California

Breakfast and Lunch with a Singaporean Twist at Dripline in Oakland

It’s my personal breakfast philosophy that a good barometer of a breakfast joint is the most basic thing on the menu, eggs and toast. If an egg isn’t cooked properly and if the bread sucks (practically a crime in the Bay Area), I probably won’t be back to try anything else. But if the eggs…

Back to the Emeryville Public Market for Nyum Bai’s Cambodian Cooking

For townies like me, walking into the new Emeryville Public Market might tug at your nostalgic heartstrings for an East Bay of days past. The Public Market was like town square for a lot of us. It was where I learned what a food hall was: the neon signs, the trays with steaming foods from…

Tamales Acapulco and the Original Community Organizers Behind Oakland Street Food

You can’t miss the street food vendors on the sidewalk on International Blvd in Fruitvale. The fruit carts with peeled and cubed tropical fruits stacked in neat quart containers that go out to customers with a squeeze of lime and chile. There are tamales, wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves, warm drinks with chocolate,…

Three Bowls of Soup in LA

Trump is President, it’s cold for us California babies, and everyone I know is sick. We need soup, y’all. Here are three places to get a bowl of soup in the Culver City/Palms area in LA. Sunny Blue For a quick healthy-ish snack in the neighborhood Sunny Blue is my go-to. The staple here is…

Four Juice Bars in Oakland

Juices, smoothies, acai bowls and chia puddings, non-dairy warm drinks… We are on trend in Oakland and thankfully it’s without the activated $12 charcoal waters and bullshit anti-food health diets. Here are a few places in Oakland owned by people of color offering nutrients in a cup for an accessible price. Super Juiced, Old Oakland…

Obelisco in Fruitvale: Leticia Chavez channels comfort foods from life on the ranch

This past week has been a sad one for Oakland and I’ve been craving comfort food. The other day inside Berkeley Bowl I even paused in the bulk aisle when overcome by a craving for mashed potatoes, with a butter pat on top and freshly cracked pepper like something I never eat and definitely out…

hasta muerte coffee oakland

Interview with Hasta Muerte Coffee: Worker-owned Latinx coffee shop, conscious bookstore and community space

Hasta Muerte Coffee is a collectively run, worker-owned Latinx coffee shop coming to Fruitvale and 27th in Oakland in early 2017. The founders envision an inclusive space that offers small bites, good coffee, a specialty bookstore, community events, resources and workshops. I interviewed two of the three partners during the last week of their Kickstarter…

Two Spots for Ramen in Los Angeles

Is it ever ramen weather in Los Angeles? Not like I really need an excuse. Here are two ramen chains in L.A. to get your slurp on. Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen-Gumi is a chain from Japan offering a specific style of ramen from Hakata— with a lot of flexibility to add ingredients and…

Q & A with the Oakland Food Policy Council on the Oakland Soda Tax

If you live in Oakland like me chances are you’ve been getting a mailbox full of flyers telling you to vote no on Measure HH, the “grocery tax.” But guess what? There is no grocery tax, and when you head to the polls what you’ll find on the ballot is the Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax,…

Freedom Farmers Market Oakland Temescal

Black Farmers, Traditional Food and Good Vibes at Oakland’s Freedom Farmers’ Market

Oakland farmers markets, my friends and family are a few reasons why I love coming home. Now I’m adding a new market to my weekend lineup: the Freedom Farmers’ Market, offering produce from Black farmers and a community space celebrating traditional foods and healthy food access. “Food can be poison and it can be medicine.…

Oaxaca Raw: Mexican Food at the Mar Vista Farmers Market

I usually roll my eyes at anything advertised as raw food or vegan. Neither of those labels indicates that a meal will be balanced, healthy or taste good. In LA “healthy” food trends have arrived to the point of ground goji berries and activated cashews being considered a full meal. No mames.* But of course I like eating raw vegetables,…

Good Food on the 101: Road Trip Stops from the Bay to LA

I’m driving from the Bay to LA a lot these days— and I don’t have AC, so summertime means I’m taking the 101. It’s a longer ride, but cooler and exponentially more beautiful than the I-5 (I mean, a pile of garbage is more interesting than the 5). There are also way more options for…

My Favorites From Tacolandia

With 140 taqueros I was officially overwhelmed at LA Weekly’s Tacolandia event last weekend. Luckily, there was a lady handing out shot glasses and I always have something to put in one. This was the fourth year of the event curated by food writer Bill Esparza, with the most vendors ever. While it does require…

Soriano Twins Bring a Taco Truck to Telegraph

There are many new things happening in North Oakland that I’m not excited about. Increasingly ridiculous rents, for example. Groups of white girls all wearing variants of denim tops and bottoms like some kind of hipsterized J. Crew catalogue. That guy on a segway. But a few weeks ago I spotted a new addition to…

