[Photo] Laundry Love April 2013

Laundry Love Berkeley Hug I've posted about Laundry Love Berkeley a couple times before, the first ever being in October 2011 and more recently, about their Cafe Night. I decided to take my camera with me again for their monthly event last night. Here are some photos I got. Prepare for lots of dog photos.

Laundry Love Berkeley

This is Michael. He's really awesome and he gives fantastic hugs, as seen above.

Laundry Love Berkeley

Laundry Love Berkeley Dogs

Laundry Love Berkeley Dogs

Laundry Love Berkeley Dogs

Laundry Love Berkeley

Laundry Love Berkeley Washing Machine

Laundry Love Berkeley

Laundry Love Berkeley Dogs

Laundry Love Berkeley Bike

Laundry Love Berkeley Dogs

Laundry Love Berkeley Dogs

Laundry Love Berkeley Jewelery

Laundry Love Berkeley Jewelery

Laundry Love Berkeley

Laundry Love Berkeley Dogs

Laundry Love Berkeley Dogs

Laundry Love Berkeley

This is Lizbeth and she loves her coffee, just like I do!

Laundry Love Berkeley

These are some amazing guys, Nathan, Kenny, and George. Kenny's story is pretty crazy, perhaps you'll hear about it here or on the Laundry Love blog some time!

Laundry Love Berkeley

[Food] Gregoire (or at least their Poutine)

Gregoire Poutine In my opinion, poutine should be a food group of its own. If you don't know what poutine is, it's a simple dish of fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy originating in Quebec. Though simple, it's ridiculously awesome. Poutine in its basic form is also often used as a blank canvas for a plethora of different toppings. In the September 2012 issue of Esquire, Chris Jones is quoted saying, "If bacon ate, bacon would eat poutine." Genius. Now that you know how much I love this Canadian export, you probably have an idea of why I went to Gregoire solely for their poutine.

Gregoire Berkeley

When one thinks of this quaint North Berkeley landmark, one thinks of potato puffs. Oh yes, those lightly crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside treats...a must have for sure. But for the month of February (oh dear, this post is late), they had poutine.

Gregoire Poutine

Upon seeing the poutine, the pretentious foodie in me cringed a tad bit. The fries were yellow. If you know a thing about poutine, you know that the fries are typically orangish-brown. Once I suppressed the monster that resides in me, I dug in. Pretty good. The fries were perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside (seems to be a winning combination for potato based foods). The gravy was salty and peppery, very reminiscent of KFC gravy. That's no insult either. Darn good. However, the cheese curds were a bit disappointing. They were crumbly rather than being solid with a "squeaky" tooth-feel. They also pretty bland. Overall, not bad. There's a sore lack of poutine stateside, so any poutine I can get my hands on is appreciated.

On a side note, the Empire Cola was fantastic. You get the great classic cola taste without all the sweetness.

Gregoire Potato Puffs

An obligatory photo of their legendary potato puffs. Seriously, you have to try these before you die.

Gregoire 2109 Cedar St Berkeley, CA 94709 (510) 883-1893 www.gregoirerestaurant.com

[People] Bob the Banjo Player

Bob Banjo 1 Today, I'm going to take a short break from the regular flow of posts and introduce a new category of posts - people! These posts will probably be rare, but I think it's a fun way to change things up.

This is Bob. I met Bob on Sproul Plaza one day while setting up for an event. It was hard to not notice him and his soulful banjo playing. Now, if you know me, you know that I'm not the type to strike up conversation with a random person on the street (or on Sproul plaza in this case), but I had a little nudging to go talk to him. If anything, I could pick up some tips on improving my banjo playing (yes I play some banjo). So, I walked up to him, listened for a while, then as he ended a song, I initiated conversation, albeit very awkwardly (do you sense the awkwardness with all these awkward commas? - awkward). Hoping to learn something new, I asked him what the secret to getting good at the banjo was.

