Roli Rotí Gourmet Rottisserie @ the San Leandro’s Farmers’ Market

Roli Rotí Gourmet Rottisserie @ the San Leandro's Farmers' Market
This year the San Leandro Farmers’ Market has a new food post: Roli Rotí. They sell rotisserie chickens, cooked right in their special truck. The chickens are free range (but not organic), not fed animal bi-products (unlike Foster Farms’) and fresh. They aren’t brined but just rubbed with an herb mixture. They are $12 for a full chicken, $6.40 for 1/2 and $6 for a 1/4 chicken with a portion of roasted rosemary potatoes.
We got half a chicken for Mike and I. It was packed to take home (not in a container we could eat it from nor did it come with forks, though I imagine we could have asked for that) and came with a lime. It was quite good, very moist, with a sharp herb flavor on the skin. It didn’t have that weird metallic taste that most commercial rotisserie chickens have, probably because it’s not brined. As good as it was, however, it wasn’t any better than the rotisserie chickens I make a home.
Roli Rotí doesn’t say how big their chickens are (and I forgot to ask), but a full chicken is supposed to serve 4 adults. I’d say that’s accurate, if you are eating other sides. They didn’t have roasted potatoes when we went (go later in the evening for them, as they are cooked in site), so eating the chicken solo left us hungry.
Roli Rotí is specially famous for their porchetta sandwiches, which get amazing reviews in Yelp. However, they only sell them at the Ferry Building Farmers Market. Still, if enough people in San Leandro ask for them, perhaps we can convince them to bring them here. So next time you get a chicken, ask for the porchetta sandwich (apparently pronounced “porketta”).
Roli Rotí Gourmet Rottisserie
http://www.roliroti.com/
San Leandro’s Farmers’ Market
W 4 – 8 PM
San Leandro Restaurant Reviews


Peruvian Food Festival – San Francisco

Last Saturday I went to Villa del Sol, an Argentine restaurant in South San Francisco (I’ll blog about it later) to watch the Argentine-Mexico game (we won! yey!). On the tables there were cards announcing the Festival de Comida Peruana (Peruvian food festival) that will take place on Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco this coming July 18th. I probably won’t go, as I may be picking up my kids from LA that day, but I love Peruvian food and I think this should be a great opportunity for people in the Bay Area to discover what is one of the great cuisines of the world.
Peruvian food relies a lot on different types of peppers, using them for flavor rather than heat. It has complex and subtle combination of flavors and is really quite different from other cuisines. I spent a summer in Peru and was truly amazed at discovering this cuisine. Of course, right before I came back I had a bad dish of ají de gallina, which made me quite sick, so for years I had an aversion to the whole cuisine.
But if you are in the Bay Area you should definitely go and try Peruvian food. The festival is free and will feature music and dance as well as food.


Moe’s BBQ on Wheels

I just came back from the Sausages & Suds festival, San Leandro’s version of Oktoberfest. For some reason I decided that a bbq tri-tip sandwich sounded better than a hot dog or sausage – so I stood in line for 15′ at Moe’s BBQ on Wheels for such a sandwich. What a waste of time! The meat seemed boiled rather than grilled, the sauce tasted commercial and the whole thing was too salty. To make it worse, I think that this is where I ate last year! Oh, where has my memory gone?
In any case, now I know not to eat there next year 🙂
San Leandro Restaurant Reviews


Food at St. Leander’s Festival

Yesterday, St. Leander, probably the largest church in San Leandro, had its annual festival. It’s a very fun and rather complex affair. They have jumpers and (rather poor) face painting, of course, but also a considerable number of semi home-made, semi-professional festival games where you can win tickets that you can then exchange for cheap toys (and really, cheap toys are best as you can throw them out almost guilt-free – there is still that environment thing – after they’re done playing with them).
There was also food at the festival. There were stands selling Mexican, Portuguese, Filipino food and BBQ, and a stand selling cakes & sweets. For lunch Mika had a plain quesadilla, while Mike and I shared a Portuguese pork-loin sandwich, the name of which escapes me. The pork had been marinated in a vinegary sauce that suited it, and while it was a little tough the whole thing was pretty tasty. For $3 it was a bargain. Also for $3 we got 3 ribs accompanied by 2 slices of white bread, a corn-on-the-cob and a soda. The ribs were quite good, tender and tasty even if not very meaty. The sauce was clearly home made -they had a huge pot of it – but it tasted like it came for a bottle. It was too vinegary for our taste, and I’d say even a bit too sweet. Not a favorite. The corn on the cob just sucked. Even Mika, who is not very particular, wouldn’t eat it.
We had one of those checkers sort of cakes and it was absolutely delicious. The chocolate squares were very dense, almost, but not quite, brownie like, and the yellow squares were moist and sweet. The whole thing had a great white frosting and was much better than we could have expected. Our thanks to the grandma who baked it for the church.
We also actually won a cake in a lottery (you bet on a number and if it comes up you win a cake). I chose the coconut cake but it turned out that the cake itself had a weird pinkish frosting. My best guess is that it’s made of jam mixed with some sort of buttermilk frosting. The flavor is unique and it grows on you.
We also had some lollipops and some cotton candy (yes, we’re pigs).
The festival was a lot of fun and I’m glad we went.