Plenty to Take Away at Lena’s Soul Food Cafe in Oakland

I’m pretty sure that for each Yelp page of southern restaurants in the Bay there’s at least five reviews that start with, “I’m from [enter somewhere in the south] and I know my [enter southern dish] and this place is [enter shitty or approving review here but both probably with some offensive comment about the neighborhood if…

Pop-Up Tacos Oscar Rocked My Monday Night

Tacos Oscar took over Boot & Shoe last night accompanied by fiery sangritas and popsicle micheladas, zebra piñatas, and a salsa-spinning DJ. I don’t know anything about him because he was very busy pressing la finca masa with his personalized, hand-painted tortilla press all night. I do know that he’s got the consistency down with…

Almost 24 Hours in Downtown LA

We started with a juice and a tumeric-ginger shot at Crafters, and then armed with the make-believe nutritional permission to eat and drink mostly things that are bad for us, we walked into Spring Street. Here are a few recommendations to eat and drink your way through a night (and morning) in downtown LA. Hamburguesas…

Run, Walk, Eat Tacos for BAHIA This Saturday

I recently stopped by my old daycare for lunch. BAHIA (Bay Area Hispanic Institute for Advancement) and its sister preschool Centro Vida, are undeniably where my taste for Mexican food was born. It was there where I first had chilaquiles and arroz con leche, learned my jalapeño tolerance, and discovered the delight of sinking one’s…

Crazy for Carnitas at Casa Jimenez in Fruitvale

NOTE: Sadly, Casa Jimenez is now closed! As I was writing this post and reflecting on why in a restaurant known for its carnitas would so many people be eating seafood I realized that it’s lent. Which is apparently the six week holiday of solemn religious observance of ordering oysters at Casa Jimenez. I saw…

Taco Tuesday at Tamarindo: Mix Up Your Fancy Cocktails With $2 Tacos

I’ve always loved the Tamarindo bar: the black and white Mexican films projected on the side wall, the glow from the pressed tin ceiling and metallic chandeliers, the splashes of chartreuse, pink and blue furniture against the creamy walls and exposed brick, and of course, the tequila and mezcal drinks. Add $2 tacos into the…

Taco Tuesday at Azucar Lounge: Mostly Not About Tacos

Taco tuesday at Azucar Lounge was almost exactly what you would expect from a bar in SOMA: not having anything to do with good tacos. I still have some things to say about it though. Tacos: At first bite the two specials on the Taco Tuesday menu reminded me of taco nights at my dad’s…

Malibu Farm Cafe

Weekend in LA

Yes, I live in the Bay but I go to LA like every two weeks. Hey, it’s sunny, the boys are cute, and well, it’s so big with so much food. Here are the hits from this trip: Brunch Malibu Farm Cafe, Malibu Beat the selfie pole toting tourists and get here before 10:30 a.m.…

5 Places for Brunch, Lunch and Coffee in LA

I am visiting LA more and more, and each time finding new ways to start my day. Enjoy: Guerrilla Tacos This taco truck is putting everything fancy and good on a taco like they don’t give a fuck. Oxtail and foie gra. Uni and hamachi. Crab with a poached egg. Lamb meatball tortas. But don’t…

Winter Dark Corner Drinking: My Favorite Dive Bars

I’ve recently been approached more than usual for dive bar recommendations. I guess we’ve already shaken off the healthy eating resolutions. Not that we can’t eat well on top of our drinking. Here is a full list of my reviews for SFWeekly including dive bars with food, and a few more thrown in. SF The…

Ferronlandia on Camera! Same Great Food, More of My Face

Lately I’ve making 1 minute episodes on great spots to eat in the East Bay on the Tatstemade app. A lot of you might be familiar with these restaurants, but I keep my format quick, dirty and useful: the one dish you have to get and one pro-tip (think happy hour, specials, best places to…

Nieves Cinco de Mayo Celebrates 7 Years of Mexican Ice Cream

There are three central lessons I learned while talking to Don Luis Abundis, the owner of Nieves Cinco De Mayo in Fruitvale: 1. My mom may always be my biggest fan and my harshest critic. Since the beginning of his business Don Luis’s mother has been helping him come up with flavors, determine what’s marketable,…

Dreamy Preston Vineyards

Healdsburg is a magical little place isn’t it? Sometimes I think it’s too precious for me, but then I have a few glasses of wine and I take that thought back. I recently went to Preston Vineyards, which has a bocce ball court, picnic tables, a farm, and homemade bread and olive oil. It’s just…

The East Bay Al Fresco Dining and Drinking List

Now’s the time of year when I start getting text messages from my friends asking me for summer evening date spots. So I figure we could all step up our warm-weather game with a handy list of East Bay bars and restaurants with outdoor spaces. I’ve yet to find the perfect spot where the food,…

