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30" Gas Bertzzoni vs. Verona vs. ??

Hi - this response is kind of late. But in case you didn't buy a range yet, I wanted to comment on the Verona. I bought one last month after copious internet searching for a 36" under $5000. I ended up getting the Verona dual fuel with the single oven and think the cooking quality for the money is outstanding. I mainly wanted the European convection oven for baking - I do lots of bread, cakes, scones & cookies - but the cooktop is fantastic. Very even cooking. Only drawbacks, if you can call it that, is that preheating the oven takes longer than my old oven, probably because it is so large. And the simmer burner is still just a little too warm for simmering small amounts. But overall, I love it to pieces. It's even easy to clean. No big holes in the cooktop for food to fall into. I got the red color and it's gorgeous. Paid around $2999 from AJ Madison online. Be aware that it doesn't come with a plug. I had to have an electrician bring the plug and upgrade my amperage to 40 amps. But it was a simple job. Wait - there goes the timer on the pound cake. Gotta go!

Apr 14, 2013
Cafe Mich in Cookware

Gas convection vs. electric convection

This thread is pretty old, but I remember seeing a dual fuel oven when I was doing my initial research. I never did buy a new oven. But since I started this thread I bought a countertop convection oven by Breville for only $250. I must say that thing is the bomb. The only time I use my big oven now is to roast a chicken or bake 2 loaves of bread. The Breville does everything else far superior to my vintage O'Keefe & Merritt gas oven.

Here are some duel fuel ranges.

And here is the Breville.

Oct 30, 2011
Cafe Mich in Cookware

Who stocks pork bones ?

Market Hall sells bones, not expensive, contrary to what you might expect.

Five - Berkeley So close but so so far

We had a similar experience our first time dining at a table at Five. We had done a reconnaissance mission at the bar couple of weeks earlier, and had a nice experience with cocktails and the smoked salmon with potato cake appetizer. So then we decided to try dinner. We too, were dismayed at the velocity of the service. Our appetizers arrived before our drinks, which was awkward and annoying. Food wise, the apps were great, as were the biscuits and pimento cheese that they serve instead of bread. The rest of the dinner continued at the same warp speed, beverages always arriving from the bar 10 minutes after each course was served. We were out of there in a hour, standing on the curb and wondering what happened.

It is a shame about the service, because the food was truly delicious, and a refreshing change from the pizza-salumi-small-plates that make up the east bay dining scene. I really want this place to succeed. So we went back last night.

This time we sat at the bar, hoping the service staff wouldn't be hovering all over us. Again the food was delicious, and this time we deliberately slowed the pace down by ordering the next course only after we'd finished the preceeding one. The husband had a phenomenal short rib dish with cheesy orzo and yellow waxed beans. My halibut was flaky and tender, with a lovely bright green herb sauce. Pretty refined stuff for the amazingly low price point. There were a couple of service bloopers, such as setting food down when we had no silverware. If they can get the service down, they won't have any trouble being successful.

Fresh Cherry Ice Cream

Jul 05, 2009
Cafe Mich in Recipes

What are your cooking "shortcuts"?

One of our favorite shortcuts is to grill the whole meal: meat, potatoes, veg. The husband wraps cut up potatoes in foil with salt and butter and puts that on before the meat. Then he puts on the meat, and lastly puts on the oiled and salted veg, such as asparagus. Added bonus is not pots or pans to clean.

Another favorite is meal-in-a-salad. Take your leftover fish from the night before, and throw it in with some greens and leftover cold cooked rice. Toast some nuts in the toaster oven and toss it all together with vinaigrette. Monkey work and totally tasty.

May 16, 2009
Cafe Mich in Home Cooking

Home canned foods: are they good enough to eat?

I'm a newbie to home canning. Last year I made several jars of jam, which I enjoyed. This year I'd like to try canning vegetables from the garden. However, I don't eat store bought canned vegetables because they're yucky compared to fresh. Are home canned foods different? Do foodies and chowhounders enjoy eating them? (I did try vacuum freezing cauliflower and beans one year and they were lousy. Help!)

May 16, 2009
Cafe Mich in Home Cooking

Villa Cereja in San Leandro

Has anyone ever tried this place?

Jeanty at Jack's Dress Code

You could probably 'get away with' nice jeans just about anywhere, meaning, you likely wouldn't get sneered at. But, I think it's always more festive and fun to dress up for a new fine dining experience. Plus, you'll be showing your respects to the house by dressing nicely. Overdressed is always safer than underdressed. Have fun!

BBQ in the East Bay: T-Rex, Brick's Pig House, Chef Edwards, Flints??

Evil potato salad? Please expand on that. The only kind of potato salad I don't like is the stuff that's too sweet, Safeway-style.

Did I overknead my whole wheat bread?

Hi again,

You're right: "unglued" is an odd word choice. The dough appeared as it would when you first start kneading it. Breaks apart easily, as if it hadn't been kneaded. (It did not even come close to passing the "windowpane" test.) It did not get sticky. In fact, it is very tough. This surprised me because I weigh all the ingredients, and have successfully made this recipe in the past. I suspect the best solution is for me to do most of the kneading by hand in the future. I am no longer a fan of the KA for breadmaking.

