Friday Favorites

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Hey Everyone!

Happy Friday! Hope you had a great week and are stoked about the weekend – I know I am. I’m all about traditions and this brings me to one of my favorites – Friday night date night.

Whether it’s with Ittai or my closest friends, I love to go out to dinner, relax and welcome the weekend with a cocktail (or two).

Often times I go to my usual haunts in the city and never really steer too far away from the uncomfortable. But when I had the opportunity to go to Berkeley last weekend to check out FIVE, well, I couldn’t pass it up.

A lot of people make the Manhattan/Brooklyn comparison when it comes to Berkeley, but if you’ve been to the East Bay, you know it’s pretty effortless.

Nestled in the heart of North Berkeley, FIVE is located inside Hotel Shattuck and right off Shattuck Street. The interior is super modern and inviting and the food follows suit.

Executive Chef Stephane Tonnelier brings his expertise to each dish with subtle hints of his background as a chef in France. We started off with the Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits (nom!) and the Baby Beet Salad that were the perfect gateway into the entrees. Pro Tip: The salads are huge so splitting is a great way to go! I suggest the Baby Beet Salad for it’s delicious watermelon and Humboldt goat cheese.

For my main entree I had the Spring Nettle Ravioli that was filled with the most delicious english pea & cauliflower mascarpone and Ittai had the Grilled Porkchop with eggplant puree.

Finished off with a trio of delectable desserts, we left stuffed and oh so happy. And while the food was excellent, the service was even more so. Will, our waiter was one of the nicest servers (and people!) I have ever met. He’s an East Bay native and has worked at FIVE for several years – a testament to how special the place truly is.

So, what are you waiting for? Be a little adventurous. Catch BART, head to the East Bay and get yourself to FIVE.

Cheers!

 

 

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East Bay Eatin’

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Hi Everyone!

Happy Thursday! I’m off to Denver but earlier this week I had the opportunity to head to Oakland.

So, I’ll admit – I don’t get to Oakland as much as I’d like to. It’s a bummer because there’s so much good energy in the East Bay. From the Fox Theater to Trouble Coffee, so many gems exist in the city and the surrounding areas. Jack’s Oyster Bar and Bocanova are two standouts that must be explored.

Located on the water, Jack’s Oyster Bar features an impressive raw bar and offers oysters both from the West and East Coast. Talk about variety! We started off with Oysters, Maine Lobsters Rolls (INSANE!), and my personal favorite – Charred Octopus.

You guys, I thought I had an adventurous palette. But when you look at an octopus on a plate, well…it’s a bit more daunting. Luckily, Jack’s does octopus right. With rainbow carrots and potatoes, the octopus was perfectly charred and a beautiful sight to see. I’m still dreaming of it!

Right next door is Bocanova, a Pan-American grill that focuses on local ingredients and beautiful atmosphere. Executive Chef (of both Jacks and Bocanova), Rick Hackett combines Central and South American culinary sensibilities to the restaurant and his passion for serving high-quality food shows.

We started off with the Rock Cod Ceviche – a medley of piquillo peppers, smoked calabrian chile, red onion, avocado, and cilantro. Yessssssss. We then sunk our teeth into this delicious swordfish that was almost to beautiful to eat.

We finished off the meal with a Pisco Sour (hell yeah!) and Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding. Seriously – chocolate and carbs, ya’ll. What more could you want?

So, you know those spots where people from out of town ask you, “Where should I go to eat?” Well, I can gladly say my arsenal of places has gotten a little longer with the help of Jack’s and Bocanova.

If you’re in the East Bay, definitely check it out!

Cheers!

 

Oakland Excursions

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Hi Everyone!

This past Sunday, I spent the afternoon exploring Oakland. I don’t get out there too often (unfortunately), but every time I go I find so many great places and instantly feel a bit more relieved. A quick escape from the craziness that can be San Francisco. A few places that top my list for gems in Oakland include The New Parish, The Fox, and Cafe Von Cleef.

Two places I had the pleasure of exploring this past weekend were Mr. Espresso and Hopscotch. Different places with different offerings, but both equally as a awesome.

My first stop was Mr. Espresso for an espresso and some sweet treats from Crispian Bakery. If you’re looking for some holiday sweets, look no further than Crispian. Their brown butter cookies are mind-blowing. Seriously.

I also had a blast at Mr. Espresso and was able to take a little tour of the facility. Also, if you don’t know, Mr. Espresso coffee is served everywhere in SF. Literally. Some of my favorites to sip on Mr. Espresso? Coffee Bar & Starbelly. Bless it.

After sipping espresso, Hopscotch and their fried chicken was calling my name. You guys. THEY HAVE IT IN A BUCKET. Beautifully crispy, but not too fried. This chicken was the standout. Along with the chicken, I nommed on yonsei oysters with sea urchin and polished off the meal with donuts ‘n’ cream.

It was an awesome outing in SF and I can’t wait to explore more. Next stop on my Oakland tour? Trouble Coffee in West Oakland. If you haven’t seen pictures via Instagram, you’ll see why it’s next on my list.

Cheers!