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  • m

MMM grits...where can I find 'em? You know, the good ones. I have been looking around the bay and haven't found any that are up to snuff. Extra points for cheesy grits. You say where and I'll say when.

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  1. two places NOT to go to: The Pork Store and Jay's Pots of Soul. I like the latter but not for their grits.

    Seriously, you find great grits and I will buy. I have not had great grits here but then again I haven't exactly been searching...

    1 Reply
    1. re: CH Addict

      i know you can buy great grits- dry from the food mill near piedmont.. really great stuff... my best friend is from north kaka-lakey and swears by grits- so i asked him and he says as long as they get there earlier in the night T-rex is first, then Luka's, then full house cafe in the diamond district. so if you go by the south... there you have it...

    2. In the Bay Area, better learn to cook grits. I have NEVER had a decent plate of grits in No California. In fairness, I have had FEW decent plates of grits in Virginia, NC and Ga. Its hard to find stone ground grits in the markets, and mail order is quite expensive. I seldom go to Whole Foods, but they should have some good grits in stock.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Jim H.

        I'm far from a grits connoisseur, but I had a taste of some last month made by Zin Restaurant in Healdsburg for a charity event in SF that got my attention. Enough so that I stopped for a moment and asked the chef what was different about them. He told me they were stoneground and the name of his supplier. I don't recall, but mentioned it to Ms. Pssst (who is a grits connoisseur) shortly afterwards and it was one that she approved of. Here's a link to Zin's website --- one of my favorite places all along.

        Link: http://www.zinrestaurant.com/menu.html

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          In a magazine write-up on grits there was a mention that Cyrus uses Anson Mills from South Carolina. My only reason for mentioning is that there are about a half-dozen high-end restaurants in Healdsburg, so they probably cross-polinate. (Also wanted to use lots of hyphens)

          Price is WAY high-end...$5/12 oz bag-ish.
          Phone 803-467-4122 no web order, but info at www.ansonmills.com

          1. re: SteveT

            You're very good with that hyphen key!

            Grits . . . the new polenta.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Melanie, I think you've hit the problem. The Italian influence in the Bay Area has preferred polenta to grits. They are almost identical, with a slightly different taste. People don't like the sound of the word "grits"...if it were called "corn delight" or "Southern polenta" it would be OK. One of best traditional dishes of New Orleans is "grits and grillades", but you hardly ever see it on menus elsewhere. Occasionally shrimp and grits. Try grits made with butter and pecorino or asiage cheese...yum.

            2. re: SteveT
              Robert Lauriston

              Boulette's Larder sells a few Anson Mills items including grits. Whether they're ever on the breakfast menu I dunno.

              Link: http://www.bouletteslarder.com/

            3. re: Melanie Wong
              Jeff Mall chef/owner Zin Restaurant

              I get my grits from a water powered stone mill in Belvedre Tennessee. It is called Falls Mill www.fallsmill.com.

              Look them up or give them a call. They ship UPS. We order 50# at a time. If you get some, just know that they are perishable and need to be kept refrigerated.

              They are fantastic. They also make cornmeal, flour, etc.

              1. re: Jeff Mall chef/owner Zin Restaurant
                ChowFun (derek)

                Thanks for the lead Jeff and for reminding people about refrigeration...!

            4. re: Jim H.

              I have to agree with Jim. It is damned difficult to find a decent bowl of grits anywhere, even in the South.

              (My most dissapointing grits experience to date, was in Atlanta.)

              I buy mine from the Boiled Peanuts Catalog. Guilford Mill Stone Ground. They are a little pricey, $12.75 for four pounds, but if you really love a bowl of grits, you will not find better locally. You can't even find Quaker Old Fashioned Grits.
              Good luck.

              Link: http://boiledpeanuts.com

              1. re: jd

                Perhaps you are not aware...
                you can order directly from The Old Mill for a whole lot less. Kind of strange (to a big city person), no web order, phone is 336-643-4783, and payment is by check after the package arrives with invoice included.

                Does no good if you want other items from the Lee Bros. catalogue.

                1. re: SteveT

                  I did not know that. Thanks.
                  But I always make sure that my grits orders coincide with my Mayo order, so I don't feel quite so extravagant.

              2. re: Jim H.

                What would happen if we all wrote or complained in person that Whole Foods should carry stone-ground grits?

              3. c

                Is Crescent City Cafe on Haight near Masonic still open? They likely have grits if they're there.

                I just drove by a place (Student Dog?) in Berkeley on Milvia across from Berkeley High. It's a hot dog place affiliated with Top Dog I think, but they also serve breakfasts including catfish and grits. I was reading the menu, but then someone honked me and I had to move.

                3 Replies
                1. re: chocolatetartguy

                  I think you mean Doggie High on Milvia across from Berkeley High School.

                  1. re: chocolatetartguy

                    Oh geez...Crescent City has been closed for a long time. It is now an off-shoot of the King of Thai Noodle House empire. Across the street is the Pork Store. I know they offer grits with their egg dishes, but the grits are just o.k. That's according to my Georgia-born mommy. Being a CA girl, I think they taste just delicious. Especially after a night of drinking. Yum. Almost as good as Pho...but not quite.

