Wife and I were in Pacific Grove for the first time, and we decided to have dinner at The Fishwife, as it was very convenient to where we were staying.
At our wonderful server's suggestion, I ordered the Calimari Steak, Abalone Style, which was simply wonderful!
Wife ordered Prawns Veneto, which, although cooked perfectly, was surprisingly bland in flavor. (The menu describes this dish as "scampi style," yet there was no detectable flavor of garlic or anything else.)
However, we mentioned this to our server, Ila (sp?), who handled the situation perfectly, expressing genuine concern about our dissatisfaction and immediately offering to provide us with an alternative dish. Wife ordered the Baja Fisherman's Bowl this time, which Ila and the kitchen were able to deliver surprisingly quickly. This turned out to be much more flavorful than the prawns, though wife and I agreed the Calimari Steak, Abalone Style was the star of the evening.
We took Ila's suggestion for glasses sauvignon blanc to complement our meal. I'm sorry I don't recall the particular label, but her suggestion was spot on!
The portions are quite generous, and we did not have room for dessert. Overall, we had a lovely evening at The Fishwife.
We went to Sol Food with friends who highly recommended it. My wife and I split (as we'd eaten already in the very late afternoon) the bistec with fried plantains (half garlic, half sweet), pink beans, rice and green salad.
The beef was dry, tough and almost flavorless. Amazingly, the same could be said of the garlic plantains! (In stark contrast, the sweet plantains were super soft and juicy.) The rice was nice and fluffy, the salad and pink beans were fine, if unremarkable, and the caramelized onions were good.
Based on this experience, I don't know why anyone would think this place was even average, much less above average as many folks seem to think. This was very disappointing.
After living in Oakland for 15 years, we *finally* tried Everett & Jones. We stopped by for lunch, and it was not at all crowded, maybe because it was Columbus Day. After hearing this place spoken of in reverential tones for years, I'm sorry to say that, overall, the place is nothing special.
Wife and I split our plates of smoked brisket and short ribs. Each came with a side of potato salad and 4 half-slices of wheat bread. We weren't quite sure what the point of the bread, which was airy like dry sponges, was; maybe it's to sop up the barbecue sauce? The potato salad was VERY sweet, with a counterpoint of, perhaps, pickle relish. I have a sweet tooth, so I could put up with that, but Wife did not like that. Also, the potatoes are cut finer than in other salads I've had over the years; combine that with an abundance of mayo, and you get a very creamy potato salad---that's not such a good thing.
On to the meat, which is why we came anyway. The brisket was fine---not bad, but not great, either. The short ribs were good, but not really special, either, and inconsistent from rib to rib as to whether they were tender or slightly dry.
Saving the day for me were E&J's BBQ sauces. (We got the medium and the mild.) I found the mild went better with the ribs, and the medium better with the brisket. In both cases, they raised my enjoyment level of the meats. Like many BBQ sauces they were sweet, but not overly so; that sweetness was balanced by a little tartness (orange juice, maybe?) and a nice smokiness.
Our server was a lovely woman who, judging by how long we had to wait just to have our order taken, was covering the entire restaurant, which seemed a bit more than she could handle in a timely manner. We waited 15 minutes for our food to arrive; not so bad in many places, but barbecued meat has supposedly already been prepared and just needs to be plated, no? To her credit, our server seemed aware of and apologized for the wait without our saying anything about it. (A note to servers everywhere: A brief apology like that can go a long way in making your customers less annoyed at a long wait.)
I'd say the atmosphere is nice but for the three TVs that were all on. I'm not even talking about sports (not that I want sports showing in a restaurant, but others, I know, do). One TV was actually showing "One Live to Live." Really?
Most of the tables are wood, I saw at least one vintage formica. Ours happened to be covered with a blue-and-white print vinyl tablecloth, which would have been fine if it didn't have three holes torn in it, which took the look from homey to shabby.
So, overall, E&J was just okay. It certainly didn't live up to it's reputation for us.
I was back in L.A. (from the SF Bay Area) having a mini family reunion with my NY cousins and aunt, plus my parents, sis and nephew, a total of nine people. We went to BJ's on a Saturday evening with eight other family members. We were daunted by the hour-long wait we were told we'd have if we wanted to dine in the restaurant, but were permitted to slide together three of the high tables in the cocktail area and order. Every one of us loved BJ's!
I'll just list things that people ordered, because all present were VERY happy with their food! Appetizers included Avacado Egg Rolls (yummy!), roasted Brussels sprouts, and green salads. Entrees included Seared Ahi Salad (3 of us, including me, ordered that---the ahi was perfectly seared but rare, and the veggies were all fresh, with the dressing complementing them all perfectly); Dad had the massive burger with onion shreds; cousin had Atlantic salmon; Sis and Nephew had the Great White pizza (Sis thought it could have used more white sauce).
Most of us ordered one of the variety of micro-brewed beers; I enjoyed the Nutty Brew-nette, a medium dark beer.
Service was friendly and efficient. The cocktail area was full and bustling, but not so loud as to cause any problems conversing across the tables without shouting.
BJ's will definitely be a go-to place next time I'm in the Valley!
We were excited to try RCFC for the first time, as they'd recently been voted Best Brunch in Oakland magazine. However, we wouldn't even rate RCFC in the top 20 in Oakland.
What's good: Fun atmosphere/decor, friendly server, good coffee.
What's not so good: the food. On the recommendation of my server, I ordered the day's special, blueberry pancakes. They were huge in both diameter and thickness, but I would describe the texture as gummy. You ever try eating a gigantic, gummy pancake? Three of them? (Side note: the syrup was artificial, not real maple syrup, as evidenced by the skin that had formed on the surface.) After a few bites, I asked our server if I could order something else instead, and to her credit, she said, "Sure, no problem."
