Sapporo is the sushi restaurant’s answer to the overly familiar neighborhood pub. If you need to be greeted warmly by a hostess and have your every need catered to in a reasonable time frame, I’m not sure it’s the place for you. There’s nothing wrong with those expectations, but Sapporo won’t meet them. Instead, the tiny staff—consisting of one waitress and the sushi chef Sam—will get to you in due time, and your drink order will likely be yelled across the restaurant.
As soon as you see the restaurant’s interior, you’ll realize it’s a playful joint. Keep yourself entertained while waiting for service by looking at the polaroids covering the walls and booths.
And keep that playfulness in mind as you realize Sam’s banter with the regulars is far more entertaining than the photos. Otherwise, you may be worried actual insults are being flung around rather than friends skewering each other. Heck, not knowing for certain is part of the appeal.
Sam, the sushi chef.
But I think the existence of a Crazy Sammy roll resolves that question pretty well.
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The newest burger joint in Hayward is Red Rocket Char Grill, right in the heart of the downtown strip (1057 B Street).
This qualifies as the second echelon of burger joints, the ones classed up enough that you don’t worry about whether your chair will collapse beneath you or if you’ll pick up splinters from the table. Being on the second echelon doesn’t mean they make a better burger, but atmosphere can definitely affect opinion.
Red Rocket’s red-and-black checker design, complete with a tiled mosaic wall in back, is assuredly more inviting than my first two stops. But it comes with a black mark from my husband; he swears it takes far too long for a fast food restaurant. So I’m counting the minutes from order placed to order up.
Doesn’t seem that long for freshly grilled burgers to me, but don’t expect McDonald’s assembly line speeds. I’ll continue thinking my husband odd for doing just that.
In addition to burgers, Red Rocket offers chargrilled chicken, sausage, and steak sandwiches and salads—they all have “rocket” as part of the name, but somehow I doubt I’ll be calling them that instead of burgers anytime soon. Standard potato, garlic, cheese, and sweet potato fries are available as sides. For dessert, the expected trio of shake flavors appears….and New York cheesecake and churros! It’s good to have choices.
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Randall Grahm’s Caviste Volant “The Sisters” 2013
Central Coast, CA
As celebrated winemaker Randall Grahm remarked on the label for the Sisters, it’s a blend of albarino and riesling grapes, two white wine varietals with quite differing profiles. Huffington Post has a great report up on Grahm’s partnership with NakedWines.com, which means this is indeed available for purchase from NakedWines.com here along with a $100 voucher for first-time customer purchases of 6 bottles or more. Best prices go to NakedWines.com’s Angels, which you can sign up to become here, if that’s up your alley—I explained the Angels program and my involvement with it in this previous post.
On to the vino! The label is endearing, and I readily admit to being a label sucker. So keeping Grahm’s words in mind may have influenced my wine tasting…but it scored a 75/100 from me, regardless. After a buttery ascent, the Sisters dips into grassy New World whites then reaches a riesling plateau. It’s a Small World tour of white wines at the pace of a roller coaster.
My Quini profile:
Worth taking the ride, for sure.
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