Thursday, August 1, 2013

Foodievents until August 4, 2013

Happy SF Chefs week! SF Chefs is celebrating their 5th year this time. Expect appearances from Tyler Florence, Martin Yan, Ryan Scott, Brian Boitano and many more. It's a big weekend also for Oakland since it's Art Murmur and Art and Soul festival. Whatever side of the bay you are choosing it will be delicious. Happy eating everyone!

Friday - August 2, 2013

  • It's Art Murmur every First Friday in Oakland. This is monthly event is definitely a look at the hipster scene in Oakland. A great event to go to during First Fridays is First Taste. It's located in Uptown kitchen in Uptown Oakland. This time around, there will be Lumpias, Caribbean style tamales, Pork Belly Ramen and many more. 7pm to 10pm. Free entry,
  • SF Chef's opening night, Grand Tasting. - SF Chefs is one of the most celebrated food and wine events of the year. It includes unlimited tastings of food, wine, beer and spirits from SF's top restaurants, breweries and wineries. This night's tasting event will include Hakkasan, Incanto, Morimoto, Napa, Wayfare Tavern and many more. Starts at 630pm, Tickets: $140

Saturday - August 3, 2013
  • Yelp's Summer Sip-nic! It's Yelp's Annual celebration of East Bay community through food and of course wine. Event will be held at Rockwall winery and food vendors such as the Grilled Cheez Guy, Roline's Filipino and Chunky Pig will be there. RSVP through Yelp here. $10 donation
  • SF Chef's Five Tastes event. Bitter, Sour, Salty, Sweet and Umami. This is an afternoon event at the tent which includes unlimited tastings and drinking celebrating all 5 tastes. Expect different restaurants like Copita, Chaya, Hard Water, Perbacco and many more. Starts at 12:30pm. Tickets: $140
  • SF Chef's Decadence after dark. This tasting event includes unlimited food and drinks well paired with music. Some of the restaurants participating includes Fifth floor, Bourbon Steak, Farallon, RN74, Sushi Ran and many more. Starts at 7pm. Tickets: $140
  • Oakland Art and Soul Festival. It's Oakland's biggest street festival which includes food, art and music. For Saturday's event, Vintage Trouble and Lisa Loeb will be performing along with many others. For food, expect Catfish, Pakoras, BBQ, Jerk chicken and Funnel cakes. 12pm-8pm. Tickets are $15

Sunday - August 4, 2013
  • SF Chef's Brunch by the Bay. This is a one of a kind brunch that I'm really excited about because I won tickets to this. Woohoo! This was one of the hardest contest I've entered on Facebook since I have to gather as many "like"s as possible and my competitor won't back down. This tasting event includes unlimited food and drinks. Restaurants included are: Central Kitchen, M.Y. china, La Mar. Dixie, and many more. Starts at 11am. Tickets: $140
  • Oakland Art and Soul Festival. It's Oakland's biggest street festival which includes food, art and music. For Sunday's event, Johnny Rawls and Leela James will be performing along with many others. For food, expect Catfish, Pakoras, BBQ, Jerk chicken and Funnel cakes. 12pm-6pm. Tickets are $15

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Foodievents until July 28, 2013

Happy Hump day! So I've decided to do a weekly post of the upcoming events for the week. I figured there's so many events coming and sometimes it's hard to keep up.  Hopefully this list can help all of us for our food plans. Happy eating!

Friday - July 26, 2013 
  • Gilroy Garlic Festival starts today. Don't miss the garlic ice cream, garlic bowls and garlic cook-offs. Tickets are $15 online. 
  • Absolut Lunch break. Now this event is totally unique. It's during your lunch break, you get to dance and mingle for 1 hour, they hook you up with a cocktail and a free lunch bag to take back to your work. 1pm - 2pm, secret location in SF. Free with RSVP.

