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Wild Mushrooms

c
cschill Nov 17, 2007 02:34 PM

Hi,

Does anyone know where I can find a good selection of wild mushrooms in the bay area. I am in the peninsula (Menlo Park), so a store around there would be ideal. In SF or berkeley would be great as well.

Thanks
Chris

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  1. c
    cacao RE: cschill Nov 17, 2007 02:41 PM

    Hi -

    I can't help you in Menlo Park other than to suggest Whole Foods, but you will pay, dearly. Up here in Berkeley, the Monterey market on Hopkins St. has great prices on well selected mushrooms. The (infamous) Berkeley Bowl has a great selection, too, but higher prices and frustrating parking.

    Of course, even better, learn how to forage for your own ;) Like I have. the Mycological Society of SF is a great bunch of fungi friendly folks to learn from... mssf.org

    cacao

    14 Replies
    1. re: cacao
      c
      cschill RE: cacao Nov 17, 2007 02:44 PM

      Yeah, I thought about Whole Paycheck, but Monterey market sounds good. Ill check that out. I also heard of the MSSF, I was looking forward to trying to get out to pick my own this year. I can't before thanksgiving though, so I will try to buy some.

      1. re: cschill
        rworange RE: cschill Nov 17, 2007 08:59 PM

        Have you tried the Milk Pail in Mountain View?
        http://www.chow.com/places/12002

        1. re: rworange
          h
          Humbucker RE: rworange Nov 17, 2007 11:48 PM

          I was just at Milk Pail today looking for mushrooms. Their selection was limited to white button, portobello, oyster and shitake.

      2. re: cacao
        Ruth Lafler RE: cacao Nov 18, 2007 10:02 AM

        I was at Berkeley Bowl yesterday and stopped for a few moments to gawk at the mushrooms -- they had some I'd never seen before (as usual). This time of year I don't bother with the parking lot -- I've yet to fail to find parking on the street within a block. And there aren't any barriers, so you can take your cart all the way to your car, if, like me, you "ran in" for six things and came out with six bags!

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          oakjoan RE: Ruth Lafler Nov 18, 2007 12:30 PM

          Ruth: You don't say what kinds of mushrooms you got (if any). I was there early last week and was less than thrilled with the chanterelles. They looked limp and watery. Did they look good to you this week?

          Btw, you should get old and retarded, er, retired, like me and go to BB at 2:00 p.m.

          1. re: oakjoan
            c
            chemchef RE: oakjoan Nov 18, 2007 12:39 PM

            ...or smart like me and go Friday or Saturday evening when most "normal" people are out "tying one on"! hee hee

            1. re: chemchef
              oakjoan RE: chemchef Nov 18, 2007 02:16 PM

              Actually, the very, very best time to go is between 4:30 and 5:00 on a weekday night. Nobody's gotten off work and all those who don't work have finished shopping. There are even parking spaces.

              1. re: oakjoan
                c
                chemchef RE: oakjoan Nov 18, 2007 03:30 PM

                Not that it matters, but I get off work at 4, and have gone after work and still think that Friday/Saturday evening is better.

            2. re: oakjoan
              Ruth Lafler RE: oakjoan Nov 18, 2007 12:46 PM

              I didn't get any -- I don't like mushroom, I just like to look at them. I didn't look closely, but I thought the chanterelles looked pretty good. They had something called "cauliflower mushrooms" that looked amazing.

              1. re: oakjoan
                Glencora RE: oakjoan Nov 18, 2007 12:50 PM

                I saw on your other post that you didn't think much of the chanterelles at the Monterey market. I thought they looked pretty good when I was there last Wednesday. In fact, I made a mental note to get some once Thanksgiving madness is over.

                1. re: Glencora
                  oakjoan RE: Glencora Nov 18, 2007 02:18 PM

                  I haven't looked in the recent past. Will check them out tomorrow.

                  1. re: oakjoan
                    w
                    wally RE: oakjoan Nov 18, 2007 03:04 PM

                    They were a little beat up yesterday but they were $9.00 a pound.

                  2. re: Glencora
                    rworange RE: Glencora Nov 18, 2007 04:48 PM

                    Thanksgiving madness indeed. Even Raley's was mobbed today. Which brings up that if anyone gets desparate Raley's/Nob Hill had a nice little exotic mushroom package with a few types I haven't noticed before like clamshell mushrooms. I'd go to the farmers markets, Monterry Market or Berkeley Bowl, but it is a backup to consider. They actually looked pretty nice ... but mushrooms are a thing of timing ... you have to hit the market at the right time.

              2. re: cacao
                s
                Sharuf RE: cacao Nov 19, 2007 11:58 PM

                I tried to go to Monterrey Market Saturday but gave up - parking is too frustrating. I understand Friday is bad, too.

              3. b
                BernalFarmer RE: cschill Nov 17, 2007 08:50 PM

                Far West Fungi in the Ferry Plaza building (http://www.farwestfungi.com/) typically has an excellent selection - their prices vary depending on availabilty, but last week they had some beuatiful porcinis for about $30 a pound.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BernalFarmer
                  Windy RE: BernalFarmer Nov 18, 2007 07:15 PM

                  I agree. They also sell at several local farmer's markets including Alemany and Civic Center. They are not all $30 a pound. The shitakes are very high quality and usually <$10 a pound.

                  It looks like they go to the farmers markets in Mountain View and Palo Alto.
                  http://www.farwestfungi.com/MarketLoc...

