Sunday, August 31, 2008

I heart Greek Street.

It is, by far, the best street at Street Fair. I rave constantly about the gyros and souvlakias. And the desserts aren't too shabby, either:

Ok. Sorry for being the worst food blogger ever in that I can't remember what the official names of these two items are. But both are delicious. On the left is a moist walnut spice cake; on the right, rich custard between layers of phyllo and then drenched in honey. I wonder what the latter would taste like right after it's constructed -- with the phyllo still crunchy... one can only wonder. Still, it was terrific.

YES -- Loukoumathes! Or loukoumades. Whatever the hell you call them, they are out of this world. These crispy donut-like balls come fresh out of the fryer and are dumped into a vat of honey, where they soak and float around for a few minutes like yummy little buoys in a swimming pool of sticky sweetness. A quick dusting of cinnamon sugar make them sparkle and glisten, enticing you to eat them right this very second. And as you bite through the perfectly crisp outside, the honey oozes out and almost burns your tongue, but you don't really care because it was all worth it...

I say again: I heart Greek Street.

(Click for other Street Fair goodies I tried this year.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yay for Street Fair!

The Orange International Street Fair is back in town this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I'm looking forward to pigging out on favorites from last year as well as stuff I didn't get a chance to sample. Check back for reports on my loukoumathes and aebleskivers adventures. (That was a mouthful.)

For some awesome Street Fair food tips, hit up the Register's Fast Food Maven, Nancy Luna, who covered Street Fair extensively last year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Friendly stalking.

I recently discovered Twitter and I am surprised to find it so addictive. If you care to stalk me online, "follow" me -- my username is myabsentmind. I seem to "tweet" about food a lot. (Hah, look at all these silly verbs Twitter created. )

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Food Blahg is one year old!

How quickly a year goes by. I'm actually pretty proud of myself for keeping this up. To my (3 to 4) faithful readers: Thank you, and here's to another year and hopefully more frequent posts!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Actually... I missed my flight.

Oh my goodness. How could I forget about Nabolom Bakery?

Their apricot cheese danish alone is worth revisiting Berkeley for another post. A real, whole apricot, not some measly jam, is baked within. The cream cheese, more savory than sweet, is melty against the soft fruit on the inside, but actually has somewhat of a crust as it peeks out from under the flaky criss-crosses.

Compared to the satisfying danish, the sunflower sesame cookie (on the right) is a mere afterthought. And much too healthy for me -- I later regretted not choosing the banana cheese danish instead.

(And yes, we did miss our flight going home. I guess it was difficult to leave!)

* * *
Nabolom Bakery
2708 Russell Street
Berkeley 94705

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A mangled Pocky box. :(

This is what happens when hunger takes over logic in the darkness of your car while driving home:

As you can see, I was attempting, unsuccessfully, to open it at the fold. (To give myself a little credit, Pocky boxes were originally designed to open at the top, not the side like this photo shows.)

After I overcame this temporary confusion, the actual Pocky sticks, thankfully, escaped unscathed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Officially leaving the Bay Area.

Ok. We're gonna do it. All in one go.

Let's wrap up the Berkeley foodventures and be done with it already!

Highlights from the rest of our trip, in reverse order of favoritism:

Chowdahs in the chill at Fisherman's Wharf.

Before our hike up the insanely steep and crooked Lombard Street in San Francisco, we needed proper sustenance. Fisherman's Wharf is a very touristy -- therefore, expensive -- spot, so we had to be a little creative:

First, we got an adorable sourdough turtle from Boudin. After promptly devouring its legs, tail and head, we headed over to the cluster of fresh seafood offerings where we purchased a cup each of crab chowder and clam chowder, each costing only a few dollars. Because it was biting cold and we didn't really feel like eating next to the pigeon poo, we headed back over to Boudin's heated outdoor patio to eat. (Wasn't that such a great idea?!)

The crab chowder was my favorite. It was the corn in it that sold me.

3. What is a Gypsy's? It is a delicious.

Spaghetti carbonara at Gypsy's Trattoria Italiano, located at none other than Asian Ghetto.

Man. I wish there were an Italian place like this at home. Gypsy's has a huge selection of pizzas, calzones and pastas (cooked perfectly al dente), which are prepared quickly, come in hefty portions, and cost you no more than a matinee movie. My carbonara was creamy and eggy, generously adorned with crispy pancetta.

As for the garlic bread? Instead of the usual garlic buttered-toast, Gypsy's dishes come with a slab of bread and a generous smear of real roasted garlic so soft and sweet, you'd think it was butter. But better. Better butter. Of garlic.

2. Hot/cold confusion, and the creamiest gelato ever.

The sun didn't peek out once during our trip, so it's a good thing I love eating ice cream in cold weather. Almare served up some of the most decadent gelato I've ever tasted (texture is always key). Pistachio was rich and nutty, kiwi-strawberry was true to its fruity flavors but not overly sweet, and both were perfectly creamy and thick.

Ici, on the other hand, is on a whole 'nother plane of ice cream existence. The flavors here, which change daily, are always unconventional: Earl Grey and cookies, Santa Rosa plum, gingersnap-honey, cardamom-rose... so many chances to try something you've never tasted before.

On this particular day, my cousin and I both opted for peach-habanero. Its searing heat was immediately soothed by sweet tanginess, which quickly turned back into spiciness. While sitting on a bench outdoors, we vocalized this strange, but wonderful sensation:

"I'm cold. But it's hot! But it's cold... I'm so confused!"

Diamond dogs.

From the hole-in-the-wall (literally) Top Dog, my sister got a chicken-lemon dog (left), I got the linguica, my cousin got the original Top Dog. Unfortunately, the one I got was my least favorite -- probably because I unwittingly slathered it with a very spicy horseradish mustard (I didn't know what "Russian mustard" was!). At least now I know that spicy, smoky sausage does NOT go with horseradish. The O.G. "New York-style" hot dog was classic and wonderful, and the chicken-lemon was surprisingly juicy and tender. I really, really wanted to go back to try the smoked chicken apple dog, but didn't get a chance to! Boo. I want to try each of the dozen or so flavors.

Phew! This post was long, but it included only highlights; I took way more food photos:

For my next visit, I've vowed to make it down to Berkeley's famed "Gourmet Ghetto" -- home to the likes of widely-praised Cheeseboard and Chez Panisse.

Let's go! Now?