Introducing Foodnap

I love to eat. I love to travel. That’s why I am writing about a new tv show/website that my friends launched called Foodnap. They have been in production for 3.5 years, traveling around 14 cities in 6 countries.
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Foodnap is not about diners, drive-ins, or dives. It is not about the finest Michelin star restaurants. Foodnap is about finding who they think are the best chef’s around, moms. I would tend to agree. I have been eating my moms food for over 40 years and my stomach happily comes back. I appreciate how my mom can just whip something together so easily without much thought.
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On the tv show, the host Steffany gives a brief overview of the featured city. She then goes into the kitchen of a local mom to learn how to cook their choice dish. At the end, the family enjoys the meal together. What the show attempts to do is to bring cooking shows back to the basics. It’s about learning how to cook, like following a recipe.
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Why am I writing about Foodnap? The shows creators have produced a few shows, but there are still more to produce. They are currently seeking additional funding via kickstarter.com. If you prefer not to donate, support them in other ways. You can let others know about their site by sharing this blog or giving them feedback.

Good luck Foodnap!

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KoJa Kitchen: A food truck to follow

On one of my lunch time walks in Downtown Oakland, my colleague and I passed a few food trucks parked on 12th Street. I always get excited about food trucks, but this one particular truck caught my attention because of the large LCD monitors displaying their menu. KoJa Kitchen was the name. We didn’t plan to eat there this time around. I went ahead and asked a customer what she thought of KoJa Kitchen. She said she had already bought her lunch before she realized KoJa was here, so she now has two lunches. She even offered her first lunch to us. I didn’t accept her lunch, but that is a pretty good praise to waste her first lunch so she can have KoJa.
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Koja Kitchen was part of the recent Eat Real Festival in Oakland. I remember the lines being really long. I decided that I better follow KoJa Kitchen on twitter so I could know when it would be parked again on 12th Street. This time I planned ahead with my walking partner that a walk and a stop at KoJa Kitchen was in order this past Thursday.

We each got a Kalbi, or short rib KoJa. Amazing chunks of Korean BBQ short ribs were laced between two discs of rice patties in lieu of a bread product. My colleague and I agreed that they were scrumptious. Although the rice patties were unique, it was the meat that shined.
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We shared an order of the kamikaze fries. These criss cross fries were layered with minced bulbogi, or Korean BBQ beef, sautéed onions, kimchi, and green onions. Surprisingly with all the condiments on top, the fries stayed crisp and were delicious.
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I remember the KoJa Kitchen customer, who had two lunches, got a dessert too so we tried the mochimisu. It is a tiramisu with chocolate mochi. I really like traditional tiramisu, but the texture of this one with the mochi didn’t really work for me. I can pass on dessert next time because there will be a next time. Follow KoJa Kitchen on Twitter.

Pike Place Picks

I am at Sea-Tac Airport waiting for my flight home. Seattle is becoming one of my favorite Cities to visit. It is a lush and beautiful place with great food all around. I didn’t think I wanted to write another Seattle based food blog before I arrived, but I enjoyed some new things I wanted to share.
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All three items I am writing about are local, homemade, and can be found at Pike Place Market. A small Latin grocer called El Mercado Latino sells mostly imported products, but they also sell homemade empanadas and chicharrones. It was the sign for hot ‘n crunchy chicharrones that caught my eye.
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No one had to twist my arm to purchase a bag of salted chicharrones. I left the store snacking on the chicharrones on Post Alley. What was in this bag had all the features I look for in chicharrones-crispiness, lightness, and the perfect amount of salt. They were the best chicharrones I have ever had.
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I immediately went back to the grocer to get the other flavor, chili lime. The flavor was also very good, but I think the regular salted one was better. In this instance, regular is better. Next time I think I will have to try the empanadas.
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RGB stands for Rachel’s Ginger Beer. I love ginger beer and to find a shop that brews their own ginger beer in various favors must be tried in my book. My friend and I got samples of the white peach and the blood orange. I asked the guy at the counter what his favorite flavor was and he replied white peach. I liked it more than the blood orange, so I got a cup of white peach flavored ginger beer.
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I admit that RGB is not spicy like other ginger beers I am used to enjoying. It’s more like a refreshing spritzer with a hint of ginger flavor. I could also get a real beer (with alcohol) for $5 almost anywhere, but I don’t know where else I can get a homemade flavored ginger beer at any price. RGB is more for the experience and on a nice day in Seattle, it could hit the spot.
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My third and last pick is my favorite new discovery. I say it’s my favorite because I was completely surprised by it. My friend was telling me about wanting to get Greek yogurt at a place called Ellenos at Pike’s Place. Seriously? With all the great food in Seattle, she wanted Greek yogurt? I am not even a fan of Greek yogurt.
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I did not plan to purchase any Ellenos Greek yogurt, except they sold me when they gave me a sample in front of their store. It was deliciously creamy with a lot of sweet and a slight hint of tang. They have a variety of toppings, but the mixed berry compote completed it for me. It was so good, that I had it for breakfast yesterday, and I bought one in a mason jar to bring home.
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Kitchen 388 in the Oakland 510

There is a small restaurant located on Grand Avenue in Oakland that I have passed by hundreds of times in the past two years. Early on, I had heard good reviews about Kitchen 388. I had wanted to go there, but couldn’t figure out when they were open. It would appear open one day and then it would be closed for months at a time. I noticed that it seemed to be open more consistently lately, so I thought I would finally give it a try.
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This morning I brought my seven year old niece to Kitchen 388 for brunch. She started with a glass of orange juice and I started with a cafe au lait. Kitchen 388 is proud to serve Roast Co coffee, which I thought was just ok. I did like the fact that my coffee was presented in a big bowl. I’ll have to give Roast Co. another chance since they are an Oakland roaster. Maybe I had a bad cup or a bad barista?
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I decided that I would order two dishes for us to share as well as a side of fruit salad. The waitress brought out our fruit salad to nibble on while we waited for our dishes to come out. The fruits included blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, mango, and pineapple. I loved the freshness as well as the variety.
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One dish we had was the baked eggs. Two eggs were individually served in ramekin dishes with olive oil and basil. It came with cherry tomatoes and levain toast. This dish was very simple, but a combination that I enjoyed. I don’t tend to eat out a lot for breakfast because I like to make my own basic breakfast foods. I think baking eggs the way Kitchen 388 may be added to my own repertoire.
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My niece loves fried chicken and she loves waffles, but I was pretty sure it was her first time having the two items together. The waffles were a little pale in color, but it had great texture with a good outer crisp. We got two large pieces of fried chicken. It was extremely juicy and flavorful. I was quite impressed. My niece ate about half of the plate, so I know she enjoyed it as much as I did.
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Another dish on the menu that caught my eye was the pork chop. I love pork chops for breakfast. I saw a waiter bring out two of them and couldn’t keep my eye off those grill marks. I’ll be going back to Kitchen 388 for weekend brunch and having the pork chop.

To help clarify, here are the hours: Kitchen 388 is open Wednesday through Friday from 9am to 3pm for coffee drinks, empanadas and pastries. They have full dinner service Wednesday through Friday from 5pm to 9pm. And of course, weekend brunch is every Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 3pm.