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Best of the East Bay: Food

From ice-cream sandwiches to party patios, here's what tops our dining scene.


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Courtesy of Cream

Get Rolling

How to eat an ice-cream sandwich at Cream.

Reader Pick: Ice-Cream Shop

Step One: Turn the sandwich sideways, so it’s vertical.

Step Two: Lick the ice cream as you spin it 360 degrees, slowly enough to enjoy it but fast enough to catch any drips.

Step Three: Slightly squeeze the cookies to push ice cream out to the edges. Turn the sandwich flat, and take a big bite.

Step Four: Turn the sandwich vertical again, and spin it 360 degrees, as you lick to catch any drips. Repeat. Enjoy. —Susan Safipour


 

By Michelle Smith

Service With a Smile (and a Slap)

An Alamo waitress turns on the charm.

Reader Pick: Server

I don’t think I’ve ever had a waitress give me a high-five before, but it happens minutes after arriving at The Peasant’s Courtyard in Alamo. “I wish I’d met you 25 years earlier,” my server exclaims, punctuating it with a high-five.

It wasn’t what I said, which I quickly forgot; it was Sandy Gaibe’s big personality. It leaves an impression—on the hand, in my case.

Hard nosed and light hearted, Gaibe, aka “Sandstorm,” whips up customers most every day of the week. But she’s used to working hard.

“I’m the middle child,” she says. “I cleaned the garage; I mowed the lawn; I did everything, believe me.” On the Courtyard’s patio, she plies patrons
with her favorites: decadent breakfast burritos stuffed with slow-cooked carnitas, parmesan-crusted patty melts, and Irish cream lattes.

Gaibe has a special relationship with many of her customers. Today, she brings a regular his eponymous Jimmy T, a mix of iced tea, lemonade, and Coca-Cola. She checks in one table with, “How’s my guys doing?” She calls another customer—one who eats at the Peasant’s Courtyard weekly and feigns irascibility—“cream puff.”

“When customers are difficult,” she says, “I tell them that they’ve met their match.”

This affectionately teasing style was born, perhaps, from her closeness to her little brother, Rodney Worth, who owns six restaurants, including The Peasant’s Courtyard. He won her over with an apple pie—the first thing he cooked for her.

Five years ago, when Worth asked Gaibe, who was living in Boise, Idaho, at the time, if she could help him out at the restaurant, she didn’t hesitate.

“I was here the next day,” she says. There have been no regrets and nary a dull moment.

“I entertain myself all day and stay happy,” Gaibe says.  

On my way out, Gaibe is chatting up patrons as she writes down their orders. Too bad her hands are full. I was hoping to give her a fist bump.

3195 Danville Blvd., Alamo, (925) 362-0088, rodneyworth.com/peasants-courtyard.  —Nicholas Boer


 

By Samantha Schneider

Smooth-Sailing Soiree

Reader Pick: Destination for Large Parties

Want to throw a no-fuss party with oceans of personality? Celebrate on the Walnut Creek Yacht Club’s Aft Deck, and you’ll be sailing in smooth waters. Here are a few tips. 1555 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 944-3474, wcyc.net. —Susan Safipour

1. Invite your guests to “come aboard” or “sail away,” with nautically inspired invites.

2. Serve mai tais for a Polynesian twist.

3. Insist on a raw bar for just-shucked,
ice-cold oysters.

4. Order a lobster feast or the grilled seafood–themed menu.

5. Load your iPod with Jimmy Buffett songs to feel like you’ve escaped to the islands.


 

Courtesy of VeggieGrill

For Any Occasion

No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a restaurant for you.

Reading the Sunday Times
Blue Bottle Coffee latte and Acme levain toast at Sideboard.
Reader Pick: Coffeehouse

Family Sunday brunch
Eggs Benedict in the courtyard at Scott’s Seafood.
Reader Pick: Sunday Brunch

We need to bond
Share small plates at Va de Vi.
Reader Pick: Small Plates

My friend is Gluten Free
Head straight to Miglet’s Gluten-Free.
Reader Pick: Gluten-Free Destination

 

I need to eat my veggies
Order one of the veggie-filled bowls at VeggieGrill.
Reader Pick: Vegetarian Restaurant

I’m too lazy to cook
Get takeout at Chow Food Bar.
Reader Pick: Take-Out Food

New place to try
Grab a bar stool and a cocktail at Revel Kitchen and Bar.
Reader Pick: New Restaurant

Our anniversary
Reserve a booth at Esin Restaurant and Bar.
Reader Pick: Fine Dining

A taste of Southeast Asia
Fly over to Kacha Thai Bistro.
Reader Pick: Thai Restaurant

Need. Pizza. Now.
Zachary’s Chicago Pizza’s spinach and mushroom is our fave.
Reader Pick: Pizza Place —Nicholas Boer


 

Revel Kitchen / by Angela Decenzo

Reader Picks

Bakery
Casse-Croûte Bakery
50 S. Livermore Ave., Livermore, (925) 371-7700, c-cbakery.com.

