Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Sensations of Summer

Having lived in Southern California for two years now, I think I'm finally starting to appreciate the weather. It is perfect, especially in the summer. Highs of 85? Brilliant, and it stays just warm enough to be able to sit outside without a sweater until about 9PM.

I went to the farmer's market this morning. On my way out, I heard an announcer at the swim club across the street. I didn't even know there was one, but it made me miss my childhood summers. Saturday morning meets were the epicenter of my life. It's nice to know that there is a club as close to my home now as there is up north. It's comforting.

The countdown to Balboa has begun...two more months and I will be all settled with six of my favorite people. It is going to be an epic year.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Favorite Guilty Pleasure

I made dinner with my little sis tonight which consisted of bison burgers. (If you haven't discovered bison/buffalo yet, please head to your nearest Whole Foods to buy some pronto. It is very similar to beef, only it tastes better and is better for you because it has fewer calories, less fat, and more iron. Be careful, though. The lack of fat means it can cook very quickly. It's taken me a few months of cooking it finally master bison meat. Low temperature for a longer time does the trick.)

Anywho...back to dinner...we decided to have frozen yogurt for dessert. Trader Joe's plain tart froyo was the yogurt of choice. I had some blueberries. Check. I was also in the mood for peanut butter. The Irvine Whole Foods just started carrying Nuttzo Butter today, which is a multi-nut butter with lots of omega-3's; it's crunchy and delicious. I also had extra peanut butter I'm trying to get rid of before I move out next month.

So try this: Tart froyo, Blueberries, and Peanut or Mixed Nut butter. To DIE for. Very strange. Your tastebuds might get confused, but it is incredible. Also, if you use Nuttzo, you're getting your omega-3's, antioxidants, and probiotics all in one. Absolute heaven, and so dangerous now that I have it in my apartment...eeek!

Friday, July 3, 2009

My new favorite coffee shop, ever.

I went into Long Beach early yesterday afternoon to get some studying done before the Musical Theatre West Little Shop designer run so I wouldn't have to sit in traffic for an hour and a half. I wound up at this adorable little coffee shop, Portfolio, on the corner of Junipero and 4th. It is amazing. I was able to finish Midsummer in one sitting, get in some leisurly reading, and catch up with my parents in Hawaii (they're in Hawaii, Meg's in France, and I'm taking midterms in Irvine...fantastic) in four hours. They are all about natural ingredients and their plastic coffee cups are really made of corn so their 100% biodegradable. Yay!

Going back today to catch up on some more reading on my day off before heading home for the 4th.

Happy 4th of July!

On another scale was friendly as says I've lost 3 pouds since I started this. YES. Maybe if I had been more diligent with my eating habits winter quarter I could have lost more weight then...damn.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sunny Sandy Eggo


510 N. Coast Highway

Encinitas, CA

I haven't been here...yet...but my friend Angel took my friend Blair there and Blair came back raving about it and telling me I need to experience it, knowing how much of a foodie I am. It's a cute little coffee shop in an old railway station right off the ocean.

Extroadinary Desserts

1430 Union St.

San Diego, CA

The name of this place is no understatement. It is extroadinary. I would drive all the way down from Orange County just for their peanut brittle ice cream. They have a different selection of desserts daily. They also serve real meal food, but why would you go to a dessert place to get savory food?

Margo's Mexican Grill

2015 Garnet Ave. #102

San Diego, CA

On a roadtrip down to SD, one of my friends researched this place and among all her cross referencing, it was deemed the best Mexican food in Pacific Beach. After tasting it, I think we all agreed. Just be careful...eating a whole burrito can be taxing on your stomach. was that good. Their happy hour is pretty awesome, including cheap drinks and tacos. Their margaritas are also great.

We Get Hyphy in the Bay...Eating in Oakland and Berkeley

So the Bay Area is and always will be home. What I miss most about the Bay is being able to go out with my foodie family all the time. But I figured I'd share with you all the best places (in my opinion) to grab a bite to eat or do your grocery shopping. This entry includes my Oakland and Berkeley favorites.

Rick and Ann's
2922 Domingo Ave
Berkeley, CA
This is a very homey place to grab brunch or dinner. The tables are communal, so you'll get to know your neighbors and see what they're getting to eat. The walls are always full of fun artwork from customers or local kids. Their pot pie is amazing, as are the burgers.

Zachary's Pizza
5801 College Ave.
Oakland CA
This is the location I grew up on, though there is another location on Solano and they just recently opened up one in San Ramon (so my mom can pick it up on the way home...yes...). Their deep dish Chicago-style pizza is my absolute favorite pizza anwhere. I miss it all the time and have often considered getting one half-baked and driving it down with me when I come back after vacations. My personal favorite is the stuffed chicken and basil, but the thin-crust cheese is also incredible and a standard dinner at my house.

