Scouting Bay Area Sandwiches, and a Couple Other Half-Formed Thoughts

Brazil Fresh

Hella Tasty: The Tri-Tip Sandwich with “The Works” (#84) @ The Brazil Fresh Squeeze Cafe, Berkeley. In this case, “The Works” includes fresh cheese, grilled onions, pineapple, jalapeƱo, lettuce, tomato, and cilantro-garlic sauce. One of the great sandwiches of the Bay Area, for sure.

Personally, I don’t think the apocalypse is upon us. If the world didn’t implode when Sandra Lee prepared her infamous Kwanzaa cake in 2003, then I think we’re probably good through 2012, and well beyond. However, with December 21st less than a fortnight away, it’s still as good of a time as any to clear out my “to do” folder. And why not? A couple of these photos have been in turn-around for months, so it’s time to finally give them some daylight. Other pics were part of a sandwich run-down that never really developed a decent angle or hook. So, yeah, I just [… read more …]

Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany: Exploring the Best of San Pablo


Unknown Dish @ Huong Tra, Richmond.

I’ve got this thing for what I call “the heart “of San Pablo Blvd, that 8-mile stretch bound by the 80 and the 580. Some of the East Bay’s most definitive ethnic restaurants share a San Pablo address, which can make eating rather convenient, even if decisions might prove difficult. Living in Napa, it’s actually taken me a few years to really suss out the best of the best on San Pablo Blvd, but I’ve always had an affinity for this stretch of road: It’s perfectly straight, it runs due north and south (well, practically), it’s restaurant-dense, and parking is relatively easy. San Pablo just doesn’t require much know-how or planning, which can be nice.

Case in point: I tried to visit Zaki Kabob House a couple weeks ago, not realizing that it was Ramadan and that the restaurant would have a [… read more …]

Killer Apps: The Angel Wings @ Sa Wad Dee Thai Restaurant

Angel Wings

Proof that chickens and pigs can be friends: Angel Wings @ Sa Wad Dee Thai Restaurant, Richmond.

Sometimes I wish that Jonathan Gold covered the Bay Area, or better yet, I wish that I knew someone locally who has spent a large of their life eating Thai cuisine. The thing is, I have a strong hunch that Sa Wad Dee is the best Thai restaurant in the East Bay, but I’d appreciate an informed second opinion. Actually, it’s not so much that I need a second opinion — I know what I like, and I know what’s good — but if there’s a better Thai restaurant in the East Bay, I’d sure like to eat there. I’ve tried finding these places on my own — I’ve been to dozens of Thai restaurants in Berkeley and its surrounding boroughs, and I’ll admit that the competition can be tough, and [… read more …]

Breakfast & Lunch: Sa Wad Dee Thai Restaurant, Richmond

Pad See Iew (#45): Thai rice noodles, carrots, broccoli, egg, an exceptional sweet black bean sauce, pork.

My ode to San Pablo Avenue continues this week with a quick review of Sa Wad Dee Thai Restaurant in Richmond, which for me is the East Bay’s best option for Thai cuisine. That said, I’m always a bit hesitant to crown any place king. I’ll certainly admit, there may be another local restaurant that offers more authentic Thai fare, but Sa Wad Dee definitely earns the benefit of the doubt. During my most recent visit, an overcast day prompted an order of the hearty pad see iew, pictured above. It’s a fantastic dish: The wide ribbons of rice noodles were addictive in nature, starchy and tender, robust, yet perfectly dressed, and piping hot upon arrival. Of course, the black bean sauce itself is the true catalyst of pad see iew, [… read more …]