Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 29, 2014

You are what you eat

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

The City of Alameda, in a mission to promote its businesses, has put out a restaurant guide which is really cool and neat  BUT…it’s already outdated with numerous mistakes.

Look no further than the Asian section which doesn’t know how to handle crossover cuisine and just gets some thing really wrong:

restaurants

Missing is new entry Pho Anh Dao which is on the West End and shares a space with Bucket o’ Crawfish (also missing from the guide).   Tu Tai 2 is not Thai food.  I know, that “Tai” makes it super confusing, but Tu Tai is straight up Vietnamese food.   It even says it on the restaurant itself and the Yelp page.   Khanh Huong is an Asian BBQ place, but also serves a great chicken pho and both Chef Wok and Kitchen of Alameda both serve Chinese BBQ (complete with hanging meats and all) but they are under “Chinese” and not BBQ.

I mean, it’s all great, don’t get me wrong, but I just wonder how some decisions were made.  Like why file Lola’s Chicken Shack under “Burgers and Hot Dogs”?   And isn’t Cafe Jolie technically supposed to be “French”?   I guess you can’t file something under “French-ish.”   Fudgelato is apparently closing down too. Loard’s Ice Cream at South Shore and Baskin Robbins are missing as well from the list of ice cream joints.  Neither Feel Good Bakery or the Feel Good Kitchen made it on to the listing either.   And West End gem Santoro’s is also not listed.  BB Bowl, Alameda’s first “Korean” restaurant has also been left out.

Also, no donut shops!  And Levy’s Bagels was left out while two other bagel shops were added to the “Deli” section.    I’m pretty sure Greek Meze has not yet opened, but still made the list while other restaurant that are now open didn’t make the cut.

Additionally, it’s curious on how the decision was made to include some chain restaurants and not others.  For example, all fast food restaurants with drive-thrus were eliminated from the list.   I can see how that rationale was crafted, but why include a Panera Bread (chain and non drive thru) but not a Quiznos, Subway, Cheesesteak Shop, or Wing Stop (chain and non drive thru).

So I think I covered most of the mistakes and quirks.  Anyone spot some more?

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26 Comments

  1. Part of the problem is “there is too much Con-Fusion”

    Comment by frank M — August 29, 2014 @ 8:04 am

  2. I think Alameda had a Korean restaurant about where Angkor Grill is. Whatever it was, it hung in there for a long time.

    Comment by MI — August 29, 2014 @ 9:04 am

  3. Although it is often categorized as such, Asena is not a Greek restaurant (Turkish owners) but Mediteranean….details details….

    Comment by it's all greek to me.... — August 29, 2014 @ 9:24 am

  4. Glad to see that most of my favorite restaurants made the list – but they did leave out Santoro’s on the corner of Santa Clara Ave and 5th Street – a lovely Italian Deli. Santoro’s makes some of the best deli sandwiches in town. I also think that Feel Good Bakery and Feel Good Kitchen should make the list. Love them both!

    Comment by Karen Bey — August 29, 2014 @ 11:42 am

  5. They don’t compile these things by walking the streets. If the restaurant owner doesn’t buy ads, have a website, or send out press releases, they are likely to be missed. Since you seem to have a lot to say about it, Lauren, why don’t you start another blog or do a column focused on Asian restaurants? It’s a special area of expertise that most food reviewers don’t know much about (myself included). My husband and I moving back to New York temporarily for a contract job (my son is staying and we’re keeping the house–sorry guys, I WILL be back) so my column in the Alamedan is up for grabs.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 29, 2014 @ 12:53 pm

  6. Any restaurant guide is likely doomed to be obsolete the minute it is published since the business is so volatile, however kudos to the City for putting this out! My wild ass guess is that they compiled the list from membership lists of the local business groups (WABA, PSBA, GABA and Chamber, which just goes to show that membership does have its advantages..

