Food

Labor Day potluck pushes better school meals

Michelle Mapp and Rachel Carroll, of Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood, took their 8-year-old daughter Lauren to Labor Day lunch yesterday, taking their seats at a white-cloth-covered table in the middle of Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Civic Center Park.    The menu, on their plates, at least, was enchiladas, red grapes, and freshly squeezed lemonade.  It was a community potluck–with a purpose. The three gathered at the end of one of five long tables lined with bright red apples. As Lauren alternated between…

Halal markets and a mosque draw Oakland’s immigrant Muslim community

At the River Nile Market in Oakland, which is slightly bigger than a city bus, the shelves are crammed with little bits of Yemen, Sudan, Egypt and Lebanon. Cans of fruit, meat and juice carry Arabic script as well as English lettering.  Glass buckets hold spices – cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon and za’atar, a mixture of herbs and spices popular in the Middle East.  Burlap bags of basmati rice spill into the aisles.  Three water pipes, or hookahs, perch on the…

OAKTOWN EATS: Injera and Berbere Sauce on Telegraph

By ALEXIA UNDERWOOD (Shilanda Woolridge and Ayako Mie contributed to this review.) The proliferation of Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants along Telegraph Avenue is one of North Oakland’s less celebrated features.  Yet, once you’ve tried it, who can turn down a soft, spongy handful of slightly sour Ingera (flat, pancake-like bread) combined with a thick, spicy Berbere sauce (made with ground red chili peppers, cumin and other spices), often served on a communal ‘family style platter?  Better yet, what adult would…

A new farmer’s market grows at Children’s Hospital

Patients and doctors at Children’s Hospital are now meeting Tuesdays at the new farmer’s market that takes place from 2 to 7 in the parking lot. Jen Cook, a pediatrician there, teamed up with Brett Bennner from Phat Beets, on Mandela Parkway, to establish the market. Cook was inspired after seeing the market at Kaiser in Oakland. “A light bulb went off. It makes total sense,” said Cook. “A hospital is a place of healing and health. A lot of…

OAKTOWN EATS: La Calaca Loca

  Chips and salsa can make or break a Mexican meal. While Las Palmas or Cactus Taqueria might bolster healthy Mexican cuisine -they fail to match the quality and quantity of these triangle corn appetizers. This is where La Calaca Loca quietly excels. The restaurant fries their corn tortilla chips ($1.50) to perfection. With the hearty chunks of tomato and a dash of cilantro and onion, this appetizer might be confused for a meal of its own. You can enjoy…

Decoding the buzz around Mama Buzz

The Morning Shift. The flat, wide stretch of Telegraph Avenue that runs through the Koreatown-Northgate district is mostly empty when I arrive at Mama Buzz café a few minutes after 7:00 a.m.  A man pushes a shopping cart and some bags of bottles and cans down the sidewalk. A lone woman loads up her car with groceries in the parking lot of Koreana Plaza Market.  One helmeted biker has already beat me to the door of Mama Buzz; he tries…

A produce store grows in West Oakland

Among the dilapidated housing, the abandoned, weed covered lots and graffiti marked walls of West Oakland sits the Mandela Foods Cooperative, an organic grocery store. It’s an ideal place to start an organic grocery store and nutritional education center, said Stephanie Camus.  “There hasn’t been a real grocery store here for 30 years.” Camus is one of eight workers and owners of the cooperative that opened at 1430 7th Street earlier this month. “We’re trying to provide healthier food for…

I scream, you scream, we all scream on College Avenue

At the age of eight, Adrienne Wander is already a food connoisseur. “As far as quality goes, Ici is the best, Tara’s vanilla is great,” said the elementary school foodie licking her favorite Dreyer’s Fudge Track. She knows her ice cream, in part a result of living near creamery row on College Avenue. The commercial corridor is home to Dreyer’s, which created Rocky Road in 1929 after the stock market crash,  Ici Ice Cream, the hip and gourmet  parlor, which …

A master of delicate and gruff

Dominic De Vincenzi remembers early mornings in the 1950s, when the intersection of 51st Street and Telegraph Avenue was the heart of Oakland’s Italian community. Long lines of customers formed as soon as 7 a.m. at Genova Deli—then a cramped, 600-square-foot store owned by his father-in-law—as workers poured in to buy their lunches or treat themselves after working the graveyard shift. Appetites were beastly and it was common for customers to bicker over their place in line, so in the…