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Cheap but tasty passion fruit puree in the Bay

I'm glad it worked out for you! Mi Tierra is awesome for hard to find Latin ingredients.

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Mi Tierra
2096 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA

Cheap but tasty passion fruit puree in the Bay

Mi tierra in Berkeley has it in their freezer cases. I've used it for David Leibovitz' passion fruit pound cake multiple times, and it is delicious. I can't remember the price, but I'm guessing it was less than $4 per package, which was maybe a pound. I've seen it there both with and without the seeds.

Halfway between Hartford and Manhattan?

Thank you all for the suggestions! We were debating between Valencia and Liana's, since we were aiming for closer to Manhattan than Hartford. Unfortunately, the dinner had to be canceled, but we will likely be in the same situation again and will give some of these a try.

Foodwallguy, it makes me sad that you didn't have good food in SF since there is so much extraordinary chow there. I'm more familiar with the East Bay scene, but definitely ask for recs when you are there.

Halfway between Hartford and Manhattan?

I'm an SF hound who will be in Hartford next week. I'm planning on meeting some friends from Manhattan (roughly) halfway, and am looking for restaurant suggestions. Any type of cuisine or price range (dive to high end) is fine - we're all world eaters, and look for interesting/quality food above other issues. I'm vegetarian, but am happy as long as there's a good option or two on the menu. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated!

Help us (veggie folks) navigate Oakland Chinatown and Fruitvale Asian spots...

Shan Dong is fantastic for vegetarian dumplings, or the vegetarian steam buns earlier in the day. A couple of the noodle dishes are/ can be vegetarian, and definitely upgrade to the knife-cut noodles - my favorite is the spicy sesame noodles with spinach.

Ba Le has a fried egg banh mi that is better than any of the other veggie option I've had. I prefer BC deli's vegetarian sandwich over Cam Huong's.

We've gone for dim sum at Legendary Palace. There are always some vegetarian dishes, but the quality of the vegetarian food has been inconsistent.

Second on Champa Garden - very easy for a vegetarian, and sooo good.

Hot Chocolate 2009 - Open season

I was wondering the same thing! I thought their spicy hot chocolate was fantastic, and my husband really enjoyed their white hot chocolate.

I did not think that the free hot chocolate at Chocolatier Blue was that good (despite having high praise for everything else there).

Best Hummus and fresh pita bread in bay area?

They have house-made hummus at Saffron Gourmet in Albany that is fantastic. They carry a variety of pita breads from the area, but so far my favorite so far is the large Afghani flatbread. If you go, I would also highly recommend trying the house-made dolmas!

El Cerrito: Happy Golden Bowl - Seriously Szechuan ... Dim sum, house-made noodles and much, much more

Went last night to check it out. Ordered the spicy shredded tofu appetizer, tan-tan noodles, and the last item on the vegetable menu (bean curd sheets, soy bean, and cabbage). We also had the complementary szechuan kimchi (very good) and red bean soup for dessert. While we really enjoyed our meal and plan on going back, there were also a couple of issues... The appetizer never came, but was on our bill at the end (they took it off with no problem). The noodles were fantastic, but there was potential issue with our other entree. I don't eat meat, and asked ahead of time if this had meat. When it came out, it looked like meat and (according to my husband) tasted suspiciously like meat (according to my husband), but they insisted it was tofu. I've had some convincing mock-meats, but this was close enough that I couldn't eat it - my husband was happy to take care of it for me. Being an adventurous 'hound, meat sometimes happens when you don't expect it, but it might be important to double-check the seemingly veg items if 'accidental meat' might upset someone.

Great carrot cake, east bay?

I've gotten carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting at Bakesale Betty's in the past, but I don't know if they are a regular item. They were fantastic - not too sweet, good balance of spices, and great frosting. I have not seen carrot cake in a larger form there, though.

Cowgirl Creamery at Temescal Farmers Market 5/24

That's great news! Plus, it is nice to hear that the Sir Francis Drake is around again - it;s a phenomenal cheese.

Albany - Sam's Log Cabin – What came first, the free-range chicken or the organic egg?

Finally went this morning for breakfast, after looking at it with curiosity almost every day for the past several months. We went at a little after 9 AM, and there was no line at that point. The food was very good - we had the special pancakes of the day, which were coconut-mango, and they were huge and fluffy, but still a little crispy around the edges. We also had the special scramble with cheddar and mushroom (and without the sausage, since I'm veg). The eggs were well-cooked and well-seasoned, and the potatoes were very good also - browned russets with with onions and red peppers, also well-seasoned. Portions were very generous. The coffee was strong and smooth, just as I like it. There were several things on the menu that we're planning on trying on future visits.

