Oakland is fairly spread out, but can be easily navigated using public transportation. We took a bus out to an industrial area to seek out Brown Sugar Kitchen for their chicken and waffles. The fried chicken was perfectly seasoned and you could see the bits of freshly chopped herbs in batter. The skin was crispy, and the chicken was tender and juicy. Best of all, it didn’t feel overly greasy or heavy. The cornmeal waffle was incredibly light and crispy. When I think of cornmeal, I often think of dense, dry cornbread, but I’m always amazed at how light cornmeal can be. This chicken and waffle combination was divine and worth the trek.
We then ended up in the same area as Bakesale Betty’s. I’m not even sure how I came across to learning about it. Again, it was one of those places with a long line spanning multiple storefronts. Old iron boards and wooden stools lined the sidewalk for patrons to eat outside. Since we were already there, we couldn’t resist ordering the signature fried chicken sandwich. A boneless, skinless chicken breast is fried and topped with a light jalapeno coleslaw. The batter on this fried chicken was crunchier than breakfast, which was crisper and lighter. I think the star of the sandwich is the coleslaw. It’s a far cry from one of those overly creamy messy coleslaw salads. Instead, it’s a light vinaigrette dressing that has a healthy punch from the jalapeno slices. I think they recently posted the recipe online, so I will have to add it to my recipe box. We also picked up a chocolate chip walnut cookie and a strawberry shortcake. I was disappointed in my chocolate chip walnut cookie as it did not taste as good as my own based on the NY Times recipe. Strawberry shortcake is one of A’s favorite desserts, and so he couldn’t turn it down. The shortcake was a true shortcake in the sense that it was not a spongy pound cake, but rather closer to a biscuit.
Fried chicken is one of those guilty pleasures that I rarely indulge in, but when I’m on vacation, I try not to over think it and just enjoy myself. Who would’ve thought that fried chicken would be such a popular item in Oakland?