Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eat in SF: Cups and Cakes Bakery

Rich Red Velvet, made with red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting, and red sprinkles, and Viva Las Vegas, made with banana bacon cake and peanut butter buttercream

While strolling through San Francisco this weekend, I visited Cups and Cakes in SoMa. Located on 9th between Harrison and Bryant, this bakery specializes in making cakes and cupcakes in your favorite flavors, like Deep Dark Chocolate and Lemonade, and unique flavors you've never tried, such as Pancake Breakfast and Mojito. (In other words, they're your soon-to-be favorites.)

We happened to be there during happy hour, which begins at 5 on Saturdays, when all cupcakes are two-for-one. I tried the Rich Red Velvet (obviously), which was aptly named. This mini-cupcake came with a relatively big helping of delicious cream cheese frosting on a very moist and very red cupcake. The Viva Las Vegas, which was made with banana bacon cake and peanut butter buttercream, was also supposed to be good.

The next time I'm craving some sweet treats, I'll be sure to stock up at Cups and Cakes.

Cups and Cakes Bakery
451 9th St., San Francisco, CA 94103
Open: Tuesday - Friday 10 - 6:30, Saturday 12 - 7

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Eat in SF: Trouble Coffee Company


Cinnamon Toast

After hearing about San Francisco's obsession with $4 toast for almost a year and seeing this Instagram photo taken by a former co-worker of mine, I knew I had to finally try the cinnamon toast at Trouble Coffee for myself. (It's also listed as #3 on 7x7's The Big Eat 2014.)

When I visited their newer location in Bayview a few weeks ago, I ordered the cinnamon toast with a latte. The latte was delicious and complemented the main event well. The toast was everything I dreamed and more. After making the latte, the barista cut a thick slice of bread, lightly toasted it, spread a generous amount of butter, and then completely covered the toast with cinnamon sugar. I'm pretty sure it was magic. The way the butter seeped through the layer of cinnamon goodness made me consider each bite thoroughly and wonder how toast could be so amazing.

The one and only downside to Trouble Coffee is that both locations are hard to get to if you're coming from the East Bay and depend on public transportation. I'd recommend offering to treat a friend to some damn good toast in exchange for a lift to either spot in Bayview or the Outer Sunset.

Given the fact that images of cinnamon toast have flashed through my mind randomly since visiting, I will eagerly make a return soon. If you're still in the mood for fancy toast, I've heard that The Mill's, the one that started it all, is worth a try.

Craving more photos from Trouble Coffee? Yes, you are.

Trouble Coffee Company
Website | Yelp
1730 Yosemite Ave., San Francisco, CA 94124
Open: Daily 7 - 7

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Eat in Oakland: Blue Bottle Coffee

Caffè Latte and New Orleans Iced Coffee

The first time I was exposed to Blue Bottle Coffee was actually through the TCHO Mokaccino Bar. Formerly based out of San Francisco and now Berkeley, TCHO makes delicious, gourmet chocolate in a variety of interesting flavors. This chocolate bar combines the dynamic chocolate TCHO's known for with Blue Bottle's distinctive blend. In short, it's heaven. It's been my favorite chocolate for the past few months and it's located at a Berkeley Bowl near you.

Over the past few weeks, I've tried a couple of Blue Bottle's drinks. I had the Caffè Latte at their Oakland coffee bar near Jack London Square. The latte featured their great flavor and was prepared perfectly. I've also tried the New Orleans Iced Coffee, one of their most popular drinks, while strolling through the Berkeley Farmers' Market on Center in the city's downtown. This drink is quite a treat. According to their website, it's "cold-brewed for 12 hours with roasted chicory and sweetened with organic cane sugar." In other words, it's friggin' amazing.

I might test out their cappuccino the next time I'm at one of their numerous locations throughout the Bay Area.

Looking for more photos from Blue Bottle Coffee? (Are polar bears cold?)

Blue Bottle Coffee
Website | Facebook | Instagram | TwitterYelp
300 Webster St., Oakland, CA 94607
Open: Daily 7 - 5:30

They're also a part of the Berkeley Farmers' Market on Center at MLK on Saturday from 10 - 3.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Eat in Oakland: Ramen Shop

Garlic Miso Ramen with corn, squash blossom butter, ground pork belly, shoyu egg, Tokyo negi, and spicy chili paste

I had a very polar experience at Ramen Shop, a hipster noodle house on College Avenue in the Rockridge part of Oakland. I had been wanting to visit this place ever since it opened up in January 2013. I finally took the plunge and visited a few weeks ago.

Although the wait was first estimated to be a manageable 25 minutes, it turned out to be 45 by the time we were seated. Needless to say, I was pretty hungry and ready to try some delicious ramen. I believe their menu changes daily, so on the night I stopped by, I had the Garlic Miso Ramen with corn, squash blossom butter, ground pork belly, shoyu egg, Tokyo negi, and spicy chili paste. It was very tasty. I'm no ramenhead, but I was very happy with this meal. The noodles were the perfect density, the broth had a great flavor with a good amount of spice, and the bowl was much larger than it seems.

Since I was trying to take photos with my camera, Sam White, one of the owners of the restaurant, introduced himself to me, asking if I were "official press." I'm clearly not, but it was nice to be thought of as such. (Power to my macro lens, I suppose.)

Since this place is so popular, I'd recommend getting here early or visiting on an off-night. Also, expect to pay much more than you would at a traditional ramen shop; each bowl is about $15 a pop. I think I would visit again, although not too frequently since it gets crowded and it's expensive. If only they took reservations...

Have you visited Ramen Shop? How was your experience?

Mm mmm... more mouth-watering photos from Ramen Shop right this way.

Ramen Shop
5812 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618
Open: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 5 - 10:30, Friday 5 - 12am, Saturday 4 - 12am, Sunday 4 - 10:30

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Eat in Oakland: Brown Sugar Kitchen

Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Cornmeal Waffle with brown sugar butter and apple cider syrup

Chai Latte

Once again, Oakland has proven that they can serve a damn good brunch. This time, the winning restaurant is Brown Sugar Kitchen on Mandela Parkway in the industrial part of West Oakland. They have a new kind of soul food that features fresh, organic ingredients, ripe for fans of New American cuisine, like myself.

Although we waited for 45 minutes to be seated, we were served very quickly and graciously. I tried the Chai Latte, which was a mild way to start out the meal. Then I ordered the Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Cornmeal Waffle, which came with brown sugar butter and apple cider syrup. It was amazing. The fried chicken was moist, the buttermilk breading was heavenly, and the waffle was very light. They gave me two huge pieces of chicken, which turned out to be pretty good as leftovers. The waffle is nothing like I've ever had. It's made with cornmeal and had a bit of a sourness to it, which I liked. It was very light and it was a perfect complement to the delicious fried chicken.

There are many other things on the menu that are equally as intriguing as their signature dish that I'd love to try, like the BBQ Shrimp & Grits or the Cheese Grits with Poached Eggs.

I would definitely return to Brown Sugar Kitchen in the future. (I'm still dreaming about those waffles weeks later. And these photos don't help!) If you're still not convinced, Ali Fedotowsky from "The Bachelor/ette" made a video with their star chef, Tanya Holland.

Here are more photos from Brown Sugar Kitchen. You're welcome.

Brown Sugar Kitchen
2534 Mandela Pkwy., Oakland, CA 94607
Open: Tuesday - Saturday 7am to 3pm, Sunday 8am - 3pm

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