Island-Side Food Finds
Story and photos by Meredith Pakier
Through the past summer, I found myself whizzing through the Webster Street Tube on many occasions to visit a recently relocated friend. Always hungry on arrival, I had plenty of chances to explore some island-side eats. Here are some memorable meals and bites.
The Tuesday and Saturday Alameda Farmers’ Market is modest in size, but its ready-made food options are good and plentiful. The crisp biscotti from Rosa’s Portuguese Bakery, fresh sourdough loaves by certified cottage food operation Night Heron Bread, and the pungent vegetarian samosas from Roti Pakistani Authentic Food all landed in my take-home bag. 710 Haight Ave
Steps away from the farmers’ market is Aria Supermarket, where the shelves are lined with varied delights from the Baltic, Balkan, and Mediterranean regions. Best finds included ajvar (a smoky red pepper and eggplant spread), sprats packed in olive oil, Croatian liqueurs, frozen pierogies and pelmeni, and cold bottles of kvass, a fizzy, malty, and sweet beverage made from fermented rye bread. 1537 Webster St
Bhan Mae Vane wins high marks for its modern takes on Laotian and Thai cuisines. Our family-style spread included laab gai (minced chicken with herbs and lime), mok pla (aromatic steamed fish tucked inside banana leaves), and sakoo (addictively chewy tapioca balls stuffed with caramelized ground pork and peanuts accompanied by fried chile peppers). 1511 Webster St
Longtime Alameda locals know and love Domenico’s Italian Deli, where the no-frills sandwich counter has been crafting subs since the 1980s. Their succulent roast lamb sandwich is only made better by its gooey blanket of provolone and vinegary bite of pepperoncini. Since this spot offers takeout only, we made the short stroll to Crab Cove beach and chowed down while watching the exceptionally brazen ground squirrels dart from burrow to burrow. 1407 Webster St
The jewel on the seasonal, seafood-inflected menu at Alley & Vine is the A&V Caviar, a white sturgeon roe that the restaurant’s chef team harvests from the California Caviar Company’s CQ Ranch in Elk Grove and then cures to their house specifications. We went for an affordable splurge of this buttery and pleasantly briny caviar atop a round of brioche toast with crème fraîche. 1332 Park St, Unit D
The kettle is always on at the Malaya Tea Room, a quaint Malaysian-British tea salon where one can count on a proper tea service with dozens of options. I chose a creamy Malaysian Pulled Tea, abuzz with warming spices, but got stuck choosing from among the dainty finger sandwiches with fillings like cucumber, kaya (a coconut jam), and curry chicken. Service always includes scones with tart kasturi lime curd, macarons, and feather-light pandan chiffon cakes. 920 Central Ave
In spring 2021, management at Alameda’s Speisekammer invited their employee Felipe de la Rosa and his partner Erin Ardito to serve their homestyle Mexican cuisine at the biergarten on Mondays and Tuesdays. By popular demand, La Huerta Tacos continues there as a full-fledged pop-up. Specials on the brief menu rotate (expect anything from shrimp ceviche to chile relleno), but one constant is their signature beef birria. Available as a street-style taco or as quesabirria with consommé broth, the birria is tender, juicy, and not to be missed. 2424 Lincoln Ave
When Meredith Pakier is not writing as part of the Market Hall Foods marketing and communications team, she’s hiking with her dog, Nico, and dreaming about starting a garden.