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

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

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

    Sur la Table, Ma Maison, Pot + Pantry

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      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. Maybe the Wok Shop in Chinatown?

      1. Loving the suggestions! Keep 'em coming! Xxx

        1. 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

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

            1. 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

                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

                  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

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

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

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

                    1. re: wolfe

                      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

                        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

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

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

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

                            1. re: rccola

                              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

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

                                1. re: rccola

                                  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

                                    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

                    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. 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

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

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          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

                            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.

                      2. 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. 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!