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sun is just hot
Posted by mactavish on 2010.08.26 at 11:09
Chinatown Streetfest in Oakland: http://oaklandlocal.com/article/oakland-chinatown-streetfest-promises-weekend-sensory-delights-aug-28-29


Flints, people!

Posted by fattest on 2007.06.15 at 14:45
Hey folks,

There's a new Flints BBQ in Oakland! It's on Bancroft, between Seminary and 73rd. I ate there last night and it was fantastic.

Here's a link to the review of Flints I posted on Yelp.

Get thee to Flints!


Luka's Taproom

Posted by merle_food on 2006.11.10 at 21:15
I have heard raves about Luka's for years now, but never really wanted to go that badly -- it seemed expensive, and quite possibly hyped up. The people who loved it were the people who tend to like expensive things whether they are good or not. But someone else was paying, so, eh, I figured it was worth a try.

We were seated quickly, and then completely ignored. The servers were all standing around chatting. I would say that this was a place where if you did not order a drink you get bad service (as all too many places are), but they had not even asked about drinks. Some ten minutes later someone finally wandered over. (oddly enough, the service miraculously improved after noon hit and all of the tables were full -- probably they just wanted to get rid of us!)

Even with just five tables of people it was very loud. Once the place filled up, it was much worse. My throat was feeling raw towards the end of the meal, because we basically had to shout at each other.

I ordered the "grilled mustard crusted flat iron steak sandwich: on ciabatta w/ caramelized onions, arugula, dijon aioli & fries" because it sounded both interesting and safe. The fries were supposedly a delicacy here, because they have three homemade dipping sauces: chipotle aioli, herbed aioli, and smoked paprika ketchup. Again, everyone raves about the fries here.

The sandwich was pretty disappointing, given the description. Grilled mustard crusted flat iron steak? No. More like rare slices of steak. If there was any crust or grilling, it was on pieces not in my sandwich. Tough to eat and a bit greasy (probably from the aioli), I was not impressed.

But the fries really sealed my impression. I think they were double-fried with some bready coating of some sort, because they had this weird crunchy thing going on, with almost no flavour. The three dipping sauces that were raved about? The aioli ones tasted like.. aioli. Guess that's okay. I'm not big on having whipped oil with my fries, but whatever. The smoked paprika ketchup might impress people who have never had barbecue sauce before, but to me, it really just tasted like sweet barbecue sauce.

Maybe this is a more fun place to be after drinking a lot. Although since the cheapest beer is $4, one would want to drink a lot first before coming here. Between the noise, the poor service, and the bad food, I probably won't return, even if someone else picks up the tab.

2221 Broadway

Great Wave at Kanagawa

Jong Ga House

Posted by ewigweibliche on 2006.11.06 at 13:30
Hi. I'm new to this group. I love eating out and will try anything once. I am especially enthusiastic to find places in the North Oakland greater area since I do not own a car.

Over the weekend, thanks to a friend with a vehicle, some friends and I went to Jong Ga House for Korean food. I am fast discovering this cuisine. This was my second visit to Jong Ga. The decor is strangely comfortable and the staff very friendly. The food is delicious. We had several dishes to share and certainly didn't need to order quite so much food. One friend ordered a sweet pork dish that came with lots of intriguing little side dishes (I do not remember the name of this dish). I ordered kim chee dol sot bab - so very delicious. Spicy and tart from the kim chee, grounded thanks to the rice, and all set off by the fried egg still sizzling in the stone bowl. The best dish of the night was sabu sabu. This dish involved a huge dish of broth with white and green onions and mushrooms boiling on a stove at the table. Then a platter of several more kinds of mushrooms, veggies wrapped in thinly sliced beef, plus tofu, greens and other veggies was delivered. These item are put into the broth and fished out when they've cooked. Once all of the items are eaten, more broth was delivered to top off what had been reduced and fresh noodles were added to create a second course. Sabu Sabu comes family style (about 16.95 per person, 2 person minimum) and the two person platter could easily have fed all four of us. A vegetarian could eat quite well from this dish. At the end of the meal a sweet rice drink was brought out. My companions said that Sahn Maru's drink was much better. I'm going to have to try that place next.

Jong Ga House
372 Grand Ave.