Two Pop-Up Markets in San Francisco and Oakland

I am careful with what food events I attend in San Francisco. A few months ago at a pop-up food event downtown I overheard a guy say that he was the Steve Jobs of salsa. What does that even mean? Do child laborers in China make your salsa? Are you a jerk to your employees?…

Hella Mexican Soups at Taqueria Campos in Oakland

Living in Temescal I’m lucky enough to have gray weather comfort food options just a stone’s throw away: there’s a decent pho joint down the street and I’m only a five minute drive (errr, plus an hour wait) from Ramen Shop, which in my humble opinion is one of the best restaurants in Oakland, if…

Mole, Tacos & Tamales: A Few Mexican Eateries in the East Bay

Los Moles photos by Laila Bahman Yup, still love Mexican food. Here are a few places in the East Bay that I’ve become quite smitten with this past month. Los Moles in Emeryville Walk into Los Moles on Sunday morning and you’ll find six shades of moles simmering in copper pots, pozole and menudo steaming…

Five Things to Do in LA

I recently went to LA and mostly stayed in Topanga Canyon, a village-like community nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains. While I was visiting, the cops found 5,000 tons of marijuana plants growing in Topanga State Park, probably not far from where we hiked that same morning. I don’t think anyone in Topanga was surprised,…

Tacos, Juice, and a Slow Drive to Berkeley

I don’t like going to Berkeley, mostly because it feels far from Oakland (especially when I go to San Francisco everyday). It just takes me too long to get to Berkeley. I blame the slow drivers, but I also blame the pedestrians. If a car is driving along with no cars behind it, I believe…

Sabor del Barrio: Tacos and beyond

I’m doing a new bilingual series for Vision Hispana exploring Latin American food in the East Bay, click on the links below for my reviews and interviews with chefs. La Mexicana. Welcome to the Cheers of Fruitvale. La Mexicana has been on International Boulevard for seventy years, and the current owner started as a waitress…

Where to Eat in Palm Springs

This is a post about eating in Palm Springs, with a sprinkling of advice on eating in cities that are not food destinations. I did my research. The highest recommended restaurants in Palm Springs have menus that look about ten years behind San Francisco and entrees that run upwards of $25. We were mostly going…

Five Eating Destinations Along the California Central Coast

1. Romo’s Market (728 Guadalupe St) Couples express their love and appreciation for each other in many ways. For us, “baby, I think you just introduced me to one of the best burritos of my life” is one of the highest compliments my boyfriend could get. It came from a market next to a gas…

B-Dama: Order Right and Drink Well

The first time I came here was a Thursday evening around 8 pm. There was a group of four waiting at the door, every seat in the house was full, and small plates with towers of tempura vegetables and mystery skewers were steadily streaming out of the small kitchen window. I waited for about 10…

Comal: Agave Lovers Come Hither

At 5:28 as I was waiting in line for Comal to open, a Cal student amused by the long line outside of the restaurant asked the woman behind me what the deal was. She kept her eyes on her phone, paused for a minute like she wasn’t going to answer, and said “It’s amazing food,”…

Mexico City Meets Marin at El Huarache Loco

Strip malls are frightening things to me. I often get lost in Bed, Bath & Beyond, and I am constantly bewildered as to how I convince myself every time that having an oversized frozen coffee drink and a cinnabon (and maybe an Aunt Annie’s pretzel too) constitutes a reward for finding my way out of…

Prizefighter: Ten Things You Need to Know

Emeryville’s got a new bar, and here’s the skinny: 1. They have delicious punch bowls. Menu says they serve 6-8 people. We say 3-5 for a good time. 2. For $6 you can get the Oaxacan Standoff: a can of Tecate, a shot of mezcal, and sangrita. Sangrita is an accompaniment to tequila, and while…

Brunch, Without the Wait

As many of my friends and coworkers have learned the hard way, I’m not the nicest person pre-coffee. Or pre-breakfast. If I’m going to brunch, I usually have a snack right when I wake up. Not because I feel hungry, but so that when my neighbors put on their fancy hats and walk arm and…

East Bay Sweets

Eleven months out of the year I’m not a big sweet tooth. If it ain’t dark chocolate then I’m not really that into it. But come that time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I start thinking it’s okay to have a cookie for breakfast. There’s something about the constant flow of leftover Thanksgiving pies, holiday…

Rainy Day Fare: Hawker Fare

The rainy weather is back in session and we all need a little extra motivation to turn off the TV, put on some real pants, grab a friend, and go out to get some food. I advise that you make your destination Hawker Fare, a rice bowl shop on the corner of Webster and 23rd…

