It's a lazy, breezy Sunday and I've just spent the day at the Alameda Flea Market, or as it is called now, the Alameda Point Antiques Faire. I won't say all the stuff was antiques, but it's definitely fascinating for both the people and stuff on sale. It is worth going to at least once whether you need anything or not. That being said, we were hungry, so the SO's cousin suggested heading to Aunt Mary's Cafe on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland since we were in the East Bay.
Once we got there, there was a small crowd gathered waiting for tables, wow, just like San Francisco. And looking at the groups assembled, you really couldn't tell them apart from SF folks. I figured either we were on the edge of some hipster neighborhood or this is probably the only place nearby that serves a decent breakfast/brunch, either way we still had to wait....sigh.....they were my ride so wait we did. It did give me time to peruse the menu so I was able to make up my mind what I wanted and could order just as soon as we got seated 'cuz I'm hungry! The food is variations on homestyle favorites like pan perdue and huevos benedictos, thus after much contemplation (and waiting) I chose the grits waffle and fried chicken.
Yes, a waffle with grits as an ingredient. It's a basic yeasted waffle with corn meal grits and instead of syrup I went with savory all the way and got the sage gravy and a deep fried boneless chicken breast. While it took some time to get seated, the food came quickly once our orders were placed. The waffle came out hot and crisp and it was enough to melt the butter (though I should have asked for more). Being a grits waffle it had a delightful corn bread taste and texture to it and I like it a lot. The sage gravy was also served hot and I just poured it right over it (though, again, I should have asked for more gravy) and I really like the gravy too. Together I was surprised just how well they meshed--it was an all around delicious surprise. The chicken breast was nicely crisp and also hot out of the fryer, though it was just a tad on the dry side and didn't have much seasoning to it. And this is where having more gravy would really have come in handy--to brighten up the flavor and taste of the so-so chicken. But still, the star here is the waffle and having it as a savory dish was a great twist. Since I went savory, of course I needed to get some dessert and after perusing the pie carousel--
I settled on the buttermilk pie to top off my meal.
But seriously, it wasn't really settling, it was more like a sweet creamy topper to a late lunch. The crust was flaky with a hint of buttery-ness. The filling was somewhere between a creamy pudding and an extremely moist cake. It's not overly sweet--at least to my taste buds. It helps that it is tempered by the butter, buttermilk and cornmeal found in a standard buttermilk pie. It's like a chess pie, just not as sweet, but still tasty and yummy. It was a great ending compliment to the meal.
Outside of the chicken and the wait I really liked the food I had at Aunt Mary's Cafe and if we are ever in that part of Oakland again I would definitely stop in and try other menu items. I would just need to remember to either go earlier or later to avoid the wait or better yet....just get it to go....with more gravy.