Zero Zero

zero zeroNamed after the fine grade of flour used in all the best pizzas, Zero Zero (or ’00′) is a fine italian restaurant in SoMa. They specialize in plates for sharing. I’d been there a couple times for lunch/snacks when I worked at the Chronicle. Finally went there for a full dinner on St. Patrick’s Day.


For starters we had the arancini with black garlic sauce. They were perfectly browned with rice and cheese just oozing out of them. Additionally we also had a pizza, The Geary, which featured clams, bacon, and calabrian chile. Wow — the crust was blackened just a bit on the edges and it was delicious. We also tried their spaghetti with local crab which was also a winner.


We decided to skip dessert and our server still brought us two zeppoles on the house! Even if you don’t have a reservation you should consider walking in. Even if you can’t get in here, the same block has LuLu, Bis, and Oola as alternatives.

Zero Zero
826 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
415.348-8800
Late night: Open ’til 11 Fri/Sat

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C.R.E.A.M.

c.r.e.a.m.

I wonder if the deluxe ice cream sandwich shop in Berkeley, C.R.E.A.M. (cookies rule everything around me) will ever get in trouble with the Wu-Tang Clan who had a song by the same name though the acronym stands for ‘cash rules everything around me.’

Before we get to our snack review….Here’s a live clip of the song performed by Raekwon with the awesome El Michels Affair. Enjoy!

C.R.E.A.M in Berkeley’s Southside makes you wonder why someone didn’t think of this concept sooner. You can choose from several different cookies and a variety of ice cream flavors and your sandwich is hand made for you on the spot. I tried a snickerdoodle cookie with cinammon caramel ice cream. I also tried a ‘turtle’ cookie with salted caramel ice cream (which was good but almost too decadent for my taste). This place always has a line but it moves fast. It’s worth the wait.


C.R.E.A.M.
2399 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704
510.655.5014

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Boxing Room

boxing roomA late night spot that also serves Louisiana/Creole cuisine? SF’s Boxing Room has it all. These days with my wife sometimes working late at a local SF spa, I’ve been going into the city once a week for a nice late night dinner. At first we tried limiting our late night choices to Oakland but it turns out there aren’t too many of them and the places in Uptown are just too popular for a quite late night meal to unwind. When I began to research SF options I found many.


At the Boxing Room (which used to house Citizen Cake) we had some local oysters, an oyster po’ boy, and some of the best collard greens with ham hocks I’ve ever had. I can’t forget to mention that they also have hushpuppies. Next time I go back I need to remember to leave room for the beignets! Yum.


Boxing Room
399 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
415.430.6590
Late night: Open ’til 11 Sun-Thu; ’til 12 Fri/Sat

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Shamrock Shakes on March 17

Shamrock ShakesIt’s hard to believe that after 30 years McDonald’s still has Shamrock Shakes every March. Back in the seventies I thought they were a one time novelty and I loved them. Today, they are still green in color and flavored with mint. These days they are served in a clear cup so you can really see the color. In truth they taste just ok but the nostalgic memories just can’t be beat. I almost never go to Mickey D’s for food but the Shamrock Shake is too tempting to resist.

Check out Chronicle culture critic Peter Hartlaub’s post about Shamrock Shakes.

Also, for your enjoyment I found these two TV commercials here (the one with Uncle O’grimacey is the best):

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homeroom

homeroomBack in 2000, when I used to walk past 40th and Webster on my way to BART, there was a huge burned out medical building that was literally rotting in place. A few years later before the housing crash a bunch of lofts were built on the property. The two lofts that included ground floor retail spaces were vacant for a long time — well into the housing crash. Fortunately for Temescal, the spaces how houses homeroom, also referred to as the macaroni and cheese restaurant. Their menu consists of about 10 entrees each a variation of mac ‘n’ cheese. The ‘Mexican mac’ was good and had a nice amount of chipotle and chorizo. ‘Mac the goat’ is made with goat cheese and buttery toasted bread crumbs. They also offer a side salad and some veggies plus a variety of add-ons you can add to your mac. Inside the place is decorated with a school theme: library cards and recycled lab tables. We went there for a rare weekday lunch in the pouring rain and their comfort food really hit the spot. Warning: these days the wait for dinner can be 2 hours (and they don’t take reservations)


homeroom
400 40th Street, Oakland, CA 94609
510.597.0400

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The Fig Cafe

The Fig CafeEverytime I head up to Sonoma County these days, I try to strategize a way to enjoy a meal at The Fig Cafe in Glen Ellen. This spot was the original location of The Girl & The Fig which is now located on Sonoma Plaza. The Cafe menu is French influenced and there’s something to please everyone for dinner and brunch on the weekends. For dinner try the mussels, thin crust pizzas with house made salumi, or pot roast with horseradish mashed potatoes. For brunch, the croque madame with mornay sauce was tasty. They don’t take reservations but getting a table here for two has never been an issue in the past — part of the charm of sleepy Glen Ellen


The Fig Cafe
13690 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, CA 95442
707.938.2130

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Page Mill Winery

Page Mill WineryPage Mill Winery is a great dog friendly winery in Livermore. We went there on a hot summer afternoon and enjoyed our tasting on the patio just outside. The winemaker came out and took pictures of our dogs Duchess and Champ for the winery dog photo album. (it’s got photos of many of their canine guests from the past few years) We went home with some of their Cabernet and Zin — both were quite good. After a long hike at nearby Lake del Valle, this is a nice stop before hitting the road.


Page Mill Winery
1960 South Livermore Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550
925.456.7676

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Pho 84

Pho 84There are tons of Vietnamese restaurants in the Bay Area and many of them are very good. Many of them are very bare bones in ambience and decor. A few of them are even upscale (Slanted Door, Xyclo). Pho 84 in Oakland’s uptown neighborhood is nicely appointed but still casual. Best of all, their food is delicious. Try pretty much anything on the menu and you can’t go wrong. Be sure to try a dish that includes their ‘special rice’. I could make a meal out of this seasoned rice, yum!


Pho 84
354 17th Street, Oakland, CA 94612
510.832.1338

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Quickly

QuicklyI probably heard about the tapioca drink craze three or four years before I finally realized what all the fuss was about. Now nearly every week I head over to Quickly in Old Oakland for a bubble tea. My favorite is the Earl Grey Milk Tea with tapioca. They literally have more than a hundred variations on the types of drinks you can get: tea, ice, slush; any number of fruits and flavors; all with the option to have chewy sweet tapioca balls added. Get the extra wide straw and drink it up!


Quickly (Old Oakland)
517 8th Street, Oakland, CA 94607
510.663.2233

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The Wine Mine

The Wine MineI discovered The Wine Mine through a little sign outside Bakesale Betty. The sign advertised $1 wine tasting. We want and learned you could taste 5 wines every Saturday from 2-5 for that price. Nice! On top of that they have hundreds of wines to choose from at great prices. Their focus is on bottles under $15 and are very friendly and informative. On top of all that they have plenty of off street parking. So drop by anytime but especially on Saturday afternoons.


The Wine Mine
5427 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609
510.547.9463

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