Bob Banjo 2

Being the clever busker he was, he said he would tell me if I dropped a dollar in his cup adorned with reindeer in ugly Christmas sweaters. Being the frugal college student I am, I stopped and thought about the value of a dollar while he stared at me. Finally, I gave in - mind you, I work while going to school, I know a little bit about the value of money. As soon as the dollar dropped to the bottom of his cup, he said one word, "Practice." Initially, I was taken aback. Of course I knew that! He just stole my precious dollar! Seriously, anyone that's ever done anything knows that you need to practice to get half-way decent at what you do, be it sports, dance, or underwater basket weaving.

He must have seen the disappointment in my face because he said, "Okay, I'll say a little more," and talked about how to practice. Practice methodically and intentionally. Devote time to hone your craft. Know what to practice and when. Don't practice a ton in one sitting and take an extended break, be consistent. To be completely honest, I kind of knew this too. However, I appreciated his willingness to share his knowledge. And at the end of the day, it was a nice, much needed reminder.

Sometimes, we all forget that hard work and practice is what it takes. There are no short cuts in life (that don't cause you to feel like a terrible sinner and run you the risk of getting thrown in prison). I'll add on a little bit of my limited wisdom here. Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes more of how you practice. Say you practice something wrong, you're just going to get worse. When you practice, do it right. Anywho, thank you, Bob, for your words of wisdom.

[Food] Sliver

Sliver Pizza There was once a little place in North Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto called The Cheese Board Collective. There, the cooperatively owned shop sold various cheeses, bread, and what they are probably best known for, pizza. However this wasn't your average Joe pizzeria. They specialized in one kind of pizza every day and cranked them out all day (or during their lunch and dinner services). And the pizzas were vegetarian. WHAT!? I know, "How can a vegetarian pizza place make any money?" Well, first of all, it's Berkeley (yay for stereotypes) and second, they were delicious.

Editor's Note: The past tense was only used for story telling effect, The Cheese Board Collective is still alive and kickin'.

Sliver Pizza

Now, a trio of former Cheese Board employees (owners? I'm not sure what the proper term would be here) left and set up shop in Downtown Berkeley. This new place is called Sliver. The first thing that anyone that's eaten at Cheese Board will pick up on are the obvious similarities between the two restaurants. Just like Cheese Board, Sliver makes the same style pizzas with the same practices - one vegetarian pizza a day (albeit, done damn well), at the same prices ($2.50 a slice, $10 for half a pie, and $20 for a whole), in the same weaved baskets or plain brown boxes, with similar salads, live music, and various other similarities. However, that's not a bad thing at all.

[Edit] And don't worry, Sliver also gives out half slices as lagniappes just like Cheese Board!

Think about it as getting two varieties of awesome pizzas to choose from and two locations. Actually, let's just stop comparing the two because that's what everyone will inevitably do on their first visit. Let's focus on Sliver and what makes them so great.

Sliver Pizza

First, the food. Please note, I'm an absolute sucker for pizzas with potatoes. When I saw that the day's pizza had roasted marble potatoes, pasilla chiles, yellow onions, mozzarella, Bulgarian feta, cilantro, Mexican key limes, garlic olive oil, I knew I had to take my virgin voyage to check it out. The pizza may seem loaded, but it was so well balanced. You get starchy potatoes, some slightly crunchy on the edge, sharp feta, and bright cilantro and limes that really make up the bulk of the flavor profile. Everything else plays a solid supporting role to create a symphony of amazing flavors.

Sliver Pizza Sauce

On top of all of that, you have this. They say it's a mild serrano hot sauce. I beg to differ. This still must be loaded with some addictive, possibly illegal substance. Upon trying it, I wanted to squeeze all over anything I ate. Heck, I would put this on white rice and enjoy it. On the front end, you get a super bright, slightly acidic hit with a smooth, subtle heat on the back end. This cut through the big flavors of the pizza while not being overpowering. I would honestly buy this still by the bottle...or gallon.