                2. w
                  whiner RE: cschill Nov 18, 2007 12:13 AM

                  I get my Shitaki, Trumpet, and Oyster mushrooms for $3/lb in the Sunset. Somewhere around 23rd and Irving, iirc. Don't know the name of the store.

                  There is a great mushroom place in the ferry building for more 'upscale' wild mushrooms.

                  1. Shane Greenwood RE: cschill Nov 18, 2007 08:25 AM

                    You might try Draegers too since you are in Menlo Park. Also, the local farmers markets will have them.

                    1. c
                      chemchef RE: cschill Nov 18, 2007 09:09 AM

                      I usually buy them at the Berkeley Farmer's market (and other local farmer's markets have them as well). I only mention this because in the Bay Area there are usually farmer's markets nearly every day of the week.

                      I should also mention that there is a mushroom festival going on at the Ferry Bldg next weekend. I'll be out of town, unfortunately, and won't be able to attend, but it looks interesting.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chemchef
                        oakjoan RE: chemchef Nov 18, 2007 12:31 PM

                        Too bad it's after Thanksgiving!

                      2. a
                        anzu RE: cschill Nov 19, 2007 10:12 AM

                        Have you checked out any of the farmer's markets in this area? Palo Alto is on Saturday, Menlo Park and Mountain View are on Sunday. I'm not 100 percent certain about MP, but I think the same mushroom people have a stand at all three, or for sure at Palo Alto and Mountain View, at least. I was there yesterday, and they had chanterelles for $12/lb (that's the lowest I've ever seen them!), shiitake, king trumpets, oysters, lion's mane and the regular portabella, whites, and browns. They sometimes have maitake, but I didn't see any yesterday.

                        Sigona's at the Stanford Shopping Center also has a bunch, but they are much pricier than the farmer's market, and I think less selection.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: anzu
                          Shane Greenwood RE: anzu Nov 19, 2007 10:41 AM

                          The mushroom man at the Menlo Park market usually has farm-fresh eggs too. Get there early because they sell out fast!

                          1. re: anzu
                            JoyM RE: anzu Nov 19, 2007 12:14 PM

                            I was at the MV farmer's market yesterday, too, and I noticed they also had truffles, two kinds, white and black. One was $400/lb, the other was $4/per little tiny mushroom. Also, they usually have "ugly" or "overripe" containers of many of their varieties which are much cheaper. All in all, the best price and selection of mushrooms I've seen around.

                            These guys do sell at other Farmer's Markets, or maybe they distribute to other people, but they have the widest variety that I've seen only in MV.

                            1. re: JoyM
                              Windy RE: JoyM Nov 19, 2007 01:06 PM

                              As noted above, this is Far West Fungi, the people who own the store in the Ferry Building.

                          2. m
                            mochimunchie RE: cschill Nov 19, 2007 01:51 PM

                            Sigona's on Middlefield Rd. across from Costco in RWC had a bunch of porchinis and other mushrooms. I happened to be there when they got a delivery last week.

                            1. eatzalot RE: cschill Nov 19, 2007 11:34 PM

                              Wow, I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet. Around SF peninsula, many of the restaurants that use wild mushrooms and some markets have been sourced for years by a tall guy with a van, known professionally if I remember as The Mushroom King. I have his card somewhere. Unless things have changed lately, he's still in business. (Even people who can't recall his business name remember him as the "tall guy.") He often delivers at night, the van is crammed with fresh seasonal local wild mushrooms in bins by type, from contracted gatherers. I've seen boletes the size of a large eggplant or pineapple. If you are seriously interested, you could probably get what you need directly from him, "the source." Check into this or ask the kitchen of a local restaurant of some kind that uses wild mushrooms. They are approaching their productive season locally now. Chanterelles are abundant in wet months from the local forests (and even back yards), multiple species: Cantharellus cibarius (the well known ones), C. subalbidus (white), Craterallus cantharellus. Also morels, the aforementioned boletes (cepes or "porcini"), shiitake, various others.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: eatzalot
                                Melanie Wong RE: eatzalot Nov 19, 2007 11:39 PM

                                Here's a piece about him, http://www.examiner.com/a-1015947~Mee...

                                1. re: Melanie Wong
                                  eatzalot RE: Melanie Wong Nov 20, 2007 05:53 AM

                                  Thanks for that excellent link, Melanie. It seems that this specialty business has grown since I met the Mushroom King 6-7 years ago, introduced by the chef of a local restaurant that was buying his products. (From the photo it also looks like he shaved his beard.) It's probably good for anyone in the Bay Area with a serious or quantity interest in wild mushrooms to be aware of this source.

                                  1. re: eatzalot
                                    rabaja RE: eatzalot Nov 20, 2007 07:49 AM

                                    Any idea where his store is in DC? Is it open to the public?
                                    I have an old # for him, but I'd love to be able to go into a store whenever I needed mushrooms.

                                    1. re: rabaja
                                      Melanie Wong RE: rabaja Nov 20, 2007 08:04 AM

                                      I just created a Places entry for the King of Mushrooms, here's the link, http://www.chow.com/places/15921

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                                        rabaja RE: Melanie Wong Nov 21, 2007 07:38 AM

                                        That's really good to know. Thank you very much!

                              2. h
                                hillarykb RE: cschill Nov 20, 2007 08:25 AM

                                Go to the Ferry Building. We just went there for ingredients for a mushroom pate and were able to get everything we need. They also have a farmers market on the weekend which might afford some other selections.

                                1. c
                                  chetco RE: cschill Jan 16, 2008 04:10 PM

                                  Far West Fungi usually has a nice variety of fresh and dried.
                                  http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.c...

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