Scalper prices w/ outrageous nut named Jesus preaching right-wing nuttery to customers who seem scared. For those who wished to be further wallet-raped, there's another location of this place "creatively" named Hot Toys 2 in the same mall. Lube & earplugs sold separately. Probably at scalper prices as well.
It appears this is one of those shady businesses that do not get legit wholesale accounts but run from retail store to store to cherry pick certain toys to flip at ridiculous prices, hoping to prey on impatient collectors & uninformed customers w/ their hyped pitches.
Santa's Yelp sez: Run, don't walk away from both these places!!!...
Having been a long-time comic world collector (don't really collect comics anymore, but tons of comic-related toys & items) & sort of recently moved to Alameda, I finally decided to drop by Alameda Sports Card & Comics, which has been around since 1999 in it's former 1412 Park Street location. Now that Jeffery's Toys in SF is history, I was hoping to find a closer place where I can get my comic-related toy fixes w/ some kind of discount, decent customer service,& be able to look at the figures' paint job before buying them.
Turns out the day I went happened to be the annual Free Comic Book Day & there was a line, which looked like the busiest I've ever noticed it from the outside. There were inflated balloons to catch passerby's attention, along w/ a face painter for kids & a couple of Stormtroopers from the 501st (classic & upcoming movie versions!) to greet customers. 501st.com
An affable guy in a blue shirt manned the door as he let in folks as the same number left in an effort to control traffic flow. He was relived by a friendly guy who helped me reach for items later on. an array of comics printed especially for this nationwide event organised by publishers & Diamond Comic Distributors were laid out along the store's main glass display counter. Everyone was limited to three comics per person, which is very reasonable. I selected two comics & an Avenger's guide. There was a DC figure catalogue which I wanted, but I was told I'd have to relinquish one of my comics for it. Besides, I was told, the books are more or less "intended for regular comic readers". Really? Since I mentioned I don't really read comics anymore, they are not really meant for the likes of me?.. And although I did say I collect LOTS of toys, you don't want me to see what figures are available so I can buy them?... Let's me know what their idea of customer service & nurturing ongoing business is like. Strike one.
I purchased an old stock Buffy Faith figure along w/ a Ultimate Soldier uniform set *which owner Patricia "Patti" J.Tsang, dressed in an improvised Wonder Woman outfit, was quick to say are "no longer being made". Ok... Action figures were 20% off their marked full retail prices.
While walking to my car, I checked out the uniform set I just purchased & thought I wouldn't mind additional ones so I dropped off my stuff & headed back for more. The friendly guy helped me reach for the remaining stock of the uniforms so i can select the ones I liked. Again, Patti walked by mentioning that they were "no longer being made". Again, ok &?... I chose two more sets & headed for the register.
I was rung up by another lady, also dressed in a homemade Wondy outfit, who asked if I needed a bag although she automatically gave bags to others while both of my items were fairly sizable. So as a new repeat customer in the same day, I no longer automatically get a bag?... I was not given the 20% discount this time around so I asked her about it. Once again, Patti came by & said it's because they were "no longer made". Hello? 80% of your store's toys AND comics are technically no longer made. Why are you acting like you are doing the customer a favour by allowing us to buy dead stock from you?... Strike two.
I noticed that they were offering a Green Lantern ring for anyone who makes a purchase so I asked for one. Her response? "Running low on them, need to save them for regulars." Wow. Guess I will definitely NOT be a regular, if I ever return at all. If anyone knows me or looks at my Facebook page, they'll know that I collect an extremely large amount of toys & any good business person who's NOT pennywise & pound foolish would WANT me as a regular loyal customer. Guess not Patti nor her rude female employee. Strike three. facebook.com/IAmTadashi/…
Sidenote: Their website alamedacardsandcomics.com is defunct but still listed.
Santa's Yelper sez: "Small, but packed, old-fashion shop, free comics! (during event only), friendly & helpful floor employees, not so friendly cashier, & moody owner who thinks because it's discontinued, it's somehow a deal for customers, never mind that most of her stock is old dead stock. Free mini chocolate chip cookies at the counter though!
