Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: The Growlers' Arms

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: The Growlers' Arms: The Growler's Arms This may be my BEST restaurant in Oakland. Maybe the BEST restaurant in all the Bay area. Or even the BEST ...

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The Growlers' Arms

The Growler's Arms

This may be my BEST restaurant in Oakland.
Maybe the BEST restaurant in all the Bay area.
Or even the BEST restaurant in Northern California.
You know, my go to restaurant for a great and I underline GREAT meal.
The type of dinner, lunch,or breakfast that is so good you keep talking about the next day and the day after that to your wife, kids and friends.
When you never had a bad meal. 
The wine was good. 
The service was good because the host, hostess, owner(s) were friendly, knowledgeable, and cared.
You had an opportunity to speak to the chef.
You exited the restaurant and people were waiting outside and asked you "is it good? and what did you order?"

This place is a hit.
A rare GEM on Park Boulevard in Oakland,CA.

Owners Seamus and Shelley Mulholland and Chef Brian Ventura.
When you mention "The Growlers Arms" great restaurants come to mind: La Folie, Danko, Chez Panisse, Boulevard, and A16.
Seamus, Shelley and Brian bring a wealth of knowledge of the food industry, experience from these restaurants and a love of food to The Growlers Arms.

I have been there 3 times now.
Twice with family and once with my neighbors and foodie and wine loving friends.

My first thought was.. English pub food?
Would I like blood pudding, haggis, and did they have anything for kids to eat?
Yes,Yes, and Yes.

The menu changes from time to time.
I had the pot pie.
A vegetable inspired one.
Good and rich.
Kath (my wife) goes crazy over the white fish with the sauce that is made by smoking the bones of the fish.
Not always on the menu.
Kierann (my youngest daughter) orders the same thing every time.
Fish and Chips
Not always on the menu but the staff always seem to know when she arrives and they make it for her.

My Favorite Starters

House Cured Meats and Terrines of Pork Liver, Duck with Fig Jam, Pork Head, Sausages and Pickles.
It all comes together on a wooden platter.
Did I mention they make their own house made mustards and catsups?

Black Pudding with pickles and mustard

Bubble and Squeak (Roasted Vegetables usually pan fried with cold meat)with Trout Pate, Leeks and Creme Fraiche

For the main courses there are pork chops, steaks, salmon, lamb sausages and half roasted chickens.
The menu seems to change often but its always good.
They have Pork Pies to go and an English style weekend brunch.
Check out their specials and I highly recommend you get on their email list for their Tuesday Specials.

I can't wait to go back.
Now the decision is dinner, weekend breakfast, or Tuesday Special.
Maybe all of them!

They do take reservations.
Location is very convenient:
4214 Park Boulevard, Oakland,CA.
Call 510-328-1315
Email: shelley@growlersarms.com

Check their website for the menu and hours of service

Steven W.

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Peter's Kettle Corn

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Peter's Kettle Corn: Peter's Kettle Corn If you're like me, you love popcorn. I must have a craving every time I need a snack or watch a movie. On F...

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Peter's Kettle Corn

Peter's Kettle Corn

If you're like me, you love popcorn.
I must have a craving every time I need a snack or watch a movie.
On Friday, we had planned to watch the free movie in the park at Redwood Heights Recreational Center.
What could be better than watching a movie outside (like the old drive-in days?),with the family
and sharing a big tin of popcorn.
I stopped down at Peter's Popcorn, his store on MacArthur Blvd. in the Laurel District of Oakland,CA.
Brought in my spare and empty cans that ounce held popcorn before I devoured them during my last sporting event.
Filed 1 large tin can and had Peter's assistant make it a 1/2 and 1/2 choice.
I had the tin filled 1/2  spicy cheddar popcorn and 1/2 with sea salted caramel.
Kath and I had the spicy cheddar and Kierann, who invited 1 of her schoolmates to the movie shared the sea salted caramel.
Both are equally as good.
The popcorn is MUCH LIGHTER, MUCH FLUFFIER, and a better value than some of the other popcorn retail stores... think value, price, but most importantly: TASTE!
Peter offers a variety of flavors such as: Horchata, Matcha Green Tea, Maple Bacon Caramel, Cookies and Cream, Sea Salted Seaweed, Chipotle Lime, BBQ, Bacon Maple, and Tomato and Basil.

It was great to walk right into the store and simple a few flavors. You can buy the popcorn in bags or tins and in a variety of sizes and costs.
You can order the popcorn for parties, wholesale or for big catering events.
So a big shout out to Peter and his brother John for moving a location near us.
Check out their website:http://peterskettlecorn.com/#intro
There is a lot of information on their services and they support a LOT of community services!!!!
You can reach Peter, John and the whole great staff at:
PHONE - 510-612-1163 Email: info@peterskettlecorn.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peterskettlecorn
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/petersKC

Thanks guys, I'll be around for more...
Steven W.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hawker Fare

Tried out a new place for lunch. Always looking for a good find. Its rewarding when you have a great meal and your kid likes it too!