Sliver Pizza

A few things that Sliver has on Cheese Board (I know I said I would stop comparing the two, but I'm sorry) come in the form of their facility. Sliver has a spacious interior with plenty of seats and tables and a full (though a bit small) bar. I know a lot of people like to eat on the street median at Cheese Board, probably because they're all rebels, but sometimes, you just want to sit at a table and not have to fight for one.

Sliver Pizza

On top of all that, the Geechi Taylor Combo, a fantastic little jazz trio, was playing that night. Good food, good company, and good music. How can you go wrong with that, right?

Sliver is not just a pizzeria either, though they make an amazing pie. They stand for something bigger. They stand for the fight against human trafficking, one of the biggest injustices in our world today. Sliver donates a portion of their profits to organizations and works to spread awareness. Not to put a downer on this post, but according to the U.S. Department of State, there were 12.3 million slaves worldwide in 2010. If you would like to get involved in the fight, there are many organizations out there like the International Justice Mission (IJM) and Not for Sale just to name a couple.

I highly, highly suggest that you all go check out Sliver. I'm serious. Like really.

Sliver 2132 Center St Berkeley, CA 94704 (510) 356-4044 www.sliverpizzeria.com

[Photo] Laundry Love Berkeley Cafe Night

Laundry Love Berkeley Cafe Night I've posted about Laundry Love Project Berkeley a while ago. Recently, they held a Cafe Night with some great performers including For Christ's Sake, Soulfull, Mickey Cho, and Tim Be Told. Here are some photos from that night.

Laundry Love Berkeley

Laundry Love Berkeley Shirt

Laundry Love Berkeley

Laundry Love Berkeley

Laundry Love Berkeley

The emcees for the night.

For Christ's Sake Acapella

FCS, UC Berkeley's Christian A Cappella group.

For Christ's Sake Acapella


Soulfull, Kollaboration SF 2012's People's Choice Award winners and my friends.




Here's a video of Soulfull's original song from the Cafe Night, shot by my good friend, Michelle.

Mickey Cho

Mickey Cho, Bay Area hip-hop artist, who I've shot a few times before.

Mickey Cho

Mickey Cho

Mickey Cho

Mickey Cho Sam

Mickey Cho

Tim Be Told

Tim and Andrew of Tim Be Told performing an acoustic set.

Tim Be Told

Tim Be Told

Tim Be Told

Tim Be Told

Tim Be Told

[Photo] A Nighttime Composite

Oh dear, it sure has been a very long time since I've last posted. I'm extremely sorry about that. I've been quite busy as of late, but there's no time for excuses...off to the content!

Here's my first composite image I made about a month ago. Pretty cool eh? How did I do it? What's the story behind it? Let's find out!

So...during finals week, I had an itching to make some photos, but not just any photos; I wanted to try something new. I had been thinking about composites and I love long exposures and strobism, so I thought, "Why not mash them all up together?" I went ahead and called some of my friends in the midst of cramming for a quick shoot at night. Who needs to study, right? I'm sure it was a great study break for them anyway.

First, I started off with the base image - a long exposure. Then I brought one person into the frame, trying my best to remember everyone's location as to not overlap anyone, grabbed a shot, moved them out, and brought the next person in. I repeated this for each person. For the individual shots, I decided to shy away from using a long exposure and just hit them with a strobe. My reasoning behind this was to avoid any possible ghosting. Yes, flash freezes things in a long exposure, but with enough movement, ghosting occurs. This brought about a problem.

There was a stark difference in exposures between the people and the background image. My initial thoughts were to cut everyone out and paste them onto the base image, but because of the lack of shadow details, it would be near impossible to get a clean cutout. So I resorted to a very "rustic" cutout (you can tell I enjoy cooking). Even though it didn't turn out to be what I originally intended, I like the way the cutouts look. They definitely pop out and there is a definite contrast between the background and the individuals.

So there you have it. I'm hoping to start making content more consistently once again. Keep me to my word! Pester me if you have to!

