A morning excursion across the Bay Bridge provides many pleasures… here are merely a couple of my favorite non-restaurant food stops in Oaktown:
5098 Telegraph Avenue (at 51st Street)
Oakland, CA 94609
Yes, we San Franciscans have a wealth of bakery options, including near legendary Tartine, which I am thrilled to frequent. But if I had my way, I’d make Bakesale Betty’s my neighborhood bakery (for some lucky souls, it is!) The “menu” (there is none per se) changes but is simple: usually less than ten items, baked that day, each one… flawless.
Their scones are the best I’ve ever had. Scones are often dense and leaded, but these are flaky, melt-in-the-mouth as well as dense. Flavors change, including lemon-raisin, pear-ginger… it doesn’t matter. It’s ALL good! Seasonal pies, cakes and cookies round out the buttery goodness.
You’ll hear paeans of praise to their famed Buttermilk Fried Chicken sandwich, which even first thing in the morning are being assembled by the dozens: crispy, peppery fried chicken on a soft roll with a jalapeno slaw (not spicy, seedless). I could jump on the bandwagon but for one slight complaint: without mayo or sauce, it is a little dry. But that shouldn’t stop you – I’d take one for breakfast or lunch anytime!
If the pleasure of stellar baked goods isn’t enough, playful ironing board tables lining the sidewalk give it a down-home feel, and the ultra-friendly staff is a highlight of an already great place. Every time I go, they always give me a free slice of pie, cake or a cookie on top of my order. Oh, Betty! If only you were my neighbor…
907 Washington Street (between 9th and 10th Streets in the Housewives’ Market)
Oakland, CA 94607
When the Renaissance Man and I want to grill up our own sausages instead of visiting our beloved Rosamunde Sausage Grill in the Lower Haight, we head to Taylor’s, our cooler packed with ice (since we do have to cross the Bay to get them), to buy some of the best sausages in existence at Oakland’s historic Housewives’ Market.
This place is hardcore – just watch them grind up raw meat, as you pick out sausages to take home. Even freezing sausages to grill weeks later takes nothing away from their amazing flavor. We serve them in a soft roll topped with grilled onions and our favorite mustards from Healdsburg’s Hop Kiln Winery. Paired with an ice-cold beer, we enter a higher level of food heaven.
I adore Taylor’s Boudin Blanc, a New Orleans’ specialty: white sausage with rice. Other greats include a spicy Cajun Chicken, Louisiana Hot Sausage and the Italian… you really can’t go wrong.