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East Bay Paella

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Louis Cohen Feb 7, 2001 10:44 PM

Can anyone recommend a good spot for paella in the East Bay? Or perhaps a less fashionable place in The City? I used to go to El Oso in the Mission, but I believe they are closed now.

Thanks

PS - If I don't find a good place soon, I'm going to have to try cooking my own, and the results won't be pretty.

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    Jim H. RE: Louis Cohen Feb 8, 2001 03:50 PM

    I have had a hard time finding good paella anywhere...never been to Spain, tho. A waiter friend who is an older Spaniard told me that Zarzuela in SF was the best around. Left Bank in Larkspur was pretty good, we had it several years ago. Frankly, if you really like Paella (and I do) you must make your own. Yes, it is rather complex, and takes a bit of trial and error. It also requires a steel paella pan... I have one that is 16 inches and has an almost nonstick finish. It must withstand mucho heat. Of course you need saffron, but you can get that at SF Herb & Spice for about $3.00 per gram. Go for it!

    7 Replies
    1. re: Jim H.
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      Melanie Wong RE: Jim H. Feb 9, 2001 02:40 AM

      Isn't there a restaurant in Marin that specializes in only paella?

      1. re: Melanie Wong
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        Jim H. RE: Melanie Wong Feb 10, 2001 02:55 PM

        Kind of, I think. What used to be a brick kiln turned into Robellard's, then into Bodegon (?), then into Quixote, and still hasn't overcome its ambience of total claustrophobia. We tried the Bodegon paella with friends, and all four were disappointed. In fairness, I am a paella affecianado, and it is really complex to make right. Easy to make wrong, tho. Rather than search, I have been working on it and getting close. I have not tried Quixote, but would be interested in reactions (by real eaters, not food critics).

        1. re: Jim H.
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          Barry Kaufman RE: Jim H. Feb 11, 2001 01:50 PM

          Try B-44 in Belden Ally - next to Plouf ---- 7 different Paellas. Buy Penelape Casa's Paella book

          1. re: Barry Kaufman
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            Javier Bonnemaison RE: Barry Kaufman Feb 12, 2001 02:31 AM

            As the previous post indicated, B44 has several different paellas on the menu. I also happen to think that they have the best paella in SF, and probably the Bay area. I am from Spain, and this is as close as I have gotten to Paella outside of my country. Try for yourselves. I specially like the arroz negre, with black squid ink and aioli.

            1. re: Javier Bonnemaison
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              Jennifer RE: Javier Bonnemaison Feb 12, 2001 10:46 PM

              Bot ready made paella @ The Pasta Shop in Rockridge tonight. Not bad for take out although a little pricey ($12.95 a pound).

          2. re: Jim H.
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            Melanie Wong RE: Jim H. Feb 13, 2001 02:38 AM

            Those sound vaguely familiar - all I remember is seeing the place on a tv news segment.

            I got a big paella pan (16" diameter) a year ago, and have used it but once so far for a paella party. I bought the valencia rice and chorizo from the La EspaƱola Meats website that I've posted on before. It was interesting to research the range of "authentic" recipes on the web. Heated opinions abound!

            1. re: Melanie Wong
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              Jim H. RE: Melanie Wong Feb 13, 2001 11:37 AM

              I really don't think you need all the fancies to make good paella. I think CalRose pearl rice is fine in lieu of Spanish or Arborio rice...most chorizo I've seen is just too greasy. Aidell is good sausage (though often a bit flat). I sympathize with restaurants who try to do paella...it is an art form. Like cassoulet, there are no easy short cuts...it should be done right or not at all. The perfect paella is finished on a very hot grill, to create the crusty bottom to the rice called "soccarat". Chinese also like some dishes with crispy rice on the bottom. Takes a knack. Use your pan, Melanie...paella for a dinner party is a definite show-stopper.

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