I'm at a loss (I'm sure I'll express myself verbosely soon enough on this topic) at the heartless & money-grubbing bloodbath just prior to Christmas that the new management has wrought upon the long-time & beloved hosts.KGO News Talk Radio Am 810 is the station I listen to the most on the AM side of the radio. They… En savoir plus
To celebrate their 100th anniversary, Gallo Salame retro-fitted a warehouse space at 90 Natoma Street into a 1910 period limited-time pop-up restaurant aptly named Trattoria 1910. The eatery was designed to look like it was taken out of the time-stream, replete w/ period fixtures & displays & costumed staff.
From May 26th through June 18th, 2010 free complete lunches were served Tuesdays-Fridays, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., appetizers & snacks was offered from 5 - 7 p.m. This was Gallo's Cafe Nights promotion.
Gallo Salame crafts salame (yes, spelled w/ an "e", not an "i")& pepperoni that is hand-cased & made w/ a select blend of herbs, spices & the finest lean pork & turkey.
No cash register was present as everything was free. Tips were encouraged after the initial few days.
Attendees were allowed to choose from ordering an appetizer & an entree or an entree & a dessert. Either came w/ a beverage. A package of Gallo salame & a coupon was handed out upon exiting.
Appetizers selections included Salame & Cheddar Pate Crisp, Pepperoni Panetto, Mini Salame Calzone, & Salame, Pepperoni, & Cheese Plate.
Entree selections included Salame Garden Salad, Italian Sandwich Classico, Gallo Salame Maccheroni & Cheese, Pepperoni Rolls, & Salame & Pepperoni Panini.
Dessert selections included Salame Macaroon & Trattoria 1910 Cheesecake
Beverage selections included Boylan Gourmet Sodas (Sarsaparilla, Grape, & Black Cherry), Coffee, Tea, & Water
Everything was delicately made & tasted yummy. It was so good that I made a series of reservations (w/ different guests, mind you)! ;P
Santa's Yelper sez: "Didja know Gallo was never in SF, but in San Leandro?" And that matters how, SY?...
On Saturday, October 9th from 10:00am to 4:00pm the Alameda Park Street Business Association put on their 17th Annual Classic Car Show. The free public event was hosted by the Crankers Car Club w/ live entertainment & fun for the whole family. Secure valet bicycle parking was provided by Bike Alameda for a fee.
The event was the brainchild of Classic Car Show Chair Duane Watson & Lynn Fitzsimmons 17 years ago. The inaugural show featured 90 cars.
Over 400 Show cars were advertised, but I say maybe half that many tops. Some of the cars were less than show quality, although there were several notable & historic examples.
Santa's Yelper sez: "Where are the sexy car show girls?..." Down, SY, down.
Opening their first location in Boston near Fenway Park in 1985, Jillian's Billiard Club aka JBC Entertainment currently has locations in 11 cities nationwide. JBC Entertainment is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jillian's was "named" for a woman named Gillian, who was then the spouse of the establishment's founder Stephen Foster. Although it became a competitor of Dave & Buster's in the early 1990's, Jillian's floundered & was sold to Dave & Busters in 2004. Subsequently they were sold to Gemini Investors who established JBC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. to operate the remaining locations.
The San Francisco Jillian's is nestled inside a corner of the Metreon building & boasts an expansive main dining area w/ walls plastered w/ scores of large screen TVs, an adjacent regulation-sized table-filled billiard room, & a slightly more intimate area w/ high-back seating.
Ordered were a Sirloin Burger w/ havarti cheese & smoked bacon & fries, a Seafood Soup, & a Gorgonzola-slathered Pot roast w/ garlic bread.
The atmosphere was noisy (expected in a sports bar, I suppose), the food decent, but lackluster, & the prices high for what it is.
Santa's Yelper sez: "Dang those bathroom stall doors are heavy!"
