Last Sunday before watching the San Francisco 49ers lose the NFC Championship game, I had lunch with my sister and two friends in the City. It was our first time trying Hard Knox Cafe. The restaurant has two locations, one in the Richmond district and one in the Dogpatch. We went to the smaller location in the Dogpatch which felt more like a diner because seating was limited to the counter bar and booths.
We waited less then five minutes which was surprising because the Hard Knox Cafe is a very popular place. Maybe most people were home watching the AFC Championship game. I won’t complain about the short wait time. The menu offers a very good variety of Southern food. After a thorough review, we each decided on having different entrees so we could taste an assortment of items.
Each of us received two corn muffins. They were warm and delicious and tasted even better after spreading some butter on it. I wanted to eat a second one, but I had to control myself to leave room for our main course.
Each entree comes with a choice of two sides. I ordered the beef shortribs with kernel corn and macaroni and cheese. The ribs were oven baked and drenched with brown gravy. They were very tender and easily fell off the bone.
My sister ordered fried catfish with mashed potatoes and collard greens. The catfish filets were seasoned perfectly and coated with a cornmeal batter. I really enjoyed this one a lot.
One friend got the BBQ pork ribs with potato salad and collard greens. This was probably the least memorable of all the entrees.
My other friend ordered the fried chicken and waffles, but their waffle machine was not working. Instead, she ended up with the 3 piece fried chicken meal with candied yams and red beans and rice. The chicken was juicy and had a nice flavor.
Everything we had at Hard Knox Cafe was pretty good. For me, the highlights were the corn muffins, the fried catfish, and the candied yams. If you are hungry and want excellent value, Hard Knox Cafe should do the trick.
By following fellow foodie friends on Yelp, I can learn about places to eat that I may otherwise not know about. This is how I found out about Hang Ten Boiler (HTB) in Alameda. HTB serves two types of cuisine that initially may not sound like a good mix, but it provides options. HTB serves Cajun food and Hawaiian food. On my first trip to HTB, I only went with one friend so we stuck mostly with Cajun food. The food was great and it meant we had to come back with a larger group.
I returned to HTB on July 4th with a party of six so we could eat off both menus. The seafood menu has a choice of dungeness crab, lobster, mussels, crawfish, clams, or shrimp. At HTB, you pick a seafood, a flavor, and a spice. We ordered the shrimp with “da signature” Hang ten flavor, and no spice (my two young nieces were with us). Last visit we got the spicy (aka bring it!) which was super spicy. We added some corn on the cob as well. The fresh shrimp had heads on with loads of Cajun sauce, which goes well with white rice.
I clearly remembered the fried catfish being so good on my first visit that we ordered it again. It was not a fluke, the cornmeal crust had the perfect crispiness and flavors again. It laid on top of delicious Cajun fries.
We tried to order the popular garlic noodles for my vegetarian friend, but unfortunately for her they ran out. This picture is from my first visit. From my recollection, they were very garlicky and had a nice al dente consistency.
In lieu of garlic noodles, my friend settled for some garlic fries. HTB does a good job. No need to run to Gordon Biersch for them.
We ordered lumpia that came with Thai chili sauce for dipping. My nieces loved these. Well, I did too!
HTB has a good variety of meats to choose from including chicken, pork, steak, and short ribs. We decided to order Andrew’s BBQ mixed plate which came with Tattoo Ed’s BBQ chicken and kalbi short ribs. The plate, or in this case box comes with steamed rice and island style macaroni salad. It included a generous portion of meats that were marinated and grilled just right. I could see myself ordering this item togo and utilizing their curbside pickup.
HTB is bookmarked on my yelp account if you want to follow me.