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Krys Stanley

A Newcomer’s Essentials

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This is list of shops that sell the best food in San Francisco and the Bay Area. If you just moved here, it’s a starting point to getting familiar with where the locals go. Clicking on a name will either take you to the website or a review by the local press. Use this board for more opinions about many of these places. Specialities are noted like the warm, flaky egg custard tarts at Golden Gate Bakery.

It’s not a list of restaurants, but markets, bakeries, cheese stores, etc. Read the excellent posts that follow for more great info about the South and North Bay which this list only touches on. I hope everyone shares more great information on the Bay Area.

Theres a few shops on the list that sell across the country and not only here. Admit it. When you want your cream filled Easter Egg, you are going to Sees. This excellent SF Chronicle article has 101 reasons why the Bay Area is a culinary mecca.

In the past few years, farmers markets are almost in every neighborhood. Here’s a link to find a market in your neighborhood. KQED did a WONDERFUL series about Bay Area farmers markets with background, vendor info, pictures and other farmers market links.

My vote for the best of the entire region and in all categories is Berkeley Bowl.

SAN FRANCISCO / EAST BAY

Hard to separate because some of these places have locations on both sides of the Bay. I’m new to the East Bay so I hope posters will fill in the blanks.

Bakeries and Bread

Here's a great article by Patricia Unterman, one of the Bay Area’s best food writers.

Acme (more), Arizmendi / Cheeseboard, Bay Bread Boulangerie, Crixa, Dianda's Italian American Pastry, Golden Gate Bakery (pork buns, custard tarts) , La Farine (morning buns) , Lelenita's Cakes, Liguria (focaccia) (more), Neldham's, Schubert's, Tartine Bakery, Victoria Bakery

Coffee and Tea

Blue Bottle, Caffé Roma, Graffeo, Martha & Brothers Coffee, Peet's Coffee & Tea (more)

Far Leaves Tea, Imperial Tea (more), Teance (Celadon)

Cheese

24th Street Cheese Co. , Cowgirl Creamery’s Artisan Cheese Shop , The Cheese Board, (more)

Ethnic shops

This is not my area of expertise and I hope people will post about the well known shops. There are many markets and shops in the Mission, Chinatown, and Clement Street offering fresh meat, seafood and produce at rock bottom prices. Upper Geary has many Eastern European shops.

99 Ranch Market

Farmers Markets & Farms

Alemany (more) (more), Berkeley Farmers Markets (more), Ferry Plaza, Old Oakland (more), SF Civic Center,

Italian Delis

A.G. Ferrari, Genova Deli, Lucca Delicatessen, Molinari Delicatessen

Markets

Andronico's (more), Berkeley Bowl (more), Bi-Rite Market (more), Mollie Stone's , Rainbow Grocery, (more), Tower Market, Whole Foods

Meat and Seafood Markets

The above markets all have good meat and seafood departments. Check ethnic markets for inexpensive and fresh (even live) products. This article from the SF Chronicle discusses “building a repertoire with the local fishmonger

The most farmers markets have fish and meat vendors. The Alemany market, for example, sells live chickens and you can buy a hundred small oysters from Pt Reyes Oyster for as little as $35. The Ferry Plaza Market has a number of top of the line meat vendors like Hoffman chickens and game birds. Many vendors, especially seafood, are dependant upon weather and season. They may not be there every week.

Bryan's, Ferry Plaza Merchants , Guerra Quality Meats , Little City Market , Monterey Fish

Specialty

Boulette’s Larder (more), Yum (more) (scroll down)

Sweets

Recchuiti , Scharffen Berger , Schmidt , Sees, XOX

SOUTH BAY

This San Jose Mercury News article lists some South Bay Classics. Quite a few of the list below was culled from this article. My personal experience is limited, so I hope South Bay posters will add their ideas.

The idea is not to copy what CitySearch or some other such site lists. This is meant to be a list of places that people really visit and use. For that reason, I would rather leave most of these categories blank and rely on the experience of people who live in the area to give their feedback.

Businesses not located in San Jose will have the city noted.

Bakeries and Bread

Dick's Bakery (Burnt-almond cake) , Gayle’s Bakery – Santa Cruz , Greenlee's Bakery (cinnamon bread), Shuei-Do Manju Shop (mochi) , Wilson's Jewel Bakery - Santa Clara

Coffee and Tea

Cheese

Ethnic shops

99 Ranch Market

Farmers Markets & Farms

Olson's Fruit Stand – Sunnyvale

Campbell (more), Sunnyvale , (more)

Italian Delis

Paradiso Deli

Markets

Draeger's Supermarket

Meat and Seafood Markets

Chiaramonte's (sausages) , Dittmer's Gourmet Meats & Wurst-Haus , Race Street Foods (chicken, seafood)

Specialty

San Jose Tofu Co.