[Food] The Chairman Truck

On a whim, I stopped by Off the Grid, a Bay Area food truck meetup, in Berkeley. I had heard great things about The Chairman truck and it was at tonight's event. You can't miss it; it's big, bright red, and has a long line of hungry people. The line was long relative to the other trucks, but nowhere near what the lines were like when the Kogi Truck first opened up in LA. I remember waiting at least 2 hours for a few tacos, but that's beside the point.

The Chairman features baos, which are basically Chinese sandwiches on steamed or baked buns. They were out of baked buns, but that was not a problem because I love steamed buns. I was going get straight pork belly, but for the sake of journalism, I also ordered a Coca Cola braised pork bao.

I tried the Coca Cola braised pork bao first. This bao was packed with goodness - braised pork, a cabbage slaw, mustard seeds, and sauce. The pork was moist and tender. The Coca Cola they braise it in definitely lends great flavor to the pork. You get the great savory elements of Coke, but without the sweetness. Everything else in this bao complements the pork nicely and the mustard seeds really brighten everything up. It was good, but quite frankly, after eating the pork belly bao, I don't remember too much about this one.

This bao lived up to the hype. Dare I say, the pork belly was succulently sexy. Not only was it tender as the name says, it had a bit of a crunch from getting finished on the flat top. There was just enough fat left, post-rendering, to give great flavor and juice. Maybe my mind was over exaggerating the greatness of the pork from sensory overload, but this was one of the best pork bellies I've ever had. Everything was perfect from the textures to the flavors, and I was happy. The pickled daikon cut through the fattiness of the pork and acted as a breath of fresh air, not that the pork belly was bad in any way.

Everyone has to eat a pork belly bao from The Chairman. Preferably more.

The Chairman www.twitter.com/chairmantruck (415) 813-8800

[Food] Wat Mongkolratanaram (Berkeley Thai Temple)

This past weekend, a group of my friends and I decided to take a trip down to Wat Mongkolratanaram or the Berkeley Thai Temple for brunch. If you're in the Berkeley area on a Sunday morning, especially if you are a resident here (read: student), then this definitely should be on your Berkeley Bucket List. Berkeley has its fair share of Thai restaurants, most of which are great, but there's something different about eating at Wat Mongkolratanaram.

Upon arriving, you'll probably be a bit confused. "Is this a temple or a house?" It seems to be a house turned temple, or something like that. The next thing you'll see are the crowds, and in front of them, the main food lines - one for vegetarian and one for non-vegetarian food. But wait, don't get in line just yet (unless you have leftover tokens from last time, don't worry, I'm about to get to that).

Insider Tip: Get there early. They start serving food at 10 am. You'll beat the crowds and make sure that you get what you want. If you get there late, there's a chance they will run out of certain items, like Pad Thai.

You don't pay with cash here. Instead, you have to go over to the left and exchange your cash for tokens. The exchange rate is $1 for 1 token. Just hand them a $20 bill and they'll give you a cup of 20 tokens. This will ensure the fastest, most efficient exchange for you and everyone else in line. But wait, you may ask, "What am I going to do with 20 tokens!?" It's okay. One, you could exchange them back for cash at the same rate. Two, you'll be back and can use the tokens then.

Once you get your tokens, you have options. You can get your main entrees (remember, the vegetarian and non-vegetarian lines), beef noodle soup, drinks, or dessert. I went straight for the non-vegetarian line. At both of the entree lines, you get a plate of rice and your choice of 1, 2, or 3 entrees. The prices are 6, 7, and 8 tokens respectively. I got Pad Thai and Cashew Chicken with rice and made a beeline for the condiments. I highly recommend the sambal, load up on it before it runs out. Pictured above is my friend's plate of Cashew Chicken and Red Curry.

Insider Tip: Bring your own Tupperware (or comparable food container)! It is generally accepted that you get more food this way and you can pack your leftovers easily (if you have any).

After getting either your entree or beef noodle soup (6 tokens), don't forget to get a drink. Their Thai Iced Tea is excellent! It's cold, refreshing, and not too sweet. I'm sure their Thai Iced Coffee is good too, but I didn't get to try it. Both the tea and coffee are 2 tokens each.

