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Where to find Taylors of Harrogate Christmas tea?

OK, tea and British-foods fans, where can I find Taylor's of Harrogate's seasonal Christmas tea in SF, Berkeley, or Oakland? Fine w/ either loose tea or teabags. No other Christmas tea comes close--this has bits of cinnamon stick & dried citrus peels added to good black tea and is totally perfect this time of year. I bought my yearly box in NYC, then left it at my mom's by mistake. Don't know what shops carry this brand in the Bay Area--please help! Many thanks, Steph

Cafe Fanny rip-off?

Well, stop by the Frog Hollow Farm Cafe in the SF Ferry Building during the week, and you can get a lovely fresh-fruit/yogurt/granola parfait-- layers of fruit puree, fresh fruit (a mix of citrus right now), lots of Straus yogurt, and housemade granola. $6 but very generous and freshly made! Fills up a 16-oz cup...

Vegan Restaurants for Hip Honeymoon Couple?

So, my cool musician cousin from Chicago (I think he's around 27) is getting married and coming to SF for his honeymoon. According to my aunt, he and his bride are both vegan. I'd love to suggest some good places for them to eat & celebrate (a mix of "destination" places and casual eats), and am wondering if I'm missing any new good places.

on my list so far:
Millennium
Greens (for lunch, for the views)
Ubuntu
Cha-Ya
Cafe Gratitude
Herbivore
Dosa

I'm pretty sure La Folie and Fleur de Lys do veggie tasting menus, but last time I was there the rest of the clientele was 70+ and the feeling was super-stuffy, so I'm not suggesting those. Please note that I'm looking for additional suggestions, not commentary on the places already on the list (since I know some think Greens has gone downhill, but I still think it's a pretty great place for lunch with out-of-towners, and yes, the whole Cafe Gratitude concept makes me hurl, but again, it could fun in a very kooky-Calif way for the midwesterners). Thanks!

Berkeley: Stunning organic mini farmers market next to Indus Village

Wow, sounds great. Did they say what farms the veggies were coming from? Obviously, the dry goods aren't local--no sugarcane growing up here! and no peanuts either. But the prices are great. I'd imagine it's a non-profit program funded through some kind of healthy-food-options-for-low-income-neighborhoods organization. It should definitely get some chowhound support!

Sharffen Berger

Over 150 jobs lost, between JS and SB. But Hershey's stock is up! Grrrrr....

Jan 28, 2009
dixieday2 in Food Media & News

Looking to make my own homemade lunchmeat.

Well, you can buy a whole raw turkey breast, roast it, let it cool, then slice it--and there's your high-quality turkey breast. It's actually much better than pressed, processed turkey breast, since it won't have the extra salt, water, and chemicals added to it. Same with chicken breast. Ham, same thing--buy a ham, cook it at home, let cool and slice as needed. As for making your own charcuterie/salumi, like salami and bologna, you'd need a good charcuterie book--check in the library or take a look at Paul Bertolli's Cooking by Hand for starters.

Jan 27, 2009
dixieday2 in Home Cooking

Visitor seeking good food and FUN

Where are you staying, and what neighborhoods are you interested in visiting? Off the cuff, I'd say Delfina in the Mission--nor. cal/italian, busy and festive in a nice way (make a rez for sure). Beretta, also in the Mission, is always jammed, but if you come on the early side, you might score a table. They don't take rezzies but you can call them and ask to be put on the wait list. Fab cocktails, good pizza and general cal-med-italian. Definitely go cruise the Ferry Plaza market on Sat. AM--you will be AMAZED at what's growing locally here in the middle of winter! There's also a good indoor market hall with lots of food stands and restaurants. My favorite SF escape is going to the Hog Island cafe in the market, sitting outside and eating oysters and drinking a nice glass of white wine. You won't ever want to leave! People also seem to like Nettie's Crab Shack, up in the Marina, for Dungeness crab dinners. If you like to walk, the area around Crissy Field in the Presidio is beautiful--right along the water, great views of the GG Bridge. There are several small cafes in the park, plus a fancier place nearby in the Presidio called La Terrasse that's nice for lunch/brunch. Skip the horrible Fisherman's Wharf and all the gross tourist junk around it. People also like Town Hall and Salt House, both South of Market--both big, festive, good places. If you're in the Mission, don't miss hanging out in very pretty Dolores Park with a ice cream cone from Bi-Rite Creamery. Yes, it's been warm enough to eat ice cream outside lately. (Generally it's around 50 degrees these days). Let us know where you go!

English Peas vs. Super Sugar Snap Peas, is there a difference?

