Aunt Mary's Cafe- Temescal [Oakland]
I checked out the newly opened Aunt Mary's Cafe today at 43rd/Telegraph and Oakland. They have a really appealing menu (http://www.auntmaryscafe.com). We sat outside on the little patio facing Telegraph. Coffee was good, service very friendly and attentive. The brought us some little fried sweet things (can't remember what they were called), sort of like fried rice pudding dusted with sugar, as a free treat.
My friend had Huevos Divorciados (eggs on beans with salsa and tortilla strips). The salsa was homemade (two kinds) and delicious....my friend loved the dish and ate with gusto. I had a waffle and bacon. The bacon was fine, but the waffle was kinda underdone, so I didn't eat the whole thing. The waitress asked me if I hadn't liked it, and I told her it was a little undercooked (not crispy). The owner came over and apologized, and told me he wasn't going to charge me anything for my breakfast (even though I said there was no need- I understand that everything isn't perfect yet, and my food was ok) and said he appreciated the feedback, it's only day 4 and they're working out the kinks. So he didn't charge me for my breakfast.
Anyway, I think there's real potential there. The owner seems like a really cool guy who is committed to a quality neighborhood place. They also have a nice kid's menu- the owner has a 9 year old daughter and is very kid friendly. Like I said, the service was great, the place is comfortable, and they have some yummy looking stuff on the menu. They're only open for breakfast and lunch at the moment.
We took a walk and got some ice cream at Tara's on College. They have molasses ice cream right now that is soooo good. The black sesame was delicious too.
Today I returned to AMC and had the Southern Bubble and Squeak for breakfast. It was a lot of potato mixed with finely chopped greens and fried crispily, lightly sauced with gravy, with two eggs (any style, but I had scrambled), a side of greens, and a biscuit. It was sooooo good. The greens on the side were just the right non-overcooked consistency, slightly spicy. The potato/egg stack was the perfect marriage of protein and carb. A lot of food (I took 1/2 of it home), but not an insane portion. $9, I think.
I give it six thumbs up. OK, I only have two.
Tried it yesterday for a late lunch and had the chicken fried steak. This is not for purists -- it's served with a beer gravy instead of the usual cream-based. At first bite, I found it too zingy (yeasty?), but then I got used to it. Crust was very crisp, with cornmeal, and seasoning very peppery. The steak itself was cooked a little less than CFS usually is, and a little red leaked from the middle. Not a problem for me as I like it rare (and this was not by any means rare). Pretty good stuff, and I appreciated that it was a reasonable portion and not the vast he-man portions you often get of this country classic. Also that it was served with a healthy dose of green salad with their ginger-rice wine vinaigrette. The biscuit had this oddly rustic, rough exterior (more cornmeal??) but was light and tasty.
I got in just before closing and ended up being the last customer there, but service was very friendly and didn't rush me at all. The space is larger than I had pictured, very airy inside, with that warehouse-modern look, and patio seating in front.
I just got back from a very tasty brunch at Aunt Mary's. I also had the Southern Bubble and Squeak for breakfast (I was deciding between that and the sweet potato waffles on the brunch menu), and it was completely delicious. I was a little skeptical about this dish (I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the greens on the side, and I'm generally not a fan of gravy on breakfast dishes), but the waiter's eyes lit up when I asked him about what the potato cakes were like, so I gave it a shot. The potato cakes were great, with just enough crunch to the outside, good flavor to the potatoes, and the greens mixed in were a great note. I meant to ask for the gravy on the side, but forgot, and I'm glad that I did -- the flavor was really tasty, but it was still light, and it blended well with my eggs over easy that were on top of the potato cakes. The biscuit was great, too, both with some of the gravy and with the Blue Chair jams that they serve.
The service was really friendly and helpful -- my food was taking a long time coming out, but my waiter came over (before I asked) to apologize and explain that they had gotten a lot of orders at the same time, said that mine would be out shortly, and asked if I wanted some juice on the house while I waited, which was a really nice touch.
I really enjoyed my breakfast here, and I'd rank it above a lot of the other breakfast places in the East Bay. My only complaint is that the glass front makes the restaurant pretty cold inside (especially in December), but next time I'll come in more bundled up. Thanks, ace, for talking about this place, I'll definitely be returning soon. I wish I had grabbed one of those pastries at the front on the way out the door!
Glad you liked it, JasmineG. I am diligently working my way through their pastries. I went for breakfast last Friday and the baker had made "French Muffins" - they were unbelievably delicious. Delicate, not very sweet muffin, with a crispy sugar and cinnamon top. The muffin top reminded me of a perfectly fried donut. Anyway, if you see one of these babies at AMC, grab it.
I went back to Aunt Mary's yesterday, this time getting the biscuits and sausage gravy for brunch (which comes with two eggs, I had mine over easy). Delicious, fantastic, I wish I was eating it again right now. The biscuits (which are potato and cheese) were huge and great, and perfect for sopping up the egg and the gravy and the little sausage bits in the gravy. I've never understood the appeal of biscuits and gravy until I had the gravy here. I can't wait to have it again, though I promised myself that next time I go I'll get something with the potatoes, because they came to a table next to mine and looked crunchy and browned and everything that I love about home fries. It again took a little while for my food to come out (the place was almost full while I was there) but they brought me a beignet (or rice fritter?) while I was waiting, which was a nice touch. This time I had a mocha, which was very tasty. This place is rapidly becoming my favorite breakfast spot in the East Bay.
my favorite dish here so far is (by far) the red flannel hash. it does not have any corned beef (which is good, cause i'm a vegetarian) but instead a great combo of potatoes, beets, and other root vegetables. the gravy on top is sooooo good and the yolky poached eggs make it truly delicious.
today i tried the buttermilk pie, which i have never eaten before anywhere and it did not disappoint. it's a cheese-cakey kind of texture and the crust was nummers.