Archive for the 'a place to eat' Category

slow food nation

Friday, September 5th, 2008

taste pavilion @ slow food nation 08

I attended the Taste Pavilion at Slow Food Nation last Sunday evening. This was the first Slow Food sponsored celebration of American traditionally produced foods. The food was enjoyable, the lines were not.

At $65 a pop, was it worth navigating the crowds?

Read more about it at Well Fed on the Town


oakland: food mecca

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008


OK, maybe not, but there is plenty of good, even great food to be found in my particular neck of the SF Bay Area woods. (If I ever massacre a cliché like that again, please shoot me.)

Check out my update on Oakland eateries over at Well Fed on the Town.

farmer brown

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Photo by DJ Wallstrom from the Farmer Brown website

I am a sucker for American Southern and Soul foods. Give me fried chicken with hot sauce any time, day or night, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Black eyed peas and rice, cornbread, collard greens with smoky ham hock. I love it all. Just thinking about crispy fried chicken makes me crave it. Our default places for fried chicken tend to be the Lake Merritt Diner and the Home of Chicken n’ Waffles here in Oakland. But recently, we checked out Farmer Brown in San Francisco. Farmer Brown is unique in that the management sources their produce from local African-American farmers, a nice concept, I think. Read more here

waiter, there’s an lcd screen on my table!

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

computerized menu

You go to your favorite sushi joint for a leisurely bite with some friends. Someone points you to a table, the usual one. You’re wondering whether you’ll get a California roll, or perhaps a simple plate of sashimi. On the other hand, the daily special might be good. Everyone has a seat and waits for menus to arrive. But there aren’t any. You look around and notice that the other diners in the restaurant are all leaning over to touch colorful photos on a screen at the sides of their tables. Instead of servers, computers are now taking orders.

That’s exactly what’s happening at Tel Aviv’s “Frame & Sushi Bar.” The restaurant/bar installed a computerized menu and order system developed by Israeli company Conceptic. The touch screen allows diners to peruse photos of items on the menu and place an order. They can also chat with other diners. Frame restaurant manager Natalie Edry says the new system is a source of entertainment for young and old alike. Children can play with the menu while waiting for food, while the late-night after-party crowd can flirt with diners at other tables. The system also eases the workload for waiters and reduces the wait time for orders. What a concept!

I think it might be fun to try, but I wonder how well it actually works. If you know what you want to eat and you don’t have any particular needs or requirements, I imagine it would work quite well. But what if you want your burger medium rare? Suppose you want to know whether the feta cheese is made of sheep or cow’s milk? Are the greens organic? Is the fish wild or farmed? And if you want to order wine? Well, no computer can supplant a sommelier. Here’s where the system might become less efficient—when diners need to use the computer to fetch their server.

I can’t help but wonder what the maintenance must be like. Does the software run on Windows? What happens when you have to reboot? How much extra work does it take to keep the touch screens clean? And what if a pint-size customer accidentally spills his milk on the console?

On the other hand, for a majority of orders, a computerized ordering system might work quite well. The table to table chatting feature is particularly appealing for pubs and bars. In the case of Frame—open 24 hours with a late-night pub atmosphere—the screens appear to blend in pretty well with the fifties meets George Jetson style décor. The talble-side screens echo the large flat screen TV on the wall that displays to diners the real-time goings on in the kitchen.

What do you think? Would you prefer to order your food from a computer or a person? Do you think this system will help or hurt restaurant servers?

Watch a video clip of the story here or here.

death of a restaurant

Thursday, February 14th, 2008


In case you missed it, here’s a link to my latest post on Well Fed on the Town, in which I lament the passing of one of my local favorites.

Photo by mohey51.

sens and sensibility

Monday, October 8th, 2007

What’s it like to open a new restaurant? My favorite pastry chef can tell you all about it.

And what’s the new restaurant like, anyway? It’s like a cozy cabin in the mountains but big enough to feed and water a very large, well dressed crowd. It’s like eating your way through the local farmers’ market but with za’atar, sumac, and harissa for flavor (and kadaif for crunch).

Read more at Well Fed on the Town

asian fusion in seattle

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

On your way to Seattle? No? Need a reason to go? Thomas Keller-trained Chef Lisa Nakamura creates Japanese/European flights of fancy on a plate. Read more about it on Well Fed on the Town.

where to eat on san juan island

Monday, July 9th, 2007

I just got back from a wonderfully relaxing and fun vacation in the Pacific Northwest, namely San Juan Island off the coast of Washington state, Seattle, and Portland. It was actually warmer and sunnier up there than it is right now in Oakland. In fact, Portland is currently having a heat wave with humidity that rivals any day in June on the Tel Aviv boardwalk. Odd for a region known for its overcast, cloudy skies.

We ate out quite a lot, and I went a little nuts with the camera (but not during meals, *ahem*), so I’ve got a lot to share. Here’s a taste of what we ate on San Juan Island…

hiro’s sushi and grill

Monday, May 14th, 2007


I’m a fan of Hiro’s Sushi and Grill, a new Japanese joint in Rockridge:

Hiro’s Sushi and Grill is a relatively new addition to Oakland’s array of restaurants on College Avenue. Don’t let its location fool you. You can almost walk right by the weirdly pink shopping area housing Hiro’s near the bottom of College. But something calls you back. Maybe it’s the rice paper screens, a menu hanging in the window, the sight of people enjoying good food in a relaxed environment.

Read all about it at Well Fed on the Town.

(Hat tip to Wikipedia for the Hokusai reproduction.)

flavors of india

Monday, March 12th, 2007

Mango lassi, anyone? Check out my review of Flavors of India, a local Indian restaurant.

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