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Yakiniq Cafe, SF in Japantown- sweet potato latte, yuzu honey tea, etc.

I miss Philippe's, but even without this, it sounds like my type of place. Thanks!

Mar 26, 2014
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

Pleasanton and Walnut Creek have far more than this area does, but they're not practical for weeknight dinners out etc. (In fact, Pleasanton and Berkeley are about equidistant from me!) Thank you though. :)

Mar 26, 2014
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

I'd forgotten about it...I went there once a couple of years ago and thought it was so-so, but now that I live here, that might be different. And maybe I just had the wrong thing. :)

I have gone around downtown Antioch a bit though. Mostly dive bars and unimpressive-looking tattoo shops. I was disappointed, because my first visit was to Nature's Bounty and a bead shop. Turns out that's all there is of interest there. :/ Pittsburg's downtown is a little better (BBQ, bakeries, a bookstore, a bike shop... brewery...apparently many good things that start with B!)

Mar 26, 2014
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Addressing people by gender at a restaurant

I find it sort of comical because apparently a lot of servers are nearsighted, exhausted, or something, and thus can't tell that my husband is male. I don't know why they feel obligated to say "Good morning, ladies" or "This way, ladies" or whatever. "Good morning" or "This way, please" is fine and doesn't introduce the possibility of making the server look stupid or making a guest feel upset. Simple.

Mar 26, 2014
wintersweet in Not About Food

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

If you have any more hints, let me know!

Mar 22, 2014
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

Ha, I've had a ton of excuses to eat out lately, and I'm also a little bored out here. I hope it'll be useful to someone. (In the meantime, I need to get into that exercise habit again before it gets hot!)

Looking forward to your updates. :)

Mar 22, 2014
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

Kinder's is kind of hit and miss, IMO, but better than Dickey's and its lot. Dad's BBQ and Stella's are better, but take a lot more time. (Maybe that shouldn't be a "but.")

Mac's sounds like it's worth a try.

Mar 20, 2014
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

Updates!

It's really too bad that What the Fork closed. I haven't tried Lutong Bahay #1 yet, but I've heard good things about it.

Republic of Cake is inventive and good. I'm glad it's not even closer to me, or I'd be in trouble.

CreAsian is OK and has a nice atmosphere. I think Lone Tree Thai, Pho Vietnam, or DaNang Tourane are better so far, but haven't widely explored the menus at either.

La Costa: We went to the one across from Republic of Cake. I ordered tacos al pastor, and they were so wet that eating them was pretty much a disaster. I'll give them another try though.

Blue Saigon Fusion Grill recently opened a bricks-and-mortar place in Pittsburg near the late, lamented Plan B (now Twins' Fatburger, which I haven't tried yet). If you liked the food truck, you'll like it. Their garlic rice is really nice and garlicky.

John's Ice Cream is far from gourmet (and they're getting Double Rainbow at Republic of Cake!) but it's hard to argue with $1 scoops and flavors from the Philippines like avocado and pandan.

Skipolini's Pizza is much better than I expected. It's not up to the level of my favorite two pizza places in the world, but it was tasty. Unlike many places, you can choose toppings that are roasted (e.g. roasted garlic).

Chaman Kabob is Afghan and pretty good. Limited menu compared to some Fremont places, but still good. Will definitely go back.

Stella's Soul Food Kitchen -- oxtails! Good.

India4U, very good dal makhani and chicken in a mango sauce (which I haven't had before). Will explore more.

We took an excursion to Martinez and that area. I strongly endorse Barrelista (good coffee, delicious maple bacon creme brulee!), Compass Star (tiny place, but fabulous in-house-made meats and tasty beignets), and, in Pleasant Hill, Jo's Sushi.

Of the stuff in East CoCo proper, I think the best so far are Republic of Cake, Da Nang Tourane, Stella's, and Chaman Kabob.

Mar 20, 2014
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Good cleaning brushes, scrub brushes, bottle brushes

Hi, I searched and couldn't find a thread on this. I'm sorry if I've missed one.

We just moved and we threw out nearly all of our brushes because they had accumulated gunk in places that couldn't be cleaned easily -- the base of the bristles (no good if the brush can't be put in boiling water), under the handle, where the handle and the brush head meet, etc. (Along the same lines, we had to ditch some baking pans with rolled edges. Sigh.)

