Thursday, December 23, 2010
Later that evening, John the chef and owner will serve a prix fixe meal of $45 for a three-course meal.
Friday, December 17, 2010
The establishment is basically a pub. There is nothing fancy about it. You order food at the kitchen counter because there was no wait staff. There was a bar on the right side of the room and it was completely packed. Tables were located on the left side of the room where two tables were occupied. Noise was a definite problem throughout the space since there weren't any soft features in the room to absorb sound.
Because I know Ben's food and I am a huge fan of his pulled pork sandwich, I tried his BBQ Beef sandwich. The meat was thinly sliced and it was like butter. The meat was tender, juicy and flavorful. I only wished there was more beef inside the sandwich. This sandwich is better than Everett and Jones BBQ.
I have always recommended Ben's BBQ. He takes his time in ensuring a quality product.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Angela's Bistro and Bar: 3 Course Meal for $14.00 from 4:30 pm to 6 pm every evening. Coupon expires 3/31/2011.
Cera Una Volta: 20% off lunch or brunch, or $25 towards a weeknight dinner with a minimum purchase of $50.00.
La Penca Azul: $5.00 off any purchase over $30.00.
Pappo: $5.00 off next visit. Not valid on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day. Coupon expires 3/31/2011. One coupon per table.
Speisekammer: one free small beer with any entree. Limit one beer per coupon. Coupon expires 2/1/2011.
Monday, December 6, 2010
For larger sized groups, Ortaez, Kamakura and La Penca Azul are decent restaurants to dine at.
Whether it's Italian, Japanese or American food, enjoying the holiday season makes it more pleasurable when you have a favorite place to go to.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The literal translation of La Penca Azul is the leaf blue. The blue is coming from the blue agave plant that is mistaken for a cactus, but is actually a desert succulent.
The menu did not change, nor did the kitchen or wait staff. The only change was the name, which I'm sure brings a sigh of relief for those of you who have a favorite dish from La Pinata.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The two restaurants in Alameda that serve tasty spaghetti are The Hob Nob and Cera Una Volta. The Hob Nob spaghetti has three meatballs and a bowlful of perfect noodles. The red sauce is simple and flavorful. Cera Una Volta serves wider noodles and ground meat sauce. The Chianti sauce is what makes this dish delicioso. You can't go wrong with any of these dishes.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
The Wescafe has a great outdoor dining area. The space is open and comfortable. There are lots of attractive plants around the perimeter. I do like the sound of the water feature towards the back of the garden and at times there is Spanish music coming from the cafe inside. Another great point is that the servers at Wescafe will deliver your food to your table, which is an added bonus. I recommend a slice of quiche and a salad.
Julie's Coffee and Tea Garden is a much more garden focused space. The varieties of plants and flowers are amazing. The space is intimate and resembles an English garden. A slice of pizza or a pot of English tea and a scone are great ways to relax and enjoy the day.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Also, if you place your sake bottle or beer glass on the upper shelf of the sushi bar, the wife will immediately come and wipe underneath the area to prevent water circles. She will then place your sake or beer on the eating counter of the sushi bar.
I find the hovering a bit funny and strict at the same time. I don't mind learning something new at a restaurant, but I do not enjoy being scolded for doing an activity that is not necessarily wrong. What if I am a customer who enjoys a lot of soy sauce in my dish and wants to dunk my fish a few times before I eat it. Paying for expensive sushi is a privilege and I want to eat my sushi in peace.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I sat at the bar at Ortaez and watched the game with a room full of strangers. The tortilla chips were warm and fresh. So yummy! Ordered two tacos, one fish and one carne asada. The fish taco was a bit runny, which made the taco soggy and my hands greasy. The beef taco had more robust flavors and was the favored taco.
At the end of the night, everyone in the room were friends all cheering for our home team. It was a great feeling. Can't wait for Saturday's afternoon game!
Monday, October 25, 2010
My favorite food entree at Cera Una Volta is Pappardelle alla Senese, which is wide pasta noodles with a ground beef Chianti meat sauce. The restaurant was not serving that dish the night I went.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
After a beautiful renovation, The Fireside Lounge on Webster Street is for sale. The bar looked great and much more hip than what it use to be. Even though the other bars on Webster are still in business, they look somewhat sad. Why do the attractive places in Alameda not do well. Another one bites the dust...The first victim was Aquacotta.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The service was a bit troublesome as well. The dining room was one-third full and it took over 20 minutes to get a menu. It then took more time to place an order even though water was quick to the table. Eating with a small group of people took over two hours for dinner and that did not include dessert.
