Bakesale Betty

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This is a post I’ve been afraid to write because it features my absolute favorite lunch spot and I’m worried that if I let the not-so-secret secret out it’ll be so popular that the line will wrap around the block. Today, I HAD to write about Bakesale Betty. If you’ve ever done a Google search for the best chicken sandwich in the Bay Area, you probably already know about this place.

Open Tuesday-Saturday, Bakesale Betty opens up shop in a nondescript location in the Temescal neighborhood in Oakland, California. You’ll know the place by the long line that always forms just after opening. The ironing boards for tables outside are also a dead giveaway that you’ve found the right place.

We go here at least three times a week for the incredible fried chicken and coleslaw salad. The chicken is mildly spicy and the cabbage slaw is every bit of the crunchy, vinegar goodness it looks to be.

My sweet tooth rules my life and Bakesale Betty has my favorite cookie…ever. The Ginger-Molasses cookie is TO DIE FOR. All caps are absolutely necessary here. Go get and I’ll await your freak out.

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed a new, sweet item on the menu – a homemade banana nut bread. I’ve always loved banana nut bread, but they go for gold with the sandy, sugar topping. The top is a crusty brown sugar mixture that they lovingly refer to as ‘sand’.

The banana nut bread was so good that we went back for a full loaf the next day. Ben made a big deal about it being amazing and lo and behold THE Bakesale Betty overheard him and lit up, “Thank you! I made that.” We couldn’t stop gushing about how good it was and what idiots we were for not getting more.

She remembered us because when we saw today’s new menu item – Rhubarb Orange Pie – we knew we needed to try a slice. Betty overheard our order this time and pulled us aside to give us a full pie because she knew we were going to die and go to dessert heaven. Meeting Betty was how I imagine meeting the Pope might be – a holy, divine culinary goddess.

Now you know my best kept secret;)  Bakesale Betty is Oakland’s finest.

What to Know

Bakesale Betty is open Tuesday – Saturday from 11am-2pm. The line moves faster than it looks!

They offer fried tofu for our vegetarian friends – it’s equally amazing.

Check out their Facebook page for more enticing photos.

Lemon Bars on a Rainy Day

Rainy day + New York Times Cooking section + all the ingredients to make lemon bars already in the pantry + the best Meyer lemons just outside the front door = …

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Ben borrowed a delicious lemon bar recipe from The New York Times on this rainy day. These are insanely yummy. The shortbread crust, the tart Meyer lemons, the confectioner’s sugar topping. There is zero chance you or anyone else will eat just one.

What to Know

New York Times recipe for Lemon Bars With Olive Oil and Sea Salt. (We added the confectioner’s sugar.)

La Dunkerquoise Gaufres

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What started as an exciting hunt for my new favorite treat quickly turned to a frantic search and rescue. Navigating the narrow aisles of this little market, I nearly collided with the bevy of human obstacles that littered my path. I would have mowed down anyone standing in the way of my newly discovered golden caramel waffle cookies.

Sating my sweet tooth is a means of survival for me. The intensity of my sugary addiction is a factor in the decisions I make throughout my day; whether or not to make that latte a mocha, whether or not to be late meeting a friend because there was a new ice cream place I hadn’t tried yet, and whether or not to eat dessert for dinner. To put it simply, I would definitely take candy from a baby.

At Market Hall, on College Avenue in Oakland, you have to take a number and wait awhile during the mid-day rush unique to this neighborhood of (mostly) retired citizens shopping for the freshest and most unique groceries. Though the wait can test your patience, it’s also the perfect opportunity to stroll the aisles and scour the thirty kinds of olive oils or truffle salts. December is an especially good month to hunt for your newest find because the market is decorated with holiday displays showing off international Christmas treats. Just two weeks before, I had been on such a hunt and discovered La Dunkerquoise salted caramel waffles. These dime-thin, sugar masterpieces were the scratch to my every itch. This was chip meets waffle. But this was nothing, NOTHING compared to my Ponce de Leon-type discovery of these as ice cream toppings. The product of these waffles, sprinkled delicately over that saccharine cream, was my personal holy grail. The caramel crunch met the smooth icy texture to release every molecule of dopamine my brain could produce. These were my new favorite drug. They didn’t last long as I began extensive research creating other sugary recipes. As such, the panic that washed over me as I searched for them the following week, hit harder than a tsunami. They were gone. I went through every stage of grief. Denial that they were actually gone and attempting to reason that they must of been placed on a different display. Anger at the store for getting me hooked and then running out of supplies. Bargaining with ‘God’ by promising I would cut back on sugar if only I could taste these one last time. Depression over the realization that these were really gone, and could very well never be found again. Before I could fully realize acceptance, two words came to me: online shopping.

Soon after my initial search I was hit with two of the most feared words: sold out. Of course they were sold out, I wanted them more than cable. Murphy’s Law being what it is, I started to finally move into full blown acceptance. That is until a follow-up search found a website that had a few more in stock. So, what do you do when presented with this kind of miracle? Order six boxes. “The order has been packed and is ready to ship but we need to confirm that you placed this order,” read a skeptical email from the seller. No one at GourmetBoutique.com could believe one person actually ordered six boxes. I assured them that I had, in fact, ordered six boxes knowing full well that if I had to have this interaction in person I would have been unable to look them in the eye.

The day my package arrived, I tore open the box with the manic anticipation of a meth addict. There they were in their full orange-boxed glory. I happily opened the first box and bit down on what was supposed to be that delectable crunch. Instead, I was met with a soft, flaccid sponge. They were under-baked. After all the mental anguish and eager anticipation, I was met with six boxes of a bad batch. I cannot remember being more disappointed about anything. I was completely deflated. I felt bad for ever cursing Market Hall for not restocking. It was then I realized the power my sweet tooth held. It demanded a quality that only a boutique grocery store could offer and only the internet could ruin.