Slicer Pizzeria

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It feels like the East Bay is always opening another pizza place.  Slicer is brought to us by the same owners of Pizzaiolo and Boot and Shoe (see post HERE).

A yummy selection of slices with super fresh ingredients.  The slices are different than Pizzaiolo with a flatter, but still flavorful crust.

There a lot of fresh watermelons and melons on the counter when you walk in so its a no brainer to order an aqua fresca here.  The watermelon is refreshing and sweet. 

A good nibble on the crust showed that this slice is definitely noshable.  A good combination of crispiness along with the right amount of chewiness made this crust delicious.  The sausage slice was topped with housemade sausage, peppers, and red onions.  Yum!

The eggplant slice had a small sprinkling of mint.  I would have never thought to put mint on a pizza, but it was welcome fresh taste.  You can never go wrong with a plain slice of cheese pizza.  At Slicer, its pretty delicious and satisfying.

Address:                    Slicer Pizzeria
                                   4395 Piedmont Ave
                                   Unit A

                                   Oakland, CA

Type:                          pizza

Popular chomps:        panna cotta
                                   agua fresca 
                                   cheese pizza

Chomp worthy:          agua fresca
                                   cheese pizza
                                   sausage pizza
                                   eggplant pizza       


Bakery Mexico

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Bakery Mexico gets straight to the point.  It's a Mexican bakery.  The cakes and pastries are extremely popular here.

Lines here are a regular sight.  Most people are lining up for cakes, tortas, or both.

Lots of tortas (sandwiches) to choose from!

I was pretty excited to see torta de tamale (tamale sandwich) as one of the specials.  I had been trying to hunt one of these down forever.  I'm not quite sure what I was expecting knowing full well tamales have a good amount of masa, but it tastes like what it sounds like.  A tamale between some bread.  The meat is a little on the skimpy side, but the masa has a good amount of fluffiness to it.  Definitely would have helped to add some sauce or more meat.  A fun find.   

I will always have a special place in my heart for the cubano (niurka) torta at La Casita Chilanga (see post HERE), but the cubano at Bakery Mexico is a close runner up. 
Possibly the prettiest torta I've seen.  Layer and layers of fatty, delicious meats and other good stuff.  Egg, hot dogs, ham, beef, and avocado make up all the fixins'.  Its delicious without being overly oily.  The bread, however, could be better.

Address:                 Mexico Bakery
                                2811 Story Rd
                                San Jose, CA
Type:                       Mexican

Popular chomps:     cubano
                                 carne asada torta

Chomp worthy:        cubano   


Nuoc Mia Vien Dong 2

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Nuoc Mia Vien Dong will probably be known as the thick green waffle place to me from now on because I'll never be able to remember the name or pronounce it correctly.  I often pick up a Vietnamese green waffle for a quick snack at the Century Mall in San Jose when I'm in the area, but now I can go across the street and pick up an even better one!

These Vietnamese waffles (bánh kẹp lá dứa) aren't like regular waffles.  The standard one is green in color and coconut flavor (pandan).  Here the waffles come in 4 flavors: taro, pandan, strawberry, and durian.  Each waffle is made to order and they are fantastic.  Probably the best pandan waffle I've ever had.  The chewiness of the waffle reminds me of one of my favorite Hong Kong street snacks (eggettes).  They have a soft chewy inside with a slightly crispy exterior.  The batter here is especially delicious because it has bits of coconuts mixed in.

Check out the fluffy, sponginess of the waffle with shreds of coconut.

Another great item they have here is sugarcane juice.  Plus they make it fresh, which is a must!  Even better here, is their flavored sugarcane juice, which was a first for me, as I usually drink mine plain over ice.  They offer two flavors: strawberry and kumquat.  Being strawberry season (sort of), I went with the strawberry sugarcane juice.  Refreshing and sweet, it was a nice thirst quencher on a hot day.

