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Duke's Mayonnaise - where to find it in the Bay Area?

Once in a blue moon they have Dukes at Dollar Tree in Berkeley. Today, 7/31/15 is that day.

Café V (V for Venezuela) in Berkeley

Based on the 10-15 minute wait each time I have been there, I believe they are cooking each arepa to order. Definitely not a grab and go take out spot, but well worth the wait.

Café V (V for Venezuela) in Berkeley

On San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, the V in Café V usually stands for Vietnam, but during the day it now represents Venezuela. In place of Banh Mi and Phō they now serve arepas filled with meat, chicken, beans, cheese and various sauces. For around $8 you get a burger bun sized arepa (grilled or fried) filled with whatever you choose. I tried beef, chicken, tuna and bean/cheese. All are quite tasty. This place is open for breakfast and lunch from Wed-Sun.

Boiled Peanuts!

The boiled peanut and sweet tea appreciators can now find satisfaction at Farm Burger in Berkeley. It took this Atlanta GA based restaurant group a while (oddly) to dial in their technique. At first the boiled peanuts were crunchy, and tasted of nothing but Old Bay seasoning. Now the peanuts are softer and carry a nice bit of chili heat and salty base but no dried herb overload. Help yourself to refills on the tea, sweetened or otherwise. Hey, they got burgers too, with Duke's mayo as a no-cost option. It seems like, with all the new burger places opening up, you got to look in the margins for the interesting stuff.

Adega- New Portuguese restaurant replacing Sousa's in San Jose

Sousa's closes and Adega plans to open, lose one get one, but good to see new Portuguese food in the Bay Area:

Hayward Fishery (Art's Crab Shak) back in action?

Same permit update as for the Oakland location of what was Art's crab shak (currently morphing into 'Copper Spoon'). Developer is same guy as Flora, Clove and Hoof and others in Oakland. Sounds like good news for the old Hayward Fisehery location. All they need now is a tenant. Anybody want to run a seafood restaurant in Hayward?

Sushi Cooking Classes?

Chat Mingkwan teaches asian cooking classes around the bay area and does a very good sushi class. A quick search did not turn up any current listings but contact him and see what he has coming up.

places for loners Berkeley area

If you like Brennan's (and I do like Brennan's), check this out:
After working late in Berkeley, find quality meat, beer and solitude at the cavernous, echoey and mostly empty after 9:30pm Perdition Smokehouse on University Ave. Late night menu after 10pm. Try and get there while the regular BBQ is still available (late night menu is mostly grilled sandwiches) but after 10 they usually have some alternate form of pork ribs in sauce that go well with staring (not crying mind you, it's a peaceful moment) into your beer and mentally deconstructing the work day. Lots of parking right out front at this hour. Embrace the alone-ness of now.

Hayward Fishery (Art's Crab Shak) back in action?

Driving through Hayward last week, I noticed people inside/outside the old Hayward Fishery location cleaning, landscaping, repainting and generally looking like a business getting ready to (re)open. I wanted to stop but had no time. Has anyone else noticed signs of life at this longstanding but currently defunct location?

Hasnia - Algerian restaurant (Berkeley)

The couscous at Hasnia is good. The chicken couscous (there is also vegetable, lamb and 'royale' with all the meats) is the brothy style that I prefer, with a side bowl of soup to moisten the couscous as you eat. The dish has a whole braised chicken breast along with carrots, zucchini, and chick peas topping the couscous itself. Harissa is served on the side. The flavors are gentle and comforting in a homey way. It reminded me of my student days in Paris (way back in the waning years of the 20th century) where couscous was (is?) a cheap student staple similar to how ramen is viewed here.
FWIW, I saw a hamburger and fries go to another table and it looked pretty good too.

Fieldwork Brewing Company - Berkeley

Fieldwork Brewing Company is the newest entry amongst the expanding ranks of local beer makers in the Berkeley area. On 6th street near Gilman, the brewery is a large open warehouse filled with stainless steel tanks, shiny aluminum kegs of various sizes and plenty of brewing paraphernalia. A tasting room with german beer garden tables at one end represents the public side of the business. Five beers are currently on tap with more on the way. No plans to feature guest taps, but the growler program of reusable bottles (qt. or 1/2 gal. sizes) filled with their beers makes this a good location for take-home beer in addition to being a nice place to sit and drink while inhaling the grainy aromas of the brewery in action. The beers are well wade and tasty, with plans to change offerings on a regular basis. There is food in the form of meat and/or vegetable pasties which I will try next time. The staff at Fieldwork are friendly and enthusiastic. This looks to be a new and welcome destination for my local beer appetite.