    Comment by notadave — August 29, 2014 @ 1:07 pm

  7. I didn’t compile my missing in action list by walking the streets either. I did it from memory. One would hope that the City of Alameda’s business marketing arm could do better than a part time blogger who doesn’t specifically write about restaurants and/or food.

    Asian food is Asian food, you don’t need a special certificate to be able to understand the differences. Tu Tai’s yelp page even says “Vietnamese” on it as does the sign in front of the restaurant itself.

    Still, the lack of expertise in Asian cuisine still doesn’t explain glaring omissions like Loards, Baskin Robbins, Santoro’s, and the two Feel Goods.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 29, 2014 @ 1:10 pm

  8. It appears that the Restaurant Guide is a waste of time. Get back to us when it is done correctly. If we continue to want to be a better town, we really need to put better people on these projects and they need to be managed by better people. Let’s stop living with the “good is good enough” attitude.

    Comment by Bill — August 29, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

  9. It’s staffing. No one wants to pay a contractor, so they usually push it off on a secretary who has never done it before. You get what you pay for. Anyone can tell the difference between the KINDS of cuisine but you need to know what constitutes a great Pho over a so-so Pho for instance. I loathe bubble tea but I’m sure someone who loves it has an opinion on the best place in town. I’ve seen very specific comments on Yelp as to whether or not something is classic Saigon style or not, etc. This is information people clearly want to know but restaurant reviewers tend to be generalists. To do Vietnamese, Korean, or other kinds of cuisine that are relatively new to most people justice, the person writing should have had numerous experiences with cuisine of this type. You can’t just go in and say it sucked because you personally dislike that kind of food. It may be an excellent example of that type of cooking for all you know.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 29, 2014 @ 2:02 pm

  10. The Greek’s and Turk’s have been mortal enemies for 1000’s of years. But really in the scope of things this is a ‘meh’ for me.

    Comment by frank M — August 29, 2014 @ 3:05 pm

  11. It will be interesting to see what the flavor of Capone’s Speakeasy will be. I looked at the menu and It seems to be gourmet type of food. I think I would only order off the menu “GRILLED ARTICHOKE HEARTS, SPINACH CRANBERRY SALAD, or the CUCUMBER SALAD” The filet mignon sounds good but it comes with lobster.

    Comment by Joseph — August 29, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

  12. Lauren, far be it for me to call anyone out for exclusion of an entire race, but I didn’t notice any mention of well “ITALIANS” you know those people that make pizza, pasta, pesto, peppers,ect. Yeah I know you put in the one lone sandwich guy which by chance was actually born in ITALY, my boy Mike Santoro. As for you Denise Shelton, traitor that you are going to East Coast, maybe when you come back you could give us a column on the difference between the West and East coast. It better be about how are food is better.

    Comment by John P. — August 29, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

  13. #12 Look again John P the do have Italian

    Comment by frank M — August 29, 2014 @ 5:20 pm

  14. After our trip to Italy this summer, I would very much like to see a real Italian restaurant here – one that had some of the very delicious things we enjoyed there that one does not find here in upscale or downscale Italian restaurants. Like branzino fish, or pastas with lovely vegetables and cured meats. Not to mention gelato! We ate well in both Spain and Italy and I lost two pounds on our trip!

    Comment by Kate Quick — August 29, 2014 @ 5:37 pm

  15. Give the city a break, this was a summer intern project!

    Comment by Basel — August 29, 2014 @ 6:37 pm

  16. sorry guy’s, I was just doing my normal B.S. just can’t help it.

    Comment by John P. — August 29, 2014 @ 9:25 pm

  17. I don’t think that “Greek Meze” place on Webster is ever going to open. It’s been “coming soon” for YEARS.

    Comment by trow125 — August 29, 2014 @ 9:50 pm

  18. Lauren , Oh Lauren !
    99% of all guides are published using peoples own in information, restaurants guide are the biggest rip off ,most are made via a financial contribution to the editors either in Cash payment or food favors , most so called food critiques are nothing else but pompous self serving con artist , one name come to mind , one which was part owner in a bistro and was blasting every restaurant which she felt was a threat to Her business .
    The City guide was most likely made using owner’s own information as we are leaving in a litigious world ……

    I have a problem with your sentence :
    Asian food is Asian food, you don’t need a special certificate to be able to understand the differences .
    Actually you do.

