Chromatic Coffee

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South Bay may not be an area that comes to mind when thinking about cultish coffee, but Chromatic Coffee pours up some delicious coffee.  Previously in the Barefoot Roaster's location (also some really great coffee), this coffee house serves all the favorites: gibraltar, pour overs, and mochas.

While all the coffee are stellar here, its the coconut mocha that is the standout.  Not just your average super sweet coconut syrup mixed with some chocolate.  This coconut tastes like it came out of a freshly cut coconut.  There is very little coffee taste so this cup tastes more like coconut chocolate milk, but its so delicious that even non coffee drinkers have to agree its worth a trip.

Address:                Chromatic Coffee
                               5237 Stevens Creek Blvd
                               San Jose, CA
Type:                      coffee

Popular chomps:    coconut mocha

Chomp worthy:      coconut mocha      


Scoop Microcreamery

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The novelty of liquid nitrogen made ice cream is making its way down the Peninsula.  First Cyro Cream in Burlingame (see post HERE) and now in Palo Alto's Scoop.

The catch here is that while the ice cream is made with liquid nitrogen, its not made to order.  Instead its made in large batched and then displayed like regular ice cream in the cases.  I found it to be a little disappointing, especially when noting the batches have pools of melted ice cream in them.

Both the bourbon vanilla with salted caramel (top) and maple bacon crunch (bottom) were really soft in consistency.  Almost too much, that some of it started forming an ice cream soup.  Both flavors were just ok and although I can get a little impatient while waiting for Smitten's liquid nitrogen ice cream in the city (see post HERE), I'm now learning that this type of flavor and ice cream is not easily duplicated.

Address:                Scoop Microcreamery
                               203 Univerisity Ave.
                               Palo Alto, CA

Type:                      ice cream

Popular chomps:    bourbon vanilla

Chomp worthy:       nothing        


Pieology Pizzeria

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Pieology Pizzeria adds to the growing list of popular Southern California chains that have migrated up North and made its home in the Bay Area.  Similar to Build Pizzeria in Berkeley (see post HERE), this pizzeria works as an assembly line so you customize your own pizza.  This very affordable ($7.95 a pizza) pizza place lets you customize to your heart's content.  You can add as many toppings as you like with the fixed price.

They don't have a standard margherita pizza, but you can easily build your own - red sauce, fresh mozzarella, chopped basil and olive oil drizzle.  The chopped basil gives a nice freshness to the delicious pizza.  The crust is super thin, which reminds me a lot of a flatbread.
My wild creation pizza was herb butter, chopped mushrooms, sausage, meatballs, jalapenos, artichoke, green peppers, olives, and chopped garlic.  Not bad, but even with all the toppings I think it needed some more flavor.  Its definitely something that you need to work with to figure out a flavorful combination.

I was really pleased to see that even with the plentiful toppings the pizza stayed very crisp from tip to crust.

Address:                 Pieology Pizzeria
                                1095 E. Brokaw Rd.
                                San Jose, CA
Type:                       pizza

Popular chomps:     herb butter spread

Chomp worthy:       herb butter spread    


Genova Delicatessen

Pin It Now! In the East Bay, Genova Delicatessen is legendary.  Long lines are the norm here all day, every day.  After pulling a ticket at the counter expect to wait at least an hour.  Anything under 30 minutes, consider yourself lucky!

Fresh made raviolis with the option of meat or cheese (I chose meat) are lovely pillows of pasta and meat.  Make sure you use the garlic bread to sop up all the delicious meat sauce.

A side of salad comes with the combo, which I find an afterthought and rather save room in my tummy for the sandwich.

In an Italian deli, you can never go wrong with the Italian combo.  Lots of thinly sliced meats (sliced upon ordering) between two slices of dutch crunch bread.  Loved the flavorful sandwich, but the dutch crunch was missing its crunchy top.   

Address:                  Genova Delicatessen
                                 5095 Telegraph Ave.
                                 Oakland, CA
Type:                        deli

Popular chomps:       pastrami sandwich
                                  Italian combo

Chomp worthy:         Italian combo


Sweet Woodruff

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Quality food like what Sweet Woodruff serves up is a rare find in the Tenderloin area. 