Now that you finally got your food, you're going to have to find a table. If you find one, great. If not, get there earlier next time. The next step is simple, enjoy your food!

The Pad Thai was everything Pad Thai should be: sweet, sour, and salty. It wasn't like some bad Pad Thais I've had. You know, the ones that taste like straight ketchup? If you've had your share of Thai food, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. The Cashew Chicken had a lot going on. There's juicy chicken, fresh vegetables, and crunchy cashews. The flavors and textures worked really well together and the sambal just took it over the top. The Cashew Chicken is also a "safe" dish if you're not the adventurous type.

I tried a bit of the Beef Noodle Soup with the fat, flat noodles. I wasn't a huge fan of it, to be honest. The broth was surprisingly sweet, which was the main turn off for me. The beef was tender and flavorful and the noodles had a good bite to them. If the broth was more savory, it would have been a winner in my book. Maybe some sambal and pickled jalapenos would have solved the problem for me.

Some of my friends got the Mango Sticky Rice (5 tokens). The dish is made up of fresh mango slices and pudding that rest on a bed of sticky white and black rice. I can't comment on this dessert because I didn't get a chance to try it, but my friends seemed to enjoy it.

After your meal, take a stroll through their garden. It's not too big or amazing, but it provides a peaceful escape from the crowds and noise.

So, how was it? Let's just say, a friend of mine saw workers from an unnamed, well-known Thai restaurant eating here. If it's good enough for them, it's probably good enough for you. I'd definitely recommend all of you to go if you are in the area on a Sunday morning.

Wat Mongkolratanaram 1911 Russell St Berkeley, CA 94703 (510) 849-3419

[Photo] Autumn Leaves and Good Food

In the midst of my busy week, I decided to take a short break and take some photos outside. I walked around for maybe ten minutes and got a few photos of the Autumn leaves and a nice little cafe around town. It was a very relaxing few minutes in which I got away from my studies and such. I hope you enjoy these photos, I know I enjoyed making them.

Here's my attempt at doing a faux Instagram effect in Lightroom. I'd say it looks pretty hip.

[Photo] Laundry Love October 2011

Last week, I participated (albiet, for a short time) in Laundry Love Berkeley. Laundry Love is an event put on by Christian students at UC Berkeley who show the love of God through the simple act of providing free laundry for the homeless. Through events like this, you meet people that you normally would never meet, and there really are some amazing people that show up. We typically think of the homeless as failures in society that ended up on the streets because of their lack of effort and motivation. This isn't always the case. I met some people with very successful careers and amazing life stories that just went through a series of unfortunate events. These are real people, just like you and I. In fact, I met a man named Curtis who studied guitar under the one and only Joe Satriani and boy, this guy can shred. Anyway, here are some photos from the event.

[Music] Livingwater Album Recording

Last Thursday I got the opportunity to go into the studio at Expressions College with my church here in Berkeley, Livingwater. Studio time was graciously given to us thanks to our producer, Sean. We were supposed to record chorus vocals for all the tracks, but due to technical difficulties and the need to record instrumentals, we couldn't lay down too many tracks. We did get Mickey Cho's (see my post on Mickey Cho and The Nehemiah Band) 8 bars on "Set a Fire," which was filthy (as in freaking awesome) as always.

When I stepped into the studio, I felt like the cliche kid in a candy store. It was my first time in a real studio, so all the high end mics, preamps, effects, and whatnot made me develop a serious case of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).

[Edit] I guess I should mention that I also took some video footage. That some of that might go into a behind the scenes DVD that might come out with the album, so look out for that as well!

Click here for more photos in a slideshow!


[Food] Nation's Giant Hamburgers

I'm a bit backed up on blog posts right now and have been rather busy lately, but today I bring to you my review on Nation's Giant Hamburgers.

After last week's Nehemiah Band concert (see previous post), a bunch of us headed over to Nation's for a post game meal. The restaurant has a very nice old school diner feel to it. I love restaurants like that.