Opened in April of 2008, Chef/Owner/Waitress Kristine "Bala" Wong's Zen Asian Fusion & Tapas Lounge née Zen Restaurant has since established itself as a local hipster eatery. Born in China, Wong immigrated to Oakland at the age of seven & spent the better part of her life in restaurants including that of her father Joe Wong's New Gold Medal in Oakland's Chinatown.
Zen's ever-changing menu is an amalgam of American, Chinese, Thai, & Korean cuisine elements.
As delicious as I found most of their offerings, Zen has several shortcomings, some that are a bit blaring. The absence of any website in this day & age is almost unforgivable for an establishment wishing to be hip. Drinks w/ "lower than average proof" bemoans the fact that Zen doesn't have a hard liquor license. The server Sophie while friendly could have been a bit more attentive. The prices has also edged up a bit. For example, the $6.00 Kimchee Fried Rice went up to $8.00.
What was devoured:
Tempura-battered Sweet Potato Asian Fries w/ Aioli ($6.00)
Surprisingly bland compared to the other items ordered.
Oysters Kimchee ($11.00)
I could eat a BUCKET of these! These inspired me to make some of my own at home.
Prawns & Scallops ($13.00)
Kimchee Fried Rice ($8.00)
Tasty w/ the right amount of zing & complemented the oysters.
Mango Soleil ($7.00)
Mango desert perfection.
Matched the meal nicely.
Blue Melon Martini ($7.00)
Looks like mouth wash, & tasted a bit like it.
Santa's Yelper sez: "Need more oysters..."
Formerly located at San Francisco's Phoenix Hotel in 1989, Miss Pearl's Jam House has been reinvented by celebrated Bay Area artist Michael Brennan into a homey yet elegant island-style mansion complete w/ eclectic seating areas to stimulate the senses & soul. The 8,000 square foot restaurant & bar features a large bar & lounge, semi-open kitchen, a series of indoor dining rooms, a small private dining space, & adjacent seating on two patios w/ waterfront views.
"Cabinets of curiosity" flank the rooms - hinting at fictional Miss Pearl's mysterious origins, but never fully revealing her identity. Each room expresses eclectic design motifs, but hold true w/ the overall island theme. Expect to find abalone shell walls, rich fabrics, chairs covered in pearl essence, reconditioned light fixtures, & herringbone floors.
The original Miss Pearl's was owned by TV personality Joey Altman who resurrected the new location, but it is under the ownership of the Joie de Vivre Hospitality. Miss Pearl's is located adjacent to the Waterfront Hotel in Oakland's historic Jack London Square.
The lively bar & lounge at Miss Pearl's features live entertainment & standup comedy on the waterfront patios.
Mike Davis serves as their Executive Chef.
What was consumed:
Half Dozen Oysters on the Half Shell
habanero mignonette, house made cocktail sauce ($14.00)
Slurped down in matter of seconds. Yes!
Chicken & Shrimp Gumbo
house made Andouille sausage, wild shrimp, free-range chicken, okra, steamed rice ($18.00)
Felt rather let down by this. The sausage, while plenty, were a bit bland & the gumbo was more akin to a sauce than a stew.
Jam House Seafood Jambalaya
clams, wild shrimp, scallops, house made tasso ham, spicy cajun rice ($21.00)
Edible, but totally reminiscent of the gumbo. Very same taste characteristics.
Organic Upside-down Peach Cake
local organic peaches, vanilla bean cake, lemon-bourbon crème anglaise, powdered sugar ($8.00)
Highlight of the meal. Most excellent.
Santa's Yelper sez: "Wish I had more of the oysters & LaQuise's awesome gumbo from the other day!..."
Originally opened in November 2005, bushi-tei (yet another all lower case-named establishment) is a French-California cuisine w/ a touch of Japanese flair presented by the Executive Chef Seiji "Waka" Wakabayashi, a former Executive Chef of Ondine in Sausalito. Chef Waka started his career at Kihachi in Aoyama, Tokyo. Prior to Ondine Chef Waka had worked at Spago in Los angeles & opened two restaurants in Dallas, Texas. Armed w/ his long metal chopsticks Chef Waka's innovative tasting menu is ever changing & truly a dining experience.
bushi-tei is the brainchild of Tak Matsuba & Seiji "Waka" Wakabayashi. Not one detail has been left out. The stunning decor of "past meets future", is constructed w/ imported wood salvaged from the demolished Shimizu estate in Matsumoto City, Nagano which dated back to 1863 Japan. The place settings, designed by Tak & Waka, are accented by a charming ceramic place-setting holder w/ precise dimples to hold the stylized knife, fork, spoon & hand-whittled chopsticks. The restaurant was orchestrated by Japanese designer Takumi Matsuba.
