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Sep 13, 2012 08:50 AM

Unique or Traditional Foods of Oakland, CA

Fellow Chowhounders, I come to you for help...

During the NFL season the past few years my friends and I have kept up with the tradition of serving food unique to, ubiquitous in or traditionally from the city or immediate region of my home team's opponent the day of away games. My home team is the Pittsburgh Steelers, and two Sundays from now we play the Oakland Raiders. So I am looking for dishes, ingredients, recipes, anything related to Oakland, CA. Various searches of the interwebs have not been terribly fruitful.

(I understand San Francisco is just across the bay, but since they have their own NFL team I would prefer not to do anything that is more closely related to San Francisco - or San Diego, further down the coast, for that matter.)

During the Steelers loss to Denver last week, for example, we had Green Chili smothered Enchiladas, Chile Rellenos and Maharaja Beer. Typically we like to do something similar - a main and a side or two.

So far, the only thing I can turn up that even closely relates to Oakland is Tri-Tip. Even though I don't have a ton of experience with this cut, I know it can be quite tasty and am not opposed to using it. I'm considering various preparations now. I've also thought of some Cali-Mex type dishes - seafood tostadas or ceviche or something.

Right now I'm just looking for options in terms of ingredients, dishes, or recipes that relate to Oakland. Can anyone help me out?


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    1. I would say Portuguese, although there is not so much in Oakland anymore, but south in San Leandro and Hayward, and a few other places in Central California. Go to Luso Mercado on International Blvd. in San Leandro.

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        1. As an Oakland native, I'm not aware of a tri-tip tradition in Oakland; tri-tip is more associated with Santa Maria-style barbecue in Central California. And there hasn't really been a Portuguese presence in my lifetime.

          In the past, Oakland was known for its barbecue joints, so that might be a way to go. But I'd suggest thinking Mexican, and in particular, taco trucks, of which there are a plethora in the Fruitvale neighborhood and which are a culinary fixture locally. So yes, ceviche tostadas, and small tacos on soft corn tortillas, and lots of other stuff. Beer, aguas frescas, horchata.

          Check out some older threads from the SF Bay Area board that describe the kind of food you'll find at Oakland taco trucks:

          1. How about something having to do with Jack London, who was raised in Oakland and after which many of the City's landmarks are named?


            1 Reply
            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Jack London was an oyster pirate - so you could serve oysters.

              John Madden, the great former Raiders coach, wrote a tail gating cookbook. So you could try a recipe from his book.