Sunday, April 26, 2009

Croll's Pizza

Saturday was Earth Day in Alameda. The City hosted a nice event at Washington Park that was full of families, older folks and people interested in preserving our planet. I was happy to see a decent attendance at the event and I am hoping everyone walked away with helpful information about recycling, mulching and recognizing our planet's limited resources.

At the event, there was only one food stand. It was a typical carnival food menu with hot dogs, sodas, nachos, grilled sausages and pizza. The pizza came from Croll's Pizza. The sign did not designate who cooked the other food items, I guess those items were heated via microwave behind the counter. I ordered a slice of Pepperoni pizza. The slice was extremely hot when I got my food. I always look at the pepperoni when I order pizza because I prefer my pizza to be well done and see the edges of the pepperoni to be slightly curled and a darker color around the edges. I think pepperoni has more flavor if baked well done. The slice I bought had the curled edges of the pepperoni and the meat was flavorful which was a positive sign that Croll's didn't cheap out on the meat. The slice however, did not have enough cheese on the pizza for me. Instead, a greasy layer of red and orange oil came off of the slice. The pizza was palatable, but I am not sure I would pay for a whole pizza.

Friday, April 24, 2009

No More Philly Cheesesteaks

From time to time, I crave a hot beef sandwich with grilled onions, peppers and cheese. When I hear the words Philly Cheesesteak, my ears perk up. I envision a beautiful sandwich full of thinly sliced juicy beef with lots of melted cheese on top inside of a fresh bun. I would be drooling like Homer Simpson over a masterpiece.

Alameda has two places that make Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, Philly's Cheesesteak and More at Fernside Shopping Mall and McGee's Bar and Grill on Park Street. After consuming cheesesteak sandwiches at both establishments, I will not order them again. This town doesn't serve a proper cheesesteak sandwich.

Philly's Cheesesteak and More specialize in making cheesesteak sandwiches, it's in the title of their business name. Unfortunately, the end result lacks flavor and quantity of meat. When I ordered my meal deal of a cheesesteak sandwich with grilled onions, sweet peppers and grilled bell peppers, with curly fries and a soda, I was looking forward to eating it. When the plate came to my table, the bun glistened with grease and took away from the presentation of the melted cheese and grilled peppers. Of course at this moment, I thought to myself that consuming this sandwich was unhealthy, but my hunger was stronger than my common sense. The meal deal was a disappointment, both the sandwich and the curly fries lacked flavor. I had more flavor from the root beer soda I was drinking. The reason why the sandwich lacked flavor because there wasn't enough meat in the sandwich. The cook put more grilled vegetables in the sandwich and drowned out the meat flavor. The fries also did not have enough spices on them to add any dimension to the meal. The fries were boring and the ketchup didn't help. I chose the curly fries because the cashier told me the curly fries tasted better than the steak fries. I will make it easier on myself and my heart, to not eat at this establishment anymore.

At McGee's Bar and Grill, when I tried the Philly Cheese steak sandwich, the meat was supposed to be thinly sliced beef, it turned out to be loose ground beef. The meat combined with the cheese, grilled onions and green bell peppers tasted good, but the meat should have been sliced beef. I should have returned the sandwich, but I didn't. When it's game day at McGee's, the atmosphere at the bar is contagious where you want to cheer with the crowd and be a part of the camaraderie. Food sometimes takes second fiddle while you hang out with the buddies, eat deep fried foods and drink beers. I would recommend eating the hamburgers and stay away from the Philly Cheesesteak. McGee's knows how to do hamburgers.

I will have to travel to Philly to eat a decent cheesesteak sandwich because it won't be coming from Alameda.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I am happy that I returned to the Burmese Super Star Restaurant on Park Street. The first time I went there, the food was palatable, but not memorable. A short time later, a new owner than purchased the restaurant and luckily he already owned the first Burmese Super Star in San Francisco.

The interiors of the restaurant was basically the same when the current owner purchased the establishment. The food now is much better in flavors and sauces. The service is quick and the food comes out of the kitchen like a bullet, perhaps too quick for me. The menu is extensive and there are plenty of delicious dishes to pick from. I chose three dishes of chicken basil, garlic noodles and eggplant and garlic. The chicken basil was good and the vegetables were fresh, but it was a dish I had eaten in a Thai or Chinese restaurant. There wasn't any distinction in the flavor profiles that screamed Burmese. The garlic noodles was alright, not great. I had better at The House Restaurant in San Francisco. The problem with the noodles was that is lacked moisture. The sauce was on the side and had some heat to it, so I spooned it sparingly. I felt the sauce was too hot for me to pour generously over the noodles, and that is why I ate them dry. The garlic smell of the noodles was strong when the dish arrived at the table, but it subsided after you began eating the dish. The eggplant was the best dish out of the three. The eggplant was fresh and the chili sauce was delicious. The texture of the eggplant was tender where one could easily cut it with a fork.

I have been here a few times on the weekends. The place is completely packed and the waiting line is long, so I recommend having a reservation or come early for dinner. Alternatively, weekday nights will have open tables, but don't come here on a Monday, the restaurant is closed.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Extra Helpings of BBQ

One night I was too tired to heat the grill and cook dinner. I opened the refrigerator about six times trying to decide what to make or how to concoct a meal that was quick. With all of the fuss wasted on making a decision, it was easier to buy food instead. The choice was barbecue from from Everett and Jones on Webster Street. I ordered three small plates to get a wide variety of food without over eating. The food selections were barbecue chicken, ribs and pulled pork with medium heat sauce. The sides were corn bread, brown beans and macaroni and cheese.

The barbecue sauce was the same for all of the meats. It was tasty with a little bit of heat and a smokey essence to it. As for the main entrees, the barbecue chicken was moist and tender, it was the best meat out of the three. The ribs were also good, but a bit overcooked. The edges of the meat were dry and crunchy in texture. The flavor of the ribs were tasty and satisfying and easy to release from the bone. The pulled pork meat had problems. The meat was extremely overcooked and dry. Secondly, pulled pork is either pulled away from the bone by manual labor or by using a fork. The meat in this case was cut away from the rib with a knife and roughly sliced. I do not recommend the pulled pork due to the dryness of the meat. The sauce helped in giving moisture to the meat, but the meat was tough. Hands down, Chef Edwards in Oakland doesn't have anything to be concerned with his Piggly Wiggly Sandwich; there is no competition here. His pulled pork sandwiches are what dreams are made of.

The sides can compliment a meal if you choose them wisely. The brown beans were delicious, smokey in flavor with a slight sweetness to them without being too thick or runny. The corn bread was dry and crumbled easily. There wasn't a lot of moisture in the corn bread which was probably why it crumbled into thousands of little crumbs. The macaroni and cheese was sad. The cheese flavor was bland, the look of the dish was uninspiring and it was a weak side. It would have been a safer bet to choose corn on the cob instead.

The Webster Street location is better than their small kitchen inside Scobies Bar and Grill. I know I will come here again, but choose different sides and taste other meat options. I do like my extra helpings of barbecue.