English peas usually mean pod peas--that is, fresh peas that need to be removed from their rather tough green pods before cooking/eating. By contrast, sugar snap peas, like snow peas, have a tender, succulent pod and can be eaten whole, pods and all.

Jan 25, 2009
dixieday2 in Home Cooking

SF Chronicle Wed Food section going away?

So, reading some fine print on SF Gate recently...it looks like the Chronicle's Wed. food section is going away?? Unless I'm reading it wrong, it sounds like they're going to move restaurant stuff to Thursday, and other food stuff to Sunday. Bummer! Just because, you know, Wednesday is always food section day...Anyone have more 'inside' dish about this?

Jan 17, 2009
dixieday2 in Food Media & News

what is this sweet bread/cake?

No, it's not mandelbrot, since mandelbrot is a twice-baked hard cookie, like an almond biscotti. It sounds like German Christmas stollen, which is a light, sweet yeast bread usually with raisins and almonds in it, sometimes other candied fruit.

Jan 02, 2009
dixieday2 in Home Cooking

Bakers: what's the difference between devil's food and regular chocolate cake?

Please post the sour cream fudge cake recipe! I've got a bunch of leftover sour cream AND a party to go to, so I'd love to make that cake. Thanks!

Jan 02, 2009
dixieday2 in Home Cooking

prosecco on New Year's day?

So, I have a friend coming back into town tomorrow, and since we didn't have New Year's Eve together, we'd like to have at least a glass of prosecco together tomorrow afternoon, around 1pm. Any ideas for a nice bar or restaurant that would be open for New Year's day and not too swamped with hung-over brunchers? He'll be coming from the North Bay, so something more or less 101-accessible. I live in the Mission but figure it's probably wise to get out of the 'hood to avoid post-party hipster sloppiness...Thanks, and happy new year!

anyone try that chocolate whiskey cake from NYT?

Has anyone made the chocolate whiskey cake that Melissa Clark wrote about in the NYT a few weeks ago ? It was a choc bundt cake based on a Maida Heatter recipe from the 80s. Would love some feedback before I crack open the Jack...

Dec 16, 2008
dixieday2 in Home Cooking

best recipe for latkes

Then again, if you DO want to squeeze your raw shredded potatoes (I always do), you can try squeezing them in a potato ricer. Haven't tried, but friend swears by it.

Dec 08, 2008
dixieday2 in Home Cooking

Northern California Mail Order Holiday Gifts

I would second June Taylor's Jams--and especially her Christmas cake, which is the best fruitcake I've ever had. Also Frog Hollow's conserves, which are fantastic, and their fresh Warren pears, which you can mail-order. I've ordered from them before and always gotten a lot of compliments for their amazing organic fruit. Right now they've also got their 2008 organic olive oil, from their own trees (they do the crushing at McEvoy). Peet's coffee does very good mail order,too, and is especially nice for anyone who used to live in the Bay Area, and might still miss it. Otherwise, there's Blue Bottle for the coffee snobs

Latke mixture ahead of time?

I agree--DO NOT make the whole latke mix ahead of time! If you must, grate the potatoes and onions together, mix in a colander suspended over a bowl, and stick in the fridge. When you're ready to fry, squeeze out as much remaining liquid as you can. Then add eggs, matzoh meal, s&p. Otherwise you'll get a black watery mess.

Dec 05, 2008
dixieday2 in Home Cooking

Foodie host gifts

Jams or other unique (preserved fruit in syrups, etc) treats from June Taylor--her jams are the best. Also fab jams from Frog Hollow--made with organic fruit from their orchards. I second the Ferry Bldg/BiRite/Pasta Shop/Michel Ricchuti suggestions...and Charles Chocolate too. I used to work in a fancy chocolate shop in the Marina, and customers were in LOVE with the salted caramels, lemon pistachio clusters, and peanut butterflies from CC. CC also makes cute chocolate bars with a San Fran landmark theme (about half the size of their reg. bars)--I saw these up at the shops/cafes along Crissy Field (Warming Hut & Visitors Center). Could be nice as gifts to those out of town, too.

Bar Jules pre-opera?

Does Bar J. take reservations? If not, I would show up on the dot of 6. Every place else in the nabe is usually booked up for pre-show dinners when the opera/ballet/symphony is on, so you might not have any luck trying to get in elsewhere. Best bet is go as early as you can--5:30 or 6. Good luck!

7 hour layover at SFO - what to do?

Sounds like you had a great time! Bi-Rite Creamery was near the corner of 18th and Dolores, right near the base of Dolores Park.

7 hour layover at SFO - what to do?

