All posts filed under: Local Tourist

tasting, tasting. 1, 2, 3.

Hello Yelp Elite badge 2021! We’re already more than a third of the way through 2021 so I best recap some tasty Yelp events! So far I’ve been able to participate in a virtual beer and snack pairing, yogurt tasting, coffee run, and sushi take out! All the Yelp Elite events, though still virtual, are still deliciously fun! Here’s what I’ve been snacking on… Anaviv’s Table and East Brother Beer One of the first Yelp Elite events of the year was a virtual beer and food pairing with Anaviv’s Table and East Brother Beer, both located in Richmond, California. Anaviv’s Table, pre-pandemic, was a communal dining experience (they sat 12 max per seating) that focused on featuring local food from nearby farms. Today, they sell goods market style and a select nosh offering. East Brother Beer is a local favorite brewery (I enjoy their house stout!) among many of my friends, and it’s a family friendly spot, too. This was the first event with a delivery option for the tasting menu and if I have …

cookies at the claremont.

To celebrate being fully vaccinated I met up with my basically-family friends for an outdoor cookie decorating event at the Claremont hosted by East Bay Provisions. The Claremont had converted part of their parking lot into an outdoor restaurant and event space. It was the perfect weekend to be outside! Each ticket came with a dozen sugar cookies (we received kitten, bear, turtle, and butterfly shapes), four icing colors, assorted sprinkles, popsicle sticks, and hand wipes. Our host came around and provided a quick demo. I was hoping for more direction, but it really was meant for open play. Since I do much better looking at samples, I watched my niece decorate her cookies first and was inspired by her creations. My favorite technique was piping out splotches of color and then taking one of the popsicle sticks to drag the color across the cookie. It made it look like watercolor and blended the colors (almost) seamlessly. I really liked how my bears turned out! In the end, they all tasted the same so we …

annie’s.

One day I’ll have a garden of my own. For now I have a patio with potted plants and places like Annie’s Annuals and Perennials to enjoy. This was my first time at the nursery, and I almost didn’t make it in time. I was the last person allowed in ten minutes before closing. It wasn’t enough time to explore the whole nursery, but it was plenty of time to be in awe of the plant varieties they carry and take lots of pictures. The nursery is large and packed with so many different kinds of plants that there’s a guidebook! It’s like the Disneyland of nurseries. I feel like I could learn a lot about flowering plants from hanging out in the nursery and talking to the staff. Each plant has an info card with care tips and photos of the blooms, too. I love me a good info card, and I will stop to read all of them. I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to make any good plant decisions in my …

one of everything.

The traveling baking company Blooms End popped up at Morningtide. This was my first time trying this local bakery and it did not disappoint. Per usual, all great pop-ups at Morningtide draw a crowd. I made sure I was in line at the start of the pop-up (it’s even better if you come earlier). Also per usual, I shopped Morningtide after I got my pop-up goods. 🙂 Mary Denham, the baker and visionary behind Blooms End, put together the most delicious array of savory and sweet creations for the day’s festivities. The menu was released the day before and I knew when I got to the front of the line I would order one of (almost) everything. I ended up getting one of every croissant (minus one because she sold out of the chocolate croissants by the time I got to the front of the line), plus cookies (chocolate chip and white chocolate-marcona almond). Check out this croissant line up: croissant (plain) chocolate coffee-cardamom monkey meyer lemon-breakfast tea twist blackened date-graham-chocolate quince & manchego roasted …

more places.

More outdoor spaces to explore in the East Bay! Because eight wasn’t enough. Keller Beach Park, Richmond / A small beach that’s worth the visit. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy watching the resident squirrels find and munch on human snacks. San Pablo Park, Berkeley / There’s currently construction and upgrades happening at the park, but there’s a huge lawn area – perfect for setting up a socially distanced picnic and enjoying the sunshine. Willard Park, Berkeley / Aww, I used to live near Willard Park. I even had a crafty birthday party here one year. There’s a playground and lots of grassy areas. I’m particularly fond of their redwood trees. Strolling the neighborhood is lovely, too, because there are so many things blooming year-round. Point Pinole Regional Park Dotson Family Marsh, Richmond / The scenery is a bit dry, but I loved it here. An hour before sunset there wasn’t much of a crowd, and the trail is wide enough to stay a good distance away from folks going the opposite direction. There’s a …

holiday macarons.

