exceptional (71)
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2017 05 06 13.34.15

Riska Mentai Corn Snack: I love that Japanese culture is seemingly contradictory. There is the upmost respect for serenity and simplicity, along with an obsession with quality and workmanship (e.g., tea gardens, sashimi and sushi rice, Yurbai melons) - yet, at the same time, it can be loud, brash, and colorful (e.g., manga, Pachinko). This purple bag of Mentai (cod roe) puffed corn snacks is sensory overload all on its own, with multiple exclamation points, bold lettering, and metallic silver foil highlighting. I... (read more) 4.5/5.0

tokyofishmarket 4.5 snack corn riska junkfood seafood fish roe cod mentai japanese exceptional
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Powder Black sesame Taiwanese shaved ice with mochi: During my childhood, my family would visit Taiwan every few years, spending several weeks in the scorching heat of the summer months. Once in a while, we would be treated with the best cure for a heatwave: baobing, or Taiwanese shaved ice served alongside a variety of toppings like peanut and red bean, all saturated with a sweet syrup that flavored the ice crystals. In anticipation, we would watch as a machine transformed a large block of ice into a heap of snow, spinning into a sharp rotar... (read more) 4.5/5.0

frozen dessert 4.5 mochi ice shaved taiwanese sesame black powder blacksesame powdershavedice sanfrancisco exceptional
2016 12 29 08.36.59

Cheeseboard Asiago Roll: While I find the pizzeria next door to be overrated, I've generally had great experiences at the Cheeseboard cheese shop and bakery. The asiago roll, covered in sesame seeds, demands to be eaten fresh out of the oven, when tearing the crust reveals a warm and soft wondrously scented interior, smelling strongly of yeast, cheese, and onion. The onion is caramelized, and combined with the crunchy bits of toasted cheese on the outside, the bread is the ideal savory snack. 4.5/5.0

4.5 roll asiago cheeseboard cheese berkeley bread exceptional
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Revival Ice Cream Pear sorbet: Ultra-creative yet accessible homemade ice cream from a James-Beard nominated pastry chef. Based in Monterey, Revival has about a dozen seasonal flavors, the most popular of which is one called the Beesknees, an ice cream studded with bits of honeycomb, broken into small enough pieces to add texture (both crunchy and soft). It's sweet but also has a slightly burnt flavor that's just a touch bitter to balance it out. I had their pear sorbet, which combines pear with celery juice. This is not ... (read more) 4.5/5.0

4.5 sorbet pear revivalicecream icecream monterey exceptional
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La Super-Rica Horchata: A quick stop for lunch turned into a 2.5 hour detour, with extremely long lines at the Santa Barbara favorite La Super-Rica. Food-wise, while some tacos were excellent, it wasn't worth the wait, but the most worthwhile offerings were their fantastic drinks. The horchata was eye-opening, with a creamy mixture of spices and nuts and smooth consistency. Its styrofoam cup belied its complex and noteworthy flavor. If I came here again, I would request to skip the line and just get a cup of their ... (read more) 4.5/5.0

4.5 horchata lasuperrica santabarbara drinks exceptional
2016 12 10 12.10.49

Asha Tea Asian Pear Oolong Tea: The fruit teas at Asha Tea in Berkeley are consistently good, with housemade textured purees made with seasonal fruit. The puree adds enough bite that I find your typical add-ons, like boba or grass jelly, are unnecessary. For this particular Asian pear tea, the strongly-flavored oolong had a rich and robust herbal flavor much stronger and more interesting than your typical green or black iced teas. The natural fruit carried enough sweetness on its own to cut through the tea, producing an... (read more) 4.5/5.0

4.5 tea oolong pear asian ashatea fruit berkeley drinks exceptional