Y2 – Day 86 – Oakland Day One

After a relatively long road trip (@7 hours) and certainly the longest road trip for Cindi (three stops I needed anyway) that we know of, we landed safely at my son and girlfriend’s flat in Oakland, Alameda County, California.  NY daughter is spending her Spring Break with them, Berkeley freshman daughter is 15 minutes away, so I invited myself up for a ‘reunion’.

The Bay Area is notorious for its fresh, interesting and innovative as well as mature approach to food and I look forward to a few good meals and the unavoidable few good extra pounds – although it is a walking, talking kinda urban vibe which alleviates some of the extra calories and guilt.

Cindi took to everyone immediately and vice versa.  We ate at a German restaurant by my waterfront pet friendly hotel (more about this another time) and just spent some lazy together time before heading to a Chinese market (their apartment borders Oakland Chinatown) and a supply store for the feast that was to bedevil us anon. Navigating through this triple tiered Chinese grocery store where fresh, frozen and dried fish, fowl and produce was displayed in naked and abundant abandon was a sensory explosion not unlike fireworks in your head.  My kids confidently sought ingredients, handled themselves like they were born in Asia and left with a box of goodies that were to about to take a transformation I never would have dreamed of.

To say that my NY daughter, V has grown in her culinary skills, is an understatement.  Neither photographs nor descriptions could do her expert hand or her discriminatory palate any justice.  You just had to be there to experience the masterpiece and the creation.

First, she tempted us with steamed then sautéed, crispy bottomed dumplings with homemade vegan filling designed to enchant your taste buds and mouthfeel with cilantro, tofu, onion and secrets.  V’s deft handling of dough mesmerizes.

About to be cooked.Finished and served with an Island Sauce from Trader’s. “Hey, can I have the half bitten one?”  I must have eaten at least four of these between the communal platter and ‘taste and doneness evaluations’ by the stove.More tomorrow on what has proven to be an eye opener for this mom.

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