Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Announcing "Resilience: Climate Change Expedition, Part 1"

I am happy to announce my first documentary called "Resilience: Climate Change Expedition, Part 1." The documentary is a response to VP Al Gore Climate Reality Project's call to action. "Resilience: Climate Change Expedition," which is narrated by my superhero , Resilience. The video will be the start of my web reality series called, "Creating Resilience," behind the scenes of "Resilience: Birthright," showing real work, real people, real tools for making a difference on the planet and addressing climate change. This video is starring CA LG Gavin Newsom, Marie Gilmore, Mayor Alameda CA and many more...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Habanas Cuban Cuisine - 1518 Park Street, Alameda 94501 - (510) 521-0130

November, 3 2013 – Five of us went to lunch at Habanas today and all agreed that it was one of the best meals that we have had since we started the restaurant blog. Habanas has carefully-prepared Cuban food and a huge mojito menu (their specialty).
We had:
Plantain-crusted halibut – Greta says, “I loved it because it tasted natural, really light, and flavorful.” It was served with Spanish rice and a charred corn side dish that was really delicious.

Ropa Vieja (which means “old clothes” – This was beef marinated so that it looks like clothes on a clothes line. It was very tender - melts in your mouth. Greta says, “It was warm and welcoming, exquisite and adventurous.”
Garlic fries - Were good, natural cut, but not too garlicky

Calamari - Very delicious. They were very light and crispy and not greasy at all
Seared scallops – Vera says, “These were the best scallops I ever had.”
Mango gazpacho – Served cold. Greta says, “It was very good, but had a bit of a bell peppery taste and I am not very fond of bell pepper.” We passed it around and all got a bit of the last taste of summer.
Margarita – Jen says, “Excellent Cadillac margarita - many bars make them too sour; this one was the perfect amount of sweet and sour.”
Pineapple juice – Greta says, “I think that the pineapple juice was good because it didn't taste sugary and sweet like some I've had.”  
Mojito - Very delicious. We will be back!
Compost Report – Habanas was an early adopter on the “Miss Alameda Says Compost” program and we asked the host how it was going. We thanked the Habanas staff for recycling and composting and offered to have Miss Alameda stop by for some additional training.
Please visit Habanas and enjoy their great food and well-crafted drinks. You will really enjoy it!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Genghis Khan Kitchen – 1540 Park Street, Alameda, CA (510) 522-8398

August 25, 2013 – Today we went to Genghis Khan Kitchen, a venerable all-you-can-eat Mongolian Barbecue restaurant. Genghis Khan has been at this location since 1990. The staff is really nice and the food is as you might expect at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. There is a place for assembling your own Mongolian Barbecue. You put together your dish and then chef stir-frys it on a giant griddle and brings it over to your table. We had:
Garlic noodles – Vera says, “They were really spicy” (because of the ginger and garlic sauce she ladled on).
Garlic noodles with mushrooms – Greta says, “They were good, I liked them. But they had a little bit of bell pepper taste (maybe from the dish that was cooked on the griddle before mine).”
Then there was the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, sushi and salad.
Eggplant and tofu – Vera says, “The tofu was crispy on the outside and soupy on the inside." [Which is the way she likes it.] "The eggplant was mushy and good. The sauce went really good with it.” [She had seconds.]
Skewered Chicken – This was good, but be careful of the bamboo skewer!
Soups – They had two kinds of soup the day we were there – egg drop with vegetables and crab and wonton soup. Greta liked the broth of the wonton soup (and had seconds).
Sushi – The buffet has a small selection of sushi – mostly variations on the traditional California roll. But also flying fish eggs, salmon, and some other kind of white fish.
Seafood buffet – The buffet has a large selection of seafood and we shared around a big plate of baked oysters, mussels, clams and fried fish. By this time Greta was getting stuffed.

Salad buffet – Vera had a big helping of cucumber and also Jell-O. There is always room for Jell-O. Both Greta and Vera tried the squid salad, but it was a little too spicy for their liking.

Soft-serve ice cream – Even though we were pretty stuffed, there is always room for a little soft-serve vanilla ice cream (but be careful because it comes out fast and you may get a bit more than you want!).
Compost report – We checked outside and Genghis Khan does a good job of recycling. They have a blue cart for bottles and cans and a place to stack cardboard for recycling. But they don’t have compost service yet. Jessica (Miss Alameda) says that she needs to show them the recycling and compost video for restaurants made by ESA (see link below) that shows them how everything can be separated. Greta and Vera gave the server a “Miss Alameda Says Compost” brochure and she thanked them and promised to give it to her manager.

