Seasonal flavor - crème fraiche with pear caramel

Best Ice Cream: Smitten Ice Cream

Smitten Ice Cream is not your typical ice cream shop.  All of their ice cream is made-to-order — with liquid nitrogen. My husband is a huge fan of dessert, especially ice cream.  He also is a science nerd.  So it was no surprise when he said he wanted to come to Smitten Ice Cream after lunch.  We went to the one at Rockridge in Oakland, but there are also a few more shops around the […]

Hot & sweet chicken at Kokio Republic

Food Truck Fun: Kokio Republic

Kokio Republic is a regular Off the Grid visitor, but it took me a long time to try them out.  I’m not a person who seeks out fried chicken, and chicken wings sound more like a snack than a full lunch meal.  However, one of my trusted foodie friends, Mark, said he had eaten there before and liked it enough to get lunch from there again, so I gave it a shot. The truck is known for […]

Teance Tea Shop, Berkeley, CA

For the Love of Tea: Teance Fine Tea Store

Teance is a cute little tea shop in Berkeley that my family and I discovered while waiting for our brunch place to open.  While we knew they existed, we did not know that they were more than just a store that sold tea and accessories.  In the very back of the store they have a tea bar, and they also have a second level of tables for people to sit and enjoy a cup of […]

Close up view of the pig ear fries.

Unique Eats: Pig Ear Fries

If you’re familiar with pig ears, then pig ear fries are exactly what you envision them to be: pig ears cut into strips, fried, and coated with salt. It was certainly a dish that we hadn’t seen anywhere else, so my husband and I decided to try it. The menu simply describes it as Pig Ear Fries with Korean hot mustard nouc cham.  (Nouc cham is a Vietnamese phrase for dipping sauce.) I first tried […]

Pakhlava - a delicious dessert!

Annual Armenian Festival

I went with my friend Maria and my family to a local Armenian church for its annual Armenian festival. I had no idea what Armenian food would be other than “something similar to Mediterranean food,” so I was excited to give it a shot. The food was indeed similar to Mediterranean food, and it was all very tasty. A quick run down of the dishes I tried: Shish Kebab: selected chunks of skewered lamb. The […]

The Demon Lover - chicken and waffles dish from 900 Grayson in Berkeley, CA.

Best Chicken and Waffles: 900 Grayson

Several people told me that I needed to try this place out just for the chicken and waffles, and boy am I glad I did. My mom, my husband, and I went early on a Saturday morning for brunch and were able to be seated pretty easily.  The important thing to know is that they won’t seat you until the whole party is there.  They also don’t have a parking lot so you may have […]

PB2 sandwich from Jamber.

Unique Eats: Pork Belly, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

PB2. pork belly, peanut butter, cranberry-walnut jam, scallion. $13 I went to Jamber for the first time and saw that listed on the menu.  Now, I love pork belly, but I was skeptical of this sandwich.  How would pork belly pair with peanut butter and jelly? Well…it pairs deliciously! Let’s start with the star ingredient — the pork belly.  The pork belly was a nice thick piece, which made the sandwich feel hearty without being heavy […]

Cheesesteak with Garlic Fries

Food Truck Fun: Izzy’s Cheesesteaks

One of my favorite things about working in San Francisco is my access to food trucks.  Every Tuesday and Thursday, we get a new set of food trucks across the street to try thanks to Off the Grid. Izzy’s Cheesesteaks showed up for the first time, so my friend Catalina and I stopped to check out the menu and found this: We read the menu and were sold immediately.  I was sold by the roasted […]

Chicken a la Mexicana

La Mexicana: Muy Deliciosa!

The Fruitvale district of Oakland is known for having authentic Mexican food.  There are plenty of local taquerías and restaurants that live up to this expectation, and La Mexicana is no exception. What sets La Mexicana apart is the fact that they have handmade corn tortillas, which are made with only corn and water.  These tortillas are as thick as two or three store-bought tortillas combined.  They come out hot in a basket with butter packets […]