Saturday saw us heading out to the East Bay for an Oakland tour courtesy of Ruth. We started at the Grand Lake Farmers Market. Many fine looking food stalls but we were distracted by the breakfast of champions: pork hock from Roli Roti. We tried samples from a bunch of places, and the SO had not one but two coffees from Bicycle (no espresso here). Took home four salted chocolate bars from local chocolatier Barlovento for the parental units, and these came in a special envelope with a tiny freezer pack included, and a couple of extra sweeties thrown in – classy. The quality of all the goods at this market seemed high and it is nicely situated, belying the urban setting.
Next we hit up the Oakland Museum for the missions exhibit. It is a worthy place, recently remodeled as I understand it. Would come back again when the natural history area reopens. We’d worked up enough of an appetite to meet Caitlin at BC Deli in Chinatown for some Vietnamese. They were out of (or didn’t have on the menu) the dishes I’d pre-ID’d to try, so we went with a few others that were fine but not outstanding – I’ve had much better bot chien (pan fried rice cakes) in Vancouver, for example. We were in luck with both target desserts, however. The pandan waffles were being freshly made just outside the door, as were the cassava cakes famously (and rightly) described by daveena last month as “shaped like red blood cells,” They were both worthy but I’d go back for the blood cells :-). Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to compare the green waffles mentioned by ankimo at Grand Century Mall…
Next up was a trip to St George’s/Hangar one for a spirited tasting. They encourage you to share and we could have done a single tasting between three of us in hindsight. We are talking about the hard stuff here after all! The standout for me was the buddha’s hand vodka, a bottle of which arrived home unscathed in my luggage and will form the basis of tasty cocktails this summer. This was a fun thing to do on a Saturday afternoon in Alameda. If we had a bit more time, I’d have liked to do the free tour as well. We also came away with some 4505 chicharrones which were surprisingly rather sweet, though delightfully light for pork. Thanks, Ruth, for the excellent tour guiding.
Links to other reports for this trip: Coffee talk: Blue Bottle x2, Stella’s, Bicycle, Jane, Grand Prix, Ma*velous, Creamery, Sightglass plus beans http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/784422
Double shot of pie: Pizzeria Delfina (Filmore) and Bao Necci/Danilo’s http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/784423
Leary love: Canteen and House of Shields http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/784428
Burger (and beer) bonanza: Bix, Marlowe, Rosamunde/Toronado; random final day bites (post 5 of 6) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/784437
Things Asian, a cocktail, and OTG: Z&Y, Shanghai House, Shanghai Dumpling King, BC Deli, Olive, Lers Ros, Sankaku http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/784434
Grand Lake Farmers Market
Grand Ave and Lakepark Way, Oakland, CA