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

Yay-um to the pumpkin bagels! Sweet pumpkin flavor, but not too much. And not overly orangey in color either.

I ate mine toasted without the pumpkin cream cheese, and it was yummy. Haven't tried the pumpkin cream cheese yet this year, but if you want to increase that flavor, by all means do so :]

Oct 05, 2013
acetaminophen in Chains

Duende in Oakland

Mar 04, 2013
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Feeling guilty for comped food?

We were pretty surprised because the restaurant is well-known and recommended by friends.

Mar 03, 2013
acetaminophen in Not About Food

Feeling guilty for comped food?

True. I just had high expectations, I guess, so it's hard let go.

Mar 03, 2013
acetaminophen in Not About Food

Feeling guilty for comped food?

That's why I'm confused. Comped food, I guess, is the best that restaurants can do when they mess up.

We waited 45 minutes for a few reasons. We thought that our food would be coming out shortly, so we just kept talking and lost track of time. We also thought that maybe one of the several waiters and waitresses would notice that we had been sitting there for so long--but not even our original waitress noticed. When we finally decided to say something, it was impossible to flag anyone down so we had to get up and search for someone to talk to.

Mar 03, 2013
acetaminophen in Not About Food

Feeling guilty for comped food?

I'm feeling confused after a recent restaurant experience. The entire experience was such a bizarre intersection of high expectations for the food, sitting in a weird corner in the restaurant, and the kitchen making an honest mistake on a busy night. Emotions are still running high and it's difficult for me to figure out how I should feel after all of this...

My significant other and I ordered our drinks, appetizers, entrees, and dessert all at once because we knew what we wanted. Our cocktails arrive with minimal wait, but I start to get worried when the couple seated next to us, who arrived a few minutes after us, received their appetizers before us (and one of the appetizers they ordered was what we had asked for). I notice that the waitress who took our order is also making drinks behind the bar, and several other waitstaff are bringing food to the tables near us.

45 minutes later, we are angry and hungry and getting tipsy from sipping our cocktails with no food, so my significant other gets up from his seat to find our waitress, with no success. A waiter comes by to tell us the kitchen is backed up and offered us free glasses of wine--we refused because we typically don't drink wine. A few minutes later, a different waitress comes over and tells us the kitchen is backed up. I point out that the couple next to us had already finished eating their entrees. The waitress apologizes again and leaves. Our appetizer finally arrives (hand-cut calamari pan-fried with jalapenos and garlic--pretty good). While we are eating, the second waitress (not the one who took our order) comes by with a huge bowl of shoestring fries on the house. We eat a few, but they are unseasoned, and we leave the bowl pretty much untouched on the table. Our original waitress finally swings by again to tell us what we've heard before: she apologizes for the kitchen being backed up. I ask her why other tables who ordered at the same time as us are already done with their meals. She admits that our ticket fell somewhere...

So now we knew that the kitchen made a mistake that set the tone for the evening. On the one hand, it's understandable that mishaps like that are common in a busy kitchen, but for the customer, it's just bad service. Why did no one notice that we were sitting, waiting at our tables with no food close to an hour? If we hadn't gotten up to inquire about our meal, would the kitchen ever had noticed? Was it because we were sitting in the far front corner of the restaurant? While we were waiting, my significant other and I even thought that maybe we looked too young so the waitstaff didn't think we were worth their time. We just had no idea what was going on.

By the end of the meal, we'd received shoestring fries, two glasses of wine, and an extra dessert on the house. The food was good, but not stellar. When we got our check, everything but our entrees were comped. I was confused--and still am--because is free food supposed to make up for an honest mistake or bad service? I understand that what happened could not be righted without going back in time, and the free food did make us feel better, but.. I also feel guilty. Were we supposed to tip generously enough to cover what was comped? Is it wrong for me to still feel like it was an overall bad experience that particular night? Am I overthinking all of this?

Mar 03, 2013
acetaminophen in Not About Food

Happy Thanksgiving thanks to Bread Workshop

Thanks for sharing your happy story. Not many businesses will go the extra mile when they've made an honest mistake.

Mar 03, 2013
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Juhu Beach Club to open brick 'n mortar in Temescal [Oakland]

Looks like Juhu is opening tomorrow! Photos from the soft opening are up on Yelp. Menu looks promising, if a bit more expensive than other Indian restaurants in the area, though Juhu seems to offer slightly different, more unique fare. Menu is on the website.

http://www.juhubeachclub.com/

Feb 28, 2013
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Duende in Oakland

Good food and communal atmosphere inside. The lighting was rather low and several people were using the light from their iPhones to read the menu. Small but extremely flavorful portions--to simplify, it's gourmet tapas, so it's to be expected.

