Some tea recommendations (per request):

My absolute favorite tea – Rose pouchong from Fortnum & Mason

Other favorites:

  • Puerh (various) from Imperial Tea court (based in San Francisco)
  • Ginger Peach, Ginseng Peppermint, Good Hope Vanilla, and a few others from Republic of Tea
  • Korean Red Ginseng tea
  • Marrakesh Mint from Mighty Leaf tea and they have other good flavors
  • Genmai-cha and Mugicha, a barley tea

I haven’t tried Numi Tea but they’re local based out of Oakland over near the Embarcadero.  Teance is local too out of Berkeley.  Starbucks serves Tazo and their tea is ok.

Puerh and Republic of Teas are what I regularly drink.  Tea is supposed to be good for you, does stain your teeth worse than coffee though.  I haven’t figured out what to drink when, e.g. if you’re sick drink such and such tea, though puerh and red ginseng do give me an energy boost and calms me down, and gingseng peppermint is my stress reducer.

Coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon and evening.

Related thoughts on coffee and chocolate

local honey and allergy relief

Hood Honey ~ Harvested from OakTown NeighborHoods, this Honey from Oakland, CA is very popular with the locals.  Our bees stay out of trouble bee-cause they are too busy gathering sweet Oakland nectars.  This honey is a middle-range amber village mix.*

Supposedly eating local honey (a teaspoon a day for 2 – 3 months before allergy season), can help you from having bad allergies.  For those in the Bay Area, Marshall Farms has honey from different areas of the Bay.  The theory is that the honey has pollen from the area and you get to ingest some of that and so your body is used to the pollen.

I think I’m trying it a little later this year for it to work (still trying it though) and definitely will do it next year.  My allergy cocktail of claritin, nasonex, similisan, and a couple other things aren’t helping.

*  Even the beekeepers are making fun of the crime in Oakland.  Ridiculous.  Hood Honey is really good though.

** Random extras.  I still need to try Tupelo honey; and, Strauss Family Creamery, where we get our milk, makes really good vanilla and chocolate ice cream.  It’s cheaper than Ben & Jerry’s by a bunch.  Worth seeking out, tastes homemade.

oyster po’ boy

This oyster po’ boy from Brown Sugar Kitchen, in West Oakland, is going to give Bakesale Betty’s fried chicken sandwich a run for her money.  You watch.

There’s Flora Restaruant, B Restaurant, and some new restaurant that just opened up near Jack London Square (folks from San Francisco) that I can’t seem to find, that I want to try.  Flora is in my favorite building (blue Art deco across from the Fox Theatre) in Oakland, that I’d love to own one day.  We tried Sura restaurant, a relatively new Korean restaurant on “kimchee row” on Telegraph, and it was pretty good.  Good soondobu.

The (household) consensus is that the best restaurant in the East Bay is Rivoli.

The Wine Mine

Went for a stroll to The Wine Mine, which is just a block away.  Wine Mine is an alternative to Paul Marcus wines in Rockridge, cozier and cooler than BevMo, and is another one of those “yeah, this is Oakland…people just don’t know” type of places (good, substantive, real deal).

They have $1 wine tastings and really good and nicely priced wine from all over.

Across the street is Casper’s hot dogs (really good old school hot dogs and milk shakes).  Next door to Wine Mine is Cafe Mariposa, this gluten-free bakery.  They sell their food to a lot of places including Whole Foods.

Haiga brown rice

We try out new rice every so often brown rice, some multi-colored rice, jasmine, etc.  I picked up this brown rice Kagayaki haiga rice.  It’s supposedly brown rice in nutritional value but tastes like white rice.  It’s pretty good and probably we’ll keep this as our main rice.

While we’re here, if you can find/buy Louisiana gulf shrimp, it’s much, much better than the regular shrimp you get in the store, it’s not gummy, and it’s a little “shrimpier”/”murkier”.  We usually only get a chance to eat gulf shrimp in Louisiana so when we saw some in the store we picked some up and I remembered the difference in taste.


Soup kick:

  • Soondubu from My Tofu House on Geary in SF, or Pyung Chang on Telegraph
  • Chicken soup from La Calaca Loca in Temescal
  • Tom Yung Kung from Lotus Thai (we only do take out now, FYI)
  • Seafood soup w/ handmade noodles from Shan Dong, downtown Oakland

Could use some more Oakland/Berkeley/SF recommendations maybe for Cioppino, clam chowder, etc.

Some notable soups I’m still hoping to find something comparable here: bouillabaisse in Marseille and French Onion soup in Montreal

Neuhaus chocolates

I’d go with Neuhaus belgian chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Marie Belle is really good/artsy too and Bay Area local chocolate is nice too, Michael Recchiuti and Charle’s Chocolates. I’m cool with being cheap, but not with chocolate.

Not sure what it is with Belgians and chocolates (and beer and waffles and french fries) but they’re really good.