Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I truly believe that Diners are the only profitable food business on the island. Everyone enjoys going to a diner on the weekends and the long lines reflect that attitude. I think the casual atmosphere and affordable prices is what attracts so many people to eat out. And Alameda has its fair share of diners located all around the island.

Marti's Place is known for their Swedish pancakes and ligonberry jelly. This diner is a popular spot and before they enlarged the diner and took over the vacant space next door to them, the wait was long. Now that the diner has two seating areas, there is plenty of space to eat and enjoy the meal. The best meal deal is the Hungry Swede which consists of two Swedish pancakes, choice of two eggs and choice of two bacon strips or sausage links. If you are unfamiliar with Swedish pancakes, they are flat and thin pancakes very similar to the taste and consistency of crepes. The interiors of the place is very Grandma-esque with floral patterned cups, drapes and decorative cows all around the room. You would come to this place for the food and not the design. It is worth coming here for a meal.

If you are seeking out a diner that has a 1970s feel combined with Little House on the Prairie furnishings than you do not want to miss South Shore Cafe. The cafe is not in the Alameda Towne Centre per se, but is located on the north western portion of the parking lot (across from Office Max.) Once you go inside, it is a bit of a trip going back in time. The decorum is outdated and there are a lot of frilly hand made looking window dressings and homely knick knacks everywhere. The clientele are seniors. The energy is very low and there is not a lot of noise in the room. The food was okay, not great, but the prices were inexpensive. You would come here for the low prices and not necessarily for the ambiance or food quality.

Ole's Waffle House is the anchor of Park Street. It has been around since the 1920s. The best food coming out of the kitchen are their breakfasts. One cannot go wrong in ordering waffles, french toast, pancakes or eggs. Their portion sizes are big and your stomach will be happy. Ordering food for lunch or dinner, however is questionable. Their hamburgers are good and predictable, there is nothing fancy about them. Their turkey pot pie was not a good choice. The pastry was very heavy and thick. The filling was minimal and the pie was too dry. Plus, there was not enough turkey meat. Deep fried fish dishes are over cooked. The fish was tough. The best selections are the breakfast food, meatloaf or hamburgers. Patty melts are a safe bet too.

Jim's Place is another great diner for breakfast. Good food, large portions. Anything on the breakfast menu is a home run. Their hamburgers and patty melts are also a safe choice. Their milk shakes are very delicious. They are thick and tasty, made with real ice cream. One will have to wait on the weekends. Lines form out the door.

Tillie's is great diner food. There is nothing elegant or fancy about this place. It looks like a real 1950s diner because it is a real American diner. Breakfasts are large portioned and tasty. The best item for breakfast if you are really hungry is the Steak Bits. You get a lot of food and the steak is tender and full of flavor. The menu for lunch and dinner are basically the same with the exception of the daily specials. The hamburgers, patty melts and omelettes are always delicious. If you are looking to eat casual, diner food with the family or by yourself, this place is recommended.

Albert's Cafe is more of a people watching place than an eating establishment. The last two times I have eaten here, there was a community of employees and customers who were either strung out or had a hang over. The food was palatable and decent, but the atmosphere around me was more exciting than the food. The menu was predictable for a diner and the cook knew how to make eggs, bacon and pancakes. The prices were reasonable and the food portions were big, but not huge. I am wondering how the business is doing since the Medicinal Pot Club is upstairs and next door?

The best kept secret for breakfast comes from La Pinata3 during the week. From Monday through Friday, an American Breakfast costs only $2.99. For that price you get two pancakes, two eggs, choice of four bacon strips or sausage links and choice of toast. What a deal! Each time I have ordered this meal, I've been full. Another good breakfast at this place is the Heuvos Rancheros for $4.99. This is a Mexican breakfast which consists of two tortillas on the bottom of two eggs with salsa on top with rice and beans on the side. The meal comes with extra tortillas on the side. Either one of these dishes is a safe choice and a good buy. I would definitely recommend this place for breakfast during the week. Tell all your friends.

Blue Dot Cafe and Coffee House is a cafe, coffee house and diner all in one. There is an open kitchen on one side of the room and small tables and chairs surrounding the space. There is no menu, but two large chalkboards cluttered with food and drink items. They serve breakfasts of eggs, toast and bacon. The bacon for some reason is an additional side item and does not come as a complete meal. Other breakfast items were oatmeal, french toast, bagels and scones. I tasted the french toast strata with a hot cocoa. The hot cocoa was not hot when I got my drink. The temperature was warm and drinkable, but cooled down quickly. I love the strong taste of chocolate and unfortunately the cocoa flavor was weak where I noticed a bottle of Hershey's Chocolate Sauce was placed on the counter. The french toast had a great presentation and looked like a giant slice of a challah loaf with powered sugar sprinkled all over the food and plate. The french toast was crunchy and dry at the top and soggy and cold in the middle at the bottom third of the loaf. I couldn't really tell if the loaf was soaked in an egg batter because the flavors were too weak to taste it. The warm maple syrup brought moisture to the dry top, but only added flavor to the wet bottom. I did not finish the plate which is rare for me. I would not order the french toast again. As I looked around the room, the panini sandwiches looked appealing. Because the owner is a baker, I would come and try the baked goods that he personally makes on the premise as safer purchases. The atmosphere is warm, calm and peaceful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Something is going on at Tillie's. They have been closed around Christmas and they have not re-opened since. The Christmas decorations are still hanging inside.