An 18-foot glass & wood plank-topped communal table cut from a massive central support beam sits in the center of the dining room acts as the focal point.
Chef Waka's cuisine is extraordinary. His artistry created dishes with exquisite tastes and unbelievable composition & color.
Perhaps the neatest (& unexpected) treat is the automated electronic Toto Neorest bidet toilet in the restrooms -- an experience in itself. The wireless remote control panel is full of options that include heated seat, oscillating water jet, air dryer, & temperature controller.
The only other public Toto in SF that I can think of happens to be upstairs in New People's Superfrog Gallery.
Also of note: The water served is micro-structured electrolysis water w/ a ph of 8.5~9.5. This is a level above average which the restaurant guarantees to make for a more velvety & smoother drink.
The hostess was attired in a traditional Japanese kimono, while our waiter happened to be the affable & enthusiastic owner Tak himself.
Regardless of what is ordered from the nightly changing menu, the meal always begins w/ butter-accompanied in-house baked rice baguette impaled w/ paper-thin crackers & an amuse bouche. In our case it was a tuna compote in a little pastry shell. It had me hankering for more.
What was enjoyed:
Yuzu marinated calamari, cherry tomato, fine herbs, cucumber vinaigrette ($12.00) Delish!
Sauteed Adriatic orata (gilthead seabream), kabu, fennel, forest mushrooms, potato mousseline ($20.00) The slight crispiness of the skin adds a bit of texture to this otherwise smoothly layered choice. Heavenly!
Big eye tuna, rock shrimp risotto, crispy shallot, coconut red curry($25.00) Seared on the outside & rare in the middle. Wasn't too thrilled about the latter. I wished the rare portion was smaller. Great dish otherwise. The risotto was delicately flavorful so it did not overpower the tuna.
Apple dumpling, organic milk French vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce ($7.50)
The meal was closed off w/ a delicate pair of inverted mushroom-looking almond financiers & chocolate truffle balls. Scrumptious.
The dishes might look small, but the meal was filling. Go figure.
The remarkable evening was capped off w/ Tak presenting us w/ a hardbound copy of San Francisco Celebrated Chefs in which bushi-tei is featured in. To top that off, on all of our future visits to bushi-tei or any of the other feature restaurants, 5% will be automatically donated to the American Heart Association. The book is chock full of recipes from the restaurants' chefs.
Santa's Yelp sez: Nothing. He's still in the restroom playing w/ the automated toilet. :::rolling eyes:::
Using organic, biodynamic, &/or sustainably raised foods, & beverages whenever possible, farmerbrown sf (no caps) supports local & African-American farmers. Their focus is southern food.
Chef Owner Jay Foster is the creative force behind farmerbrown sf's unique take on soul food. Partner Deanna Sison, a former cooking show producer, completes the team, bringing w/ her years of experience in the hospitality industry & a passion for food. farmer brown sf's philosophy revolves around providing the freshest possible organic ingredients for their wholesome southern American classics, presented lovingly to their local communities.
The marriage of farm-fresh Southern cuisine w/ local Bay Area ingredients in a down home soulful atmosphere gives farmer brown sf its unique vibe. from the entrees to the cocktails to the interior design--everything is hand-made & carefully crafted by the staff.
They also own & run farmerbrown's little skillet.
The Fried Chicken Plate ($11.95) & Steak Fries ($4.00) were fine while the Shrimp & Grits' ($11.95) portion was a bit meager.
Service while polite, was slow as molasses.
Santa's Yelper sez: "little skillet's Chicken & Waffles is way better!"