Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

cafecreme's Profile

Title Last Reply

Anyone know where to get spikenard in SF or online?

Thanks for the suggestions--I live near Scarlet Sage and thought of them. WIll check the website, too.

Anyone know where to get spikenard in SF or online?

I've been tasked with finding this obscure spice that's used in Medieval cooking for a friend on the East Coast. He also wants grains of paradise, but I know I've seen those in San Francisco. If anyone has advice, I'd really appreciate!

SF bakery advice--Short notice, special birthday cake for this Saturday

I'm throwing a party for a 50th birthday and many of the guests have more discerning palates than mine when it comes to birthday cake (I love buttercream sheet cakes and the like), but am having trouble locating a special cake that will feed over 20 people.

If I go the sheet cake route, does anyone recommend a good place? Money isn't a concern--we want it to be delicious (probably white cake with choc. frosting) caramel is a favorite flavor, too.

One thing, it needs to be in SF proper.

Recommended grocery stores & bakeries in St. Barts?

Maybe you've already gone, but when we were in St. Barts, THE hot place was Esprit Salines, near Saline beach. We blew a lot of money on dinner there, and it was really good and atmospheric. Also, Keffe Masai (sp?) was another in spot. We stayed at Saline Cottages and the owner, a French guy who knows everyone on the island really urged us to try these places and we weren't disappointed. Basically, this is a small island and you will find everything you need pretty easily. St. Jean beach is nice and calm, but Salines is really beautiful (but no umbrellas)

Belgano, SF - has Leonidas chocolates, Laduree macarons, Kookez cupcakes - anyone try it?

I had a chocolate cupcake with choc. frosting and it was delicious. I'll have to try the vanilla buttercream. I don't remember the exact price, but my cupcake was less than $3. It's funny, because I found the service a bit odd, too, esp. considering the owner approached me a few days earlier while I was having lunch by myself in Savor. He stopped to admire my baby and I mentioned having just moved to the neighborhood and he told me to stop by his shop. I did, about a week later and he clearly didn't remember me. He wasn't rude, just sort of aloof, but the young guy totally ignored me and my friend (also with stroller). But, it was a good cupcake and Noe Valley Bakery was closed that day. And, I agree their service can be a bit rude, too.

Recommended grocery stores & bakeries in St. Barts?

Looks like DDavis has got you covered, and I second lots of the reccs. We were in St. Barth last May and we went to Match by the airport nearly every day! You probably know about this site, but the Insider Guide has obsessively detailed trip reports and information on anything and everything.

Have fun--and don't miss Saline Beach, really beautiful!

SF to Point Reyes

We had lunch at the Pelican recently, and though the food was just okay (a bit heavy--all that English grub), it was a nice place to relax before a walk at Muir Woods and a stroll down to the beach. However, this is not the thing to do before Pt. Reyes. Though Pt. Reyes doesn't seem that far, mileage-wise, it's a slow drive because of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. and the twistiness of Hwy 1 as it approaches. If you really want to get a hike in, leave early and as the other posters suggest, save your eating for the road. Pt. Reyes area has a nice gourmet grocery--can't remember the name--Tomales Bay Foods? . Also, if you can do an overnight, it's worth it! That way you can drive up to the lighthouse, too.

is there a cupcake phenomenon in sf like in la?

I think cupcakes are still a hot thing though maybe slightly on the wane in SF. Citizen Cupcake (an offshoot of Citizen Cake) opened near Union Square a couple of years ago, seemingly at the cusp of a cupcake revolution. I do like theirs a lot (excellent true buttercream frosting) and it's a cute place for lunch or a snack (top floor of Virgin mega-store). Also, Delessio Bakery makes these tiny ones that are really delicious. I like cupcakes but not because they're trendy. I think it's because I love old fashioned cake, yellow or devil's food and cupcakes are often the closest you get to that, albeit in smaller portions.

Le Metro - how's the new chef doing?

Interesting--I've eaten at Katmandu many times and it is pretty good--they are a nice family. But, I'm sad that Metro is closing. Despite my disappointing dinner experience there recently, I agree that the garden brunch is nice and it's been a mainstay in the neighbrhood for years. I knew the life had gone out of it though last time I was there. It didn't feel French at all. So, maybe it's for the best. In any case, I wish the Nepalese owners luck and I'm sure we will eat there regularly.

BBQ Restaurants in San Francisco?

Brothers-in-Law is now Lilly's (But it looks and smells the same) at Divis. and Grove and Powell's Place is now at Fillmore and Eddy (not Hayes). One option is Delessio's Bakery at Broderick between Fell and Oak. My father was in town recently and wanted some good brisket (he's Texan) They make their own (not every day) and it was really good.

San Francisco Wedding Weekend Luncheon?

