Review: Sugar Mommie Cookies

Cookies, you say? Let’s just take it easy and start with cupcakes. Well, that’s what I started with, but who knows where Sugar Mommie will take me in the future?

Cupcakes

Cupcakes!!

Last Friday, the Man Thang* and I went to Family House of Fish and Poultry in Hayward (which will be an entirely other story and post) and obtained a heavenly treat: one Red Velvet cupcake made by Sugar Mommie Cookies. For some reason my initial thought was that a $3.50 cupcake was a bit pricey. I have since reconsidered and now wonder how it is that Ms. Mommie can afford to sell much such a treat at such a low price. Cases for buying one of these cupcakes:… 

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Review: Millennium

Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 5/5   ♦   Value: 4/5
Times Visited: One  ♦   Will I Return?:  Pretty please?
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Don’t you just love San Francisco? I sure do. It’s not in every bum town you find a vegetarian restaurant that offers the finest of fine dining. The Bay Area has such a variety of people and such a diversity of interests and specialties that the very best of everything is corralled right into the seven- by seven-mile area that is San Francisco. And it’s absolutely fabulous for those of us living on the fringes.

Millennium offers the best of the best for vegetarian food and even has a writer at the San Francisco Magazine quoted describing their menu as being able to, “intrigue even the most devoted carnivores among us”. Indeed, I challenge any carnivore with an open palette to make a reservation at Millennium. It is so amazingly good…. 

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SF Underground Market

SF Underground Market isn’t exactly a restaurant. Actually, it isn’t anything close. But it’s a foodie event like no other and broccoli & chocolate just attended last Saturday for the first time.

Event Summary: “A venue where you can taste and purchase the food that is being produced in backyards and home kitchens in the Bay Area. Think a farmers market, but at night, with music and drinks.”

Sounds fun, right? It was. But it wasn’t everything I was hoping for. Here’s why:

  1. It was super crowded. Half hour wait to get in (at 7.30 p.m.), shoulder to shoulder once inside (in the evening). Like a concert where you have to shove past all your fellow event-goers to get a decent dinner.
  2. It’s expensive. The $5 cover didn’t phase me, but the $6 grilled cheese sandwich did. K and I spent a cool $43 on admission, a plate of rice and beans, a grilled cheese sandwich and fried pickles, a bowl of vegan daal, water, a tiny cup of soda, one beer and four miniature brownies (= 1 normal sized brownie). For $21/person, I was still hungry when I got home.
  3. It’s too cool for school. While the concept is rad: homegrown fare for sale without pesky government oversight, it’s a total hipster haven. So many folks there were so cool I could almost puke. Or maybe I’m just grumpy that I don’t fit in. Who knows.
  4. What the hell was up with the music? While there were some cute little buskers about with guitars, accordions and keyboards, at about 10pm a girl took the main stage with her cello in hand. Imagine an echo-y cello blaring on a single note for 10 seconds at a time before switching to another dull, droning note. And then repeat for an hour. What happened to the rest of the band? If this doesn’t encourage drug use, I’m not sure what does.

    Vegan, not gross sign

    A sense of humor.

Complaints aside, I didn’t have a bad time. It was fun to go with some friends — there was a decent variety of food stands selling everything from vegan lemon cakes (above) to pulled pork sandwiches and most of the food wasn’t what you’d call mainstream. Oh yeah, we’re all so alternative. Totally.

Daal

Sorry for the terrible pic (I only brought my phone) -- Vegan Daal with rice, raw lintels and cilantro on top. $5

The food we had was tasty and, had it been less crowded, I would have been happy to partake in more. There were pizzas (half hour waiting list to receive your order) that looked fab, I totally saw a girl with a tray of mac ‘n cheese (that stand packed up and left around 8pm), and if I could have gotten a waffle without the chicken, I would have been down.

Man makes food

Taking the good with the bad: guy smokes a cigarette as he makes our grilled cheese sandwich. Yum.

It seemed like a “sell food until you run out” type of vendor listing, and about half of the stalls were closed or closing by 9 or 10 p.m. Which was unfortunate because the event was slated to continue until 2 a.m. I hope you aren’t hungry if you’re coming late.

Also, I’ve noticed some food trends lately: in “super chic” food culture bacon seems to be very “in”. As in, putting bacon on weird things is super cool. At this event there were bacon wrapped mochi and bacon infused biscuits (among other biscuit flavors). At a Yelp Event I attended a couple months ago, there were bacon flavored cupcakes. Good times.

All around, I would totally go back, but I would show up earlier in the day for the “take-homeables and gifts” (11 a.m. – 4 p.m.) part of the fair, or get there right at 6 p.m. to skip the crowds coming by for dinner.

Roosevelt Tamale Parlor

Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited: Two  ♦   Will I Return?:  Yes please!
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Wow. For so many reasons. Let’s quickly explore the wows about Roosevelt’s:

  1. It’s been around since 1919 (per their menu). Wow.
  2. Their tamales are really, really good. Wow.
  3. They do not have a website. Triple wow.