Address:                 Nuoc Mia Vien Dong 2
                                979 Story Rd
                                Ste 7096
                                San Jose, CA
Type:                       Vietnamese

Popular chomps:      pandan waffle
                                 taro waffle
                                 durian waffle
                                 strawberry sugarcane juice

Chomp worthy:        pandan waffle
                                 strawberry sugarcane juice     



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I've been waiting to try Cassava for a long time now, but after having experienced rejection and long lines at Outerlands (see post HERE) I waited until after their expansion.  Having heard that this place gets crowded during weekend brunch, I was pleasantly surprised to see it only half full around 11a on a weekend.

The space is warm and open with lots of entertaining reading materials in case you want to enjoy a meal solo.

Quiche at Cassava-  2013 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats
The best known item here is the quiche.  Mixed with a medley of veggies (mushrooms, zucchini, etc), its divine.  Buttery crust ( but not overly rich) with custardy insides.

Chorizo hash bowl made with fresh chunks of vegetables and nice runny egg.  Its not all super healthy - chunks of chorizo makes this a carnivore dish.  I wished it was a little more spicy or had some more chorizo.

Having been to Japan, this "Japanese breakfast" wasn't a new concept to me, but it was nice to see it available somewhere in the city.  Simple and comforting, this healthy breakfast had some of my favorites - natto (yum!), marinated pickled cucumbers, and seared ahi tuna.  Not exactly sure what to do with the runny egg, but I ended putting globs of the runny egg on top of my rice.  It worked well.  The miso soup was subtle and filled with plenty of lotus root and enoki mushrooms.

Address:                 Cassava
                                3519 Balboa St.
                                San Francisco, CA
Type:                       brunch/American

Popular chomps:     Japanese breakfast
                                 liege waffle plate
                                 chorizo hash bowl

Chomp worthy:        Japanese breakfast


American Grilled Cheese Kitchen

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The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen is so popular its put its second outpost in a quiet corner of the Mission.  Beer and grilled cheese is a great way to enjoy the sunny weather. 

Two favorite cheesy things all wrapped into one bundle of joy:  mac and cheese, and grilled cheese.  This carby goodness is rich, but I could devour this sandwich in one sitting.  The extra addition of bacon gave this sandwich a bonus decadence.

Fontina, gruyere, roasted wild mushrooms, roasted potatoes, melted leeks, caramelized onions, thyme butter on levain bread.  Love the earthiness and cheesiness of this sandwich!  This place toasts sandwich to absolute perfection.

The sweet and spicy Brussel sprouts were a tad soggy and oily.  I did like the sweet flavor and some of the leaves had a nice crispiness.

Address:                 American Grilled Cheese Kitchen
                                2400 Harrison St.
                                San Francisco, CA
Type:                       sandwiches

Popular chomps:     mousetrap
                                 mushroom gruyere
                                 brussel sprouts
                                 mac and cheese grilled cheese

Chomp worthy:        mac and cheese grilled cheese
                                 mushroom gruyere      


Fifty fifty coffee and tea

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Fifty fifty coffee and tea is a cafe that bridges San Francisco's love of fancy coffee and its fondness for milk tea.

I love the minimalistic design.  Its nice to find a place that serves pour over coffee in this neighborhood.

Along with the minimalistic design comes a very simple menu. 

I'm one of those people who have never gone gaga for milk tea even though I'm Asian.  The salted caramel milk tea, however, did bring out my curiosity.  I was really hoping for that salty bite in a sweet, creamy slurp, but I only got plain milk tea taste.  Didn't see much of a correlation to salted caramel in this drink.  Really cool concept though, just didn't execute well. 

Although the blended strawberry hot chocolate says hot, really its served cold.  I was thinking it would come out like Serendipity's frozen hot chocolate, but its more of a very liquidy shake.  It doesn't taste like chocolate at all.  Oddly, it reminded me of Nesquik's strawberry flavored milk (same color too!) with some fresh strawberries blended in.  Pretty good, but just wished there was some chocolate flavor to it.