Some of these places aren't really close to City Hall--most will require several taxis, which could be complicated. Absinthe is very close and relatives of mine had a wedding luncheon there--it's a beautiful belle-epoque style French place. Since price is no object, you could also try Jardiniere, just a couple of blocks from City Hall. Have fun and congrats!

Favorites at the SF Ferry Bldg Farmer's Market?

This is from inside the Ferry Building, but the burnt caramel sauce from Recchiutto is divine. They sell a duo of chocolate sauce plus the caramel, nicely packed for $15, a relative bargain by Ferry Building standards, and it makes a nice hostess gift.

Anyone Been to Kissako Tea in Japantown?

That sounds about right, KK. It's a little stale tasting. Does anyone else remember the mom and pop wagashi shop that was in what is now the little noodle place right next to Kissako (next to the flower shop). It was an odd place, run by an old couple who made their own omanju and mochi (sorry if I'm not spelling this right) and they were a bit grumpy and only sold it in packs of four. A Japanese-American friend turned me on to it, but it closed about 3 years ago. It was delicious stuff--too bad. Yes, Benkyodo should provide the treats because it is a nice spot for tea.

Anyone Been to Kissako Tea in Japantown?

Wendy-san, you obviously know your stuff, but I wanted to give you my take since I am a J-town regular. I was excited when this place opened. Though I have not sat down and had tea, I have tried the an pan (sp?), the bun filled with sweet beans and also bought a pack of mochi, since they will not sell an individual piece unless you have the tea service. I have to say that I was disappointed in both treats. I'm sure the tea itself is good, and the whole mall has been lacking in one place to sit down (besides Tam Tam) to relax. The staff is also very nice and it's a great location for killing time before a movie or after shopping. But, again, the sweets tasted to me like packaged stuff I've bought at Asian markets for much cheaper. For mochi and manju, Benkyodo (on Buchanan, on the pedestrian mall) is much better--it's handmade. I asked and Kissako buys theirs prepackaged from some place on the Peninsula, I believe. <P>The mochi was a bit rubbery and not a melt-in-the mouth experience that I hoped for. It was also kind of pricey. The an pan bun was also dry. They are much better at Andersen's Bakery in the Kinetsu building next door. Big and yeasty with a perfectly sweet bean paste inside.

Best Indian food in SF?

Great India at Geary (25th/26th) is a lot better than your standard Indian place. It's not upscale, but nicer than Shalimar. We mostly order delivery from them and they are well-known not only in the Richmond but all over their delivery area (famous for the hot pink flyers). Anyway, some of the best Indian food I've had and we've been ordering for years and sometimes we eat there. Great chicken korma and kashmiri nan.

New Spices (Spice Girls) on Fillmore near Turk

I noticed this place yesterday, too, though I'm not familiar with Spice Trendz. There is a Panda Express across the street that does well, which says a lot about this corner. It's all fast-food chains with a few decent places (Powell's, etc.) There was also a southern-style fried chicken place in the Donut shop for the last year or so. Sometimes it seemed crowded, but usually not. I can't remember what was there before--it may have been a furniture rental place. I have lived in this neighborhood for years and am curious to see how the condos and Yoshi's might liven up that still commercially somewhat dead stretch of Fillmore. The Starbucks actually improved the area (I don't always feel that way) without stealing too much business from the locally-owned cafe on the corner of Eddy and Fillmore. The Saturday farmer's market brings a nice homey feel to this wind-blown place. It's as if the area has never recovered from Urban Renewal, but that's a whole other topic.

Frozen Custard in the BA?

There's a Hawaiian style cafe in Japantown that has this delicious soft-serve that has a a custardy taste to me. It's a little more yellow and richer than frozen yogurt or soft serve. I can't remember the name, but it's in the middle building, upstairs, near May's Coffee Shop. It's got tons of greenery around it, right by the door opening to the Peace Plaza. I have made trips there just for this stuff. But, not being from the midwest, I can't confirm that it's going to meet your standards. I can try to find the name--anyone know this place?

chow near Catherdral Hill hotel?

I hear you--it's addictive!

Another satisfying SF 'Wichcraft experience

The first time I had the chopped chickpea sandwich, which was delicious and a refreshing departure from typical hummus. My sister and I shared it (we just wanted a snack) and they were very gracious and gave us each a bag of the chips that come with each sandwich and split our side salad into two plates--pretty good service for what is basically a gourmet sandwich counter. Last night, my husband got the pork sandwich and I had the lentil soup and a grilled gruyere with carmelized onions on rye. It really tasted like French onion soup but as a sandwich--absolutely delicious. My soup and sandwich were perfectly hot (I like my food piping hot when it's supposed to be), and the pork sandwich was, too.

