Saturday, October 04, 2008

Fall in Oakland, Our Blackberry Bush

I'm gonna let the my 3 month hiatus go largely unaddressed this time around. Rest assured, we're all eating well... and are plotting to eat even better (or more locally) for at least the next year.

So, while the bony remains of several Soul Food Farms chickens simmer down to stock, while a batch of Wild Boar Farms tomatoes roast in the oven, and while a bunch of duck legs and thighs sit under 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt each in the fridge, thought I'd post a couple of photos of the blackberry bush in our backyard.

A couple of weekends ago I noticed that the bush was, all of the sudden, more than a foot shorter. As summer really gets going, the bush towers over the iron stake running through the middle of this photo:

A very slight rain perked it up some a day later, but we're not getting much fruit off of it these days. Still, the fruit that is there is flavorful and heavy with sugar.

MoNo Jack London Square Oakland :(|)

We ate at MoNo last night, down by Jack London Square. This space used to be a lunch-crowd stalwart called Cuckoo's Nest, a place I'd never eaten at but that I knew of indirectly - having worked at a place that did some concrete table tops for them. That place was Concreteworks Studio, which moved a few years back - incidentally, the old Concreteworks space is now Linden Street Brewery.

My nostalgia for the neighborhood, the proximity to home, and the availability of crudo all factored into our looking past a menu that seemed to promise what the East Bay Express described as,"standard global-fusion, small-plate, local-purveyor razzmatazz."

And the food was pretty good. We stuck to small plates and had the salumi, a watermelon salad, asparagus with eggs and prosciutto, and two of their three crudo. They were out of the arctic char, which I'd been wanting to try largely so I could compare it with the arctic char at Bar Crudo in the city.

The day boat scallops were tasty, but the micro bulls blood green contributed a taste which A. immediately identified as muddy. The ahi tuna crudo didn't work so well for me (a lot going on, way too much soy sauce, etc.) but it was topped with a show-stopping jalapeno granita.

We were so enthusiastic about this granita that our waiter confessed to sneaking it by the spoon-full, and then brought us a small bowl of it to go with dessert.

Truth be told, the bowl of granita was probably exchange in kind for our sitting for nearly 10 minutes while each of the waiters thought the other had our table. If you're familiar with either Cuckoo's Nest or Mono you will appreciate how odd this is. It's a very small space for folks to lose track of a table in. In addition to the granita, we were treated to marcona almonds and olives and two rounds of drinks.

Photo credit, Yelp user Pooh T.