It isn't uncommon for Daimo Chinese Restaurant's head chef, Kwong Soon Lee, to pop into the dining room for a friendly chat with guests. Otherwise, the chef?who began his career decades ago cooking in a restaurant in China?spends hours in the kitchen perfecting both familiar and more unusual dishes.?
He creates classic dishes including sweet and sour pork, braised spareribs covered in plum sauce, and bok choy dressed in garlic sauce, as well as regular-favorites lobster and peking duck. Some of his more eclectic options include jelly fish coated in sesame seeds and stewed pig's feet. He also crafts various congees, rice porridges that are as comforting to the soul as a picture of a baby and puppy snuggling.
Kai Bistro's spacious, earth-toned interior invites guests to enjoy plates full of Chinese food. The expansive menu includes curries, fried rice, mu shu, and pan-fried noodles with various proteins, including tofu, shrimp, and beef. Additionally, the chefs whip up 14 specialty dishes, from fresh fruit stir-fried with prawns to a Szechuan-style dish so spicy it requires the supervision of local firemen.
Good for a hearty breakfast, a lunchtime pick-me-up, or a sandwich just because it's sandwich time, Joan's Bakery Coffeehouse & Deli offers culinary staples of both the chewable and drinkable variety. Early visitors can feast on fresh fruit bowls, ham and cheese croissants, and espresso, or they can skip past the breakfast-appropriate foods and head straight for the brownies and popular swiss mocha rolls. For later meals, deli staples, such as club sandwiches and turkey wraps, compete for attention with more unexpected offerings, like the smoked ham house muffuletta, the chicken shawarma wrap, and the rib-eye blue cheese sandwich. Regardless of the time of day, patrons can phone ahead for one of the bakery's biggest treats. Both the strawberry cheesecake and the tiramisu cake take a full three hours to prep, but toting home the indulgent full-size desserts might just be worth the wait.
Although Steve Cruz was born in the Philippines and James Sito was born in China, their paths crossed and forever intertwined in Oakland. There, more than two decades ago, they discovered a shared interest in the minutiae and endless variety of the culinary industry. Today, at San Leandro's CreAsian Bistro, Steve spends much of his time getting to know customers in the dining room while James experiments with powerful flavors, creative presentations, and spicy pyrotechnics in the kitchen.
James and his staff use fresh ingredients to fuse Chinese, American, Thai, and Japanese flavors into an eclectic menu. They plate up tempura vegetables, five-spice duck, seared ahi tuna, and wasabi-coated steak—as well as vegan and vegetarian dishes upon request—to create edible works of art. Much like a group of snowmen partying in a hot tub, the food's flavors dissolve and mix together with inventive cocktails and international and local wines from such vineyards as Nottingham Cellars. Also a strong supporter of the local community, CreAsian Bistro donates 10% of its sales on the first Wednesday of each month to the nonprofit San Leandro Education Foundation, which improves educational opportunities for local children.
The glass cases at East 14th Bakery are stocked with freshly baked temptations. These temptations include everything from egg custard to pork buns and mini pineapple pies. For special occasions, the bakers can whip up cupcakes by the dozen, cakes, and other baked goods such as cinnamon rolls or eclairs.