Archive for the ‘Oakland’ Category

Homestead Restaurant, Oakland, California

Homestead Restaurant
Address: 4029, Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
Phone:(510) 420-6962
Menu: homesteadoakland.com

Tried Homestead Restaurant on Piedmont Avenue last night with @mrsth. Highly recommended. :)

The restaurant has great light with an open air kitchen where you can watch the chefs work.

The menu changes daily. The squid, duck and horchata ice cream were my favorites. Here’s what we had:


date night.


Great open air kitchen where you can watch the chefs work.


First course, spicy pepperoni and meat plate.


First course, little gems, avocado, fried onions, buttermilk dressing


Second course, local squid, grilled summer beans, almond & sherry vinaigrette


Third course, grilled duck breast, fried farro, fava beans, apricots, wild arugula


Third course, poached egg, porcini mushrooms, sweet corn, thyme, watercress


Dessert, horchata ice cream, strawberries, churros


Dessert, brown sugar chocolate cake, toasted meringue


I’ve never had madeira on ice before. It was really nice and refreshing with a twist of lemon.


Homestead seasonal spritzer


Fresh garden vegetables used by the chef.


Wood fire grill in the open kitchen.


Welcome to Homestead.


We brought our own bottle of wine, a wonderful 1997 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino. Corkage was $20.


Loved the colors of the kitchen.

A Taste of Oakland Uptown Block Party

A Taste of Oakland
$2 micro Brew beers tonight at Kitchener in Oakland for A Taste of Oakland.

Earlier tonight mrsth and I enjoyed a night out on the town in Oakland at A Taste of Oakland’s Uptown Block Party. The food/cocktail event included 24 participating Uptown Oakland restaurants and bars.

A Taste of Oakland was founded by two Oakland natives, Helen Wyman (of Oakland Events) and Lamont Dawson. Their mission is to promote local businesses, highlight Oakland’s assets, change perceptions of Oakland, build a sense of community between the residents and the business community and showcase the culinary revolution that has become prominent in the food industry, establishing Oakland as a culinary destination.

I’d say based on tonight’s successful event, they did just that.

Participating restaurants/bars included: Kitchener, Sweet Bar Bakery, Hawker Fare, Pican, Ozumo, Luka’s Taproom & Lounge, Plum Bar, Donut Savant, Era Art Bar & Lounge, Torpedo Sushi, Farley’s East, Anfilo Coffee, Vo’s Restaurant, Telegraph, The Legionnaire Saloon, Kingston 11 Cuisine (although they weren’t open yet), Hutch Bar & Kitchen, Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, Make Westing, Somar Bar, Camber, Bench & Bar, Dogwood and Mockingbird.

The evening gave Oakland food and restaurant aficionados a great opportunity to sample a ton of different restaurants and bars over the course of the three hour event in stylish Uptown. It was a great opportunity to check out new places and plan for further dinners and reservations down the road.

My favorite restaurant of the event was the newcomer Mockingbird. They served a duck pate that was delicious! I’ve been wanting to try Mockingbird and that will probably be the next dinner I have out.

I also really enjoyed the North Carolina pull pork that Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe served, the pull pork sandwich served by Telegraph, the Thai food at Camber and the Four Roses Bourbon cocktail served by Hutch. The pork meatball at Ozumo was pretty tasty too. The restaurants were all within walking distance and it was priced at a very affordable $20 per ticket.

With 24 venues, the event had a lot of local community support, it felt like most of the restaurants in Uptown participated — although the woman at Catered to You was outside offering samples of her decadent buffalo french fries complaining that this was the second time she’d asked to be included and wasn’t. Hopefully she gets in on the next one. :)

Thanks for a great night out A Taste of Oakland. Looking forward to more of your great events in the future! #taseteuptown #tasteofoakland

To see more photos from tonight’s event, check out this set on Flickr here.

A Taste of Oakland
maitre d’ at Pican.

A Taste of Oakland
Serving at the Pop Up Outside Hawker Fare.

A Taste of Oakland
$5 specialty cocktails at a Taste of Oakland restaurants and bars. This one at Pican.

A Taste of Oakland
Hutch served an excellent Four Roses Bourbon cocktail along with popcorn popped in bacon fat.

A Taste of Oakland
A little Oakland street art between restaurants — a Homer Simpson / Stormtrooper mashup outside Hawker Fare.

A Taste of Oakland
Serving Thai food at Camber.

A Taste of Oakland
Torpedo Sushi was serving up their California roll on a potato chip.

A Taste of Oakland
The dreamland of neon cupcakes at Sweet Bar Bakery who were serving a taste of chocolate or ginger cookies.

A Taste of Oakland
Newcomer Mockingbird, my favorite restaurant of the evening.

A Taste of Oakland
Enjoying a cocktail at the bar at Ozumo.

A Taste of Oakland
Making Jameson and tea cocktails at Plum Bar.

A Taste of Oakland
That pork meatball at Ozumo was pretty damn good.

A Taste of Oakland
Serving pull pork sandwiches at Telegraph.

A 16, A Southern Italian Gem in Rockridge, Oakland

Tonight, along with mrsth, I finally decided to check out one of the highly regarded Oakland restaurant newcomers, A 16, in the Rockridge District of Oakland.

