Temescal Street Fair, Oakland report & other eats Berkeley & Emeryville (long w/ pics)
Made a full day in Oakland, Emeryville, & Berkeley for the chow.
Temescal Street Fair. Walked from MacArthur Bart which is about a 15 min walk to the festival. A bit early for the festival, found a lot of ppl at Bakesale Betty. Decided better to get the strawberry shortcake first. $4.5 for a good size portion. Thought it was tasty, good whipped cream & strawberry, shortcake was just ok. Got a banana bread loaf $6.5- will eat tomorrow.
Genova Delicatessen for lunch. Lots of ppl at noon, best to go there early. In the Walgreen's shopping center on Telegraph. I got the #4 special sandwich $7.75-which is prosciutto, basil, tomato, fresh mozzarella on a sourdough roll. Should have gotten it on Dutch Crunch cuz I love Dutch Crunch, the sourdough is not sour enough, everything else was good. Windy also got a deep fried ball filled w/ artichoke hearts but I didn't try it ($1.39).
There is a back area with a salad bar, Italian cookies/candy, ready made sandwiches, and a dessert case.
Credit cards taken. My total $10.91. Some tables in the back area and out in front of the store.
Beverley's Absolutely Ginger drink is Awesome. Made from fresh pressed ginger & agave nectar..$2 for a small/$4 for large. Spicy, fresh tasting, & refreshing. She sells at Lake Shore Natural Store. check out her website at: www.thegingerlady.com
Lanesplitter had pizza for $2 a slice. Didn't see sausage on the menu so didn't get anything. Didn't see any stand for Pizzaiolo.
Then we went to Teacake, Emeryville. Got a red velvet cupcake $3. Just ok. I don't care much for cream cheese filling, cake was kinda dry. Orange DiVinci cookie is pretty tasty $2. Chowhounds like the cookies here, it's the thing to get!
Winnie, the owner, was at the bar to introduce the new Spring White, Green, and Oolong Teas. We got lots to sample for free.
1. Dragonwell A
2. Yellow Mtn-Maofeng
3. Maojian Hair tip
4. Lu Shan - Winnie likes, not my fav.
5. Bi Luo Chun
6. 8 Immportal - can't buy it, something similar is honey fragrance of the Phoenix
7. Sencha - a Japanese tea
My favorite is still Dragonwell A and Oolong.
I ended up getting:
Flower Bouquet Hand Tied Green Late Harvest 2 oz for $20. All the Late Harvest was buy one get one free.
Immortal Peach hand tied green 2 oz for $16. This was Free for me.
Yoku Moku Bateau de Macadamia-macadamia butter cookies w/ milk chocolate filling from Japan. A 4.97 oz tin fo $19.50
One unisex bathroom in the back is very nice.
Credit cards taken. My total $41.21
The Pasta Shop, Berkeley
Lots of goodies here. I got a box of Poco Dolce Tiles which is 8 pcs total of: burnt caramel, almond, ginger, aztec chile. $15.95
Also got June Taylor Blood Orange Marmalade for $12.50
Acme bread, cheeses, lavender honey, greek honey, all kinds of yummy looking things.
Credit cards taken. My total $28.45. Wish I had one closer to me.
Viks Chaat Corner, Berkeley
We came here for an early dinner. We tried:
chicken biryani $6
gobi baratha $5
masala dosa $6.25
Everything was pretty good. My favorite was the masala dosa. Bathrooms available but didn't use it. Warehouse atmosphere, casual. Not fine dining here.
Takara Sake USA, Berkeley
This is probably my third visit to Takara Sake. We rushed here about 15 minutes before it closed for the day. The tasting room is open daily from 12p-6pm for FREE tastings.
We got to try 13 sakes:
Tokubetsu Junmai-premium junmai
Nigori-silky mild sake
Creme de Sake
Nigori that they just added mango juice to-not for sale, u can make it yourself
From the NEW flavored sake we tried:
Koshu plum sake
Takara plum wine
We ended up getting a bottle of ginjo and Lychee
Separate men/women bathroom available, small museum in the back.
Wow, I was full just reading this.
Nice pictures ...especially capturing Kaspars and Hoopers. You had a picture of Cosmic Chocholate. Have you ever tried them? Don't remember seeing them. That chocolate dulce de leche with chipotle gelato sauce sounds tasty.
Very cool pictures of the baked goods at Bakesale Betty's and even Betty herself. She has another strawberry cake I've been meaning to try some day. It doesn't get sold by the slice so I'm waiting for an event.
The fair looks nicer than I expected. If I didn't have other plans today I would have stopped by. Will definately move it up in priority for next year ... WOW band? ... Not Waiter on Wheels band?
Thanks for confirming the cupcake situation at TeaCake. I was starting to get lured there by some positive reports. Nice to know they have ice cream sandwiches from those great cookies though. I think I'll get one of those the next time I go to that movie theatre.
