Friday, October 16, 2009

A trip to Germany in Alameda, to China in Oakland, to Mexico in Fruitvale -or- Around the world in East Bay

A couple weekends ago, JD wanted to explore Oakland's Chinatown. Now not to brag on this obnoxious travel blog of ours, but having been to San Francisco's Chinatown, Portland's Chinatown, Vancouver's Chinatown, Los Angeles's Chinatown, Lima's Chinatown, Buenos Aires' China and to China itself, Oakland's Chinatown was nothing to write "home" about... the pagoda roofs look more intriguing from 880 than from ground level. However, unlike some of the others I listed, Oakland's Chinatown seems to harbor a thriving community, complete with jostling sidewalk vegetable stalls, self-proclaimedly legendary dim sum palaces, and cheap FOBA fashions.

We continued east on our topologically incorrect tour of the world, to Alameda where we searched out east bay's German enclave: Speisekammer. As luck would have it, they just happened to be celebrating Oktoberfest that day complete with bratwurst, metric increments of beer, spaetzel, drindl, leiderhosen, oompa bands, and lots of sunshine. I drank the ever girly radler, a combination of beer and lemonade and John had an incredibly delicious apple beer and I unfortunately cannot remember the name. I give zwei thumbs up to Speisekammer and their Oktoberfest, which they amazingly celebrated for an entire month.

Jumping ahead a week, we headed south, both literally and figuratively, to Fruitvale to seek out el corazon de la mission de Oakland. Driving along International Boulevard seems entirely appropriate as you attempt to choose a taqueria in Fruitvale. Based on a graduate school classmate's recommendation, we settled on El Huarache Azteca, which sports amazing Apocalypto-style murals and some of the most delicious mole I have ever tasted in my thusfar brief albeit mexican-food-loving life. I ate a thing called an alambre, which seemed like a meat scramble without any eggs and it was delicious.

I hope to continue our global explorations of Oakland, but I am not sure where in the world we might end up next. One could cover just about all of these major ethnic food groups in one nook of Berkeley's vast network of college eateries, but that is neither here nor there. Next post will be about our mini taco crawl down Milpas in Santa Barbara, where we were ever closer to Mexico, i.e. the real deal.

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