Saturday - July 27, 2013
  • Gilroy Garlic Festival Don't miss the garlic ice cream, garlic bowls and garlic cook-offs. Tickets are $15 online. 
  • SF Chefs Preview Cooking series: "Basil" with Fifth floor's Chef Francis Ang and Franklin Liang at SF Ferry building, 11am. Hosted by Foodie chap's Liam Mayclem. Free
  • Alameda Park Street's Art and Wine Festival. One of my favorite events in Alameda. There's Food, Wine, Beer, Petting Zoo, Bounce house and live music. 10am - 6pm. Free 
  • Urban Wine experience. Celebration of East Bay wineries and restaurants with over 15+ East Bay wineries and restaurants such as: Bocanova, Lungomare, Nido, Plum and Hutch. 1pm - 5pm at Jack London Pavillion. Tickets are $60.
  • Food Social's BBQ Block party. Event to be held at The New Parish in Oakland. Includes 18 hour smoked meats, fried catfish and artisan mac and cheese. 1pm - 7pm, $5 with free beer (while supplies last)

Sunday - July 28, 2013
  • Gilroy Garlic Festival  Don't miss the garlic ice cream, garlic bowls and garlic cook-offs. Also for today, Top chef Carla Hall from ABC's The Chew will be hosting a garlic showdown plus a cooking demo. Tickets are $15 online. 
  • Alameda Park Street's Art and Wine Festival. One of my favorite events in Alameda. There's Food, Wine, Beer, Petting Zoo, Bounce house and live music. 10am - 6pm. Free 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Dishcrawl adventure in the Island

It was my first. First time to host a dishcrawl. Probably my first time doing anything like this. It took me more than a month of planning, talking, emailing, researching, tweeting and facebooking and finally the day has arrived. Dishcrawl time and what better place to do it is in my hometown, Alameda. What the heck is Dishcrawl anyway? It's a fun social experience where diners go to 4 different restaurants in one night and taste specialty dishes from each restaurant. It's like a pub crawl but with food.

First stop: Angela's Bar and Bistro

It was a night full of amazing food, great conversations, new friends and a little bit of Bacon.
I know that I've learned my lesson from the last Dishcrawl to pace myself but sometimes it's just hard to control yourself especially if there are chicken wings, mac and cheese, bacon caramel bread pudding and so much more infront of you.

Crawling to our second stop

There were 40 of us dishcrawlers who met at Angela's Bistro and Bar for our first stop. I chose this restaurant as the first stop since I know they have a great bar, nice ambiance and it's located near the historic Alameda Theater. Not to mention, they've already won Best in Alameda, Best Chef and Best Prix-Fixe menu before in Alameda magazine.

Once people checked in, I've asked them to write their names on a sticker as well as their final meal they want to eat on earth. For me, it was a nice and crispy Pork Belly with a lot of fat! It's the final meal so I don't care about calories and Lipitor. I think it helped create conversations as well as connections. The popular meals I saw were oysters, bacon and cheesecake. The first meal we had at Angela's was a trio of meatball slider, their house salad and Lobster Arancini. I thought it was pretty decent. I loved the Arancini and it's chipotle-tarragon sauce. Their salad was fresh and the dressing was not bad.

Lobster Arancini, House salad and a Meatball slider

Then we crawled to PS eatery also known as Park Street Eatery. This restaurant just opened last November of 2012. I chose this restaurant mainly because they have great comfort food and it's a perfect hang-out place where diners can relax, drink some local beer and eat delicious food.
David, the owner, welcomed us and talked a little bit of history about his background and his restaurant. At this restaurant, we inhaled their famous mac and cheese, their crispy fried chicken wings with buffalo sauce and their drunken beef with garlic noodles. Along with that, the restaurant offered drink specials as well as beer flights for $5 which I thought was a great deal and a good pairing for the food we ate.
I really enjoyed the food here. It is very comforting and the place itself is just perfect for a night out with friends. 

at PS (Park Street) Eatery

Dishcrawl at PS Eatery

Menu for PS Eatery

Two blocks of crawling away from PS eatery we ended up at this cute little restaurant called Sidestreet Pho. This restaurant just opened last February of 2013. When we got there, the husband and wife team, Hanh and Minh shared their stories of inspiration about their restaurant. It was pretty amazing to hear their stories and I think it really added to the experience and even made the food we ate taste better.
I have to say they have the most beautifully plated dishes of the night. We had a seafood salad with grilled calamari and shrimp, sugarcane shrimp and their wok-fried clear noodle with meat and seafood.
I have one person who is allergic to shellfish and they even made a special dish for him which I thought is great considering all components of this dish contained shellfish. I love all of it. Even though I was almost full coming here, I finished my plate and enjoyed it.