The food at Sweet Woodruff does take a bit of time to cook, but its because every single dish is prepared so meticulously.  Even though the space is small, it has a airy feeling about it.  Also, they have counter seating so you can watch the kitchen prepare the meals while you eat.

The stoner potatoes were made up of thinly sliced crispy potatoes and sprinkled with cotija cheese, and salsa verde.  This dish probably would have tasted better if eaten there instead of ending in a sad soggy, oily mess.

So maybe runny egg is a food trend that some people don't like, but I think I'll never get sick of it.  The fried egg sandwich was perfectly cooked with a nice golden yolk.  Even ordered to go, the egg still kept its shaped and stayed runny.

October has almost ended and I've realized that I haven't had one pretzel in celebration of Oktoberfest.  Melted mozzarella topped the chewy pretzel.  The skin of the pretzel was a little harder than I like, but the flavor was nice, especially with the stone mustard.

After Rickybobby's crawfish grits (see post HERE), I have a new found love and appreciate for well made grits.  The jalapeno grits give quite a kick, but I loved it.  Smooth with tiny grains, I could eat this all up.  It was nice that it wasn't overpowered with a ton of butter as with most grits.

Address:                Sweet Woodruff
                               798 Sutter St.
                               San Francisco, CA
Type:                      American

Popular chomps:    jalapeno grits
                               fried egg sandwich

Chomp worthy:      fried egg sandwich
                               jalapeno grits        



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Starbread is the Filipino Krispy Kreme, except that instead of freshly made donuts its small sweet breads.  With locations sprouting all over the Bay Area (the original in South City/Daly City), they delight the masses with their famous seniorita bread.  They claim their are the original makers of the seniorita bread, but I fondly remember eating them a very long time ago at Banana Q in Vallejo before Starbread existed.  I have searched high and low for a replacement for Banana Q's version and only stumbled upon Starbread's version, which is good, but not a good enough substitute for a childhood memory of the most delectable buttery sweet bread. 

These cigar shaped rolls are made of sweet bread with a oozing melted butter and sugar filling.  Orders always come piping hot and fresh.  Buttery and delicious, these can be quite addicting and extreme willpower is needed when eating them.

Filled senoritas seem to be a new thing here.  There are three flavors:  strawberry, apple, and cream cheese.  The cream cheese was the best of the three and was similar to a cheese danish.  However, I still prefer the original made with butter and sugar.

Strawberry filled senioritas were my least favorite.  Filled with an artificial strawberry flavor, this seniorita was too sweet for my liking

Address:                 Starbread
                                5855 Jarvis Rd.
                                Newark, CA
Type:                       Filipino/bakery

Popular chomps:     senioritas

Chomp worthy:        senioritas  


Zachary's Chicago Pizza

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Zachary's is an East Bay institution.  Even after all these years, its still get crowded and you can barely fit though the door.  The trick is to order to go otherwise the wait for a table could take over a hour.

This pizzeria actually has thin crust, but the crowd favorite is the stuffed pizza (deep dish).  Zachary's special (sausage, green pepper, onion, and mushroom) and carne (Italian sausage, bacon, salami, pepperoni, and mozzarella) are popular choices, but my favorite is the spinach and mushroom.

The crust at Little Star (see post HERE) is definitely better.  Its ultra buttery and crispy.  Call it nostalgia, but I prefer the taste of Zachary's pizza, especially the spinach and mushroom.  The tomato sauce is on the sweeter, tangier side, but I love the juicy chunks of tomatoes.

Address:                      Zachary's Chicago Pizza
                                     5801 College Ave.
                                     Oakland, CA 
Type:                            pizza

Popular chomps:          spinach and mushroom
                                      zachary's special

Chomp worthy:             spinach and mushroom
                                       zachary's special   


Jojo's Cafe

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Actively searching out some HK cafe food led me to this part of the city.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that Jojo's cafe served some of my childhood Hong Kong favorites that are so bad for you, but so good to eat.

