess we should at least give TRex a try.

Mar 26, 2008
kevine in San Francisco Bay Area