Hasnia - Algerian restaurant (Berkeley)

Hasnia, on University Avenue, replaces the long decamped De Afghanan in a tiny wedge of a restaurant space that is mostly kitchen. The Algerian flag on the wall tells you what to expect. Couscous, tagines, marinated vegetable salads and home made bread are the choices on a small menu. Burgers and such are also available.
The lamb tagine I had was one large bone in piece of tender tasty lamb shank in a sauce comprised mostly of pitted green olives. A little complimentary dish of chopped vegetable salad and a basket of bread filled out the meal. The lamb was tender, the sauce flavorful yet mild. The house made bread was fabulous. I saw but did not taste their couscous. It looks great. Please remember that this is a tiny place run by two people, not a large endeavor meant to serve aspirational experience seekers and large private parties. Be nice, be patient and be rewarded with a good meal.

Herring season 2015

Has anyone seen herring in Bay Area markets or restaurants this year? I saw this: and so wonder if commercial fishing has begun. The fish are here. Can we eat them?

Sonoma County Brunch Recommendations?

The Kenwood restaurant (not the Inn). Nice patio too if weather permits.

Smoke’s Poutinerie Comes to Berkeley

When I first read this I thought Smoke Berkeley (the BBQ restaurant) was opening a new place with a new concept. Oh man, it's a Canadian chain. Ouch! I can imagine the cease and desist letter has already gone out.

Fado Portuguese Kitchen

During a recent visit to Portland, our meal at Fado was a highlight of the trip. We have no Portuguese restaurants where we live in CA, which is sad because Portuguese food is wonderful. At Fado we were able to taste very good renditions of several classic Portuguese recipes. Pork and clams, grilled sardines, salt cod fritters and rice pudding were well made and delicious. The small restaurant is cozy and informal. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable. Some good Portuguese wine added to the warm, very Portuguese experience. We look forward to returning when we are back in Portland again

Nov 22, 2014
flavorenhancer in Metro Portland

Longbranch Saloon - Berkeley

Longbranch Saloon is open on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley where Seasalt used to be. Limited food menu at present. Full bar. LOTS of beer: 25 taps plus at least that many in can/bottle ranging from Hamm's to 4 different sour beers from Almanac Brewing.
Color scheme is now gray/black/brown with big slabs of tree trunk for the bar and ubiquitous communal table as well as recycled barn wood and windows for decor. The staff are cheery and welcoming. The flatbread with ricotta/beets/greens was tasty as was the duck terrine. Looking forward to trying the full menu when it starts up. For now, this is a good new drinking spot in the neighborhood.

Rye Project, Newish Delicatessen [SOMA, San Francisco]

Good news at Rye Project. Their fabulous Pastrami sandwich (OP describes it perfectly) was $13, not $14, when we went yesterday. The roast beef was $12, also a buck less than usual. No, these are not commodity level prices, but this is not industrial meat and bread either. Top quality ingredients served by friendly people (the owner comes over and asks "Do you like the sandwich?") warrants a higher price. I feel like I got my money's worth (and my dismay at losing 1058 Hoagie disappeared).

Augie's Montreal smoked meat is fabulous [Oakland]

I too think Augie's is fabulous. They were in doing their regular pop-up in Oakland at Beuty Bagels this Monday and at 1 pm the crowd was thin, the meat running low but with still enough for a sandwich or two.
I got the 7 oz. size, coming on rye bread with a choice of yellow or deli mustard.
The meat, sliced thinly, is abundantly juicy and falling apart tender with a good ratio of fatty bits to meaty parts. The spices are warm with hints of clove, allspice, and black pepper. A sweet maple syrup note really sets this apart from Pastrami and other smoked/cured meats. Add a few house-made pickle spears to the plate and you got one tasty hot sandwich. I can't compare this to the Canadian original, but am quite happy to have this occasional treat available here in Oakland.

Where can I buy live crawfish in the city? [San Francisco]

New Sang Chong Market was the only place I saw live crawfish in Oakland Chinatown last week. A dollar cheaper per pound than Ranch 99 but vague provenance ("source: USA") makes me wonder if there is a better option for genuine Sacramento delta crawfish. The hunt continues.