La Bonita Taqueria

Posted by merle_food on 2006.10.20 at 14:00
Ever since biking past here a year or two ago, I have wanted to come, if only for the huevos rancheros. They no longer seem to sell those (although they serve several gringo breakfasts?!), but still, I finally made it up to try out a carne asada burrito.

It was.. okay. The burrito construction was flawed, with all of the meat and beans on one side, and all of the rice and lettuce on the other. Burrito construction seems to be a lost art, unless this is how it is supposed to work. Personally, I prefer more homogenized burritos. They also only had green salsa for the chips, although it looked like there was some salsa fresca in the burrito itself (and I did ask, but was told they had none).

Given how close El Gordo Burrito is, and that it offers free chips and a salsa bar, costs less money, and tastes better, there is not much reason to come here. Well -- they do sell sopas, which makes them the only downtown Oakland place to do so, I believe.

(kinda crossposted to merle_food)

La Bonita Taqueria
2200 Broadway
Mon-Fri 7a-3p, Sat 8a-2p


Sahn Maru Korean BBQ in Temescal

Posted by fattest on 2006.10.04 at 23:12
I've been craving Korean, and my girlfriend took me out to surprise me.

Mmm, I had heavenly kimchi soft tofu soup with pork. Also jun seafood pancake, and bul ko ki bbq beef with all the trimmings, lots of yummy pickles and things. At the end of the meal, we were surprised with a delicious sweet drink made with cinnamon, ginger and brown sugar, garnished with pine nuts and chinese dates. Everything was delicious, and the service was superb.

Price: cheaper than good sushi, pricier than burritos

Sahn Maru Korean BBQ
4315 Telegraph Ave.
(510) 653-3366

Grand Avenue Thai Cuisine

Posted by shellyak on 2006.09.11 at 14:39
Current Mood: blahblah
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merle_/merle_food and I met for lunch today. We had attempted to go to Los Cantaros, but they were insanely loud and busy at 12:45pm on a Monday. In under a minute I gave up and Merle suggested Thai.

I had eaten at the Grand Avenue Thai place once before, but had not been stunned. I thought the food was overpriced, the service was mediocre, and the flavors were pallid. That was dinner, two years ago. I hadn't been back since, despite it being within walking distance of home.

Today's meal was off the lunch menu, which means the pricing structure was more reasonable. There are ten choices each for $6.95 which come with the house salad and rice. Most dishes are your choice of chicken or beef or tofu, or shrimp for an extra charge of $2. The options seem fairly standard. Red curry, yellow curry, stir fried vegetables, some other stuff that sounds like a cross between those. They also offer an appetizer course (which is served with the meal) for $2.

The house salad is shredded cabbage with thinned peanut sauce. It's not at all enticing. There's nothing wrong with the ingredients, so I ate it, but I think they would be better off skipping it since they cannot afford lettuce.

I opted for the yellow curry (no bell peppers) and Merle got the red curry (it had bell peppers). I got chicken and was pleasantly surprised by the curry flavor which permeated the chicken. The potatoes in my curry were undercooked. The curry sauce was thin but flavorful and not as over-rich as some places.

Merle said that "cooked in the curry" taste was absent from the beef curry. I tasted the red curry and the bell pepper flavor was not as overpowering as some times, but it wasn't a great flavor and did not go well with the beef. The sauce was somewhat grainy and tasted vaguely of peanut sauce.

I had opted for the satay appetizer and the beef was nicely grilled, but very chewy. The peanut sauce was in an extremely shallow bowl which made dipping difficult. Merle ate all the nasty cucumbers which accompanied the satay and politely abstained from the peanut sauce so I could re-dip my skewer. (I suppose I looked rather pathetic.) The skewers are extremely tiny and certainly not worth a dollar each. Given that experience, I would recommend against paying for additional options.

Drinks start at $1.95 for Thai iced tea. Herbal teas cost more than their beers.

Overall, the food was decent. There isn't anything wrong with the place. They have average service, decent food, the prices are a only a bit high (though they would be ludicrous at dinner when everything costs extra or if you were ordering beverages). We spent $10 each with tax and 15% tip.

There are worse choices, but unless you live or work nearby, there are inevitably going to be better choices elsewhere. Zero parking available on the street because of the Round Table Pizza (with weekday lunch buffet) is next door. There are no lots nearby either. There is also an (untried) Ethiopian restaurant and a Korean restaurant (which still looks like an opium den from a James Bond movie).

I will be going back to Champa Gardens before I return here, even though I have to drive to Champa Gardens.

