Two cheese shops in one day
We spent today familiarizing ourselves with the cheese shops of San Francisco. A full review will come after we've been to each a couple more times, but here's a short report.
Creighton's (673 Portola near Tower Market) was an absolute dream. Behind the counter was Rachel, and she is one of us in spirit and taste. Friendly, knowledgable, her energy and familiarity with her store make up for the slightly small selection. She labeled all our cheses so we would know what we were eating.
Say Cheese (856 Cole at Carl) has gotten some excellent writeups here on Chowhounds, and is clearly well-stocked and has some yummy cheese indeed, but we found them a little cold, a bit reticent, and they sold us an undistinguished epoisse while claiming it was a perfect one. That's a strike against them, in my book--never try to sell something as quality when it's just acceptable. Even though they had more cheese, I didn't feel like I wanted to return to Say Cheese.
Next stops: The Cheese Board and Artisan!
P.S., Creighton's has a small bakery side to it as well, and BOY do they make a killer chocolate custard eclair! That puts it a nose above most cheese shops.
please don't write off say cheese with just one visit. you may have been waited on by the curmudgenly older man, or the youngest of the clan, neither of whom i totally trust. try again, this time ask for roger the owner, or steve, both of whom really know their cheeses and have yet to steer me wrong with anything i've ever purchased there. in fact i had an epi not too very long ago, which alto it wasn't fresh or handcarried from france, was quite good.
i'll have to check out creighton's. as i have say cheese just around the corner from me i must confess to not adventuring out to other cheese stores as often as i should. and thanks, too, for the words on your cheese store in carmel. i wonder how we missed it on our last trip down that way-never again for sure! did you have a street address for it?
Indeed, at Say Cheese we were waited on by the curmudgeonly older fellow and the youngest. The older one foisted a bad epoisses upon us--we didn't like the look of it, we were told (and are experienced) about what makes a good epoisses, but he said, "Trust me, this one is great." We took it home, it wasn't great.
I know the key to a good cheese buying experience is having someone behind the counter who is friendly and knowledgeable, as well as honest. But why does the owner entrust his store to poor hands?
We never write off any place after only one visit, unless the service was outright rude. We're a little tempted to write of Say Cheese because of that epoisses problem, but then, we did have some lovely cheeses there and some great pates, so on your recommendation we'll return someday soon. :)
Thanks, happy chowhounding!