Restaurant Review: The First Street Alehouse in Livermore, CA

My sister-in-law celebrated her birthday over the weekend.  The in-laws all went to The First Street Alehouse in Livermore because of previous positive experiences there…  and because they had big screen televisions to watch the Super Bowl on.

For those who enjoy drinking beer, this place is pretty awesome.  There are a bunch of microbrews on tap – I think 20 or so.  I was driving, so DH ordered a pilsner that was pretty good.  If we were to go again it would be my turn and I’d order a porter (my favorite type of beer).

Don’t expect fancy fare from the First Street Alehouse.  It’s all burgers, sandwiches, fried foods and a few salads.  The burgers are half-pounders, so bring your appetite.  I ordered the California Chicken Sandwich, which was basically a grilled chicken sandwich topped with guacamole, bacon, tomato, onion and lettuce.  The flavors were basic and good.  I ate most of it, even though I probably should have limited myself to half.  My only complaint is that the sandwich was super messy to eat.  The people who ordered the burgers had the same problem.

In spite of the yumminess of the food, there was one problem: my sister-in-law found a hair in her burger.  They were quick to replace the burger, gave us extra fries and comped her meal.  Other than that hiccup, all was good.

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Date Night: Federico’s in Union City

I was super excited to try this restaurant.  I’ve only had one previous tapas experience, and it was positive so when I found out there were tapas here I was happy.

My husband and I visited this past Wednesday night.  I was happy to see fenced off outdoor seating, but it was too cold to eat out there so we wandered into the building itself.

There were a couple of tables with customers sitting at them, a wall of bench seating (ugh, but at least it wasn’t the only seating), bar seating like at a chef’s counter, pretty paint and a water feature.  The chef had his back to us, and there was nobody else to be seen.  After a couple of minutes a waitress came out and sat us.

A carafe of water came out. We ordered a mango martini and sangria too.  The martini was OK, but needed a garnish.  The sangria was yummy.  I noticed lipstick on my water glass, but a replacement glass never came.

We ordered Hawaiian Poke, Gnocchi, Vegetable Risotto, Alligator and Sea Bass.  The waitress didn’t know how to pronounce poke or gnocchi – poke doesn’t rhyme with spoke, and gnocchi isn’t nah-chee.

It took soooooo long for the food to come.  Seriously, we timed it – 45 minutes from the time we ordered until the first plate arrived.  Completely unacceptable.

The sea bass was really tasty.  I would have ordered seconds.

The alligator was described as fried in a tempura batter.  It didn’t resemble any kind of tempura I’d ever had.  Although it was tasty, it seemed as though it was overcooked. The batter was dark and the meat was a bit rubbery.

The risotto was delicious and light.

The gnocchi was richly flavored and delicious.  I was worried it would be rubbery, but it was tender and good.

The poke was roughly textured.  I don’t know if it had to do with the freshness of the fish or if it was due to the way it was cut.  The flavor was good though.

In the end, we left hungry.  We would have ordered more or dessert but we were turned off because of such slow service.

Overall the food was really good.  We might go back in a few months to see if the service and speed has improved.  Unfortunately, right now the taste of the food doesn’t outweigh such a simple problem to fix.

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