Do you have a favorite brush for either dish or food cleaning that is easy to clean and/or made with fewer places for gunk to get in?Anything I should look for that might not be obvious?

I have access to Amazon.com and other websites, Home Goods, Target, and not much else. Sur la Table isn't close, but doable.

Thanks!

Feb 09, 2014
wintersweet in Cookware

Republic of Cake (Oakley)

Finally, I've found something terrific in the general vicinity of Brentwood. (I moved here recently and haven't had much luck finding good stuff to eat. I miss Fremont...To make matters worth both of us have been ill and busy and so we've been eating out more than usual.) It's Republic of Cake in Oakley, their second location after the one in Orinda. Their savory cupcakes (brussels sprouts! broccoli and cheese!) may sound like a gimmick, but they are a thoroughly pleasurable thing to eat. We've had a chipotle and corn cupcake and a couple of others. The sweet ones we tried were excellent too.

I have tried several different Bay Area cupcakes and find most of them either too dry or indistinguishable from Betty Crocker. These stood out. They were just moist enough and very flavorful, probably reflecting their website's mission statement regarding ingredients. Seriously, some places make claims about their ingredients and you just wonder about it when you take a bite, but I'm satisfied in this case.

The cupcakes are also inexpensive and not gargantuan, both of which are pluses as far as I'm concerned.

This location sells ice cream (soon changing to Double Rainbow) and cookies and will make you an ice cream sandwich with any combination. Haven't tried that yet.

The location is, of course, a little odd. Oakley seems half-dead, but there are signs of life. There's a cute little plaza and fountain adjoining the bakery (which is blessedly non-twee, by the way).

Compared to many cupcake places, the prices are good enough you could probably go out of the way and save a little money. I realize most people don't wind up out this way very often, but you never know. Anyway, it's made me feel a little better about our new location.

Sort of.

I mean, I might have to make another visit this weekend to assuage my angst. Heh.

http://republicofcake.com/oakley/inde...

Jan 31, 2014
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Restaurants with movies playing

Well, once I went to a local restaurant and they were playing "Avatar" on their flatscreen. Thing is, it had just come out in the theaters a day or two before that.

Hmmm.

Jan 24, 2014
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Delivery sushi-- really?! [moved from Manhattan board]

Yeah, one of the things that drives me NUTS about California is how little you can get delivered.

In Japan, you can get delivery sushi, ramen, fried chicken...and even in other parts of the US, it seems like you have more options.

Jan 17, 2014
wintersweet in General Topics
1

seeking suggestions for office lunch in/around Fremont

Yes, Salang Pass would be a good choice if they have banquet rooms that are big enough. What it may lack in swankiness it'll make up for in atmosphere.

Dec 18, 2013
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

seeking suggestions for office lunch in/around Fremont

Fremont is slim pickings for this kind of thing. I can throw out some suggestions but I don't feel confident about any of them.

Asian Pearl
Massimo's
Spin a Yarn Steakhouse
Papillon
Sinodino's Steakhouse

These all have various issues, but that's a pretty limiting set of requests for this area, as far as I know. Good luck!

Dec 18, 2013
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Ramen Yamadaya coming to SF Japantown

That's a nice space and I hope Ramen Yamadaya makes it more worth going to.

Dec 18, 2013
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Iyasare (former O Chame space) [Berkeley]

Thanks for posting this. It's at the top of my list of places to try after moving...even though it's not near BART.

By the way, I guess the name means "healing." I saw a couple of reviews connecting it to post-3/11 recovery (promotion of the Tohoku area is a big thing; NHK is all over it). However, "iyashi" (adjective) is also just more commonly used in Japanese than in English--or at least that's my impression. For example, if you go to BookOff in SD or LA, you'll find a music section named 癒し. Kind of like New Age music, maybe, though more sincere (IMO) and less twee. You can also find stuff considered iyashi on Youtube and images.google.com if you search for 癒し.

Dec 16, 2013
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Calbee seaweed & salt potato chips?

Any 99 Ranch Market or Marina.

Dec 14, 2013
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Low Oxalate Diet

Good questions. The low-oxalate diet group that posts test results to the Yahoo group I'm following supposedly tries to account for absorption and average portion size.

