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Sep 28, 2007 09:09 PM

Oakland - Beef patty and ginger beer at Art's Jamaican Market on Broadway

This tiny Jamaican market is located across the street from the Art's Crab Shack.

It is mainly groceries but they sell hot beef patties. Think flat hot pocket that is about the size of a slice of white bread but not as thick. The flaky crust is an orange-yellow color somewhere between the shade of tumeric and pumpkin. Inside is a smooth smear of spicy beef mixture almost the consistancy of refried beens. The patties are from Jamaica and available frozen too. They have chicken patties too, but only sell those frozen.

Tried a bottle of DG Jamaican Ginger Beer brewed in Brooklyn. It has a nice bite from Jamaican ginger extract but there is some junk in there like HFCS. I'd stick with Reed' Ginger beer though this did taste good.

Like the Mexican spices in cellophane bags there is a wall of West Indian bagged spices, many I've never heard of like chany root, chew sticks, Irish Moss, mauby bark, blood wiss, bridal wiss, etc, etc.

The spices are above the freezer case where they sell gallons of Mitchell's Ice Cream in tropical flavors.

They have frozen bread fruit and frozen Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. There are shelves of hot sauces, There are Ovaltine biscuits to have with your Ovaltine. Lots of flyers and business cards of Jamaican businesses and events.

This is some sort of karma. I've been reading about West Indian food lately. My original intent was Cole's Coffee on College (at last). Nope. They closed early today. Backup was the pizza / broasted chicken joint on Broadway. Never had broasted chicken. The chicken delivery guy didn't show up. So cruising down Broadway and contemplating what next, Art's caught my eye and I thought why not since the cuisine was fresh in my mind.

Art's Jamaican Market (now Minto's)
4042 Broadway, Oakland, CA

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  1. Thanks, rworange. I'm going to skedaddle right over there--I'm hoping to find Matouk's hot sauce and maybe, just maybe, Materva soda.

    1. Are fresh patties, not frozen, unheard of in the Bay Area? Am pretty sure Mango Cafe's are not, what about Back'a'yard?

      4 Replies
      1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

        If I ever get to Menlo Park and San Mateo I plan to give them a try. Penny's, Jamaican Soul in Berkeley and the Carribean Place in Emeryville probably make them. Uh, there might be one more place off of Telegraph.

        1. re: rworange

          Is the Carribean place in Emeryville in the Marketplace?

        2. re: Dan Wodarcyk

          Back a Yard makes its own patties, or it did when I was last there. Even has a vegetarian version that is quite tasty.

        3. Are the patties properly spicy, or bland like the ones sold at convnience stores all over New York?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Xiao Yang

            I have no comparison. Never tried them in NY. There was spice in it which the crust toned down. If you try one hope you will report back on if it is good or not to you.

            1. re: rworange

              I think the authentic versions use habeneros or the like, so I guess you would have noticed if it were the proper version...

              1. re: rworange

                I just drove home from Art's. Lip-smacking, orange-napkin stained heaven. These are the same patties I tasted every vacation in St. Thomas, at a small beach we went to every single day. Coki Beach. My brother and I saved our quarters, and for $1.00 each we watched a lady roll out orange dough with an old vodka bottle, pat some stuff into it and then fry it in a pan filled with oil. These are the exact same color, and textrue and taste. I even have the exact same heartburn. I am thrilled that they are greasy and meaty so I can hide the 6 remaining in the back of the freezer and assure husband that he would not care for them. They were always called by locals and tourists alike, "Jamaican Meat Patty", which the proprietress pronounced "pate", so years later when offered pate at some catered thingy, I was crushed to get, you know, pate and not patty. Ruined me for pate ever since. Other than Proustian gushing, I am voting that this is the same spicing: slightly, ever so hot, but mostly it's the texture of the meat, it's like refried black beans with funky chewy bits. Puzzled that it's beef, since it has a funk of goat. That's what I thought it was back then too. Must be specialized spices. Anyway, I was a young girl again when I gobbled it up, remembering sunburns before they were toxic, snorkeling every day before the reef was stripped, and walking barefoot with my brother up the road to Coki beach, quarters in our hands.

