Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Time to Give Thanks and Being Thankful

Thanksgiving is here once again. This is a great opportunity to reflect on what is really important in life and being thankful for being blessed. I don't believe a lot of restaurants will be open on Thanksgiving day, but the typical options will be Pier 29 and maybe Pappo. I know that Pappo is offering special meals on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and not offering turkey.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What's Up in a Name

I heard rumors from the grapevine that the family who owned La Pinata Restaurant had a squabble, which resulted in a family divide and changed the name of the restaurant to La Penca Azul. The name changed for the two Alameda locations of Park Street and Bay Farm.

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

Spaghetti & Meatballs

The classic of Spaghetti and Meatballs is a true American dish. It's a simple dish, but for some reason not many restaurants can master the flavors.

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

Secret Gardens

Two of my favorite secret gardens for a quiet and enjoyable meal are The Wescafe and Julie's Coffee and Tea Garden. Both places have wonderful outdoor backyard seating and tables. I sometimes prefer to sit in the back instead of curbside because the surroundings are less hectic. Eating a meal in a quiet and serene atmosphere is pure heaven.

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

New Bakery on Park Street...Crema

I cannot wait for Crema to open on Park Street. I love a good bakery and I am certain the baked goods will taste better than Boniere. I believe the owner was planning to open in the former Boniere space, but something happened and now they are opening a few doors down from Starbucks.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Behave or Else at Yume

I am a huge fan of Yume. They serve amazing fresh fish from around the globe. (Good for tummy, bad for environment.) However, I have noticed a few times dining at Yume that rules are to be followed. If you pour too much soy sauce in your small dish, you could be scolded for it. Or if you eat a piece of sushi improperly, the owner will show you the way of appreciating the food.

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.