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Jess Leber's Profile

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Looking for duck legs and fat

Yes, that's exactly what I'm trying to do. I am looking for fresh or frozen ducks legs, and some extra fat, with which to make confit

Jul 11, 2009
Jess Leber in Chicago Area

Looking for duck legs and fat

Hello 'Hounds -

I've just moved here to Chicago, and despite the warm weather I have a hankering to make some cassoulet. Where might I find duck legs and fat and sub-Treasure Island prices? I've searched the board, and I was excited to try Columbus Meat Market. I called ahead, was told they had duck, and I arrive... and they have no idea what I was talking about. I don't know what happened, but no ducks legs or fat to be found there. I dig the Randolph Street area, so are there any other shops around there that might have what I'm looking for? Perhaps also uncured pork belly as well?

Thanks for your help.

Jul 11, 2009
Jess Leber in Chicago Area

Your favorite Bay Area bread

For me, Acme's "pain au levain" is the best bread in the world. Picked up still hot in the morning, all I need is a little butter and good preserves and I'm all set. It's not whole grain, but it's certainly more complex than a boring white loaf. Also, it has a small amount of sourdough starter, I believe. Please, give it a try. The folks at Acme tell me that they actually prefer the larger loaf to the smaller one, although the smaller one is already pretty darn great.

Mar 26, 2007
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Ghanian Resturant in Berkeley

It's called Tropical Paradise, on University just west of Shattuck. Big thumbs up -- you can find more info if you search on that name.

Mar 05, 2007
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Chaat 'n' Curries - Berkeley

I finally stopped at the place after seeing it for a month or so. It is on San Pablo at University, on the same block and side of street as the Mi Tierra Market. It's opening had been mentioned here, but I couldn't find any more info.

I was pleasantly surprised by the food. It was just my wife and me, so we only tried a few items. When we went to pick up our order (we were doing take out) there were only 3 people dining there at the time, so it looks pretty hurting for business. We had naan, vegetable samosas, chicken saag, and a last item that I can't really name (my wife had placed the order) but which I'll try to describe as meatball-shaped rounds of breaded eggplant in a korma-like sauce.

Samosa - Seeing as this was take out, I was doubtful that the fried samosa would fare well after the trip home. Astonishingly, the exterior of the samosa was excellent. There was something about the way the samosa had been fried that made the crust both crispier and better able to survive the trip home. The interior was fine, but it was the exterior that had me smiling.

Chicken saag - This was very good. This may sound like strange praise, but what I enjoyed most about this dish was that it tasted like ...chicken and spinach. I know that's what it's SUPPOSED to taste like, but I find so many saag dishes to be so overwhlmingly creamy/buttery (don't get me wrong -- I enjoy that) that sometimes the pure taste of spinach can get lost. Not here. The chicken was fine, but the spinach was excellent.

Eggplant korma (maybe?) item - I'm not the best judge here, seeing as I generally go kukoo for korma and probably lack the necessary discrimination to distinguish a good from a bad korma. Let's just say that my dog had very little to lick out of the container when we were done.

I don't get out much to the Berkeley Indian food scene, so I'm not sure how it compares (a few years back I was so underwhelmed by Breads of India that I switched over to cooking Indian food at home rather than going out for it). All in all, both my wife and I were very happy with the food. Total bill, including naan, rice, a lentil soupy item that came with the curries, and the above items, was about $25.

Feb 12, 2007
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Knife Sharpening in East Bay?

Sur La Table on 4th Street in Berkeley does a fine job. Get tacos at Tacubaya while you wait.

Feb 10, 2007
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

That Coffee Guy in Rockridge

I posted about Wayne originally, and I am sipping coffee made from his beans as I type this. He is still there, and I still think that the beans are without peer. His Craigslist posting is updated frequently -- to find the most recent one just search for items like "coffee", "bean", and "roast". Here's the most recent one:
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/hsh/2...

Feb 07, 2007
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Jayakarta - Help on Ordering Please!

I'm a big fan of the Mie Tek Tek (#28 on the menu), which is a noodle dish with the whole kitchen sink seemingly thrown in. Lots of grilled meat items, vegetables, some peanut in the sauce. You can get it with either boiled noodles or pan-fried noodles -- I certainly prefer the fried version. It's all topped off with a fried egg. It is an enormous quantity of food, in additon to being pretty tasty.

Jan 30, 2007
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Spanish - Anis Extra Seco?

I have a bottle of similar liquor, from the Spanish town of Chinchon. I use it primarily as an after dinner digestif, but I've also recently found that it substitutes very well for Absinthe in a Sazerac (rye whisky, bitters, anis liquor, lemon peel, simple syrup).

Jan 27, 2007
Jess Leber in Spirits

please help! Boston shaker vapor lock

I need my Martini, but my Boston shaker seems to want it for itself. Can anyone please tell me what I can do differently in the future so that my Boston shaker will open up? About half the time I use it I can't get the two halves to separate. It's a relatively new shaker that I picked up for $10 when I last visited the St. George's Spirits distillery. Do I need to make sure that the glass half (which is the smaller half) is on the bottom, and the metal half on top? Or vice versa? It's not simply a matter of brute force -- believe me, I've used plenty. This thing seems welded shut. I have the hammer out, and it's about to get REAL ugly here. Thanks for your help.

Jan 27, 2007
Jess Leber in Spirits

Tortillas in Berkeley.

I second these tortillas. They are often so fresh that they are still steaming in the bag a little. You can getthem in a variety of sizes. Also, you can actually recognize of the ingredients listed: water, corn, lime (probably means the "lime" used to swell the corn kernels, not citrus).