Sweets

Donnelly Fine Chocolates – Santa Cruz, Schurra's Candy

NORTH OF THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE

Not my neck of the woods. Here’s all I know. Hope others will contribute.:

The idea is not to copy what CitySearch or some other such site lists. This is meant to be a list of places that people really visit and use. For that reason, I would rather leave most of these categories blank and rely on the experience of people who live in the area to give their feedback.

Bakeries and Bread

Downtown Bakery & Creamery - Healdsburg (more), Emporio Rulli – Larkspur , Sweden House Bakery (princess cake) – Tiberon

Coffee and Tea

Flying Goat Coffee6 – Healdsburg

Cheese

Tomales Bay Foods (more)

Ethnic shops

Farmers Markets & Farms

Marin Civic Center Markets

Italian Delis

Markets

Meat and Seafood Markets

Specialty

Sweets


Edited by Krys Stanley (log)

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This is an excellent start. Thanks for getting it going. The idea of having a reference document like this for each region is a great one.

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Krys, though I live south of SF, I know two things in the "markets" category for the Napa/Sonoma area that need to be added.

Oakville Grocery, located in all places in Oakville, is my standing recommendation to visitors to Napa. Stock up on picnic supplies and then find a winery with a picnic area. Beyond that, their condiments are dazzling, dizzying, and stupefying. More than once they have landed me in Double, Secret, Condiment Probation. My husband, the silly man, thinks there is such a thing as "too many condiments." I particularly like the Stonehouse products, like the Maple-Chipotle grill sauce, and the Fig-Vidalia Onion sauce.

Also, though I haven't been there, Jimtown Store in Healdsburg comes highly recommended by board members. They have the added bonus of carrying Rancho Gordo products. And who is Rancho Gordo? Sister, Rancho Gordo is in our midst.

For visitors to Santa Cruz county, the two markets of distinction that come to mind are Shopper's Corner (at Seabright and Branciforte) in Santa Cruz, and DeLuxe Foods at the Rio Del Mar exit (one block towards the beach) in Aptos. I prefer the DeLuxe because it's bigger with a much greater variety of everything, but Shopper's is like the California equivalent of a NYC market: crowded with tiny aisles, and an impressive selection of specialty foods, along with a crackerjack butcher's counter, wines from all over the world, and the kind of produce that one would expect in the California county with 80+ organic farms. (I don't believe either has a web site.)

I might add more, but my standard, broken-record link for finding anything related to farmers markets, CSAs, and so on is this nationwide, searchable (by zip code or town, etc.) database: LocalHarvest.org. You can also buy specialty food items there (such as Rancho Gordo products!). It's a wonderfully done web site, and I am constantly trying to send traffic there.

EDITED for secret reasons that I will take to my grave.


Edited by tanabutler (log)

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Thanks for the information, especially about the local harvest site. It reminded me of two places I always stop when driving along the coast from SF to Santa Cruz.

Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport which was one of the early pioneers in organic farming. They sell at most of the Bay Area farmers markets but in season you can get varieties that are too fragile to make it to the markets. Also there is a u-pick option. The Chandler variety which is always available is my favorite. They also have a bakery. Do not miss, DO NOT MISS the best strawberry shortcake in the state at Swanton.

Looking at the Swanton site, it seems that they have teamed up with Coast Ways Ranch, the farm that has the loganberries and sign for u-pick berries and kiwis. I’ve never been there. I’m not a u-pick kind of girl. Actually I’m not very much of a u-cook kind of girl, my reason for interest in a food forum.

The other place I HAVE been is, Phipps Ranch in Pescadero which has hundreds of varieties of exotic and heirloom dried beans and peas. I kept hearing about the place, but you really have to see it to believe it. Also it has a collection of live farm animals wandering around and an aviary, among other things.

Well, what the heck, if you are in Pexcadero stop by Archangeli Market for their fresh baked bread, often hot from the over. They also sell the beautiful Harley Farms goat cheese (the one with the flowers and herbs on top). You can see the Harley Farms goats grazing in the fields just down the street on the way to Phipps ranch. As you might guess from this topic, I’m a u-shop kind of girl.

