April 2008


Green Lantern Lincoln

my favorites are Sea Captain Lincoln and Geordi La Forge.

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posted on PinkTentacle.

Based on several iPhone apps for a jailbroken phone. Check out the original link here with additional links to the apps here.

Saw this on Neatorama
Rube Goldberg office chaos

Hawaiian French Bread

grits, eggs, fried chicken, and corned beef hash

We started the morning off early by heading to The Coffee Company” for some Sunday Brunch. We got there early to beat the church crowd. I ordered the corned beef hash, and it was the best on the west coast that I’ve had. Courtney ordered the French Toast on Hawaiian bread. I’m not a breakfast person but this was definitely worth getting up early for.

hollyhock house

After the previous night of eating and eating, and getting up early for breakfast, we weren’t in the mood for any big lunch. We ended up walking around to see the Hollyhock House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. We just missed the tour, but it did lead to great views of the hills.

Courtney finally gets her Pinkberry

Hoon and the giant shaved ice Pinkberry

We ended up getting snack by having the infamous Pink Berry. This was Courtney and my first time. I ended up trying the shaved ice, which was massive. Unfortunately they were out of mochi, but we managed. We decided to just park the car and walk around in LA to build up an appetite. Since we had an early breakfast, a snack during lunch we were ready to eat early.

Burger detail @ Father's Office

Next up, Father’s Office. We had heard that it gets crazy busy with a line out the door, but since we were finally recovering from our full feasts, we were getting hungry around 4pm. We walked right in and ordered, though it still took us some time to procure a table, but getting there early definitely was key. Father’s Office is known for two things, their hamburgers and their beer. Both were spot on. You cannot make any sort of alterations on the hamburger, but IMHO, it doesn’t need any. The onions were seasoned and formed in a fine sweet paste and the burger was cooked perfectly with the inside of the bun soaking up the juices but not breaking away the bread. While the fries were good, there weren’t special, but the sweet potato fries “ala carte” were exceptional. They also had a fine selection of beers and since I had been going to the Trappist in Old Oakland, I’ve been getting slowly familiar with the vast world of Belgian brews and to my surprise recognized some of them. All the beers were delicious.

Sweet Potato Fries "a la cart"

Blueberry cheesecake @ Urth

We tried to rally for a dinner, but we settled for coffee and dessert. At Urth Cafe we got a blueberry cheesecake which looked delicious (but I didn’t have any). We ended the night simply with a new list of places to revisit when back and new places to try.

Well we finally got our act together and went down to LA to visit our friend Margaret. Like me she loves food and was totally prepared to show us the new and old eats for that weekend. It was packed with great food, and even better food.

We arrived Friday night and went immediately to one of her favorite places to eat called Orris. We were in for a ride. Orris specializes in French/Japanese tapas. One after another, not only did we get tasty bite after tasty bite, we also got a wine pairing with every dish.

I can’t remember all the dishes but some things that stood out was the tuna lettuce cups, the orange roughy with a taragon tomato “pomodoro”, the roasted hearts of romaine lettuce, and the tasty beef cubes. The list goes on and on but unfortunately it came so fast and furious I couldn’t remember it all. Oh well, it only means that I may have to go back.

Cake Monkey

The other highlight of the night was that Margaret picked up some cupcakes from a brand new place called Cake Monkey. I’m not the hugest cake fan, but this place had one of the best cakes I’ve have eaten. They were mini cakes, slightly bigger than cupcakes. Some of them had little crunchy dots in them that burst when you bit into the moist cake meat.

Crumbs

The next day was ridiculous. We literally only walked probably the equivalent of about 5 blocks the whole day. In the morning we walked to the car in the garage, then headed over for some morning coffee and pastries. We walked 1 1/2 blocks to another new cupcake place called Crumbs. We ended up ordering a bunch to bring to our friends Matt, Pam, and their new baby, Mason.

Din Tai Fung food

Which brings us to lunch. We met up with Matt, Pam, and Mason at Din Tai Fung in Arcadia. They are best known for their soup dumplings or Xiao Long Bao or “XLB”. They are the magical type of dumplings that have a little tiny amount of soup trapped inside the dumplings so that when you bite into them, they burst with flavor in your mouth. Everything else there was delicious as well. There was curry noodles, a very mild, and subtle, flavorful fried rice, some pork chops, and other food.

We weren’t sure how we were going to fare for dinner.

Dinner

Oesteria Mozza exterior

We met up with a few of Margaret’s friends, Jan, Carson, and Joanne at the new Mario Batali restaurant, Osteria Mozza. Unfortunately most of my photos came out blurry.

