Originally I planned on writing more about patronizing local stores, or even the Occupy Oakland movement, but I think we’re all tired of it. I will keep going on my merry way spending money at local shops in silence. Let my actions speak for me.
As tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I will say that I am thankful for my relative health, my family, my boyfriend, my dog, a place to rest my head, clothes to keep me warm, food to nourish me and more. What are you thankful for?
Well, money is kind of dirty, but I’d like to spend my money on the good food that you can find in Oakland. Knowing that the small businesses in downtown Oakland have suffered greatly in the past weeks due to the Occupy movement (as opposed to those few big corporations that are even located here, such as Clorox), I’m making a conscious effort to patronize the establishments in this area at least 3-4 times a week until at least the end of the year. And I don’t mean Piedmont, or Temescal, or even Grand Lake. I’m talking downtown, Old Oakland, and maybe even Jack London. Normally I wouldn’t be out spending so much money so often, but it is time to infuse these businesses with a little cash.
First up is Housewives Market, a semi-enclosed marketplace located on Washington Street in Old Oakland. Today I hit up Cosecha Mexican Cafe, Taylor’s Sausage, and Sincere Seafood.
The splurge was on Cosecha–four tacos–two fried fish with chipotle cream and cabbage slaw on special, one pork belly, one grilled chicken with achiote and a mexi-coke, of course (no, not all for me!)–$20. The food is fresh and simple, if a bit of a wait. So, I went over to check out the meat and fish counters to kill time, but more on that in a second. The menu changes regularly at Cosesha, but there’s always fresh coffee and pastries, tortas, quesidillas, aguas frescas, etc. There are happy hour specials weekdays from 2:30-6:00 p.m.–this includes taco and appetizer specials plus $3.50 specials on tap beer like Trumer Pils and $2.50 on bottled ones like Negra Modelo. They also do Saturday brunch and special dinners, so check out their website for details.
I also grabbed a couple of catfish filets from Sincere Seafood for a fry up tonight ($7), and four boudin sausages from Taylor’s Sausage (two hot, two mild–$6) for later this week. Made on-premise, Taylor’s boudin sausages are a meal in themselves–packed with savory sausage, spices and rice. And at those prices, it’s a pretty good deal for the quality and freshness.
Where to next?
In order to make the most of a budget for all of us seven kids, my mom had to be a creative meal planner. For example, our Sunday roast turned into lunch meat for the week. Over the years, I’ve transferred this habit into my own meals.
So, I’m about to go on vacation and I need to make sure that my vegetables are used up before they spoil. Hence, garbage soup. Fortunately for me, I had a couple of tubs of broth in the freezer into which I could throw my vegetables. In this case, a broth made from a roast chicken I had a couple of months ago, and one from roasted beets, but you can use whichever kind of broth you want, but try something light, such as chicken or vegetable.
- 8 cups broth (4 chicken, 4 beet)
- 1 bunch chopped beet greens (include stalks)
- 1/2 bunch of diced celery
- 4 small yellow squash, chopped
- 1 diced garlic clove
- 1/8 jalapeno pepper, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup soy milk (regular milk, cream or half-n-half works, too)
Combine all ingredients in pot except for soy milk and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 40 minutes until everything is tender. Then, season with salt and pepper and add soy milk and then blend everything with a hand mixer (a blender works fine, too).
It’s a little thin, but if you want to add more depth, try yogurt or creme fraiche, especially if the soup is a little spicy for you. I ate mine with Naan bread.
Let me know if you try it!