Tag Archive for lunch

Pink’s Hot Dogs

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I have fulfilled another entry on my foodie bucket list. Okay, I’m lying. I am way too lazy to have made a foodie bucket list, but if I had, Pink’s Hot Dogs would assuredly be on it. Since 1939, the Pink family has been perfecting the hot dog, and as all good Californians know, perfecting = adding lots of toppings. Though I soon discovered that these dogs are more than what meets the eye. They’re also just darn good hot dogs!

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Sidle up to that window to place your order. Oh, who am I kidding? There’s going to be a line. No mere sidling up is possible. When I went on a weekday afternoon, the line consisted of roughly 30 people, and the ones in front of me had driven out from Reseda, thinking the day after Thanksgiving a good one to finally give Pink’s a try. I’m pretty sure we did have a light traffic day—it took me about 20 minutes to place my order.

And frankly, I needed every one of those minutes because the options are many! From a plain dog to the Three Dog Night with yes, 3 hot dogs wrapped in a tortilla, 3 slices of cheese, 3 slices of bacon, chili, and onions, Pink’s serves up the spectrum of any conceivable combination. Did you not see me type “wrapped in a tortilla”?! ANY CONCEIVABLE COMBINATION.

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Neumanali

Neumanali is one of Hayward’s few fine dining restaurants. Bijou, just a few blocks up B Street, is the only other one that immediately comes to mind. Neumanali is tucked away by the downtown Hayward BART station in a beautiful Victorian that most people don’t even realize is a restaurant as they walk past.

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I’ve wanted to check it out since we relocated here. Early December, I invited another couple who loves good food to come along. The restaurant had an intimate feel despite the lively large party being hosted that night. Discounting that group and ourselves, there was only one other table used throughout our meal.

Neumanali provides typical white tablecloth service despite having a tiny staff. Warm, rosy lighting means photos aren’t as well focused as I’d like, but I’m sharing them anyhow.

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The walls were forest green and decorated with people-pleasing Impressionist paintings of orchestral groups, except for the bathroom that randomly featured nudes. To my taste, the atmosphere is stuffy but I absolutely want to try it again in warmer weather when we can sit on their lovely patio.

Dinner started out great, with us sharing two bottles of Eden Canyon’s Freedom from the Press 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon over the course of the night and enjoying soft, bubbly bread with olive oil, balsamic, and strong garlic.

Another commonality shared between Neumanali and Bijou is that both restaurants serve up new American cuisine with an eye toward French preparations. Our friends started with the warm goat cheese salad that comes with grilled pears and mixed greens.

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Praise of “this is fabulous” and “that was a spectacular salad” rang out, making it one of the most enjoyed courses of the night. Friend #1’s grilled rosemary rack of lamb with roasted potatoes, heirloom grains, and a pomegranate reduction sauce was probably the only course praised more highly.

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In the forefront of that picture are eggplant chips that weren’t listed on the menu. Friend #1 declared she could eat a whole bag of them. They were thick enough to give her something to bite into while maintaining a delightfully crunchy exterior. She also exclaimed over the heirloom grains, which turned out to be close to a sweet version of rice pilaf.

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Burger Joints of Hayward #4: Cecil’s Famous Burgers

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The next stop on my Burger Joints of Hayward tour is Cecil’s Famous Burgers, found due to its Yelp rivalry with Val’s Burgers, the most iconic Hayward burger joint I can think of. Being as I’m not that enthused with Val’s (still planning a return visit for a review), I was rather intrigued by this supposed challenger. Its nondescript exterior with only a window to order from and a few outdoor tables to use struck me as just right for a potential dark horse in this race.

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Would the burger also hit the mark? You can order Cecil’s burgers in sizes ranging up to the 1/2 lb. Biggie. I opted for the 1/3 lb. Super.

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Patty: Two thin patties that tasted adequate but would have benefitted from more char from the griddle. The novelty of serving cheese between them may be inspired. Or maybe I just don’t eat enough doubles.

Cheese: American slice added on for 35 cents. The melt was nicely done, on the verge of drippy. Is that why y’all order doubles all the time? For cheese between the patties?

Bun: Giant-sized sesame bun that was needed to contain all that delicious sloppiness and held up through the whole sandwich.

Toppings: The cashier told me it comes with a mix of ketchup and mayonnaise for condiments, but what she meant was that ketchup comes on the top bun and mayonnaise on the bottom. Also included is pickles, a thin slice of hothouse tomato, shredded iceberg lettuce, and thickly chopped onion sliced in wedges rather than rings or diced. Fresher produce would have been nice, especially to replace the limp lettuce.

Fries: I was ordering for myself and my husband this time, so I got us one each of the fries and onion rings. Both were moderately portioned and moderately priced at $2.

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The onion rings were of uniform size, crispness, and coloring and pleasing if not memorable. The shoestring fries were classic McDonald’s style with the right amount of salt, but too many were limp and in tiny bits.

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Shake: Cecil’s stands out for its ice cream selection for a burger joint. They have a whole menu devoted to sundaes, scoops, and shakes.

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We shared a banana shake, which you can get real banana added to for an upcharge of 45 cents—Cecil’s is fond of all those upcharges. The banana flavor was present in both the ice cream itself and in the small chunks of banana, which impressed me—I hate when a flavored shake tastes mostly of vanilla. I could drink it through the straw without too much sucking power.

Price: Even with the cheese and fresh banana, Cecil’s comes in at only $12 for a burger, fries, and a shake. That’s right in line with the other burger joints I’ve tried.

Cecil’s Famous Burgers gets bonus points for the shake selection, the value, and the great burger overall. More meat flavor and crisper fries and lettuce would have put them over the edge into my best ranking. As is, Cecil’s offers a solid burger worth repeating.

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Cecil’s Famous Burgers
547 Tennyson Rd
Hayward

Cecil's Famouse Burgers on Urbanspoon

Cecil's Famouse Burgers & Sandwiches Take Out on Foodio54

Reviewed 10.29.14.

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