If you are very hungry, Genghis Khan is the place to go for a reasonably-priced Chinese buffet and all-you-can-eat Mongolian Barbecue that you assemble yourself.
Commercial Kitchen Recycling and Organics Training video:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

East Ocean Seafood Restaurant – 1713 Webster Street, Alameda, CA 94501 (510) 865-3381

July 7, 2013 – Today we went to East Ocean Seafood Restaurant, a venerable Hong Kong-style restaurant on Webster. We went for Dim Sum on a Sunday and were a little apprehensive about the line that goes all the way out of the door on weekends. But we got a number (58 – they were on 43 at the time) and had a table in under 10 minutes.
#58 (plus we are ready with Tupperware)

The restaurant is really huge and the service is super-quick. Our table was set in 30 seconds and we had tea and water within one minute flat. Then the Dim Sum carts started coming and coming and coming.
We had:
§  Two types of pork bau (baked and steamed BBQ pork buns)
§  Sui mai (steamed shrimp and pork dumplings)
§  Har Gau (steamed shrimp dumplings)
§  Har Cheong Fun (shrimp rice noodle rolls)
§  Crispy shrimp rice noodles with Chinese broccoli
Crunchy shrimp noodle (we got the last one)

§  Eggplant with pork
The eggplant was awesome!

§  Fried shrimp ball with prawn
§  Lo mai gai (sticky rice with lotus leaf wrap)
§  Custard tarts
§  Mango pudding with cream
Lazy Susan full of yummy-ness

Greta says, “I think this place was delicious. I would give it five out of five stars. But just like any other Dim Sum place, I got way too full too fast. Because the food came so fast, I felt like I had to eat it right away. I wish I had taken the time to slow down and savor it more. My favorite thing is the steamed pork bun. I prefer steamed over the baked. I also really liked the tea. They said it was green tea, but it tasted like jasmine. So I think it was jasmine green tea.”
Greta with Elizabeth (who is home from college and guest blogging)

Vera says, “My favorite is the shrimp noodle. It is so yummy and the noodle is so squishy.”
Vera and Linnea (who just passed the AP Euro)

Compost Report – As we were coming to the restaurant we saw Faith Yamato from Kamakura coming out. We had heard from Miss Alameda that if the compost program at Kamakura went well, they could encourage East Ocean to participate (they must be tight). [Kamakura started the compost program a few months ago and after a few fits and starts, it is going well.] East Ocean has a very good recycling program, but they are very space-constrained in the parking lot (which they share with Kelly Moore Paint). We checked out the recycling and trash area and it is pretty tight back there, but they should be able to fit in a couple of 96 gallon carts (like the wheeled carts we all have at home) for compost, reduce the size of their trash container, and save money! [Most of the restaurants that have space issues can replace their large trash dumpsters with smaller wheeled carts.] We gave them a “Miss Alameda Says Compost” (MASC) brochure and they know Jessica from the Wellness Center (the Wellness Center is on the MASC program as well). So, it should be pretty easy to set them up!
Please go and visit East Ocean and don’t worry about the line (it moves fast!). They have excellent Dim Sum and the service is very efficient. Encourage them to participate in the MASC program. Since so much of their food is cooked on site from scratch, they will be able to divert a huge amount of material from landfills, help save resources and reduce climate change.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dragon Village - 642 Lincoln Ave, Alameda, CA 94501 (510) 523-6461

June 8, 2013 – We did not know what to expect when we headed over to Dragon Village which is in the old China Hut space off of Webster Street. We were surprised and delighted by our experience. The restaurant is small and they do a big take-out business. There is a long table down the middle for bigger parties and family style sharing. We were lucky enough to be there on a night when the restaurant’s “unpaid mascot” Kenny G was hosting the evening. Kenny G has been coming to Dragon Village since it opened five years ago. On nights when his wife is not cooking at home he spends the evening at Dragon Village welcoming guests, assisting the servers, and providing tastings of fine Rosenblum wines (where he works at his day job). A whole section of the menu is devoted to “Kenny G’s Recommendations” so we had to try some.
Kenny G - The Dragon Village Mascot
We had:
§  Kenny G’s Mo Po Style Tofu – Kenny G shared a dish that was not on the menu. Greta says, “I think it is absolutely amazing. It was super scrumptious. Silky smooth. It felt like a pillow.”