I got a cheeseburger because that's just the standard item to judge any burger joint by. If they can't make a proper cheeseburger, they probably won't be able to pull other things off. The burger took a bit of time and wasn't very cheap (close to $5). However, when I got my order and unwrapped the little gift, a little grin snuck its way onto my face. The first thing I noticed was they oily sheen on the bun. YES! That's one of the indicators of a good burger. It's gotta have that greasy shine all over it. The burger comes with standard fixins: lettuce, tomato, raw white onion (you can get grilled if you want), and albiet, a lot of mayo.

The burger itself was pretty awesome as foreshadowed by the grease. None of the toppings interfered with the flavor of the burger itself, which is very important to me. You have to be able to taste the beef. The cheese and other condiments only bolstered the flavor of the burger. I gotta say, I was extremely hungry, so that might have skewed my thoughts, but oh well, it was delicious. The buns were very soft, which I oddly enjoyed. I normally like a bit of crunch in my buns (I always get x-tra toast on my buns at In-n-Out). Overall, the burger just worked for me. It was simple and delicious. No need for any exotic mushroom or foie gras nonsense here.

We all got a chocolate creme pie to share. Awesome. Nation's is known for their pies. The one inch thick layer of whipped cream on top with a custardy, chocolatey cream filling, and a flakey pie crust. Sweet (it was). Must I say more?

Oh yeah, I love pie.

Nation's Giant Hamburgers 1800 University Ave Berkeley, CA 94703 (510) 843-7326 www.nationsrestaurants.com

[Music] The Nehemiah Band and Mickey Cho at Cal

The Nehemiah Band and Mickey Cho played at New Church here in Berkeley, CA on Saturday, Feb. 5. Knowing that the Nehemiah Band boys were coming up, I contacted Ki, their manager, to see if I could take photos. In the back of my head I was hoping that they would have their own photographer so that I could just second shoot and not have so much pressure...but of course their in house photographer couldn't make it. Fantastic! I got to the venue surprisingly early and met some awesome people that were helping out. The guys were a bit surprised to see me. I am a LA native and they probably didn't expect to see me in Norcal of all places.

This was my first time actually hearing Mickey's music. I had heard of him before, but wow, this guy can spit. His songs are powerful and flow so well. "Not For Sale" was especially moving. It's a song about modern day human sex trafficking. His friends Hanna Baek and "The Legend" were also amazing. Check him out at www.mickeycho.com and support him by buying his music.

The Nehemiah Band put on an energetic live show as always. Every time I see them play, I'm blown away. You don't always see a band with stage presence like these guys. Oh yeah, and they're Korean. Say whattttttttt!? They played some of their standard meat and potatoes songs, which you can't ever go wrong with. However, they also threw in "Chinese Girl," which is their version of "I'll Make a Man Out of You" from Disney's Mulan, and "Rice, Kimchi, and Eggs" with their new Power Rangers intro. Pure greatness.

After the show, some of us went to Nation's for burgers and pies with Mickey and TNB. Expect a (favorable) review of Nation's in the near future.

Some notes on the photos: The lighting conditions weren't the best, but I was able to work around it. When TNB came on, there was almost no light on John (the drummer) and Gilbert (the bassist), so there are far fewer photos of them. I shot with my D7000 and 35mm f1.8 between ISO 4000 and 6400, f/1.8-2.2, and 1/100 and 1/200 shutter speeds. There's quite a bit of noise in some of the photos, but I did what I could to clean most of them up (e.g. go black and white).


[Music] Hieroglyphics at UC Berkeley

The smell of weed permeates the air. Wisps of cigarette smoke rise from the crowd. The bass kicks in and you feel it in your body.

The Hieroglyphics Crew came to Cal on February 2 thanks to SUPERB Productions. Sproul was packed, but then again, I did get there about 10 minutes late. As I walked around before the show started, people came up to me and asked "who are these people?" and "are they a new group?" Obviously, the majority of the people watch were just rolling through and decided to watch. To answer your questions, Hieroglyphics is an underground rap group that started in 1991 in Oakland, CA. Why they asked some random Asian kid about the group, I'll never know.