I am not avoiding whole grains or nuts, but I'm restricting them somewhat. Trying to get fiber from veggies. (And good thing I like kale, which became a staple after the change.)

But I miss my vegetarian chili. :(

I'll check out the links. It's hard to know what to think given all the conflicting information. Guess it's still early days for understanding nutrition in general, never mind the interactions of foods with various conditions and medications!

Dec 11, 2013
wintersweet in Special Diets

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

Thanks, worth a shot!
I admit I haven't explored Livermore much, even though I live not too far from there now. The drive via Vasco Rd is kind of pleasant! I'm set for coffee in Pittsburg with Steeltown, but as I recall Livermore has a pretty nice French bakery... :)

Dec 09, 2013
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

Update to my own list:
Melo's pizza & pasta (good-enough American Italian food, Brentwood): Actually, the mushroom and gorgonzola risotto was delicious. I don't think the rice was quite right, but I don't know much about European rice dishes. The main point is that it had lots of mushrooms and was very tasty.

CreAsian (Vietnamese, Brentwood): Well, I miss My Tho and La Sen already, but it was fine. Large portions and reasonable prices, though not enough pork blood in the bun bo hue. Noticed cafe sua da on the menu after I ordered, along with some smoothies (avocado yes, durian no) and salted lemonade. It's convenient and I'm sure we'll return.

Kanpai Sushi (?Japanese?, Antioch): It's one of those places where you're shocked when your server is actually Japanese. I am fairly sure that the owners and cooks are not. The menu is mostly your standard teriyaki-udon-and-complicated-rolls thing. There were a couple of interesting items, like a smoked salmon/avocado/balsamic appetizer. (Not on the online menu.)

Let us have a moment of silence while I weep for having 5 good ramen places within a 15-minute drive and decent dim sum a block away, though...

Dec 09, 2013
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

I do love tamales. Will check it out!

Dec 09, 2013
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

NEW: Yokohama Iekei Ramen in Union City

Union City's become a mini-hotspot for ramen places (this one, Tadamasa, Men-oh). I haven't gone to Yokohama Iekei yet but will soon. Maybe Wednesday.

Dec 09, 2013
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Low Oxalate Diet

Anyone else on a low oxalate diet? I know that some people believe it to be a magical cure-all for all sorts of things, but I'm on it due to pesky kidney stone issues, per my urologist. At first I was just frustrated by the massively conflicting lists online, even from universities and famous hospitals, and the vague info from my doctor ("chocolate...berries...spinach...nuts..."). Eventually I found a group that does testing and makes spreadsheets with better data. But it's still pretty darned annoying, since I'm supposed to limit or avoid
- whole grains
- nuts
- berries
- spinach and many other green vegetables
- chocolate
- turmeric/curry powder
- beans
- soy
- nori
- potatoes
and many more of my favorite things.

On the other hand, it's fine if I have butter, steak, sugar, cheese, beer...haha. It sounds great except for the fact that I'm trying to get healthier and more fit!

I lost a lot of weight a few years ago by having oatmeal with almond butter every morning. But that may be part of what caused the kidney stones in the first place. Argh!

Anyway, I'm trying to focus on what delicious foods I can eat (e.g. salmon, cabbage, egg noodles, etc.) and which I can eat in small quantities (no one eats very much nori, in terms of mass) or which I can eat in small quantities with dairy (calcium reduced oxalate uptake, so yes, I'll have cheese on my sope with beans).

I miss nuts. :(

Anyone else out there in the same boat?

Dec 07, 2013
wintersweet in Special Diets

Do you shop at Aldi's?

I saw the Slate article and noticed that they offered virtually no actual reasons to like the store, other than price. I went to Aldi's all the time as a kid, because my mom is all about 39-cent bread. If you do all your shopping at Safeway or Wal-Mart, I guess it's a good alternative.

(EDIT: That sounds totally catty, and I don't mean it to. Right now I live in a place with multiple year-round farmers' markets, lots of specialty grocery stores, etc. etc. I would rather buy cheap local produce, and it's easy to. But if I lived back where I used to live I would definitely be looking into the spaetzle and other interesting Aldi items. Still probably avoiding some of the suspiciously cheap things, though!)