§  Kenny G’s Signature Dish - [Chicken white meat stir fried string beans and tofu in Kenny G’s special black bean sauce.] Vera says, “It is so, so, so, so, so, so, so good!”


§  Dried Braised String Beans – Greta is a vegetarian this week, so we wanted to get some dishes without meat. Our server helped us select this dish and came back to make sure that we knew that there were also string beans in the Kenny G special. She was very nice and helpful and made sure that we did not order anything that would be too spicy. Fred says, “These were some of the best braised string beans that I have had.”

§  Watermelon Juice – We ordered one glass, but our server gave us some extra. The taste was perfect not too sweet. Not too sour.

§  Hot and Sour Soup – We had a huge family-sized portion and it was really good, just the right amount of heat.


Compost Report – We noticed that Dragon Village has a green cart around back, but it did not appear to be in use. We gave Kenny G a “Miss Alameda Says Compost” brochure and told him about the free program for Alameda restaurants. He said that he was sure that the managers would be interested and he would talk to them about it. We will ask Miss Alameda to follow up with Kenny G, since all local food celebrities should work together to help our Alameda restaurants.

Greta says, “This is one of my favorite restaurants. Everybody is so nice here and they actually care about your meal and whether you enjoy it.” The restaurant has a nice family vibe. People share food, share wine and have fun. Portions are large, prices are reasonable, and food is delicious. And if you come on a night when Kenny G is there, you will have a really memorable experience.

Doggy Style Hot Dogs – 1234 Park Street, Alameda, CA 94501 (510) 521-5555

May 26, 2013 – Today we went to Doggy Style Hot Dogs which is a tiny place next to the Alameda Athletic Club. They serve classic hot dogs and bratwurst with a variety of really interesting toppings, all served up in really beautiful style. Their specialties are Asian-inspired riffs on Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese flavors. They also have more familiar Chicago style and Chili dogs. There is something for everyone! Four of us squeezed into their dine-in area (they do a huge take-out business). We had:
§  Doggyzilla – [Bratwurst with an Asian slaw, wasabi mayo, teriyaki sauce, and seaweed] Fred says, “Good for a hot dog.”

§  Banh-Mi – [Hot dog with cilantro, jalapenos, mayo, and pickled carrots and daikon] Ruth says, “Yummy, just like a Vietnamese sandwich only with a hot dog.”

§  Beef – [100% Kosher beef frankfurter] Vera is a purist and has her hot dog with mustard only. Vera says, “It was very good, and awesome, and scrumptious!”
§  Veggie – [Tofu, sun dried tomatoes, basil and garlic] Greta is currently a vegetarian, so she tried the veggie dog. Greta says, “It was a lot better than I expected (since I don’t usually like tofu dogs). I give it four out of five stars.”
Compost Report – Doggy Style has a small green cart, but could really benefit from a green bin in the “front of the house” where folks that eat in can separate all of their compostables from their recyclables. Almost everything can either be recycled or composted at Doggy Style!
Recycling system at Doggy Style - all they need is a green bin!
Compost, recycling and trash at Doggy Style
Leftovers (everything can be recycled, composted or eaten!)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Daphne's Greek Café - 2308 South Shore Center, Alameda CA 94501 (510) 769-1483

May 18, 2013 – We went back to South Shore Center this week to see how the new recycling and composting program is going. We visited Daphne’s and had lots of great Greek food:
  • Dolmas – Greta ordered dolmas and gave them four out of five stars. Vera liked them and said, “They taste like pickles!”

  • Lemon Chicken Soup – Greta says, “The soup is very good. One of my favorite combinations, lemons and chicken.” Even though she is usually a pescatarian, she made an exception today because of the cuisine.
  • Grilled chicken tenders and French fries – Hmmm…this is very similar to what Vera ordered at Jack in the Box. However, it was very fresh off the grill. Vera says, “Oh, it was so rosemary-y!”

  • Street Pita (Gyros) – Linnea says, “They were small, but good.” She had two sides of rice that filled her up. She is always famished after dance class.
Compost Report – Daphne’s is doing a great job recycling and composting. They use reusable dishes and cutlery to reduce waste even more. Folks that eat in do not bus their own tables, but leave the dishes for the wait staff. We spoke with a server and she said that the recycling and composting was very easy. We sneaked a peak into the bussing area and saw their great set up. We are so happy that they are doing so well. Congratulations!