Minced beef with raw egg is probably my second favorite Hong Kong after baked pork chop rice.  Its hard to say whats so great about this dish.  A great comfort food dish.  Its a  pile of minced beef with vegetables and a raw egg to mix. 

I love baked pork chop fried rice.  Its probably the single most recognized Hong Kong cafe type food.  However, a good one is hard to find in the Bay Area.  Creamy tomato sauce is layered on top two thinly sliced pork chop and rice.  Not the best, but its satisfying enough to keep the craving contained for now.

Address:                     Jojo's Cafe
                                    1537 Ocean Ave.
                                    San Francisco, CA
Type:                           Chinese

Popular chomps:         baked pork chop
                                     minced beef with raw egg
                                     beef chow fun
                                     won ton soup
Chomp worthy:            baked pork chop
                                      minced beef with raw egg  


Pecan Pie Pringles

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Pringles has done it again with another sweet take on their snacky chips.  This time with Pecan Pie.  I got really lucky this time and didn't have to scour all over the Bay Area looking for these chips.  I was able to locate them in the first Target I walked into.  As for the taste, it was really sweet, but it reminded me more of waffles and syrup than pecan pie. 



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I love izakayas.  I make it a personal mission to try to eat at all of them.  Back in the city, there are very few izakayas.  Most of them tend to be located either in the South Bay or the Peninsula area.  I had heard that Ajito was as good as my absolute favorite izakaya Sumika (see post HERE) so I had to try it out for myself.

I can always appreciate good fried chicken cartilage.  Two different types of crunchiness.  One from the deep fried batter and one from the actual cartilage.  Not bad, but I've had better.  Some of the pieces were extremely hard and inedible.   

The beef tongue was probably the best dish of the meal.  Thin slices of beef marinated with a sauce that reminded of a Chinese stir fry sauce.  The texture was more beef like than tongue like, but it was super tender and juicy.

Had I know that the black pig sausage looked like Vienna sausages I probably wouldn't have ordered it.  Not only did they look like them, but they sort of tasted like them too.  Rubbery.  It didn't have the deep porky, fatty flavor of black pork.

Normally, I don't order oyako don, but I've had it at Sumika and it is fantastic there.  Most of the dishes here were disappointing so this simple chicken, egg, and rice dish turned out to be another satisfactory item.

Many people seemed to have raved about this grilled squid dish.  Personally, I've had better.  The squid is too salty here and it doesn't have that tenderness when biting into the rings.

Often izakayas either excel at the skewered dishes or the small dishes.  Since this one didn't seem to have the wow factor in the small dishes, I was really hoping that their skewers would win my tummy over.  The chicken breast was dry and flavorless.  Not even close to the juiciness and yumminess that Sumika's chicken has.

For some reason, chicken skin (kawa) was not on the menu, but upon asking the server, she said they had it available.  Winner!   Not!  The chicken skin was not cooked properly at all.  It didn't have any crispy, crackly bits.  No smokiness at all. 
I always like to eat yaki onigiri in my meals when available.  I just love the way the grilling of the rice makes a crispy crust.  At Ajito, its not bad.  It could be a little more crispy though.  The bottom of the rice ball was a bit soggy.  Overall, I have to say, this place is not at all like Sumika.  Its not even in the same league. 

Address:                   Ajito
                                  7335 Bollinger Rd.
                                   Ste A
                                   Cupertino, CA
Type:                          Japanese

Popular chomps:         black pork sausage
                                    chicken cartilage
                                    beef tongue

Chomp worthy:           beef tongue   


Vy's Coffee

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I'm always down to travel for food.  Pacifica has always been just a town that I drive pass to get home or just known as foggy place for me so I was sort of a fish out of water traveling here for food.  Overall, Pacific is a quaint seaside town and I wasn't surprised to see Vy's Coffee in a small discrete strip mall.

I'm pretty sure they make the pandan waffles to order, but the waffle was limpy with no crispy edges.  Especially after noshing on the pandan waffle from San Jose's Nuoc Mia Van Dong 2 (see post HERE), I was able to notice the too subtle flavor of the coconut.  I did like the small bits of coconut in the batter, but there wasn't enough.