I like Colicchio from the Top Chef series and remember when the opening of this place in SF was part of one of the competitions. I remember that Harold (Season 1 winner) created one of the menu items as a prize. I just like Colicchio's attitude about food, flavors and customer service. The lentil soup was pureed (which is rare), and the chickpea sandwich had preserved lemons--thoughtful details that seem very Colicchio. Sure, it's not as cheap as a sandwhich from Lee's deli, but to me, worth it (and certainly not that pricey compared to most places in SF).

Another satisfying SF 'Wichcraft experience

Why is this place always empty? Is it the location on Mission St. instead of Market, or the fact that it's not in the actual food court of the Westfield Center? We just got back from having an early light dinner there after shopping at the new SF mall and were the only patrons besides another couple. And, it's open till 9PM. Of course, the food concourse inside the mall was a complete madhouse, and so far, from my experience, the food in the actual food court is not that great. But, this was my second time at 'Wichcraft and I was just as happy as the first. Great sandwich (grilled gruyere on rye), nice staff, thoughtful touches, even a tumbler of decent rose to take the edge off from shopping. The decor is pleasingly spartan, too. Anyway, just curious as to why more people aren't eating there (I was there during the lunch rush once too and it was pretty quiet). Maybe not everyone knows who Tom Colicchio is and why you'd want to patronize one of his restaurants. I wish there were more places like this around.

does anyone know where to find a good blt in the city?

I love BLT's--from bad diner versions to the upscale (or even vegan) kind. There is one at Chow on Church Street, though I confess I haven't actually had it. It's not always on the menu (they do recurring daily lunch specials). I had a great one at Market at the Ferry Building--not near the Castro, though.

Dianda's or Delessio's Tres Leches cake? [San Francisco]

Interesting...did they invent dulce de leche also? I know that you can make it by cooking a can of sweetened condensed milk for a really long time (I tried, but didn't have the patience).

Strange Pairings that Taste Uncommonly Good

one of the best sandwiches I ever had was shrimp salad on Irish soda bread, at Serendipity in Manhattan. It's been years, but I'll always remember that combo. I love the savory/sweet combination in general.

or blue cheese drizzled with honey? Delicious.

May 24, 2007
cafecreme in General Topics

What to do with blue cheese?

that's one of my standards--especially good with some shallots, and a little sage over some butternut squash or pumpkin ravioli.

May 24, 2007
cafecreme in Home Cooking

chow near Catherdral Hill hotel?

glad things went well with your trip. too bad you missed the tres leches thread--see under Bay Area boards (i'd paste it but I'm already in the middle of this posting)--next time go to Delessio's Bakery (you can park there, too!)for delicious tres leches. It's at Broderick between Oak and Fell near the Haight Ashbury neighborhood.

1/2 can of Coconut Milk...What to do?

I use coconut milk to add that extra flavor in coconut layer cake frosting. Just add some to traditional buttercream recipe and it's delicious. Can also throw it in with some rice and milk to make a very simple, comforting sweet rice congee type pudding (stovetop).

May 24, 2007
cafecreme in Home Cooking

Where can you buy merguez sausage to cook at home in San Francisco?

Was at Faletti's today and noticed they have lamb merguez (is that redundant?)at their butcher counter. I believe they make all their sausage in-house, and by the way, they have a dozen or so different kinds, from chicken maple b'fast to garlic and cilantro flavored varieties. Anyway, I remembered someone was looking, so hope this helps. We've been happy with the meat from there. It's at Broderick Place, Broderick between Fell and Oak.

Dianda's or Delessio's Tres Leches cake? [San Francisco]

the first time I had it (or even knew it existed) was when I was living in Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan about 10 years ago. I saw it at a Dominican bakery and got hooked. I assumed it was from the Dominican Republic.

Dianda's or Delessio's Tres Leches cake? [San Francisco]

You don't really get a slice, but you scoop it out of a big tray on their dessert buffet board. So, presentation isn't really the strong suit--you have to squeeze it into these paper takeout boxes, so if you want to buy one for a dinner party, get the whole cake, because trying to make a neat serving with the spatula is impossible. I have to say i had some the other day (sunday) and it was wetter than the one before and not as good. Perhaps the strawberries on top added the moisture, or it could just be that a different pastry chef made it.

Recipes You've Never Heard of Outside Your Family

My mom would make us "decorated eggs" for supper when we got home late after a long car trip or just didnt' feel like a big dinner. Scrambled eggs topped with Wolf Brand Chili (no beans). I grew up in Texas and have never seen Wolf chili in California, where I live now (and not sure I'd actually eat it anymore). But, boy was that a good combo, topped off with a little sour cream and ketchup.

May 19, 2007
cafecreme in Home Cooking