Yesterday we were on an errand in the area and went to the Emeryville Public Market to find something to eat. The EPM is basically a food court, but as I am slowly discovering, the depth and diversity available here is impressive.
We'd visited once before in late September to check out the Afghan place. At the time they did not advertise being Afghan and didn't even have their sign up. So I was pleased to see that their sign was back up (they're called Pamir), and not only that, they also have a Persian food counter next to the Afghan one, serving Chel-o-kebab and the like.
For lunch we tried the taqueria, whose name I can't remember, but it's Taqueria Somethingilla. (No, really.) As expected, they served a somewhat mallified version of tacos (I had to ask them to skip the lettuce and tomato on my Al Pastor), but they had the al pastor on a rotisserie, they grilled it up crisp and tasty, and there was so much of it that I used my tortillas to make two big tacos out of one huge heap of meat (just as well, since one "taco" costs $3.00). We also tried the Chile Colorado, in the form of an "enchilada". Again, the presentation was somewhat bizarre (two unheated tortillas rolled around the chile meat and covered in an uninteresting "enchilada" sauce), but good heavens, the meat was delicious, sweet and smoky. I wonder if they sell their chile colorado by the quart.
After we ate, we stumbled around the rest of the market, plotting our scheme to slowly review every restaurant in the place. Turns out the taqueria also serves cajun food (on the other side of their aisle) like big smoked sausages and freshly roasted chickens and beef ribs. If their chile colorado is any indication, their ribs are probably incredible. There's also a chinese seafood grill that offers spicy fried catfish; a vietnamese place; a korean place (bul koki from a steam table? well, I'll try it someday); a japanese noodle bowl place; and the ubiquitous gyro stand.
We realized as we wandered that while this was "fast" food, most if not all of the establishments were locally owned and run, and they cut their own meats and prepared them on site. I'm in the middle of reading "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser (required reading for, well, you) and things like this are foremost in my mind when ingesting beef lately.
So...any other emeryville public market stories?
The Emeryville Public Market is at 5800 Shellmound St in Emeryville, just across the tracks from the Amtrak station. Tip to bicyclists coming from Oakland or Berkeley: You don't have to risk your neck riding over Powell street. Go to the Amtrak station, pretend you're going to the tracks to board a train, and use the elevator to go over the tracks on the pedestrian walkway. (The elevator is big enough to hold two full sized bikes and their (full) riders). The elevator delivers you into the parking lot of the Market.