A few weeks ago I posted on the board for comments / suggestions from fellow chowhounders on the tentative itinerary I had put together: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
Here's Part 1 of our "Eating across the Bay" tour... more info and pics will be linked in a post later (my friend D shot the pics and will post commentary on her blog). I will post part 2 as a reply post to this thread later.
We started off on Friday in Oakland @ Legendary Palace for dim sum; because it was just the 2 of us we couldn't order a whole lot. I thought about ordering chrysanthemum tea, but decided to save that choice for boba later on and settled on jasmine instead. We had the usual har gow, siu mai, black bean spareribs, and tripe. Because she wanted to have some sort of rice with the meal, I picked the stirfried rice noodle roll (studded w/ dried shrimp & green onion) -- which is really basic and imho not worth the cost but the guest did not want the wide rice noodle wrap w/ fresh shrimp. We finished off the meal w/ jin duey (sesame balls). I had forgotten that they only serve some items (like suckling pig) on weekends.
After a bit of browsing we headed to Sweetheart Cafe for boba. I ordered chrysanthemum tea w/ pearl -- it came with a few whole chrysanthemum buds and plenty of the petals. Not overly sweet but with the strong infusion of chrysanthemum, this refreshing drink really shines and has that added punch of fresh sweetened pearl. D ordered taro w/ pearl, and because I was too enamored w/ my own fave drink I didn't taste hers. But D did mention it wasn't sweetened enough to her liking.
Next stop was the bakery a few doors down from Gourmet Delight for their luscious fruit tarts. They had an empty tray labeled fruit tarts (as is always the case because they make it fresh when you order). When I asked, they told me I'd have to order more than 2 or 3 for them to make a batch (1 doz.). So after ordering 4, we were told it would take about a half hour. D & I continued browsing & finding souveneirs for her, then headed back to pick up the tarts. I noticed a fresh batch of low poh beng (wife cookie) so we got some of those too. Of course the cookie was fine, just not the best I've tasted. But the star is definitely still the fruit tart. A pastry shell (maybe no-bake?) that holds up well -- even when a day old (I've ordered these for office brunch parties and picked them up a day before, so I know). Stiff but not brittle nor hard -- just crumbly enough without falling apart at the first bite. The tart's addictive nature stems from the play between this crust, and the 2 types of "cream": bottom layer is a thick custard while the top layer is more of a whipped cream; garnished with fruit (usually strawberry, cantalope, and tangerine so the best tarts are when these are in season). After inhaling 2 tarts, we decided to save the other 2 for later and continued our wanderings.
Later on I thought about getting fresh-out-of-the-oven cha siu so (bbq pork flakey pastry)from the bakery next to the community center but I'd heard a rumor that they were planning to move to a new location and would be closing sometime in the next week. As we peered in from across the street, it seemed they were already vacating the premises so we decided not to go. They will be taking over the bakery where we got the fruit tarts. Yay that my fave cha siu so will still be around, boo for the impending disappearance of the fruit tarts.
Since we were still full from all the snacks and we were definitely scheduled for dinner, I decided to only order us 1 banh mi from Cam Huong. D had never had banh mi before (despite living close to Westminister) and requested a non-exotic choice. So it was a #1 -- pork (ham?). We grabbed drinks and took off to the estuary, where we had a lovely view and munched amidst fresh air.