August 2008


Nama

The Dimond district is changing slowly. First came the large Farmer Joe’s, then a Peet’s coffee, then La Farine, and now Nama, where an old diner used to be. It really shows a change in the neighborhood once a sushi place opens. There even is an Indian place opening up a few doors down as well.

Nama represents a change in the neighborhood. It just goes to show the wide spread acceptance of sushi as a cuisine in Oakland when it ventures outside of the Rockridge and Grand Lake areas.

The interior is nicely laid out with an open space feel. There was a buzz in the air as people stopped by to read the menu outside and a steady stream of people came inside. The menu looks like a typical sushi/Japanese restaurant, with a variety of rolls and a compliment of hot entrees such as donburi, udon, and soba, though the BBQ ribs on the menu tips off that the place is Korean run (you can order hwedupbap here, sometimes referred to as sashimi salad, but known here as spicy chirashi) The prices also seem on par with other places like Miyozen and Drunken Fish.

Nama

I didn’t get to eat in, but I did get takeout. I ordered the Chicken Nan Ban, which is a deep fried chicken with a tonkatsu-like taste. It wasn’t overly breaded and the plethora of vegetables was nice. It wasn’t overly sweet either. Nothing stellar, but nothing bad either.

Nama

The spicy chirashi (hwedupbap) was a little pricey at $19 but it came with plenty of sashimi, and all the fixings. It was nicely seasoned but Miyozen offers a better version of this Korean dish. The caterpillar roll was typical of all caterpillar rolls though it wasn’t over sauced, which was nice. I didn’t try any of the sushi besides the caterpillar roll.

Though nothing jumped out at me, the quality of the food was on par with your average neighborhood sushi joint. I will have to go back and have the full dining experience at the bar but I don’t have high hopes for the sushi, since I am very picky about my sushi. The hot dishes however seem to have potential for me coming back for more, especially for take out (since it is on my way home from work). Nama is a great addition to the area and they have my best wishes for its success.

King of Thai coming to Alameda

King of Thai Noodle House is coming to Alameda. That San Francisco fast food staple that is King of Thai, with it’s multiple locations, is making the trek over to the East Bay. First Burma Super Star, and now King of Thai. There is just something about the island city that is attracting the City by the Bay. I’m not sure when exactly it will be open but it is taking over the old Araujos location on Park St. and Pacific Ave.

Even though in Berkeley you could throw a stick and hit 2 Thai restaurants on the way, there is just something about King of Thai. If you haven’t been to the vary many locations of King of Thai, then you have been missing out on very simple, quick, and cheap eats. My favorites being the crab fried rice and the thai fried chicken over rice. Stay tuned for more info as I find out more.

Simplify Media is a new application that lets you stream music from your iTunes library and access it on another computer. That is not new, but they have just released an iPhone app to also connect and stream your music. So now I can access all my music from home either from my work computer or from my iPhone. What is also nice about the iPhone app is that it also connects to show lyrics and artist information in addition to album art. Now if this wasn’t enough, you also have the ability to share your library with up to 30 friends. Definitely worth checking out.

This is totally up my alley and inspires me to start digitizing my own collection.

Some guy has and is digitizing his 78 rpm collection and putting all the mp3’s online, over 3700 titles. Great collection of songs that you can only find on 78’s. He also has a collection of Arabic, Japanese, and Greek records too.

check it out.

http://78records.cdbpdx.com/

boquerones @ Bar Jules

Went to Bar Jules for dinner the other night in the Hayes Valley area of San Francisco. The menu changes daily to fresh, local ingredients, which you can check online. It is simple food prepared exquisitely. Though everything on the menu sounded tasty, we were there for one thing and one thing only, the boquerones. Slighty vinegary although not as salty and overpowering as regular anchovies, the boquerones was soft in texture and hinted at that good fishy taste. To enhance it’s flavor, it was served in a lightly toasted slice of bread with shaved radishes and fresh parsley. Simple, no frill, but delicious.

braised oxtail with white beans and salsa verde @ Bar Jules

We were prepared to just have the boquerones, but it seemed that lots of people were ordering the oxtail. Of course we had to order it as the aroma wafted past us. The oxtail was lightly braised with a “salsa verde” topping. The salsa verde consisted of parsley, cilantro, shallots, and some other ingredients but no tomatillo if I recall. The zestiness of the salsa cut into the greasiness of the oxtail and subdued the oil. The side dish of the white beans also helped meld all the flavors together for an elixir of olive oil and bone marrow and the acidity of the roasted tomato equalized it all. This was one of the best meals I’ve had in recent memory even after my recent trip to North Carolina and Mexico (post coming soon).

fresh pepper and house made pancetta pizza @ pizzaiolo

What more can you expect from a place that features freshly made pizza and pasta from local produce. One of the trifecta restaurants in the new Gourmet Ghetto in Oakland in the Temescal district is Pizzaiolo (the other two being Doña Thomás, and Bake Sale Betty IMHO). There is always a bit of a wait, but it is well worth it. You can sit at a table, the bar, or outside in the back. The bar, by the way, has an excellent selection of liquors and interesting, fresh cocktails that change frequently.

We started out with the salt cod that was baked in the pizza oven. It came out as a gooey casserole like dish (in a good way). The salt wasn’t as overbearing as I had thought it would be and had a nice subtleness to it. It came with fresh toast so you could spread the cod over like butter.

what's left of a parpadelle with oxtail ragout @ pizzaiolo

Our secondi was fresh parpadelle pasta with a lamb ragout. I’m a huge fan of parpadelle ever since I had the magical pasta in New York at Babbo. So whenever I see it on a menu I must try it out. I am really glad I went with my gut (pun intended), and got this dish. Initially I was going to have it all to myself, but it turned out the pizza oven was backed up and our pizza would come out a little later, we decided to split the pasta and pizza between us. I was sad that I couldn’t have this delicious pasta all to myself, but my friend was sure happy that he got to share. The gaminess of the lamb just peaked over the ragout base and blended perfectly with the wide amounts of pasta.

Our pizza finally arrived right after we were finishing up the pasta. It was a new pizza on the menu that day, fresh peppers and house made pancetta pizza. The pancetta paired nicely with the acidity of the pepper on a light white sauce. The pizza dough itself stayed together with a nice crust underneath and on the outer pie. I’m not a huge fan of non tomato sauced pizzas, so this one was definitely good, but not my favorite. My friend agreed and was even happier that we shared the meals since his highlight was also the pasta.

My wife and I are trying to find that regular restaurant where when you walk in you know the staff and they know you. It’s been a toss up between B in Old Oakland, and this one. With the parpadelle, Pizzaiolo just went into the lead.

Finally with the iPhone 2.0 software there has been a slew of new apps that have been appearing. The apps alone are reason enough to get an iPhone. Now wordpress has released an ihpone app for you to check out your blogs as well as post while on the go. In fact this post is being written through this app. Check it out.