Taco Trucks: Two for One

You can find tons of taco trucks up and down International Boulevard in Oakland, but some that stick out are the ones from Taqueria Sinaloa. I went to Taqueria Sinaloa with a friend and my niece for a light lunch one Sunday afternoon. The north side of the parking lot has the truck that serves fish tacos and the south side of the parking lot has the truck making traditional meat tacos. Since we wanted to try both, my friend and I each stood in different lines.
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I stood in line for the meat tacos. My favorite tacos are al pastor which is marinated pork. I like them because they are very saucy and flavorful. My niece likes carne asada which is steak so I got her one of those. Typical street tacos are small, but you can’t complain at $1.25 each. I also enjoy munching on the radishes, carrots, and peppers.
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My friend picked us up some fish tacos to try. I was expecting a large piece of fish that is battered and deep fried. The ones we got had small chopped pieces of grilled fish mixed with salsa. I thought these $1.50 fish tacos were really impressive. I even enjoyed them more than my pork tacos which is saying a lot.
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Taqueria Sinaloa serves a variety of drinks including agua fresca. My niece ordered strawberry and I got pineapple. They were refreshing like they are supposed to be. My friend also picked up a horchata, rice milk. She really enjoyed it especially with the abundance of cinnamon flavor.
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There are a lot of taco trucks out there to try, but Taqueria Sinaloa is one that should be on top of your list. They also have a large amount of open air seating which makes things fun and feel like you are part of a community.
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Fusebox: Thinking Outside the Box

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Located in an Industrial area in West Oakland, Fusebox is a small Fusion restaurant with a blend of mostly Korean and Japanese foods. Fusebox is one of my BFF’s new favorite places and I found out why when I took her for a belated birthday dinner on Friday.

We were first offered a couple of free items: a small bowl of Asian flavored popcorn and a small cup of mushroom consommé. It was a nice way to start our meal.
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Our first real bite was the bacon mochi which is what I was looking forward to having seen some photos. The crisp salty bacon is wrapped around the slightly sweet chewy mochi. It was delightful.
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We ordered several skewers. The first two were grilled eggplant and miso flavored green beans. These tiny skewers were simple and delicious.
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The grilled shishito peppers came out next. These were a little bitter and not my favorite.
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We ordered two of the corns. They were grilled and flavored with butter and peppers. These were outstanding and reminded me of eating Mexican street corn.
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We were debating over the FuseBOX KFC (Korean fried chicken) or the Chicken Karaage (Japanese fried chicken). The waitress recommended the KFC so went ahead and ordered those. The chicken wings had a perfectly crisp coating and the flavor had an amazing spice.
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We shared the fish entree which was an air dried boneless Rainbow Trout. This beautiful filet tasted as good as it looked. It came with some seaweed which added a nice touch of salt to each bite.
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Their entrees come with a bowl of rice as well as Banchans, little Korean side dishes including homemade kimchi. I enjoyed them and did not feel overwhelmed like at many other Korean restaurants.
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We orders two desserts. The first one was the Tang Granita Creamsicle. The flavor brought back wonderful childhood memories of eating Creamsicles. This was quite light as well.
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We also shared the beignets. We aren’t in New Orleans, but their kitchen put up a good fight. Their beignets are made to order so they were piping hot. I rate these fried bread balls fairly high because they were not oily.
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Most of the food at Fusebox is small, but packs simple tasty flavors. It is also a fun place to enjoy a variety of different foods. I can’t wait to go back.

La Grande Orange: Pasadena

Last Sunday I was in Pasadena with a colleague. Ever since I discovered The Luggage Room Pizzeria, I have been dining there every time I am in the area. Housed in the same building at Pasadena’s Del Mar train station is La Grande Orange (LGO) Cafe. This visit I would try LGO.