The pork banh mi here has a lot of meat.  Possibly too much and the marinade here is quite strong.  Overall, its an okay sandwich, but not really banh mi esque.  The vegetables aren't really pickled and the bread just doesn't come close to the crackly, lightness I expect in a good banh mi.

Similar to the pork banh mi, the combo wasn't impressive either.  A lot of meat and pate, but I could barely taste the mayo or spiciness from the jalapenos.  At $4.50 a sandwich and a decent drive from the city, it wasn't worth it.

Address:                   Vy's Coffee
                                  1715 Palmetto
                                  Ste A
                                  Pacifica, CA
Type:                         Vietnamese

Popular chomps:       pandan waffle
                                   pork sandwich
                                   shrimp toast

Chomp worthy:          nothing   


Linea Caffe

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Excellent coffee and waffles are to be had at Linea Caffe.  Probably best to go there while the weather is still nice as they only have outside seating.  Not sure how they will manage when the weather get cold and rainy, which is a bummer because I think these waffles need to be enjoyed fresh.

Waffles are always for satisfying a sweet tooth.  Its a yeasted waffle topped with coconut jam, gianduja and sprinkled with chopped macadamia nuts.  I didn't taste much of the coconut flavor, but I did love the crunch of the macadamia nuts.  The waffle is so light that even though its a large its doesn't feel heavy in your stomach. 

Same goes for all the savory waffles.  Its light texture lets you indulge in a lot more waffles than you think you could (or should).  The smell of the potato waffle mixed with pastrami bits was amazing.  I could smell it cooking while I waited for it outside.  Served with some pickled cabbage and some mustard, it was so delicious.

At first I was a little unsure of salmon roe and creme fraiche as a topping on a buckwheat waffle, but, wow, the little hints of salt and crunch from the cucumbers was so well balanced.  The waffle was so fluffy and airy, it was hard not to like it.

Address:                   Linea Caffe
                                  3417 18th St.
                                  San Francisco, CA
Type:                         coffee

Popular chomps:       salmon roe waffle
                                   waffle with fresh fruits
                                   waffle with macadamia nuts
                                   potato waffle

Chomp worthy:          potato waffle
                                   salmon roe waffle
                                   waffle with macadamia nuts 


Nick's Pizza

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Nick's Pizza seems to be a well loved pizza place in the East Bay area.  Oddly, I've never seen it driving along Shattuck.

The slices here are more on the greasy side, which isn't a bad thing, but I found the flavors to just be a little better than the average chain pizza.  Especially compared to all the amazing pizza in the area, both the cheese and the pepperoni slice fell a little short of expectations.

The mushroom was probably the best of the three, but even so the taste of the crust here is nothing special.  Its probably a decent spot if you are in the area and needing of a slice, but other than that its not raveworthy.
Address:                 Nick's Pizza
                                6211 Shattuck Ave.
                                Oakland, CA
Type:                       pizza

Popular chomps:     dino kale pizza

Chomp worthy:        nothing       


Dessert Republic

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I've been searching out Hong Kong food lately because I've been missing some really good dessert items and cafe food.  Dessert Republic literally was hard for me to find.  Its hidden in a small alley in Downtown San Mateo.

The decor is sort of cute and kitchy, but the oddest thing was the push buttons on the table which actually ring out loud (yes, I tried).  It reminded me of the buttons at some Korean restaurants. This was a first I've seen from anything Chinese.

Eggettes, which the adopted English name, is one of my favorite Hong Kong snacks.  I've eaten a lot of these as a kid on many a trips to Hong Kong.  Usually, they have a crispy outside with a spongy inside.  Here, the flavor was bland and they were soggy.
Crepes are another popular thing here, but I found the crepe to be too thick and heavy. 
Address:                   Dessert Republic
                                  138 Main St.
                                  San Mateo, CA
Type:                         Asian/Dessert

Popular chomps:       sweet crepes
                                   mango jello

Chomp worthy:          nothing