• 3203 Oak Knoll Dr
    Emerald Hills, CA 94062
    3.0 star rating
    12/19/2019
    • 1 check-in

    It's nice to find a local roastery that isn't a chain or a big name. I guess that would be really nice if I know how to make espresso at home, but I tend to rely on other people to make it for me.

    Now, we got a recommendation for this place and the beans here. I really was looking forward to it, but they seem to cater to the morning crowd, and I'm more an "afternoon pick-me-up coffee" kinda person, so I always catch this place at the tail end of business time. Maybe that's why, but I never seem to be able to get a decent expresso -- or maybe I just don't like their roasts too much?

    That, and this place is pretty out of the way for most people that aren't from the neighbourhood. It does make it a truly unique neighbourhood place! I just wish it's caters to night owls or people from other cultures (hey, coffee shops where I'm from tend to open only in the afternoon!)

    Comment from Rainer J. of Emerald Hills Cafe & Roastery
    Business Owner
    12/26/2019 Alice, thanks for sharing your thoughts. As a local business, we put a high-level of care and… Read more
  • 205 State St
    Los Altos, CA 94022
    3.0 star rating
    12/18/2019
    • 1 check-in

    We were looking for a brunch place in Los Altos, and there were quite a few of them with a lot of people waiting for a seat. Rick's was not an exception, and we got seated quickly because we were willing to be at the counter (oh the perks of dining with 1 or 2).

    Overall, the cafe felt like a diner, but a nicer one. A lot of egg dishes (scrambles! Benedicts! Omelets!), and of course pancakes and waffles.

    We continue to hunt for the best eggs Benedict, so that's what we ordered. It came with potatoes as well. The eggs themselves were alright, nothing too special, but the potatoes weren't that great -- they were hash brown-style, but I just found them flavourless in general.

    Service wasn't that great either, but then, we did sit at the counter. Overall, this is probably an ok place to go to from time-to-time if we live nearby, but not worth driving all the way down to the South Bay for.

  • 22 Hawthorne St
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    5.0 star rating
    12/17/2019
    • 1 check-in

    An exquisitely delicious experience for the mister's birthday. I was looking to do something fancy again since the dining scene in SF has been getting more and more casual, and we've been too lazy.

    Although in the heart of Soma, Benu is nestled into a small courtyard, and you won't casually find it unless you are looking for it. Walking up to the unassuming door, you will see giant pots fermenting soy sauce outside. The inside is comfortable, and while it's not a big restaurant, they managed to make each party feel quite private and intimate.

    They offer a tasting menu which could be modified to suit dietary needs. The tasting menu is dozens-of-items long, but fret not, most things are only a bite or two. It does fill you up at the end of it though!

    There were *a lot* of highlights of our meal. The house-preserved quail egg was delightful and interesting, while the kimchi pork "shumai" was simply a beauty to look at (how did they even craft it?). The abalone was stewed to perfection, and the fried eel was crispy and tasty. My only disappointment was the wagyu -- it just wasn't as flavourful as I had hoped. Since it was served at the end of the meal, it was definitely overshadowed by all the dishes before it.

    One of the mister's favourites is unsurprisingly, the xlb (soup dumplings). They had foie gras inside, and they were served with house made vinegar/soy sauce. The skin was light but stretchy enough to not break right away, and there was ample amount of soup inside the dumpling. I still have a soft spot for Din Tai Fung's dumplings but these were a close second.

    Then come the desserts. If you have a birthday celebration, they will present a very cute music box you can play before revealing the little gift underneath it -- definitely way better than awkward servers singing the birthday song, or worse, *me* singing the birthday song. We also got some almond stuffed cherries which blew my mind -- they essentially replaced the cherry pits with almonds.

    They also offer a wine pairing for the tasting menu, and they go a little creative with it -- pairing beer or aperitifs with some of the items. This made a lot of sense as the food has Asian influences, and some of the flavours do pair much better with other spirits.

    Overall, the experience itself was quite worth it, even if the ticket price wasn't cheap. Be prepared to dish out 4-digits for 2 people + wine pairings.

  • $$ Chinese
    744 Washington St
    San Francisco, CA 94108
    3.0 star rating
    12/16/2019
    • 1 check-in

    Right in Chinatown, down to the name in English which is a huge huge sign for a restaurant that survive on tourist business. We just ended up here after a day out because my friend has kids and we just wanted to have some comfort food with a little space to put the strollers, without an insane wait.

    So here we are, actually eating in Chinatown, which I usually avoid.

    The menu is pretty big. It's got all the things -- American Chinese food, popular menu items, just everything. However, we just stuck with Cantonese food because that's what my friends and I grew up eating, plus, San Francisco Chinatown was actually built by immigrants from Hong Kong and neighbouring Cantonese people.

    I must say, the food was pretty decent. Not the best Cantonese food in the area, but it suffices and satisfies. Other than that, the service and the cleanliness is just about what you'd expect from a Chinese restaurant -- leaving a lot to be desired.

    So, judging by all the other reviews I read... unless you are very specific about what you order here, you might leave disappointed. After all, most people in this country identify Chinese food as "potstickers, XLB, and fried rice", when all those things are from entirely different regions and I wouldn't eat them all at the same place.

  • 321 Primrose Rd
    Burlingame, CA 94010
    2.0 star rating
    12/13/2019
    • 1 check-in

    During a holiday weekend, we decided to go to downtown Burlingame for some brunch food, but unfortunately most places were closed. This was one of the few places open, and as expected, there was a line out the door.

    I've walked past this cafe many times before but never really thought to look in -- it was occasionally quite popular -- so I figured, why not?

    The food served here is very regular brunch food. Different kind of egg preparations, including omelettes and eggs Benedict, with potatoes, toast and whatever else you'd like. The mister ordered the Benedict (as expected), and I ordered a scramble.

