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Oakland Chinatown takeout notes

heidipie | Jun 8, 200503:40 AM

--In the Pacific Renaissance Plaza, the place nearest the parking cashiers (is it called Cafe 88 or something like that?) has really odd-sounding items on its breakfast menu. Like "Russian Borscht Macaroni." I asked the women behind the counter about it and they were uninformative. What the heck? I guess I'll have to find out.

--Napoleon Super Bakery had "Portugal Tarts" next to their egg custard tarts. They cost 30 cents more but looked so close to identical that five people cut ahead of me on the line while I was staring at them. The woman behind the counter was more than uninformative--our lack of effective communication was so complete that I accidentally ended up with a half-pound of those terrifying chicharron cookies along with my two tarts. The Portugal turned out to have kind of a vanilla pudding inside, and made the egg custard taste bland and watery by comparison.

--How are the banh mi at Ba Le? The people there are so nice. With my ice coffee I got a "small" (a small container utterly stuffed to the gills) order of very pleasant noodles, transparent like bean thread only thicker, with ground pork and minced red and green peppers, for $2. I think I like the place better than Cam Huong strictly for the good vibes there today, but I hope someone can tell me about the sandwiches.

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