Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bottom Feeding: Take 2

Bakesale Betty's
5098 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA
(510) 985-1213
Tuesday - Saturday 7am - 6pm
Sunday - 7am - 3pm. Closed Monday.

Bakesale Betty's is a corner bakery with a line out the door at lunchtime. Everything Betty produces is great. Real home style treats. But what the crowds are lined up for? Among other things, Betty's fantastic fried chicken sandwich. It is a fried chicken breast on a thick bed of spicy hot Cole slaw, on a Acme torpedo roll. The roll is so full it takes two or three hands to manage the sandwich without getting it all over yourself. The chicken is fantastic, but the Cole slaw is alone is brilliant. A vegetarian I know goes for the slaw by itself. Now you can make Betty's slaw at home.

Betty's Coleslaw

The vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

The coleslaw:
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 jalapenos, seeded, cut in half and sliced crosswise
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 green cabbage, core and outer leaves removed, and very thinly sliced
Kosher salt

For the vinaigrette: Combine mustard, vinegar and salt in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended.

For the coleslaw: Macerate onions in red wine vinegar, and let sit at least 20 minutes. Remove onions and discard vinegar. Toss onions with jalapeno, parsley, cabbage and salt. Toss with vinaigrette until evenly coated.

Cafe Con Leche
424 Amsterdam Ave
Between 80th & 81st St
New York, NY 10024
Daily 8am-Midnight

This is real Cuban food. They serve Cubanos, which is a Cuban sandwich of roast pork, ham, cheese, pickles on a Cuban roll. We used to get Cubanos at the movies when we lived in upper Manhattan. In the back of the lobby of this theater there was a counter that went through the wall into the sandwich shop next door. That theater pretty much only showed Charles Bronson movies dubbed into Spanish with English subtitles. It was always full and there was lots of audience cheering, booing, gasping, and, babies crying and general hubbub. It made theCubano taste even better. Cafe con Leche also serves crispy fried Dominican chicken and other lovely Cuban favorites. Sides include red or black beans, and plantains. For me a trip to New York is not complete without aCubano, and a pastrami sandwich from Fine & Schapiro.

Fine & Schapiro
138 W 72nd St.
New York, NY 10023
(212) 877-2721
Daily 10am to 10pm

They call themselves the quintessential kosher Jewish delicatessen. I don't know about that as I usually have the pastrami sandwich so my experience is limited. The pastrami and pickles are good as is the slaw. Because it is kosher you will not get a Reuben here (no cheese). I do have to mention that generally the rye bread in New York is of pretty poor quality compared to Los Angeles or Berkeley. It has insufficient substance. It is too light. I wonder who makes it and how they get it so fluffy.

Malecon No. 2
764 Amsterdam Ave
New York, New York 10025
Between 97th & 98th St
(212) 864-5648
Daily 6am-11pm

As you walk up to Malecon No. 2 you are confronted with a window full of rotisserie chickens. The chickens seem to fly out the door as the place's business is so successful. It's inexpensive and delicious.Malecon is one of numerous Dominican restaurants on New York's Upper West Side, and in addition to the rotisserie chicken which they serve with a lemon juice-garlic-cilantro dipping sauce, they also servemofongo which is a mixture of mashed plantains and chicken formed into what looks like a squat inverted clay pot. I've not had it but the name intrigues me. They also serveCubanos, There is a Malecon (No. 1), but I have never been there even though it is in the neighborhood I lived in 30 years ago. That upper Manhattan neighborhood was a combination of elderly German Jews, Columbia Presbyterian medical school students, Dominicans, Salvadorans,Puerto Ricans , and Cubans. And evidence in the park across from our apartment 30 years ago indicated that people were ritually sacrificing or slaughtering animals at night. TheMalecon No. 2 area is not nearly as exciting, but maybe that's good.

Zaki Kebab House
1101 San Pablo Ave
(at Dartmouth St)
Albany, CA 94706
(510) 527-5452
Daily Noon to 9pm

Very nice home made Middle Eastern food. The falafel I've had and very good Baba Ganoush. The heavily spiced rotisserie chicken is Delicious. The meat they use is Halal. The owners are delightful, bringing tastes of other things to the table-- like you had gone back to the old country to visit relatives you have never met before.The daily specials are not regular items from the menu, but rather dishes which are too labor intensive to make every day. The one I had was really delicious and I suspect that they are always very good as they get a lot of attention from the cook. Music Saturday nights No alcohol sold or allowed to be brought in.


  1. I can endorse Zaki's. We had wonderful babaganoush and falafel and some Lebanese lamb dish that I can't remember the name of. They told us they'll be serving kibbee this coming Friday--I can't wait!