                  2. Haven't tried it myself, but have heard the brunch grits at Luka's Taproom are good --- here's a link to a report.

                    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                    1. w

                      do not hate me...but...t-rex makes great cheesy grits.
                      did you say you were buying??

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: wagonfullapancakes

                        Yep, I'll buy. Just say when!

                      2. Ok...now I am hardly an expert on grits (I've only ever had them twice, and my first time was at a Waffle House in Orlando), BUT I had an insanely delicious bowl of low country shrimp and grits at Memphis Minnies last weekend. I can't recall if you can order grits plain as a side, but the grits in my dish were creamy and delicious!

                        I had tried to order this dish here once before, but they were out of the grits - apparently they special order it from a very small-production place that grinds the grits with angel feet or something... at any rate, the way he was raving about them bodes well for your search. I'd try this place.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Absonot

                          Memphis Minnie's only serves grits as part of their brunch. They have two variations - the shrimp & grits dish and cheese grits which comes as a side or you can order it separately.

                          The grits are not "angel ground" but just your basic but expensive stone-ground grits. I think they do a lot of "education" because so many people in the Bay Area have never had anything but Quacker Instant.

                          1. re: Pssst
                            ChowFun (derek)

                            Just another vote for Memphis Minnies Brunch...great food,,,I also had the shrimp and grits this weekend....makes me happy...and I can walk there...!

                            Link: http://www.memphisminnies.com/

                        2. I had some delicious cheesy grits at Elite Cafe ... but I'm a Yankee, so take that for what you will. However, my understanding from Southerners is that cheese is a no, no in REAL grits, so since your request is for cheesy grits, Elite might make you happy.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: rworange

                            i dont know who told you that cheese is a no no is real grits. i would verify where in the "south" they are from before you believe that.

                            im from the south and grits WITHOUT cheese is just plain wrong.

                            1. re: Lord Griffin

                              Worked in Atlanta and Fort Worth for a time and was told that grits should be served plain without additives. Happened when I'd mention some place I ate that had grits with cheese and how much I liked them. Maybe they meant breakfast though.

                            2. re: rworange

                              I don't know what "Southerners" told you that, but its not true.

                              That said, where I grew up cheese grits was pretty much a dinner/supper thing not a breakfast dish. In fact, we usually made a double batch in the morning, then added cheese to the leftovers for the next meal.

                            3. Blackberry Bistro in Oakland's Glenview neighborhood has my favorite rendition of grits in their Shrimp and Grits: sauteed shrimp, onions and tomatoes with a little lemon juice and green chilies over cheesy grits.

                              It's one of my all-time favorite brunch dishes and I found their recipe for it too (see link below). For some reason I can't get on their website right now, but I think you can get just plain grits with cheese and you can order the shrimp dish any time of day.

                              Mmmm, I may have to go this weekend.

                              Blackberry Bistro
                              4240 Park Boulevard
                              Oakland, CA 94602

                              Link: http://atlas.kpix.com/xtra/focus/reci...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: kimchee

                                Wasn't someone asking about such low country fare a week or so ago?

                                1. re: kimchee

                                  I second the grits at Blackberry Bistro, although I feel like I always have to add salt (the texture is spot on).

                                2. best grits i know of at the generals daughter, in sonoma, real grits and real southern chef

                                  1. What a surprise! I though I was the only closet grits eater in these parts. Brought some stone ground back from a visit to Charleston and now am OUT. Is there no store in bay area that sells them? Do I have to do mail order?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Walker

                                      I am always on the look-out for stone-ground grits. But as of yet, I have not found them in any Bay Area store. I mail order mine.

                                      1. re: Walker

                                        Don't know if they regularly stock them, but I've seen packaged Anson Mills grits in the past at Boulette's Larder (in the pantry area) in the ferry plaza.

                                        In addition, Boulette's also once had a shrimp and grits dish on their brunch menu at one point with Florida white shrimp, chorizo and the aforementioned anson mills grits (with cheese). It was one of the best versions of shrimp and grits I've ever had (and I'm from the south).

                                        Range (in the Mission at Valencia and 20th) has a coffee rubbed pork shoulder that's often served with grits. Good stuff.

                                      2. Just for You Cafe in the Dogpatch has grits. I've never had them (or would know how to judge them) - but they seem to be pretty popular there, lots of people order them. They are also one of the "side dishes" offered with many of the dishes.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: SarahS

                                          Like the vast majority of Bay Area restaurants, Just for You serves instant grits made with water - no butter, no salt, no pepper, no nothing.

                                          No Southerner would consider them edible, much less good.

                                          1. re: Pssst

                                            I strongly disagree...most Southerners LOVE thin, tasteless, saltless grits. Only in upscale places will you get good grits, and not always.

                                        2. I had a great side of grits from Blue Jay Cafe, but then a very mediocre batch the next week. That was right before I had to stop going there because of the inconsistency and the service. But when they are on, the food is great!

                                          And as far as cheese grits go, it is totally a regional thing. In my family (louisiana), grits are strictly savory - butter and salt always, sometimes cheese, sometimes ham sometimes both. But with the Georgia cousins, they actually put sugar or jam in the grits - horrifying, but 8 generations in GA so they have to 'count' as Southern.