Thursday, January 21, 2010


Of all of the restaurants in Alameda, there is one restaurant that has remained consistent in the quality of food, that place is Asena. Asena's menu is not long, but it has a Mediterranean flair with spices and sauces. One can always find a chicken, lamb, beef or seafood entree on the menu along with vegetarian options.

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

Mountain Mike's Pizza

When Mountain Mike's Pizza first opened, I was a fan. The pizzas tasted good, they used fresh ingredients and they were very meticulous with their standards. For some reason, I stopped going there, probably because I got lazy and decided to go back and see how they were doing. I ordered a medium, one-topping pepperoni pizza. The pizza took a while, so I decided to wait inside the restaurant. There were other people inside also waiting for their pizzas, which I guess accounted for the long wait. The video games and the claw machine for stuffed animals were old school. The large television overwhelmed the room with its giant screen showing sports and not in high definition.

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

Great American BBQ

On a late evening, I called the All American BBQ restaurant and ordered chicken and ribs twenty minutes before they closed. By the time I got there, I was the last person and the last customer of the night. Fortunately for me, the cook had extra chicken and gave me the other half for free. Yippee! I guess he was feeling generous because it is a New Year and he had half a chicken he didn't have a customer for.

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


One night after the holidays, I was hungry for a chicken or turkey pot pie. I know Ole's has one, but the last time I went there for a pot pie, it was the worst ever. Sorry, Ole's.

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.