Saturday, June 30, 2012

Jules' Faves: Bay Area Eats

Since I have been such a sluggish reviewer lately, I decided to try to make up for it by doing another post today. Lucky you. And since I haven't done but one food-related post, I decided to go that route.

Here's the thing, though: (As my family and friends will confirm) I have the palate of a five year old. I don't like seafood, I don't like onions, I don't like weird stuff with funny names, I don't like fancy food that I never heard of before. In short, eating with me can be kind of a pain in the ass. (Resounding "YES" will be heard all across the bay from my loved ones).

Case in point: I love McDonald's. Oh, I know, for some of you religiously healthy eaters, Mickey D's is the root of all evil. I read (and actually loved) Fast Food Nation. I know, I know, I know. But I just really, REALLY enjoy those salty, hot fries and that tiny little hot fudge sundae. 

But, bear with me. I know that you are  wondering why you shouldn't shut this page down right now. Why would anyone take food advice from someone who starts off by saying they like "you know what"? But give me a chance. I won't be suggesting foie gras (Gross anyway. Who wants to eat poopy-doop on a cracker?), but I will be suggesting some legitimately tasty dining.

Everett & Jones

I love this. It's very straightforward, plain, delicious food. I love the beef brisket. My favorite side dish is the potato salad. They don't put a lot of extra stuff in there, which works great for me. Some basic recipes taste perfect just the way they are and people should not always feel compelled to doctor things up. Do you need to doll-up your peanut butter and jelly sandwich? No, you don't. Anyway, I like the medium sauce. But, if you are at all wimpy, go with the mild. The medium has a pretty strong kick. 

I've heard some folks think it's overpriced, but I find it worth the 15 bucks or so. There are several local locations, but I've only been to two. The Jack London Square location has a nice, comfortable open feel. The servers are really friendly. The Hayward location has a nice bars-on-door, 'I might get knifed here' feel. The guy there is really nice. I showed up one day at 11:00 am. Gurl, now you know I ain't got no BBQ at no 11 o'clock. He managed to rustle me up something anyway.


Honestly, we had some brussels sprouts and brown-butter sage the other day...lord, help me. I know that sounds a little fancy, but I about died from tastebud ecstasy. They have a menu that is so full of delicious southern (Lousianna) offerings, it's hard to settle on what you're gonna have. Last time we went we didn't even have a meal. We had all sides, and they were so, so, so good.

This is definitely a little higher priced venue. They just expanded, so it's quicker and easier to get a table. It's conveniently located within walking distance from Downtown Berkeley BART.


This chain is located all over the place, but you must try the "you pick two" lunch special, especially if you are watching your calories. I get the broccoli cheese soup and the fuji apple salad with chicken (and no onions, of course). You get your choice of bread, apple or potato chips on the side. Both the salad and the soup are scrumptious! And you don't feel like you got gypped on food. You actually feel like you ate something, even though you stayed in a very low calorie range.

Siam Palace

I love Thai food, but I have been to some places where the food is either just not so good (quality-wise) or very good (quality-wise), but they screw it up trying to be too creative or fancy.

This place, located Foothill/B Street in Hayward, is just right. Not too fancy, good quality, sticks mostly to the traditional, basic recipes. Service and management are good; the facilities are clean. My sis loves the pumpkin curry. I love the yellow curry, and the satay, and the pra ram and the salad kag, and the sticky rice and mango.

See? Now that wasn't so bad, was it? Not even one mention of Taco Bell.

New Review: Magic Mike

I have been a lazy, lazy, blogger of late. Sorry 'bout that. I'm thinking I should expand into the occasional 'different subject matter' to keep myself inspired. But for now? Magic Mike.

Cutting to the chase:

1. Overall film: 2.5 out of 5 stars. 
2. Entertainment value: 3 to 3.5 stars.
3. Rotten Tomatoes website: 80% favorable with critics and with audiences. 

The Good 

1. Matthew McConaughey : Pulls off the sleazy, slightly too-old-to-still-be-stripping manager.
2. Channing Tatum: Not bad acting. Pretty touching in spots. Excellent dance moves. 
3. The Bodies: Yeah. These guys are a gay man's dream come true.
4. Filming: Cool. Especially the drugged-haze scene. Anyone know what that song was?

The Bad 

1. Script: Meh.
2. Plotline: Meh.

The Ugly

1. Kevin Nash of WWE fame. Blech.
2. Beware: this earned its "R" rating. Drugs and sex figure prominently. 

 Magic Mike definitely has its serious side, which I guess is okay, but I just wasn't much interested. I kept wanting to get back to the strip club. I would have enjoyed this more if it stayed on the lighter side. I was having a better time during the more humorous scenes.

So, the main question after a movie like Magic Mike is : Who's the hottest stripper?

Drrrrrum roll, please...

Well, as you can see from the photo I posted, there's no lack of physical perfection in this bunch. BUT, for me, Mr. McConaughey has the best bod. It's quite perfect. Not too big, not too small. Jusssssst right. But, Channing Tatum definitely has the best moves and the most appealing persona. 

And that, as they say, is a wrap!