I missed the Greek Festival :(

It just occurred to me to check when the Greek Festival in San Jos


Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ at the Alameda County Fair

We’ve been going to the Alameda County Fair every year since our oldest girl was born. The kids love seeing the animals and the rides, and we all enjoy the concerts.   Some highlights have been  The Village People, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Smashmouth and Weird Al.

We haven’t been particularly impressed with food at the fair, however. It’s expensive, of course, (drinks in particular), but it’s also not that great. The funnel cakes are OK – but not worth the calories, and the hot dogs are just hot dogs, edible but safe. Among the poor choices, Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ seems like the best.

We’ve tried their BBQ beef and their Tri-Tip sandwiches and grilled chicken. None of these items have been remarkable, and the chicken can be particularly dry.  The pork ribs are a better choice, with tender, smokey meat.  Their mild BBQ sauce is quite good.

Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ
Alameda County Fairgrounds
4501 Pleasanton Ave
Pleasanton, CA
http://www.bigbubbasbadbbq.com/

 

Marga’s Venue Dining Reviews


Greek Festival in San Jos

Today we went to the Greek Festival at the St. Nicholas Church in San Jose. It was a smallish affair, just occupying the grounds of the church (but it’s a large church). There was greek music and dancing, a couple of bounce houses, a few stands selling Greek things and, of course, food, tons of it. It’s clear that most of the people go to the festival for the food – there was a deli and a bakery selling stuff to take home, a loooong stand selling gyros, souvlakia, sausages and other grilled specialties, another one selling mousaka, pastitsio and tyropitas in addition to other stuff, some of which you could also get inside the main dining hall, and Kokkari had a stand selling grilled lamb chops. There was also a “cafe” inside offering Greek sweets and Greek coffee. As you can imagine it smelled wonderful.
We tried hard to taste as much food as we could, but there were only three of us. We had the souvlakia ($5)- a skewer with thick pieces of marinated pork. It was very good though the pork was a bit tough – probably because of how lean pork is in the US. When I went to Greece many, many years ago I subsisted on souvlaki pitas (fat pitas smeared with tzaziki and filled with meat and french fries), but I could have sworn the meat was beef or lamb, not pork. In any case, we liked it. We liked the Greek sausage ($4) in a pita smeared with tzaziki even more – we’ll have to look for those sausages, they were spicy, but not too much, and so flavorful.
Later we had the pastitsio ($4) and a baked chicken ($4) with a lemony marinade. Both were quite good, even if the chicken was so dried. All the food left us with the question, if Greek grandmothers can cook so well in such large quantities for the church, how come our local Greek restaurant, Luke’s Grill can’t?
I don’t tend to like baklava ($2) but a taste proved that this one was of superior quality, though still too sweet and syrupy for my taste. A cookie dusted with powder sugar ($1) that I got for Mika wasn’t that good, mostly tasteless.
Still, I’m sold, I’ll definitely be going to their festival next year and I’ll keep my eye open for other Greek festivals closer by.


Greek Festival in San Jos

Today we went to the Greek Festival at the St. Nicholas Church in San Jose. It was a smallish affair, just occupying the grounds of the church (but it’s a large church). There was greek music and dancing, a couple of bounce houses, a few stands selling Greek things and, of course, food, tons of it. It’s clear that most of the people go to the festival for the food – there was a deli and a bakery selling stuff to take home, a loooong stand selling gyros, souvlakia, sausages and other grilled specialties, another one selling mousaka, pastitsio and tyropitas in addition to other stuff, some of which you could also get inside the main dining hall, and Kokkari had a stand selling grilled lamb chops. There was also a “cafe” inside offering Greek sweets and Greek coffee. As you can imagine it smelled wonderful.
We tried hard to taste as much food as we could, but there were only three of us. We had the souvlakia ($5)- a skewer with thick pieces of marinated pork. It was very good though the pork was a bit tough – probably because of how lean pork is in the US. When I went to Greece many, many years ago I subsisted on souvlaki pitas (fat pitas smeared with tzaziki and filled with meat and french fries), but I could have sworn the meat was beef or lamb, not pork. In any case, we liked it. We liked the Greek sausage ($4) in a pita smeared with tzaziki even more – we’ll have to look for those sausages, they were spicy, but not too much, and so flavorful.
Later we had the pastitsio ($4) and a baked chicken ($4) with a lemony marinade. Both were quite good, even if the chicken was so dried. All the food left us with the question, if Greek grandmothers can cook so well in such large quantities for the church, how come our local Greek restaurant, Luke’s Grill can’t?
I don’t tend to like baklava ($2) but a taste proved that this one was of superior quality, though still too sweet and syrupy for my taste. A cookie dusted with powder sugar ($1) that I got for Mika wasn’t that good, mostly tasteless.
Still, I’m sold, I’ll definitely be going to their festival next year and I’ll keep my eye open for other Greek festivals closer by.