January 13, 2012

Orinda: Siam Orchid; restaurant review

Greater East Bay

Siam Orchid 23-F Orinda Way, (925) 253-1975. L M-F, D daily; $$. Reservations taken.

Loctated in tree-lined strip mall, this quiet spot has a full bar. Lunch specials include a flavorful soup with fresh spinach and garlic, a spring roll, and a tasty salad. Pad Thai, eggplant with chicken, and stir-fry dishes in general are particularly good. Several delicious hot sauces spice thing up.

More things to do in Orinda.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

image ©2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 9, 2012

Albany: Aangan Indo-Nepalese Cuisine; restaurant review

80 North

Aangan Indo-Nepalese Cuisine  856 San Pablo Ave./Solano Ave., in Albany, (510) 524-2220.

With a cozy combination of brick and colorfully painted walls, original paintings featuring scenes of Kathmandu, and cheerful repeat-print patterned tablecloths made from Nepalese fabric, this cheery one-room venue is welcoming and friendly. It appears to be a recycled lounge, with some tables set on the raised former stage. On the two times I dined here, it seemed like many people at different tables knew one another. Nepal’s Himalayan cuisine is influenced by both India and China.

 You can choose the degree of spiciness, and spicy here means just that. Delicious full-flavored choices on the menu include vegetarian steamed momos (similar to potstickers) filled with a finely-chopped veggie mixture and served with a tasty dipping sauce that includes powdered berries from Nepal, aloo tikki chat (potato pancakes with garbanzo beans and both tamarind and mint chutneys), keema roti (a crispy bread stuffed with spiced lamb), tasty yellow fish curry, and satisfying spicy okra with potatoes. Goat stew and a vegetarian platter are also options. A thick mango lassi can serve as both drink and dessert, but kheer (rice pudding) and kulfi (Indian pistachio ice cream) are also available.

More things to do in Albany. 

More things to do in nearby Berkeley.

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image ©2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 6, 2012

Muir Beach: The Pelican Inn; restaurant review

1 North 

Just had a pleasant lunch of bangers and mash at the Pelican Inn. Fish & chips are also good, and local oysters are available on weekends. An additional charge is made for bread, which comes from the nearby Zen Center and is available Thursday through Sun only.

More things to do in Muir Beach.
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image ©2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 4, 2012

San Mateo: Champagne Seafood Restaurant; restaurant review

101 South 

Champagne Seafood Restaurant  88 E. 4th Ave./San Mateo Dr., downtown, (650) 343-6988.  Dim sum M-F 11-2:30, Sat-Sun 10-3, D daily; $.  Reservations advised. 

In a very large, high-ceilinged room with a frenetic atmosphere, delicious dim sum is served via menu and a few circulating trays.  Cheery yellow walls, white tablecloths, and a small wall of fish tanks add to the bright ambiance.  Favorite menu items include shrimp-and-chive dumplings, deep-fried taro balls, and thin-noodle soy sauce chow mein.  Efficient service keeps the teapot filled and dishes cleared.

Dim sum photo gallery.

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image ©2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 2, 2012

San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; things to do

San Francisco

There's always something new at the SFMOMA.

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

videos ©2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

“The Last Century” by Sam Taylor-Wood

"Exploded Views (Improv)" by Jim Campbell