Hawker Fare
Located at 2300 Webster Street in Oakland, yes they do have a location in San Francisco too: (680 Valencia Street) although you know we prefer Oakland to San Francisco, they prepare Asian Fusion dishes.
I recently had lunch here with my wife and youngest daughter.
Kierann had a soda and should have ordered the light and refreshing Thai styled ice teas that Kath and I had which were served with ice and large mason jars. For an appetizer, Kath and I decided on the Blistered Green Beans Very similar to green beans cooked in a wok and similar to the ones you would find at The Slanted Door. Stir fried with red prik khing curry paste and a nice touch of smoked pork bacon. Loved it. Spicy but not too hot.
Kierann and I both ordered the Gai Thot.  Rice flour battered fried chicken.  Think of a crispy crab rangoon wonton. Crunchy crusty outside and yet the chicken was nice and moist inside. Served with rice, sliced cabbage, and nam prik pao charred chili jam. Cabbage was a little bland but if you mixed it in with the jam and rice, it worked. The jam was crazy, a little sweet and a little heat. loved it.I made the rice work to my favor adding a fried egg. Kierann skipped the egg.
Kath ordered the Moo Yang BBQ. A pork shoulder chop marinated in whiskey, pepper, coriander root, garlic, and nam jaew. It came with a serving of rice and a dipping sauce that is normally served with fish. Sauce was very salty. Pork chop fabulous.
3 lunches: $72 with tip. Good service, nice locality, welcoming and very friendly staff. Hip place to come to with coworkers for lunch, dinner and after hours drinks.
You can find Hawker Fare:
on Twitter @hawkerfareOak
Email: hawker.fare.oakland@gmail.com
Phone: 510.832.8896

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Fire Cider

The strangest thing happens when I see people who are coughing or sneezing.
 I ask them if they have ever heard of Fire Cider
They seem a little stumped. 
Probably because they are too busy and traveling on Bart  (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to get to work.
Who wouldn't be. 
Sounds like a hard apple cider drink.
 Makes me think of my good old friend, Aaron Mateychuk who works for Lookout Farm Hard Cider. http://lookoutfarmcider.com
But that's a whole another story.

Fire Cider http://firecider.com  is a cider that is made from raw apple cider, fruits, herbs and spices.
The website states: " can help support immune function and digestive functions."
Let me tell you... it works!!!!
Even though the FDA will not approve.
My wife, myself and 2 daughters have been drinking it.
My oldest daughter gave me a sample bottle for my birthday / Father's Day.
Hint. Hint. Eden are you reading?
Since last June, my wife and I have not been sick.
I'm the type of guy who has a cold every 3 months and it seems to last 3+ months.
My wife and i have turned on many of our friends to Fire Cider.
They are now making it themselves.
However, the easiest way to get Fire Cider is to purchase it directly from the company at
Also, for convenience, especially if you are a Prime member, you can purchase it directly at Amazon
I actually still order directly from Fire Cider and from Amazon.

Now you can make your own Fire Cider.
I'm giving you the recipe here:

(Makes 1 pint)
Most of the items can be found at http://www.traderjoes.com
or at almost any Asian market or health food store.

1/2 cup of peeled and diced Horseradish
1/2 cup of peeled and diced Garlic
1/2 cup of peeled and diced Onion
1/4 cup of peeled and diced Ginger
1/4 cup of peeled and diced Tumeric
1 Habenero Chile, split in 1/2, (for me: seeds and all for extra heat)
1 Orange, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise

1/2 Lemon, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup of chopped Parsley
 2 tablespoons of chopped Parsley
2 tablespoons of chopped Thyme
 1 teaspoon of Black peppercorns
2 - 3 cups of RAW Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
1/4 cup of Raw Honey or more to taste

Place all the vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices in clean 1 quart jar.
Fill the jar with the vinegar, covering all the ingredients and making sure there are no air bubbles. 
Cap the jar.
If using a metal lid, place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between the jar and the lid to prevent corrosion from the vinegar.
Shake well.
Let the jar sit for 3 to 6 weeks, shaking daily (or as often as you can.)
Strain the vinegar in a clean jar.
ADD the honey to taste.
Refrigerate and use soon and often.

I actually boiled my mason jars, lids and seals and placed my Fire Cider in them.

So there you go.
Who says good things don't come out of Massachusetts (besides, yours truly)
and taxes.
Check out Lookout Farms Cider http://lookoutfarmcider.com
and Fire Cider http://firecider.com
or make it yourself.
Its the cure for what ails you.

Steven W.