The group was scheduled to come on at 5 pm, but of course they didn't start playing until later. I only stayed for an hour or so because there were too many people, so I didn't get to witness the greatness of the whole show. However, while I was there, it was excellent.

Quick note on the last photo. Notice the symbolism of three here? Three lights, three doors, three eyes. (This sentence would have been at the end, but it was acting glitchy and now showing up.)

[Food] Bongo Burger

I made a visit to Bongo Burger on Northside with some floor mates the other day. I heard good things about this little chain, so I looked forward to it. Looking at the menu, I was a bit confused. Burgers and Persian fusion?

I got past the odd mix of cultures and got a bacon burger and fries.

Here's a close up shot on the burger. Sexy, eh?

As I sunk my teeth into the first bite, I immediately noticed how crunchy the sesame seed bun was. The bun itself was alright, a bit too crunchy for my personal taste. I couldn't taste the flavor of the patty through all of the other flavors, but once I got a bite of the patty by itself, I was pleasantly surprised, mainly because I couldn't taste it before. The patty had a nice, charred flavor to it. I couldn't taste the bacon until I got half-way through the burger. Once I hit the bacon, it was a flavor explosion. Bacony goodness. Bacon makes everything better. Overall, the burger was just above average. I wish the flavor of the meat cut through more; it was too muted. The bacon is what saved the burger for me.

The fries aren't that great. They are of the flavorless, crinkle cut variety. I do give them this, they are crispy. The ranch really brings them to life. The ranch sauce here is reminiscent of George's back at home in Fullerton. Thin, not thick and laced with crack. Not your typical ranch. Perfect.

They proudly (and obviously) serve Niman Ranch beef.

The Persian Burger seems to be rather popular here. It's made with lamb and is served on a long, baguette style bread rather than a bun. Perhaps I will try that next time. The burger and fries (surprisingly) filled me up, but the price seemed a bit steep for what it was. The total for the burger and fries came out to be about $8, which in my opinion is a tad bit too much for a fast food style burger. But then again, my standard is a #1 at In-n-Out.

There are two other locations around the UC Berkeley campus.

Bongo Burger 1839 Euclid Ave Berkeley, CA 94709 (510) 548-3400

Hours Mon-Fri: 8am - 10pm Sat-Sun: 8:30am - 10pm

[Food] Bette's Oceanview Diner

Last week a few of my suite mates wanted to grab breakfast, so we headed over to Bette's Oceanview Diner. Like most places here in Berkeley, it was a small place. We waited for 45 minutes or so before we were seated. The host was a rather interesting character, I'm not going to say much more about him. The place had a very nice classic diner feel to it with counter seats and booths. Don't expect to take a big party here, unless you want to sit outside; the booths will seat 4 people. There's also a giant slice of pie hanging of the ceiling. Awesome. Onto the food. Note: I sadly didn't have my camera with me (great forward thinking, Edwin!) so these photos were taken on my friend's phone. Sorry for the image quality, hopefully this won't happen again.

Roommate #1 got the two eggs with ham, toast, and homefries.

Roommate #2 got the Philadelphia Breakfast, which was scrapple, poached eggs, grilled tomatoes, and a scone.

We were seated around 11, so got to choose from either the breakfast or lunch menu. The suite mate got a sandwich (sorry, I can't remember which one he got) with potato salad.

I was obligated to get the Mexican Scramble because of my Southern Californian roots...and it came with house made chorizo. The Mexican Scramble was scrambled eggs with cheese and salsa, chorizo, flour tortilla, and I substituted some homefries for the black beans. The eggs were nice, fluffy, and a bit runny, which is perfect. Who eats fully cooked scrambled eggs anyway? The chorizo was well seasoned, but it was not greasy enough. Chorizo has to be swimming in a pool of orange nectar; the whole plate should have been orange. But it was still very good. You health nuts would probably prefer this breed of chorizo over the pure bred Mexican variety. The flour tortilla was nothing special, definitely a good receptacle for delivering the contents of my plate to my mouth. Finally, those homefries were pretty magical. Cooked just right, soft on the inside with an ever so slight crust on the outside, then topped with cold sour cream. Wizzow! They must have been sprinkled with crack.

