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af&co. July Reviews

The af&co. staff has been out and about tasting all of the best the Bay Area has to offer. Take a peek at where we’ve been and click through on the titles for the full reviews.

 

Alyssa Takes Herself to Mägo Oakland

 

More than anything, that kind of motivation and work ethic present at Mägo is what differentiates restaurants with character and potential from refined dining locations that leave you remembering the hefty price tag rather than the food…My best advice, give Mägo a few months to work out some kinks and then give it a try. They have the foundations to make a successful restaurant but will definitely benefit from focusing extra time into menu development once the bulk of their energy can transition away from all the chaos that accompanies opening a restaurant in this day and age.

 

Marcelle Recaps Her and Karina’s Night at Rich Table

 

The hostess sat me right away and brought me to the back of the restaurant, where one of their very few larger party tables lives. The majority of tables accommodate parties of 2-4, which means you see quite a few dates in the dining room. I immediately fell in love with the interior of the restaurant. The rustic, simple, woodsy aesthetic is great — and I loved the location of our table. It almost felt semi-private and away from noise, but not to the point of it being too far removed from the liveliness. The ambiance and space itself had to have been my favorite part about the experience.

 

Take a Bagel Break at Daily Driver with Karina

 

The bagels were really good, although not EXTRAORDINARY. The cultured butter and cream cheese were unique in their own way. The grilled cheese bagel definitely topped the list (think ooey, gooey cheesy delicacy) – must try…Overall, it was a pleasant experience, but I wouldn’t wait more than 20 minutes in line for it, unless you really want to! Fun fact, they have Magnolia beer on tap which you can enjoy on-site. If you’re in the neighborhood, give it a try as it is a sight to see.

 

Amy Reviews Afternoon Team at Dandelion Chocolate’s Bloom Salon

 

The room itself was lovely, and I can imagine seeing it over and over again on Instagram. We found it surprisingly cold. The only decision we had to make was whether or not we wanted the House Hot Chocolate or the (spicier) Mission Hot Chocolate. We did one of each and felt that they were the highlight of the experience. The accompanying house-made marshmallows were also excellent.

 

Alley Throws Back a Few at Willkommen

 

All of their drafts had fun names like Sparkle Pony Belgian Blonde Ale and Sunrise Set Sour Berliner Weisse. We tasted and enjoyed both. I usually don’t like sour beers, but this one wasn’t overpowering and I could actually see myself drinking a full glass of it. In the end, we settled on two half-liters of Summer Mixtape, a fruity, hazy IPA that wasn’t too hoppy and would make for a great summer go-to, and the Heff Bridges Hefeweizen that tasted great but ultimately won out for its name…Overall, it was great experience. The staff was kind and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming. It was the type of place where you wanted to stay and hang out and it felt like that was encouraged as well. I think we’ll probably be making this our go-to spot for a beer and a pretzel.

Alley Throws Back a Few at Willkommen

It was a beautiful Sunday and I was walking my dog as I passed by Black Hammer Brewing’s new beer hall, Willkommen, for what felt like the hundredth time. Just up the block from my apartment, we pass it daily but had yet to visit the bright, light-filled space. So, I went back to my place, convinced my roommates to participate in a Sunday Funday, and headed back up the way towards Willkommen.

 

Upon arriving, the space was occupied by just a few tables, but it was still early in the day. We hopped in line for the counter where drinks and food are ordered and were delighted by how helpful and informative the woman working was. She was enthusiastic about the beer and made excellent recommendations.

 

All of their drafts had fun names like Sparkle Pony Belgian Blonde Ale and Sunrise Set Sour Berliner Weisse. We tasted and enjoyed both. I usually don’t like sour beers, but this one wasn’t overpowering and I could actually see myself drinking a full glass of it. In the end, we settled on two half-liters of Summer Mixtape, a fruity, hazy IPA that wasn’t too hoppy and would make for a great summer go-to, and the Heff Bridges Hefeweizen that tasted great but ultimately won out for its name. We ordered a couple of pretzels that were tasty, but then again can you mess up a pretzel? I appreciated that they were shaped in sticks rather than twists – easier for dipping. I’m not big on beer cheese as I enjoy a good mustard instead, but I was told by my roommates that it was very good. It’s also worth noting that the space serves Rosemunde Sausage. Having a place to get those wurst practically outside my door may prove to be a problem for my waistband in the future.

 

We sat for a while enjoying our beer and pretzels while we watched the space fill up with other groups trying to extend the weekend as much as they could. The decor is simple but sweet and put the focus on the beautifully crafted communal tables and the greenery adorning the walls, nooks and crannies. I loved the paper flowers hanging from the ceiling as they were reminiscent of my college apartment, and there was a mural in progress that I am excited to see finished.

 

Overall, it was great experience. The staff was kind and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming. It was the type of place where you wanted to stay and hang out and it felt like that was encouraged as well. I think we’ll probably be making this our go-to spot for a beer and a pretzel.

Amy Reviews Afternoon Tea at Dandelion Factory’s Bloom Salon

I tried out the Bloom Salon at the new Dandelion Factory on 16th for their chocolate tea. We are big fans of afternoon tea and had heard early positive reviews from friends. Plus I was very curious to see the new factory space.

 

Although items can be ordered a la carte earlier in the day, in the afternoon, guests are encouraged to order from one of two set menus: one described as an afternoon chocolate tea and one afternoon ice cream. Our plan had been to order one of each, but to our great disappointment, they were having issues with their ice cream production, so we were limited to the afternoon chocolate menu.
 
The room itself was lovely, and I can imagine seeing it over and over again on Instagram. We found it surprisingly cold. The only decision we had to make was whether or not we wanted the House Hot Chocolate or the (spicier) Mission Hot Chocolate. We did one of each and felt that they were the highlight of the experience. The accompanying house-made marshmallows were also excellent.
 
The tea is presented in the traditional tiered platter. The menu was:
 
Open-Face Egg Salad (not on the online menu)
Citrus Macaron – Camino Verde, Ecuador crémeaux, cacao pulp, Meyer lemon, and mint jam
Chocolate Soufflé – Mini chocolate soufflé served in a copper pot
Earl Grey Profiterole – Pâte à choux filled with chocolate and Earl Grey cream
Almond Raspberry Napolean – Puff pastry layered with chocolate almond cream and raspberries
 
Of these, the overwhelming favorite for us and the tables near us was the Napoleon. Almond and raspberry is a flavor combination I always love, and the pastry was well made. The egg salad was fine and it was nice to have something savory, but not particularly memorable. We felt the citrus macaron, although well-made, was overwhelmed by the mint jam. My companion liked her souffle, I felt mine was a bit grainy, but did appreciate the not overly sweet flavor. The profiterole, again, was well-made but the Earl Grey dominated the chocolate.
 
In all, we were not big fans. It could be that we are not chocolate obsessed, but between the disappointment about the unavailable ice cream menu and the flavors, we both felt that we would have been happier at a more traditional tea service. That said, friends have loved it, so it may have been an off day and I do think it would be a fun place to come for hot chocolate and a chat.

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