Saturday, February 13, 2010
Triple Time at CAMINO
I had the pleasure of experiencing CAMINO in Oakland on 3 different occasions last week. First, it was to accompany Jennifer at their post-holiday company party. How exciting to be amongst the talent in that room. Sipping on Herencia tequila in one hand and the ingredients of a unique-styled Sangrita in the other. I further inquired when I spoke with barkeep Alex. He mentioned that the norm is like a tomato and orange combo. He played on that by using Blood Orange, Lime, Small Hands Food Grenadine and Aji Pepper to taste. The drink certainly paired with the theme of the night's event as we feasted on delicious ceviche, pickled vegetables, carnitas and the most amazing salsas and dips you could ever imagine.
Ron came into town from Dallas and insisted on dining at one of my favorite places I blog about. So, it was with no hesitation that we went back to CAMINO. I have to say, being that I had been there the night before for the restaurant's celebration, I felt like Hollywood royalty. Everyone was so happy to see me again. I knew a lot more of the faces but I also felt closer to cuisine and the environment that is ultimately created. It certainly helped to have Jennifer and Alex behind the bar because they know the menu and execute with their own personal signatures. I remember getting a specialty Manhattan that was not even listed on the menu to start the night off. Ron made a great choice and went for Gin drink with spatlese Riesling and whatever fresh ingredients they decided to mix in. I also remember the chicory salad as it is done with such perfection. Everything from the cod to the pork was outstanding. Ron insisted on dessert, which you know, I'll never deny. The night was so special. Being with my best friend and being in a place that inspires my palate and my mind.
It was again, without hesitation, that we celebrate Karri's birthday at CAMINO for brunch. And so Chris, Paul, Karri and I made the trek from Noe Valley/Castro/Bernal Heights to Oakland last Sunday. And to our delight, Alex and Jennifer were again our barkeeps and baristas. I had both a cocktail and a coffee drink to start off the journey. If memory serves me right we also had that incredible chicory salad again. There was a pork sandwich that we all shared that was out of this world. I know the 2 different egg dishes were completely devoured. I remember moaning after eating their sausage and this was a distinct moan of pleasure, I might add. We all had our own pair of crackers to tackle the crab. Carlo was working line that day. He had just come off Mission Street Food that past Thursday with Chris as his co-pilot. And you know he was happy to see us munching on all the goodies that were continually flowing in and out our table. Like the sardines and the potatoes...DAMN! They were mind-blowing. I encouraged everyone to hold on for one more stop before we journeyed back over to our side of the bay. I wanted to introduce them to Katherine and subrosa coffee on 40th Street at Webster in Oakland. She has this tiny little spot with a gorgeous outdoor seating area. We all had some Four Barrel beans. I, of course, went for a Gib. Looking around while sipping, I noticed the smiles on the birthday girl's face and her partner in crime. Chris and Karri are very special to me and it was great to have them experience some of the most appealing spots in the East Bay with me and Paul.