Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton

West Coast Roadtrip, Jul-10-2011

Sunday began with breakfast made by Charlotte - very pleasant, but unavailable to most of my audience.

We went to visit Haight-Ashbury, because I had never visited that neighborhood in all my time in the Bay Area, and Lori had enjoyed her previous visit. Parking was a bear, but we passed some lovely Victorian homes on the walk down to Haight.

Haight-Ashbury put a twist on the Victorian theme.

I enjoyed walking around and shopping with the ladies (and Charlotte ended up with a very natty fedora), but I kept pondering the question of whether Haight-Ashbury is still a counterculture mecca, or whether it's become a center of corporate cashing-in on its Summer of Love identity. My guess is that the non-residential part is about 70% sellout, but it's hard for me to judge without any prior experience.

From there, we headed towards Bi-Rite Creamery, because I wanted to add some Roadfood-listed restaurant to my list. Unfortunately, there was some festival going on at a nearby park, so parking was a challenge. I let the ladies out to get into line, while I searched for parking. I failed utterly to find a parking place anywhere nearby, so I just circled the block a few times - simply circling the block was almost as much traffic frustration as trying to park. While I gnashed my teeth with traffic, the ladies gave up on the half-block line for the hard ice cream and got soft serve ice cream. So I ended up trying to eat my burnt caramel soft serve while driving, so my judgement was clouded with frustration. To me, the ice cream had a strong and not very pleasant burnt-sugar flavor, like the top of an overdone creme brulee. And to cap the experience, our camera destroyed the picture of the cones. I'll still count this on my big list of Roadfood places, but it's one of the biggest technicalities I can list.

For dinner, we drove over to Oakland to join my sister Laura and her husband Jeff for dinner. As we were driving to one restaurant, Laura suddenly said, "Oh! I know where we should take you. We should go to Homeroom." Homeroom is a mac and cheese restaurant, and a great pleasure.

The menu. Choosing was hard!

Our drinks: organic house-made limeade, sweeter than I like my limeade; blood orange hard cider and huckleberry cider, neither of which were as good as I had hoped from the name; and Jeff's favorite beer, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout.

Our camera lost some of our mac and cheese pictures, so I have only one shot of an entree, Lori's Gilroy ("Creamy gouda, sharp pecorino and just the right amount of roasted garlic.") with peas and baked with breadcrumbs. It was quite good; I asked Lori for commentary just now, and she said that a mac and cheese restaurant is always good for her.

I chose the The Exchange Student: Cacio e Pepe ("Rich and flavorful, with pecorino and cracked black peppercorns. Just like the Roman classic!") with added breadcrumbs. It was also very tasty and zesty.
Jeff was very pleased with his Vermont White Cheddar ("Extra-sharp, 2-yr aged Grafton white cheddar") with added bacon. Curiously, although there's still a Vermont White Cheddar listed on their online menu, its description doesn't mention the sharpness of the cheese - but we definitely noticed the sharp cheddar in Jeff's dish.
Only one of the dishes might qualify as a miss, and even that was only a partial one: Laura's Summer Pesto Mac ("Homemade basil pesto, green beans, and topped with pecorino.") We all agreed that it was tasty, but Laura didn't feel that it really met the spirit of mac and cheese; it was noodles tossed with pesto and large flakes of pecorino cheese, not the creamy cheesy sauce of the other dishes. So I traded my Exchange Student with her, and quite enjoyed the Summer Pesto Mac.

We liked Homeroom quite a lot, and would seek to return if we came to Oakland again.

For dessert, we went to Fenton's Creamery, a Oakland tradition for generous ice cream.

Lori, Laura, and I shared the black and tan sundae, and I'm not sure the three of us managed to finish it. Jeff struck out on his own with a very tall sorbet.
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