The range of food you can get in Oakland is sort of mind-boggling, even just looking back on the fraction we were able to cover on CHOW Tour. Telegraph Avenue is full of Korean and Ethiopian restaurants (we still need to make it to the places on Robert Lauriston’s soju bang list for some Korean drinking snacks). There’s Laotian cuisine (served with Raiders-themed décor, no less). High-end cocktails at Sidebar. Mexican street food in Fruitvale. Fancy late-night burgers at Plum. It goes on and on. So it’s not surprising that the fabulous diversity of the city was brought up over and over again by all the locals we spoke to. It really makes Oakland a great place to be. READ MORE
On the day we were out roaming the streets with SFoodie’s John Birdsall, Taqueria Campos was on the agenda, but we never made it, getting waylaid by Jesus’s chicken at Taqueria Durango just down the street. But John’s description of receiving a plate of chicharrones with warm bean dip while you wait for your order at this tiny restaurant stuck with us. We went back to check it out. READ MORE
Oakland’s Bakesale Betty is known for its iconic blue-haired owner, Alison Barakat; funky sidewalk tables made out of ironing boards; and the long lines for its mighty large fried chicken sandwich. READ MORE
Pizzaiolo’s Charlie Hallowell is a markedly philosophical pizza-maker. His casual, wood-fired pizza restaurant in the Temescal neighborhood serves pies topped with seasonal ingredients like wild nettles or Monterey Bay squid, crisp well-made salads, and great drinks. He chatted with us about how an ideal restaurant vibe transcends commerce and just feels like a party, how pizza-making is a metaphor for life, and how young’uns who want to open a restaurant better sit down and have a clear vision for every aspect of it if they want to be successful. READ MORE
We went looking for pastries in Oakland, and after a stop by the old-school-to-the-core Taste of Denmark, we went over to Katrina Rozelle in Rockridge for a look at the fancier side of Oakland bakeries. Walking in, it seemed like more of a place to pick up a birthday cake or special-order a fancy dessert for a party, but they did have a few grab-and-eat items. Notably: a lemon tart with creamy homemade lemon curd and a precisely formed crust that was rolled out just thin enough to hold the curd without falling apart.
5931 College Avenue, Oakland
Before we went wandering around Oakland, California, we called longtime Oakland resident and San Francisco magazine food and wine editor Jan Newberry. She gave us an overview of the vibe and talked about some of her favorite spots. READ MORE
We’ve been really loving checking out the lively and diverse food scene in Oakland, California. In the coming weeks, we’ll show you a peek at everything from Plum’s high-end late-night drunk-food salad topped with slabs of pork belly and foraged greens, to a torta served out of a trailer dipped French dip-style in superhot chile salsa.
We’ll cover the unpretentious street food of the Fruitvale area (not served by anyone with an ironic mustache) and unconventional sorbets in flavors like squash.
Plus: the best waffle ever, a behind-the-scenes look at handmade teff injera (Ethiopian flatbread), and a lot more. Oakland coverage on CHOW Tour: Handmade starts February 28!