Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Danny's Fried Chicken

When driving back from Lafayette, I decided to take the Scenic Byway of Highway 182. When passing through Morgan City, I was struck by the motto of Danny's Fried Chicken - It'll Make You Smile!

Challenge accepted!

The chicken was delicious - very juicy and flavorful with a bite of spice. There was even a good crunch to the crust.

I admit that I did smile!

The mashed potatoes tasted like they were out of a box, though.

All in all, I give it a thumbs up!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Gourmet Carousel - San Francisco

Prior to Jennie's last show at the Gough Street Playhouse, we went out to Gourmet Carousel. I hear you asking, "Haven't you had enough Chinese food?" My answer is, "Bรบ!"

They started us off with some chicken and corn soup along with an appetizer that contained eight pot stickers - we must have looked like we were hungry. These were some of the best I've had this trip but they only had soy sauce for dipping.

They are known for their seafood, so I went for the Roasted Prawns with Salt and Pepper.

Very messy but licking the spices from my fingers was not only delicious  but required for cleanliness.

Brian had the Braised Short Ribs. Very tasty but very little meat. 

It was an authentic meal for a very good price and I'd definitely recommend it.  

Sourdough I have known and loved

I'm a bread hound. If I could live on (good) bread and water, I would definitely give it a try. While out here in the San Francisco Bay Area (home of the wild yeast Lactobacillus sanfrancisco), I have eaten nearly a loaf of sourdough bread a day.

I started my visit with a stop by Safeway. Unfortunately, at the time of night that my plane landed all they had was Semifreddi's. While their rustic is good, what was still soft was the sour batard and it doesn't have the tang I was craving. It is a nice, dense, chewy bread, though, so I mainly used it for sandwiches.

At Arizmendi's on Lakeshore, I tried the city sour batard. Very good flavor, although the crust was darker and thicker than expected, making it tough to get through to the bread inside. I finally ended up tunneling my way through the loaf and dipping the quite delicious center into lightly salted and peppered olive oil.

So far my favorite (of this trip) has been Raymond's. Made in South San Francisco, it had a wonderful sour bite and was chewy, with a great crust. 

At the Grand Lake Farmer's Market, I picked up a baguette of rustic olive bread from Phoenix Pastafico. It was filled with large black and green olives for lovely, well balanced olive flavor. It made the best tomato sandwiches!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chinese Two Ways

On Friday, Brian and I went to a dive of a Chinese restaurant in San Lorenzo. While not much to speak of atmospherically, it offered some of the best Sesame Chicken I've had in a long time.
Hunan Restaurant is on Hesperian Blvd next to Hot Tropics Private Hot Tub and Sauna Suites. They had a fairly steady stream of folks coming in to pick up orders and are fast and efficient in service.

We started with pot stickers and they were very good. Nice and spicy pork filling and enough of a pan frying so the dough was cooked without becoming tough.

With the aforementioned delicious Sesame Chicken, we also had Garlic Prawns. Very good flavor, although far too many vegetables for my taste.

On Saturday, we took a bigger group to a more upscale Chinese restaurant in Castro Valley. Silver Spoon Gourmet has a very friendly owner, Simon, who sings on Thursdays. It not being Thursday, we just had a nice conversation with him.

We again started with pot stickers, although these were a shade more gelatinous than I prefer. The filling and accompany sauce were both delicious.

I ordered the General Tsou's chicken. I know that it is not particularly authentic Chinese dish but I just love the slightly sweet, spicy flavor of the sauce over the deep fried chicken pieces.

Joanne ordered the Mandarin chicken which was rather spicy but I loved the mushrooms in it.

Brian had the beef with green beans that was a little bland in my opinion but, as he is on a low salt, no sugar diet, it was perfect for him. Unfortunately, my camera flash didn't work, so I don't have a good picture of it.

Stu stuck with his favorite of chicken with vegetables that had a nice garlic sauce but far too many healthy things on the plate.
Definitely a difference in environment, although both restaurants offered lovely meals with lots of delicious food piled high on the plates. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can't go wrong with either establishment.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Grand Lake Farmers Market

I went to the Grand Lake Farmers Market today and was amazed by all the beautiful colors. Here are some pictures:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Anchor Oyster Bar - San Francisco

What visit to San Francisco can be called complete without some clam chowder or Dungeness crab? Not a one!

We were in the Castro today around lunchtime, so we stopped at Anchor Oyster Bar. I used to live up the street from there and would regularly come down to sit at the bar with a cup of chowder and some sourdough bread.

We started the meal the same way with a cup of chowder each and we ended up with three orders of bread, as I was using mine as a spoon. The soup is rich and creamy with lots of clams. After a chilly morning of photographing, it certainly hit the spot.

We both ordered the special - Dungeness crab meat burger on a toasted sesame seed bun with lettuce, tomato, and tarter sauce. Large pieces of lump crab meat on an overfilled sandwich. Just a hint of sauce to hold things together but not overwhelm the delicate taste of the crab.

In short, it was a terrific sandwich and a wonderful meal!

While I think they are a little stingy with the bread, the wait staff is quick and efficient.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Porky's Pizza Palace - San Leandro

There are pizza joints that aspire to be classic pizza places and there are some that have been around long enough to be a classic themselves.

