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Marukyo Black Sesame Funwariyaki Dorayaki: Dorayaki is a delicious filled pancake dessert from Japan that has no equivalent in American pastry (as far as I know). The closest likeness I can think of is the Whoopie Pie, though dorayaki has a bean paste filling rather than cream, and the ratio of cake to filling is slimmer. Berkeley Bowl sells an assortment of refrigerated cakes in their Asian grocery aisle, though I have normally been wary of these silica-packet-filled packaged snacks. I was intrigued, though, by this black sesame ... (read more) 3.5/5.0

3.5 dorayaki funwariyaki sesame black marukyo blacksesame japanese berkeleybowl recommended
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Abide Monarch black sesame and matcha bubble tea with boba: In the 9 years I spent in Cambridge, we never had a dependable bubble tea shop. The short-lived bubble tea shop in Kendall was just ok, but since it was close to lab, I’d sometimes find myself there for quick meetings. Upon returning to Cambridge for mystery hunt, I visited a pop up boba shop at the Middlesex lounge with a diverse menu of tea and fruit drinks incorporating ingredients like peppercorn and cloves and with names like Binary and The Monarch. I ordered the latter, a hot milk tea ... (read more) 3.5/5.0

3.5 boba tea bubble matcha sesame black monarch abide cambridge recommended bubbletea drinks
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Calbee Yuzu and black pepper shrimp chips: I grew up eating MSG-laden Calbee shrimp crackers, so it was neat to see they are celebrating 50 years. This is the first time I tried anything outside their original flavor. The crispy crackers had a tangy slightly sour seasoning that was more interesting than tasty. Still, adding a yuzu flavor to their line seems appropriate and on trend; maybe this will help them reach 50 more years. 3.0/5.0

3.0 chips shrimp pepper black yuzu calbee japanese
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Sul & Beans Black sesame bingsu: Different asian countries each have their unique take on shaved ice, though they all seem united by a combination of textures soft and chewy. Korea’s is bingsu, a dessert often topped with red bean, fruit, and condensed milk. I had my first experience trying bingsu today in Los Angeles’s Koreatown at a chain from Korea called Sul & Beans. My sister and I shared an enormous black sesame shaved ice (there is only one size), which was dusted with black sesame powder and topped with red bean, c... (read more) 3.5/5.0

3.5 bingsu sesame black sulbeans shavedice la desserts
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Happy Lemon Lemon black tea: Textbook mediocre black tea. Tastes like Lipton, and it probably is. On the plus side, the drinks contains an entire lemon, sliced into wedges. But the overall effect is black tea I can easily make at home. Good thing it was free (from the buy one get on free promotion during Happy Lemon’s opening weekend in Berkeley). 2.0/5.0

2.0 tea black lemon happylemon berkeley drinks
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Galvanina Blood orange, black carrot, and blueberry sparkling fruit beverage: Organic Italian soda that apparently is sold as Whole Foods branded Italian soda. I purchased this glass bottle from Molinari deli in North Beach, SF (which I also recommend, by the way). While I found it on the sweet side, the addition of carrot was unique and not at all overpowering. The berry, vegetable, and citrus combination is well balanced and worth a try. 3.5/5.0

organic 3.5 beverage fruit sparkling blueberry carrot black orange blood galvanina italian sodas drinks recommended