Volta’s Staffan Terje on His Favorite Oakland Meals
From bubble and squeak to an eight-course tasting menu
Give us a day, we’re going to eat (or drink) at least five times: breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, dinner.
Five meals, five picks. Left to our own devices, we’re going to stagnate (looking at you, kale salad at Lólo). Instead, why not make each one of them superlative?
So we talked to a guy who knows: Staffan Terje, the toque behind SoMa sensation Volta, where the herring takes center stage and a deconstructed princess cake tips a cap to his Swedish roots.
Here, Terje lays out a top-flight tour of Oakland’s top eats.
Breakfast: Aunt Mary’s Cafe
“They serve a great Southern style breakfast — big food! The Southern bubble and squeak is really good. Lines can be a bit long on the weekends, but they move pretty quickly and there are a few antique stores nearby for browsing to help pass the time. Afterward, if you’re feeling up to it, you are close to Temescal Alley for some good shopping.”
Brunch: Doña Tomas
“I always go for the huevos rancheros, but they have a pretty extensive menu, so there is a lot to choose from. There’s also a full bar and a nice patio, so you can enjoy Sunday morning even more.”
Lunch: Bakesale Betty
“I usually don’t eat lunch, but this place is good. Bakesale Betty has a great buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with coleslaw. It may not sound like much, but it’s great because that’s all they serve (fried tofu for the vegetarians) and that’s what I like — a really good, simple, well-seasoned, tasty sandwich. Simple is hard, because you can’t hide behind fluff. Bread, great fried chicken and really good coleslaw. I recommend getting a bag of chips and don’t forget a cookie or two — they’re damn good and I love the pecan shortbread and the ginger molasses.”
“A great bar on Hollis in Emeryville with a laid-back vibe, and it’s pretty close to my house, so it’s definitely a winner in my book. The cocktails aren’t over-the-top, but they’re still innovative, which I like. The Red Hook is probably my favorite, but they have a great selection of beers and mezcals, as well as punches for large groups.”
“They have an amazing tasting menu that’s well worth the money. The eight-course menu is constantly changing, but consistently great. James Syhabout is an amazing chef. You feel very well taken care of without a lot of fuss. The service is warm and comfortable. I also love the wine list — it is well-selected with a good range of prices.”
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