Directly following my trip to Peru, I left on a research trip to the West Coast for two weeks. What was I researching? Glad you asked: a book on Stadium Eats! Um, yeah, without a deal in sight currently (hint, hint, anyone reading this who is interested!), I went to preemptively scout out the 6 West Coast stadiums and eat my way up and down the West Coast at the same time, starting in San Francisco, working my way down to Los Angeles, then San Diego, back up to San Francisco and then to Seattle! Phew! Tune in at 4:15 EST (or 1:15 PST, lunchtime on the West Coast) for the next 6 weeks to see what I ate and where I ate it… and how I gained 10 lbs in two weeks!
My dedication to good food runs far and wide. Maybe you remember me mentioning Roli Roti… but you probably don’t know that I dream about that sandwich. Since November, I’ve occasionally found myself staring into space, imagining the feel of that sandwich in my hand, the bread sliding between my teeth as I bit down into absolute bliss; the sweet onion marmalade along with the crisp, crackly skin of the pork belly… oh my… excuse me *wipes drool
In any case, since then, I knew I had to return to have the full sandwich. I waited patiently but when I finally booked my trip, I was over the moon that I would have so many days in San Francisco. When I looked up the schedule, the first day I could, I headed to where they said they would be – Friday morning, back in Oakland (where I spent all of Thursday), for the Old Oakland Farmer’s Market… (Fridays 8am-2pm, year-round, 9th at Broadway, if you’re interested)
I first walked up and saw this, and was super excited. I also love Farmer’s Markets, and the NYC ones seem to be so crowded and difficult to maneuver without getting shoved. It wasn’t nearly that crowded here, though I got here around noon.
Golden Rainier cherries! I got really excited, despite how expensive they were (a few days prior, I’d run into a supermarket where they were selling them for 68c a pound).
But I didn’t spend too much time initially dawdling and looking around at the produce – I made a beeline to the end of the market for the one thing I’d come for.
Where is the sandwich on the menu.
NO SANDWICH??? Why is there NO LINE at the most awesome of trucks, which smelled awesome (I literally followed the scent to find the location)???
This hand-scrawled sign … sort of explained it. They had no sandwiches. Just pork?
I’m sorry for the horrible picture because I snapped this before digging in and didn’t take any more pictures of it whole. My precious…
The rosemary potatoes were tasty enough but really just an afterthought.
THE REAL SHOW.
Juicy, succulent goodness!!! I started chowing down frantically on this fatty piece of heaven. The skin was chewy in parts but super crisp in others.
This picture was accidentally snapped while I was trying to pull my hair back because it was windy and the only table I could find was in direct sun, so I was overheating quite a bit. I was still trying to eat with a plastic knife and fork at this point, too. I finally gave up and
Picked it up with my hands to NOM on it like a big turkey drumstick. The person walking by that I requested take my photo probably thought I was crazy, but obliged and laughed while walking away. Oh well.
After I’d nommed it all down, I walked around the market and picked this up, a brand of soda I hadn’t seen before. Pretty tasty, though I wish more of the lime had come through in the flavor. Otherwise, not bad.
When I’d walked up to the Roli Roti truck, I’d heard a guy yelling “I have something for you!” from a booth nearby, but I turned and told him politely “I’m on a mission! I’ll come back!” as lecherous as those words might sound to a cynical New Yorker. I returned a few minutes later holding my pork prize, and he’d been very surprised I returned – but I said I’d be back! In any case, it turned out this booth was the Home Maid Ravioli Company, and he held out a cracker with a schmear of garlic parmesan spread on it.
After a lot of chatter about the products, his love of Chicago baseball, and discussing my tour of the West Coast ballparks, I walked away holding three containers. I didn’t get a chance to eat them until the next morning, though…
After I’d stuffed my face with as much pork as possible, I headed to the nearest Trader Joe’s (according to my GPS which I’d brought from NYC), for stuff to drink and crackers for my Home Maid Ravioli products. Interesting note: my rental car had a “cooler box” above the glove box, designed to hold 4 cans of drink and keep them cold. Ummm… it didn’t work. Let’s just put it that way.
Yes, goofing off in Trader Joe’s. I am the Artichoke Queen! Look at my Artichoke Scepter!
I was amused to see Two Buck Chuck, which I believe in New York no longer sells for Two Bucks… (It’s been a very long time – almost 10 years? – since my friends would buy this.)
The sign as you leave that Trader Joe’s – love it! (Yes, my local Trader Joe’s probably has the same sign.) Also, while I was shopping, guess what I found? More Hansen’s soda! I picked up a 6pack of the creamy root beer and enjoyed that for the next few days of my trip (it was indeed very creamy in the mouth-feel).
Back to food! The next morning, before heading out of my horrible hotel that thankfully had a fridge, I spread out my goodies on the desk and began my nomming.
First up was a loaf of bread I’d picked up while roaming around the Farmer’s Market after buying the goodies from Home Maid Ravioli. Of course a loaf of bread… I love bread (despite not eating it that often).
Look at that gorgeous loaf. Dense, with a crisp exterior.
Not having had pugliese before, it reminded me of ciabatta with a much denser crumb. It worked perfectly for my purposes –
The only container I’d purchased without trying, this was a little too lemony-tangy for me. Replete with with artichokes, but even more filled with lemon, lemon rind, lemon juice, I choked a bit on this.
But the initial spread I’d tried was creamy, delicious, with full parmesan flavor, along with wonderful garlic, and hints of lemon. I inhaled this with crackers (mostly while driving down to LA later that day). SO GOOD.
But the last item is where I swooned till I almost keeled over.
Delicious button mushrooms in this heavenly flavored oil… I ate about half the container before stopping. These would be amazing to top a salad, or an antipasto platter, or just to eat… omg… so good.
YUM! Double whammy: after I’d eaten half, it occurred to me… dip the pugliese in the oil! AND OMFG IT WAS PURE GENIUS. SO.DAMN.GOOD.
Unfortunately, Home Maid Ravioli doesn’t ship anywhere currently… I am hoping this changes very shortly!!! Mmmmmmmm. Sooo good, the mushrooms and the parmesan spread… amazing… nommm
Yvo says: The Market did get a lil crowded around 1pm, but it isn’t very big and is easy to navigate in any case. I highly recommend checking it out if you have time to get over to Oakland during a trip out there, or just however. It’s pretty close to a BART station too (I think?), if you don’t want to rent a car. Good stuff and all the people were super friendly and nice. I could totally see going back… (there’s another Farmer’s Market post coming up as well, for a different Market) I didn’t mention it or manage to take photos – when I was done eating, it was more crowded – but there were a ton of produce stands with cheap Asian-bent greens (yu choy, choi sum, bok choi, that type of stuff), which was really cool because I’ve never seen such an Asian-slant to the veggies. And Asian supermarkets are pretty cheap already. Mmm.
recommended – love love love everything here