Ordering beers is a safer way to go at this restaurant and bar.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
If you are seeking a sweeter beverage, go to Quickly on Park Avenue with the tapioca pearl drinks.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
I wish the best for the new venture. The West End of Alameda is still in desperate need of eating establishments.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Scientists cannot understand why people are allergic to wheat compared to decades past. It could be that wheat is processed differently now, which is causing people the grief, or that somehow people are born with the allergy.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I recently had a coupon encounter at Alameda Pizza. When you buy a pizza at Alameda Pizza, they tape a take out menu on the box that has a few different coupons. When I called, I used a $2.00 off coupon in buying a large sized pizza. I also tried to redeem a free 2 liter bottle of soda from another coupon. The cashier would not except the soda coupon because I already used the $2.00 coupon. Technically, Alameda Pizza should have accepted my free soda coupon because I followed the instructions on the coupon that clearly stated that one must order a 14" or 16" pizza to receive the free bottle of soda. The coupon did not state that there was a one coupon maximum for each order. Since I am following their business requirements, the owners or workers should also follow their own protocols.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
When I tasted the meat, the food confused me. The curry sauce didn't match well with the bratwurst. The flavor profiles were not complimentary and the fries didn't help with the dish. The idea is great, but the execution fell short. If the chef made the dish with a different meat, perhaps a schnitzel, than it would be a winner. Speisekammer gets an A for effort, but a C for flavor and taste.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I went to Kobe Ya on a Friday night. There was a long waiting line for people who placed phone orders and the cashier was taking care of them and not the people wanting to make an order. I had to wait in line for over twenty minutes watching the cashier carry out food for take out. When it was my turn to get to the counter, the woman told me the restaurant was closed. I was of course furious because the open sign was still on and plus, I had to wait a long time. The cashier than noticed my frustration and took my order of the Salmon Teriyaki Bento Box. The price was right for $6.00 with rice, salad and macaroni salad. The food was take out because the restaurant was closed. When I got home to eat my dinner, the meal was a disaster. The teriyaki sauce was poured over the salmon with a one-inch layer covering the rice. The salmon was over cooked, hard and dry. The food was the worst meal I've had in Alameda to date. Such a disappointment!
I will not come back.
Friday, August 6, 2010
The Red Velvet cupcake comes with two different frostings: chocolate or white. It was recommended by the salesperson to eat the chocolate frosting cake, so that is what I chose. The first bite of the cupcake was disappointing. The frosting was too sweet and did not have a strong chocolate flavor. The frosting basically tasted like whipped sugar with a chocolate coloring. The cake itself was dry and no flavor. I am a fan of Red Velvet cake and this was no Red Velvet cake. The cake had no moisture.
The price is right, but the taste and quality is wrong. I will have to find another place for my cupcake hangout.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Our little island of Alameda is a bit slower in food trends compared to San Francisco or Napa, but I am hoping one day that I can buy bacon ice cream local.
Scolari's on Park Street may be the answer to my food hunger. Scolari's specializes in pork sandwiches, salami and drinks.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Best bet is to ride your bicycle to Park Street and go to the bike parking lot for safe keeping. Parking is FREE.
Friday, July 23, 2010
The restaurant had three menus: one was the daily specials, one was the regular menu and one was the Recession Special for $13.95 for a three-course meal. Hands down, the Recession Menu had the most value, but for some reason I chose an entree on the regular menu. Entrees are served with a soup of the day or a house salad.
I ordered the Eggplant Parmesan with a house salad. The portion of the house salad was huge! The salad was a simple mixed greens salad with a tomato and cucumber wedge and one pitted olive. As for the entree, Eggplant Parmesan is a safe choice because the kitchen knows how to make eggplant really well. The dish had three eggplant patties with Marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. Even though this is a vegetarian meal, the eggplant is so hearty that you don't miss the meat. The two side dishes were roasted potatoes and boiled vegetables. The side dishes were a bit boring, however the eggplant made up for the deficiencies.
The dessert menu was long, but nothing caught my eye. The menu was typical of ice-cream, chocolate mousse, bread pudding, baklava, and creme caramel. The kitchen gave me a small wedge of baklava with honey on top to taste. I did not enjoy the baklava. The baklava was heavy and soggy. The baklava was three days old, which is a lifetime for baklava to be sitting. Baklava should be consumed in 24 to 48 hours. There was no crunch or flakiness to the phyllo dough. The dessert was a heavy, sweet mess.