Cactus Taqueria
5642 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
Amazing Mexican food. Nuff said. Tres Leches Cake? To die for.

Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers
5819 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
This place has burgers that are to die for. Everything on the menu is incredible. There are a few other locations throughout the bay (and even one down in Brentwood).

Fenton's Creamery
4226 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA
This makes for a great dessert outing. Their sundaes are gigantic and delicious and more that sufficient for multiple people. It was featured in the movie "Up" to...made me miss home.

510 Embarcadero West
Oakland, CA
I've never actually been here, despite growing up in the Lamorinda music culture. It is a jazz club/restaurant and features all sorts of big names in the Jazz community. My drum teacher, band teachers, sister, mom, dad, and on and on have all been. Norah Jones performed there when she was unknown. The jazz music is brilliant and going for a performance is still on my "To Do" list.

Market Hall
5655 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
This market is lovely. There are many, many different stores within the market. They have fresh pasta, coffee, a bakery, and a gigantic produce section. One of my favorite purchases on a regular day: curry chicken salad. On special days (like around Valentine's Day): chocolate raspberry raviolis. You never know what you'll find there, but it is all delicious.

Cafe Gratitude
1730 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA
Raw Vegan. Amazing. Their milkshakes are TO DIE FOR. What's great about this place is because it's raw vegan, after you leave you feel incredible because you're getting all the nutrients (including the ones that would have been cooked off) out of your food. Their pad thai is definitely something to try.

Bette's Diner
1807 4th St.
Berkeley, CA
Great brunch in a cute little shopping area. There can be a little bit of a wait on the weekend.

Cheeseboard Pizza
1512 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA
Cheeseboard has a different kind of pizza every day, and that is the only pizza they carry that day. The line tends to be down the block but it's a fun outing to make with friends.

Bittersweet Cafe
5427 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
Bittersweet is a fun place to stop for dessert or coffee. They carry all sorts of chocolate treats, chocolate bars, and drinks. It is a little hole in the wall so seating is very limited but get something to go and wander College Ave.

1809 4th St.
Berkeley, CA
I came across this place with my sister once, and it stopped us dead in our tracks. This is some fantastic gourmet ice cream. Sketch has flavors including Saffron and Earl Grey, with toppings like salted caramel and cocoa nibs. It's a little pricey (a small can set you back $5) but it is so worth it.

2106 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA
Naia has great gelato (inlcluding flavors like Rose and Lavender). I frequent the one in Walnut Creek more, but the Berkeley ones came first.

Cafe Fanny
1603 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA
So I've actually never eaten here, but Cafe Fanny Granola is a standard in my house. Alice Waters is the brains behind this legendary Berkeley restaurant, which gives it a stamp of note.

5600 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
When my friends and I want crepes, this is the go-to place. It's so worth the drive from the other side of the tunnel. They have all sorts of savory and sweet crepes as well as a coffee menu, salads, and all sorts of baked goodies.

1601 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA
Acme bread is TO DIE FOR. Like, literally. It is absolutely incredible. Acme is the the Bay Area as La Brea is to the Los Angeles area. My favorite way to eat this bread is as a burger bun (as one of my other Bay Area favorites, Chow Restaurant, serves it).

Berkeley Bowl
2020 Oregon St.
Berkeley, CA
Berkeley Bowl is unlike any other grocery store in the world. They carry EVERYTHING if it's healthy, organic, delicious, and comes in a an array of varieties. My sister was there with my mom once, and my mom told her to go get some eggplant for moussaka. A few minutes later, my mom got a call from my sister asking what kind of eggplant? There were at least eight different types. And that is just the beginning. Most of the apples come in a variety of sizes, too. Have you ever seen a 1 pound apple? I have. At Berkeley Bowl.

Gourmet Ghetto
The Gourmet Ghetto isn't so much a restaurants as it is a neighborhood full of delicious food. It covers the area north of Delaware Street, south of Live Oak Park, East of Henry Street, and West of Walnut. The majority of these restaurants are along Shattuck, but there are a few on the cross streets like Vine.

1346 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Berkeley, CA
This place takes me back to my childhood. I think I actually had my 16th birthday dinner with my family there. They serve burgers and all sorts of comfort food. They make their buns fresh, and have milk shakes and malts to cause a heart the best way possible.

Khana Peena
5316 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
Located on a very sharp corner, Khana Peena has a great patio for warmer evenings. This is probably my favorite Indian restaurant in the Oakland/Berkeley area.

Cha-Ya Japanese
1686 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA
This is vegetarian Japanese. It's delicious. I've been there once and got a great rice dish with tarot root among other things.