Bay Area Wayfaring: Oakland

It’s been chilly lately–which of course is the perfect time to bring out the cozy sweaters and comfort foods. Neither of which I have a lot of, given that my winter clothes are (still!!) in storage, and I haven’t been stocking the fridge because I keep moving from place to place.

But my upcoming move this weekend will hopefully, for the time being, be my last. It’s been 19 weeks since I came out here, with 11 moves in that time frame.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been stressful. Had I known coming into this just how challenging it would be (and how hard some others have it), I might have braced myself and been more anxious about the transition. But the optimism that brought me over here in the first place kept me pummeling forward despite all, and I’ve been incredibly fortunate. Hopping all over the Bay area meant that I got to pick up lots of new friends along the way, and of course, get a sampling of all the great food the different neighborhoods have to offer!

Which brings me to today’s topic, Oakland. Last month, I found myself shacking up temporarily with A, N and J in a cute little house in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood. I can’t remember the last time I lived in an actual house–with a driveway, basketball court, dining room, kitchen, study and den–what! Coming home to that much space every day was ridiculous.

Oakland has very much a community vibe, and a community of food-lovers in particular. I was so happy to find myself in a house full of people with hearty appetites! Our inaugural roommate dinner was a Korean food feast of galbi, bibimbap and eggplant. N is an amazing cook, and my mouth is watering just remembering how delicious everything was. (A keen eye will notice above the telltale signs of store-bought bibimbap ingredients, but everything else was homemade.)

We lived a mere two blocks from the Oakland location of Burma Superstar, which–don’t shoot the messenger–I thought was overrated. It was good, very flavorful, but for the price? Could be better.

We also lived but a matter of blocks from Homeroom510, which serves the most delightful varieties of mac and cheese baked full of cheesy flavor and topped with breadcrumbs. I got the Gilroy Garlic with bacon (in the background, above), and actually managed to eat it all in one sitting because it was THAT good. The Professor, a shandy-like mix of light beer and limeade, was a perfect accompaniment.

And yes, Oakland is hipster central. Disclaimer: I have to say, despite the fact that it’s apparent from this blog that I take a lot of pictures of food, I do it for the blog, and not because I am a hipster. I do not own anything in plaid or Warby Parker glasses, nor do I have any facial hair (thank goodness for that). Friends have started making fun of me because of all these Asians/hipsters taking pictures of food memes, but they can judge all they want! I actually have a readership on this blog (or so I tell myself).

In case you missed it, Hipster Thanksgiving:

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2 thoughts on “Bay Area Wayfaring: Oakland

  1. Even if you are a hipster, it’s okay being one. I’m not sure I really understand what “hipster” is. Is it dressing a certain way, liking certain bands of music, reading certain books, having certain interests, eating certain foods, living in a certain neighborhood? It’s all very confusing! My sister is kind of a hipster–she works as a manager in this art space/gallery and she recently shaved off part of hair and almost exclusively shops at Urban Outfitters. Oh and she would love to live in Brooklyn. Yet she keeps telling me she isn’t a hipster. Okay, if you say so! :)

    1. I’d say it’s the blase, everything-is-ironic attitude that is the off-putting attribute when people make fun of hipsters. I mean, you’re right in that obliquely we’re all poking a bit of fun at ourselves in doing so, since ‘hipster’ is kind of a catchall. I’ve got nothing against hipsterdom, especially as I often find myself steeped in it here in the Bay area! Slow coffees that take 25 minutes to brew (really?), an overabundance of plaid shirts and skinny jeans and lots of folksy rock to name a few hipster-favorite things…

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