Posts by: Ben

The nice thing about the ramen frenzy in the Bay Area is that it comes in all forms, from the premium bowls at fancy restaurants, to counters serving up noodles and bar bites, and to pop ups where chefs are honing their skills in broth-making.

An example of the latter is Ippo Ramen, a pop […]

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One of the highly touted new dining destinations in San Francisco has added a spark to the city’s traditional Chinatown with a buzzing marketplace and restaurant. China Live has arrived.

China Live, in the former Gold Mountain dim sum restaurant space on Broadway, is a two-story food emporium that some have compared to New York’s […]

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Some nights when I’m looking for a quick dinner, I often go with the typical standbys like pan-roasted salmon or any kind of stir-fry.

But recently I remembered I had a bag of lap cheong (Chinese sausage) in the freezer, and that made me crave one of the first dishes my Mom taught me to […]

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The strip of 40th Street off Broadway continues to grow, and the same block that draws crowds regularly because of the mac and cheese restaurant Homeroom has now blossomed with a few novelty stores, including the boutique wine shop Oakland Yard.

Opened late last year by partners Daniel Schmidt and Jonathan Davis, the […]

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The story: New Orlean flavors hit the city’s Mission neighborhood with the arrival of Bayou from Chefs Jerome Rivoire and Arthur Wall.

Why I went: Even though it’s just a couple of weeks old, I decided to check it out since it’s Mardi Gras (OK, I know I’m a day late when I went; I […]

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When Oakland’s Bay Wolf announced it was closing after nearly 40 years in business, the neighborhood and regulars were in disbelief. The restaurant on Piedmont Avenue had risen in reputation and popularity for its intimate California-French cuisine — an answer to Berkeley’s Chez Panisse.

But hints of Bay Wolf, which officially closed last August, are […]

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Rainy Day Lemon Bars via Montreal

On February 22, 2017 By

We’ve been having a deluge of rain in the San Francisco Bay Area this winter, and typically when it rains, I either stay at home and cook or I dream about getting away and being somewhere nice.

This past wet holiday weekend, I spent the day doing both as I baked lemon bars from the […]

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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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