Mac ‘n cheese, please

After Angeline’s, I cannot get enough mac ‘n cheese. It is definitely a big craving, of late. So I was fortunate to get to try it at a couple of new-to-me restaurants in Oakland.

First, we went to Chop Bar, which is in the Jack London Square area. It has this industrial chic look inside, and a gastropub-type menu.

Mike decided to try the oxtail poutine, which sounded so lovely and indulgent. But instead of the cheesy, ultra-rich concoction we were expecting, it was kind of skimpy with bland fries.

But the mac ‘n cheese side did not disappoint. It was gooey and cheesy with crunchy crumbs on top.

The best thing I ate, though, was the only thing I didn’t get a picture of, and that was the burger. It had bacon, avocado, and heirloom tomato slices, and was just heavenly. I would go back just for that. The bloody Marys also looked yummy, and you can get yours with bacon!

Our next mac ‘n cheese adventure came at Homeroom, which is an entire restaurant devoted to the dish. They have all different varieties of cheeses and add-ins, plus a few sides and desserts. The decor is sort of homey and vintage, and drinks are served in Mason jars.

I love this photo because it totally looks Instagram-ed, but it’s not!

I ordered the Trailer Mac, which comes with Niman Ranch hot dog pieces and potato chips on top. Our waiter recommended that we get ours baked with breadcrumbs, so I said OK. In the end I thought the breadcrumbs added much more than the chips. Either way – yum!

We also discovered a big list of Oakland restaurants to try, so we’ve been sampling other cuisines, too. When one of Mike’s map nerd friends was in town we took him to Cosecha, which is kind of like fancied-up Mexican street food.

The guacamole was excellent, and I liked the grilled corn with chile, lime, and cheese sprinkled on top.

I had a quesadilla with grilled chicken and hot peppers, and Mike tried a few different tacos. We decided our favorite was the braised pork taco.

Then last weekend we met a college friend of ours at the Thai Buddhist temple in Berkeley for brunch, of all things. The best way I can describe it is to say I think it’s the most Berkeley thing I’ve done since I’ve been here.

The temple is really just a house on a residential street that has a big ornate facade. But you go around back and there are all these stations serving curries, noodle soups, spring rolls, and the like. You exchange your money for tokens, and pay with those. We got there at 10 a.m., and by the time we left around 11 there were hundreds of people there and the line was all the way to the street. It is just the coolest thing.

Attempting to smile with a mouth full of curry.

We tried a few different curried stir-fries, Thai iced tea, and mango sticky rice. It was definitely a lot of rich food for so early in the day, but I loved it.

Every time I think we’ve settled into a routine, I realize there is so much more to discover around here. We’ve got at least 30 more restaurants on our list to try. Bring it on!

New blogging gig

After my Fresh Home gig petered out, I’m glad to say that I have a new one with Goodsmiths is a new online marketplace, similar to Etsy, where crafters sell their wares. They’re based in Des Moines, which is how I got the connection. I’m proud to see the Silicon Prairie thing really heating up there.

Anyway, I’ll be posting there about once a week with DIY tutorials, advice for sellers, info on California crafters and events, and whatever else I come up with. My first post is about lessons learned in shipping, which is a topic I love to talk about!

I’d recommend just bookmarking the blog in general, because there are several bloggers posting all kinds of tutorials and recipes you might want to try. And of course if you’re interested in expanding your craft empire, you can open a shop there.