A chef returns to the Bay Area for a week...where do I HAVE to go?
Yeah ANOTHER 'best of' list...
Was back in East Bay last spring doing a staige at CP and Cowgirl ...not enough time last year to search out those hidden (and not so hidden) gems...thinking Slanted Door when it was on Valencia; Cha Cha Cha 15 years ago in the Haight; or when Danko ran Viognier. Looking for great food whether it's from a truck, a stand, a farmer's market, etc. in East Bay (Berkeley/Oakland/Alameda) to the City. No Ferry Bldg. rec's please.
Thanks in advance and I will report when I get back!
As it's been around for over 15 years, I don't think it's gonna ever truly break out, but I've always thought Battambang in Old Oakland, a Cambodian restaurant, has the best curries in the bay area, and is one of the top Southeast Asian restaurants in general.
Also, Cafe 15 in Oakland's commitment to fresh, high-quality ingredients shows in their stellar food.
Oh, and Humphry Slocomb, of course. The cat's already out of the bag, so to say, on this one, but it will still continue to get even more popular.
Also, the goat cheese tamales at the Friday Oakland farmer's market.
And anything at La Palma Mexicatessen.
I'm sure I'll think of more.
You might want to check out some of the prepared food booths at the farmers markets. They're part of a whole trend of restaurants and chefs doing "gourmet" street food and/or micro-restaurants.
Ice cream, sorbet and gelato are really hot (or maybe really cool) -- it seems like small purveyors pop up every week. If you head out toward Fruitvale, check out Nieves Cinco de Mayo (not Cinco de Mayo).
The Alameda dining scene has had a resurgence, but although many of the places are good, none of them are destinations. Acquacotta might interest you.
re: Ruth Lafler
That's definitely a trend, but not so much at farmers markets.
Spencer To Go across the street from Terroir on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights is worth a trip, especially if you can snag a table in Terroir and eat in comfort.
The Ferry Plaza markets ("No Ferry Bldg. rec's please") are the only ones where I've seen food stands done by notable restaurants and itinerant name chefs such as Ryan Farr. Mostly I see their booths at fundraisers.