The San Francisco Bay Area is a heavenly place to be a food reviewer, and that was particularly true during the dot-com era, when restaurants knew no limits. Innovative fusion food, often served tapas style; cutting-edge decor; boisterous atmospheres..... People couldn't get enough of that sort of thing.
I couldn't believe my good fortune. I was paid to nosh on the best food and to give opinions about it! In late 2000 and early 2001, I reviewed 20 restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area: 10 for CitySearch, 10 more for the East Bay Express. The Express editors wanted leisurely pieces of creative nonfiction, replete with scene setting and chatty asides. Here are all my Express reviews in chronological order:
- Chaat Rooms You Can Live With
Compares an Indian and a Pakistani restaurant, both in Berkeley. My Pakistani husband translated as we overheard kitchen workers fight.
- Nondescript (Looking), but Nonpareil (Tasting)
Explores the wonderful world of Vietnamese cuisine, as experienced in two Berkeley restaurants with a Vietnamese friend.
- The Warm and the Cold
Shows how very different two upscale Chinese restaurants can be in the Elmwood district of Berkeley.
- Zen Temple Cuisine
Allowed me to indulge my fascination with Japanese culture. I checked out Cha-Ya, an extremely popular vegetarian spot in Berkeley.
- Pan-Asian Sensation
Brought me to one of my favorite all-time places, the Japanese-inspired Grasshopper on College Avenue in Oakland.
- Net Wait
Brought me back to College Avenue for French-inspired small plates at À Côté.
- CreAsian Mythology
Shares the discovery of irresistible fusion food in San Leandro, of all places.
For more food writing, go to:
- General Interest, where you'll find The Bistro Conundrum, a piece where I struggled to understand the meaning of bistro.