I would come back for the music and the food. The prices are moderate and the portions are decent.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The night was late and ordered Pappadum, Lamb Vindaloo and rice. All of the food items were quite tasty. The sauces (burgundy and green) that came with the Pappadum were flavorful and are identical to the ones they offer at India Palace. The Pappadum was not greasy and had a nice crisp crunch.
I ordered medium spiced Lamb Vindaloo and could have ordered the spicy because the medium was a little light on the heat level. The vindaloo tasted great and came with a lot of lamb and not a lot of potatoes. I wish the dish had more potatoes, but nonetheless the dish was delicious. This dish also did not have much oil to it, so I was happy about it.
By the way, the source of the body odor was a wait staff person. I found this out at the end of the meal when this person gave me the check.
Despite the small set back, I would come back to this place for another meal. The food was good and the menu was varied. The Alameda location is number four, for the owner, so I am to assume the owner and cooks have worked on dishes over and over again to fine tune the food.
Friday, July 9, 2010
The marketing flyers are different on the windows stating that Pearl's was on the Food Network Show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate ... So when are Alamedans going to get the opportunity to taste the so-called best burger in the Bay Area?
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Thank goodness Angela's made some modifications to their menu for Summer. I started with the Grilled Eggplant. The portion was two thinly sliced pieces with cheese and a light red sauce on top. The flavors were good and it was lighter fair than the original eggplant parmesan. I also tasted the Steamed Clams in a fennel broth. The broth was great with no fishy smell or taste and the clams were cooked to perfection.
My second dish was the Duck Confit with wild rice. I've had this dish before on a few occasions. The chef knows how to make a good confit. The duck was moist and flavorful, and the wild rice and mushrooms added more texture and crunch.
Due to the weak economy, Angela's has No Corkage Mondays and 50% off Wines on Tuesdays. The Happy Hour Bar menu has great food selections for reasonable prices. Whether one sits at the bar area or at the dining room, there are food options for everyone.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Just in the past week, I attended a few meetings for work and listened to people claim that they were "foodies". I should have inquired on what the term meant to them to get a better understanding of their comment.
For me personally, the word "foodie" implies great food, regardless of meat or vegetarian, with fresh ingredients, and at times a dish that is unique, bizarre or simple. The term can also imply an ingredient that is scarce or seasonal. Dollar amounts do not necessarily imply a "foodie" is someone who spends a lot of money on food; it is someone who appreciates the preparation, flavor profiles and enjoys the value and entertainment of food.
Even worse, the term "organic" has been pushed around for such a long time. Everywhere you turn, the word is loosely used in everyday items. It now seems that everything is organic, which may or may not be accurate. It is my belief that companies market their products as organic as a tool to get buyers to purchase their goods. That is why USDA certified organic farmers will inform you that they are USDA certified to eliminate confused consumers.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I looked at the menu board and was slightly surprised at the cost of the taco prices. A Regular taco was $3.00 and a Supreme taco was $4.50. My first question was, why are the prices so high? The answer was that their tacos included rice and beans for the Regular, and sour cream and guacamole along with the rice and beans for the Supreme. Another surprise not on the menu ... Fish tacos.
Both the Regular and Supreme tacos had two corn tortillas, one steamed and one deep-fried for the crunch. It is a creative idea and does give each bite a crunch and prevents the wet ingredients from making the tortillas soggy. The Regular taco I ordered was Chile Verde and requested no rice in the taco. The taco was over loaded with shredded pork that was moist and flavorful. The crunch of the crispy tortilla added a great texture in my mouth. The other taco was the Carne Supreme taco with everything. This taco was huge! The taco had two scoops of sour cream and guacamole on top. The rice, beans, sour cream and guacamole drowned out the taste of the beef. The beef taco was bland due to the over abundance of ingredients. I was disappointed by this taco.
These tacos were small scaled burritos with all of the ingredients. I rather prefer tacos to be simple and flavorful without the fluff. I want to be able to taste each ingredient and not be bothered by bland volume.
The next time I return, I will taste their burritos.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I ate two slices of mushroom and roasted garlic pizza. The pizza was fresh, good tasting and thin crust. The pizza was slightly soft in the middle because the crust was moist and not crunchy. I also believe the pizza was warmed in a microwave and not a toaster oven.