Raising Bebe is no walk in the park, but he slept long enough for me to enjoy a little macaron decorating session with my Yelp Elite Squad and Macarons by Natalie. Remember when I decorated boba and dumpling macarons? This time we enjoyed decorating a few holiday designs in Hello Kitty, Baymax, and corgi shapes. Like last time, we picked up our kits from Macarons by Natalie headquarters. Each kit came with macaron shells for a dozen cookies, three types of filling (red velvet, peppermint mocha, and snickerdoodle), assorted icing (red, yellow, green, and white), sprinkles, and a food marker. For the event, we donned our best ugly holiday sweaters and holiday hats, and Natalie demoed a few macaron decor ideas for each character. I tried to create Hello Kitty Santa… Tahdah! All the macarons! Almost too cute to eat! This was such a fun event, and technically my first holiday party of the season! In my world it barely feels like December, so this was a nice reminder that Christmas is coming! 🙂 Are …

places.

I’ve only recently started to be brave enough to go places. It helps, too, that I am on maternity leave and can do more weekday adventuring. (Weekend adventuring is too crowded.) Here are some outdoor spots in the East Bay that make great social distancing adventures for when you need to get out of the house. Alameda Beach, Alameda / Grab a spot on the sand and feel like you’re on your own private beach. Visitors are really good at keeping a good distance away from each other. Castro Park, El Cerrito / They’ve let the grass dry out so it’s not super lush, but there is a lot of space to spread out and have a socially distanced picnic under your tree of choice. Shimada Friendship Park, Richmond / A lovely spot for watching sunset. There are lots of people exercising along the water and it’s bit more crowded here in the late afternoon; beware of non-mask wearers. Lucretia W. Edwards Shoreline Park, Richmond / This one is a small park, but really lovely. …

sundae school.

The Museum of Ice Cream San Francisco has been hosting free virtual Sundae School events for California residents. My sister and I got in on the fun! And it was so cute; we were in a session with a Girl Scout troop so my Sis and I felt like the big kids. We gathered all of the ingredients and materials to make one serving of ice cream. 1 gallon resealable bag 1 sandwich sized resealable bag 1 mug 1 kitchen towel 1 bowl 1 spoon 1 set measuring cups and spoons 1 cup whole milk 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 cups ice 1/3 cup salt Any toppings (I brought out Trader Joe’s chocolate chunks and walnuts) Optional: powdered mixes (for an ice cream flavor other than vanilla) There was some time for intros and as our host (Professor Cherry!) walked through how to make ice cream, he shared fun facts about California milk and the science of the ice cream making process. We put the milk, vanilla, and sugar in the …

candy.

I might too old for Trick or Treating, but I’m never too old for candy. Chef Tova Sterling in partnership with Yelp Central Jersey hosted a candy tasting event: Candy Around the World! We had the option to purchase a candy sampler pack and have it shipped in time for the hang out. I thought it would just be a candy tasting but it was much more! Chef Tova had a fun candy history presentation prepared for us, and hosted candy trivia. I learned so much! Taste test time! Aldama Cajeta from Mexico — Sugar was introduced to the Philippines from Indonesia; then Spain learned about it from the Philippines and brought it over to Mexico. Cajeta was born! White Rabbit Milk Candy from China — This candy has a cult following. It’s wrapped in rice paper; I used to eat it as a kid and would tell my classmates that I was eating paper. They thought I was strange. Roshen Milky Splash from Ukraine — So creamy. So glad Chef Tova gave us two …

macaron night.

Macarons by Natalie and Yelp East Bay hosted a macaron decorating night. OMG so fun! Natalie created macaron kits for Yelp Elites and we spent the evening together apart decorating our macarons to look like dumplings and boba. Our kits came with everything we needed to fill and decorate a dozen macarons. Plus, a bonus Yelp macaron that you could have eaten right away if you just couldn’t wait! But in true Yelp Elite form, I resisted so it could be part of the photoshoot. 🙂 Before we got started, Natalie shared her dessert biz story and goals for the future. She’s already a published cookbook author, and has dreams to open her own dessert shop! Then, Natalie demoed how to fill macarons and decorate them in the cutest ways. She provided us with buttercream fillings in Cookies n Cream and Fruity Pebbles flavors, a trio of icing colors, and a food coloring pen, and encouraged us to get creative with our designs. My favorite techniques were the kawaii eyes (with the ‘sparkles’) and creating …