Oakland - Saint Anna Cafe Shop (HK style coffee shop)?
So has anyone been to St. Anna Cafe Shop on 8th in Oakland?
Dave MP was reporting about Prince Cafe in SF and someone mentioned Oakland had a similar place.
Are there any other of these types of restaurants in the Bay Area? Do they all serve borscht? What's up with that?
Sorry, this topic might be discussed to death on the board, but it was the beet soup mention that woke me up.
St Anna Cafe Shop
326 8th St
Oakland, CA 94607
Yesterday I grabbed lunch @ Cafe 88 in the Plaza, downstairs from Peony & Sushi Zone. We ordered a bowl of wonton noodle as well as an order of baked beef tongue (subbing spaghetti for rice). On a whim we also got half a roast duck from the counter. Roast duck was of course excellent, since they come from Peony's kitchen upstairs which has the capacity to properly execute roast duck (for those who don't know, both establishments have the same ownership -- I think they wanted to open a "short order" place for those who don't want to wait for dimsum). This was my second time ordering baked dishes at Cafe 88; and although this time around the sweetness in the dish was toned down to half of what it was last time (I think I'd ordered a seafood bake last time, or was it pork chop bake?) it was still too unbalanced and weird for my taste. Note to self: no more orders of sweetened baked dishes here. At least the tongue was cooked till tender and on the whole it wasn't bad... but I just can't get over the weirdness of cheese, cream, and sugar.
Wontons were pretty standard, with firm filling of shrimp and pork. There was a bit of a wait for seats, and then my baked dish came out about 10 or 15 mins after we'd ordered. However, the wonton noodle took another 20-30 mins... I think the kitchen consolidates orders and cooks a huge batch of noodles all at one time. I had a seat that faced the kitchen area, and the staff left the door open so I got a "free show" of kitchen goings on. Kitchen looked quite clean compared to most other Chinatown kitchens.
Saint Anna is great. Used to go there when we lived in Oakland. Definitely one of the better HK style cafes around in terms of food and value.
Other places I really like:
Denny's Cafe in SF (on Geary - not the chain)
Broadway Bistro in Burlingame - it has a wider variety of food
T-28 (SF), S&E (SF), and D&A (SF & Oakland) are a few other places. They're all ok.
You are right, anna. I stopped by for lunch today and it was a lot better than I expected ... actually the chicken leg was quite good.
For $3 I got the Tea Time special (2pm - 6pm) ... a deep-fried chicken leg with potato salad and a cup of tea.
I was going to take this home for dinner, but I took a bite in the car and finished it off immediately.
This is not a breaded or coated chicken leg, just deep-fried. The skin is wonderfully crispy. The chicken itself was marinated in Chinese spices and very tasty if a little chewy.
I was not a fan so far of Asian fried chicken, the legs are a little too gamey and I don't like the spicing. However, St. Anna changed my opinion.
It came with a dab of potato salad that had a creamy/runny mayonaise dressing with cubed potatoes, carrots and crunchy bits of cucumber. A fresh cucumber was on top.
The tea was of the free Chinese restaurant type with enough tea bag to change the color of the water. But it still rounded out the meal nicely. Coffee was the other choice.
It is a nice clean plain restaurant. Looking around, the portions were big and looked good. One guy had two pork chops with a lot of rice that had a fried egg broken over the top, the runny yolk combining with the rice. This came with a bowl of soup, tea and two white dinner rolls. Iced tea seemed to be the choice on most tables. It had lots of slices of fresh lemon on the bottom.
The menu isn't as extensive as Prince Cafe ... no Japanese items.
However "Russian borsh" was on the menu. Other bowls of soup for $2.50 a bowl ... oxtail, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom or cream of corn. The pricier $3 soups included French Onion, fish chowder, crab meat chowder & St Anna Special.
Omelets are $3.50 (Spanish, Minced beef & onion, ham or chicken. $4 will get you a shrimp omelet. Eggs & breakfast meats (ham, sausage, bacon) are $3.50. Hot cakes are $2.50 and French Toast $3.
They had curries, macaroni, spaghetti and rice dishes in the $3 - $5 range.
I might skip the sandwiches. The guy next to me got a ham and egg. While there was lots of fried egg, the bread was plain white bread with crusts removed.
They had ice cream sodas for $2.50.
A few entrees ... pork chops ... 'fellet chicken shasklik'. Haven't figured out what shasklik is yet but driving home it hit me that 'pork cuttle' was probably pork cutlet.
Otherwise entrees were heavy on steak - black pepper steak, onion steak, NY steak, St Anna steak, black pepper filet steak, fillet mignon, special steak and the still mysterious Dutch fillet steak.
Ovaltine or Horlicks came hot or cold.
There was iced chocolate ($1.75) or iced coffee with ice cream ($2.50) ... take THAT Starbucks.
A few unusual to me drinks ... boiled water with egg, lemon cake (hot or iced) & almond mix.
Anyway, the prices were good and the non-fancy food was tasty. I'd stop here again. I'll put HK style coffee shops on my list of places to try.
CASH ONLY !!!
As to the unusual drinks, I think the boiled water & egg might be sweetened egg white swirled in water (a tiny bit like egg drop soup or dofu fa). Lemon "cake" might be lemon coke (a common beverage in the winter, the hot version is heated or boiled coke with lemon added). I have no idea what almond mix is, it might be either a halo halo type bev, or a hot bev from powder mix.
Thanks, Melanie & S U.
I reading about those places on the board I was just thinking cheap Chinese food ... didn't realize the menus were quite that eclectic.
Of course, now I'm interested and asked a little on the General Topics board.
I feel an informal crawl coming on to scope some of these places out.
For your reading pleasure, Cha chaan teng (茶餐廳) -
Just scratching the surface -