Thursday, January 21, 2010

Random Stuff from the Past Few Weeks

Hi Bahar!!!  :)

Just a collection of random things.


Most everyone loves Bakesale Betty but not me.  Its claim to fame is a fried chicken sandwich--breaded, fried chicken breast with a vinegar and oil slaw on a fluffy torpedo roll.  In theory, it sounds fine.  In execution, it fails because it is DRY.  D-R-Y.  The breast is overcooked and dry.  Combine it with bread and you've got a starchy mess.  I also find the chicken somewhat flavorless.  The kitchen needs a heavier hand with the seasoning.  Even the excellent slaw isn't enough to bring this sandwich back from the dead. Maybe slather some mayo or slaw juice on the bread?  I've had it four times over the past few months always wondering about the raving masses and whether or not my tastebuds are off but I've come to the conclusion that the sandwich is not all that.  Besides, at $8.50, that sandwich better scale some spectacular heights.  Sorry Betty, but I'm over your sandwich.

However, I feel like an ungrateful ass bad writing this because the staff at Bakesale Betty is AWESOMELY GENEROUS.  They are some of the nicest people I've ever met.  They hand out free cookies and brownies like Santa hands out presents.  And the baked goods aren't just free, they're delicious!  Pumpkin pie with a perfect flaky crust?  Yes please, no matter what season it is!

In short, this is a joint I really, really WANT to love but just can't.  I'll return for the baked goods but not for the (overhyped) sandwich. 

Bakesale Betty
5098 Telegraph Ave
(between 49th St & 51st St)
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 985-1213

How to Supreme an Orange (or any other citrus fruit)

Get the flash player here:

1.  Find where the stem used to be.  Cut through the orange to level it.  Level the other side.  You should have two smooth sides.

2. Cut the peel off.  Just follow the flesh.

3. You will have an orange with mostly pulp.  Trim off any leftover bits of pith.

4. Find where the orange naturally segments itself.  Cut in between these segment lines.

5.  Done!


I've eaten here a few times over the past week because I love Vietnamese food and I love noodle soup.  The first time I went, I was lured in by the sign for Bun Bo Hue. Bun Bo Hue is a lemongrass scented Viet noodle soup from the city of Hue.  If done well, it is spectacularly delicious.  What brought me back for subsequent visits is 1. the quality of the food and 2. the owner.  The food is pretty good here, not mind blowingly good but pretty good.  The owner is the most loquacious noodle shop owner I have ever met.  He has a real passion for Vietnamese food and he loves what he does.  He wants to make everyone who walks into his restaurant happy.  He is also very specific about certain things.  For Bun Bo Hue, he puts rau ram (a Vietnamese herb), shredded cabbage and bean sprouts on the side plate.  For Pho, he puts Thai basil and bean sprouts only.  When I asked him why, he simply said that it's for matters of taste.  Gotta admire that.

His wife, the restaurant's cook, makes a delicious crab dish which isn't featured on the menu.  You have to order it a day ahead of time but it's well worth it.  It's a bit pricey ($25) but makes a fine meal for two people with a bit of rice.  Fresh crab, butter, garlic, salt and can you go wrong?

Get the flash player here:

If you are in Oakland Chinatown and find yourself craving noodle soup, I encourage you to give this place a try.  

Kim Huong
304 10th Street
(between Harrison St & Webster St)
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 836-3139

I walked 3 freaking miles in the pouring rain for this pork chop:

Sure is a beaut, isn't she?  Look at that layer of external fat.  Look at that intramuscular fat.  Look at that deep rich color.  Man oh man oh man.  And this isn't just ANY pork.  This is Becker Lane Pork.  Becker Lane is an organic farm which supplies many of the better restaurants in the area with their swine.   Just check out the marbling: 

I have delicious, delicious plans for this little piggy.  :) The pork was purchased at Cafe Rouge in Berkeley.

One last thing.  I purchased two slices of bacon at my local butcher today and this is what they wrapped it in:

It just strikes me as egregiously wasteful.  Anyone have any ideas on how I can solve this problem?  Ask them to use less paper?  Incidentally, the bacon was wonderful.  It is from Vande Rose Farms and is made from heirloom Duroc pigs.  This was my first experience with their product but I was very impressed.  Nice fat to meat ratio, a pronounced smokiness and delicious swine flavor.  I sliced it, crisped it up and threw it into a wilted green salad with chicken livers and sherry vinaigrette.  I will absolutely buy more of this stuff.

1 comment:

kitchen monologues said...

ah my god, they are look so delicious..very fantastic.i never taste pork before, is it good ? good job mike, bravo, i am so hungry now :)