Sunday, September 26, 2010

Out and About in Rockridge 2010

This weekend was a hot one in the Bay Area, so it was a good time to be outside. Which made it perfect for Out and About in Rockridge, the annual street party in my Oakland neighborhood.

On Sunday, College Avenue closed down from the Rockridge Cafe all the way to the border of Berkeley near the Wood Tavern restaurant. It was a mix of food booths, retail stands, community organizations, and health tent.

At the heart of the street fair were booths pulled together by Market Hall's Pasta Shop, which they called "Picnic on the Streets." There were a bunch of booths with many tastes of things sold at the Pasta Shop like olive oil, cheese, and the charcuterie cone above.

There was a chef's tent that had cooking demonstrations throughout the day. Here Sara Ballard, pastry chef of Wood Tavern, demonstrates how to make a butterscotch pot de creme.

Across the fair at the actual restaurant, workers were selling porchetta sliders for $8. But I didn't try it, even though I'm a fan of Wood Tavern, because I had already eaten a porchetta sandwich earlier in the fair.

That sandwich came from Oliveto, who every year puts on the display of roasting a whole pig outside the restaurant. (And yes, every year I hear some person passing by saying how horrendous it is to see a poor pig being roasted. Geesh, where do people think their food comes from?)

Here's Oliveto's porchetta sandwich, also for $8. It was a bit hard to eat on the bun, and didn't have much flavor. I wasn't really sure what the orange sauce was.

I also tried a cupcake from this stand called Indie Cakes. It's a wholesale cupcake maker trying to break into the retail side. They were selling mini cupcakes for $2, which actually seemed like a lot. I did try the chocolate with passion fruit butter cream, and the butter cream frosting was a bit too buttery. The chocolate cake was nice and moist.

I was surprised to see a booth from Ohgane Korean BBQ restaurant. It's not exactly in Rockridge, but I guess close enough on Broadway. Korean BBQ is always tempting, but I wasn't about to order a whole plate of bulgogi or bibimpbap for $9 each. I wished they offered a mini bowl of BBQ chicken, but they didn't.

It was fun hanging out in the hood because I got to get a lot of my favorite things, like a watermelon agua fresca from the Cactus booth or a slice of pizza from Pizza Rustica. And with a slight breeze, it made the hot fall day (or Indian summer) the perfect setting for mingling with my neighbors.


Anonymous said...

i enjoyed it. Now I know what to try for next time I go to Rockridge. Too much food to try, I just ate samples at the chef's demo & an apple. Did you get a FREE Safeway bag?

Single Guy Ben said...

I didn't take the free Safeway bag. I already have a cloth grocery bag, and my position on grocery bags is not to have that many that they eventually get tossed into the landfill. Just have enough to encourage you to use it often. :)

foodhoe said...

one time I must get to that, looks like a fun block party! Lucky you to be walking distance to it... I can't believe that any porchetta sando can possibly be bland and am looking forward to reading about your butterscotch pot de creme..