GOOD SMOKED FISH?
Live in Marin, open to the city too, looking for whitefish, baked salmon to break fast for the Jewish holidays. All the fish I have tried is either dry whitefish chubs or not very tasty larger fish from Costco. Have bought salmon at the farmer's market, but not other kinds of fish. Any ideas?
I hear that you're not a fan of Costco whitefish/larger fish.
But their jars of herring are great (all you need to do--which you'd want to do w/ any jarred herring--is discard the brine, pick out and discard the onion, and mix the fish w/ a little thinly sliced fresh red onion and a good dollop or two of sour cream--not low-fat, the real deal--let it sit in the fridge for a day; and you've got terrific creamed herring--and at an amazing price for that big jar).
And I've always liked Costco smoked salmon (not the smoked wild salmon, which should be better but is worse--I much prefer the cheaper, paler stuff).
I've not found great smoked whitefish or trout in the Bay area--so what I do is buy some @ Costco and then make a smoked fish salad, which masquerades a multitude of dryness/meh flavor.
And re other mentions on this thread.
*I have never (even in NYC) had good chopped liver from a deli or shop--I think for whatever reason, you have to make that from scratch--happily a simple job--let me know if you want my recipe :)
*Sorry to sound like a broken record (or shill for Costco), but in the Richmond Costco on Monday, they had more Jewish New Year fare than I've ever seen--including large containers of frozen blintzes and kugel and stuffed cabbage--no idea how good any of it is, but I love to use the frozen blintzes to make a blintz souffle when I'm hosting a Yom Kippur break-fast.
A happy, healthy New Year to you and yours!
re: sundeck sue
I agree w/ Sue about the Costco smoked salmon. I grew up in NY eating lox and I'm amazed how good the Costco stuff is. But Sue is right -- the cheaper stuff is much better than the more expensive smoked wild salmon.
Also, as Wolfe recommended Creekside Smokehouse in El Granada has great smoked fish. It all freezes really well, so you can really stock up while you're there. Bring a cooler, and while you're there get some smoked butter and go home and saute your vegetables in it.
I've adapted the recipe from my late mother's Temple Emanu-El (not the SF one) Cookbook over the years.
She would have "plotzed" (Yiddish for "keel over")--butter?! organic?! food processor?!
Hard-cook & peel 5 large eggs.
Whiz 1 small chopped raw onion in food processor.
Saute 1 lb. organic (esp. important w/ livers) chicken livers in 1/3 c. butter (I use unsalted, since that all I stock, but could use salted for this and just be more sparing w/ added salt to taste).
Add cooked liver + any butter residue in the pan + eggs to onions and pulse (don't whiz--this isn't pate--you want texture).
Add kosher salt, freshly ground pepper to taste.
Chill. Taste for seasoning again (probably will need more salt).
In the city, Bi-Rite's smoked whitefish spread is very good and so is the version from Canyon Market, though my favorite is from Paulie's inside the marketplace on Cortland.
Swan Oyster Depot has very good smoked salmon. Was less happy than usual with Bi-Rite's cured salmon recently.
Some of the best cured fish I've gotten is from La Bedaine on Solano in Berkeley. These are pickled with spices that are more French than Jewish. But call Alain and ask. The mackerel was sensational.
I would recommend checking out the markets in Outer Richmond. there is a large eastern european community out there and there is one market in particular that i know carries a large array of smoked fish, whole chubs, etc:
European Food Wholesale and Deli
3038 Clement St
Also, that whole neigborhood along Geary has a number of Russian markets and shops worth exploring.
I had no idea that Safeway sold yarzeit candles (duh) and so i ended up driving out there looking for one, and all the delis i stumbled in to carried them.
that is of course, how i found out about the abundance of smoked fish and sausages out that way ;)
re: Robert Lauriston
i think that it is hard to compare even markets on the east coast to what is happening at Russ & Daughters. that is like comparing canned tomatoes to a dry farmed fresh picked organic early girl. c'mon....well maybe not that extreme, but still, Russ & Daughters is impressive even for what's left of the lower east side.....