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

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