We were told to try their white wine sangria. What we thought was a carafe of sangria was a pitcher. What a deal as it was the price of three glasses. It was quite tasty and refreshing for this warm evening.
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We started off with some house made guacamole and chips. It also came with a
charred tomato salsa which was really good.
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LGO has a custom Italian hardwood rotisserie so I couldn’t resist ordering the prime rib of beef that was cooked in it. The entree came with mashed potatoes and asparagus. The beef was tender and delicious.
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My colleague ordered the grilled ahi tuna tacos. It was made with sushi grade ahi that was grilled rare and came with a kale salad. It was very L.A.
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The table next to us had ordered a few different desserts and I asked them which one they enjoyed the best as we were debating over the key lime pie or the red velvet cake. They were pretty clear that the key lime pie was not to be missed. I was excited because it was the one I was leaning towards. This slice of pie had the perfect topping of whipped cream. The tart of the lime and the sweetness of the cream was heaven. A plus was that it came with the vegan strawberry gelato from Grateful Spoon in Phoenix. This dessert was the perfect ending to a nice meal.
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Cultivate Festival: Golden Gate Park

It was a warm day in Oakland yesterday. Around noon it was in the mid-70’s. Further east, it was going to hit triple digits. My friend asked if I wanted to go to the Cultivate Festival in San Francisco. “Sure!” I responded.

Cultivate is a Festival sponsored by Chipotle that “brings together farmers, chefs, thought leaders, artists, musicians, and participants, on a journey towards a world of more sustainable, wholesome and delicious food.”
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When we got to Golden Gate Park, the temperature dropped to the mid-50’s. Unprepared, my friend and I were freezing our butts off. We walked through Hellman Hollow to check out the scene. There were food stands selling Chipotle items, local food vendors, educational stands, wine and beer tastings, chef demonstrations, and a music stage.
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We were getting hungry, so we decided to divide and conquer. The lines were really long. I went to San Francisco based 4505 Meats to get the smoked beef brisket on white bread. Unfortunately, before I made it to the front of the line, they sold out. I got what was left on the menu, pork and cheddar bratwurst and a bag of chicharrones. The bratwurst was okay, but my friend didn’t like it. The chicharrones from 4505 Meats are very light in texture, melts in your mouth leaving a very strong gamey pork flavor in your mouth. Not for everyone.
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My friend lined up for Chipotle’s esquites, a salad of charred corn, shredded cabbage, and crispy tortillas. Tossed with roasted tomatillos, sour cream, pickled onions, and cotija cheese. Let’s just say it tasted like Chipotle.
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New York based Big Gay Ice Cream had a truck on site. I couldn’t believe the line was about 100 people deep with the weather so cold. If the line was short, I would have likely got some. I hope to be able to try some in the future.
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So far the festival doesn’t sound too promising does it? Well, the highlight for me was watching a food demonstration with Chef Richard Blais. Chef Blais was the winner of Top Chef All Stars. He was so funny and entertaining to watch. He was great. He froze a margarita with liquid nitrogen. It was very cool to watch.
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He later made a fish taco and then smoked it in seconds. We couldn’t take the cold any longer so we left shortly after the demo.
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I was excited to get into the car to defrost and return to the 510.

Pizza and Curry = A-OK

Who would have thought to top a pizza with Indian curry? There is actually a name for it. It’s called Desi style. Pizza and Curry is a little hole in the wall in a strip mall in the City of Fremont that serves such a thing.
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My book club met for dinner this evening. Although they have normal pizzas as well, we went for the Desi gourmet pizzas. There were fifteen types of Indian pizzas to choose from, so we ordered three medium sized pizzas to share. The first pizza was the tandoori chicken pizza which we ordered mild. It had tandoori chicken, red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, and mozzarella cheese on creamy garlic sauce.
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Our second pizza was chicken tikka which we ordered with a medium spice. It was very similar to the tandoori chicken except it had the stronger flavor of the chicken tikka which I liked better.
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The third pizza was the aaloo gobi which had a spicy red sauce, spiced potatoes and cauliflower, cilantro, and mozzarella cheese. We also ordered this medium.
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I enjoyed the fresh cilantro that came on all the pizzas. The pizza crusts were really good as they remained crispy and chewy from my first slice until my last slice. The consensus seemed the aaloo gobi pizza was the favorite. I saw an Indian couple take out pizza and picked up packages of ketchup. I thought I would give it a try, so I dipped my pizza in the ketchup and added crushed pepper which really added another dimension to my pizza.

I wouldn’t make a special trip out to go to Pizza and Curry, but if I was around the area, I would definitely go back and try some other favors. I would probably order the pizzas spicy.
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