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101 Best Bites

The 101 best things to eat and drink in the East Bay.


(page 4 of 4)

Tri-Valley: Savor the Valley

101. Baklava, Esin

From Danville to Livermore, tasty treasures abound

77 | Short Ribs
Ohgane Korean BBQ  Wrap these sweet-salty-smoky strips of marinated short ribs—grilled at your table—inside sheets of delicate rice paper or crisp lettuce leaves. Fresh off the bone (be sure to get those gnaw-friendly rib bones well charred over mesquite), the flavorful beef becomes the focal point of a dozen and a half side dishes. These spicy, vinegary, chewy, slurpy, and crunchy condiments are a visual, textural, and literal feast. It would seem overwhelming, but the staff at this little restaurant will help guide you through the savory subtleties of this fascinating, healthful cuisine. Dublin, (925) 875-1232.

78 | Peanut Butter Cookies
Sideboard  Wonderfully petite peanut buttery biscuits, stuck together mid-cookie by a smear of dark chocolate, are baked on-site on Hartz Avenue. Danville, (925) 984-2713.

79 | Chana Masala
india Clay Oven  With the warming wonder of a French cassoulet—sans fowl or fat—this spicy vegan stew of tender garbanzo beans is decadent. Livermore, clayovenlivermore.com.

80. Gnocchi, Incontro80 | Gnocchi Alla Piemontese
Incontro  Pillowy gnocchi in ripe Fontina cream with white truffle oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a twist of cracked black pepper. Ahhh. San Ramon, incontrosanramon.com.

81 | Onion Rings
First Street Alehouse  A pile of these beer-battered golden rings (alongside a chilled pint) will brighten you up like a shot of sunshine. Livermore, firststreetalehouse.com.

82 | Cinnamon Rolls
Denica’s  Flaky outside, gooey inside, these big-as-your-head pastries are best shared with a friend over a cup of joe. Dublin, denicascafe.com.

83 | Tea-Smoked Duck
Uncle Yu’s  Four mini rice paper burritos stuffed with juicy, crispy, lightly smoked duck, with sweet-tart plum dipping sauce. Livermore, Lafayette, and San Ramon, uncleyu.com.

Caponata, Terra Mia // Francesco Fucilla84 | Caponata Siciliana
Terra Mia  This chilled eggplant relish, rich with olive oil and piquant with capers, eaten with crostini, is a perfect light nosh on a warm summer evening. Livermore, terramialivermore.com.

85 | Crispy Tacos
Los Panchos  Simple fried tacos, filled with shredded chicken or ground beef with lettuce and cheese, manage to turn cheap eats into an art form. Danville, Pacheco, and San Ramon, lospanchosrestaurant.com.

86 | Daikon Cake
Tin Thai  Radish takes a star turn as a hot appetizer: crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, delicious all the way through. Livermore, tinthaica.com.

87 | 2007 Nth Degree Cabernet Sauvignon
Wente Vineyards  Big and rich, with notes of black cherry and dried herbs, Wente’s Cab stands up to the $60 price. Livermore, wentevineyards.com.

89. Budino, Forno Vecchio // Renice Hultman88 | Pumpkin Borani
Oasis Grille  With the emotional satisfaction of Thanksgiving and the surprise of Halloween, this hot, lightly spiced, yogurt-topped Afghani appetizer lends new meaning to the Great Pumpkin. Pleasanton, oasisgrille.com.

89 | Chocolate Budino
Forno Vecchio  Warm and moist in the center, and topped with heavenly vanilla bean–flecked crème fraîche. Pleasanton, fornovecchio.com.

90 | Fish and Chips
The Crown  For 10 years, this British pub has been crusting pristine Icelandic cod in nothing more than Bass ale and flour. Danville, crownpub.com.


Reader Pick:
91 | Lamb Shank
The Peasant and the Pear  “To try something else on the menu, I make my girlfriend order it so that I can pick off her plate, and still enjoy the fall-off-the-bone goodness.” Danville, thepeasantandthepear.com
—Ben Shelton, Danville

92 | Margaritas
Blue Agave Club  With nearly 50 variations made with top-shelf tequila, you’re sure to find one you like. Pleasanton, blueagaveclub.com.

91. Lamb Shank, Peasant & Pear // Lani Allen 93 | Zabaglione
Agora Bistro  This Greek take on an Italian dessert is the creamiest, dreamiest custard ever, spiked with Marsala wine and topped with seasonal berries. Pleasanton, agorabistro.biz.

Chef Pick:
94 | Sushi
Sakura  “Great sushi. A little restaurant that serves really, really fresh ingredients. My dad and I always order the different items like monkfish liver, sea urchin, and any type of fresh roe.” San Ramon, (925) 277-1628. 
—John Marquez, Artisan Bistro

95 | Chicken Wings
Norm’s  Spicy-fried drumettes with tender white meat taste extra delicious at happy hour prices of five for $5. Danville, normsgrill.com.

96 | Arroz con Pollo
Casa Orozco  This savory combination of shredded chicken, seasoned rice, enchilada sauce, and melty cheddar and Jack cheese hits our comfort zone. Dublin, casaorozco.com.

97 | Savory Crepes
Brittany Crepes and Galettes  It’s a delight watching the owner twirl his crepes made from slightly sour buckwheat flour—but it’s even better eating them. Try the ham, egg, and cheese. Several Tri-Valley farmers markets, brittany-crepesandgalettes.com.

100. Garlic Olive Oil, Piatti // Courtesy of Piatti98 | Goat Biryani
Curry Leaves  They’re immense, but the only thing left of ours was bones, broken curry leaves, a nub of cinnamon stick, and pods of cardamom and nigella. Pleasanton, newtabla.com.

99 | Crispy Artichokes
Little Pear  They couldn’t be simpler or more summery: deep-fried hearts served with house-made aioli, enjoyed with a glass of wine along Blackhawk’s lagoon. Danville, thelittlepear.com.

100 | Garlic Olive Oil
Piatti  Addictively zippy garlic olive oil dipping sauce makes for a great meal starter. Danville, piatti.com.

101 | Baklava
Esin  Ratchet up your pleasure dial with Esin’s light, honey-soaked, caramel-topped take on the classic Greek pastry. Danville, esinrestaurant.com.


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