Getting Happy at Hog Island Oyster Co (San Francisco)

Platter of Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Bar (San Francisco)

Platter of Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Bar (San Francisco)

We’ve said it before: We. Love. Oysters. And the place we prefer to go to get oysters is the Hog Island Oyster Co. at the San Francisco Ferry Building. Saturday is the day when we usually go there, visiting the excellent farmer’s market. Last time we were at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, we picked up a couple dozen oysters and brought them back home to shuck and eat.

But you know, shucking oysters, especially if you’re not expert at it, is a real pain. And two dozen oysters goes almost too quickly when you’ve got three oyster-obsessed eaters (yes, our 6 year-old Daniel loves them too!) Wouldn’t it be better to have someone else do all the work? I know I’d be much happier.

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El Paisa Taqueria (San Jose)

These very well might be contenders for the best tacos in San Jose.

El Paisa Taqueria in San Jose

El Paisa Taqueria in San Jose

We’ve driven by this taco stand/truck at the corner of Senter Rd and Southside in South San Jose many times. We would always see a long line of customers stretching back from the stand into the full parking lot. Long lines are a good sign. I made a mental note to stop in one day.

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Egg Tarts from Golden Gate Bakery (San Francisco)

Where can you find the absolute best darn egg tarts in the Bay Area?

Egg Tarts from Golden Gate Bakery in San Francisco

 Egg Tarts from Golden Gate Bakery in San Francisco

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Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker (Berkeley)

Edit 29 January, 2009: Hershey’s announced that they were going to close the Scharffen Berger factory down in West Berkeley, fire their workers, and move production to a plant in Illinois. It looks like they’ve already shut down the factory tour, as a visit to that website just redirects to Hershey’s homepage. Get your California-made Scharffen Berger chocolates while you still can!


As a small kid growing up in America, I only knew two chocolates: Hershey’s and Nestle. Both were milk chocolate, and both were (to me) just okay. Early on, I found that I preferred the Hershey’s “Special Dark” brand of chocolate candy, just because of that slight bitter tang. Ever since then, I’ve always gone for dark chocolate over milk.

Annie is an avowed chocoholic. She introduced me to fine, European-style milk chocolates such as Lindt and Cadbury (the ones that are actually made in Europe, not the American-made ones). Those were good, but I still preferred dark.

Today we went to the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker factory in Berkeley to take their factory tour. (If you’ve not heard of Scharffen Berger before, they are a very popular maker of “artisanal” chocolates, specializing in dark chocolate.) Unlike the “Willy Wonka” factory, you don’t need to have a golden ticket to get in. Just make a reservation online, and show up 10 minutes before your scheduled start time. It’s totally free!

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker (Berkeley)

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker (Berkeley)

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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