Sing Praises of Emeryville Public Market
Yesterday we were on an errand in the area and went to the Emeryville Public Market to find something to eat. The EPM is basically a food court, but as I am slowly discovering, the depth and diversity available here is impressive.
We'd visited once before in late September to check out the Afghan place. At the time they did not advertise being Afghan and didn't even have their sign up. So I was pleased to see that their sign was back up (they're called Pamir), and not only that, they also have a Persian food counter next to the Afghan one, serving Chel-o-kebab and the like.
For lunch we tried the taqueria, whose name I can't remember, but it's Taqueria Somethingilla. (No, really.) As expected, they served a somewhat mallified version of tacos (I had to ask them to skip the lettuce and tomato on my Al Pastor), but they had the al pastor on a rotisserie, they grilled it up crisp and tasty, and there was so much of it that I used my tortillas to make two big tacos out of one huge heap of meat (just as well, since one "taco" costs $3.00). We also tried the Chile Colorado, in the form of an "enchilada". Again, the presentation was somewhat bizarre (two unheated tortillas rolled around the chile meat and covered in an uninteresting "enchilada" sauce), but good heavens, the meat was delicious, sweet and smoky. I wonder if they sell their chile colorado by the quart.
After we ate, we stumbled around the rest of the market, plotting our scheme to slowly review every restaurant in the place. Turns out the taqueria also serves cajun food (on the other side of their aisle) like big smoked sausages and freshly roasted chickens and beef ribs. If their chile colorado is any indication, their ribs are probably incredible. There's also a chinese seafood grill that offers spicy fried catfish; a vietnamese place; a korean place (bul koki from a steam table? well, I'll try it someday); a japanese noodle bowl place; and the ubiquitous gyro stand.
We realized as we wandered that while this was "fast" food, most if not all of the establishments were locally owned and run, and they cut their own meats and prepared them on site. I'm in the middle of reading "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser (required reading for, well, you) and things like this are foremost in my mind when ingesting beef lately.
So...any other emeryville public market stories?
The Emeryville Public Market is at 5800 Shellmound St in Emeryville, just across the tracks from the Amtrak station. Tip to bicyclists coming from Oakland or Berkeley: You don't have to risk your neck riding over Powell street. Go to the Amtrak station, pretend you're going to the tracks to board a train, and use the elevator to go over the tracks on the pedestrian walkway. (The elevator is big enough to hold two full sized bikes and their (full) riders). The elevator delivers you into the parking lot of the Market.
Instead of having our usual sushi on Saturday, we went to the public market have a bite to eat...We had the chicken rajas taco and the pastor taco. Both were great, I prefered the pastor and my boyfriend liked the chicken rajas , so it worked out great. Then we wandered down to the Afgan resturant and had the Kabul chicken stuffed sandwich. It was huge and we could barely finish it! I have to go back there is sooo much more to try.
I go to the Public Market several times a month for one thing or another, and while over the years I've tried most of the food stalls, my standard order is a taco de rajas (roasted peppers) from the taqueria. They have "plain" rajas and rajas with chicken; both come in a thick, creamy wauce which tends to drown out the pepper flavor a bit, but I get along by ordering just a plain rajas taco, and asking them to leave off all the garnishes except a small spoonful of pinto beans, some cilantro, and salsa verde. No guac, tomato chunks, lettuce or cheese for this selection. Without the condiments I've been charged as low as $2.50 for this concoction, though sometimes they'll charge you the full $3. Anyway, it's a cheap, tasty snack that serves as lunch.
Wonderful review, Patrick, and wonderful directions. I often bike here, through the Aquatic Park from West Berkeley.
Only problem with this place is, not enough time, not enough distendible gut. All that choice brings out the python in me. Random notes:
That taqueria is really an asaderia, IMO. Their meats are great, their sauces so-so. On the back counter (cajunside) the top sirloin is a giant mound of hand-cut chunks of tender, lean, spit-roasted beef; too lean, really, for a fat-meat lover. NEVER get it "para aqui" unless you have four friends to help. It is easy three meals. Take it home and put on the heated sauce of your choice.
Thai place on the east side has beef curry that is maybe my favorite: big chunks of beef (see a trend here?) in a coconutty, medium spicy sauce. Meal One, I eat the meat and steamed veg; Meal Two, I eat the rice that's been soaking in that sauce for a few hours. Guess which is better.
Sorabol on the north end has killer spare ribs, meaty and tender and glazed with a hot and sweet sauce. The kal bi is their signature dish, but too many little bits of bone (from sawing?) for me to enjoy it often. Tastes like grilled beef...
Never get the pizza. Ever.
Wazwan, the Indian stand, is hugely popular. It's good solid food, except the bread is usually not heated.
Crispy Fry, on the south end, is workman-like Chinese, some Canton, some Szechwan. This place is O.O.G., a veteran survivor of several reincarnations of the Market back into the 70's. I remember times when they were the only working food service in the building.
Ruth has it right, I think--Borders is full of happy, drowsy, burping diners, staring at 2002 calendars while scheming on how to convince their spouse/SO that some takeout food would be a good idea. Most of 2CHG visit Emery Marketplace as often as we can, on our rounds of the Bay. For convenience, value, variety, and ease of parking, it's the standout Near East Bay foodarama.
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Emeryville Public Market is a great place to spend a rainy day.
Browse the books and music at Borders and think about what you want to eat next.
Walk across the parking lot and see a movie (buy snacks at the little grocery and sneak them in).
IIRC, there's a pool parlor there, too. And a place with video games.