Owners, Minh and Hanh talked about their inspiration for their restaurant

Most beautiful dish of the night from Sidestreet Pho

For our last and final stop we ended up next door at Cafe Q. They have been opened for a year now since January of 2012. Their food is great and their desserts are even better. I can probably say the best in the island. As the dishcrawlers sat down I gave them a surprise chunky treat from our friends from Pave Consulting. We all got to take home a sample of their bacon caramel popcorn. I thought it was a nice token for this dishcrawl plus they get to taste this addicting snack. Once we've all settled, Jesse Branstetter who is a part owner of the restaurant talked to us about his background and details about the restaurant and how he got involved. Our surprise guest Minh, from Sidestreet Pho was also there since he is a part owner of the restaurant. The last meal we had was their orange panna cotta, caramelized banana cake and bacon caramel bread pudding. They were all amazing. The crowd favorite was the bacon caramel bread pudding. We definitely ended on a sweet and salty note with our bellies full.

The killer dessert: Bacon Caramel Bread Pudding

Orange Panna Cotta and Caramelized Banana cake

All in all, it was a great event. Most restaurants I chose were new and I know they serve great food. I want people to try it and discover how great they are and hopefully come back to try more dishes from them.

Me with Jesse and Minh of Cafe Q

To see more photos from the event check out the Dishcrawl Oakland FB page.

Also, check out the articles published about this Dishcrawl:
Berkleyside Nosh
Alameda Journal

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Corned Beef Sinigang! Your Feast for St. Patrick's Day

 St. Patrick's day is just around the corner. Yet another reason to drink beer, wear green and eat corned beef. Although when I did my research, people from Ireland don't really eat corned beef and cabbage. Wiki notes that it just became popular in the US after Irish immigrants ate corned beef instead of pork. Probably it's cheaper back then but because of that, corned beef is always associated with St. Patrick's day

Corned beef is a salt cured beef product which is marinated in different spices. It is one of my favorite dishes when I was growing up. My understanding of corned beef was always the canned meat that you fry with onions, tomatoes and potatoes served with garlic rice and topped with egg. I eat that for breakfast at least once a week back home. When I came here in the US, that's really when I tried the real thing which is totally different. No comment on which one I prefer.

The first time I've eaten Corned Beef Sinigang was back in the Philippines in this restaurant called Sentro 1771 (Check their menu and see what other amazing food they are coming up with). You can say it inspired me to make this dish. I didn't really know what to expect but when I tasted it, it works. Sinigang is a tamarind based soup and usually uses pork or shrimp. The sour component works well with the salty taste of the corned beef. The chili added that extra kick that will make you want to stuff more rice in your mouth.

Here's what you need:

  • 2-3 lbs. of Corned beef. (Got mine from Trader Joes)
  • 1 Cabbage (cut in quarters then halved)
  • 1 lb. of Green beans/Haricots verts
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 medium Onion (quartered)
  • 3 Chili Peppers such as Jalapeno or Serrano
  • 1 package of Sinigang mix (I used Sinigang with Taro/Gabi but you can use any) Found at your Asian Supermarket
  • 1 tbsp. of Fish sauce

 1. First, cut the beef into 2 inch cubes.

2. In a large pot, boil the meat in 4 cups of water or until all meat is submerged. Add onions and tomatoes. You don't really have to be particular when chopping the onions and tomatoes since it will be really soft and we will strain the soup later anyways. We just want the flavor of it for the broth.

3. Simmer for about 2 hours. Once the meat is tender, add the Sinigang soup mix and simmer for another 15 minutes.

4. Transfer the meat into the serving dish (We are not done yet we just want to separate the meat and the veggies so that it's easy to mix in the pot). Put the cabbage first and cook for 5 minutes. Take it out and arrange together with the meat. Then cook your green beans for 2 minutes. Take it out and transfer to your serving dish. Add a little bit of water to the pot if needed. Add fish sauce to your liking. Strain the sauce and pour over your serving dish. Serve with rice.

Tips: To properly enjoy this, it's best served with steamed rice and a fish sauce. Spoon over some of the soup over the rice and drizzle some fish sauce over the meat and the rice.

If you are planning to store some of it, it's better to separate the soup from the meat and veggies so that the veggies won't be over cooked when reheating. Microwave the meat and soup then just add the veggies.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fremont Diner - A Sonoma Pit Stop

Me and my wife only have 3 hours to spare in Sonoma so I have to think of a way to make the most out of it. Two spots came into my mind: Fremont Diner and Cornerstone. I've read about Fremont Diner on magazines and online publications and the reviews were great. And so, we drove 49 miles to Sonoma to check this place out.

