Sideways Southern cuisine at PLāYT in Hayward

by foodhoe on April 23, 2018

1036 B St, Hayward, CA 94541 | 510 -888-1092 | website

I was very excited when I heard that the owners of Picán in Oakland opened up PLāYT restaurant in downtown Hayward, which is just one stop down the freeway from where I live!  Yay!  We love it when new restaurants open up in the area, which is just not at the same level of destination dining as Oakland…  PLāYT quietly opened last June but has been fine tuning the menu which offers “Sideways Southern” comfort food and expertly crafted drinks.  Executive Chef Jerome “Spike” Williams (also from Picán), has developed a menu that reflects Cajun, Creole, Gullah and similar influences which offers a touch of Mardi Gras for your palate and your soul.

The interior maintains the sleek modern decor from the previous occupant, Bijou Restaurant, it is elegant and upscale, but they have done some serious upgrades in the kitchen with new fryers, a 16 burner flattop, convection ovens and new line fridges, so they are ready to crank out dishes for the masses. Mr. K and I enjoyed glasses of Prosecco while we perused the menu.

Our server Trevor dropped off an order of their heavenly Deep Fried Pickle Spears ($9) fresh from the fryer, served with spicy creole ranch sauce.  He said it was one of his favorites, and I totally see why!

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I love dill pickles and these have an excellent well seasoned and perfectly fried crust that is fantastic with the flavorful juicy acidity from the pickle and you really have to dip it into the spicy creamy sauce because it tastes so damn good!

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A Vietnamese feast at Temple Club in Oakland

by foodhoe on February 21, 2018

2307 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601 | 510-479-3680 | TempleClubOakland.com

So there I was, driving up and down International Blvd in Oakland’s San Antonio neighborhood (which is somewhere in between Fruitvale and Lake Merritt), looking for a sign.  It is a long dark stretch that is mostly marked no parking because it is a landing strip for gigantic Oakland transit buses, so I was reluctant to get out without knowing where I was going. And where was that you’re wondering? I was looking for the Temple Club, a newish restaurant that is getting a lot of attention, considering it is so off the beaten path.  I mean, I really can’t imagine Michael Bauer, the food critic for the Chronicle hanging out in the hood.  So yeah, I drove up and down a few  times before I finally noticed the sign on the only building with the lights on.

I joined my friend Christina of East Bay Dish and her meet up group for dinner because I can’t resist it when someone says Let’s go together so we can taste everything.  That is my favorite way to explore the menu – more people means more food!  The walls are painted with bright and vivid colors, I loved the wall art.  And the menu is also full of bold and exciting flavors that changes daily depending on what’s available.

The chef Geoffrey Deetz spent the past 16 years in Vietnam where he opened or consulted for a number of eateries, in both Saigon and Hanoi. He wants to showcase food exactly as it’s served in Vietnam, small plates intended to be eaten family-style with rice, a type of cooking that is apparently hard to find on the menu of most pho- and banh mi-centric Vietnamese restaurants.  I was glad that there were more than ten of us so we were able to order a lot, prepare your eyes!

I got the Make your own lime soda kit ($3), a bottle of fizzy water, a small cup of simple syrup, a few fresh lime wedges and a cup of ice.

Goi Cuon Nem Chua ($9.50), spring rolls filled with housemade grilled sour pork sausage, black pepper, sesame leaf, baby greens, rice noodles with sesame and served with a rich pork liver sauce.  The sausage had crunchy gristly bits and I loved the fresh flavors from the perilla leaf wrapped up with the lettuce and the fried shallots added a sweet earthy flavor and aroma.

The Tom Chien Com, were kind of crazy looking, bright green and covered with rice krispies.  This was some deep fried bliss, juicy shrimp, covered in a crunchy batter that has a hint of stickiness when you bite in, served with an exhilarating honey-chili dipping sauce ($12.95)

Goi Sua, Jellyfish, chicken green papaya, cabbage, herbs, toasted peanuts, sesame seeds and spicy garlic fish sauce with shrimp crackers ($14.50).  This is salady with brilliant flavors from all the fresh herbs and nuts, and so good scooped up with the crunchy shrimp crackers.

Goi Bo Hoi An, Tamarind marinated beef, green papaya, cherry tomatoes, onion, banana flower and herbs in a tamarind fish sauce $14.75.  Another salady dish but with totally different ingredients and flavors. [click to continue…]

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A Oaxacan feast at Agave Uptown

February 19, 2018

2135 Franklin St. Oakland | 510.288.3668 | website We had a great meal at Agave Uptown recently, the latest restaurant from Chef Octavio Diaz who brings traditional Oaxacan food with a focus on authentic mole and mezcal to the hip Uptown section of Oakland.  The chef has another Oaxacan eatery called Agave Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar and […]

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Dinner at Mockingbird in Oakland

January 17, 2018

416 – 13th Street, Oakland | 510.290.0331 | website We’re halfway through Oakland Restaurant Week which runs through two weekends from January 11-21, so there’s still have time to get out and take advantage of some great dining deals.  This year there are 70 restaurants offering special lunch and dinner prix-fixe menus or other dining […]

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Fabulous lunches to warm your belly at Mixed Grain in Walnut Creek

January 7, 2018

1546 Bonanza Street, Walnut Creek 94596 | 925.938.5959 | website | menu There are a surprising number of very good Korean restaurants out in Coco county, but this is my favorite one (of the type that doesn’t involve cooking yourself).  It’s tucked away on a side street off Locust in downtown Walnut Creek where the […]

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An urban refuge at Herlen Place

December 16, 2017

334 Grant Avenue (at Harlan Place), San Francisco | 415.391.0207 | website | Open 8am-9:30pm It’s the holiday season so you have every reason to be in Union Square right now either for shopping or to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit by enjoying the giant Christmas tree glittering with thousands of lights, the huge 25-foot glowing […]

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Roar Winemakers Dinner at MKT restaurant

November 12, 2017

Years ago, Mr. K and I were introduced to Roar wines at Benu Restaurant when the sommelier recommended a bottle of their Pinot Noir; rounded, velvety and utterly delicious.  We’ve been fans ever since and I signed up to their mailing list in order to have access to their limited production wines which sell out very quickly. […]

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