Porky's Pizza Palace in San Leandro is one of the later. It was opened in 1963 and is a landmark on the corner of Manor Boulevard and Farnsworth Street.

We started with cheesy bread which was only okay - the cheese was delicious but the bread could have used some more garlic and butter.

The pizza was wonderful - the crust was the midway point between thin and thick. It was lightly crispy and perfectly chewy. The sauce was well flavored and they were very generous with the toppings. We had black olives and artichoke hearts on ours, Brian had jalapenos and anchovies. The cheese is mozzarella and they aren't stingy with that either.

In short, this is the sort of pizza that I think of when I crave a pie.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Home of Chicken and Waffles - Oakland

I was wandering around downtown Oakland today and ended up at Jack London Square around lunchtime. The picture at left is the Cheemah Mother of the Spirit-Fire monument.

On my way to a BBQ joint, I passed by Home of Chicken & Waffles. As many of my faithful readers know, I'm a sucker for fried chicken, especially when served with waffles.

I ordered Angie's Delight which is the chicken breast with waffle and a side of grits. The chicken was juicy but fairly bland. The waffle was crispy outside and soft inside although it was pretty thin. The grits hit the spot after my chilly morning of walking.

The server was nice and attentive and the food arrived quickly.

This place was a franchise of Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. I've got to say it has nothing on the original - the flavor of Roscoe's chicken alone is waaay better. However, you can't find Roscoe's in Northern California anymore so this is the next best thing.

Of course, dining experiences that requires a moist towelette at the end of the meal is good in my book.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Grubstake - San Francisco

There is a scene in Dark Passage, where Humphrey Bogart hurries from a rail car diner.

That place is now the Grubstake Diner and has even been featured in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Brian and I stopped by for dinner before we went to see Jennie perform in "Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them" with The Custom Made Theatre CompanyShe is starring as Luella in the Bay Area premiere of a comedy by Christopher Durang.

I had the Strike Cheeseburger with seasoned fries. A good burger, it was made better by the thick chocolate shake I had to go with it.

Brian had the turkey burger with onion rings. I thought the onion rings were quite tasty but he didn't have too much to say about his burger.

It is decorated with an eclectic mix of Portugal soccer memorabilia and black and white photographs. Definitely a place to stop by for film noir buffs or those wanting a bit of San Francisco history.

They are also open until 4am, so you can also stop in after a night of drinking and you won't regret it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Prince Dim Sum House

Today is the Chinese New Year and to celebrate the start of the year of the snake we went out for dim sum. Literally meaning "touch the heart," dim sum is the original small-plates cuisine, a series of dumplings and other steamed or fried items - served on small dishes or in bamboo steamers - that are inextricably tied to the experience of "yumcha," or drinking tea.

We went to Prince Dim Sum House on East 14th Street in San Leandro for a very authentic meal. They were very busy but we only had to wait for thirty minutes for a table. The hot tea came out immediately and we enjoyed a toast before the first cart came by with steamed offerings.

We started with steamed dumplings of Pea Sprouts and Shrimp.
After that course, we had some mushrooms stuffed with shrimp that were really good but we ate them before I remembered to pull the camera back out. Luckily, the next cart was one of my favorite with the baked and fried dumplings.

We choose deep fried shrimp balls, Sesame Sweet Rice Dumpling, BBQ pork bun and deep fried shrimp dumplings. All of which were well flavored, although there wasn't much meat in the pork bun.

Then we tried the Shrimp Rice Noodle Rolls and, again, I was too busy eating to take a picture.

We ended the meal with more sesame sweet rice dumplings because they were so darn good.

I definitely recommend, for the non-Chinese speakers, grabbing the paper menu before sitting down. Have the women pushing the carts point out what the items are, especially if you don't want chicken feet or boiled beef tripe.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Prime Spot - Oakland

I went out for steak tonight to a little hole in the wall place on Grand Avenue, up from Lake Merritt. It is next to a nail salon that was incredibly busy at 6:30 on a Saturday night.

It is not much to look at and you would never have pegged it for a steakhouse, in fact you'd think it was actually a Chinese restaurant. I hesitated at the door because the place was empty of customers and all the staff were sitting at the bar. However, the East Bay Express had good things to say about it, so I took a chance.

The menu is all about the meat. My dining companion had had a half slab of ribs at an earlier visit but both of us were in the mood for beef.

I ordered the Rib Eye and it came out beautifully rare. There was a lot of fat around the meat but that just made it tender and delicious. The garlic mashed potatoes were excellent and I did eat one of the broccoli florets.
My business partner's husband had the NY Strip. His meat was cooked to his specification - just pink all the way through - and just what he had been dreaming about. He also had a salad with his but, you know my saying about salads: "Salad isn't food, it is what food eats!"

The waiter warned us at the outset about them losing their liquor license but the meal was still excellent without wine. The prices are also very reasonable, making this a terrific alternative to those high end steak houses where you pay for the rarefied atmosphere.

After dinner, we walked down to Walden Books and spent a lovely time just browsing the new and used books. All and all, it was a great evening.