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Commis -- Piedmont Ave. (Oakland)

Sorry!!! ;-) It had a good Sunday night vibe... not packed but tables were pretty constantly full. There were a few customers who were already coming back and bringing others. The counter had a few open seats. And I saw a couple locals wander in to check it out.

Commis -- Piedmont Ave. (Oakland)

Tonight I had my best meal of the year so far at Commis. Hell, best meal of recent memorable history. I had read this entire chain before going, and was wondering about the $ issue... I am a firm believer now that anyone who quibbles over a $10 difference when it comes to this place is a fool. Totally their loss.

Vivid flavors. Perfectly seasoned. Sensationally presented. New tastes. Incredibly high-quality ingredients. They're doing everything right. This place is about amazing food. These chefs have pedigree, and it shows. I understand the comparison of Commis to Dennis Leary's Canteen. In the sense that they're both small operations run by passionate chefs at the height of their game, they are similar. Commis is a higher-end experience, though not for a higher price tag in my opinion.

Nothing on the menu could be bad, but here's what I had:
-Carrot salad: Actually meant to order the cod, but it was a happy mistake. I went to Ubuntu recently, the buzz-saturated vegetarian mecca up in Napa. This vegetarian dish was better than any dish I tasted there. (sorry Ubuntu, still loved you, but I'll stay closer to home and eat at Commis). The carrots looked like multi-colored heirlooms and were served over turnip puree with a seaweed topping mixed with toasted finely ground hazelnuts.
-Soft egg with potato, black garlic and pork jowl: I'm just sitting here shaking my head. I don't even know what to say. It was that good. Get it.
-Lamb with white beans and mint: I got the wine pairings, and this course came with my favorite pairing of the night... what I believe was a Spanish Tempranillo.

I sat at the counter, and if you're into watching the actual cooking like I am this is an amazing place to counter-dine. The chefs really know what they're doing, and they'll answer questions if you want to know what the mystery ingredients in front of you are. Commis has only been open 6 weeks now, and it deserves to be discovered. The cost may seem a bit steep to folks more inclined to pick up a pizza at Zachary's, but at $59 for 3 courses and $29 for wine pairings, I felt like I was eating better than I did at Cyrus last year for at least 3 times that cost.


Help please! Grinding nut flours (question regarding making almond torte)

I posted a flourless almond torte recipe to my blog (http://www.naturalchefshoshana.blogsp...) and had a friend ask me a question I don't know the answer to, so thought I'd query fellow Chowhounders...

The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups almonds, which are ground to make your own almond flour. She evidently already has almond flour at home and is wondering if she can just measure out 1 1/2 cups of it, or what the conversion of 1 1/2 cups almonds (pre ground) to almond flour would be.

I wouldn't imagine it's 1:1. Does anyone know for sure?


Aug 07, 2009
shoshanad in Home Cooking

New farmers market coming to....the Metreon?

I really like it too! I've tried the falafel, and they're some of the best I've had in the Bay Area. I hope it gets the business it needs to stay around!

Roasted Salmon with Minted Plum Salsa

Jul 21, 2009
shoshanad in Recipes

Berkeley Bowl West - The promised land ... west of Eden

Went back to Berkeley Bowl West again today in search of pad thai ingredients and was deeply disappointed they had no palm sugar!! When I asked at customer service I was told they still do not have all the stocked goods that are available at the original location.

Chef Shosh

Berkeley's "Community-Supported Kitchen," Three Stone Hearth

Agreed that Three Stone is not for all. I myself was taken there on a fieldtrip and won't be purchasing from them on a regular basis, simply because it's $. But it is still an impressive group effort to create a community business, and the food I tasted was really good. I can tell you from seeing their pantry and raw ingredients, lots are sourced local. They said they do their best to get everything from within 100 miles. It's virtually impossible to use everything local.

