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Aug 10, 2000 09:05 AM

Gourmet goods?

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What are some nice gourmet shops (like Ghiradelli, but maybe lesser known) in San Francisco and in the Yountville area?

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  1. Don't know if you're into going to the East Bay, but check out 4th Street in Berkeley.

    1. Napa Valley--Oakville Grocery. They also have a location in Palo Alto.Berkeley- Pasta Shop! 4th street location is lovely; lotta yuppies, though.(Yuppies in Berkeley_ shudder.) In the City-- I love Rainbow Food Co-op, on Folsom St. Great cheese dept, super staff. Also dig the BiRite foods, on 18th and Guererro, in the Mission.

      1. Besides locations in Palo Alto and Oakville (napa Valley), Oakville Grocery also has a store in Healdsburg. Also like A.G. Ferrari stores in San Francisco and other Bay Area cities.

        1. For specialty shops, check out Artisan Cheese and Bay Breads in the Fillmore/California neighborhood of San Francisco. Market Hall at the Rockridge BART station in Oakland has a great, if yuppie, selection of shops. A.G Ferrari is nice (not sure if they have a store in San Francisco or just in the East Bay). Another great Oakland shop is Ratto's.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Janet

            There's an A.G. Ferrari in Laurel Village, on California between Laurel and Spruce (it's across California from the main row of shops).

          2. That's my backyard Ellen. Head North up 29. First stop is Oakville Grocery on the East side of the highway. Dean and Deluca is on the West side by "The Spot" just South of St. Helena. On the north end of St. Helena is Greystone, the culinary institute extension. Brix restaraunt has a pretty good wineshop as well.

            I noticed a lot of hounds mentioning East bay haunts. Two words "Berkely Bowl". It's on Shattuck. I don't know of another store that has produce like this place. Mix in the fact that it's the only place I've ever found Schraffenberger bittersweet chocolate in kilo sized bars, and it becomes a must stop. "The Bowl" is "The Bomb". Parking, however, is murder. Have fun!


            9 Replies
            1. re: Brandon

              Oh, how I love the Bowl! Every time I visit from NYC, I have to make a pilgrimage. Even if I won't have time to cook while I'm in town, I have to go in and wander around, inhaling deep breaths, listening to the sounds...and weeping over the variety and quality--and the *prices*--of the produce and the bulk goods...and the Acme bread, and...

              My mom has made Berkeley Bowl her primary food-shopping place, after the farmer's market, for as long as it's been around. In their new (for a year), former-Safeway digs (one block south of their former location, still on Shattuck just north of Ashby), they carry supermarket stuff, too, so it's almost one-stop shopping. (Part of their deal with the city to take over the ex-Safeway, which the city bought, was that they've got to stock supermarket stuff, as since the miserable Safeway closed, there's no full-servce supermarket nearby.) More parking now, too.

              When my mom came to town recently, the one thing she brought me from CA was a few pounds of whole wheat pastry flour, 50 cents a pound in bulk at the Bowl. Now, if she could just have brought along a few months' supply of mesclun and baby spinach at $5 a pound...

              1. re: Caitlin

                Poor Caitlin!

                I'll mention that I was very surprised at the stringy and bitter arugula used at Felidia's when I dined there last summer. Everything else was fine. Surely that's not the best you can get in Manhattan? We would have thrown that away here or used it for soup, not a salad.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Sigh. Yes, I have to say that the thing I miss most since moving to New York five years ago (after spending the first 26 of my life in Northern CA) is the produce. Sure, we can get good stuff at the farmer's market in the summer, and, well, good potatoes in the winter...but the year-round supply of CA produce in the stores here is so depressing. It's beyond obvious to point out that CA produce picked underripe and trucked 3000 mi. is not CA produce picked ripe and trucked 100 mi...and then we pay a lot more for our "imports." I've certainly yet to taste a California berry outside California that had any flavor to speak of. And don't get me started on Davenport dry-farmed tomatoes or those short, superfat carrots my mom gets at the Berkeley farmer's market.... I really do have reveries about Berkeley Bowl. I've been so spoiled.

                  1. re: Caitlin

                    I remember feeling the same way when I moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago for grad school and saw what grocers were trying to pass off as lettuce. Of course, I was born and raised in Salinas, "Salad Bowl of the World". Anyone who criticizes iceberg lettuce has never had a fresh head cut from the field -- the crisp hearts are sweet as candy.

                    One more word about Berkeley Bowl...some fine wine bargains to be had there too. I haven't shopped there for some time to check it out myself, but several of my friends in the trade tell me that it's their preferred outlet for getting rid of odd lots of wine at close-out prices without upsetting their other retail customers. The bottles disappear fast before anyone else sees them.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Best chicken sandwitch in the world $2.00!
                      A fresh chicken breast is de boned in front of your eyes,
                      then placed on heated french roll with pickled onions cilantro ,salt ,pepper ,sprouts and a few other things
                      $2 bucks out the door ,Incredible.
                      Even Jerry Brown eats at Cam houng

                      1. re: Hank

                        Sounds great! Is this a Vietnamese sandwich shop? There are several in SF on lower Polk and Larkin that are good too.

                        I've worked off and on in downtown Oakland and one of the best things is the varied, inexpensive and high quality of lunch shops. I really miss some of them.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Just wondering what some of your fave places in Oakland Chinatown are. I go to Vi's alot. Where exactly is Cam Houng? Thanks.

                          1. re: MA

                            Hank will have to tell us where Cam Houng is.

                            I really love Vi's - my favorite is the duck noodles. The seafood is excellent at Sun Hong Kong or the sign might actually say New Hong Kong, I forget. We get the live shrimp, steamed, with dipping sauce whenever they're available. There's a Chinesey Cambodian place on the same block that has a really good fried fish with garlicky chile sauce.

                            The venerable Silver Dragon is very reliable. Many, many family banquets, weddings, birthdays and other celebrations here over the years. This is a good place to order the wo choy menu, the daily family menu printed in Chinese. I don't read Chinese and the waiters have always been very accommodating in translating for me. The dishes are a little smaller but the combination of flavors and use of seasonal ingredients and the low price makes the wo choy menu a bargain. Sometimes we'll add a dish or two from the ala carte menu to round out the selection.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                              location of Cam Houng Webster*between 9th and 10th--oakland chinatown

                              yum.. their phonenumber is 510 444 8800/

                              I'm off to go chow. will return with commentary.