Thursday, March 1, 2012

Phat Matt's BBQ

As a worshiper of the pig and the bounty of meats it provides, I get pretty excited about BBQ. Now, tell me you'll buy if I fly and I'm over the moon. Needless to say I was pretty excited about trying Phat Matt's wares.

This place is easy to get to and has plenty of parking (joy!). The interior is roomy and Raider Nation themed. I noticed a bar so it looks like a good place to watch the game. I also noticed that each table had its own roll of paper towels which struck me as good planning. Honestly, that's all I have say about the interior of this joint because as soon as I got 10 feet in I was stuck with the sweet sweet smell of slow cooked meat. 

2-way brisket & ribs, baked beans & potato salad
We got our order to go and had a bag tip over in the car so the beans got all up in Brett's potato salad. But did he complain? No sir! Both of these sides were tasty and he ate every bite. The Memphis style pork ribs got good reviews too. Pork ribs can be hit or miss and Matt was spot on here.

2-way brisket & ribs, greens & coleslaw
Do you see the chunks of meat in those collard greens? The meat to greens ratio was almost 50/50. That's one way to get folks to eat their veggies. Delicious! And how about the meat portion? HUGE! She put in a mighty effort, but was unable to consume it all.

Brisket plate, coleslaw & mac and cheese

So the coleslaw was good but no one went crazy for it. The Mac and cheese was deemed good but not awesome. We all had brisket in our orders and all agreed it was super tasty. Cooked to perfection with a good bark on it and a reasonable layer of fat. 

2-way brisket & pulled pork, beans & yams

I've saved the best for last...the pulled pork. Dear sweet baby Jesus it was fantastic. It had a vinegar based sauce and was so moist and delicious. I am pretty sure I was humming or moaning when I ate it. It's a good thing I tried the beans and yams (tasty) before diving into the pork because it had my full attention once it hit my mouth. Dang it. I want some now. And again, do you see the huge portion size? I could barely get any brisket down I was so stuffed with pork. I will be a repeat customer for this meat alone. And you can buy it by the pound/piece if you don't want sides.

What could have possibly made this meal better? 

This photo sucks.
Freaking candied bacon! I wanted to push everyone else out of the way and gobble this down in the corner like an animal. But I have learned to control my base instincts so I shared like a proper lady. Dry like a jerky, not too sweet and smokey flavored; this was a treat. 

These folks are doing BBQ right and I am so pleased they chose Oakland to set up shop. Matt started in Chicago 30+ years ago and by some kind of magic here's here. All of his fantastic ketchup-based sauces and rubs have no added salt. I didn't even get into their weekly specials or talk about their desserts...I will leave that for you to discover. 

Get down to Phat Matt's (family owned and operated) and try it for yourself. You know you love BBQ and you love Oakland. Spend your money here and support them both.

3415 Telegraph Ave
(between 34th St & I-580) 

Monday, February 27, 2012

another ART MURMUR post

It's a good thing cheer leading for Oakland isn't my real job because I would have been fired for not showing's been some kind of month. Family is never easy, but an aging mom with Parkinson's and a husband on disability will take the starch out of anyone. Now that my life is back in some kind of order I'm ready to pick up my pom poms and rah rah rah for Oakland again.

Bodie wants to know why you aren't hanging out in Oakland.

Let's get this cheer started with a personal appearance by yours truly. I am going to be at art walk this Friday helping Darkwear Clothing  sell their wares. This local lady is showing off her stuff for the first time LIVE since she moved to the Bay Area from LA. Come down and help make her feel at home. We'll be serving tea! 
Check it:

Leather holster hotness

Darkwear began a long time ago, in a little room full of feathers, leathers and fabrics where Tiffany began pegging jeans for friends at school in the 80's. She's come a long way baby...

You know you want it.

Art walk is a great opportunity to support local vendors. Here's the link to learn more:

  Find us on 23rd Street between Telegraph and Valley this coming Friday night

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Piedmont Ave Art Walk

Did you know that Piedmont Avenue hosts an art walk every third Thursday? Well, I didn't. Let's go check it out this Thursday 6-9 pm!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bside BBQ lunch

Celebrated my 6 year anniversary at the real job here. 
Sweet glorious animal flesh! You warm my heart and fill my belly with your juicy goodness. It's possible I love you more than a choice parking spot.

I'm a gal of many names, one being Bacon Princess and I'm married to a man some call Meat Daddy so I've got a bit of cred when it comes to the meat... I was pretty excited to try this West Oakland BBQ joint run by the same lady chef who brought us Brown Sugar Kitchen.

The vibe inside is good and the decor simple...lots of wood and barn type understated western theme but who really cares about that. It smells good inside and the lady took our order right away. We started with the baked chicken wings with Rogue Creamery blue cheese dip and the fried okra bites. Both were a hit but the corn meal batter on the okra was a real stand out. So crisp and sprinkled with a bit of salt...I took the crumbs and mixed it in with what was left of the blue cheese dip proclaiming I could have kept up at any Roman feast. Or maybe I said I'd make a great Roman Emperor and demanded candied hummingbird tongues. You get the idea.