              2. re: Xiao Yang

                Went to school in Toronto and the Jamaican patties were regulars in the cafeteria. Since being back in the bay area, I've only had them frozen and at the Carribean place in the Public Market and neither were properly spiced.

              3. A portion of this thread has been split into it's own thread called Cole Coffee, here:

                1. I found Art's market a couple years ago, and though the hot beef patties are a very good reminder of the times spent on the beach in Negril, I like the chicken curry ones better. If you get there early, Art may have a few heated up, but I usually buy a dozen of each and shove them in the freezer. The veggie ones are heavy on potato and greens inside, with a mild spice mix. The chicken has a nice yellow curry, and is as hot as the beef, or hotter. If you aren't into ginger beer, try a Ting! Ting is a grapefruit soda made from Jamaican grapefruit, and is like a less sweet fresca. It's perfect on a hot day, and at home, a Ting with a pourover of rum is very nice.

                  I also highly recommend getting some bulla bread, like a cross between gingerbread and a soft molassas cookie, but not as sweet as either. Traditionally, it's spread with ripe avacado (known as pears in the West Indies) which they refer to as poor man's butter.

                  I think a highlight to the market is also the huge box of "Jamaican Size' condoms up on the wall next to the register. Maybe that's just my sense of humor...

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: goddess.girl

                    I LOVE Ting, but I had tried it before and never tried that brand of ginger beer. There was some sort of pineapple soda too.

                    Thanks for the tip on bulla bread ... and how eat it. Is it boxed or frozen?

                    1. re: rworange

                      bulla is usually sold in a plastic bag of 4 breads. Art's usually has them in the glass case, with the spice cakes (imagine the best fruitcake your grandma ever tried to pawn off on you, but without the fruit or mystery nuggets) and the other baked goods. I also love the bammy bread, like a thick tortilla made from cassava.

                      Art's is also a good source for frozen goodies from the caribbean like goat meat, salt cod, and breadfruit. Last I checked ackee is still illegal to import, so I have to wait until my next vacation to have a traditional jamaican breakfast. I guess whatever excuse it takes to have the hubby buy tickets to Montego Bay, right?

                      1. re: goddess.girl

                        Thanks so much I'm definately going to try the bulla and bammy bread. Is bammy bread eaten like tortillas? Is the spice cake black cake?

                        So canned akee doesn't cut it for you. Lots of the local Jamaican places serve akee. I was into a little akee tasting for a while.

                        1. re: rworange

                          Bammy can be steamed or fried, usually cut into quarters, and then makes a nice scoop for saltfish & akee, goat curry, etc. There's a whole series of steps to prepare it, so I've read the process in cookbooks and then just missed having it!

                          Much like canned kimchee, there is an aftertaste of metal for me with the canned stuff. For a while you could get "fresh" and frozen akee at the market, but maybe I should try out a local place. It's been years since I attempted jamaican food in the bay area, given past disappointments. Where do you recommend?

                          1. re: goddess.girl

                            I've just seen the canned akee though I'd be hard pressed to tell you where exactly. Will keep my eyes out if I see any frozen. My guess is fresh is highly unlikely.

                        2. re: goddess.girl

                          Ackee is grown in Florida, is it illegal to import anything (other than oranges) into California from Florida? Ackee is related to lichee, and we get fresh lichees from Florida in SF on a seasonal basis. Maybe there's a fresh ackee season.

                          1. re: Xiao Yang

                            No, it was illegal to import from overseas, like from Jamaica! Maybe Art doesn't know about the ones in Florida, maybe it's national pride that he won't buy them from anywhere else, who knows. I'd rather go to the caribbean to eat it fresh than eat it out of a can here.