Absolutely amazing interior! High ceilings, exposed structural members, dark wood tabletops, unique lighting fixtures.

Txiperones: salad with fried whole baby squids (crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside), delicate frisee, a gooey runny egg yolk, and a tomato-based dressing. Mixed all together, the crunchy-gooey-salty mash up was quite an exciting opener.

Perbots farcits: half salad, half stuffed pepper dish. An herby, earthy mix of arugula, pine nuts, and shaved onion tossed in olive oil, next to two charred peppers concealing cumin-spiced lamb inside. The contrast in textures but the match in flavor turned a simple bite into a memorable dish.

Albondigas: four pork meatballs, each 65% leek and green garlic, so lighter than usual. The broth was full of umami; comes with bread to soak it all up.

A few local beers on tap, but otherwise a good selection. Ici ice cream was featured on the dessert menu--Canales' wife owns Ici.

Feb 17, 2013
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

3rd Annual Oakland Restaurant Week: Jan 18-27, 2013

Plum Bar looks appealing to me. I tried to make reservations for Restaurant Week on OpenTable, but there was a notice stating that they're only taking walk-ins for Restaurant Week.

Jan 17, 2013
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Sliver PIzzeria and other new pizza places in Berkeley

Has anyone tried Silver yet? I haven't, but it looks to me almost exactly like Cheeseboard..!

I was reading this short article which mentions some new pizza places to come this Spring: http://sf.eater.com/archives/2013/01/...

Jan 17, 2013
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Seasonal/Holiday Trader Joe Items.. to hunt for in 2012

I found the perfect gift for chocolate-lovers: the Chocolate Passport, a collection of 63-70% single-origin dark chocolate bars packaged beautifully and colorfully in its own box set. I haven't eaten any bars as I've wrapped the whole Passport already to gift to my good friend. I found it above the frozen cases where all the other holiday candy and gift sets were! So festive.

Nov 24, 2012
acetaminophen in Chains

Best Supermarket In USA: your nominations

I agree! I love Berkeley Bowl. Not only is there a huge selection of produce, but it's also cheap! Bulk section is amazing too. Workers are super helpful and I always leave with something that I've never tried before.

Nov 24, 2011
acetaminophen in General Topics

It's Pumpkin beer time! What are you favorites?

I had the Spicy Pumpkin Ale just last week! I've also had the Trader Joe's pumpkin ale (also don't remember the name of it). Here's my comparison, in layman's terms:

Blue Moon: like a Blue Moon with pumpkin flavor
Trader Joe's: like pumpkin pie with an aftertaste
Spicy pumpkin ale: like just the pumpkin pie spices

Nov 02, 2011
acetaminophen in Beer

It's Pumpkin beer time! What are you favorites?

I'll be following this topic closely! I just turned 21 in June, and I just had a Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale at dinner yesterday. It was delicious, so I'm looking forward to discovering other pumpkin beers.

Sep 18, 2011
acetaminophen in Beer

Food at The Trappist in Oakland

Just wanted to elaborate in case anyone stumbles upon this in the future. We went on Saturday.

chefj was spot on--smaller plates include smoked almonds, marinated vegetables, sausages, soup. There's a cheese platter with fruit that looked good, and a meat platter too. Larger plates include grilled cheese and pastrami sandwich.

I got the pickled vegetables ($4) which is made in small batches. Sugar snap peas, mushrooms, and a cucumber were nice and crunchy and sharply sour. Contrasted well with my stout (though I don't know much about beer and food pairings just yet!).

My boyfriend got the grilled cheese ($8), which is a good gooey mess of three cheese on crusty bread. It came with a pickle. The mustard in the grilled cheese was a little overpowering, but it was delicious and satisfying.

I was intrigued by the cheese platter that someone else had ordered, and will probably get that to share next time.

Sep 11, 2011
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Unusual..but delicious...ice cream flavors

I'm surprised bacon hasn't been mentioned yet!

I live in Berkeley, CA, and I go to a local ice cream shop called Ici a lot.

At Ici, they make their own flavors and they rotate all the time. The one that I've had that I love is Early Grey. My friend who used to work there loved the Maple Candied Bacon flavor! I regularly see other flavors like Honey Juniper, Saffron Ice Milk, Banana Curry.. yum. My friend was always weirded out when people came in and bought a quart of plain vanilla...

Sep 05, 2011
acetaminophen in General Topics

Hot crock pot?

That's smart. There was some liquid bubbling out from under the lid which made me worry a little about potential splatters--will use a cookie sheet next time!

Sep 05, 2011
acetaminophen in Cookware

Hot crock pot?

