Posts by: Ben

A Review of Plenty Cafe in Oakland

On February 15, 2017 By

The story: Plenty is a new cafe that opened last fall on the outskirts of Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood on San Pablo Avenue, nearby a few community centers. It’s by two Oakland residents who have worked or consulted for the nearby Hopscotch restaurant.

Why I went: I was excited about the possibility of a new lunch […]

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SAN JOSE, Calif.
I rarely visit a restaurant in its first official week of opening, but since I was in the South Bay already for a convention, I thought I’d swing by the new Jinya Ramen Bar in San Jose’s Westfield Oakridge Center.

In the ramen-obsessed Bay Area, it takes a lot of guts to […]

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Although I’ll go far and wide to try a new restaurant, I’m always excited when I hear about something opening close to my Oakland home. It’s the idea of finding a regular hangout that I always find appealing (that’s probably from my growing up watching “Cheers”).

So I was excited to check out the new Duchess […]

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The new 1951 Coffee Shop in Berkeley looks like any other coffee shop — bags of freshly roasted beans, shiny espresso machine, and rows of coffee drinkers with laptops.

But this coffee shop, which is near the UC Berkeley campus, is unique because it’s a non-profit business that employs refugees and supports the refugee community. Opened […]

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With rainy days, I’m typically at home cozying up to my blanket on my sofa watching Chef’s Table on Netflix. And just for added ambiance, it’s always nice to be braising meat in the oven for that enticing aroma.

For that, beef cheeks are one of my favorite go-to cuts when I can find them […]

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The story: Finn Town Tavern in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood is the latest venture of local celebrity chef Ryan Scott (“Top Chef” and frequent “Today Show” guest), and in many ways it’s his most established spot to date after dabbling with a food truck and then a casual eatery (Market & […]

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It’s that time of year when it’s traditionally slow at restaurants, coming off the holidays when people are recovering from bills. In recent years I’d say that didn’t seem to be a problem in the San Francisco Bay Area, where people seem to love going out to eat.

But we’re coming off several days of […]

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It’s back! The largest specialty food show in the country makes its winter stop in San Francisco.

Today I spent hours walking the aisles of the Winter Fancy Food Show at the Moscone Center, among the crowds of an expected 33,000 attendees over three days browsing more than 1,400 exhibitors. It’s like the […]

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It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a pop-up dinner, where a chef makes dinner in borrowed space. Popups often provide the chance for intimate dinners between diners and chef.

On Sunday, I checked out a popup in Oakland featured on the Feastly site, along with my food eating adventurers Brenda of Read the full post

When you live in a world where everyone loves bacon, you can’t go wrong opening a sandwich spot that’s a temple to bacon, right?

That’s the apparent formula for the new Gastropig in Oakland, which since opening this month has been packed during lunch serving up it’s signature sandwich—the bacon slut—to nearby office workers in […]

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One of my favorite new spots for a casual meal these days is Baby Cafe in Oakland’s Chinatown.

The cafe, aptly named since the space is tiny, serves up westernized Chinese cuisine reflective of Hong Kong’s cha cha teng, which are like diners serving up a mix of traditional Chinese noodle soups and hybrids of Chinese-Western dishes […]

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Walking into Sweet Belly in Oakland’s Uptown district, it takes awhile to get a sense of what this place is all about.

The name is a big giveaway — Sweet Belly is a dessert spot selling sweets. But while it’s in a former dive Chinese takeout spot and is decorated like a space for afternoon tea, […]

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I’m a fan of Vietnamese food, and San Jose is said to have some of the best in this country, which makes sense because it has the largest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam.

During the holiday break, I drove down to visit my good friend Denise and her girls, and we met up at one […]

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Japanese food in America typically takes two extreme routes, either the traditional authentic approach or the crazy fun concepts that serve up things like dragon rolls.

But at the new Nomica by Yoshi Tome, owner of the popular Sushi Ran in Sausalito, Tome presents a middle road that draws on traditional flavors but presents dishes […]

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