As far as chickens, I don't have any, but I hear they are very practical to keep if you do a lot of gardening.

Jul 30, 2008
Cafe Mich in Home Cooking

the annual frustrating search for a good peach

My best advice is to drive out to the boonies. I drove deep into Solano County last weekend and got a flat of divine peaches for five bucks. Made peach jam, peach ice cream, and this weekend will make peach pie. Look for decrepit signs on country roads. You can't go wrong.

Jul 30, 2008
Cafe Mich in General Topics

Did I overknead my whole wheat bread?

I started making my favorite whole wheat bread recipe, and like a dummy, spaced out and left it in the KitchenAid way too long, about 25 minutes. At first I wasn't worried because I'm not convinced that the KA is an efficient kneader, and the bread is 100% WW. But, when I took it out of the mixer, and tried to work in the butter by hand, it started to come unglued. Did I overknead it, or wait too long to put in the butter? The dough is resting now, and I'm going to bake it anyway on the off chance it might still be edible.

Jul 30, 2008
Cafe Mich in Home Cooking

whole wheat bread

Ditto on Laurel's Kitchen being the whole wheat authority. I've made several 100% whole wheat recipes from this book, and they are all high, light, and delicious. For beginners, if you follow the 'loaf for learning' it's nearly impossible to go wrong.

Jul 30, 2008
Cafe Mich in Home Cooking

What's the deal with Lulu Rae?

I haven't been to Tango in awhile, so I can't vouch for the ice cream. But, if you're totally nuts about chocolate, you can get all kinds at Spun Sugar in Berkeley. They buy all the good brands in bulk, then break them up for resale. The prices are good, and the selection is fantastic. Also, they don't stock everything on their shelves, so if you want something special, they might have it in their warehouse.

Keep me posted on Tango. We're moving back to the area next week, and I hope the ice cream is still good. (Cruddy ice cream selection up here in Seattle.)

Best Breakfast place in Eastbay

Homemade Cafe on Dwight. Not fancy, but super yummy & easy on the wallet.

looking for sources of local ingredient basics, i.e. salt, flour, cooking oil, dairy, etc...

For local-ish flour, you can try the Bale Grist Mill near St. Helena. I made some whole wheat bread with their flour and it was out of this world. (Pass on their polenta, though. It didn't thicken up for me.) Happy local baking!

Gas convection vs. electric convection

Thanks, everyone! This really helps.

May 04, 2008
Cafe Mich in Cookware

Gas convection vs. electric convection

We want to buy a gas range with a convection oven, but noticed that the duel-fuel ranges are more expensive than single-fuel. We are looking at a GE Profile model that has a gas cooktop with a gas convection oven. Normally I don't like gas ovens, but I've never tried one with convection. Does it bake as evenly as the electric convection?

May 04, 2008
Cafe Mich in Cookware

Has anyone been to Txori?

Pardon my ignorance, but what the heck is "IIRC"?

Mar 02, 2008
Cafe Mich in Pacific Northwest

Great Food Products in Washington

Stone-Buhr unbleached AP flour (not the whole wheat or bread flour version)
Tillamook unsalted butter

This combo makes the best baked goods you'll ever bake in your life.

Feb 28, 2008
Cafe Mich in Pacific Northwest

Dense, heavy brown bread in Seattle?

Anyone know where I can find dense, heavy, thickly sliced whole grain bread in Seattle? I've searched most of the bakeries & health food stores, but can't find anything like Vital Vittles from the Bay Area. Any suggestions?

Feb 27, 2008
Cafe Mich in Pacific Northwest

Espresso machines. Help!

Currymouth, I went through the same angst before discovering Silvia & Rocky. I had burned through several cheapo Braun machines over the years before I decided to get serious. Like you, I balked at donating a kidney, and refused to consider the pod systems.

I wholeheartedly recommend the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine and her hunky companion, the doserless Rocky burr grinder. Both are available at Silvia will run you around $595, and Rocky is about $300. Silvia is a work horse with all metal parts. She's never disappointed us in the 7 or so years we've had her. The Rocky makes a perfect grind, but you'll have to experiment a lot to get the right setting. Silvia is a little fussy about her grind, but performs well when you get it right.

Good luck and keep us posted on your decision.

Feb 10, 2008
Cafe Mich in Cookware

Silicon versus metal for baking?

Carole, I have heard the same thing about silicone. I am not sure why these newfangled pans continue to be brought to market when the old ones works fine.

If you're looking for a great muffin pan, the 12-cup pan from the Chicago Metallic Commercial line ( makes the most beautiful, peaked browned muffins ever. (Avoid confusing the 'Commercial' line with their 'Professional' line, which is a different product.) These pans are heavy aluminum, they have a great shape, and they're inexpensive. Brush them with softened butter, being sure to get in the crevices and onto the flat part where the muffin caps will form. After baking, let the muffins sit for 10 minutes before removal. They won't stick.

Another tip to prevent sticking: a baker friend of mine recommends pre-baking the pans before you use them the first time. Wash and dry the pans, then put them in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. I am not sure if there is any science behind this technique, but it works great for me.

Feb 09, 2008
Cafe Mich in Home Cooking