Thursday, June 19, 2014

Claws And Craws in Hercules, California - Cajun and Creole style dining

Finger linkin' good. And I'm not talking Kentucky Fried Chicken. I'm talking about Claws N Craws in Hercules, CA. The kids, my beautiful wife, and I have eaten here several times and the food their is excellent.

Claw And Craws
Claws And Craws | Hercules, CA

If you're in the East Bay of Northern California it's not going to be too much of a drive. If you come from Napa or Vallejo, Concord/Walnut Creek, or Oakland/Berkeley, you're only looking at a 20 to 30 minute drive. For those of us with a Boiling Crab affinity, Claws And Craws offers us a local experience thankfully.

The restaurant is modern looking with a bar in the middle between 2 dining areas and ample flat screens throughout the establishment. There are even three booths with their own flat screens! That's a pretty cool feature. I really like the way they designed the interior. It's simple but not plain.

With several patrons and TVs, there's a nice lively feel about the place. Almost like a family get together.

Claws And Craws Hercules
Claws And Craws Bar

Booths with their own flat screen TVs!
The Claws And Craws menu is full of southern style seafood but I've had the pleasure of trying out only a few of their delicious items. They consider themselves a cajun and creole restaurant. (I don't know if that's true or not, but it works!) For the appetizers, we had fried oysters on one of our visits which are pretty good. The kids tried their chicken wings and they seemed to enjoy them. The fried calamari is another fine choice as well.

Claws And Craws Fried Oysters
Fried Oysters

For main dishes we get the peel and eat shrimp with either rice or garlic noodles. My wife also gets fries for the kids and sweet potato fries which are pretty good considering I'm not really into sweet potato fries. When all of us are really hungry we can share and finish 2 to 3 pounds of peel and eat shrimp with the CC sauce in the medium spice after having some appetizers. Medium has enough spice to give it a nice kick while not being too spicy so everyone can enjoy the meal. We tried the crab once but it wasn't as good as we had hoped so lately we've stuck to the shrimp which hasn't disappointed us the every time we've eaten here.

Peel And Eat Shrimp With CC Sauce
Peel And Eat Shrimp With CC Sauce

Now I can't not talk about the desserts that Claws And Craws offers. The first is their fried banana and ice cream. It's really good. Frankly, I don't of a place where I didn't like fried banana and ice cream and this place is no exception. The other dessert is one I've never had anywhere. It's their fried Oreos and Ice Cream. Yes, you read it right! That was amazing and I would say on par with the fried banana. What I'm saying is you can't go wrong with either one.

Claws And Craws Fried Oreos and Ice Cream
Fried Oreos and Ice Cream
Our family enjoys coming to the Claws And Craws restaurant and I'm sure yours will too. If you're craving some good southern style seafood then prepare yourself for some finger lickin' goodness and go to Claws And Craws in Hercules, CA. To learn more about them, check them out on Facebook and Yelp - or you can just go there!

-John Gamboa

Claws and Craws
Claws And Craws

Friday, May 30, 2014

A great place for burgers - City Center Grill in Oakland, CA

There's a great place to eat if you're in a rush for lunch in Oakland. It's located in Downtown in the Civic Center and if you take BART, it's right there off the 12th Street Station. I'm a burger fan and I have to say that the City Center Grill makes some really good burgers.
Oakland, CA Civic Center
Oakland, CA Civic Center
City Center Grill is located in a plaza in downtown Oakland and it's a small place but they serve one of the best tasting yet simple burgers I've ever had. They are always well seasoned and cooked perfectly. The buns are toasted which should be a standard but some places fail to do that basic step.
City Center Grill Oakland
City Center Grill
You're in charge of your burger in this place. Toppings and sauces are there for you to pick from. Add as much as you want. Now it's not bacon or grilled mushrooms but fresh veggies and your choice of sauces. Ketchup, thousand island, ranch, bbq sauce all there in squirty bottles. One thing I've noticed about the vegetables is that they have always been fresh and crisp. The lettuce leaves are green and bouncy. The tomato slices are bright red and firm. The onions crisp. Add as much or as little as you like.
Fresh toppings daily
Fresh toppings daily
Once you're done building your custom burger - ENJOY!
My burger. Plain but delicious!
My burger. Plain but delicious!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Berkeley's Suzette Crepe Cafe

