It was a day for comfort food.
While the weather report called for cloudy skies/no rain, there had been spurts of torrential rain throughout the morning. My home on wheels was still missing and my emotions were running the gamut of despondent to hopeful that things were going to work out. A friend and I were meeting up at a cafe on the corner and going on to lunch from there.
Wood Tavern sits on a lively block on the border between Berkeley and Oakland. It’s a block on College Avenue where you could easily not know where you are, or not even know that you walked from one city to the other. Surrounded by cafes, the bakery, the flower shop, a great wine shop, and a produce store, it’s both a neighborhood hangout and a destination.
With no reservation we got there early and were able to grab a table for two. Wood Tavern is spendy and meaty, and as a sometimes vegetarian sometimes vegan who doesn’t eat wheat it’s never been on my radar. I walk by it a few times a week and everyone seems to be enjoying the food, but the one thing I see through the window that makes me drool are the French Fries. My friend L. assured me there would be something else on the menu that a vegetarian might enjoy.
I was very distracted with my own whirling vortex in my brain, so L. ordered for us.
First up was a bowl of Butternut Squash Soup. It was exactly what my brain needed to be distracted from my life. I focused on the quality, texture, and flavors. Super thick and creamy, with a sprinkle of toasted almonds it was a soup meditation.
Next up, was a small cheeseboard. I’m not a fan of bleu, sheep or goat cheese, and the only one left was an aged, white, Wisconsin Cheddar. It came with roasted almonds drizzled with what looked like honey and slices of Honey Crisp apple. The combination of all three elements was an explosion of flavors in my mouth, perfectly paired, perfectly creamy, sweet and spicy.
And then of course the fries!
For just a little while the food and friendship gave me comfort and took me away from my own crazy day and put me in a food coma.
If you are visiting Oakland, this one is on my top ten list for local destination food and cocktails – it has been for a long time just on looks alone. Vegetarians will have limited choices and vegans will feel left out, but it’s a great place for getting together with friends, a lunch meeting, or an evening celebration.
The Wood Tavern
6317 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
Note: Usually I will not recommend a restaurant that has a television in the dining room. I walked by Wood Tavern the other evening and notice they had a tv facing the bar – special occasion? A one time thing? I do not know. But if you are like me and tvs aren’t your thing while you are out for a beautiful meal, then maybe call ahead and ask.