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The town of Sonoma has Artisan Bakers, Basque Boulagerire for bread. Vella cheese and The Cheesemakers Daughter for cheese. The Wine Exchange for wine. Sonoma Market for everything. Cafe la Haye, Deuce, Sonoma Savers, The Girl & The Fig, Della Santinia, Rins Thai, Swiss Hotel for restaurants. And Petanque courts to eat drink and play games. We also have a town square with a tuesday night Farmers Market. :smile::smile::smile:


Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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How is the farmers market in Sonoma? Is it decent this time of year?

I was in a huff about the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market new digs and have visited practically every farmers market in the area. I haven't been to many north of San Francisco though. The San Rafael Market has replaced Ferry Plaza for me. Almost all the same vendors who are selling in SF on Saturday.

I think the layout at Ferry Plaza is awful. You can't easily cruise around too see what is available before buying A farmers market with no easy parking is absurd. If I want to buy a flat of something, it's too hard to lug it back to the car. Also, it is extremely handicap unfriendly. One of the regulars at the market before it moved was a lady in her 80's with a walker. She could go back to the car and rest if need be. There's not even many places to sit there. I guess this year I'l explore the markets up in the Napa Sonoma area. Also, it's time to get to know the area in general. Thanks for all the great suggestions.

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FYI, a huge new Chinese mall is being built in South Bay area, near or in Dublin. My friends live there and told me about it. Something to look forward to.

--Also,

Ethnic Markets: The Korean supermarket near Grand Ave, in Oakland. I haven't been there in months so forget the name. Has everything one needs, and even has a bakery in house (left side).


Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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I much prefer Dean and Deluca for winecountry picnic supplies if they are to be gotten up-valley. Otherwise Vallergas in Napa is an excellent choice (there are three of them - the one at Imola and Jefferson is the best of the bunch).

There's also a Mexican grocer/taco in Rutherford, across from La Toque - pretty good take-out Mexican food, good for a picnic nearby, less good if it's going to sit in the car for a long time. Someone else can chime in with the name, since it slips my mind at the moment.

There is also a grocer in Angwin, a few others in Napa, and Calistoga, but I'd still recommend Vallegas and D&D as the two best options.

As far as restaurants go in the Napa Valley:

Foothill Cafe - 2766 Old Sonoma Rd, Napa (707) 252-6178 (California)

Near the outlets on highway 29, in Napa itself. Serving fairly standard California cuisine, the best thing about the restaurant is that it's off the beaten path and serves reasonable quality food. It's a great choice if you want a good meal on the way to or from wine country and don't want to be packed in with a hoard of tourists.

Zinsvalley Restaurant - 3253 Browns Valley Rd, Napa (707) 224-0695 (American)

Another good option should you be seeking refuge from your fellow tourists. In addition to being out of the way, serving good food, and having a great patio to enjoy your dinner outside, Zinsvalley has the added bonus of not charging corkage.

Bounty Hunter Rare Wine & Provisions - 975 1st St, Napa (707) 255-0622 (American)

While it's hardly surprising that a wine shop in Napa would be selling a huge variety of high-end California wines, they do sprinkle in a fair number of interesting old-world wines as well as a handful of goodies from the rest of the world. Not content with being a wine shop, the Bounty Hunter is also a restaurant serving american comfort food - anyone willing to put beer can chicken on their menu here has got to be serving damn good beer can chicken or the khaki wearing masses that trample the valley every weekend would revolt. It's easy to enjoy a good meal at the Bounty Hunter including a bottle of wine without spending much money at all.

Tuscany - 1005 First St, Napa (707) 258-1000 (Italian)

While the food at Tuscany is better than you'll find at a place like Pasta Pomadoro, it's hardly worth the effort to eat there given the number of options available in the area.

Angele - 540 Main St, Napa (707) 252-8115 (French)

Acceptable food, nice setting. The restaurant isn't great by any stretch of the imagination, but it's in a nice area, the outside seating is great in the afternoon. A much better choice than Tuscany a few blocks away.

ZuZu - 829 Main St, Napa (707) 224-8555 (Spanish)

While this isn't a great spot to eat if you live here, it's an excellent place to visit if your visiting from out of town. They have a great wine list, good service, and nice people - my only complaint is the menu only changes a few times a year.

Julia's Kitchen - 500 1st St, Napa (707) 265-5700 (California)

The restaurant at Copia, the food/wine/art museum in downtown Napa - good food and reasonably priced, it's just a bit out of the way for most people as it's in a strange part of town. They have a locals night on Thursdays which includes free corkage.