Bette's is a great, cute breakfast place. If you are ever in the area, you should definitely check it out. Prices are a bit high for college students, but it's worth at least one visit. Oh, and be prepared to wait for a seat. During your wait, you could walk around the area, which is very nice and is full of furniture stores if you are into that kind of thing.

Bette's Oceanview Diner 1807 4th St Berkeley, CA 94710 (510) 644-3230 www.worldpantry.com/bettes

Hours Mon-Fri: 6:30am - 2:30pm Sat-Sun: 6:30am - 4:00pm

[Food] Kirala

Before my family headed back home, we had lunch at Kirala. Upon entering, we were greeted by the friendly waitstaff. It's a small, popular restaurant, so it was crowded. The complementary hot matcha was definitely a plus.

We started off with the Rock'n Roll (eel, yellow tail, avocado, with tobiko outside) and the Spicy Scallop roll. The Rock'n Roll was flavorful and had a great mix of texture. I wish the spicy scallop roll had bigger pieces of scallops, but it was still a good roll.

My mother got the kitchen special, which consisted of fried oysters and shrimp, chicken teriyaki, udon, and rice. I tried some of the chicken and it had a nice kick to it once the sweet faded out. I really enjoyed that mix of flavors.

My sister had the sushi special Chirashi, which had salmon, tuna, shrimp, tamago, ikura, tobiko, and another kind of fish I can't recall. I tried a bit and the sushi was excellent. Better than most of the sushi places I've been to down south.

I had the katsu-don. It was good, but pretty standard, nothing too special going on here. In fact, I think I prefer the katsu-don at Koraku in Torrance better. The katsu itself was very good. It was a thick cut of flavorful pork, but overall, the dish was just run of the mill.

My father had the tonkatsu entree, which was great. Same katsu that went into my donburi.

Overall, Kirala was awesome. Definitely not somewhere I would go every day because I'm a poor college student.

Kirala 2100 Ward St Berkeley, CA 94705 (510) 549-3486 www.kiralaberkeley.com

Hours Mon-Fri: 11:30am - 2pm Mon-Sat: 5:30pm - 9:30pm Sun: 5pm - 9pm

[Food] My First Week Up North

My lack of posts as of late has been a result of moving up to college! I'm up North now and wanted to do a quick post about the food I've been eating outside of the dining commons. My comments on the food will probably be very concise and general. Upon arrival, we stopped by the Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant.

We had some dim sum, honestly, I don't know what everything is called, but that's how it usually is at dim sum places. We had the pork and shrimp shumai, various dumplings, rice paper rolls in XO sauce, and the taro cakes.

This was the amazing view out of the window that we were seated next to.

The food was good, pretty much on par with the other dim sum that I've had in the past; there was nothing that really stood out, minus the view. The rice paper rolls in XO sauce were fairly new to me, I've never had that dish at a dim sum restaurant before, but my mother had made it at home once, so I was familiar with it.

Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant 3199 Powell St Emeryville, CA 94608 (510) 655-3388 www.hkeo.us

On our visit to San Francisco, we went to the Pier Market on Pier 39.

We started off with some calamari. I've had better calamari in the past, but it was definitely good.

The rest of my family had their famous clam chowder. I tried a little bit and wow, it really was good. Definitely different from the chowdah that I had at the Black Pearl in Rhode Island (which was also great).

I had the fish and chips. The fish was pretty good, but a tab bit over-battered. I definitely got full fast. The fries (or chips) were reminiscent of Burger King fries, not a bad thing at all.

Pier Market Seafood Market Pier 39 San Francisco, CA 94133 (415) 989-7437 www.piermarket.com

More posts to come. I still have to cover two more restaurants.