    We found the food quite bland. The poached egg on the Benedict was not really done right -- I could've done it better at home and that's a bold statement! I just kept adding hot sauce to my eggs and potatoes to give them a bit of flair. They just seem to be perfect... for people who haven't experienced spices or other cuisines. Maybe it's because it's a holiday, so they don't have their regular chef? I have no idea.

    The same thing happened with service, which is pretty much non-existent, but they were pretty swarmed so I could understand...

    I keep walking by and thinking I should give it another chance, but that has never happened, since there are a whole lot of good breakfast and brunch places just a block or so away.

  • 186 2nd St
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    4.0 star rating
    12/11/2019
    • 1 check-in

    A small restaurant but there are plenty of bar tables and small seats if you want to eat here. Most people come in for lunch, and they have a fantastic selection for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

    Their salads and sandwiches are good, and a lot of people come in for take-out, but I quite like sitting next to their bottle shop and gawk at all the wines and spirits they sell. Our office also orders morning pastries from them occasionally and those were just so-so.

    Overall it's a nice lunch spot, even if it looks a bit generic (sandwiches and salad). The variety is good and the food is yummy, and the pricing is just pretty average for the city.

  • 135 4th St
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    2.0 star rating
    12/10/2019
    • 1 check-in

    Sanraku is an actual restaurant nested within the food court area of the Metreon. I was a bit apprehensive when a meeting brought me to this restaurant. After all, it's a restaurant nested within a food court, and food courts aren't really known for their quality food in this country.

    I didn't try out the sashimi here, as I wasn't aware of its other locations and have a policy of not eating sashimi unless I'm confident of the source. (Don't get me wrong, I love sashimi! But it's also a risk I will only take sometimes ;) It was also a cold day, so my friend opted for udon while I opted for some teriyaki.

    Neither the udon nor the teriyaki satisfied. My friend and I picked at the food and while it was edible, it was definitely overpriced for the kind of food we got. It felt like any other run-of-the-mill Japanese restaurant you get at this country, heavily westernized and a far cry from what I love.

    Maybe my mistake was not actually getting raw fish here, and from the looks of it, the prices are quite reasonable. But then, after the lukewarm lunch here, I'm not sure I want to give the fish a chance...

  • Shop 107, 1/F, 33 Tseuk Luk Street
    爵祿街33號1樓107號舖
    Hong Kong
    5.0 star rating
    12/6/2019
    • 1 check-in
    • First to Review

    A small coffee shop inside the new-ish mall underneath the offices of Port 33, it's got a lovely atmosphere and tons of current art on the wall. The shop has not much square footage, but there are two tiny bar tables for you to eat and drink at.

    Like most coffee shops in town, in addition to coffee, they also have a small food menu, with hot foods (unlike in the US where a lot of coffee shops only have some pastries). I got the English breakfast with salmon, and it was delicious, with lovely creamy scrambled eggs.

    As for the coffee, my cappuccino was pulled just right! Another reason to visit this place -- which, judging by what people ordered, was one of the big reasons this place is popular.

  • 1830 E Carson St
    Pittsburgh, PA 15203
    4.0 star rating
    12/6/2019
    • 1 check-in

    I would go for a good savory pie anytime. This is one of the things that is surprisingly hard to find in the US, and I grew up with it because of British influence. (I've asked an American coworker once about savory pies and all he could thought of was the chicken pot pie!)

    This is how I ended up in this small shop on the South Side. It serves quite a few different kinds of British foods that would make any British person fill up with nostalgia -- fish and chips, savory pies, Scotch eggs, corned beef... in addition, it also has a lot of interesting, more fusion-style items.

    We ended up getting the Scotch eggs and a few meat pies. These came with chips, of course! The Scotch egg was on point, but the meat pies were hit or miss -- some were delicious, but some were a bit bland. I guess it really depends on what is inside, so maybe it's for you to pick your favourite.

    Either way, this is a great British place, and probably one of the better ones I've been to in the States. Give it a try if you happen to be in town.

  • 530 William Penn Pl
    Pittsburgh, PA 15219
    5.0 star rating
    12/5/2019
    • 1 check-in

    It's kinda ironic that Pittsburgh only got back its distilleries so recently. American whiskey has its roots in this town but the Prohibition ended it all, and it just never happened again because of PA laws until it got changed!

    Wigle is one of the new pioneers in town. Of course, now we have many craft distilleries from all over the country -- actually from all over the world, but I still think Wigle is worth a visit.

    This location is attached to the William Penn hotel, a historic, cozy location. The tasting room is rather small, with bar tables on one side for tasting, and a small shop on the other side. They offer many kinds of flights, featuring their whiskies, gins, or other spirits. They also sell cocktails, and it's a perfect place for a pre- or post- dinner drink.

    Wigle makes *so many* kinds of whiskies, it's overwhelming. I would suggest going for a tasting flight to find the bottle you like, and then cap it up with a cocktail that features that spirit. That is how I found their barrel-aged gin, which I actually like more than their whiskies (especially in a good cocktail!).

    If you have the time, do go to their main tasting room and distillery in the Strip District!

About Alice C.

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  • Location

    Redwood City, CA

  • Yelping Since

    July 2007

  • Things I Love

    cooking and planning to cook.

  • Find Me In

    the next friendly video game

  • My Hometown

    Hong Kong

  • When I’m Not Yelping...

    I'm playing a game.

  • Why You Should Read My Reviews

    Because I'm OCD about my reviews, and I write them for me.

  • My Last Meal On Earth

    Grandma's homemade dumplings + other gran's red fermented bean curd veggie stew

  • Most Recent Discovery

    Haggis. And Vegetarian Haggis.

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