Category Archives: cocktail

Sausage-beef burger, meaty crab cake highlight fun happy-hour at Niles’ The Vine

Close-up of the Vine Burger at The Vine in Fremont's Niles Historic District.

Close-up of the Vine Burger at The Vine in Fremont’s Niles Historic District.

If you’re in the Fremont area one afternoon and looking for a laid-back happy-hour spot after work, give The Vine a try.

The contemporary American eatery and bar in Fremont’s Niles Historic District has a great patio area that features a long, wooden bar, plenty of umbrella-covered tables and a fire pit to sit around and enjoy a drink with friends.With Motown and funk classics playing in the background, I felt like I was at a friend’s outdoor party on a recent night – very relaxing and inviting (check out The Vine’s patio area here).

The Vine prides itself on offering “fine food – not fine dining” and using local produce and sustainable meats. I was impressed by the reasonably-priced small plates (several under $10), like the Tempura Fried Green Beans and Clam Frites, and its extensive cocktail menu that incorporates a sweet potato spirit called soju.

Dish of Choice

Since I only had a bag of Fritos for lunch, I had a big appetite this past Wednesday night. So I ordered the Vine Burger, a patty made with Niman Ranch sausage and beef, dressed with aioli, arugula, grilled tomato and pepper jack on top of a ciabatta bun with a side salad. I added a side of garlic fries.

The Guava Momma at The Vine in Fremont's Niles Historic District.

The Guava Momma at The Vine in Fremont’s Niles Historic District.

I also chose the Crab Cake, which came with a spread of roasted almond and red pepper aioli. For refreshments, I ordered the Mo-Beer-Jito, which was made with pilsner beer, soju, lemon and lime juice, crushed mint and agave nectar. The Guava Momma was mixed with sparkling wine, pomegranate molasses and an orange wedge on the rocks.
Altogether with tax, my bill came out to about $38.

The Taste

The Vine Burger tasted like a burger you would get at a cookout. It had a good charring on the patty and bun; the patty was tender and had a smoky flavor, and the ciabatta bun was grilled on the bottom but still soft on top and in the middle.

The fries were at a nice halfway point between soft and crispy and lightly seasoned with garlic, and the salad had a light, zesty vinaigrette that didn’t weigh it down.

The crab cake was packed with fresh meat, and I liked the small slices of onions and peppers throughout the cake. I also enjoyed the thin, crisp breading (I hate when a crab cake is mostly breading with a smidge of crab).

The Crab Cake at The Vine in Fremont's Niles Historic District.

The Crab Cake at The Vine in Fremont’s Niles Historic District.

The Mo-Beer-Jito was tart, citrusy and had a great helping of mint to make it that much more refreshing. The Guava Momma was effervescent and had a nice sprinkling of citrus fruit and strawberry slices. It was a refreshing girly drink without overdoing it on the sweetness.

Other Details

Happy Hour at The Vine is from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, according to the restaurant’s website. Along with lunch and dinner, The Vine also offers Sunday brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I love brunch, and I am intrigued by the Smoked Salmon Bruschetta, made with salmon, scrambled eggs, creme fraiche, caper and red onion salsa and grilled garlic bread. I’ll make my way over one Sunday morning.

The Vine is located at 37533 Niles Boulevard in Fremont. For more information, call (510) 792-0112 or visit

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Posted by on August 7, 2015 in burgers, cocktail, food, happy hour, seafood


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Pesto and feta chicken crepe worth the wait at Mountain View’s Crepevine

Close-up of the Tuscany crepe at Mountain View's Crepevine.

Close-up of the Tuscany crepe at Mountain View’s Crepevine.

Whenever I venture out for brunch on a Sunday morning in the Bay Area, I always have to remind myself to have a snack before I go.

This helps prepare for the long wait that is bound to happen, and I tend to become increasingly hangry (that feeling of anger due to hunger) after the first 20 minutes of waiting for a table.

This past Fourth of July weekend, the line was out the door at Mountain View’s Crepevine, known for using fresh, organic and locally-grown ingredients. We had 10 ladies in our party, and I didn’t grab my snack (ugh).

However, I was pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of the waitstaff. It took about 25 minutes before I got to the counter to order my food, but the staff was already setting up our table while we waited in line. Although the place was crowded, the staff had a great handle on traffic control and getting diners to their seats in a timely fashion.

The Tuscany crepe at Mountain View's Crepevine.

The Tuscany crepe at Mountain View’s Crepevine.

Dish of Choice

I ordered the Tuscany, a crepe filled with chicken breast, mushrooms, tomatoes, roasted almonds, provolone, feta and pesto. The dish is served with potatoes or fries (I chose fries) and organic mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette. A gluten-free option is available for $1 more.

Along with a glass of sangria, my order cost about $22.

The Taste

Crepevine did not skimp on the ingredients. My crepe was jam-packed with tender chicken, which was moist and savory from the rich-flavored pesto. The pesto was a bit on the thin side, but it made for a great marinade for the chicken.

The crepe itself was light and crisp on the edges, and there was a generous amount of strong, hearty feta. The almonds added a toasty flavor and interesting texture to the dish. The fries were thickly cut, crispy on the outside and not greasy.

The Sangria at Mountain View's Crepevine.

The Sangria at Mountain View’s Crepevine.

The mixed salad was a welcomed fresh and light contrast to the rich, thick crepe, which was big enough to split with another person, in my opinion. There was a lot of food for a good price, and I took half of the entree home for later.

The sangria was strong, but not knock-you-on-your-butt strong, and there were plenty of fruit slices to add a great tropical flavor. I was hoping the restaurant had a white wine sangria because the red wine version tends to be a bit heavy for warm, summer weather. It was still a good cocktail worth trying.

Other Details

Crepevine has 10 locations throughout the San Francisco/San Jose Bay Area. The Mountain View restaurant is located at 300 Castro St. For more information, call the Mountain View location at (650) 969-6878 or visit


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