Address:                Fifty fifty coffee and tea 
                               3157 Geary Blvd
                               San Francisco, CA    
Type:                      coffee/cafe

Popular chomps:    honey coconut milk tea
                                salted caramel milk tea
                                blended strawberry hot chocolate                                

Chomp worthy:       blended strawberry hot chocolate        


Phil's Fish Market & Eatery

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Phil's Fish Market & Eatery is a bit of a drive from San Francisco.  Almost a two hour drive, its shamefully not the farthest I've driven for food. 

There are so many seafood choices here.  Not only do they have a huge regular menu, but along an extensive list on the white board right before you walk into the restaurant, where you can find the lobster roll listed.

Besides seafood, this area is most known for artichokes.  Driving south you pass many places artichokes cooked many ways.  You can never go wrong with deep fried artichoke hearts.  The batter is golden and crispy with a steaming hot fresh artichoke heart.  It comes with a garlic ranch sauce, which makes this dish even better. 

The cioppino comes with a side of salad, which usually would be good noshing for me, but I needed to save room for all the seafood.  Plus, who eats salad when you are feasting on all this seafood?

The thing to get here is the cioppino.  There are two sizes available.  One recommended for two people ($45) and one regular size.  The regular size is huge and I think a good shareable size, especially if you plan on ordering more things.  Considering the seaside location, I had a higher hopes for the cioppino.  I'm not exactly sure why this cioppino isn't rave worthy.  There is a decent amount of seafood (fish, mussels, crab, scallops, etc), but the taste of the broth was just average.  Not the best cioppino I've ever had.  I prefer the cioppino at Anchor's Oyster Bar (see post HERE) in the city, which makes my mouth water just thinking about it.  Phil's get an okay from me.

By itself, the toast was nothing special, but as a medium for sopping up the cioppino it proved its worth.

I love clam chowder and I order it almost everywhere.  And with a bread bowl, even better!  Surprisingly, this bowl was a little disappointing.  Took a couple digs around with the spoon to find a clam.  Plus, I couldn't help but taste the roux in the clam chowder so it gave the soup a flour taste.  Also, the bread was barely toasted.   

I was pretty excited to discover another lobster roll in the Bay Area I haven't sunk my teeth into yet.  A little skimpy on the lobster and dressed in a little too much seasoning.  Add in the soggy bread and I was not a happy camper.

Address:                   Phil's Fish Market & Eatery
                                  7600 Sandholdt Rd.
                                  Moss Landing, CA 

Type:                         seafood

Popular chomps:       cioppino
                                   lobster roll
                                   clam chowder
                                   fish & chips
                                   fried artichoke

Chomp worthy:          fried artichoke     


Halloween M&Ms

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Halloween is almost here.  Well all the decorations are starting to come up and that means candy time!  Target exclusive M&Ms are celebrating the holiday with special flavors - Pumpkin Spice and Candy Corn.

The pumpkin spice M&Ms are still predominately chocolatey with just a tiny hint of pumpkin flavor, mostly in the aftertaste.

The white chocolate candy corn M&Ms are pretty sweet.  It does taste a little like candy corn, but mostly reminds me of frosting.

Goat Hill Pizza

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Pizza Monday!  Goat Hill Pizza is a popular San Francisco pizzeria that has made its home in a couple neighborhoods with Potrero being its original location.  Mondays are THE day here where they offer a $12 all you can eat pizza and salad for $10.95.

The Monday buffet here has been on my to do list, but this time around I took the pizza to go.  The special combination is similar to a supreme pizza.  Topped with salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, ground beef, mushrooms, green bell peppers, green onions, black olives and garlic, it smelled so good when I opened the box.  The slices aren't super thin.  The thickness is more along the lines of a regular pizza slice like Round Tables or Pizza Hut.  Not sure if it was the massive amounts of meat toppings, but the slices were greasy and soggy.  So much so that the middle of the pizza ended up in a mushy, salty, mess and had to be scraped off with a fork.  Their claim to fame sourdough crust did have a nice tang to it, but overall wasn't a wow factor like Little Star's (see post HERE).  I know not every pizza can be as great as Pizzeria Delfina (see post HERE) or Pizzetta 211 (see post HERE), but I can't understand the huge following for this pizza.

