Thursday, November 9, 2017

Wonderful Asian Restaurant "Find" in Oakland

Last Spring, when Jim and I were on Local Food Adventures food walking tour of the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, our tour guide pointed out Osmanthus, an Asian Fusion restaurant. Our guide told us that the owner of Local Food Adventures had recently treated her guides to an exceptional dinner here. I made note to try it soon.

Today, I had lunch at Osmanthus with my longtime friend and amazing blogger (No More Commas Period), Mary Ann.

The food was truly wonderful...fresh, creative, tasty, and reasonably priced.  My only regret is that more people weren't with us so we could have tried more dishes.

But, we did our best with our three dishes, all in servings so generous that we both had leftovers to take home.  We will be back, for sure.

We started with the Green Tea Leaf salad from the Cool Dishes section of the menu.  Burmese Tea Leaf salads have become popular in many Asian restaurants.  Osmanthus's is one of the tastiest ones I've had.   This salad is a tribute to the Burmese restaurant that occupied this location previously.  It's a mix of fermented green tea leaves, Little Gem lettuce, fresh tomatoes, and several different kinds of nuts.  The salad is presented deconstructed, so diners can see each of the ingredients.  Our server tossed the salad at our table.

Our choice from the Warm Dishes section of the menu was the Dry-fried Chicken Wings with Sichuan Peppercorns.  The Chicken Wings were very meaty and covered with a crispy un-greasy batter.

From the Noodles and Rice section of the menu we had the Dan Dan Noodles with Ground Pork and Peanuts.  This is another dish that is presented with each of the ingredients assembled but not mixed together.  Again, our server did the tossing. My photo doesn't show the noodles underneath; they are long thick round ones.

There are so many tempting items on Osmanthus's one-page menu that I will have to return frequently.  Some that I debated over today include the Salmon Curry with Purple Yams, the Brussels Sprouts with Salt Pork and Honey-Sriracha Sauce, the Smoked Trout Fried Rice, the Prawns with Coconut Milk and Mint Leaves, and the Garlic Noodles.

For beverage choices, Osmanthus serves Cocktails, Wine, Beer, and an eclectic selection of nearly a dozen teas.

Note: The Osmanthus web site doesn't seem to open, but reservations can be made online on Open Table
Here's their direct contact information:

6048 College Ave., Oakland, CA
Open for lunch and dinner every day except Monday
Reservations are advised

Osmanthus is three blocks from the Rockridge BART station; street parking is available on and off College Avenue.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Afternoon Tea

This week Harriet and I celebrated her birthday with Afternoon Tea at the Crown and Crumpet in San Francisco. 

While Crown and Crumpet is in Japantown, an unlikely location for an British Tea Salon, it is a bright, cheery, "proper" tea salon and serves one of the best Afternoon Teas that I've had in San Francisco.  Crown and Crumpet was originally in Ghiradelli Square from 2008; it relocated to this current spot in The New People Building in 2013.

We had the Afternoon Tea, a complete tea service that included, for each of us, our own large pot of our selection of tea from the extensive loose tea menu; warm blueberry scones and crumpets with jam, lemon curd, and clotted cream; egg salad, ham salad, and cucumber finger sandwiches; two warm savory items: sausage rolls and herbed biscuits; green salad; and five different sweets: chocolate-covered strawberries, palmers, cookies, mini cupcakes, and matcha macarons.

When we had finished our wonderful Tea, our server surprised Harriet with a special large cupcake with a birthday candle in it.  While we sang "Happy Birthday", she added to the festivities by blowing bubbles in Harriet's direction!

What a joyous get together!

In addition to their complete Afternoon Tea service, Crown and Crumpet offers several à la carte items which include Chicken Pot Pie, Avocado Toast, Beans on Toast, Soup, Salads, and Hot Pressed Sandwiches. They always will serve just a pot of tea or cup of coffee, with or without pastries or tea sandwiches.

A nice alternative to the complete Tea that we enjoyed, a smaller version, the Nursery Tea is offered to children 12 or under and adults 65 and older: a small pot of tea, mini finger sandwiches, a scone with jam, and three sweets.