Bistro Don Giovanni - 4110 St. Helena Hwy, Napa (707) 224-3300 (Italian)

This is one of my favorite places to have lunch, good simple food and good service. During most of the year you can eat on the patio. The whole fish cooked in the wood-fired oven is always excellent.

Cole's Chop House - 1122 Main St, Napa (707) 224-6328 (steak)

Cole's serves better steaks than anywhere else I've been in Northern California. The wine list is full of trophy wines, but there are some good things to be found on it if you look carefully.

First Squeeze - 1126 1st St, Napa (707) 224-6762 (breakfast)

The perfect way to start off a day in Napa, excellent breakfasts, good coffee, lots of options for smoothies/juices.

(this is a work in progress)


Edited by melkor (log)

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How is the farmers market in Sonoma? Is it decent this time of year?

I was in a huff about the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market new digs and have visited practically every farmers market in the area. I haven't been to many north of San Francisco though. The San Rafael Market has replaced Ferry Plaza for me. Almost all the same vendors who are selling in SF on Saturday.

I think the layout at Ferry Plaza is awful. You can't easily cruise around too see what is available before buying A farmers market with no easy parking is absurd. If I want to buy a flat of something, it's too hard to lug it back to the car. Also, it is extremely handicap unfriendly. One of the regulars at the market before it moved was a lady in her 80's with a walker. She could go back to the car and rest if need be. There's not even many places to sit there. I guess this year I'l explore the markets up in the Napa Sonoma area. Also, it's time to get to know the area in general. Thanks for all the great suggestions.

Tues night market in Sonoma is April-October. Friday morning market is not worth going to except in the summer. Saturday morning Market at the Veterans Building in Santa Rosa accross from the Fairgrounds on Hwy 12 is a very good one year round. :biggrin:


Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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SF Bay Area Classics and Staples … with links.

Markets

I would add Monterey Market on Hopkins, in Berkeley to this list. There are sometimes incredible values there..and things you won't even find in Berkeley Bowl. This little market has a loyal following, and for the most part, exemplary produce. And they are just down the street from Monterey Fish.

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Nice piece of work, Krys, thanks.

The South and South-East parts of the Bay Area are teeming with lively specialty "ethnic" ingredients shops (mirroring the rich population of "ethnic" restaurants). Lately a European/Mediterranean specialty-foods place opened on San Antonio near Middlefield, for example; I sampled some of their wares via a friend who has written the place up. The Mercury News list has some of this, but the number of good sources is amazing. (It's especially handy for the consumer when, for instance, nearby quality Indian spice shops begin bickering and competing with each other to sell good Spanish saffron in ounce cans -- $24, $23, $21 -- happened not too long ago.)

Cheers -- Max

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Local joke. "Sonoma make's wine, Napa makes auto parts." My bad, see Sonoma first. :raz::raz::raz::raz::biggrin:


Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Local joke. "Sonoma make's wine, Napa makes auto parts." My bad, see Sonoma first. :raz:  :raz:  :raz:  :raz:  :biggrin:

Yes! See the world-famous chip on the shoulder of all Sonomans before venturing into Napa!

Sorry. Another local joke!

Seriously, I much prefer Sonoma and parts of Sonoma county to Napa in many ways but there's a self-inflicted inferioriity complex among lots of the residents. It's very odd to me as they are such completely different places.

In fairness, things like Food TV's Gordon Elliot broadcasting from the town of Petaluma (in Sonoma County) announcing, "I'm here in Petaluma in the heart of the beautiful Napa Valley!" don't help.


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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I much prefer Dean and Deluca for winecountry picnic supplies if they are to be gotten up-valley.  Otherwise Vallergas in Napa is an excellent choice (there are three of them - the one at Imola and Jefferson is the best of the bunch).
I think D&D is too expensive, like Williams Sonoma, if not downright sterile and snooty. I much prefer the crowded joy at Oakville Grocery. (Though D&D does sell Rancho Gordo stuff, so they can't be all bad.)
As far as restaurants go in the Napa Valley:

Tuscany - 1005 First St, Napa (707) 258-1000 (Italian)

While the food at Tuscany is better than you'll find at a place like Pasta Pomadoro, it's hardly worth the effort to eat there given the number of options available in the area.

Angele - 540 Main St, Napa (707) 252-8115 (French)

Acceptable food, nice setting.  The restaurant isn't great by any stretch of the imagination, but it's in a nice area, the outside seating is great in the afternoon.  A much better choice than Tuscany a few blocks away.