Raviolo w/ egg.

We happened to be there on one of the 2 special nights of the week when they have a very special mozzarella flown in from Italy. It was a plain ball of cheese with a little olive oil. It was smooth, with a bubbly texture, and screamed out cheese when it hit my tongue. Everyone said to get the Raviolo, so we all tried it. It came with ricotta cheese and an egg yolk inside it. The raviolo was cooked super al dente, just enough to harden the egg yolk to a thickened but not solid sauce. Around the raviolo was a delicious brown butter sauce with sage. I ended up having a second course of pasta with a tagliatelle with oxtail ragout. Great execution on the ragout and pasta. Other people ordered the beef shank, which was fall off the bone, and a roasted half duck which was deliciously presented on your own cutting board.

half duck

Dessert was equally delicious with gelato reminiscent of my trip to Florence, and a cake with bourbon gelato.
cake w/ bourbon gelato

Needless to say we slept very soundly and looked forward to the next day of delicious dishes.

Brown Sugar Cafe

While driving around for new lunch places, I’ve always wanted to try out this tiny place in the middle of a thoroughfare. It was a Jamaican cafe that touted delicious jerk chicken. The only problem was that the hours were frenetic and I could never get there when they were open. Months and months went by and eventually it closed down. Too bad, because what I heard from people who actually had gone there, said that it was actually quite good.

Now in it’s place was a brand new place that started to have a lot of buzz from people around work and out of it. Of course I had to check it out. The interior is clean and very welcoming. It’s always great to sit at a counter and see the cooks in action. Brown Sugar Kitchen is a new southern cooking/soul food restaurant that take the old recipes and updates them.

Brown Sugar Kitchen

I started out with the gumbo. It had the nice brown color that came from a solid roux, with chunks of shrimp floating about. The flavor was decent but really came out once you added some hot sauce. My one big gripe about the gumbo was that it had no rice. Or at least such a small amount of rice that I didn’t notice it. I do admit that I am very finicky about my gumbo. In my opinion the best place that had gumbo was a now defunct place in San Francisco called Crescent City Cafe. They served it correctly with a scoop of rice then with the gumbo added. The closest thing to good gumbo currently has to be Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen. Now the Brown Sugar Kitchen wasn’t far off, I just missed the rice.

Shrimp po'boy @ Brown Sugar Kitchen

For my main I had the shrimp po’boy. The shrimps were plump and the fixings had a great zing to them. The bread was of good quality and stayed together for the most part. I had a side order of beans that didn’t impress me. Although the po’boy was tasty, there was something that was lacking just a little. Or something that was too much. There is something about the nature of soul food to me that recall the simple nature of the kitchen and the ingredients. Some foods work with a bit of classing up, but to me soul food isn’t one of them. The gumbo must be a hodge podge of ingredients. The origins of the po’boy was from cheap cheap sandwiches that the poor boys could afford. Sometimes it is better to stick with the classic recipes than try to add something to make the fancier. The Brown Sugar Kitchen is one of these places that get real close but for me should keep it simple. The food was good overall and I would want to go back and try other dishes, but there is something to be said about keeping it simple.

One bad thing that will keep me from going back any time soon was that the service was really, really slow. It was a lunch service, and the typical patrons are people on their lunch break, including me and my friend. Now I have to give them a little leeway due to the fact that they are relatively new and haven’t quite gotten in the groove. However the service was slow especially getting the bill. We had to ask our waiter several times for the bill and still it didn’t come. We eventually found the manager (or someone who appeared to be the manager) walked up the the register, and asked for our bill. She then promptly pointed to our waiter and said that he would take care of it. We then waited another 5 minutes while the waiter found our bill and dealt with someone else’s bill before us. The thing that really bothered me was the fact that the manager did not deal with the situation when we obviously were in a hurry since we asked for the bill at the register.

All in all the food was good, though trying to be fancier that it really should be. The service was really slow and add to the fact that it gets really busy during lunch, it gets really, really slow. The prices were also a little steep for the neighborhood and the food. Again it’s my pet peeve about a place trying to fancify their food and adding fancy prices to fit the menu. It will take me a few months to give the place a chance to settle into their routine. I also hope that the initial crowds of first timers checking the place out will die down a little. I’m not sure how much repeat business they will get due to the high prices, but Oakland needs higher-end restaurants and there are the customers out there that will pay for it. But in West Oakland?

Cool little site to modify your photos to make it look like old Japanese photos from the Taisho era.

http://labs.wanokoto.jp/olds

original

Hoon and Boram

now from the early 1900s

Bo and Hoon from the past

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