I would definitely come back for a sandwich or desserts and kick back in the garden.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I've had a cheese steak sandwich at The Burgermeister before and it was good. This time, the sandwich was a disaster. The sandwich was greasy, not much flavor of the meat, the bread was wet and coming apart, and unfortunately the french fries were cold. How much worse could it be! The saving grace of the meal was that the team that I was cheering for, won the game.
From now on, I will only order burgers at The Burgermeister and not order cheese steak sandwiches.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
The owner makes fresh meatballs and cannolis. They make sandwiches to order on fresh Semifreddi's bread. The store also sells dry pasta, Italian red sauces, deli meats, fresh olives and a variety of desserts.
The store's interiors are clean, wide open spaces and the space is fresh and new. The residential area of the west side of Alameda is in dire need of a friendly and neighborhood hangout.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
At least there is another dessert option in Alameda. I was getting tired of yogurt and ice-cream.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The interiors reminds me of a cleaner version of Marti's Place, lots of knick knacks everywhere, with a country/grandma flair to it. I was surprised to see a lot of children games on the shelves as well as plenty of small children running in and out of the restaurant.
Mona prepares daily specials in addition to her regular menu. I was ecstatic to see such a varied menu with breakfast, lunch and dessert selections. I ordered a warm Pastrami sandwich and an Asian Hosin Pulled Pork sandwich. The pastrami meat was good quality with little fat in it. The sandwich was tasty with a crunch to it from the coleslaw. The coleslaw was slightly sweet, but it did not overwhelm the flavor of the meat. The sandwich was missing one ingredient - mustard. The pulled pork sandwich was an interesting spin on the classic BBQ sandwich. The flavors of the pork had Asian spices slowly cooked on the meat. The meat was tender, but a bit mushy. Mona must like coleslaw because this sandwich had a green coleslaw inside the sandwich. The sandwich reminded me a of Chao Siu Boa at a Dim Sum restaurant with BBQ pork in the middle with bread on the outer side.
I would definitely return to Mona's Table. The food is good quality and Mona herself is a conscious owner of her food products. I see why families are thrilled to have her restaurant on the East End. Mona's food is higher quality and better tasting than her competitor across the parking lot - Bip's Broiler. Sorry Bip's.
Friday, May 14, 2010
I cut out my $2.00 coupon from the Alameda phone book and bought a 16" inch Alameda Special pizza. This pizza had pepperoni, olives, Canadian Bacon, salami, tomatoes and feta cheese. I requested the pizza to be thin crust and well done because I do not enjoy eating a soggy pizza.
The pizza had good flavors. The crust was dry from the edge to the center. There were the right amount of toppings because I hate it when the pizza maker is cheap and omits ingredients. Overall, the pizza was tasty. I took the pizza home and enjoyed it in the comfort of my own surroundings.
With my coupon, the pizza was approximately $23.00. Pizza is difficult to buy on the Island. I would come back to Alameda Pizza for only take out.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
The menu is the same from Roosters. The only difference is that the french fries are frozen and no longer fresh to order because the machine is not available.
The Pulled Pork Sandwiches are great to eat. The meat is tender, juicy and full of flavor. The BBQ beans are also good with a smoky flavor. The corn muffins have jalapeno peppers and the end product was overwhelmingly spicy. My first bite was a lot of heat and very little corn meal taste. It was basically a fire in my mouth.
Ben is very serious about his BBQ and I admire his quality for taste and texture. I will definitely come back for more. I hope Alamedans will embrace and welcome Ben in the Alameda food scene. His prices are fair with good value.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I ate there on a gray day hoping for comfort food in a hamburger and a chicken sandwich. Both plates were basic, no special sauces, there was nothing on the buns. I had to add ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard on both sandwiches. The food was palatable, but nothing spectacular. The chicken sandwich was healthy for me and I was appreciative of that factor. The french fries were decent, but the potato salad was a miss. The potato salad was boring after three bites.
Unfortunately, when I was chowing down on my sandwiches, it was cold sitting inside the diner. I had to keep my jacket on the entire time I was there. I also looked around the room and noticed the other two tables, everyone had their coats on.
I hate to think what will happen to Bip's once Pearl's Hamburgers opens in Alameda Towne Centre. I am certain Burgermeister has reduced business for them.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
If the restaurant was on Park Street or a higher foot traffic area, would the restaurant still be in operation? Is the West End a bad business decision for a medium priced dining establishment? Or was the food overly creative for the palates of Alamedans? One has to wonder what went wrong with this restaurant. Diners in Alameda thrive while other restaurants perish.