Address:                    Goat Hill Pizza
                                   300 Connecticut St.
                                   San Francisco, CA
Type:                          pizza

Popular chomps:       special combination
                                   Hilda's Favorite

Chomp worthy:          nothing     


Marianne's Ice Cream

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Marianne's Ice Cream is one of those lovable ice cream parlors that people flock to.  Its throwback feel and unique flavors remind me of Pollyanne's in San Francisco (see post HERE).  Its dizzy array of flavors from sesame to ginger, there is something here to satisfy everyone. 

A scoop of macadamia nut and a scoop of macapuno (baby coconut) is like a tropical dream.  The macadamia nut scoop surprisingly had a good amount of macadamia nuts.  The macapuno was a little more subtle than I liked, but still not bad.

Pistachio nut was a little artificially tasting and probably the least favorite scoop of the four flavors.  However, the horchata was amazing!  I'm not a huge lover of horchata, but this scoop was milky, cinnamony and ultra smooth.  It reminds me of cinnamon toast crunch!

Address:                    Marianne's Ice Cream
                                   1020 Ocean St.
                                   Santa Cruz, CA
Type:                          ice cream

Popular chomps:        horchata
                                    Mexican chocolate
                                    baby coconut (macapuno)

Chomp worthy:           horchata     


Verve Coffee Roasters

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Verve Coffee Roasters is the Blue Bottle, Ritual Roasters, (insert popular SF coffee here) of Santa Cruz.  Like all cult following coffee houses, there is a long line, a small display of yummy pastries, pour over coffees, and square payment.

The bowl of soul is a popular options amongst non coffee drinkers or those who are looking for something other than coffee.  A concoction of tea, soy milk, and honey with a thick layer of foam.  Its sweet and soothing, but not my cup of tea.

The black coffee is always my standard drink of choice.  Verve's coffee is strong with a brisk aftertaste.  It reminds me a little of Ritual Roaster's coffee.  The best thing about this Verve location is walking a couple blocks to the beach and enjoying a cup while watching the surfers ride the waves.

Address:                    Verve Coffee Roasters
                                   816 41st Ave
                                   Santa Cruz, CA
Type:                          coffee/cafe

Popular chomps:        bowl of soul

Chomp worthy:           coffee    


Paradiso Delicatessen & Restaurant

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I feel like these days I'm leaning more to going back to the basic, simple foods, especially sandwiches.  Paradiso Deli reminds me a little of Molinari's (see post HERE) in the city.  An old school Italian deli that serves up home cooked lasagne, raviolis, and sandwiches. 

The one thing that drew me here was the meatball sandwich.  The sandwich is huge and its literally made up of one meatball.  Yes, just one giant meatball that squashed a little so its sandwich ready.  Topped with fried peppers, provolone cheese, and super soft bread, this reminds me of a kicked up version of Subway's meatball sandwich, which is not a bad thing because I love their meatball sandwiches.  Its bite after bite of sloppy, messy goodness.  Think sloppy joe of meatball sandwiches and grab a stack full of napkins. 

I'm a sucker for raviolis.  Its an embarrassing fact to say that I really love the canned beef ravioli from Chef Boyardee.  These raviolis are handmade and are plumped full of beef.  Love the soft texture of the raviolis.  Paradiso is perfect for someone like me who can never decide on one thing because you can actually get a combo of ravioli and lasagne.  I'm not quite sure, but the sauce from the meatball, ravioli, and lasagne may be the same or at least very similar.  You can never go wrong with Garfield's favorite food.  Here the layers of pasta are a little firmer so it doesn't fall apart and you are able to get a good bite in with lots of layers.  It has a nice crusty top going for it as well.  While the food here isn't mindblowing, it is good comfort food. 

Address:                   Paradiso Delicatessen & Restaurant
                                  791 Auzerais Ave
                                  San Jose, CA
Type:                         Italian/sandwich

Popular chomps:       lasagne
                                  meatball sandwich

Chomp worthy:         meatball sandwich