Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rockridge Cafe

Since Rockridge is the baby capital of Oakland, and our good old friends Heather and Hamish have one of those we thought we would bring them to this kid friendly restaurant and review. We met for brunch at the Rockridge Cafe.

From left to right: Hamish, Steve's reflection, Mavis, Heather and Briana

Our meals (clockwise starting in the upper left): Steve got a spinach and cheese omelet with a blueberry muffin. Briana got the chorizo scramble with wheat toast. Hamish got fried eggs, chicken apple sausage, potatoes and the blueberry muffin. Heather got Eggs Blackstone with the Hollandaise on the side. Mavis didn't order anything, but tried to eat the table.

Both Hamish and Steve agreed that the blueberry muffin is the way to go here at the Rockridge Cafe. They are fresh baked, nicely toasted and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside (Steve wanted to call the inside of the muffin "moist", but Briana thinks that's too creepy for this family review). Everything was good standard breakfast fare; the muffin was the only thing that stood out. Service was really friendly and fast. We went on a Thursday morning and only had a short wait, we imagine it might be more crowded on a weekend.

Miss Mavis. Not cute, not painfully cute in the slightest.



Here's to a great 2011 and a great brunch!!

We thought this restaurant was a pleasant place to breakfast with our friends. It's a good diner that isn't trying to reinvent breakfast, it just keeps it real. We give Rockridge Cafe a 3.5 sabuys.
First time ever on Broadway to Bancroft: Bonus Features!

Next stop: Pearl of Siam!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

À Côté

Our good friends Sarah and Jackson joined us for our À Côté review. When we started this project, Sarah said she wanted to go with us when we got to À Côté because it's one of her favorite restaurants. She's had to wait a long time, but it was all worth it in the end. We started off with some drinks. From left to right: Sarah with a Guyana Star, Jackson with a boozy eggnog, Briana with a hot toddy, and Steve with Guyana Star. All drinks get an A+.

You may notice that there is a crazy curtain behind us. À Côté is waaaaaay bigger than it looks from the outside. When they brought us to our table, they led us through a crazy labyrinth of hallways (it might have just been one hallway) for an eternity until we finally arrived in this strange land you see above. They've insulated their outdoor patio so you can still sit there on cold winter nights. It's totally warm and comfortable. We could even hear raindrops falling on the roof of the tent, which made it extra cozy.

Now, on to the food:

Caprino tartufo: truffeled goat cheese with toasts, nuts, figs, and little apple slices. AMAZING!

Baby Arugula Salad with Crispy Polenta, Pine Nuts and Great Hill Blue Cheese Dressing. Also fantastic. The blue cheese dressing wasn't overwhelming (as it can sometimes be) and the polenta was crispy as advertised.
Pommes frites. As delicious as they look. Served with aioli, but they will totally bring you ketchup if that is what you're into (that is what Steve is into).
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Pistachios, Brown Butter and Sage. Way more delicious than they look. Order these.

Smoked & grilled pork loin chop with Savoy Cabbage, Bacon, Apples, Fingerling Potatoes and Mustard Sauce. Not quite as delicious as it looks. This was the one dish that didn't quite live up to our expectations. It wasn't bad by any means, but we've definitely had better pork chops elsewhere (like Wood Tavern or T-Rex).
After dinner drinks! Clockwise from left to right: Some kind of Eau de Vie for Sarah (we can't remember), another hot toddy for Briana (she was feeling under the weather), argmanac for Jackson, and a cappuccino for Steve. All were great.
Banana cream pie. Everyone loved this. Get one.
The Snowball: fudge cake filled with coconut cream, in bittersweet chocolate ganache. Not as good as it looks or sounds. Too heavy and too sweet. Some of us might have enjoyed this more if we had not already pigged out so heavily. Hard to say.
Ricotta fritters with Huckleberry Sauce, Vanilla Sauce, & Cocoa Fudge Sauce. So light and fluffy. So delicious. Comes with three different sauces (which are all magical) but they'd be amazing even without the sauce.

Sarah was right to look forward to À Côté, it's a fantastic restaurant. Even the dishes that weren't our favorites were pretty great. The secret back patio was a nice surprise, and the atmosphere and service were both lovely. Be sure to make a reservation. We went on a Friday, and overheard someone being told they would have to wait an hour for a table.

We give À Côté 4.5 Sabuys. This was one of out favorite places so far.

Next stop: Rockridge Cafe!