Pappo is a decent restaurant for simple meals. The food is no longer sophisticated and maybe the chef simplified the menu to get Alamedans in the seats of the restaurant. The crowds that once visited the establishment are now ghosts of the past.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The restaurant is maintaining its pub food theme, thus, the infamous pot pies are back on the menu. I hope this idea works because it failed the first time.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I started off the meal with Happy Hour starters. Thankfully the wait staff were not restrictive on the starters because I came fifteen minutes before the Happy Hour food (4 to 6 PM) were to end. The starters I ate were the Won Ton Platter and the Crab Shao Loong Bow. The Won Ton Platter sounded awesome on the menu because it was a mixture of three different won tons for two people. When the platter came to the table, the won tons were somewhat cool and greasy. The food was not a pleasant experience. I then waited for the next dish to arrive and the Crab Shao Loong Bow dish was also greasy. The starters were not great and I had high hopes for them because the menu looked delicious.
The next starter was the Hot and Sour Soup. Now, this soup is something to talk about. The soup was the perfect mixture of some heat with sour notes. The soup was full of vegetables, eggs, tofu and meat which was a pleasant surprise. The soup was the best starter of the meal.
The next two dishes of Chicken Lettuce Cups and Crispy Hong Kong Noodles were the entrees. The thought of eating meat and vegetables in a lettuce cup is a great idea, like a veggie shelled taco. The lettuce cups were washed and drenched in water. The kitchen should have quickly dried the cups with a paper towel so that when I picked it up, water would not be dripping all over the table and on my hand. Besides the water issue on the cups, the chicken lacked flavor. I tried the dish with lots of sauce on the meat and it helped slightly, but I had to add on a load of sauce to get flavor. When the Crispy Hong Kong Noodles arrived at the table, it was stunning to see. The food was presented like a piece of art work. The noodles looked like a birds nest with veggies and meat in the middle, all sitting in a sauce on the bottom of the plate. The noodles dish was difficult to eat because you had to cut the crispy noodles with a spoon and load it onto the plate. The veggies and meat on their own lacked flavor for some reason and the sauce was on the bottom.
The portion sizes were large for the entrees. I could not eat all of the food and took home about half of each dish. I was extremely full at the end of the meal and could not order dessert.
Overall, I had to say the food coming out of the kitchen was diluted to appeal to American palates. I think if the dishes were made with the same flavorings of the original recipes in China, the dishes would be much spicier, which is a good thing. The best dish of the evening for me was the Hot and Sour Soup.
The next time I come back, I would order food that is not on the Happy Hour selection and ask the staff for the signature dishes.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
One night I was strolling down Park Street on a weekend and wanted dessert. I was not in the mood for yogurt and knew I didn't have a lot of choices on Park Street. I didn't even know Hob Nob served desserts until I inquired with a waiter.
I was surprised to see a separate dessert menu. There was a list of about five choices of desserts to select from. Out of all the choices I picked a Root Beer Float because it was warm outside and float would cool me down. Well, when the float came to my table, the root beer was not cold and was room temperature. The Tucker's Vanilla ice cream was the only cooling agent. I had to pour the soda in the glass and wait a few minutes for the ice cream to cool it down. Drinking a warm root beer float is not cool! Sorry for the bad pun, but the float was not acceptable.
I would rather continue coming to Hob Nob for the food and not for the desserts.
Monday, April 5, 2010
My favorite hamburger is The Western Burger. This burger has bacon, onion rings and BBQ sauce under the bun. I love the taste of onion rings and BBQ sauce with beef. The crunch of the onion ring is a great texture. You can't go wrong with this burger.
Burgermeister does not serve desserts, so you can get your candy and ice cream at the movie theatre.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
On the front awning, it appears the restaurant is a BBQ joint. However, when you sit down in the restaurant, the place is a Chinese Restaurant with Vietnamese flair. I ordered two starters, Hot and Sour Soup and Pork Spareribs. The soup was tasty with lots of vegetables and egg. There was a definite vinegar aroma for the sour. The salt and pepper spareribs were tender to chew and very delicious. I was pleasantly surprised on the taste and yummy factor of the dish. As for entrees, I ordered garlic eggplant, deep fried cod with creamy corned sauce and beef fried rice. The deep fried cod had giant glops of creamed corn on top and made the fish gooey and soggy once the sauce cooled down. The taste was interesting when the sauce was hot, but it turned bad once the sauce got cold. The sauce was semi-sweet due to the creamed corn, but the fish became heavy from the sauce. The garlic eggplant was a bit off for me. I am a huge fan of eggplant and have ordered this dish in many Asian restaurants. However, this dish tasted strange and did not have a lot of flavor. I noticed the minced garlic on the eggplant, but the dish did not come together. The beef fried rice was the better dish of the second course. There were plenty of vegetables and beef in the rice and it was full of flavor.
