Last week I finally got word back on Double D BBQ, adding a new wrinkle to the ongoing saga (yes, it's been upgraded from mystery to saga). If you recall, I've made multiple visits to this mythical joint during apparent business hours, only to find the doors locked, the lights on, and the smoker in chains. Writing about it allowed me to vent, but what I really wanted was to smoke the owner out of seclusion.
On Friday, a woman named Wanda Ng emailed to say that proprietor Duane Orr has been forced to cut his hours back to Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., due to nearby road construction. She also said that sometimes he sells out due to catering orders, so prospective customers would do well to call ahead. Sounds reasonable, except that my first two visits were a Wednesday and a Thursday at around noon, presumably too early for Double D to have sold out. Also, road construction didn't stop hordes of hungry dudes from marauding the parking lot.
I was briefly elated when I got Ng's email and called Double D right away. Alas, I got their voicemail, which I can recite from memory at this point.
More hopeful was an email from community booster Evan Rose on Saturday, a direct report from the front lines. Rose had eaten some Double D chicken that afternoon, and said that if I rushed over I might be able to score my own. By the time I got the email, it was too late.
However, this gives me hope. I might have thought Rose was just pranking me, except (in a display of true heroism) he snagged me a bottle of Double D's signature sauce. He also provided a few more nuggets of info, like that Orr has stopped making ribs because of skyrocketing wholesale prices, and that a hip-hop group called the Newlyweds just filmed a video in the Double D parking lot.
I feel like I'm honing in on my smoky prey. Stay tuned.
Mobile-Food Resolution Moves Forward
At a meeting last week of Oakland's Community and Economic Development Committee, members voted to push forward a resolution allowing for provisional mobile-food events while the city hammers out a long-term plan.
It's an interim policy only affecting four districts, and this was merely a preliminary vote before it hits Oakland City Council, but you wouldn't know it from the impassioned speechifying. Around a dozen people grabbed the mic, including new and old-school mobile-food vendors, representatives of the Oakland and California restaurant associations, nonprofit advocates like Rising Sun Entrepreneurs and the Oakland Food Policy Council, and event organizers Elizabeth August and Karen Hester.
Brick and mortar restaurant advocates (Mark Everton of the Oakland Restaurant Association, Paul Junge of the chamber of commerce, etc.) voiced a now-rote concern: ensuring that mobile-food vendors are subject to the same permitting requirements and regulations as their static counterparts. They also wanted to make sure food trucks couldn't set up shop in, say, a restaurant parking lot.
Many speakers were in agreement that unlicensed rogue vendors hurt mobile and nonmobile vendors alike. And some, like Shelly Garza of Rising Sun, wanted to be sure that priority be given to Oakland-based vendors, especially ones with seniority.
Committee members batted the resolution around for a bit, with Nancy Nadel of District 3 piping up that she is jazzed for food trucks to visit West Oakland. Pat Kernighan of District 2 wanted to know why a temporary resolution was even necessary when Oakland was clearly on the cusp of implementing a comprehensive long-term mobile food plan (mm-hm). Zac Wald, chief of staff to the resolution's co-author Jane Brunner, countered that precedent has shown that it could be a long time before the city agrees on a permanent policy. In the meantime, Wald said Oakland shouldn't be denied "these fun events that happen in other cities."
Ultimately the resolution passed, with the caveats that priority be given to licensed Oakland-based vendors and notification be given to nearby residents and retailers before a mobile-food event is permitted. The resolution will go before Oakland City Council on December 6.
Turkeys for Slackers
Thanksgiving is next week, and cooks with foresight have already put in their orders for resplendent heritage-breed turkeys raised on truffles in the Sierra foothills. If you've had other things to do, never fret. Here are a couple of last-minute options for well-sourced birds.
Belcampo Farms: You can still order grass-fed, broad-breasted bronze or white pastured turkey from Belcampo's farm in Gazelle. The cost is $7 per pound, with birds averaging fourteen to twenty pounds, and a $40 deposit is required. Pick-up is November 22 or 23, 8 a.m.-noon or 4-7 p.m., at Jack London Square. Visit BelcampoMeatCo.com/shop to order.
Saul's Restaurant and Delicatessen: Saul's is offering whole and sliced happy heritage turkeys from Bill Niman's ranch in Bolinas. You can order smoked or non-smoked, as well as all the fixings. Whole turkeys are $60 or $70 and pick-up at the restaurant takes place November 23. Visit SaulsDeli.com and click on Thanksgiving Menu to order.