Fried chicken with corn on the cobb — Basque-Japanese-style at Duende.
When you hear that Duende in Oakland just put fried chicken on the menu, you might scratch your head for a moment, thinking how is that a Spanish dish?
Turns out it is.
In the land of paella, gazpacho and croquettes, fried chicken definitely has its place. That’s what I learned last week, when I was invited as a guest of the restaurant with other media to try the new offering.
As Chef-Owner Paul Canales explains, his father, who is of Basque heritage, would often fry chicken in olive oil in the morning, then let it sit out to cool to room temperature before the family ate it, garnished with a squeeze of lemon, for an early dinner, hours later.
Chef-Owner Paul Canales in the kitchen.
Canales was inspired to put his version of fried chicken on the menu when an employee brought in some take-out Japanese karaage for staff meal. Canales considers the Japanese-style fried chicken the gold standard for fried chicken because of its light yet shatteringly crisp exterior.
After experimenting, he came up with a rendition that marries Japanese and Spanish sensibilities in one superlative crunchy bite.
You can’t miss finding this place.
Its name means “nest” in Spanish, and NIDO is very much a comforting place in every sense.
This Mexican restaurant was opened in Oakland in 2012 by husband and wife, Cory and Silvia McCollow.
It’s colorful and energetic, with a homespun air, as if a bunch of friends got together in a modern-day barn-raising to build a restaurant. Candles in mismatched glass containers give off a warm glow inside, along with a mini disco ball at the front that creates a party-like verve. The bar is built from repurposed wood pallets, giving it a “Gilligan’s Island” can-do look.
On Sunday nights, the restaurant offers a more truncated menu, dubbed “Sunday Night Tacos & Margaritas.” It’s super popular, too, as I found out, when I went a week ago, paying my own tab at the end. Even before the doors opened at 5 p.m., there were already more than half a dozen people lined up to get in.
Chips, salsa and guacamole.
A cocktail made with black vermouth.
The short and sweet menu encompasses two starters, two large plates, two taco choices, and chips with salsa and guacamole.
Get to know fried biscuits with chicken and duck liver mousse at The Wolf.
Expectations are always high whenever a newcomer takes the place of a 40-year-old stalwart beloved by the community.
Such was the case when The Wolf opened last year in the iconic Craftsman building that for so long housed the iconic Bay Wolf restaurant.
But diners needn’t have worried. After all, The Wolf was opened by Rich and Rebekah Wood, who also own Wood Tavern and Southie, both in Oakland. In fact, Wood Tavern Chef Yang Peng made the leap to helm the kitchen at The Wolf.
The chic bar.
The classic bones of the restaurant remain, but the place has been brightened with an open kitchen and a sleek solid stone bar that’s illuminated underneath.
Lamb with carrot puree at Danville Harvest.
For those who have never been to downtown Danville — and I count myself in that group until a couple weeks ago — it’s high-time to explore this sunny town in the San Ramon Valley. Picture a larger downtown Los Gatos, and you get the idea of how cute and inviting this area is.
Danville Harvest is a perfect place to stop in for a bite to eat, too. With its interior barn doors, library ladders, pewter light fixtures, walls of white subway tiles, displays of old farm tools and antique bottles, and gray tufted leather booths set off by billowy, printed drapes, it’s a Chip-and-Joanna-Gaines rustic-chic interior come to life. Yes, I watch too much “Fixer Upper” on HGTV. But this space is definitely done up in that comfortable-chic style we all can’t get enough of.
Chef Tim Humphrey.
The servers dress in cute gingham shirts. Old glass pane windows front the kitchen to give a glimpse into all the action. And there’s plenty of outdoor seating with a fire pit and strings of lights overhead.
Chef Tiyo Shibabaw at her Teni East Kitchen.
What’s an Ethiopia-born chef doing cooking Burmese food?
Living out a delectable dream, that’s what.
Tiyo Shibabaw, born and raised in Ethiopia where her parents run a hotel and restaurant, always knew she wanted to be in the hospitality industry.
But it wasn’t until she moved to the Bay Area that she found her calling in Southeast Asian cuisines, most notably after going to work at Burma Superstar. Although she started there as a general manager, it wasn’t long before she began apprenticing in the kitchen. She was soon tapped to open the Burma Superstar in Alameda, followed by one in Oakland.
After 10 years, she left the fold to step out on her own, opening her Teni East Kitchen in 2016 that’s named for her mother.
As she explained when I was invited in last week as a guest of her restaurant, she fell in love with the deep, complex flavors of Burmese cuisine that are multi-layered thanks to its judicious use of spices much like in Ethiopian cooking.