While in the Berkeley, CA area my wife got the craving for a crepe concoction. A quick Yelp search led us to Suzette Crepe Cafe. Suzette's is a nice quaint place with a European feel (coming from one who's never been to Europe). So I guess it's what I think a European eatery would feel like. I could be totally off, but it is a nice little place to have crepes regardless.

Suzette Crepe Cafe, Berkeley
Suzette Crepe Cafe - Albany/Berkeley, CA

My wife chose a healthy gluten free crepe filled with grilled chicken, spinach, and mushrooms. It was tasty! I wasn't hungry so I picked the banana, nutella, and ice cream crepe. And they had Thai Iced Tea! Don't know how that got into the menu but I was glad it was available.

The gluten free chicken crepe was delicious. I never had a non-dessert crepe and this was really good. The chicken was seasoned very well. I could definitely have that again. The banana nutella crepe was absolutely wonderful. Both plates were cleaned off within minutes.

Suzette Crepe Cafe - Albany/Berkeley, CA
Our crepe dishes at Suzette Crepe Cafe

There are several crepe places in Berkeley - Albany, but Suzette's is worth the trip. If you're every in the San Francisco area and craving crepes, you may want to think about crossing the bridge to Berkeley to have tasty and large crepe dishes at Suzette Crepe Cafe.

Friday, May 16, 2014

San Francisco's House of Prime Rib

My wife and I have never been to The House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, CA. Recently we decided to give it a try.

John Gamboa House of Prime Rib
San Francisco's The House of Prime Rib
It's a nice place. Old San Francisco feel in my opinion like the opposite end of The Original Tommy's Joynt further down on Van Ness Avenue. Classy. Our server was pleasant and cheerful. Very friendly which is also a plus when you go to a higher end establishment as this one is. The menu is very simple - Prime Rib. Different sizes. There's a bone in one called the King Henry VIII cut! That you can imagine would be pretty big. I was surprised that the entries come with your choice of side orders. Most higher end places charge for their side orders and the fact that The House of Prime Rib doesn't is a nice surprise.

The wife and I opted for the English cut which are thinner cuts which allows the au jus to soak into more of the meat. For sides, we had creamed spinach, baked potato, and creamed corn. All were pretty good. We also had the yourshire pudding which was some form of bread. Pretty bland tasting and I think it's more of a filler than a flavor enhancer type thing. The texture was interesting like a crunchy outside, soft inside feel. You tear it with your hands - at least that's the way I ate it.

The prime rib is carted to you in a blimp looking metal cart where 3 to 4 slabs of prime rib sections of cow are hot and steaming. Your slice gets carved from one of the slabs in the cart by your chef while the cart is in front of you and serves it to you right there freshly cut.

Enjoy it with some horse radish, au jus, and your sides. The Yorkshire pudding can be used to soak up some au jus I remember. It actually tastes pretty good that way. Overall I think our meal was well worth the city traffic and price.

For dessert we had this...

The House of Prime Rib - San Francisco

Some chocolate layered cake with sauce. Recommended by our server.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dessert at Vallejo's The Original Red Onion

Finally did it. I tried one of Karl's homemade desserts at The Original Red Onion in Vallejo. If you haven't been there, it's off of interstate 80 in Vallejo on Springs Road. Vallejo is a bedroom town about 30 minutes outside San Francisco north and east from the City between Benicia/Crockett and American Canyon/Fairfield. I wrote another post about this cool place to eat here.

I had mentioned that I hadn't tried some of the owner's, Karl's, desserts that are made fresh daily I heard. I was finally able to give one a try. Actually I tried two desserts. The Red Velvet Cake and the Dark Henny. Didn't know which to try so ordered two to share with some friends.