I was hoping to see more Vietnamese food items on the menu, but there was very little. On the front menu, there was a bowl of pho, but there wasn't a wide selection to choose from.
My recommendation is to order the salt and pepper spareribs! You won't be disappointed.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I also passed by Santoro's over the weekend and noticed new signage in front. The Italian Deli looks promising. I hope they stock delicious salamis and fresh pastas.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
The pizza place was full and everyone looked happy eating. I took the pizza home and ate it with a home made salad. The pizza was a bit pricey even with the discount. The pizza tasted alright, but it wasn't fantastic. The middle of the pizza was slightly soggy and a little too wet for my liking. I prefer a drier pizza, especially in the center area. The pepperoni and sausage was good, but I was hoping for more flavor.
By the way, the pizza tasted better after it was refrigerated for 24 hours and re-heated.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I am curious to find out the new deli in town!
Monday, March 8, 2010
I noticed the candy store in the mall is no more and is changing to a gelato and ice cream place. I wish the new owner all the best.
Since I was in the shopping mall, I decided to eat at Angelfish. I ate at the sushi bar and ordered my usual tuna salad, which is always an awesome choice. The fresh fish is consistently good, but the selection can be limited at times. Dining at Angelfish is more fun to eat at the sushi bar instead of the dining room. I enjoy watching the sushi chefs prepare food and observe their knife skills.
Angelfish is worth the drive to Bay Farm.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
This is a good place to eat and relax in a comfortable atmosphere. The food is fresh, tasty and consistent, all great characters of a neighborhood hang out.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Pearl's Hamburgers has not opened yet either. There appears to be some work going on inside the space, but no where close to opening. I wonder if the owner is slowing down and waiting it out to open when the economy improves? The restaurant is claiming they are the "Best Burger in the Bay Area."
Friday, February 19, 2010
I then asked myself, where are those restaurants in Alameda? None of the restaurants in Alameda Towne Centre would qualify, nor wood the diners because they may not use organic ingredients. The places that could be acceptable to Ms. Waters' are: Asena, C'era Una Volta, Angela's, Hob Nob and Pappo. The sushi places serve fresh fish that come from far away places, so they don't qualify. I am not certain if the Chinese restaurants would register with Ms. Waters because of possible canned foods products. La Pinata would not qualify because they have too many locations.
These requirements according to to Ms. Waters are more difficult than I realized. It is much easier to select a restaurant that serves delicious foods instead, and choosing healthy appetizers and entrees. I hope you Alamedans remembered the Mexican Restaurant in the current Sushi House space that was once owned by a relative of Ms. Waters. As we all know, the restaurant did not survive.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Good luck to the new owner and I hope she will sell better breakfast and baked goods for the morning coffee runs. I also hope the new owner will continue exhibiting art in the space next door because the cafe really needs artistic flair.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Critics panned the Valentine's Day Movie and more people don't believe VD is a real holiday, it's a made up day for suckers to spend money. Love does not have to come in a package of a card, flowers and chocolates, it can be whatever you want it to be. Watching the Olympics with chips, beers and guacamole sounds like a grand time.
Friday, February 12, 2010
I have no idea of what were the causes of its downfall. Perhaps it was the lack of customers during the economic downturn that forced the restaurant to shutter. All of the restaurants in close proximity have been able to keep afloat somehow, despite facing the same weak financial conditions.
I thought Alamedans embraced the food and pub-like atmosphere. There was live music every weekend, which was a great feature on the West End. Where did it go wrong?