You mean, of course, a two-block stroll to Bi-Rite, not a half-mile! 16th and Mission is grubby but fun--lots of taquerias and Latino food options. And then if you walk 4 blocks to 18th and Guerrero, you get yuppie food heaven--Bi Rite Grocery, Delfinia Pizzeria, Tartine Bakery, Bi Rite Creamery, plus the gorgeous views from the top of Dolores Park.

T-day dinner scorecard

You know, I think the whole meat-thermometer thing is overrated. I was at a friend's house, and she also had a thermometer freak-out, where the thermometer registered 170+ and yet the bird was still bloody in the thighs. (I carved the white meat, took off the legs and popped them back in the oven for 15-20 minutes, which finished them off). I'd trust cooking times, and the whole wiggle-the-leg, poke a sharp knife into the fleshy part of the thigh more than I would a thermometer.

That said, I was on pie duty, and had good success with a classic apple pie (butter crust, organic granny smith apples that I'd picked myself), a spelt-crust cherry pie with tapioca thickener, and an eggless pumpkin pie, made with a mix of roasted butternut, kabocha, and sweet potato, with pureed silken tofu instead of egg. Came out creamy rather than custardy, but really tasty. And my hostess was very happy to have desserts that she and her husband could eat (they have sensitivities to wheat/corn/eggs), without her having to make them for a change! And it was very satisfying to make from-scratch desserts that fit their dietary issues w/o them looking like sorry health-food replacements.

I bought small-pearl tapioca instead of the granulated (Minute) type, so I was really worried that my pie was going to come out like cherry bubble tea. But mixing the cherries (TJ's jarred Morello cherries) with the tapioca and a good splash of cherry juice for 30 mins. before baking seemed to do the trick.

Nov 28, 2008
dixieday2 in Home Cooking

Lemon Fluff recipe?

WHoo-hoo! that's it! thank you SO much--I know I can always count on the 'hounds! Do try it--it's really light and delicious. Like a very fluffy, lemony mousse. And yes, you use regular, unflavored knox gelatine powder.

Aug 31, 2008
dixieday2 in Home Cooking

2008 Peaches are here, too.

Cal Reds are in season now! frog hollow farm definitely has them now.

Plum Crazy - Jelly ?

If you make jam rather than jelly, you won't need to worry about the whole pectin thing so much. There are good, simple recipes for plum jam in Laurie Colwin's books (either Home Cooking or More Home Cooking, both widely available) and in Good Things by Helen Witty. Both call for just plums and sugar. I never, ever use commercial pectin, and my jams turn out fine. Softer than commercial jam, but way yummier. Trick is to mix fruit and sugar together beforehand, let it sit for several hours, then simmer. This helps pull excess water out of the fruit, and removes that "raw sugar" taste without requiring lots of boiling. If you end up with lots of juice in the mixture after macerating, drain it off, boil it down to a thickish syrup, then add in the rest of the fruit and simmer to a jam-like consistency. A little lemon juice also helps with gelling. Enjoy! To can, scoop hot jam into sterilized (fresh from dishwasher, or boiled for 10 min) canning jars, cover sealed jars with hot water in a deep pot and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove jars and let them sit undisturbed til cold. Check seals before storing in a cool, dark pantry.

Aug 11, 2008
dixieday2 in Home Cooking

where to get gravenstein apples today?

found them at Bi-Rite in the city, organic for 2.99/pound. thanks!!

Peach Pie Filling

apricots tend to get much tarter when cooked, so you might want to cut down the amount of sugar. I don't think peaches will need as much sweetening.

Aug 08, 2008
dixieday2 in Home Cooking

Dessert-only restaurant?

Yes, Candy Bar is the only all-dessert restaurant (aka NYC's Chikalicious) in SF that I know of. Reviews have been mixed--it sounds like they try a little too hard to be experimental, but do check it out and report back.

where to get gravenstein apples today?

Anyone know a produce store/market with gravensteins for sale? Need to make a pie early tomorrow and gravensteins have been requested. No farmers' markets today (I went to the old Oakland market, only found gingergolds) so any stores appreciated! thanks....

Returning for a visit after 15 years

You also might have been thinking of Michaelangelo's, in North Beach. What i remember about it was the big bowl of gummi bears and amaretti cookies they brought by for dessert. Taqueria on 16th by Valencia is Pancho Villa--very big, high-ceilinged place, still pretty good.

Anderson Valley Beers

Conveniently, Toranado is located right next door to Rosamunde Sausage Grill, which has a great selection of sausages. You can buy them there to cook yourself, or have them grill them up for you, served on a bun with fresh sauerkraut, chili, or grilled onions. Then you take your sausage sandwich next door, plunk down ona stool, order your fave AV brew, and enjoy the good life, Lower-Haight style. MMMMmmmm!