Banh Mi Sandwich
Saigon Bistro
1701-F Willow Pass Rd., Concord, (925) 827-1231.

BBQ Spot
Sauced BBQ and Spirits
2300 First St., Ste. 120, Livermore, (925) 961-1300, saucedbbqandspirits.com.

Breakfast Joint
Alamo Cafe
1 Alamo Sq., Alamo, (925) 743-8371, alamocafe.biz.

Chef
Rodney Worth
Ferrari’s Cucina Italiana, The Little Pear, The Peasant and the Pear, The Peasant’s Courtyard, and The Prickly Pear Cantina, rodneyworth.com.

Chinese Restaurant
Uncle Yu’s and Uncle Yu’s at the Vineyard
999 Oak Hill Rd., Lafayette, (925) 283-1688; 39 S. Livermore Ave., Ste. 125, Livermore, (925) 449-7000; 2005 Crow Canyon Pl., San Ramon, (925) 275-1818, uncleyus.com.

Coffeehouse
Sideboard
90 Railroad Ave., Danville, (925) 984-2713, itsonthesideboard.com.

Comfort Food
The Brass Door
2154 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon, (925) 837-2501, brassdoor.com.

Decor
The Cooperage
32 Lafayette Cir., Lafayette, (925) 298-5915, thecooperagelafayette.com.

Dessert
Esin Restaurant and Bar
750 Camino Ramon, Danville, (925) 314-0974, esinrestaurant.com.

Farmers Market
Danville Farmers Market
facebook.com/danvillefarmersmarket.

Fine Dining
Esin Restaurant and Bar
750 Camino Ramon, Danville, (925) 314-0974, esinrestaurant.com.

Food Event
Gourmet East Bay
diablomag.com/gourmet-east-bay.

Gluten-Free Destination
Miglet’s Gluten-Free
480 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Ste. A2, Danville, (925) 831-9016, migletsgf.com.

Gourmet Hamburger
The Counter
1699 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 935-3795, thecounterburger.com.

Ice-Cream Shop
Cream
Locations in Berkeley, Livermore, Oakland, and Walnut Creek, creamnation.com.

Indian Restaurant
Swad India
3602 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 962-9575, theswadindia.com.

Italian Restaurant
Gianni’s Italian Bistro
2065 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon, (925) 820-6969, giannissanramon.com.

Ladies Lunch
Bridges Restaurant and Bar
44 Church St., Danville, (925) 820-7200, bridgesdanville.com.

Mexican Restaurant
Don Jose’s
3168 Danville Blvd., Alamo, (925) 743-8997; 3430 Village Dr., Castro Valley, (510) 538-3290, donjosesrestaurant.com.

Middle Eastern Restaurant
Casbah Mediterranean
1770 First St., Livermore, (925) 243-1477; 239-A Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 399-6815, casbahexotic.com.

Neighborhood Joint
Pete’s Brass Rail and
Car Wash 201 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 820-8281, petesbrassrail.com.

New Restaurant
Revel Kitchen and Bar
331 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 208-1758, revelkitchenandbar.com.

Noodle Bowl/Pho
Kevin’s Noodle House
1833 Willow Pass Rd., Concord, (925) 677-2131; 1402 E. 12th St., Oakland, (510) 533-0549; 2034 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 933-4746, kevinnoodlehouse.com.

Patio
The Peasant’s Courtyard
3195 Danville Blvd., Alamo, (925) 362-0088, rodneyworth.com/peasants-courtyard.

Pizza Place
Zachary’s Chicago Pizza
Locations in Berkeley, Oakland, Pleasant Hill, and San Ramon, zacharys.com.

Salads
Lettuce
1632 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 933-5600, lettucerestaurant.com.

Sandwich Shop
Ike’s Place
21 Railroad Ave., Danville, (925) 820-9500; 2204 Broadway St., Oakland, (510) 338-6789; 1159 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 944-4755, ilikeikesplace.com.

Seafood
Walnut Creek Yacht Club
1555 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 944-3474, wcyc.net.

Small Plates
Va de Vi
1511 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 979-0100, vadevi.com.

Steak House
Forbes Mill Steakhouse
200 Sycamore Valley Rd. W., Danville, (925) 552-0505, forbesmillsteakhouse.com.

Sunday Brunch
Scott’s Seafood
1333 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-1300, scottswc.com.

Sushi Bar
Blue Gingko
3496 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., Danville, (925) 648-7838; 3762 Fallon Rd., Dublin, (925) 248-2298; 3518 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 962-9020, bluegingkosushi.com.

Take-Out Food
Chow Food Bar
445 Railroad Ave., Danville, (925) 838-4510; 53 Lafayette Cir., Lafayette, (925) 962-2469, chowfoodbar.com.

Thai Restaurant
Kacha Thai Bistro
1665 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 988-9877, kachathai.com.

Vegetarian Restaurant
VeggieGrill
1320 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 942-1024, veggiegrill.com.

Vietnamese Restaurant
Le Cheval
1007 Clay St., Oakland, (510) 763-8495; 1375 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek, (925) 938-2288, lecheval.co.

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