I hope the closing of The New Zealander is not a trend of more closings on the West End.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Fourth quarter, the game changed and the Saints rallied back. Surprisingly enough, The Saints won and earned their first Superbowl title.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
What is great about Indian food is the versatility. There are curries, meats, and vegetarian dishes. I ordered a small smorgasbord of food with the poppadom, naan, vegetable pakora, saffron rice, chicken vindaloo and lamb curry. At the end, there was a lot more food than what I expected. There was enough food to feed four. The pakora is always yummy because it is fried food. Poppadom can be a miss at times if there is too much oil, but the poppadom that night was crisp and delicious. The chicken vindaloo had a great sauce, with some heat to it, but the chicken was overcooked. It seemed the vindaloo was made ahead of time in a giant pot and scooped out when ordered. The lamb curry also had a great sauce. The meat was prepared well and the dish was cooked with potatoes. Saffron rice is always a wonderful side dish. I enjoy tasting saffron, such a great and unique spice.
So the next time you are asking yourself what food you are in the mood for, Indian food makes sense.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The roasted garlic has been a favorite of mine as an appetizer. The flavor of the garlic is great, slightly sweet and it's not overwhelming like fresh garlic. The bread that accompanied the garlic over the years has changed. About a decade ago, the bread was a thin cracker, and then it changed to the same bread the staff brings out to the table when you first sit down, and now it has changed to a more thicker bread with a cheese on top.
Another favorite of mine is the house salad. I always enjoyed salads that came straight out of the refrigerator on a cold plate with fresh, crunchy greens. The dressing is tasty, slightly sweet with a hint of balsamic vinegar. The cheese crumbles is a good contrast and adds a smooth texture and flavor, and the nuts brings out the salt of the salad. Once upon a time, the house salad or soup came with the entree at no extra charge. Those days are over. There is an extra charge now for a starter.
The homemade ravioli also brings a smile to my face. Fresh pasta with a great sauce is wonderful. The staff takes the time to make a delicious stuffed pasta with seafood, vegetables and cheese or meat. One should always inquire if they have ravioli as a daily special.
The desserts have been a hit and miss for me. At times that had great desserts of flan or chocolate cake, while other times, the creme brulee was bland. The tiramisu is light and fluffy and make sure you get a slice that is not soggy or old.
The prices of Asena have been reasonable over the years. Entrees range in price between $15 to $25. Portion sizes are perfect, one never leaves hungry after a meal.
Asena recently had a mild face lift and changed the color schemes of the front of the restaurant as well as the interiors. The black front creates a more dramatic affect and has contrast with the blue, purple color of the interiors. The old art work had a Chagall-feeling to the room, that too has changed to different color scheme paintings with more still life settings.
Overall, Asena is a great restaurant with reasonable prices. The food is always delicious.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
After waiting for approximately twenty plus minutes, I took my pizza home and consumed it in the comfort of my own home. The pizza was decent, but the end result lacked the love and attention as when the pizzeria first opened.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
The chicken was very good and tasty. There was a definite smoky flavor and the meat was moist. The BBQ sauce that was served on the side gave the meat a boost.
The pork ribs were generous in portion, but the amount of fat on the ribs made it difficult to eat. The other problem with the meat was that it did not fall off the bone, it was not tender. You had to chew it off with some force. The flavor of the ribs were palatable, but I could not get past the difficulty of eating them.
The sides I got with the entrees were collared greens and macaroni and cheese. The mac and cheese was decent, but nothing to write home about. The collared greens was the better side.
The greens had a slight crunch to them and were not boiled to mush as most BBQ joints.
I had the Peach cobbler for dessert. The dessert was not part of the entree and I paid extra for it. The cobbler was ice cold and came out of the refrigerator. I decided to slightly warm the cobbler to bring out the flavors. The cobbler was good and the peaches were plenty.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I know I could have easily purchased a frozen pot pie in any grocery store, but the amount of sodium and fat inside each little pie can deter anyone from entering the frozen food section.
I was driven to find a pot pie. After no luck, I went to Speisekammer for rotisserie chicken, green beans, cranberries and mash potatoes. Okay, so the food was not exactly a pot pie, but nonetheless it was the closest I came to one without the crust. The chicken was moist with the skin on, and it was spiced up with lots of herbs. The cranberries were fresh with a hint of cinnamon. I am a huge fan of cinnamon, but not with cranberries . I still consumed the entire bowl, but the cinnamon was a miss. The mash potatoes were okay, a little light on flavor, and the green beans were decent. Interesting enough, when you want extra sauce even though the meal comes with a small amount, the restaurant still charges you $1. It doesn't matter that you order a full entree, you still must pay for the extra sauce. The meal portion was large. I received one-half of a chicken, which was plenty.