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Sep 3, 2006 02:51 AM

Oakland (Temescal) - Cafe Pippo – Best EB free-range chicken dinner deal (gratuitous nutella & banana panini mention)

For $6.50 there is a large half chicken marinated in garlic and rosemary, the skin sprinkled with Spanish paprika. A piece of house-made foccacia comes with it.

For $7.50, half a bird, foccacia, and choice of house-made fries sprinkled with pimenton, organic green salad or antipasti salad.

I went with the whole bird dinner with sides ($14.95) and literally I have enough food for a week.

The chickens are huge. By whole, they mean two chicken halves.

The sides are two full plastic pints of your choice and these are what made my taste buds cha-cha.

The portabella mushroom salad was a thing of beauty ... juicy, meaty slices of mushroom nicely marinated in an elegant olive oil and wine vinegar. There were sweet diced, red onion, fresh peas ... FRESH peas ... and a sprinkling of fresh green herbs. Probably one of the best antipasti dishes I have ever eaten.

The other antipasti was super thin fresh asparagus, chopped into two inch pieces, lightly roasted, mixed with sliced green olives, tossed with olive oil, sprinkled with herbs and topped with quartered eggs. It is surprising how good green olives and asparagus go together. The eggs were tasty and delicious with a bright yellow yolk.

While the chicken wouldn’t lure me away from Lola’s, it is a nice bird with silky white meat. A recent East Bay Express review said the marinade permeated the skin. I didn’t find that. At least not in the same way as Goood Frickin Chicken. The skin wasn’t crispy either, but I didn’t get to it immediately.

I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt on the foccacia. It was a little too chewy and starting to get past its prime. It is Labor Day weekend and I noticed that the usually full pastry case was low. I’m guessing key people had the day off.

The thing with the sides is that I could have chosen a bow tie chicken salad or a bean salad with tuna. Those are really lunch salads, so a whole chicken dinner could provide lots of food for a number of lunches and dinners.

And I didn’t try the nutella & banana sandwich. They serve it for breakfast and as I said ... gratuitous mention for nutella fans.

They still have that wonderful Latest Scoop spumoni gelato, but I was planning my ice cream fix for Ici. Turns out Ici doesn’t open till tomorrow (Sunday), so I settled on a Carvel vanilla soft swirl dipped in white chocolate. The dip was good in that waxy white chocolate Easter bunny way, but I’m giving up on the Carvel dips. The chocolate soft serve au natural is the Carvel that makes me happiest.

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Café Pippo
5179 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA 94509

Weekdays 6:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Weekends 7:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

Across the street from Walgreens, diagonally across from Bakesale Betty's

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  1. Their foccacia doesn't deserve your benefit of the doubt. I've had it two times now and I have nothing good to say about either of the experiences. The chicken is a great deal for the price. It costs me about that much to just buy organic chicken raw. A little bland but not bad for the price.

    I really enjoyed my sides though. A simple tomato and mozzarella salad and a gigante bean salad. The beans were melt in your mouth but not mushy and the marinade was spot on.

    All in all, rated a 7 on my dollar per bite scale. I would definitely go there for a simple dinner and then save the leftovers for lunch.

    1. Thanks. It's too bad about the foccacia because they have one with tomato sauce that looks like the anti-chicken foccacia ... it looks thick and soft.

      Have you tried the baked goods or any of the pizzas?

      I don't know, those salads are reason enough for them existing ... I was really blissing out with each bite of the portabella mushroom ... the spumoni is great too.