Binh Minh Quan, Oakland; Hangar One Distillery, Alameda; Charles Chocolates, Emeryville; Bakesale Betty, Oakland report
Met up w/ Windy and some friends at Jack London Square for their Crab Festival-there wasn't much there. We didn't get any crab from the 2-3 booths that had crab. Just got some kettlecorn and then went to:
Binh Minh Quan, Oakland
From what we ordered I thought the food was fine, just not very exciting.
Bo 7 Mon-7 courses of beef. It's minimum of 2 ppl $16.95 pp-we got 2 orders of it. Served w/ lettuce, mint leaves, cucumber, pickle carrots, bean sprouts, Vietnamese shrimp sauce & wrap in rice paper.
These are the 7 courses of beef:
96. Bo Tai Chanh-marinated beef in lemon (raw leef) specialty $9.98-thin slice of tender raw steak, marinated lemon juice topped w/ peanut, fried onions, mint leaves-pretty good
97, Bo Nhung Dam-beef dipped in hot vinegar $16.98-thin slice of tender raw steak cooked at your table in vinegar broth (for 2)-just ok
98. Bo Nuong Vi-grilled beef $16.98-thin slice of tender steak, marinated in lemon grass oil, grilled at the table (for 2) $16.98-ok
99. Bo La Lop-beef in aromatic lot leaf $7.98-charbroiled minced beef wrap in aromatic lot leaf (their specialty) -good
100. Bo mo chai-imperial beef sausage $7.98-charbroiled minced beef wrap in caulfat-good
101. Bo cha dum-ground minced beef $7.98-minced beef patty, mixed vermicelli, black mushroom, lemon grass-good
102. Chao Bo-beef rice porridge $5.98-tasty
Under broken rice plate:
1. Com Tam Bi, cha, suon, chao tom, tau hu hy $8.98-broken rice, shredded pork, pork cake, pork chop, shrimp stick, shrimp cake-I thought it was ok.
34. Banh Xeo-Vietnamese pan cake $5.98-chicken or pork, shrimp, onions, bean sprouts, served w/ salad, mints leaves, fish sauce-just ok. Not my favorite ever..never liked it.
#129-ca kho to-catfish stewed in clay pot (specialty) $8.98. Pretty good.
Dessert-sau rieng-duran shake $3.50-friend got it..I tried it and don't like it.
Xinh To Bo-avacado shake $3.50-not my favorite, i like avacado just not as a shake.
Total was $82.97 before tip w/ lots of drinks and all the food. Not bad. They take credit cards.
Separate bathrooms for men & women upstairs.
338 12th St (@ Webster)
Oakland, CA 94607
Next stop Hangar One Distillery, Alameda:
My first time at this place. I'm not a vodka person but I still enjoyed the whole experience.
We missed the 1pm Sat tour by 45 min, but nothing was working anyways so someone was just talking about the vodka w/ a group it seemed.
For $10 we got to try 12 different vodkas.
1. pear eau de vie
2. framboise eau de vie
3. Vodka straight
4. buddha's hand
5. mandarin blossom vodka
6. kaffir lime
8. malt whiskey
9. Qi lapsang souchong tea liqueur
10. pear liqueur
11. framboise liqueur
12. Mt. Meenao light harvest viognier dessert wine $30-my favorite
They also sell gifts, books, Recchiuti hot chocolate, June Taylor fruit syrup
Separate men & women bathroom.
Open: Wed-Sat Noon-7pm; Sun. Noon-6pm
2601 Monarch Street
Alameda, CA 94502
Next stop Charles Chocolates, Emeryville:
First time at their Emeryville store. It's small, but they have a good selection of chocolates.
I wish they covered their chocolates in glass (ones by the register).
I liked the free samples we got to try. They had the triple chocolate almond, triple chocolate hazelnut, orange twig, Passover chocolate covered matzah. Then we asked to sample the tea flavored truffles and the champagne pate de fruit, Cabernet pate de fruit.
The peanut butterfly candy was just ok-too gritty with sugar, but I like the chunks of peanuts in it.
I bought a clear box of The Tea Collection. A special box with 20 tea-infused chocolates created w/ Teance (teahouse in Berkeley). Flavors include: lichee, jasmine, Formosa baochong, osmanthus, & charcoal fired oonlong. $30 a pre-made box w/ red ribbon.
Don't forget to grab a Charles Chocolate postcard on their table--on the back is a 10% discount on your entire purchase good until 8/31/07.
They take credit cards.
Open daily 11am-7pm
Seasonal Passover & Easter Treats
Chocolate covered Matzah-1 lb box $26
deluxe passover gift box (matzah & pate de fruit) $50
small easter basket (w/ treats from Miette) $25
medium easter basket (w/ treats from Miette) $45
deluxe easter basket (w/ treats from Miette) $60
available pre-packaged, or creat your own box
Individual confections by the piece $54/lb
small boxed assortment-approx 9 pcs $14
med. boxed assortment-approx 23 pcs $27
lg boxed assortment-approx 45 pcs: $54
all chocolate bars $4.5
caramel almond sticks $11
triple chocolate almonds $12
triple chocolate hazelnuts $12
orange twigs $16
classic pate de fruit $25
wine pate de fruit $25
6529 Hollis Street
Emeryville, CA 94608
Last stop: Bakesale Betty, Oakland
Windy recommended their scone saying they are the best ever. I got an apricot scone and took a nibble..it's pretty good. Chewy apricots and a little sugary topping makes it good.
Their chocolate chip w/ walnut cookie $1 is good too. Full of butter, chocolate chip & walnuts. Perfect.
Closed Sun & Mon.
Open: Tues-Sat 7am-7pm
5098 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609
The Peanut Butterflies contain a peanut praline -- a combination of ground, caramelized peanuts and sugar. This mixture is then combined with 41% milk chocolate. The crunch is the sugar. The goal of this confection was to not copy everything out there, but make something distinctively different -- hence the microcrunch texture. The best comparison for the Peanut Butterflies is that they are a gourmet Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.
They aren't filled with peanut butter -- they are filled with peanut praline, a very European thing -- a combination of ground caramelized peanuts and milk chocolate. The peanut praline is similar to Nutella, but made with peanuts.
Charles Chocolates also makes a Caramelized Crisped Rice chocolate bar (in both bittersweet and milk chocolate) -- these contain caramelized crisped rice pieces -- this would be the equivalent of the Nestle Crunch Bar, or Hershey's Krackel Bar. This is a chocolate bar, totally separate from the Peanut Butterfly confection.
re: Robert Lauriston
I haven't been big on BMQ's beef dishes, except perhaps for the bun, and the deconstructed self-wrap buns (not sure what it's called, but you get all the components and wrap them in rice paper wrappers yourself, which is a lot of fun).
BMQ's #115 (chicken and mushroom curry) is probably my fave dish there these days. It's not spicy enough for my taste, but the mushrooms are great, and the atmosphere beats out Pho 84 any day.