How to Keep Eating Like You’re at Eat Real

True food festival freaks feel a little empty when food festival season is over. Summer ends, fall arrives, and soon it’s back to the ol’ holiday sit down dinner. Meals with your loved ones, real forks and knifes, comfortable places to sit, and carefully selected wine. Bah humbug, give me a grilled cheese and a…

Fancy and Fresh: Tacos at C CASA

A few Saturdays ago (yes, I’ve been a bad blogger) I skipped Oakland’s first battle of the taco trucks because, aside from my general aversion to anything screaming Cinco de Mayo cheesiness, I already had the best tacos I could have possibly tried that day, at C CASA. C CASA is one of about twenty…

A Taste of Tequila & Tamales by The Bay

The first significant experience I had with a tamal was in a small town outside of Merida, Yucatan in the sweltering heat, sitting next to a chicken, a tub of habanero chiles too near for comfort, watching banana leaf packages emerge from an underground fire pit. It was the weekend before Hanal Pixan, meaning Day…

San Francisco International Chocolate Salon

Ahh 50,000 square feet of chocolate, my kind of breakfast. The San Francisco International Chocolate Salon was a bazaar of fifty chocolate vendors, wineries and genuine chocolate-loving freaks. I was pushed over by an old lady with a notepad, cut in line by a hipster (pause, that happens everywhere), and rubbed elbows with some seriously…

East Oakland Thai: Old Weang Ping (don’t blow it up)

  Old Weang Ping is overgrown with ivy and tropical plastic flowers. Wood birds suspend from the ceiling, mismatched string lights adorn the walls, and a cascading alter to an orange-cloaked meditation guru greets you at the doorway. But here my normal gag reaction to clutter doesn’t kick in. In fact, the palm thatch booths,…

Revisiting downtown Berkeley: Japanese food at Ippuku

Being in downtown Berkeley has always made me feel like I’m in high school again. Those days of scrambling for crappy off-campus lunches, impatiently waiting for the hourly 65 bus, and being called a godless parasite by angry, angry bums. Enduring the mix of cal students, frumpy entitled hippies, sad empty storefronts, and bad drivers…

What makes homey food homey, homies?

  One chilly night last week, my friend and I sat down to a bowl of soup and a bottle of wine and in between our sipping we began to ponder the characteristics of “homey” food. Comfort food. What makes it comforting? Did you come home to it when you were a kid? The simple…

Head East… To Oakland!

America getting you down? It’s been a year since I left the country, so you know I’m getting anxious and I have a feeling a few of you are feeling the same way. But, if you can’t drop everything and head overseas here are two spots to alleviate your red, white and blues: Enssaro Ethiopian…

Battle of the Greyhounds: The Layover vs Cafe Van Kleef

Both have the old school grapefruit juicer, but who squeezes and mixes best? Ferronlandia sent in the thirsty troops to find out. Layover   The drink-To be honest, they skimped on the grapefruit. Never thought I would say it, but too much alcohol, not enough juice. However, the bartender was 1. cute 2. responded “crazy…

LA for Dinner, LA for Breakfast

A good guide is one who picks you up from the airport and says,”You hungry? Great, I know delicious Thai place. It’s a total dive.” The thing I love about a 12-hour trip is that you have a very short window to have a bad meal. Couple it with a cousin that knows how to…

A Full Belly and Happy Heart at Gourmex

The word “gala” has always evoked a sound from me that resembles something like “eeewwh“. Eeewwh for the amount of work that goes into throwing a gala (been there, done that). Eeewwh for the awkward programs and conversations you have to sit through as you just want to eat your overcooked salmon and dry slice…

Late Night Sushi in Temescal

You had a long happy hour. You just realized you’ve had three margaritas and no dinner and it’s 11 pm. And magically, right when you grudgingly start going through your fridge to make a sandwich, the boys call for Sushi. Not just sushi, but Koryo sushi. My favorite sushi spot in the town, and it’s…

FiDi here I come!

How does a restless, globe-hopping gal like me wrestle the monotony of a 9 to 5 in the Financial District (stupidly nicknamed FiDi, I’ve since learned)? Lunch! And if you’re like me and can’t really afford $10 lunches every day there’s always…sun? Never thought I would be so excited about a glimmer of sunshine, but…

Wine Country (off the stuffy, tour bus path): Mazzocco

So you know about wine, you know what you like, and you know how to bullshit well enough to thrown in the occasional “blackberry notes” and “barnyard nose” commentary if absolutely necessary. But if you’re like me, you only really want to schmooze about wine and stand at a counter listening to tourists or annoyingly sophisticated…

Cocktail Recipe for a Broken Heart

Here’s the deal: I recently had my heart broken. We all have our methods of coping and mine certainly have to do with eating and drinking. I get snobby about it too. Yes, I self-hate by eating things that are bad for me, but I do it with style. To name a few, in the…