Pupusas : SFBA Dish of the Month September 2014

The pupusas Pacita's in San Leandro are big, tasty and made to order with a bunch of options for fillings. They also make a huge pan con pollo and, on certain days, pastelitos de pollo (fried masa filled with chicken) served with same finely chopped curtido and mild red salsa as the pupusas. I have not yet tried any of the sweet bakery items but they look fabulous.
Las Pacita's Salvadorean Bakery
14750 E. 14th St.
San Leandro CA 94578

Where can I buy live crawfish in the city? [San Francisco]

I am curious why a delicious, abundant, high quality food like crawfish goes largely unheralded and unconsumed in this region where reverence for all thing local and edible is quite high.
Late summer/early autumn is crawfish season in the Sacramento River delta. Crab and salmon season each get tons of press and generate much enthusiasm in local shoppers/diners. Could we not do the same thing with crawfish?
I am going to shop around for live crawfish in the SF/OAK area this week and will report back with what I find.

SFBA Dish of the Month (Sept 2014) - Nominations/Voting

TURKEY LEG - any style

Mexican in the Mission [San Francisco]

For cheap, cheerful and convenient Mexican food, El Toro at 17th/Valencia is an old favorite from back in the day (the 80's were early years for the burrito craze).
In this neighborhood, the polar opposite would be Tacolicious. Crowded bar scene, cocktails, higher prices than taquerias, but also quite tasty. In between are numerous options for Mexican and Latin American food of every stripe. All depends on what you want.

Bay Grape - Oakland

Bay Grape, a new wine shop/ wine bar just opened in Oakland. The shop is sparsely decorated at present, but the selection is nicely curated, covering local and imported wines, with many in the under $50/btl category. A pretty copper bar and a big wood table are where the nice couple who own the shop will open and pour any of the wines for $5 over retail price. No food, but others were eating boxed take out from neighboring restaurants.
Between this place and several other wine/spirits shops (Ordinaire & Alchemy) this stretch of Grand Avenue is becoming quite the source for interesting alcohol in many forms.

Bay Grape

376 Grand Avenue 

Oakland, California 94610

Anyone know a great East Bay Burger joint?

The burger at Handlebar is excellent. High quality ingredients, meat cooked to order, lots of options for customization, and all in a location with easy access to I-80. Full bar too.
The patty is hefty and grilled, the bun is substantial and well toasted. Home made 'tots' are also well constructed and a tasty alternative to fries.
Price is higher than some others but considering provenance of ingredients and the general state of beef prices at present, not unreasonable.

Bodega Bay Oyster Company [Petaluma]

The chalkboard in my too-blurry-to-post photo shows:
Bodea Miyagi
X-sml $10/doz, $40/bag of 50
Small $13/doz, $50/bag of 50
Medium $16/doz, $60/bag of 50
Large $18/doz, $70/bag of 50
Pt. Reyes Kumamoto $16/doz, $60/bag of 50
Bodega Bay Virginica $16/doz, $60/bag of 50
Clams, Mussels, $6/lb.
Time to get shucking?

Bodega Bay Oyster Company [Petaluma]

We stopped here over the weekend for clams, not oysters ironically, and we were happy to find the same tiny, nubby, rounded Point Reyes manila clams that are sometimes available at Tokyo Fish in Berkeley but nowhere else that I know of. These clams were super fresh and fabulous in a simple Portuguese style Ameijoas á Bulhão Pato ( clams with garlic, parsley white wine) that we made at home. Clams were $6/lb. Oysters were $10-$16 dozen with deals for larger purchases. It is a pretty bare bones operation at present.

Afternoon drive from San Francisco to Reno

Assuming a 3pm arrival, with the need to get luggage at baggage claim and a vehicle at car rental center, departing the airport area will be about 5pm. Diving to Reno will take 3-4 hours, so ETA 9-10pm. Add a meal stop and you add another hour or so. A quick and tasty destination, not too far along the journey would seem best.
How about Brennan's in Berkeley? They are right off the freeway, in the old Berkeley train station, serving kid friendly American fare, buffet style, with trains rolling past the windows and, if timing works out, Giants/A's baseball on the TVs. A turkey dinner would put the youngsters in nap mode for the not too scenic trip (after dark) to Reno.
Alternately, In-n-out burger in Richmond is a mile or three further down I-80 (No definite articles used in freeway names) for something even quicker yet still fun for all concerned.

World Cup 2014 Viewing and Eats

Venga Paella in Oakland is showing all the games, but is, as ever, sort of off the radar for local food press. The projector on the back wall and the flat screen over the bar give a good view of the games. Drink specials ($4 beer/sangria) and the regular lineup of tapas and paella by the plate make this a super location for enjoying the Copa.