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Brit chef visiting California! wanting to buy cool stuff to take home.....

happyclaired Sep 3, 2012 09:59 AM

Hello! I am visiting LA and SF very soon, and I would love to visit some foodie/cheffy shops to take home some large serving platters, bakeware etc. Any suggestions? Many thanks. xxx

  1. Robert Lauriston Sep 3, 2012 10:31 AM

    Cookin' on Divisadero, huge selection of interesting used stuff.

    Sur la Table, Ma Maison, Pot + Pantry

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      tranewreck Sep 3, 2012 04:15 PM

      Agree that Cookin' has a few gems intermingled with the less remarkable used stuff, but few deals to be had for pre-owned items.
      Heath now has a large showroom on 18th and Florida in San Francisco.

    2. s
      sel Sep 3, 2012 11:27 AM

      Maybe the Wok Shop in Chinatown?

      1. h
        happyclaired Sep 3, 2012 01:10 PM

        Loving the suggestions! Keep 'em coming! Xxx

        1. s
          sundeck sue Sep 3, 2012 01:40 PM

          Heath Ceramics in Sausalito--there's a small out-post @ the Ferry Building in SF. The Chez Panisse line that Heath makes might make an esp. nice purchase to bring back, given its "lineage."

          I second Cookin' for an eclectic assortment of used stuff (I realize most of what I've bought there is English/European--but they definitely have lots of American items as well).

          And if you like old, and are in town on a first Sunday of the month, the Alameda Antique Fair often yields some great "finds."

          Finally this may be a little off-base. But on my last London trip, I stumbled upon a TKMaxx--a chain that's called TJJMaxx in the U.S. And there are a few TJMaxx's in the Bay Area; and they sometimes have some great platters and bakeware @ discounted (keep an eye out for the double mark-downs) prices.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sundeck sue
            Robert Lauriston Sep 3, 2012 01:45 PM

            If you shop at Heath, bring your own bubble wrap. They just use newspaper, which is not sufficient to protect them, and they won't take returns based on the inadequate wrapping.

          2. h
            happyclaired Sep 9, 2012 09:47 AM

            Thank you everyone - I'm so excited! Keep suggestions coming xxx

            1. w
              waldito Sep 9, 2012 10:49 AM

              You might try a couple of more 'industrial' places too:
              Kamei 525 Clement Street
              Economy Restaurant Supply 1200 7th Street

              When I'm abroad, I always ask myself -- now what am I seeing here that I can't get at home? I'm not sure what would be in that category for you. Cast iron pans? (Usually some nice vintage ones to be had at Cookin'.) Or a tortilla press? I bet that's something you can't find in the UK...if you'd ever have occasion to use it.

              13 Replies
              1. re: waldito
                Robert Lauriston Sep 9, 2012 10:55 AM

                Kamei's stuff comes from China, do you have places like that in the UK? Forest is a more professionally-oriented place with all Chinese imports:


                TriMark Economy is the big place where restaurants buy stuff.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  waldito Sep 9, 2012 11:13 AM

                  http://www.forestrestaurantsupply.com/ (RL, your link is wrong there.


                  Yes, that's a great place -- I always forget about it, although it's very close to me.

                  Now I'm turning your vacation itinerary into my own, but I would definitely visit Forest and also stop around the corner at Restaurant Depot. It's industry-only, but you can get a visitor pass in about 30 seconds at the counter. It's worth it just to see an entire shrink-wrapped goat carcass, or to visit the walk-in freezer which is twice the size of my house.

                  1. re: waldito
                    sparky403 Sep 9, 2012 11:45 AM

                    craigs list under household or collectables..... some great stuff there

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston
                    wolfe Sep 9, 2012 04:33 PM

                    "Kamei's stuff comes from China, do you have places like that in the UK?"

                    1. re: wolfe
                      Robert Lauriston Sep 10, 2012 01:16 PM

                      Of course they have Chinese imports in the UK, but Kamei has 20 or 100 times the selection of londonwok.com.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        rccola Sep 10, 2012 07:24 PM

                        Of course they have Chinese imports in the UK? Only for a couple hundred years longer than they have been imported here. There are a lot more places than londonwok.com.