You can no doubt sense my skepticism also in my post about Weston Price. I'd never heard of him before, and the guy was a dentist. Plus, have our eating habits degenerated so much that we really need a guru to tell us to eat more nutrient rich and less processed food? There's more to it than that I'm sure... but still.

Bottom line: I'm not trying to preach a Three Stone gospel, but simply thought others would be interested in hearing about my experience.

Berkeley Bowl West - The promised land ... west of Eden

When I went to the new store last Saturday at 3pm it wasn't very crowded... such a refreshing change. The only pain I experienced was not everything had prices yet. I grabbed a jar of almond butter only to find out it was $18 at the register. Ouch. No thanks.

Chef Shosh

Do you travel over 10 miles to shop at Berkeley Bowl?

Yes, the new market is phenomenal!!! It has two separate produce departments... one conventional and one organic, a cafe, plenty of parking, etc... And the best part for me is it is only one block from my culinary school where I'm studying to be a Natural Chef. Couldn't have a better resource for ingredients close at hand.

Chef Shosh

Berkeley's "Community-Supported Kitchen," Three Stone Hearth

Ever heard of a Community Supported Kitchen (CSK)? I hadn't until this Tuesday, when I went, along with my Natural Chef class from Bauman College, on a field trip to visit one in Berkeley called Three Stone Hearth.

What is a CSK? It builds off of a growing trend in community-supported food suppliers, though the more commonly known version is a CSA, or Community Support Agriculture. The website LocalHarvest provides a handy central resource for anyone looking for more info on CSAs, which they define as:
"...a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season."

We were given a background talk on Three Stone, toured the facilities, and spent four hours helping in the kitchen. To add to its one-of-a-kind vibe, Three Stone is in the cavernous space that previously housed my favorite Thai grocery store, Tuk Tuk (as in the mini-bus like vehicle used in Thailand). Half the space is still filled with Thai groceries and an actual Tuk Tuk bus. The other half is Three Stone Hearth, buzzing with music and volunteers, and saturated with slow-cooked, nutrient-rich food scents.

Our field trip also introduced me to Dr. Weston A. Price, a diet guru called the "Charles Darwin of Nutrition." A Cleveland dentist in the early 1900s, Price traveled the world studying isolated human groups showing healthier traits and observing their diets in a quest to understand the causes of physical degeneration (including dental decay). Three Stone Hearth "follows the guidelines for human nutrition that were developed and discovered by indigenous and traditional peoples around the world and recorded by Dr. Weston A. Price." Among the guidelines Price set forward:

Nutrient density
Liberal use of traditional fats
Raw and cultured dairy products
Whole grains that have been soaked, sprouted, soured or naturally leavened
Use of natural and unrefined sweeteners only, balanced by fats and proteins or lacto-fermented
Animal products from pastured livestock
Avoidance as much as possible of processed and chemical ingredients and toxic substances

None of these guidelines seem revolutionary. If we weren't all eating so much processed food of uncertain origins, we wouldn't need constant reminders of what "real" wholesome food is. But regardless, it's clear that Three Stone's food is high quality, and that they are extremely careful about sourcing ingredients. We were told some customers use them as a stepping stone from eating vegetarian back to eating animal protein, because they can be reassured Three Stone's meat is of the best quality. For individuals who want delicious, wholesome prepared foods but don't cook, I could also see Three Stone being a good option. Or for someone who's ill and looking for food at its most nourishing.

Three Stone does a weekly menu they post to their site. My favorite thing was the Meaty Pint... exactly as it sounds, a delectable pint of extremely meaty stew. In our case, it had tons of chicken spiced with a Moroccan blend and studded with olives and raisins. We also made incredible coconut macaroons that were wheatfree and sugar free. I notice they have cherry cheesecake on this week's menu -- my all time favorite dessert. Unfortunately, their food, due to its quality, does not come cheap. One tin of cheesecake will run you $20. Three Stone is an exciting new type of food business with scrumptious offerings though, and one that those living close-by should consider checking out if their budget allows

Natural Chef Shosh

Three Stone Hearth
1581 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94703