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The Oakland 100: 12-24

Edited by Sara Deseran | May 22, 2014 | Story Restaurants

Editor's Note: This is one of many dispatches from Oakland that San Francisco is publishing over the next month, all part of our June "Oakland Issue." To see the rest of the issue's contents, and to read stories as they become available online, click here.

12-16. Oakland Beers in Oakland Beer Halls

Drink Oakland Brewing Co.’s Sticky Zipper IPA while flagging down the tamale man at suds lover’s stronghold Beer Revolution (464 3rd St.). Sip Linden Street Brewery’s crisp New Oakland Glow pilsner while the sun sets at the soon-to-open Dock at Linden Street (95 Linden St.). Savor the mellow hop of Line 51’s Red Death IPA while rubbing elbows with local brewers at Brit-pub impersonator Commonwealth (2882 Telegraph Ave.). Enjoy the great outdoors with an Ale Industries Golden State of Mind at the new succulent-speckled Lost & Found (2040 Telegraph Ave.). Sip Pacific Coast Brewing Co.’s own Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout on the 25-year- old (newly revamped) back patio. (906 Washington St.)

17. Tofu by the Ton
This year has been a tofu turning point, thanks to Hodo Soy Beanery. In February, Chipotle rolled out vegan sofritas filling made with the beanery’s organic, GMO-free tofu. But for founder Minh Tsai, “the most exciting channel for us is the local restaurants.” State Bird Provisions makes a killer yuba kimchee dish that requires 40 pounds of Hodo’s tofu skin a month. Even the French Laundry has dabbled in Hodo, as has Coi. Tsai recalls when his 13,000-square-foot factory, located on Adeline Street, produced only once a week. Today, its output has at least quadrupled. “Companies trying to make tofu a meat substitute have given tofu a bad reputation,” Tsai says. Almost 10 years in, it’s fair to say that Hodo has turned that tofu frown upside down. —S.D.

18-20. Fancified Doughnuts
At Doughnut Dolly (482B 49th St.), a wee Temescal Alley shop, Hannah Hoffman impregnates hand-rolled, yeast-raised confections with a rotating selection of cream and jam fillings, but it’s the Naughty Mexican, a double header of Mexican chocolate and vanilla cream, that takes the prize. Over at Donut Savant (1934 Broadway), Laurel Davis fills her glazed pastries with everything from Irish whiskey ganache to marionberry jam. And thanks to Pepples Donut Farm (6037 San Pablo Ave.) in North Oakland, vegans have also been accounted for, with cakey delicacies in flavors as varied as lemon poppy seed, candy cap mushroom, and orange creamsicle. —R.F.M.

21. Key Player: The 1 a.m. Hoagie Guy
Keep your Tamale Lady, San Francisco: Oakland has its own cult-hero purveyor of handheld drunk food, and his name is Uncle Dougie (nĂ© Douglas Leong)—a purple-haired sexagenarian who serves up authentic East Coast–style sandwiches outside the downtown dance bar the Layover (1517 Franklin St.) Wednesday through Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Leong’s spicy pork meatball sub (and his penchant for abandoning his post to get down on the dance floor himself) has earned him celebrity status among homesick New York City expats and drunk hipsters alike, but Leong’s just happy to see them happy: “I’m really enjoying myself,” he says with a heavy New York accent. “What can I say? People love a good sandwich.” —E.C.

22-23. So Many Taco Trucks, So Little Time
Oakland’s taco-truck ecosystem is unknowably vast. You need direction. A good place to start is Tacos Mi Rancho (1434 1st Ave.)—preferably after last call on a weekend night, when the line is long, the crowd is rowdy, and the al pastor is perfectly tender. Fish taco fanatics are better off at Mariscos Sinaloa (2138 International Blvd.), where the seared-tilapia tacos are easily the best in town. —S.D.

24. Empire Builder: Chris Pastena
Chef-Owner, Chop Bar, Lungomare, and Tribune Tavern
Q: What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened atone of your restaurants?
“A guy ran into Chop Bar chased by the police, looking to escape. He ran into the employee bathroom, then locked himself in and passed out. But he didn’t disrupt business. No one was even fazed. Everyone just shrugged, “All right. Another day in Oakland.”

1-11: The case for soulful food; Josh Sens's top 10
12-24: Fancified doughnuts; the 1 a.m. hoagie guy; so many taco trucks
25-49: Walking Chinatown; urban winetopia; a farmer's market picnic
50-82: The bagel boomlet; Uptown bar-food hoping; healthy soul food
83-100: Fried chicken sandwiches; gourmet shops; roasters to buzz about

Originally published in the June issue of San Francisco.

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