Heading to Temescal tomorrow, with toddler [Oakland]
I have tomorrow off and my wife and I are going to bike from Albany over to Temescal and sample some of the local-ish wares. Here are my thoughts so far. Any additional ideas for casual fare suitable for two omnivore adults and an adventurous toddler?
Pizzaiolo (for morning doughnuts)
Brick Pig BBQ
How about Juhu Beach Club? You can get a couple of the Pav options (short ribs and chicken are both yum) and the cilantro lemonade.They were very patient with my friends' one-year old who had broader interests (such as water glasses/napkins/utensils etc) than mere food. Not sure how early they open though.
I'm no big fan of Homeroom, the mac 'n' cheese restaurant, but it is nothing if not kid friendly. It's a fun place if you can manage to go during a non-peak hour (when it isn't packed).
The Sacred Wheel Cheese Shop makes very good grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and I think their mac 'n' cheese (uber-crispy top, served with Sriracha honey for dipping/drizzling) is far superior to Homeroom's. Also, they do an outstanding meatloaf sandwich, served on Texas toast. It's a really casual spot -- just a couple tables set up inside a regular, hipster-ish cheese shop. Cute place -- worth swinging by for a look even if you don't have a full meal there.
+1 on Juhu Beach Club.
A little farther afield (and not technically in Temescal), MLK Cafe serves pretty good Ethiopian/Eritrean food and surprisingly decent pizza. But I actually like it best for breakfast (kitcha fit-fit and Eritrean-style scrambled eggs, ftw).
Lots of good Korean options in Temescal -- Sura is a good one on that main stretch of Temescal. Also Pyung Chang Tofu House for tofu casseroles.
FWIW, I've never been overly impressed with any of the food at Aunt Mary's. Except the buttermilk pie, which was great. Tara's is fine, but a distant third or fourth as far as East Bay ice cream/gelato options are concerned.
My rankings: Lush, Scream Sorbet (RIP) > Sketch >> Tara's > Ici.
It's obviously an area where personal preference varies greatly, but if you like Lush, I think you may find Tara's a little bit timid/weak in terms of both texture and boldness of flavor.
Also, forgot to mention that Juhu Beach Club has *awesome* kids' meals, served in colorful, three-tiered tiffin boxes (like Indian "bento"). Another point in its favor.
Another +1 for Juhu--I was just there with a 2 year old and his parents and it worked out very well for him (kids meal) and us (chicken salad highly recommended). There is also a nice playground on Claremont kind of under the highway if you need a break between eating stints. And, I highly recommend the fruit turnovers at Pizzaiolo in addition to their doughnuts--they've had different stone fruit fillings lately that have been delicious.
So here's the report:
Doughnut Dolly. Spectacular! Strawberry, Naughty Cream, and Banana Cream filled doughnuts.
Cro Cafe. My wife had cappuccino and found it good, but quite mild. They kindly made a small cup of foamed milk for our two year old, which he loved.
Pizzaiolo. Tragically we missed the doughnuts by about five minutes. So we settled for donut holes, which were still darn tasty.
Beauty's Bagel. Meh. Nice vibe and reasonably priced omelets. But the bagels .... mine are much better. Solid rugelach.
Barkada. I really enjoyed the chocolate cake with pistachio buttercream. Chocolate croissant was quite dense, but had good flavor. The chocolate chip cookies had an odd aftertaste but were certainly worth eating.
Juhu Beach Club. I thought this was a great spot. We split a three pav combo (chicken, pork, and lamb meatballs). All, I thought, had a distinct and vibrant flavor. The cabbage slaw ... I could take it or leave it. They wanted $7 for a beer, which I thought was outrageous, and we passed. The atmosphere is a weird combination of Bollywood colors and hipster lighting fixtures and at least for us didn't really work. Loud too. But the food would bring me back.
Sacred Wheel Cheese Shop. I loved the shop, my wife was put off by the excessive knick knacks. The crispy mac n cheese was fine, but no better than what I'd make at home. We also got a $2 version of an oreo, which was atrocious. Wonderful selection of local cheeses.
Crixa Cakes. This was on the way home, so we dropped in. My wife wasn't impressed with the offerings, finding them to spongy/creamy/spicy, while I thought I could happily try at least ten offerings. So we got one Friolo (?), a rich and small slice with biscuit (I think), buttercream, and amaretto soaking. Solid.
Thanks for all the suggestions.