Monday, September 29, 2008


Barbecue food is pure comfort to the soul. There is something about eating with your fingers and tearing meat apart that brings on great satisfaction. Furthermore, the side dishes that come with barbecue food also stimulate another level of happiness to one's stomach. Alameda currently has two BBQ joints, Great American BBQ and Everett and Jones.

Great American BBQ was supposed to have moved to Park Street about a year ago, but they are still running their restaurant at the base of the High Street Bridge. The ribs are juicy and tender and full of flavor. You can tell that a lot of love went into the creation of the slow cooking process. I also appreciate that the staff will ask if you want hot, mild or medium sauce on the meat. The brisket is tender when you bite into a sandwich. The BBQ chicken was a miss for me, since it lacked flavor and it was somewhat dry. Their macaroni and cheese is good (much better than KFC), but it had some processed cheese in the mix. The baked beans had a smokey aroma and taste to it without noticing a lot of sugar in the beans. The space is somewhat dark and uninviting to patrons. I suggest ordering food to go and enjoying a pleasurable meal at home.

Everett and Jones lacks ambiance at the foot of the old Navy Station. Luckily for them, they have a name and reputation that equates to good BBQ food. I have eaten at several different locations of Everett and Jones. The food is good and is fairly consistent at the different restaurants. The Alameda location, however, still has some bumps to smooth out. The ribs were a bit tough and dry, the beans were too sweet, the corn bread was too crumbly and the BBQ chicken was decent, but not great. I thought they were having an off night, but that didn't appear to be the case. Another attempt came to the same conclusion as the first visit. Perhaps when they move to Webster Street, everything will calm down and get back to normal. I just don't know when that will happen since the space is already set up for the restaurant, but they have not opened yet. This is a wait and see restaurant. I know Everett and Jones can produce great tasting and quality products, it may just take time when they move into a larger kitchen on Webster Street.

On a side note, Barceluna is offering a pulled pork mini slider on their appetizer menu served with cole slaw. The mini slider was adorable when presented to the table. They looked like two mini hamburgers. The pulled pork was flavorful with a smokey essence to it. The taste was there, but the meat was a bit dry for me. I wish there was more sauce on the meat in the sandwich. The cole slaw was fresh and could taste the crunch in the cabbage. I am not a fan of dry cole slaw, but I also dislike mushy too much mayonnaise cole slaw as well. This cole slaw was more on the dry side. I had a few bites and left it alone.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Desserts...where are you?

Finding a gourmet dessert in Alameda is almost impossible. There are your standard ice cream parlors of Tucker's, Loard's, Lappert's and Double Rainbow. These establishments however, serve only ice cream and not much else. Where can I order a chocolate souffle?

In my quest in searching for a gourmet dessert late one night, I went to Park Street. I was not in the mood for ice cream, so I bypassed Tuckers and Fudgelato. I went to Pappo's to look at their dessert menu and was not impressed. I then walked inside Burgermeister hoping for something, but they do not serve desserts. My last hope was Alameda Wine Co. To my surprise, they have desserts. The desserts are made local and come from The Feel Good Bakery. I tasted the Chocolate Tart. The portion size was generous and the presentation spectacular. The tart had chocolate shavings on top, with fresh raspberries on the side. The tart was dense and decadently rich. I am a believer that Chocolate desserts should be rich and not wimpy in flavor. I highly recommend this spot for late night desserts with a great glass of wine to pair it with.

The ice cream parlors of Double Rainbow and Loard's are not sit down places where one can enjoy the ice cream as well as the ambiance. The ice cream at Loard's never appealed to me each time I have gone there. The flavor of the ice cream was bland. Double Rainbow is inside Subway Sandwich. The smell of meat and bread while having ice cream is not a good combination. I use to eat at Double Rainbow all the time in San Francisco and the ice cream was always creamy and tasty. I would enjoy Double Rainbow ice cream more if the place was an ice cream parlor and not inside a sandwich business.

Fudgelato sells candy and gelato. The gelato is thick in consistency. I had gelato here a few times and found their gelatos lacked full flavor. The gelato was decent, but I recommend a sample before ordering. The best local gelato that I tasted recently was the gelato place in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. The flavors are rich and full and it comes from Italy.

Tucker's Ice Cream is a legendary Alameda hang out. The ice cream is decent and is really the only sit down establishment on the island. The banana splits taste better than regular scoops of ice cream. The fresh fruit toppings and chocolate sauce is what makes the dessert. I also enjoy their chocolate bananas. For the past four times, I got the chocolate banana instead of ice cream. The chocolate coating tastes good and the banana is a good combination. Tucker's is a great place for family fun and late night ice cream in a pleasant atmosphere.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Indian Food

Alameda use to have two Indian restaurants, now there is only one, India Palace on Buena Vista Avenue. There are however, two vendors who sell Indian food at the Farmer's Market in the West End, but the options are limited.

India Palace provides a clean and pleasant atmosphere. The food selection is large and the staff is quite knowledgeable with the menu. The appetizers that are deep fried are always good. I was happy to see that the samosas come in two varieties, vegetarian and meat. And the pappadum is not too oily when consumed, but a large pepper corn can be a mouthful. The entrees of curries and kebabs are full of flavor and are satisfying. I have tasted all the different meat curries (lamb, chicken, beef and pork) and they are all good. The saffron rice is also flavorful from the spice and the chicken broth essence. All the dishes are tasty, but if you are unsure about your palate and spice level, ask the wait staff for suggestions. You should also inquire if oily foods may upset your digestion since some of the dishes may have more oil than others. The popular "all you can eat" lunch buffet is a big hit. Be sure to check it out.