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Mar 19, 2007 03:08 PM

Ode to San Francisco food purveyors

My brother and I cooked a 10 course meal for our father's 60th birthday last night and though our cooking skills were hopefully a big part of the success, a huge thanks has to go out to the amazing food purveyors in this city.

First, there is the Ferry plaza: Hog Island Oysters are are perfect for bbq oysters (and the small sweet waters are great snacks while shopping). Cowgirl Creamery makes great Creme Fraiche and is wonderful to shop at for other cheeses such as Abbaye de Belloc. Fatted calf: delicious douck confit and yummy duck liver pate. Far West Funghi has a truly inspiring selection of mushrooms. The seafood guy at the farmers market on Saturday really has some delicious scallops. Prather Ranch sells some mean short ribs, that go great with some of the fresh produce one can find at some of the stalls: parsnips for a puree, and carrots for nice side dish. And Rechiutti sells great chocolates and fruit squares to finish off a meal.

Outside the Ferry Plaza, there is Rainbow Foods. The bulk spices are truly extraordinary and the produce rivals the farmers markets. Sun Fat in the missions is really a great seafood market. And their lobsters are both sweet and (relatively) inexpensive. Boulange de cole also helps finich off a meal with their delicious financiers.

SF is truly a wonderful place to shop for food.

(The only thing imported was smoked fish and herring for brunch from Russ & Daughters in NYC--SF needs a good smoked fish store)

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  1. I'm in complete agreement except about Cowgirl's creme fraiche. Doesn't taste anything like creme fraiche to me.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Really? I guess I am not sure what Creme Fraiche is supposed to taste like. Regardless, do you think it is tasty? We put a dollop in some asparagus soup (the asparagus also came from the farmer's market--forgot to mention) and it was very nice. IS there another brand you like more?

      1. re: Kmanlove

        I like the real thing from France, which is illegal.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          You can also make your own with heavy cream and a bit of butter milk...leave it out at room temperature for about a day. It will be thick and tangy and wonderful. Granted, you're not likely to find unpasteurized heavy cream to use (and which is what they use in France and which is illegal in the states), but it will turn out fairly well regardless.

          I do agree that Cowgirl's is too thin and not very tangy.

          1. re: ccbweb

            I'm pretty sure American buttermilk uses a different culture. I don't think French creme fraiche culture exists here now that import of Isigny et al. has been blocked.

            1. re: ccbweb

              I use mine well beyond the expiration date and find it more agreeable.

          2. re: Kmanlove

            I think Cowgirl's creme fraiche is too thin and prefer Bellwether Farms (another local favorite).

        2. I agree. Sometimes I'm just amazed at the quality of meal I can put together.

          What kind of smoked fish ... salmon ... cold or hot smoked? White fish?

          Red River in Princeton makes some good smoked salmon. Molie Stone carries Acme herrring and other products from Brooklyn and I love. Saul's in Berkely makes a great herring in sour cream ... the wine ... not so much.

          Great post. Happy belated birthday to your dad.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rworange

            I just miss the Jewish Appetizing places you can find in NYC. Belly lox, nova, herring in cream sauce, sable, whitefish, etc. You can find a few of these one off in San Francisco, but if only there was a Russ & Daughters or Sables or Zabars. Oh well. We got it pretty good here.

            1. re: Kmanlove

              Cap'n Mike's Holy Smoke makes some great smoked fish. You can get their stuff at various famers markets.


          2. Awesome post! I totally agree. I am from and am always amazed at all the bay area has to offer in terms of excellent, quality, and diverse ingredients.

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