You wouldn’t know it just glancing at Stone Brewing Co.‘s home page, but there’s a line of mustards available with Stone beer for an ingredient, made in collaboration with Carlsbad Gourmet. Apparently there was a snafu in 2010 when the beer disappeared before making its way into the mustard, hence the 2.0 designation. The first incarnation was probably just as tasty as the second with beer, but we’ll never know. All we do know is that Pale Ale 2.0 is a treat. Mildly tangy in its vinegar acidity, this is not a vibrant mustard in the traditional sense. What makes your taste buds come to attention is the chipotle that brings a medium-high heat, but with actual strong chipotle flavor to back it up. Even for being stone ground (get it? ’cause it’s made with Stone?) it more creamy than gritty, as many stone grounds can be. With such taste and texture, it would go really well on pretty much any sausage, a roast beef sandwich, or a 50/50 burger.
(Always drink responsibly. Seek help when alcohol affects your life and the lives of those around you. For readers of a legal drinking age.)
So I know Mikkeller is not from Mexico, it’s a Belgian brewery that I’ve seen a lot of recently. But it’s Cinco de Mayo, and I thought the Chipotle Porter could be a way to celebrate without the stereotypical beer of the season (though apparently it’s called Texas Ranger in other parts). When I opened this 6.6% ABV brew it smelled like a typical porter, which to me is a little sweet from the brown malt. The head was slow to separate with tiny bubbles fading their way up, resulting in a dulce de leche-colored, creamy head. The flavor, though, was not what I expected from the smell – it doesn’t seem sweet at all, and the very light chipotle is an aftertaste. This is an ale to try for those who like super dark beer with a surprise ending.
There was nothing in the fridge or cabinets this morning for a decent brunch since we slept and, because we just moved in, we hadn’t done grocery shopping yet. Zach found Cock-a-Doodle Cafe online looking for “best breakfast oakland,” and we can see why diners would feel that way. Latin/American fusion for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, with an impressive selection of fanciful coffees and cocktails, this establishment merits a few visits.
Despite having seeds, Zach wanted to try the lemonade – made in house, organic, and very refreshing. It was strong in strawberry flavor with lemon as a medium background, not too sweet but not too sour. There was some pulp, and the garnishes were cute.
His entree isn’t on the online menu, but off the in house menu he ordered this version of Eggs Benedict. Poached eggs with smoked pork loin, tomato, avocado, and lemon caper sauce were deliciously layered on English muffin. The egg whites were tender while the yolk was still rich and creamy, all over breaded with a crispy cornmeal crust. The smoky pork loin was also tender, and lean. Sweet tomato and creamy avocado were both fresh, and the rich Hollandaise was tangy thanks to the capers. With a choice of house griddle potatoes or organic greens, and being in a breakfast mood more so than lunch, Zach chose the potatoes; they were crispy and very savory with onion, garlic, and the right amount of salt.
August’s Mexican hot chocolate took a bit longer to make than Zach’s strawberry lemonade, so this big bowl barely had room on the table, competing with the other items taking up space. It was very mild and an easy way for someone new to Mexican hot chocolate to ease into the “spices,” because for this it was cinnamon that stood out the most. It was very easy to sip, but you almost don’t want to disturb it because it’s so pretty.
The egg in August’s omelette was fluffy with no skin, nor was it overcooked (causing the egg to brown). It looks simple, but inside it hides thick-cut pancetta, chipotle aioli, green onions, tomato, and cheddar. The cheese is creamy, balancing out the flavorful but not-too-spicy aioli. The green onions were on the inside, not on the outside like she had anticipated, so they were slightly cooked and therefore not too strong. She enjoyed the same potatoes that Zach did, but she wished there was more omelette for a few more bites of delight.
Zach found out a little too late that the french toast has poppy seeds, but we both thought it was fantastic. It had a little more texture than your typical french toast with a thin, crisp, and crunchy graham cracker layer. Light, airy, and somewhat pillowy in the center, the thick-cut bread was slightly sweet so we used very little syrup. For the price and size, being a half-order, this is a great deal and a unique find.
Raul, our server, was attentive and understanding. We found this place on a whim, but with perfect timing, we didn’t realize we were going to be right next to the Old Oakland Farmers Market where Zach found inspiration for dinner. Even further, August overheard the lady at the table next to us mention to Raul that her family used to own the very building we were eating in. What an introduction to living in Oakland!