Maybe they’re the type of place that quote/unquote “doesn’t need” a website? Because they’re, like, an Establishment in San Francisco? Either way, I’m amazed. I understand that the taqueria down the street doesn’t have a website; they’re small, interchangeable with the next taqueria and most of their business is from people who are walking or working nearby. Fine. But this place is nice, well known and de-licious. Why not use the interwebs to market? I digress, I will need to stop being so surprised at some point.

Roosevelt has been firmly planted at 2817 24th Street in the Mission district of SF for, well, nearly 100 years according to their menu. It’s a small place on a strip of questionable shops and restaurants, but it’s worth the trip.

Roosevelt's Tamale Parlor

Inside Roosevelt's

Nicely decorated, kind service, great menu, and on weekends, a beautiful woman singing softly as she strums an acoustic guitar. What more could you ask? Well, you could ask for it to be closer to home and have a full liquor license, I suppose, but let’s not nitpick.

While they don’t have a full bar, they do beer, wine and they make a killer wine-based margarita that is surprisingly delicious, strong, and doesn’t really taste like wine. They have a huge food menu, but I didn’t get a good inventory to report; my bad.

Ceviche

Fish ceviche appetizer, also good.

What I do know is this: I have never really liked tamales very much. They’re covered in that corn husk, right? What’s that about? And then it’s just mush inside, usually with some sort of pork or something. No thanks. But since it’s a tamale parlor, you gotta try one, right? Yes, definitely. And you won’t be disappointed.

Tamale

Roosevelt's Famous "Round" Tamale, cheese inside, rice and beans.

These tamales are rich and delicious: the tender corn paste — called masa — (already removed from the husk they use to cook it in) is wrapped around chicken, beef, pork, cheese, beans, or squash. Yeay for choices! They actually have a few different kinds of tamale, though I’m not sure what the difference is between their “Famous Round Tamale” and the rest of them. Some appear to be served in the husk (I didn’t have one of those) and they may have different sauces on top.

Tamale

Squash tamale with tomatillo sauce and cheese.

The cheese tamale is fabulous. I don’t know what kind of cheese they use, but it’s the best. Ever. The squash tamale was good too, but the cheesey guy was top dog in my book. Rice, beans, chips, salsa — good. They know what they’re doing and they apparently don’t even need a website to prove it.

Which Hayward Restaurant Do You Like Most?

Ok, broc-and-choc-ites, it’s time to weigh in! Considering the list of Hayward restaurants below, which do you like the most? Ok, so they’re not exactly apples to apples… I’ve included Japanese, Italian, Indian and Chinese so it may be that you’d pick a different restaurant depending on your mood at the moment. Well, now’s a moment, choose one!

Please also leave a comment to tell me why you chose what you did, what restaurants I should have added to the list or any other thoughts you have! I now hand the floor over to PollDaddy:

Kokyo Sushi Buffet — Revisited

Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value: 4/5
Times Visited:  Two* ♦   Will I Return?:  For Sure
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Since Kokyo Sushi Buffet does not have a website, my previously posted Kokyo Sushi Buffet review has been receiving a lot of traffic, no doubt from potential customers. As my offer to create cheap websites for local restaurants has gone thus far unanswered, I feel obligated to update readers and google searchers about my findings regarding Kokyo Sushi Buffet.

A second visit to Kokyo has yielded some information about their lunch buffet. My previous post was regarding the dinner buffet only and the lunch is slightly different.

Much of the same food is present for the lunch buffet and in generally the same format. Notably, there is no sashimi at the lunch, as there is with dinner. There is sushi (fish on rice), and sushi rolls, but not just the fish by itself (sashimi). Also, there are no crab legs at either the hot seafood bar or the salad bar, which there were for dinner. As I’ve only gone once to each of these, I’m not sure if this is always true, but these changes seem in line with the relative costs of the lunch versus dinner. Prices are reviewed again below:

  • Lunch $8.95 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday
  • Dinner $14.95 4-9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday
  • Sunday and Major Holidays all day $14.95
  • Children ages 3-11 Lunch $2.50-$6.50 ($0.50 additional every year), under 3 free
  • Children ages 3-11 Dinner $3.50-$8.70 ($0.65 additional every year), under 3 free
  • Senior Citizens age 60 or above receive 15% off
  • Soft Drinks $1.25 with free refills
  • Buffet To-Go (excludes sashimi) $4.25/lb for Lunch, $5.95/lb for Dinner
  • Catering trays also available, menu at front counter of restaurant

Additionally, I would like to further comment on the soup available at their buffet. I have now tried both the miso and the hot and sour and both were extremely bad. I love this place and I think it’s a great value if you love sushi. But I have no idea what they’re doing wrong with their soups. Both were inedible to me and I thought that was very unfortunate.

hot and sour soup

Hot and sour soup from Kokyo Sushi Buffet in Hayward

Also, the awesome donuts that I raved about last time weren’t as good the second time around; the magic was gone. I think last time the batch was fresh out of the oven and was far better for it. But, I ate one again this time anyway as they are still good.

For the full picture run-down and descriptions of all the food at the buffet stations, see my original post.

