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!