Dark & Stormy pork ribs
I ordered the brisket with a side of baked beans and my friend had the dark & stormy St. Louis pork ribs with a side of spicy coleslaw. We decided we could share if we each got something different. The brown sugar rubbed brisket was done just right and the BBQ sauce was pretty good but I didn't want to lick the bowl. The ribs were just alright but honestly, I'm just not that wild about pork ribs. The coleslaw was delicious and not a big sloppy milky mess. The beans had good flavor but weren't thick enough for my taste...more ketchup and brown sugar demanded my dining companions. The mac and cheese was so good my other companion finished that instead of her last rib and the potato salad was pretty good but was still on the table with the beans at the end of the meal.
Brown Sugar rubbed Brisket
The pickled veggies deserve a shout out of their own. Not one bit of those were left behind and I pined for mates and I are all pickle lovers and these had us clucking like hens over a fat worm. Sweet and spicy with some clove and obviously homemade and fresh. Yum!

All in all, it was a good meal with good companions and we all felt satisfied. The portions are just right and the prices are decent. Check it out for yourself and tell me what you think.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Oakland Art Murmur

Sticker. Map. Postcard
First Fridays uptown have been going on for awhile now and I figured I should get my ass down there and report on the awesomeness...let's just start with the true greatness of parking close to the action. Getting a parking spot in the urban jungle can really set the tone for the evening. Even though I had to do a little loop to get back to the spot I wanted (one way streets and no right turns) I was distracted by all the people out and about...When I moved to Oakland 15 years ago this area was a ghost town and pretty sketchy. But on this night there were people everywhere and even a trio playing live music in a doorway.

My pal and I parked on Broadway and walked toward Grand and the Great Wall of Oakland where a animated movie was showing and the sound system was so good we stopped to watch. But I was drawn the the food trucks I saw a block over...Fist of Flour Pizza (portable wood-fire pizza oven), Tamales, flat bread truck are just a few I paid attention to. My pal had a tamale (4 bucks) and a big cup of cucumber lime water (1 buck). The tamale was good but that water was amazingly refreshing.
Crowd on 23rd

The food is on 23rd along with street vendors and art galleries which were packed. We pushed passed a guy playing banjo and squeezed into Hatch Gallery to see the Pretty Pretty show described as obsessive nostalgia. We cruised the street vendors, my pal picked up some free art, a guy was screen printing Occupy Oakland posters right there and people were buying them as they dried on the line.
A bit of Pretty Pretty show at Hatch Gallery
My favorite bit was 2 kids selling their mutant toys a la Sid in Toy Story. They were whimsicle ( reference) and affordable. Best lemonade stand idea ever. I wish I had some cash...these kids had talent.
Mutant toys for sale
We walked up Telegraph toward Broadway stopping to look at vintage clothing for sale on the street and all manner of freak show out on a Friday night to wrap it up at Bar Dogwood which was hopping. The bar smelled like fresh french bread baking and the bartender caught my eye right away to get my order. Two bags of chicharones & beverages. The vibe was great ; the conversation lively...tables are communal and sharing space is key. If I had been hungry I'd have had the meat plate or the heavenly grilled cheese. 

My pal and I didn't even scratch the surface of the scene in uptown and had a great time. I can't wait to go back. You don't need cash to see art and people watch, but it you have cash grab some street food, get a drink, meet new people and tell me all about it. Go Oakland!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day Tripper

I feel fortunate to live someplace that is so close to so much. Think about it...I could leave in the morning, drive to the mountains and ski all day then get in the car and head west for hot springs and wine tasting the next day. I'm not going to, but I could.

From my house I can be at a dog friendly beach is under an hour or on a canoe in the Russian River in two. There's excellent camping 20 minutes from home (Lake Chabot) or in any direction including San Francisco (Presidio). You don't even have to go to wine country for wine tasting; there's at least half a dozen tasting rooms IN Oakland. 

Redwood forest, coastal headlands, desert, mountains, small town life, city life, hot air balloon rides, sailing, river rafting, hiking, biking, surfing, Oh My! All of these are easily accessible from here. What's your favorite day trip?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mountain View Cemetery

I love a good view
A memorial park but a park nonetheless. Designed by  Frederick Law Olmsted -the architect of New York City's Central Park, Stanford University and Yosemite Park, this little spot is a true Oakland gem.

The winding roads, native and ornamental trees and outstanding views of the surrounding Bay Area alone make this a worthy destination. But there's more...It's well planned, you can feel the history here, and the park seems to go on and on with hills and turns and valleys. The mausoleums, monuments and gravestones are each a piece of art; some are resting places of notable local celebrities. Charles Crocker, Julia Morgan and artist Thomas Hill are resting here along with regular folks. 

It's quiet so you can hear the birds sing and the wind blow. People walk their dogs or just themselves along the meandering roads. The hills are no joke, so a workout is possible. During the holidays there's a light display in the entrance circle, docent tours year-round and in April the Tulip Extravaganza. Who doesn't want to go to an extravaganza in a graveyard?

They really put the park into memorial park. I never feel morose or think about my own grief when I'm here. Though it would be a wonderful place for thoughtful remembrance or to have a good cry; I'd rather bring a picnic and laugh with my friends or show up for the sunset with my husband. And of course, there's plenty of parking.

Bronze gates