Last weekend, I pilgrimaged to the Bay Area once again. See here for a recapitulation of my previous trip.
My flight from Orange County arrived at 9pm in Oakland, a city that I immediately found more grungy than San Francisco. My friend Charlie and his girlfriend Julia picked me up from the airport. To downtown Oakland we go! I needed to fuel up, so we ate at Battambang, a clearly-family-run Cambodian restaurant. Frog legs, skewers, and curries were on the menu, which seemed like a mashup of Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese cuisines.
We heard that bocce ball could be played at a bar called Make Westing. Awesome! We acquire entry to the bar, swim through the crowd of Golden State Warriors and Athletics fans, reach the bocce ball lanes, discover a huge queue, add our names to the chalkboard, then leave for a hipper yet less-crowded bar across the street, Fauna. I tried one of their creative drinks and found it grossly bitter. Leaving Fauna, concertgoers from the Cold War Kids show at the Fox Theater swarmed the sidewalk, so we hopped back into Make Westing, shoved our way back to the bocce ball lanes, and charmed our way into playing a game, after which Julia and I claimed victory. On the walk after Make Westing, my fight or flight responses were running wild because of fights outside of clubs and screaming crazies in the street. Yikes.
On Saturday, I found myself in farmers market heaven at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. The Saturday farmers market surrounds the already-awesome building, boosting my attraction to the area by double. Among the highlights in and around the Ferry Building include the porchetta from Roli Roti, a booth from Craftsman & Wolves serving The Rebel Within (see last Bay Area post), $2 oysters, and Rancho Gordo, a specialty bean market where I bought my sister the Christmas presents that she requested. The Ferry Building is absolutely a place to which I will return.
You might not be able to see the porchetta, but it was present and delicious.
Later that day, I watched UCLA beat USC in the annual rivalry football game while surrounded by bruin fans in SF. I celebrated by taking Lyft to the Mission to meet up with Jake and Rachel and walk to Limon, the Peruvian restaurant I missed out on two months ago because of a delayed flight. We ate buttery rotisserie chicken, tuna tartare, ceviche, empanadas, lomo saltado, and yucca fries while consuming fresh sangria. Limon ranks high up on my list of favorite meals in recent history. Latin-inspired, I met up with Sydney, a friend from UCLA, and her friend, to check out the live salsa music and dancing scene at Cigar Bar in the Financial District. I love live music, especially salsa. After a shaking off of the rust covering my salsa skills, I had a great night dancing.
It’s all about the live music.
For Sunday brunch, Charlie, Julia, and I drove to Shakewell in the Lake Merritt neighborhood. Although I was initially skeptical of Oakland, this one specific neighborhood redeemed my hope for the city. Lake Merritt is a gem inside of sketchtown. Using my future-predicting skills, I’m confident that the area around Lake Merritt will undergo gentrification in the next few years. Back to the meal. Shakewell served brunch with a Mediterranean twist. I ordered falafel cakes with poached eggs, Spanish chorizo, red drop-shaped peppers, parsley, and Romanesco sauce. The meal was fantastic, and quickly calmed my still-hungry-from-salsa stomach.
One of my favorite meals of late.
If you’ve seen the movie Up, you may be familiar with the ice cream parlor at the end of the movie. The one from the movie was modeled after Fenton’s Creamery in Northern Oakland, which we visited after brunch. The ice cream was ice cream, and the novelty of its movie feature wore off quickly. The sugar rush also wore off, which left tired Eric and Charlie to drive through the less-hip parts of Oakland to the airport.
The weekend was over.