Now I've gotta tell you, they were delicious. The cake in the red velvet was smooth and subtle and moist. The cream was mmm scrum-diddly-umptious. The chocolate in the Dark Henny was Wow! I don't know if the Henny is short for something but it doesn't matter.

The Original Red Onion in Vallejo | Dessert Selection
The Original Red Onion in Vallejo | Dessert Selection

Of the two, the Dark Henny was the winner but I'd still eat the Red Velvet Cake any day of the week. Both are rich in flavor and after a full meal, I can't finish either one, so it works out like getting two desserts for the price of one. One for that moment and one for later on. Although there seems to be a lack of later on because my wife often eats the leftover dessert!

The Original Red Onion in Vallejo | Dark Henny
The Original Red Onion in Vallejo | Dark Henny

My wife tried the Dark Henny and after that, I couldn't get the cake away from her. So if you're ever in the Vallejo, Benicia, American Canyon areas in Solano County, and are hungry for some good food and desserts, go to The Original Red Onion. Man they've got some good food!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Momo’s Café in Old Downtown Vallejo

A friend of mine recommended Momo’s on Georgia in Old Downtown Vallejo one Saturday and it was an excellent recommendation. This place is small and you may have to wait for seating but no let that deter you from coming in for a hearty meal because it will be worth the wait. I’ve only eaten there a few times, but each time did not disappoint. Servings are large…I mean LARGE so if you have a big appetite, you will have come to the right place to satisfy your hunger.

Yelp has Momo’s with 4 stars and I agree. The food is tasty and plentiful. All the dishes I’ve tried were excellent and based on what my friends and family have said when we went there each and every time, their food was delicious as well. The breakfast meals I had felt like good ole home cooking. Pancakes and waffles were tasty. Bacon strips and sausages were great. As were the lunch dishes.

One in your party should order the steak fries. The steak fries are served in a baking pan and enough for 4 people. That’s for one order. It's topped with steak, sour cream, gualcamole, cheese, etc. This is NOT a side order. 

When you’re in town or live nearby in Benicia or American Canyon, Fairfield or even Concord, visit Downtown Vallejo and when you’re hungry give Momo’s a try.

If you come on a Saturday morning you can pick up some produce at the farmer’s market before you enjoy some bountiful homestyle food at Momo’s for brunch.

Momo's Vallejo - Steak Fries - Steak Burrito - Mmmm!
Momo's Vallejo - Steak Fries - Steak Burrito - Mmmm!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Good eats in Vallejo – The Original Red Onion

Located off of the i-80 freeway in Vallejo, CA, a small bedroom town between two other small towns, Benicia and American Canyon, is The Red Onion. If you’re passing through on your way to Tahoe or Reno and feel like some good food, try this place out.

Their burgers are made to order right in front of you in their open kitchen. Prepared with care and grilled to perfection, these burgers are great. One of my favorites is the Burger Supreme. It comes with an egg, mushrooms, cheese, and all the regular toppings. It is yummy. Their chili burger which is served open faced and drowning in chili is awesome, too, as are the jalapeno rings. The jalapeno rings are deep fried to a crisp and served with ranch which goes perfectly with them. My wife craves their garlic fries each time we go. For the kids, they love the grilled cheese. Many times one of my kids will order a second one because they think it's that good.

They don’t only do burgers, they have a wide variety of items on the menu. From fish dinners and fish & chips to pizza sandwiches and grilled chicken salads. Deli sandwiches, Philly cheesesteak and pulled pork sandwiches. Quite a variety that I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like.

If you prefer Asian bubble drinks or smoothies over standard soda or iced teas, they have a place they order from that’s on the same property. From there you can have Thai iced teas, strawberry-banana smoothies, and other slushy type drinks. They are made quickly and brought to your table.

I’ve yet to try Karl’s homemade desserts which many say are quite good. From the looks of them nicely displayed in a glass case by the front, I don't doubt them. I’m just too stuffed by the time I’m done with my main meal that I’ve never had any room. As soon as I do though, you bet I’m going to blog about it!