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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

49 - Powderface Cafe - Oakland

3411 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94620, (510) 536-3223

Last visit: July, 2010

(Image source: Yelp.com) This seems like a great place to have a cup of coffee and enjoy a pastry. Their beignets are really good and reading from what others have said, it's becoming a bit of a phenomenon for east Oakland. Order a set up and you get three made for you then and there, not pulled out of a Cost-co tray. These are really good, and the powder sugar makes a fool out of your face.

Let's be real, this place can charge $5 bucks for their delicate sugar triangles if they are transplanted to College Avenue or Emeryville's Bay Street, but it's in East Oakland and it doesn't seem to be moving. I really want to urge people to go out there try the cafe regardless of your fears of the area. The Cafe is located in a plaza and the clientele ranges from construction workers hurrying for a cup of coffee to kids studying for their school work. The store is new and built with clean counters and comfy chairs. To give it character, the owner(s) lined the walls with photos of past customers who have enjoyed a powdered face. That face can be yours, so please give them a shot!

Friday, July 30, 2010

48 - Santouka's Ramen - San Jose

675 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129, (408) 446-1101 (Located inside the Mitsuwa super market).

Last visit - July of 2010

(Image from Yelp.com) The hardest thing in getting right for a great bowl of ramen is getting it all to balance well. Santouka does almost everything right, from the noodles all the way to the little piece of pink and white fish-cake left floating around in the bowl. I always save that for last. It's definitely been awhile since I've had that authentic a taste in ramen, and Santouku sends me back to Japan with the first spoonful of the rich miso flavored soup. The chashu is chunky and tender, and evenly cured so that even the fat parts are tasty. The noodles do not cling together and gives a resilient bounce every time you lift them from your chopsticks. I have to say that this place does a great representation of good ramen noodles. You'll have to check it out if you're in the south bay. It's a bit pricey, but worth the extra buck or two.

OK, one gripe. Why do they give out such a cheap plastic spoon instead of setting a batch of actual soup spoons? Oh well, nobody's perfect.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

48 - Chef Lau's - Oakland

301 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607, (510) 835-3288

Last visit - March 2010

Chef Lau's was very accommodating. While the parking is scarce in the primary areas of Oakland's Chinatown, Chef Lau's is worth the wait. They have a very small restaurant and not more than twenty tables exist inside. Plastered along the wall are seasonal specials that don't have subtitles. If you want frog or other delicacies, you better bring your Chinese friend with you.

We had the lamb claypot, the lobster noodles, the Chengdu spare ribs, steamed oysters, an egg souffle-like dish, honey walnut prawns, and beef and Chinese broccoli. They also gave us complementary soup and dessert; which were both good that night. That was enough food for 8 I think, but there were only 6 of us, so we were really stuffed towards the end of the meal. The beef was good and so was the lobster. Lobster noodles is a new find for me, and I will definitely order that again the next time I go. The Chengdu ribs were tasty too, enough sweet and sour sauce but they didn't overdo it to make you feel like you're biting on candied pork.

They did a good job and I definitely will go back again. Spacing is really limited, but that is a testament to their popularity. Maybe we'll try the frog next time. There's also a dish that comes in a conch shell and with a mini burner. There's a lot of goodies in the shell, and the burner keeps it heated. I'll have to go back for that one too.