A 16 has been open for about 5 months now and is a sister restaurant to the popular restaurant with the same name in San Francisco’s Marina district. The restaurant took over the old Hudsons/Garibaldi’s space on College Avenue. Like their Marina counterpart, the restaurant focuses on Southern Italian Campania region food. A 16 is a highway in Italy that runs from Naples in Campania to Canosa in Puglia.

Unlike their Marina relative, A 16 Rockridge has a liquor license allowing it a full bar and cocktail service to go along with their menu.

Chef Rocky Maselli has put together a wonderful menu that focuses on pasta and gourmet pizzas, with lots of little extras worth exploring on the menu. Everything we had tonight was absolutely first rate. No dish disappointed. The fresh handmade pasta was the highlight.

Before beginning our meal we started out with two cocktails from A 16′s creative cocktail menu. I had the Hemingway Negroni, which was served over a couple of giant ice cubes in an attractive oversized tumbler. It was made with papa pilar rum and was delicious.

After cocktails we ordered the roasted beets and heirloom tomato salad. The salad was complemented with ricotta and generously dressed with olive oil. The beets, tomatoes and cheese, went well together and it was a refreshing end of a Bay Area summer salad.

After we finished the salad, our main dishes arrived. For our main dishes we decided to share the capunti — pancetta, chanterelles, cherry tomato, smoked caciocavallo pasta and the montanara rockridge pizza.

All three of these dishes tonight were recommendations of the very knowledgeable bartenders who took care of us at the bar. Mrsth and I always prefer sitting at the bar over a table and find that the bartenders frequently are the most knowledgable of a restaurant’s service staff. Tonight, especially, they did not disappoint.

The capunti pasta was my favorite dish of the evening. The taste of the caciocavallo cheese in the pasta gave it a wonderful smokey taste. It was a rich, full flavored rewarding dish. The montanara pizza, named for the local neighborhood, was also splendid. We added prosciutto and arugula to the burrata (again at the bartender’s recommendation) on the pizza and it complemented it perfectly as did the Scrimshaw Pilsner I ordered with it.

Finally for dessert we decided on the fried apple turnovers which came alongside a rich caramel honey type sauce. Before serving us our turnovers, the staff brought us over a complementary plate of Italian cookies to enjoy. The three turnovers were the perfect amount of sweet to end our evening.

We didn’t have any wine with our meal, choosing to stick to more cocktails and a beer with the pizza. The restaurant does have a wonderfully full wine list though. You can also bring your own bottle (with corkage charge). The menu said that they would waive corkage charge per bottle brought with each bottle bought from their list. They offered both tastes and full pours of wines by the glass.

The ambience of the restaurant was very nice. The bar is large and oversized with plenty of room on a large marble slab. The restaurant is open and airy, and once the sun went down and they opened the shades, a rich, warm evening sunset sunlight filled the restaurant.

The service for our meal could not have been better. Two bartenders managed the bar, and even with a full restaurant, were able to give us the highest quality of service. The recommendations of our bartenders were all absolutely spot on. Meals were promptly delivered and dishes quickly removed. They allowed us to sample taste some of the liquors used in the cocktails when deciding on which drinks to order. I usually find that I get better service at the bar, which is one of the reasons why I prefer the bar over a table, and it was especially true tonight.

We were both delighted tonight with our A 16 experience and definitely will be back to this neighborhood gem to try even more dishes. The only downside to tonight was that they didn’t have a television set at the bar and so we had to rely on our cell phones to keep track of the A’s/Tigers American League Divisional Series deciding game. The restaurant also doesn’t have wifi service and cell service in the restaurant was spotty.

Lack of a TV and good cell service, however, are probably a bonus for many. :)

Hemingway Negroni, A 16, Oakland
Hemingway Negroni, A 16, Oakland

A 16, College Ave in Oakland's Rockridge District
A 16, College Ave in Oakland’s Rockridge District

MMMMM... Beets and Heirloom Tomato Salad
MMMMM… Beets and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Cocktail #2, A 16, Oakland
Cocktail #2, A 16, Oakland

Fresh Handmade Pasta, A 16, Oakland
Fresh Handmade Pasta, A 16, Oakland

Dinner at the Bar, A 16 Oakland
Dinner at the Bar, A 16 Oakland

Fried Apple Turnovers with Caramel Sauce, A 16 Oakland
Fried Apple Turnovers with Caramel Sauce, A 16 Oakland

A Little Prosciutto and Arugula to Complement the Pizza, A 16, Oakland
A Little Prosciutto and Arugula to Complement the Pizza, A 16, Oakland

Cooking Pizzas in the Open Kitchen of A 16, Oakland
Cooking Pizzas in the Open Kitchen of A 16, Oakland

A 16, Oakland
A 16, Oakland

Fresh Cocktail Ingredients, A 16 Oakland
Fresh Cocktail Ingredients, A 16 Oakland

Cookie Time, A 16 Oakland
Cookie Time, A 16 Oakland

Cocktail Menu, A 16 Oakland
Cocktail Menu, A 16 Oakland