I don't get it. Why recommend a place for a "must know" directory that you're already basically apologizing for? "Hardly worth the effort"? "Acceptable food"? :huh:

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Local joke. "Sonoma make's wine, Napa makes auto parts." My bad, see Sonoma first. :raz:  :raz:  :raz:  :raz:  :biggrin:

Yes! See the world-famous chip on the shoulder of all Sonomans before venturing into Napa!

Sorry. Another local joke!

Seriously, I much prefer Sonoma and parts of Sonoma county to Napa in many ways but there's a self-inflicted inferioriity complex among lots of the residents. It's very odd to me as they are such completely different places.

In fairness, things like Food TV's Gordon Elliot broadcasting from the town of Petaluma (in Sonoma County) announcing, "I'm here in Petaluma in the heart of the beautiful Napa Valley!" don't help.

How about defending your area with some specifics? What is great in your area? Where do you shop? I'm going to have to assume that Napa indeed is the superior area :smile:

Many, many years ago I frequented the Novato / Petaluma area and I seem to remember some good food shops.

This isn't a topic about restaurants, but you folks have me curious and I'm going to start a new topic in a minute. What about bakeries and markets in Sonoma?

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If you are looking for RGordo Beans in BULK, a new little shop has opened in Sonoma called Nonna's -- it is basically on the corner of Eighth Street and Napa Road, way off the beat-n-track.

Nonna's is like a mini-D&D with a small selection of wine, a freezer case with interesting goodies, butter from Ireland and Greece, and choice locally-produced items like oils, condiments, etc. There is also a selection of pre-prepared items and the last night I was in there, they had completely sold out of Osso Buco. While they have a small cheese selection, driving down Napa Road a short distance is preferable as Ditty Vella is hands-down the BEST Fromagerie in town (Cheesemaker's Daughter -- guess what? She is the DAUGHTER of the guy who owns the Vella Cheese Company!!!). She is knowledgeable, friendly, and more than happy to provide tastes.

I also prefer Sonoma Market to any grocery store in Napa. Their vegetables, meats, olive bar, and bread selections are far superior to Vallergas (which I only go to in emergencies and can tell you some awful horror stories!). For fish, in Napa, there is a lovely shop called Osprey Fish Market 1014 Wine Country Ave, Napa, 94558 - (707) 252-9120. Perfect for fresh fish.

Restaurant-wise, I'll add Pilar's at 807 Main Street, Napa, 707-242-4474. Bounty Hunter is a beyond a joke -- pulled pork sandwiches on hideous cheep sponge hamburger buns? Grilled cheese on white bread for $7.00? Melkor, the locals aren't eating there -- it is tourists only, I think, which is sad because they do have a nice wine selection (except for the stuff on the wall which gets DIRECT SUNLIGHT). Oh wait, all of their wine is on that wall! :hmmm:

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How about defending your area with some specifics? What is great in your area? Where do you shop? I'm going to have to assume that Napa indeed is the superior area    :smile:

I hope the spirit of gentle ribbing is taken on this subject.

However, as far as towns go, I think Sonoman is pretty great. The square, the mission, the shopping (which stradles a fine line between tourist and locals needs- and on the whole the locals win), etc. Sonoma is pretty, historic and compelling.

Napa now has two huge Targets!!!!! Whatta concept!

There was/is a similar rivalry between SF and LA. Angelenos loved SF and coming up for a weekend in the "cute" city while San Franciscans loathed most everything about LA and Southern CA.


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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Local joke. "Sonoma make's wine, Napa makes auto parts." My bad, see Sonoma first. :raz:  :raz:  :raz:  :raz:  :biggrin:

Yes! See the world-famous chip on the shoulder of all Sonomans before venturing into Napa!

Sorry. Another local joke!

Seriously, I much prefer Sonoma and parts of Sonoma county to Napa in many ways but there's a self-inflicted inferioriity complex among lots of the residents. It's very odd to me as they are such completely different places.

In fairness, things like Food TV's Gordon Elliot broadcasting from the town of Petaluma (in Sonoma County) announcing, "I'm here in Petaluma in the heart of the beautiful Napa Valley!" don't help.

How about defending your area with some specifics? What is great in your area? Where do you shop? I'm going to have to assume that Napa indeed is the superior area :smile:

Many, many years ago I frequented the Novato / Petaluma area and I seem to remember some good food shops.

This isn't a topic about restaurants, but you folks have me curious and I'm going to start a new topic in a minute. What about bakeries and markets in Sonoma?