Dec 20, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for SF source of large volume (5+ L) highest quality Spanish olive oil

I actually normally give away 3+ liters as Christmas presents (I buy empty glass bottles as well). Properly stored, the remaining olive oil is fine for about 6 months, it seems. I actually buy about twice a year, not once as I erroneously stated.

Do you have any great sources? In particular, I'd love to find some olive oil from southern Spain, from the Picual olive.

Dec 13, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for SF source of large volume (5+ L) highest quality Spanish olive oil

I'm thinking of switching my once-yearly major olive oil purchase from the local source (Sciabica) to Spain, partly out of cost (Sciabica is $100 for a gallon of their best stuff), and partly because I really like Spanish olive oil. Does anyone know of any local source/importer, in addition to The Spanish Table, that sells the best Spain has to offer, in a large format size that might save some $? Ideally, I would like to be able to taste if before dropping some serious cash. Thanks for your help.

Dec 13, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

looking for yuzu

I'm not sure if they are there right now, but I have certainly seen yuzu at Monterey Market very recently. MM often has a very interesting selection of citrus.

Dec 11, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Umami? [Moved from San Francisco]

I'm pretty sure that umami has been confirmed as a full-fledged basic taste, as the umami taste receptor has been identified (similar to the bitter, sweet, etc. taste receptors). Here's a link:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/qu...

Dec 06, 2006
Jess Leber in Food Media & News

looking for casual spot near Mission Bay for 15-20 people, at < $20 per head

Colour Cafe sounds interesting, but I can't seem to find any more info on it. Nothing comes up with multiple web searches. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks, Jess

Nov 16, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

looking for casual spot near Mission Bay for 15-20 people, at < $20 per head

Please help! We have a monthly meeting at UCSF at Mission Bay, and we normally go out for dinner and beer afterwards. We have typically gone to the Connecticut Yankee, but I am really fed up with their mediocre food and surly service (although they do have Poppy Jasper on tap...). Ideally, we'd go to some place in the Mission, such as El Farolito, but we really need a space where we can have a semi-serious discussion, so most taquerias that I know of are out. The ideal place would be within a 5 minute drive from the new Mission Bay campus, and have some kind of back room where they could quarantine us. Your taxpayer dollars are actually buying our food and drink, so we try to keep our budget pretty small. Places I've considered and nixxed include SF Thai BBQ (can't really get a big table together), Stix (no longer exists), the Ramp (weather ain't so good anymore), Goat Hill Pizza (meeting is on Monday night, and they are a zoo on Monday nights), and Thirsty Bear (we did that once, and really enjoyed ourselves, but we went way over budget). Please help!

Nov 15, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Heritage vs. Wild Turkey Need advice

For the past few weeks, the Prather Ranch people at the Saturday farmers' market at Grand Lake in Oakland have been taking reservations for heritage birds. I don't think that PR is now in the pultry business, but instead they're parterning with some specialist. The birds are $6.99 per pound, and can be reserved in very specific weights. The birds will be available at the 11/18 Saturday market. It sounds like the birds have been off gobbling corn for the past few years in some bucolic setting. If you're interested, try giving PR a call at their SF location: 415-391-0420

Nov 12, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Challah in the East Bay

I know that Acme (Cedar and San Pablo) has it on occasion. They can actually get any item you want from their other locations (I sometimes get their hot dog buns sent over from one of the San Francisco locations).

Sep 20, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Where can I find pickling lime?

In doing some research on this stuff, I just wanted to add an interesting (at least to me) note on how it works. Apparently the calcium firms up the vegetable or fruit cell wall, so that it doesn't get mushy. I find this interesting because I believe that molasses is also high in calcium, and that this is why the addition of molasses to baked beans prevents them from getting mushy, even if you cook them for a very long time. I wonder if it might not be a good idea to ty adding some of this lime stuff (if I'm able to find it) to other cooked beans, providing that I then correct for the increase in alkalinity caused by the hydroxide part of the chemical.

Sep 09, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Where can I find pickling lime?

Can anyone help me find pickling lime (aka calcium hydroxide, quick lime, slaked lime) ? I have tried all of the obvious sources -- Rainbow, various hardware stores with decent canning sections, supermarkets. I know that I can find it online easily, but I'm wondering if I'm overlooking some local resource. I have promised my grandmother that I would make her watermelon rind pickle, like she had growing up in the South, and she particularly specified pickling lime as a key ingredient to get that perfect crispness. Many thanks in advance.

Sep 09, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Olema Inn for lunch?

I can't speak about the Olema Inn, but I've had nothing but good food at the Pine Cone Diner, in Pt. Reyes Station (and I figure you'll probably be right around the corner anyway, buying bear claws at Bovine Bakery and Cowgirl Creamery cheese)

Sep 01, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Okay, so I've read the Omnivore's Dilemma

It's a sad commentary that we have to work so hard just to find food that hasn't been mucked with! I'm not sure what the weekday options are, but I think that Prather Ranch does actually fit the bill for weekend purchases (I'm not sure where you saw the corn feedlot info). Here's what I saw on their web site:
http://www.pratherranch.com/condition...

Jul 26, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area

Any recent feedback on La Folie?

I'll be heading there tomorrow for my wedding anniversary, and I'm wondering what recent experiences people have had with particular dishes. The only menu I can find online is from this past December. I'm not sure that I feel the need to go whole-hog with a full tasting menu, but it looks like even with their 3- and 4-course menus there are options aplenty. Also, do you know if it's possible to have wine pairings (by the glass)with the 3- and 4-course menus? Thanks in advance.

Jul 25, 2006
Jess Leber in San Francisco Bay Area