It’s hard to make an occasion feel special these days. Time has blurred into one long, hellish amorphous blob, and sometimes I un-pot and re-pot all of my plants just to feel something. But Alley & Vine in Alameda is exactly where I’ll order from the next time I need to make a night in feel a little more celebratory. Their menu changes depending on what’s in season, but expect to see things like tender braised short rib or toasted garlic bread with burrata, both of which are excellent and a far cheerier dinner choice than a Kind bar and a handful of blueberries. And the Dungeness crab and bacon mac and cheese, made with huge, thick-cut chunks of bacon and topped with a crispy, lacy piece of griddled cheese, is reason enough to celebrate. They’ve also got a pretty extensive wine list and great seasonal cocktails, which I’m happy to enjoy at home until I can sit down in their spacious dining room.
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Pier 23 Cafe
The casual waterfront bar and restaurant on the Embarcadero makes burgers, salads, sandwiches, and stiff drinks.
This casual Bernal Heights restaurant has a huge patio that’s ideal for brunch or burgers with friends.
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