Have you gone to Kokyo Sushi Buffet? Tell me what you thought of it with a comment below! I’d love to hear how everyone’s liking (or not liking) Hayward’s latest addition. Also, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask with a comment, I try to respond to every comment within a couple days. Thanks!

*As this is a “revisited” post subsequent to a previous post about the same restaurant, any changes in my ratings at the top of the post are shown in bold. Otherwise, they remain the same as before.

Kokyo Sushi Buffet on Urbanspoon

La Imperial

Atmosphere: 1/5   ♦   Service: 4/5   ♦   Food Quality: 2/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  One  ♦   Will I Return?:  No, Thank You
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La Imperial* in Hayward has been around since the ’70s as per the dot matrix printing on the front of their menus. This is a difficult review for me because, like some other Hayward favorites (case #1, case #2), I don’t really like it. But some people are wholly devoted to this place, per their Yelp reviews. And since there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing, I’m going to tell you my side of the story.

La Imperial is on C Street in Hayward between Mission and Main. It is directly adjacent to another Mexican restaurant, Los Compadres, which is a bit odd. I have only been to the latter once, but I recall it being very diner-esque and nothing particularly special regarding food or service. But that was a long time ago. And it doesn’t matter because, given the choice now, I’d go pretty much anywhere besides La Imperial. Let’s discuss the pros and cons:

Pros of La Imperial:

  • It’s downtown and centrally located
  • Parking in front is easy to come by
  • The food is pretty cheap and/or the portions are huge compared to how much they cost
  • The waitress (at least the one when we were there) is extremely nice, friendly, talkative and good at her job.

Cons of La Imperial:

  • It’s on C Street which isn’t the nicer part of downtown
  • It’s a diner: leather booths; fake wood paneling on the back wall; old, hideous linoleum floors
  • The layout of the furniture is atrocious
  • The menus are from circa 1980
  • The patrons (at least when we were there) were… low caliber (is there a nice way to say white trash?)
  • The food was not great
  • The nachos had nacho cheese on them (this will be discussed further below)

Entering La Imperial felt, to me, like being magically transported to a diner in Nevada. It’s like they took a small, crappy roadside steakhouse outside Carson City and put up a few pinatas and a south-of-the-border-esque murals and called it a Mexican restaurant. It was the first time I’ve ever been to a Mexican restaurant and not heard one single word of Spanish spoken (Australia included!). It was extremely eerie and not terribly faith-inspiring.

La Imperial

Inside La Imperial, Hayward

La Imperial

Looking toward the front door inside La Imperial, Hayward

So, the people who like this place DO NOT CARE about atmosphere. And some people don’t, that’s fair enough. I do care and I didn’t like it. So there. The people who Yelp up a storm are lovers of their food, however, and the service.

We ordered nachos, a bean/rice/cheese burrito and an enchilada combo. The entire meal cost $19.76 with tax (add $3 for tip). The nachos were just tortilla chips and nacho cheese like at a goddamn baseball game. This is so wrong in my opinion. At the very least, nachos should have regular shredded cheese melted over chips. I also submit they should have any combination of beans, salsa, sour cream, guac or olives. Jalapenos are also an acceptable nachos ingredient., though I always pick them off. Velveeta or whatever is not ok at a sit-down restaurant. Having said that, I do love movie theater nachos, so I partook. But not without judging harshly beforehand.

nachos

Nachos from La Imperial, Hayward

The burrito was ok, though the tortilla wasn’t yummy for some reason. The concoction was a bit plain and since boyfriend didn’t like the salsa (which he usually uses to drown a burrito), he didn’t enjoy it terribly. As a side note, I thought the salsa was tasty though a bit too spicy.

burrito

Burrito from La Imperial... should have gotten a pic of the inside...

I ordered a cheese enchilada meal (2 cheese enchiladas, rice, beans and a salad) for $10.50. It was an amazing amount of food and probably the best thing on the table. I liked that they gave me a bowl of salad with home made Thousand Island dressing as opposed to the tiny scattering of lettuce most Mexican places call salad. The enchiladas were fine but they had the most cheese I’ve ever seen in an enchilada. It was like eating a melted block of cheese with a thin covering of tortilla around it — a bit overwhelming. The rice and beans were solid, kudos to them on that.

salad

Salad with chips and salsa from La Imperial, Hayward

enchiladas

Enchiladas, rice and beans from La Imperial, Hayward. Look at the fork for scale -- so much food!

As for the service, the waitress was totally sweet, seemed to know everyone and was on top of her orders. She seemed neither lazy nor incompetent and was probably the very best thing that La Imperial had going for it in my opinion. If she had been a crotchety crone I would have been grasping at straws to compliment much of anything about this place.

Overall, La Imperial is not my kind of place. The atmosphere is grungy and the food isn’t the premium Mexican that I’ve grown to know and love being a native Californian. To those who love it, I’m glad you do. As for me, I’ll try someplace else next time.

*Yet another restaurant for which I could not find a website… come on people!

La Imperial on Urbanspoon