Nice to know about Takara. I had a friend who was visiting many, many ... many years ago and wasn' impressed so I never bothered. Sounds better now. Will check it out.
When I saw all the photos (81) I thought 'yikes' and almost passed. But I'm killing time while waiting for a ride and went for it ... really, really great and highly recommend people taking a little time to scan. The capture so well all the things that are often discussed on the board, like those weekend dishes at Viks. I enjoyed the pictures a lot.
Cosmic Chocolate isn't very good for chocolates, pretty to look at, but nothing special. 5002 B Telegraph Ave (tucked behind Dona Tomas). 877-612-2639. www.cosmicchocolate.com
Bakesale Betty's banana bread has lots of cinnamon sugar on top, but the banana bread itself is not that special. More like a banana cake, not much banana taste. I like nuts in my banana bread and this doesn't have it.
I really liked the chocolate dulce de leche chipotle sauce ($8) from Cosmic Chocolate and tried their cajeta caramel sauce, which tasted more like butterscotch to me. We didn't try their cosmic bombs, which are alcohol-filled.
Will second the Beverly's ginger recommendation. Perfectly sweet and spicy and a little icy.
Genova was packed; we waited nearly 30 numbers to get a huge sandwich. Service couldn't be friendlier. As we were waiting to check out, I admired the jalapeño poppers, and the guy behind the counter asked if this was our first time there and officially welcomed us to come back tomorrow. The whole mood on Telegraph was neighborly.
I'll give the Bakesale Betty rhubarb scone a medium. It's huge and cakey. Apricot almond is still my first love, tangy and crumbly. Esp compared to that nothing cupcake from Teacakes, housed in that dreadful Bay St latest in mall concepts. We ate cream cheese frosting along the alarmingly green "creek" by the shellmound--a very odd way to preserve the native and natural heritage behind Bath and Body Works and Una Mas and Old Navy.
This was my first visit to Teance's store on 4th Street. It preserves everything that was lovely about Celadon, from the round tasting bar to the selection of teas and serving items, to the attentive staff. 7 or 8 other people dropped by to taste the new teas along with us. The 2 for 1 promotion is clearing out the last harvest (2006). 2007 dragonwell A was excellent, as were several of the oolongs.
It's an education to watch Winnie steep the various teas. (I've been brewing sencha too weakly, although having had it made properly make me realize I don't really like it.) Her blog from a recent tea buying trip in China, Taiwan, and Japan is worth checking out http://whyteance.blogspot.com
We also wandered around Sur La Table, checking out cupcake paraphernalia and silicon spatulas. I took home an Aeropress, a home vacuum coffee brewing system by the Palo Alto people who brought you--Aerobie, the aerodynamic Frisbee.
Takara asked us to fill out two different surveys for market research, which amused me; it was the least we could do after showing up minutes before closing. The quality of their sakes isn't going to impress anyone who's lived in Japan or . But the ginjo and organic nama have a clean taste; the lychee-flavored sake marketed under the Hana brand would be great for a picnic .
I ended up at Berkeley Bowl, where I managed to buy light blue mushrooms. Any day you can discover new vegetables (and eat a lot of chocolate washed down with ginger drinks and tea from Yellow Mountain) is a good one.
I'm sorry to have to agree about the Cosmic Chocolates. I excitedly bought three of their bars the other day: 41 percent milk chocolate with caramel and apples, 64% dark chocolate with cardamom and blood oranges and 64% dark chocolate with dulce de leche & chilies. While all three combinations sounded delicious, the execution didn't live up to expectations. The cardamom and orange had no detectible cardmom flavor and the "natural orange flavor" was overpowering. It really could have used some acidity, because the chocolate flavor itself was dull. The dulce de leche & chilies was worse: the dulce de leche just tasted like bad caramel, and like the other bar, the chocolate flavor was muted and muddy. The caramel & apples also had peanuts in it, and those were the predominent taste. Combined with the caramel-sweetened milk chocolate, it tasted a little like a Hershey's Mr. Goodbar with a very faint apple note on the finish. All of the bars had a cloying finish like poor quality mass-market chocolate.
Too bad! I really wanted to like these, but the remainder of these bars is languishing in my desk drawer and will probably be thrown away.
Vik's Chaat House
2390 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
5098 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
Genova Delicatessen & Ravioli
5095 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
Teacake Bake Shop
5615 Bay St, Emeryville, CA 94608
Teance Fine Teas
1780 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710
1786 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710
Sur La Table
1806 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710
5002 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
Takara Sake USA
708 Addison St, Berkeley, CA 94710
I'd like to add another not to miss Temescal spot...la calaca loca for its fish tacos...I had my first one last week and had to drive from san carlos today to get another fish taco fix...plus some Bakesale chicken sandwich, apricot scone, strawberry shortcake...bite of ginger cookie...umm...too bad there aren't any spots over here that good...