Looking online for reliable restaurant information in Oakland is limited. Searching for “taquería oakland” gave us literally nothing in our neighborhood within 4 miles. But driving around Oakland, one can find many restaurants, sometimes almost a dozen on a single block. A lack of an online presence seems untrustworthy nowadays, as we rely so much on that fallible resource, yet taking a shot in the dark can prove fruitful. On a whim around lunch time, we pulled into the back parking lot of Taquería Los Dos Gallos at 5901 International Blvd, and we don’t regret it in the slightest.
Almost half of the menu here has breakfast items, with a mix of Mexican dishes, omelettes, and even waffles and pancakes. We were well past craving breakfast for ourselves, being a late lunch as it was, but we got the chilaquiles rojos so that we could try something off the expansive breakfast selection and write about it here. Essentially tortilla chips, eggs, cheese, and salsa, it’s a scramble with bright flavors and many layers of texture. The red sauce was very bold with chilies, garlic, and onion. It melded with the crispy chips, gooey cheese, and velvety eggs. With sides of sour cream, rice, beans, and freshly chopped onions and avocado, this is part of a complete, savory, and international breakfast.
The word torta changes meaning depending on where you are and who you’re talking with. For Mexico, torta is a delicious sandwich with fresh vegetables, mayonnaise, avocado, and your choice of meat. Carnitas are little fried bits of pork, and here they were riquísimas in this torta with a grilled and buttery soft roll. Tender, rich, and flavor-packed, carnitas has always been one of our favorite styles of Mexican meat preparation. Thick tomato, crispy lettuce, and creamy avocado added to the enjoyment.
We got three types of tacos; there were enough different kinds of meat, we had to try a few. Each one was loaded with fresh meat, cilantro, and white onion. One was al pastor which is a style of pork you can find most places. The meat was grilled and crispy, and only mildly spicy with a tiny bit of tanginess from the pineapple with which it was roasted. Because we’re adventurous, we also tried one cabeza and one lengua (that’s head and tongue, respectively). The cabeza was nice and tender with a mild marinade so the flavor of the meat was the star. The tongue was just as tender with more of a gamey flavor, but it was mild and pleasant. While the two meats came from the same region of the body, the tastes were very different.
Don’t get sucked into limiting yourself to restaurants with an online presence, focusing on the stars given by someone who doesn’t know good food. There are restaurants which have yet to be discovered, and it only takes a hint of courage to break away from the chatter on the ‘Net and try somewhere new.
Breakfast or brunch, this twist on a classic has a Southwestern flair. Chef Zach swapped out Canadian bacon for pork chorizo, and added a few other things that makes this zing.
3 English muffins, toasted
1 pack of Cacique pork chorizo
1 cup salted butter
2 roma tomatoes
1/6 of one white onion
1/2 of one jalapeño pepper, roasted
2-3 tbs. milk, depending on desired thickness of avocado cream
2 tbs. lemon juice
2 tbs. sour cream
1 tbs. chopped cilantro
1 tbs. lime juice
1 tbs. water, and enough for a pot of water to boil
1 tbs. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, plus some to taste
• For the avocado cream:
Cut avocado in half, remove the seed, and scoop out into a bowl. Smash with a fork, add sour cream, and mix with a whisk. Add milk to desired thickness, salt to taste, and keep cool until time for garnishing.
• For the pico de gallo:
Roast jalapeño over a stove top. As soon as the skin starts to blacken and crack, put in a Ziploc bag; the steaming action helps remove the skin. Cut tomatoes into manageable pieces, remove and discard the pulp and seeds, dice the tomatoes, and put in a bowl. Finely chop cilantro and onion, and add to bowl with the tomatoes. Remove skin from jalapeño, then mince the pepper and add to bowl. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and lime juice, stir, and keep cool until time for garnishing.
• For the chorizo:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Divide the meat into six portions and form patties. Cook in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked and both sides are browned. Set patties aside on a cookie sheet with a paper towel to soak up excess grease, then transfer to oven to keep warm.
• For the Hollandaise:
Put about 3″ water in a medium-sized boiling pot, and get it boiling. Melt butter in a microwave and set aside. Separate egg yolks from the egg whites, and put egg yolks in a metal or glass bowl. Add lemon juice and 1 tbs. water to the egg yolks. Put this bowl over the lightly boiling pot so that the water and steam are the heat source. Whisk constantly at this point. Add melted butter to the mixture a tablespoon at a time, and keep whisking until fully incorporated. If the sauce gets too thick, add a teaspoon or so of hot water.
• For the eggs:
Fill a tall-sided saute pan with 3″-4″ water and the tbs. of vinegar, and bring to a light boil. Break eggs one at a time into a tiny bowl, and do your best not to break the yolk. Holding the bowl close to the surface of the water, slide the egg into the water. Let sit in the lightly boiling water until egg white is fully set and yolk only slightly begins to thicken; this will take about 3-5 minutes, and do not stir at all during the process. Remove eggs from a slotted spoon, draining water completely and trim any rough edges.
Serve immediately layered as such:
Toasted English muffin halves–chorizo patties–eggs–Hollandaise–avocado cream–pico de gallo