Cooking teacher Bibby Gignilliat's favorite places
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Cooking teacher Bibby Gignilliat's favorite places

Bibby Gignilliat is the founder of Parties That Cook, a Bay Area company that turns dinner parties of all sizes into hands-on affairs for the guests. The Chicago native has lived in San Francisco for 20 years, holding jobs as a computer programmer and bike tour guide before discovering her love for teaching people how to put together gourmet meals. She let us know about some of her favorite places to stock up on supplies for her events and where she goes to unwind afterward.

Kamei Restaurant Supply, 525-547 Clement St. "This Chinese-owned restaurant supply store stocks all the dishes, cookware and takeout boxes you'd need to start up your own restaurant. I go there for sturdy steaming baskets and bamboo skewers for my fennel and orange-crusted salmon with harissa yogurt appetizer. Parking on Clement Street can be a pain, but the prices are worth the hassle."

Haig's Delicacies, 642 Clement St. "Across the street from Kamei is a Mediterranean grocery store and deli that's been around since the 1950s. I pick up hard-to-find ingredients like pomegranate molasses and orange flower water for my Moroccan-inspired menus. The store also sells delicious handmade dolmas and hummus."

Boulangerie Bay Bread, 2325 Pine St. "Around the corner from my house is the Bay Bread hub that supplies La Boulange cafes around the city. Their hand-hewn golden loaf of brioche bread is the best. I use a day-old loaf for my decadent Mexican Chocolate Brioche Pudding with Kahlua Caramel Sauce."

Nijiya Market, 1737 Post St. "In the heart of Japantown, this market stocks organic produce and highly coveted sushi-grade ahi tuna. I'll stop in for staples like rice and nori and roll up fresh spicy tuna hosomaki."

La Palma Mexicatessen, 2884 24th St. "One of my most popular dishes is Tamales Filled with Black Beans, Poblano Chiles and Jack Cheese, where I teach guests to fold and steam their own tamales. I pick up authentic corn husks and masa from this bustling Mission grocery store."

Cowgirl Creamery Artisan Cheese, 1 Ferry Building. "By far, these are the best hand-crafted cheeses in the Bay Area. I like to support local businesses in every way I can, especially when that means slicing into a triple-cream beauty like Cowgirl Creamery's Red Hawk. I pop by their Ferry Building store on Saturday and Tuesday, when the Farmers Market is in full swing and I'm doing my shopping."

Richmond New May Wah Supermarket, 707-719 Clement St. "Intimidating to some, this sprawling Chinese grocery store on Clement Street boasts everything from gooey, black thousand-year-old eggs to fresh egg noodles and live fish. I stock up on wonton wrappers - a surprisingly versatile dough that's great baked in mini muffin tins as a vessel for my ahi tuna tartare cups, or stuffed and cut with a cookie cutter for a quick ravioli."

Fiori Flowers, 2314 Chestnut St. "My corporate clients often request a formal table setting to fully enjoy their gourmet meal after the cooking is done. I depend on Fiori for gorgeous table arrangements on short notice. They work within my specifications and deliver on time - whether I'm hosting a party at a home or a winery down on the Peninsula."

International Orange, 2044 Fillmore St. "After a long day in the kitchen, I re-energize at my neighborhood yoga studio and spa. Andrea's power yoga class is a great way to break a sweat, and Nathan's massages work wonders on my tired muscles."

Heidi Says, 2426 Fillmore St. "As the perpetual party hostess, I'll occasionally relinquish my chef's coat for dressier threads. I love that Heidi Says is a one-stop row of boutiques on Fillmore Street where I can build an outfit from head to shoe. I've never met Heidi, but I imagine she must be one well-put-together woman."

Nest, 2300 Fillmore St. "This Fillmore boutique is a treasure trove of eclectic home accents and last-minute gifts. I'm always tempted to pick up another colorful Serge Lesage rug to add to my collection at home."

Piccino, 801 22nd St. "I recently relocated my office to the up-and-coming Dogpatch neighborhood. This tiny cafe is the perfect place for a leisurely lunch with clients. They recently installed heat lamps, so you can enjoy your thin-crust pizza, Blue Bottle coffee and a heavenly lemon tart alfresco at their row of curbside tables."

Terzo, 3011 Steiner St. "One of my favorite restaurants in the city, Terzo is a wonderful mix of Mediterranean specialties in a relaxed neighborhood setting. Besides the fabulous house-made pita bread and hummus, the grilled halloumi cheese and chicken spiadini are to die for."

Orson, 508 Fourth St. "For a classy cocktail, I'll pop in to Orson and sit at the sprawling marble horseshoe bar. They mix up a Touch of Evil cocktail that I happen to think is more good than evil - an intoxicating concoction of bourbon, mint, lemon juice, absinthe and rhubarb syrup."

E-mail Aidin Vaziri at avaziri@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page F - 4 of the San Francisco Chronicle

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/03/LVQC11PN0P.DTL

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