See post number 5 for what we have. Novato and Petaluma are not real representative of Sonoma the City or the County. Petaluma has some fine resturants and a good brew pub. Novato has Target, Costco, Chevys and Ihop. Napa destroyed it's downtown with urban renewal and is slowly coming back. Paying for wine tasting is common in the Napa Valley, not so in Sonoma County. We have much more diversity in wine styles and regions. We have the ocean. I go to Napa frequently and I never regret coming back Home. :raz::raz::raz::laugh:


Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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I much prefer Dean and Deluca for winecountry picnic supplies if they are to be gotten up-valley.  Otherwise Vallergas in Napa is an excellent choice (there are three of them - the one at Imola and Jefferson is the best of the bunch).
I think D&D is too expensive, like Williams Sonoma, if not downright sterile and snooty. I much prefer the crowded joy at Oakville Grocery. (Though D&D does sell Rancho Gordo stuff, so they can't be all bad.)

It's just a question of personal preference, both are quite expensive. The cheese and wine selections at D&D are far more diverse than what's available at the Oakville Grocery.

As far as restaurants go in the Napa Valley:

Tuscany - 1005 First St, Napa (707) 258-1000 (Italian)

While the food at Tuscany is better than you'll find at a place like Pasta Pomadoro, it's hardly worth the effort to eat there given the number of options available in the area.

Angele - 540 Main St, Napa (707) 252-8115 (French)

Acceptable food, nice setting.  The restaurant isn't great by any stretch of the imagination, but it's in a nice area, the outside seating is great in the afternoon.  A much better choice than Tuscany a few blocks away.

I don't get it. Why recommend a place for a "must know" directory that you're already basically apologizing for? "Hardly worth the effort"? "Acceptable food"? :huh:

Angele isn't bad, it's worth a visit once or twice if you live here. I only mention Tuscany because they have a line out the door most nights during the summer, a must know directory in my mind would include warnings of places to avoid.

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See post number 5 for what we have. Novato and Petaluma are not real representative of Sonoma the City or the County. Petaluma has some fine resturants and a good brew pub. Novato has Target, Costco, Chevys and Ihop. Napa destroyed it's downtown with urban renewal and is slowly coming back. Paying for wine tasting is common in the Napa Valley, not so in Sonoma County. We have much more diversity in wine styles and regions. We have the ocean. I go to Napa frequently and I never regret coming back Home. :raz:  :raz:  :raz:  :laugh:

Let's continue this discussion on the thread Krys started here.

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Angele isn't bad, it's worth a visit once or twice if you live here.  I only mention Tuscany because they have a line out the door most nights during the summer, a must know directory in my mind would include warnings of places to avoid.

I guess I misunderstand something. Krys plainly stated at the beginning of this thread, "This is list of shops that sell the best food in San Francisco and the Bay Area." That's why I don't get the references to "acceptable" food, etcetera.

I completely understand. Krys changed the text of her initial post after I posted all that stuff. The previous post made no mention of the best anything, the new text should make the thread far more visible in google. Aside from making part of my post look out of place, it's an entirely positive change.

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My vote for the best of the entire region and in all categories is Berkeley Bowl.

Vote number two, right here.


I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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A great butchers' shop in San Francisco is Drewes Brothers on Church Street at about 28th.

Another good patisserie-style bakery is Destinations on Chenery in Glen Park. Great croissants and cinnamon buns, and wonderful individual tarts.

My favorite store for liquors is Plumpjack on 24th. I haven't been to their other location, but I can find all kinds of obscure cocktail ingredients here.

There are probably other places I'm forgetting, but I'll add them later.

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Wow, Drewes Brothers sounds great. It's been in business for 100 years and I've never heard of it in all the time I've lived here. I always wonder why some places get all the press.

I was going to include a section on wines, but I ran out of steam. Also, wine just isn't my thing. It is confusing to me and I don't have the bucks to experiment. For a buck, I can try every pork bun or pupusa in the city, but it takes an investment to play with wine. As a neophyte, I guess I like Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant in terms of helpfulness to wine idots. There is also that nice tasting section. At one time, K & L Wines was very helpful, but since the move, not so helpful.

Probably the place I frequent the most is The Jug Shop for the selection and ease of parking. Although I'm more likely to do wine buying at Andronico's or Berkeley Bowl. Surprisingly, Albertson's probably has the best wine selection of the chain groceries. They have every one of the boxed wines available from the more top of the line Black Box to your cheapo Vella. Actually I've seen some boxed wines I've never seen before at Albertson's. I'm kind of liking the Voyager in the boxed wine category.

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