Friday, May 20, 2022

Eat in Oakland: Comal Next Door


Berkshire Pork Carnitas taco


Achiote Grilled Chicken burrito made with pinquito beans, red rice, cheese, crema, chipotle salsa, onion, and cilantro

In early October, we stopped by Comal Next Door, a casual take on Comal's Downtown Berkeley location, on Grand across from Lake Merritt. I've since visited this Mexican restaurant a few times and I've enjoyed every visit.

I usually order the Achiote Grilled Chicken burrito and this time was no different. It's made with pinquito beans, red rice, cheese, crema, chipotle salsa, onion, and cilantro. It's the warm, toasted gooey hug I look for in a burrito. It's very apparent Comal uses high-quality ingredients and makes their food with care. While they're usually pretty busy, the wait seems pretty quick.

If you've tried Comal Next Door, what do you recommend?

Comal Next Door
550 Grand Ave., Oakland, CA 94610
Open: Daily 11am - 8:30pm

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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Eat in Napa: Oasis by Hoopes Vineyard


Left: Napa Valley Chardonnay
Right: 4-pack mini bottle tasting


Cheese, Please! charcuterie board: four handcrafted cheeses from local dairies, dried fruit, jams, jellies, nuts, olives, and a Bouchon Bakery epi-baguette


Left: The amazing charcuterie board
Right: Rosé of Cabernet

In early October, I visited Oasis by Hoopes Vineyard in Napa for the first time with a few close friends. I won an Instagram contest that gave me a $1,000 credit to Hoopes Vineyard that I could spend on everything from bottles of wine to visits to Oasis. I'm glad I visited Oasis. It's a beautiful, casual take on a Napa wine trip; perfect for someone like me who is a wine novice and hasn't spent much time in wine country. We reserved a spot for 90 minutes or so and were treated to a wonderful afternoon by their gracious, hospitable staff. 

After arriving, we were greeted with a taste of their Napa Valley Chardonnay, which they've described as a Goldilocks chardonnay that's neither too rich nor too lean. We then ordered a bottle of their only rosé, Rosé of Cabernet, as well as a 4-pack of mini bottles so we could try more of their selection. The rosé was unlike any I've had before, which is not surprising as rosés can vary greatly. In our 4-pack, we tried Genny's Vineyard Chardonnay Carneros, Sophie's Oak Knoll Syrah, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. This was a great way to taste the more expensive options as well as the red wines in which we're not as accustomed. In all, our favorite was actually a white wine — Genny's Vineyard Chardonnay Carneros — which had a buttery taste I really loved.

To complement our wine, we ordered the Cheese, Please! charcuterie board made with four handcrafted cheeses from local dairies, dried fruit, jams, jellies, nuts, olives, and a Bouchon Bakery epi-baguette. It was quite good. The cheeses had dynamic flavors, some even with peppercorns within, while the jellies, jams, and olives provided interesting textures. This was a charcuterie board for the books!

Besides consuming the amazing wine and food, we also explored the grounds, which includes gardens where they grow organic fruits and vegetables, an animal sanctuary with everything from goats and miniature horses to a variety of chickens, and an Airstream. It's a pretty peaceful place to be, even when the roosters aren't crowing.

I have since returned to Oasis once and have one more trip to plan. The second time, we ordered pretty much the same thing, besides switching up the wines in the mini bottles. I'm excited for my next visit. If you've been to wine country, what do you recommend?

Oasis by Hoopes Vineyard
6204 Washington St., Napa, CA 94558
Open: Daily 10am - 4pm

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Eat in Oakland: The Cat House


Left: Joan Collins made with gin, Salers aperitif, salted lavender-vanilla syrup, lemon, and soda
Right: Costume of the Day made with gin, pomegranate amaro, grapefruit cordial, lemon, and soda

In mid-September, I visited The Cat House, a cocktail bar on Lakeshore between Lake Park and Trestle Glen, with my usual dining companion. I've been a few times before and I always enjoyed my experience there. It has a moody atmosphere inside with big, old wooden furniture and sweeping drapery beyond the bar area, along with a decently sized patio out back. 

We ordered two drinks, both of which were prepared perfectly: the Joan Collins made with gin, Salers aperitif, salted lavender-vanilla syrup, lemon, and soda and the Costume of the Day made with gin, pomegranate amaro, grapefruit cordial, lemon, and soda.

I would definitely return in the future. If you've visited The Cat House, what have you tried?

The Cat House
3255 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, CA 94610
Open: Tuesday - Wednesday 5pm - 12am, Thursday - Friday 5pm - 2am, Saturday 4pm - 2am, Sunday 4pm - 12am

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Eat in Oakland: Shimizu Sushi


Shrimp Tempura Roll


Lunch Bento Box with chicken teriyaki, tempura, and California roll

Although I haven't posted a restaurant review since late August, I have been saving up photos from places I've tried since then. Although it may be hard for me to fully review places I've visited months ago, I'll try my best.

I've been to Shimizu Sushi, a local Japanese restaurant on Piedmont at Echo, a few times. They serve a well-priced selection of bento boxes, sushi rolls, nigiri, and favorite entrees like teriyaki. When I stopped by with my friends in early September, we ordered a few things: namely a Shrimp Tempura Roll and a Lunch Bento Box with chicken teriyaki, tempura, and California roll. I love how bento boxes come with all the faves and this one did not disappoint. I remember enjoying it from the start of the miso soup to the finish with the various entree items. 

I would definitely return in the future. Shimizu Sushi is a great option if you're looking for Japanese food in a relaxed environment around Piedmont Avenue. If you've visited Shimizu Sushi, what do you recommend?

Shimizu Sushi
4290 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, CA 94611
Open: Monday - Friday 4 - 8:30pm, Saturday - Sunday 12 - 8:30pm

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Monday, May 16, 2022

Work It, San Francisco: Lancy


You can follow Lancy on Instagram.

Spotted on Fell and Octavia.
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