Also, we enjoyed the building itself. Very cool old building and very interesting old food-related items around. The smell of fried stuff is a bit heavy when you walk in, but you do stop noticing it after a few minutes. We'll be going back.

Shopping for passover?

I went by Saffron Gourmet on Solano in Albany yesterday - they have a small but interesting selection of Passover groceries. They also have a house-made Persian charoset. The owner was very friendly, and, after seeing me look at one k-for-P display, pointed out all of the other items they had available.

Anyone ever hear of Two Mile Winery?

I've been to the winery and was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the wine (I was invited by a relative and honestly didn't expect much). The wine makers started as amateurs, and have only been selling commercially the last couple of years. They seem to really love making wine and enjoy talking to people who stop by. In particular, we really enjoyed the sangiovese and syrah.

Cafe Biere, Emeryville

We went last night for beers after dinner. The beer list is great - wonderful variety and selection (particularly of the Belgians, but the American and other European selections were also good), and the prices are fair. The staff were very attentive and friendly. One of the tables was getting food, which looked (and smelled) good, and I would have tried some of the cheeses had I not just had dinner. Comparing it to the Trappist - the space is less elegant, but it is less cramped and less difficult to get attention or place an order. It was easy to hold a conversation with the other people at my table. We'll definitely go back.

Chowhounds needed to scout Chinese Restaurants in Oakland Chinatown

When I lived closer, I used to go to Shan Dong on 10th often. Steam buns for lunch, knife-cut noodles or dumplings for dinner. Great prices (they apologized when the steam buns went from $0.85 ea to $1 ea, and they are huge), and very friendly people.

rancho gordo favorites?

Good timing - I have a pot of their garbanzos on the stove (my first time with Rancho Gordo garbanzos). I also have some of their pintos in the cupboard, which I haven't tried, but were strongly recommended by the sellers at the FM.

I tend to buy several varieties at once, as I don't get to the Ferry Plaza FM that often. Flageolets are a household favorite, and I put them in everything from grain salads to soups to tuna salad, and have even made a gratin with them. I also love the Canellinis, and like them for similar uses, but also like braising them with greens. The Rio Zape and tiny pink beans (maybe the Santa Maria) are both wonderful for southwestern-style cooking. The Vallartas are fantastic, and very rich - they also go in salads or with greens, and I was told that they've been used to make a ravioli filling at the French Laundry by the Rancho Gordo sellers.

My husband loves the Scarlet runners, but I am less fond of them, as they take a really long time to cook, and never seem to get a completely smooth texture, even with soaking. The marrow beans were good, but not as flavorful as some of the other white beans. I've also tried the Mother Stoddard beans (the first Rancho Gordo beans I tried), which were good enough to get me hooked, but not as exciting as their other beans.

I received the Rancho Gordo cookbook for Christmas, and have only had time to flip through it briefly - I'm really looking forward to mapping out which recipes to try first!

Albany - Cafe Saint Honore ... Oo la la ... chien chaud, canneles, and the world's best macaron

Thanks for posting this. I've been watching that corner since I moved to Albany last month. Stopped by on the way home and grabbed a couple of canneles, which were as good (if not better) than you described. They also seem to have 7-8 flavor of Ici ice cream by the scoop. They were extremely nice - I was looking around after buying the canneles, and they offered me some ice water while I looked! The tarte au citron is next on my list to try, and their long hours mean that it will be quite dangerous to resist both ways of my commute.

Rworange - from someone relatively new to the area, thanks for all of your helpful and thorough posts!

Cowgirl's SF Drake washed-rind cheese

I picked some up at the Ferry Building last week. This may be one of my most favorite cheeses - creamy and gooey and just a little tangy. I always keep an eye out for it when going by Cowgirl, as its production is somewhat erratic!

Recipe request for South African or Botswanan food

I spent a semester of college in Botswana (which was over a decade ago), and spent several weeks living with families there. Being a vegetarian, the cuisine was somewhat challenging, as it was very high in meat. Most families are poor, so the food I had was very basic, and involved staples, such as rice, maize, sorghum porridge, and beans. The only vegetables I saw regularly were butternut squash and cabbage, and most of the packaged food (necessary, as most families were without refrigeration) were imported from South Africa.

Bush tea, or rooibos, is a must. We had it several times a day with milk and sugar. Just the smell of it (particularly cooked on a gas stove) brings me back. We also enjoyed Amarula, which is a cream liquor made from an African fruit. Fatcakes, which are fried balls of dough, were sold from stalls in the markets. If you want to get very traditional, try drinking some fermented sorghum porridge - it is a traditional alcoholic beverage, and not terribly pleasant!

Feb 17, 2008
little cook in Home Cooking