So I had the mushroom scramble instead. It was fine, but not exceptional by any means.
Meanwhile, my wife had an omelet (sorry, I forget which kind), which was okay except the eggs were somewhat overcooked; not at all burnt, but leathery in texture.
For brunch in Oakland, there are many local restaurants that are *significantly* better than RCFC, including Aunt Mary's Kitchen, Mama's Royal Cafe, and even the more basic Oakland Grill and Full House.
I'm not a Filipino food expert, but to me, the food was pretty darn good. I had the garlic noodles with crispy adobo. Make sure you get some of the very flavorful adobo on your fork for each bite; without it, the noodles are a bit bland.
My wife had the adobo chicken and rice, which was very tasty and nicely cooked.
We finished with the toron (fried banana with jack fruit sauce) for dessert. It tasted good, but it was *very* greasy. Maybe that's to be expected?
Anyway, I had to deduct a star because of the wait time. We came around 7 p.m. and ordered our dinner to go. We weren't out until 7:30, not because it takes so long to cook, but because they'd apparently made one of our dishes, packed and set it on their counter, and then forgot to make the second dish. Meanwhile, we watched as people were served their food who ordered after us. We finally had to inquire with the staff about our food in order to finally get out of there.
To sum up, good food, but they need to get their act together.
Very mixed experience. The margaritas were very good. We had a half grilled chicken with white beans. Chicken was very flavorful, but some of the beans were not fully cooked. Also had the sliced sirloin dish. The flavor was excellent, but the meat was overcooked and not tender. The black beans were not hot and our waitress offered to bring more, but it took awhile before it came and was still not hot. Then I discovered how dry and unpleasant they were so I didn't eat them anyway. The guacamole that came with the dish was bland.
The staff was very nice, however . . . we called ahead to get on the wait list, and were told when we got there it would be a 15-20 minute wait, it was 40 minutes before we were seated after some confusion about who we were. (They brought us in to a table set for 5, realized it was a mistake we went outside. 5-6 minutes later they brought us back in to sit at the same table now set for 2.)
I was also disappointed in the selection of pie. I love pie, but they only had 3 different citrus pies available by the slice, (why not offer some variety?) and only 2 by the time we finished, neither of which I wanted. Yet, there was a wide variety available to purchase as whole pies. Huh?
For years, I confess I've thought of Guitar Center as a sort of evil empire, strongly influenced by the experiences of a friend who worked at the Hollywood store many years ago. Let me tell you about a side of Guitar Center I never thought I'd see.
I have an Acoustic brand bass amp and speaker that I bought at Guitar Center - San Diego way back in 1981. At that time, I paid a little extra for Acoustic's lifetime warranty on both units.
Fast forward to 2013. After not touching my bass for about 25 years, I recently started jamming with some friends. Unfortunately, my amp/speaker was emitting a LOUD hum. The good news was, I still had the special plastic lifetime warranty card that Acoustic had issued me back in '81. I tracked them down online, sent them a description of my problem, and requested they repair my equipment. My request was denied! Acoustic said my equipment was "part of the Legacy series of Acoustic products," and they therefore couldn't help me. WTF?
I found out later that the Acoustic name has gone through a few changes of ownership over the years. Supposedly, this means that *legally* they're not obliged to honor my warranty. HOW ABOUT ETHICALLY, GUYS? HOW ABOUT HONORING THE GOODWILL THAT YOU BOUGHT WITH THE BRAND NAME?
Anyway . . . I explained the above to the folks at Guitar Center - Emeryville. The manager, Chad Z., said, "Let's send them out to our repair facility and see what it'll take to fix things. We'll work with you to take care of the repairs." I agreed to this.
The repair facility replaced some parts in my amp's power supply, GREATLY reducing the hum. They said they couldn't eliminate the hum completely, as it's partly a result of the amp's age, but the remaining hum is really minimal. While they were at it, they replaced some missing knobs, cleaned the pots, and generally cleaned up my dusty equipment.
Because the hum wasn't completely eliminated, the repair facility discounted the repair fee by 50% to about $74. Then the above-mentioned Chad Z. said, "We'll cover the rest." (!)
In other words, Guitar Center honored the Acoustic warranty that Acoustic itself wouldn't honor! That, my friends, is customer service!
My wife took advantage of an online discount deal a while back so she could redeem it at Nothing Bundt Cakes on her birthday, which was this past weekend. She wound up getting 5 different little bundts: Lemon, White Chocolate, Chocolate, Red Velvet and Carrot.
Unfortunately, and to my surprise, not one of these cakes was exceptionally good, and three of the five were below par.
I'm a white chocolate lover. I was dismayed to find that the White Chocolate Bundt had no discernable white chocolate flavor. All it tasted like was SWEET---not in a good way.
Likewise, I love red velvet cake, but I wouldn't have known the one we had was red velvet but for the label on the container and the color of the cake.
The lemon bundt, at least, tasted of lemon, but more so of sugar.
The chocolate bundt was not bad, not overly sweet, but not exceptionally good either.
The carrot bundt was the best of the bunch, but compared with the many carrot cakes I've had in my life, I'd rate it as average.
The only other positive I can offer is the texture. These cakes are nothing if not moist.
But if you're going out of your way to buy cake, you want really GOOD cake, and there are other places in the Oakland area where you can get that. I'm sorry to report that Nothing Bundt Cakes isn't one of them.
Writing this just for the satisfaction of getting to say this is a terrible post office. Besides never enough employees, so lines are long, I've been given the wrong information and assigned a PO Box that belonged to someone else, so I had to come back and the exchange keys. I only give it two stars for the clerks who have been gracious and doing the best they can working at such a badly managed place. even though I have a PO box there, I usually go to the main office when mailing packages.