Grand Avenue Thai Cuisine
384 Grand Ave
open M-Su, 11a-3p & 5p-10p (no lunch on Sunday)


Manila Garden

Posted by merle_food on 2006.09.05 at 16:00
Tags: ,
I had been to Manila Garden once before, but we had ordered things not on the standard menu, so I didn't feel it was worthy of reporting here. This time, though, I ordered off of the "business lunch" menu.

A business lunch is salad, soup, eggroll, and a dish. They range from $4 (!) to $6, depending mostly on the type of meat. Today, I went with the Mongolian chicken, something I had never seen before (Mongolian beef is common, but not chicken).

The salad was good, with some crushed peanuts and a sesame-based salad dressing: light and crisp. The soup (hot'n'sour), though, was quite a disappointment. Normally I eat even the worst of these soups, but it was just kind of tasteless. And strangely enough, there are no condiments on the table. I'm sure some vinegar and pepper would have helped it out, but throughout the restaurant, none of the tables had any. I guess that's nice, in the "purist" sense, but I wish the soup had been better.

The Mongolian chicken was a tad oily (as expected), but spicy and quite tasty: a great rendition. The portion size was quite generous. Even though there was a lot of rice, there was a ton of food. I cannot report on the eggroll, because I was full after the dish (and eggrolls are rarely a cause for great excitement).

$4.25 plus tax/tip for more food than I should have eaten, definitely a good deal. I'll have to return to try the even cheaper broccoli with garlic sauce.

Manila Garden
372 12th St
Sun-Thu 11a-9p, Fri-Sat 11a-9:30p


Champa Garden

Posted by merle_food on 2006.08.31 at 17:00
Tags: , , ,
It's not downtown, but I got a ride, and tried out Champa Garden for lunch. It's a recently popularized Thai/Laotian place sitting in the middle of a very residential area.

We ordered #3, the fried rice ball salad, because everyone raves about it. Honestly, I thought it was only okay. It tasted like pork fried rice that you wrap in lettuce leaves. Everyone else loved it, though.

Based on a picture on the wall, we also went for #1, the fried spring rolls appetizer. This was great, and very unique. Much like Vietnamese imperial rolls (without shrimp), but you are given lettuce, cilantro, and mint, and are supposed to wrap the rolls before dipping them in the sauce. The sauce itself wasn't quite nuoc mam (fish sauce), but was less oily and more sugary. Wrapping the rolls was an amazing idea. Maybe Vietnamese restaurants would be willing to bring out some lettuce leaves, too... The price is a bit higher ($7), but it seemed like we got twice as many rolls, too.

The other two dishes were curries (both ordered "not too spicy", much to my sorrow). The deep-fried catfish curry was pretty good, and I liked the curry-covered crunchy bits, but nobody else cared for it.. because the other curry really shone. It was the "mango paradise", a shrimp and mango curry. I'm not big on shrimp curry, and fruit in curry sounds freakish, but mango and curry are just incredible together. I wish I had known that years ago.

They have a huge karaoke sound system set up, and apparently are packed on weekend evenings. But it's well worth a trip out of the way to this not-going-to-be-hidden-for-long restaurant before they get to be too popular.

Champa Garden
2102 8th Ave (at 21st St)
Tue-Sun 10a-9p


Prospect Park

Posted by merle_food on 2006.08.22 at 10:00
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I have stayed away from Prospect Park in the past. It's one of those dirty looking diners, open for greasy breakfasts and greasy lunches. Once, in the distant past, someone convinced me to try a cajun salmon burger here. It was pretty disgusting, and I never returned. That was almost ten years ago.

But I needed something fast, and wanted it to be inexpensive. They had a "1/4 pounder with fries and drink" for just $4, so I decided to give it one more shot.

Honestly, it was fairly decent. The burger was tasty for a short-order fried hamburger, and they added just the right amount of each topping. (the cheese, an extra $.50, was not worth it) The fries were small and a tad greasy, but were good. And I was in and out in under five minutes.

I might return. A lot of their fare is quite greasy, and I would never touch their breakfasts given what I could see on other tables, but their burgers are decent enough. I would suggest taking the food to go, though. The inside really is your standard dusty, grimy diner, with that sort of clientele (only more urban).

(crossposted to merle_food)

Prospect Park
1633 Broadway
Mon-Sat 11a-9p

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