All posts filed under: Neighborhood Eats

sugar rush.

My friend and I went to a cupcake tasting with Angel Cakes and we had way too many cupcakes. Yes, there is such a thing! When we signed up we were thinking “oh yea, they will probably have five or six flavors they want us to try and we’ll rate our favorites.” The day before the tasting they announced that there would be twenty flavor combinations to try, plus an additional sixteen gluten free and vegan varieties. I’m assuming they didn’t expect everyone to try every flavor because twenty mini cupcakes apparently equals eight normal sized cupcakes, but um, food enthusiast here! My friend and I were determined to try all the flavors so we could accurately report on all of them! The flavors: Mexican Chocolate Chocolate cake with cinnamon and chili, chocolate buttercream Strawberry Vanilla Strawberry cake, vanilla strawberry buttercream Turkish Coffee Coffee and cardamom cake, mint buttercream Rose Cardamom Rose cardamom cake, vanilla buttercream White Chocolate Raspberry White chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream, raspberry Red Velvet Red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting Rainbow Sherbert Lime orange cake, raspberry …

good morning. 

Hubs and I have started a coffee shop tour! It’s easy to get stuck in a routine, or stay home because pajamas, but it really does feel good to get dressed for a coffee shop date and some strolling. Also, it’s nice to go somewhere together when it doesn’t involve errands or getting something done. We get to sit and talk with each other without distractions or responsibilities (even though some of the conversation might be what needs to get done when we get home. Ha!). Explore along with us! Hal’s Office in Albany, California We ventured to Hal’s, a new kid on the block. Sit by the window on a sunny morning and take fancy pictures, people watch, dragon watch (yes, we saw a dragon pass by – it was Lunar New Year weekend), dog watch. The workers get excited when you order mochas “for here” because they get to practice their coffee art skills. Check out this beauty. We tried the cherry pastry and the sausage & cream cheese croissant, both by Firebrand. And to …

fish pickles.

My last wish list skill for my summer learning was fish pickling and curing. I know what you are thinking — “That’s totally awesome!!” (See macrame and indigo dyeing, too!) I had been wanting to take a class at Preserved for a while now and as I perused the class list, pickling and curing fish, stood out to me as a unique craft. Even though I know people have been doing this for centuries this is a completely new to me endeavor. And this time I brought my friend Lennie along for the fishy ride! Preserved houses all the supplies for all  your preserving needs. I got to class early and spent the entire waiting time just staring at the shelves, imagining all the things I could make. Our instructor Danny is a fish curing expert, and class was like a live cooking show, complete with food stand ins. Danny reviewed a number of curing and pickling techniques, and we got to feel, smell, and taste the various methods. My favorite technique might have to be the water-vinegar …

curfee.

Saturday morning plan: Roll out of bed and head straight to a coffee class! ☕️ I recently took Handbrew 101 at Allegro Coffee Roasters in Berkeley. Our instructor Nat was the coolest. Self-proclaimed coffee nerd, she walked us through four handbrewing methods, sharing her techniques and coffee insight along the way.  Coffee coffee coffee! It all starts with a good roast. Nat selected the Ethiopia Watona roast. She also prepared worksheets for us to take notes and start our “coffee diary” (bt-dubs: important if you want to keep tabs on how you like to make your perfect cup). I took all the notes. So much to learn!  Nat walked us through four coffee brewing contraptions plus all the accompanying equipment – scale, gooseneck kettle, coffee grinder, cupping cups…. We sampled the same beans via French press, Chemex, Hario V60, and Aeropress. I can’t say I have a favorite but they all produced different flavor profiles. What I thought was most interesting was how the flavor changed as the coffee cooled. Science!  At the end of …

a lesson in pie. 

As part of wedweek festivities my sister and God sister planned a pie night at Pietisserie in Oakland complete with the cutest apron party favors! Welcome to Pietisserie! The ambiance – clean kitchen, warm & cozy, filled with inspirational baking tools. My God sister loves to get pies for all of her occasions from Pietisserie. Also, she knows everyone this side of the lake. Not only did she special request this class for me, but she special requested for some food to be delivered from Portal next door. All the ingredients were set up for us and Owner/Instructor/Pie Lady Extraordinaire Jaynelle walked us through each step in the pie making process. The evening’s pie menu: Triple Berry – blueberry, strawberry, and blackberry Blueberry & Pear, and Pecan We learned how to make all the fillings, and Jaynelle divulged all crust making secrets and demoed how to create fancy lattice work. Fresh out of the oven! They turned out so pretty! All that was left to do was to devour them. Yay for pie and pretty aprons! A huge thank …

ice cream dates. 

Ice cream date on a chilly afternoon in the Bay Area? Yea, why not! Some lovelies and I ventured to Little Giant in Oakland for an afternoon of sweets. You can try a few flavors before committing, but I always end up with either coffee or dark chocolate (or both!). I had, you guessed it, the coffee ice cream…with chocolate sauce! It sure was photogenic. This lovely had her cranberry sorbet in a cone. Oh, and robots. Fill in the blank. My favorite ice cream shop in the whole wide world is ______.

the bagel.

When I was younger, I decided that when I grew up I wanted to own a bagel slicer. It’s a bit of an odd life goal, but I really liked bagels and thought it would be a fun gadget to have. I would have perfectly sliced bagels all the time and all of the crumbs would be gathered at the bottom of the slicer. Well, growing up happened and I still don’t own one. Whoops. They taste so much better out of a fancy professional toaster oven anyhow. Plus, if topped with house-made schmear it could make for a very delightful snack. And that brings me to this bagel: The jalapeño cheddar bagel with salmon schmear from the juice bar at Whole Foods on the Alameda in San Jose. I’d like to give a shout out to this bagel. Dare I say the best bagel I’ve ever put in my mouth! A crisp, but soft bagel, not chewy. A slight heat from the jalapeño. A creamy, but light schmear. And the shmear to bagel ratio was on point. I would travel the …