Monday, March 18, 2013

What We Like: Snapchat, Cheap Eats, Tom Wilson Oranges

By Whitney Phaneuf
Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 6:22 AM

I’ve been on Snapchat for awhile because I am extremely hip and early-adoptive, but this week was when I became legitimately obsessed. SO SNAPCHAT ME GUYS: my username is elcush. Be good, please. Extra points if you’re a tween. — Ellen Cushing

I'm always looking for a decent meal under $10 ("decent" defined as good quality/fresh ingredients, not fast food, not going to make me feel sick afterward). Here are three recent favorites:
1. Babalou's Mediterranean in downtown Walnut Creek makes a mean chicken shawarma: Tender chicken sliced off a spit, cucumbers, tomato, onions, tahini, hummus, and an optional spicy red paste (which I recommend) on lavash bread for $7.50. Each subtle flavor came through in the wrap and it wasn't too salty (that's rare), plus the small, take-out style restaurant was packed with regulars at 6 p.m. on a Saturday and many of them appeared to be Middle Eastern.
2. The lunch specials at Kamdesh Afghan Kabab House, which Luke also loved, mostly clock in at $9.95, with a few at $10.95, but considering its kabab and rice plate will likely feed you for two meals, it's a good deal for quick, healthy food.
3. The burger at Disco Volante, with aged white cheddar, bacon jam, and pickled pepper mayonnaise is worth $15, but during its late night happy hour from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., it's a total steal at $10. AND it comes with a ton of handcut fries.
— Whitney Phaneuf

Small and casual, Babalous Mediterranean in Walnut Creek is a hidden gem.
  • Babalou's Mediterranean
  • Small and casual, Babalou's Mediterranean in Walnut Creek is a hidden gem.

I am not, as a general rule, much of a salad person. But this recipe from Orangette, for a warm farro salad with chickpeas, feta, and a nuoc cham-inspired dressing, knocked my socks off. It's a little bit spicy, a little bit pungent; it has lots of great texture; it goes just as well with Asian food as it does with non-Asian food. What more could you ask for? — Luke Tsai

I think Beer Rev might be my favorite place in the entire world, and glory be, its food-oriented offshoot, Olde Depot Public House is FINALLY open to the well, public. Most of the menu focuses on vegan “sausages” (quotation marks very much mine), so I stuck to fries, but OH WHAT FRIES THEY ARE: super-crispy, thick-cut, and verrrry fried, with what East Bay Express calendar editor/verifiable French fry expert Azeen Ghorayshi described as “the perfect outer-crunchiness-to-inner-fluffiness ratio.” (Our other dining companion also wondered aloud if they were the best fries he’d EVER HAD, so there’s that.) You can also text them from Beer Rev and they will bring food right to your face, for an experience that’s kind of like a drug deal, but with more fried food, and also like the most stunningly, wonderfully indulgent show of 21st century privilege ever, and also like a reaaaallly good reason to never have to leave Beer Rev ever. — E.C.

Just when I thought I was over citrus fruit for the year, a Chowhound tipster is reporting that the Andronico's supermarkets have gotten in this year's batch of Tom Wilson oranges, which are the very best oranges: juicy, sweet, and true. (I called the Shattuck Ave. location to make sure, and it's confirmed: They're here!) — L.T.

A lo-fi punk band out of late-Seventies LA, The Urinals is the latest underground group to get the Superior Viaduct reissue treatment. Off its debut EP, track "Hologram" drones and dances with repetitive shimmering guitar and spare lyrics. It'll be reissued in April along with other 7'' releases by the band. — Alex Taitague

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