Looking from the outside it doesn't seem that much. It looks like an ordinary diner and the signage appears old. When you step inside though, it's far from ordinary. It feels like your in an antique fair. It definitely has character. You'll notice rusted decor, classic posters, vintage cabinets and they even use county fair drinking jars for water. The tables are wooden picnic tables similar to those in your local parks but it's painted in a blue-greenish color. It feels like your eating outdoors which is basically true since the dining area is outside and is covered with a tent. The tent is somewhat transparent which is nice given that it's right beside a vineyard. The place is also fit for families. There's ample amount of space for the little ones to wonder. So we can say that the ambiance is great now I'm excited to taste if the food is legit.

Looking at the menu, you'll notice that it's dominantly Southern comfort food with a California-Mexican influence. There were Biscuits and Gravy, Shrimp and Grits, Hangtown Fry and Huevos Rancheros to name a few. Our server suggested Chicken and Waffles and the Black Pepper Brisket Hash. And so we listened, and both were amazing! I was surprised with the amount of chicken. There are 4 pieces of meat which I think makes the dish share-able. The waffle was okay but the chicken was the star.  It was crispy on the outside and perfectly moist on the inside. The seasoning was spot on as well. My favorite though was the smoked black pepper brisket hash. The meat was amazing. It's smoky, peppery and very flavorful. It comes with a sunny side up fried egg, some sage and caramelized onions and potatoes. The combination is just perfect. They also serve Four Barrel coffee which is refillable. That really added up and scored more points on my book.

I just love this restaurant. Their menu even showcased the local farms that supplies their food. They also have a backyard farm where we actually saw their chickens eating baguettes. That probably explains why the eggs and the chicken were delicious. Can't get any fresher than that. I must say, I highly recommend this place. If you are ever in the Napa - Sonoma area, this is a must-eat restaurant. Start your day here before heading out to the wineries, or maybe go after being intoxicated. I think it has a lot to offer and I'd drive 49 miles again to eat at this restaurant.

Fremont Diner
2698 Fremont Drive, Sonoma, CA

Friday, January 11, 2013

Rosamunde opens in Oakland

Nuernberger bratwurst - Savory pork sausage with sweet peppers and grilled onions

It was a sausage fest last Wednesday night in Oakland. Rosamunde has finally arrived on the other side of the bay and people got excited about it. This is their 4th location ( 2 in SF, 1 in Brooklyn) and I'm glad I don't have to cross the bay to get some fine sausages. The restaurant is right beside my favorite sausage shop, Taylor's. It's where I get my Longanisa and Pork belly fix. I even heard a rumor that you can buy any sausage at Taylor's and their next door neighbor will cook it for you.

45 minute sausage line

Their opening party was a success. I didn't expect that it's going to be that packed. Average wait time to get your sausages is about 45 minutes. I guess people got really excited and can't wait till the next day to beat the crowd including myself. Their sausages were amazing and you can choose 2 toppings to go with it for $6. That night they were featuring 2  beers from Linden Street Brewery for just $1. Aside from that they also have about 16 beers on tap.

Rosamunde is a great addition to the neighborhood. I have to say, Old Oakland is going to be big this year.  Miss Ollie's recently opened as well which gives the place some Caribbean flair, there's Cosecha which serves amazing authentic Mexican food, Borgo Italia opened a few months back and local shops like Umami mart. I love what's happening in Oakland and I'm glad I work just a couple blocks up.  

Wild boar sausage with apples, cranberries and spice

Rosamunde Sausage and Grill
911 Washington Street
inside Swan's Marketplace
Oakland, CA 94607

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Benchmark Pizzeria

Great staff of Benchmark Pizzeria

Here are the photos I took at this cute little pizzeria in Kensington for an article for Berkleyside. Here's the link:

I'll let the photos do the talking.

beer and wine on tap

900 F

Bacon. Brussels sprouts

Lovely couple Peter and Melissa of Benchmark Pizzeria

I never knew Kensington existed before I came to this restaurant. It's right between Berkeley and Richmond. If for any reason I need to go to this city, Benchmark would be a good one.