                        1. re: rccola
                          Robert Lauriston Sep 11, 2012 08:43 AM

                          Sure, but they may not get the volume and variety that we get here. Do they have places like Kamei?

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                            rccola Sep 18, 2012 09:03 AM

                            Realizing it goes against the grain, how about letting the BRITISH chef be an expert on this?

                            1. re: rccola
                              Robert Lauriston Sep 18, 2012 09:33 AM

                              Since he hasn't been to Kamei, it would be hard for him to know whether there's anyplace like it at home. It's *not* a normal restaurant supply store, most of the products are for non-professionals. Unfortunately they have no Web site, but there are pictures on Yelp that give an idea of the insane selection.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                rccola Sep 21, 2012 12:47 PM

                                BUT HE KNOWS WHAT LONDON HAS, I BET AND YOU REALLY DON''T.

                                1. re: rccola
                                  Robert Lauriston Sep 21, 2012 02:02 PM

                                  Exactly, so if he looks at photos of Kamei's aisles, he can figure out if it's worth checking out. The demographics favor SF, over 20% of the population is Chinese vs. under 2% in London.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                    rccola Sep 25, 2012 04:27 PM

                                    Since London has a population of over 8 million and SF 800,000 that's roughly equivalent, I'd bet that serving those Chinese Brits is a store like that. Maybe he'll tell us, as HE might actually know.

                  3. re: waldito
                    ML8000 Sep 21, 2012 05:54 PM

                    If you're in the Richmond District or on Clement, definitely worth checking out. Perhaps they have places like this in the UK but I don't know any place (here) that has one isle about 60' long with only rice cookers. Yes, it's only one side of the isle and only two shelves but that selection is over the top.

                  4. r
                    rccola Sep 9, 2012 12:12 PM

                    From the British/Irish/Aussie chefs and foodies I've spoken to, Tex-Mex and Mexican are the under-served underbelly of their local cuisine. I'd visit the best taquerias/mexican restaurants/stores you can and look for authentic spices like achiote powder and recipes and ask where to get interesting serving platters, like guacamole dip and chip or tortilla presses. Nothing like a big ol' bowl of guac and homemade tortilla chips to make friends and customers happy. Real nachos, too.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: rccola
                      rccola Sep 9, 2012 12:16 PM

                      And apropos of: guac: http://www.chow.com/galleries/337/7-guacamole-recipes-plus-chips#!7897/guacamole


                      1. re: rccola
                        Robert Lauriston Sep 9, 2012 03:16 PM

                        There's no Tex-Mex here, though I guess the ingredients are the same.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          rccola Sep 10, 2012 07:01 AM

                          As always, I beg to differ with you. No nachos? (Tex-Mex) No chili con carne? (Tex-Mex) etc.

                          I think Chipotle Grill might do very well in England, or adaptations there of. How about West of Pecos? That openly flaunts a Tex-Mex connection. The places here may not be haute Tex-Mex but they're here, mixed among the Mexicanish inauthentic SF burrito joints.

                          1. re: rccola
                            Robert Lauriston Sep 10, 2012 08:44 AM

                            Nachos are a national dish now, like fajitas. West of Pecos has two or three Tex-Mex dishes, but the menu is pan-Southwestern. We have no Tex-Mex restaurants, no chili gravy, no Texas-style cheese enchiladas.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                              rccola Sep 10, 2012 07:15 PM

                              But we do have a...Oh, never mind.

                      2. Caitlin McGrath Sep 10, 2012 02:16 PM

                        Berkeley may prove to be out of the way, depending on your time/itinerary in SF, but Talavera Ceramics might be a good stop for what you're looking for - I don't know if you see much of this Mexican style in the UK. It's not too far to walk from the downtown Berkeley BART station.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                          Caitlin McGrath Sep 10, 2012 05:19 PM

                          Here's their website, which was down when I posted earlier: http://www.talaveraceramics.com/Talav...

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                            rccola Sep 10, 2012 07:16 PM

                            Good thought!

                        2. k
                          Keesey Sep 10, 2012 04:32 PM

                          How about a bookstore all about food? Omnivore Bookstore sells a lot of hard to find, vintage recipe books and general books about food. They sell new titles too, of course!


                          1. Robert Lauriston Sep 10, 2012 04:34 PM

                            You might check out Le Sanctuaire. Appointment only.


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