    Most peoples are not aware that for instance Chinese Cooking has a repertoire in the thousands dishes , second only by the French , then the Italians in their complexities ,{ Here in the USA put tomatoes on it and you call it Italian food Italy has actually 2 distinct food each divide by about 4 subgroup, If you want to get tossed out of a restaurant in Rome ask for polenta …,add garlic it become French , when actually not even 1/4 of the country use garlic }
    many factor influence Food , Region , Season , and yes Affluence .
    All Asian food are not created equal , unless mac Donald is the bench mark.
    This lack of knowledge actually directly affect the consumer as they are not able to distinguish fresh from previously frozen fish and so on .
    Yes you do need certificate or you will for ever believe Fortune cookie and chow mein are Chinese Dishes , both have been invented in the USA in the bay area to be exact .
    The main problem with Food in the US is the gross misconception that if you don’t have it all over your it is no good , AKA giant portion which have only one result , supporting the trillion dollar national drug co

    Written with poor zenglish by a proud American , full of syntax , grammatical error and most likely poor spelling {that’s for the spelling brigades}

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — August 29, 2014 @ 11:47 pm

  19. Joel not to be mean but you write such long post, that a lot of people just don’t read them.

    Comment by Joseph — August 30, 2014 @ 7:53 am

  20. I am so sorry that Cafe Fudgelato is going to close– I once asked the manager why he didn’t have someone pass out flyers to people coming from the movies a block away. He said..”Oh it is very expensive to put an ad at the movies. ” Of course I did not mean to have an actual ad inside, but I just don’t think people knew that he had delicious sandwiches and soups as well as gelato.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — August 30, 2014 @ 9:49 am

  21. “African…Abigal’s Cafe & Deli” is a fairly misleading description of Abigail’s Moroccan Cuisine, whose star feature is its Belly Dancer with a classic Moroccan four course Dinner. Joel, if the owners paid for these inaccurate descriptions, they should get their money back.
    As for it being a “summer intern project”, doesn’t the intern know how to Google or look on Yelp? Guess that intern didn’t attend any of our “excellent schools”. This project does not reflect well on the city’s planning ability.

    Comment by vigi — August 30, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

  22. Morocco is in Africa, n’est pas?

    Comment by Michelle — September 9, 2014 @ 12:25 am

  23. Hey, John P! Thanks for the shout out. We arrived in NY last night and are going to check out our first real pizza in 30+ years later today. The pizza culture here is amazing. Go to Yelp reviews for Long Island and you will see comments on the merits of individual eateries’ slices vs. their pies. There are “grandma” pies, Sicilian pies, and God help me, ravioli slices (that’s a piece of pizza topped with ravioli). When I told our Airbnb host that the pizza place in Alameda that consistently gets the “best of” award (La Val’s) forms its pies with a giant cookie cutter, he thought I was joking. They hand toss here and it’s an art. No self respecting pizza place in NY would dream of doing it any other way.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 9, 2014 @ 7:49 am

  24. Denise, I have a list, since you are there and I’am here. How about Deli’s, and then some time in the future small Italian restaurants. I’m on to checking Long Island Yelp.

    Comment by John P. — September 9, 2014 @ 8:39 am

  25. @John P: Since not everybody reading this may be interested, my personal email address is available from Michele Ellson at the Alamedan michele@thealamedan.org. I will let her know it’s okay for her to give it to you.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 9, 2014 @ 2:34 pm

  26. Thanks Denise.

    Comment by John P. — September 10, 2014 @ 9:13 am


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