Dec 07, 2013
wintersweet in Chains

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

I am perfectly OK with good diner food. Thanks!

Dec 01, 2013
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

Ah yes, I have been to but had forgotten about the carnitas place. It is delicious but I will only ever go there for take-out in the future: it's always freezing! I'll check out the Paleteria, thanks!

Dec 01, 2013
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Anything at all in east Contra Costa County...

Well, I am relocating from Fremont to Antioch/Brentwood for work. I love the food options in Fremont (dozens of restaurants within blocks of me). But it's unavoidable. I've looked at other CoCo threads on here and there's not much, but I'm hopeful that someone's run across something decent in the meantime.

Here are places that I have tried and liked to one degree or another:
What the Fork (Filipino, Antioch)
Dad's (BBQ, Pittsburg)
Steeltown Coffee (outstanding coffee place, Pittsburg)
Sassy Sweets and Eats (very good cupcakes, tasty Cubano sandwich - Pittsburg)
Dulce's Antojitos (Pittsburg)
Las Panchitas (Mexican, killer green salsa - Pittsburg)
Mehran (Indian, Antioch -- not up to Fremont standards, but OK)
El Taco Factory (Mexican, good salsa - Antioch)
Kinder's (BBQ, Brentwood -- maybe better than the Fremont one)

Places I have tried and am iffy on so far:
Lumpy's Diner (Pittsburg)
New Mecca Cafe (Pittsburg -- I think, like China Chili and Massimo's in Fremont, this is a nostalgic favorite for locals but not unusually appealing for anyone else)
Okawa ("Japanese," Pittsburg)
Samurai X ("Japanese," Pittsburg)

Food shopping:
Pacific Market (Filipino, Pittsburg -- unfortunately nowhere near as broad a selection as a Chinese grocery store)
Trader Joe's (Brentwood -- and thank goodness it's there)
I have spotted two teensy Indian grocery stores and one Caribbean store, but haven't tried either yet.

As far as I know, I will have to go to Concord for Korean and for 99 Ranch Market...and I'm not sure where the closest Japanese-Japanese (sushi, homestyle, ramen) or dim sum places are. And the closest Whole Foods is in Walnut Creek, I guess. Surely there's a decent Italian(-American) place or diner in the area, though...

I anticipate a post in which I ask for favorite BARTable spots (or perhaps there's one already). In some ways, I think it'll be good to have to get out and try a wider variety of things in Oakland and SF. Right now it's too easy to just never leave Fremont.

If you have anything to add to my list, please let me know! I'm dreading this move and would love something to look forward to. Thanks!

Dec 01, 2013
wintersweet in San Francisco Bay Area

Your best Thanksgiving recipe

We made this once on a whim (altered from the original to our tastes) and have been making it ever since. The actual amounts of the spices, sugar, coconut, etc. vary freely according to the phases of the moon or our moods. :)

Old School/New School Sweet Potatoes
(modified from???)

Ingredients
2–2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (a mix of Garnet and Japanese is nice)

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1 tablespoon brown sugar or to taste

1 tablespoon butter, more for the baking dish 

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 

1/2 cup coconut milk 

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut 

Optional: 1 cup all-natural marshmallows, cut into small pieces if large

Method
Butter a 2-quart baking dish. 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Scrub the sweet potatoes and boil or steam until very tender. Remove from heat and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel the sweet potatoes. 

Put them in a bowl and mash with salt, brown sugar, butter, ginger, cardamom, and coconut milk until very smooth. Spoon mixture into baking dish. Top with coconut and marshmallows. Bake until marshmallows and coconut are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

Nov 03, 2013
wintersweet in Home Cooking
1

What's your impression when you pull into a restaurant and see employees out back on a smoke break?

Years ago I watched a Japanese TV show in which an aspiring sushi chef was roundly scolded for smoking, because it damages the nose and makes your fingers disgusting. Made sense to me. I always look askance at places with chefs who smoke, and I won't be back if I can smell smoke on a server.

Nov 03, 2013
wintersweet in Not About Food
1

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - October 2013 [old]

Yeah, these are pretty meh AND they have that awful aluminum baking powder sting, blechhh.

Oct 20, 2013
wintersweet in Chains