Yikes! I too have heard stories about hot crockpots, but they were about pots that were larger and people hadn't filled them all the way with food. That had to do with cooking time and the pot heating up too quickly or too much, but not about the outside of the crockpot.

I did give it a lot space, fortunately. It'll be a nice heat source when winter comes!

Sep 05, 2011
acetaminophen in Cookware

Hot crock pot?

Awesome! Thank you. Glad to know that I don't need to freak out.

Sep 04, 2011
acetaminophen in Cookware

Hot crock pot?

I just started to cook a vegetable stock on high about an hour ago. Is the outside of the Crock Pot supposed to get really hot? It's white, I think the outside is metal, and the size is 5 quarts, if that matters.

Sep 04, 2011
acetaminophen in Cookware

Food trucks: which ones are really good and which ones are just fads

I'd be interested to hear about your cousin's daughter's exploits! Maybe I should quit school and start developing a food truck idea. Bet it would be difficult though, with such a saturated market already.

Aug 28, 2011
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Food trucks: which ones are really good and which ones are just fads

Yes, it was.

They offer other options as well--from what I remember, there was a grilled cheese with apples, another with bacon. Tomato soup to order on the side too.

Aug 27, 2011
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Food trucks: which ones are really good and which ones are just fads

I was craving a grilled cheese sandwich once when I was out in the city, and Off the Grid was happening at the UN Plaza. I got the simplest sandwich (might have just been 4 cheese?). Not memorable, but it was MUCH faster than 510 Burger, and it hit the spot for me.

But I agree.. not the best value.

Aug 27, 2011
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Berkeley Thai Recommendations?

I would avoid Thai Basil at all costs! It's fast-food Thai to me. Overly greasy, too salty. Most of the dishes I've ordered there came in a pool of oil. Good value for your money though (mostly for hungry students who want non-cafeteria food, fast!).

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Thai Basil
101 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Aug 24, 2011
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Berkeley Thai Recommendations?

Thai Temple is a unique setting and for a good cause. But since it's outdoors and the plates are paper/compostable, your food gets cold fast.

Aug 24, 2011
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Great Eats Downtown SF

I agree with Chinatown--lots of cheap eats to be found there. Yong Kee on Jackson Street in Chinatown sells a huge chicken bun with half a hard-boiled egg inside. Lots of bakeries with unique, cheap buns and pastries.

Be sure to check out the Ferry Building for good places to eat and shop. Smaller farmer's market on Thursday and a much, much larger one on Saturday. Acme Bread has good sandwiches at lunchtime. Food trucks gather there. Get some chicken from Roli Roti (the truck shows at up the farmer's market).

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Yong Kee
732 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Roli Roti
, Hayward, CA

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
One Ferry Building, 200 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

Aug 24, 2011
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Any recs for Hayward/Newark/Union City areas?

I've been to the Fremont location but it was only for the weekend special of soy milk and fried pastry (my parents were craving it because it's a street food in Taiwan, where they were born). So I can't really compare the two.

The original in Milpitas is solid though. I agree that it would be a far drive from Oakland.

Aug 17, 2011
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Any recs for Hayward/Newark/Union City areas?

I forgot to mention--Darda Seafood Restaurant is also good. There's one in Milpitas and one in Newark. They're known for their delicious sesame and green onion bread--be sure to order some to go! Lots of lamb on the menu. Weekends see lots of families ordering soy milk and a fried pastry.

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Darda Seafood Restaurant
296 Barber Ct, Milpitas, CA 95035

Aug 17, 2011
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area

Any recs for Hayward/Newark/Union City areas?

Mayflower Seafood Restaurant in Union City is a tiny bit expensive, but good for pretty authentic Chinese dishes. In that same complex, there are some other restaurants, but I'm not sure they're good for a group of 10.

In Union Landing, which is right off the freeway, there are a whole bunch of chains that are okay for groups, as long as you don't mind waiting. TGI Friday's, Applebee's, Chili's, Tony Roma's, Chevy's.

Also in Union Landing, Tribu Grill serves Filipino food that's pretty delicious, but the service is spotty. They have long, communal tables that will be good for your large group. The wait can sometimes be long, but I'm sure you can call in and avoid all that!

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Mayflower Seafood Restaurant
34348 Alvarado Niles Rd, Union City, CA 94587

Tony Roma's
32135 Union Lndg, Union City, CA 94587

Chili's Grill & Bar
32120 Dyer St, Union City, CA 94587

Chevys
31100 Courthouse Dr, Union City, CA 94587

Bj's Restaurant
5699 Mowry Ave, Newark, CA 94560

Tribu Grill
32208 Dyer St, Union City, CA 94587

Aug 16, 2011
acetaminophen in San Francisco Bay Area