Kayaking and Lunch at Jack London Square, Oakland

by foodhoe on July 13, 2011

Mr. K and I have a long time fascination with sea kayaking which we have taken up again after a long hiatus. There is a great paddlesports company, California Canoe and Kayak at Jack London Square, that offers an early morning Sunday paddle to experienced paddlers for an extremely reasonable fee.  It really is a glorious thing to get out on the water to paddle around the estuary while the winds have yet to awaken and the water is smooth like glass. Sometimes we go out towards the Bay past the gigantic cranes and container ships and small recreational boats who like to whoop it up for us by kicking up a fine wake…

… or we go in the other direction towards Alameda, circling around the Coast Guard Island, past bridges and interesting homes that sometimes have docks in their backyards.

It’s great fun, sometimes a harbor seal will follow us for a while and I love drifting past houseboats and imagining what it would be like to live on the water…  After a few hours paddling around, we have worked up quite an appetite, which helps quicken the pace as we near the busy dock where we have to pull our boats out of the way of an outbound class.

Often you see this little trio of resident ducks enjoying the sun, supervising the dock  or floating in the water.  It’s all just too good…

On Sunday there is a wonderful little Farmer’s Market from 9 am to 2 pm that offers fresh local produce, live music and then there is a row of booths with all kinds of delicious foods: ridiculously addictive kettlecorn, fantastic Alaskan salmon, decadent baked goods, prepared Indian or Afghani food and several that cook specialty dishes to order.

I have been stalking the Cholita Linda stand for a while, because my friend Brennan always asks me if I have tried it yet.  I was excited to see them at the Sunday Farmers market at Jack London Square.  Finally Brennan, I can say yes, I have!  And they’re effing delicious!

According to their website, Cholita Linda is used in Peru as a term of endearment. A “Cholita” is a girl of native or mixed heritage and “Linda” means pretty or sweet. Used among friends, family and neighbors, it is a warm reference also commonly used to describe indigenous women selling their goods at the markets.  Here is pretty Linda busy at the grill.

We decided to order one plate of the Baja Fish Tacos (2 for $7) and one of Carnitas.  Each plate came with two tacos, so we got to try one of each.  My friend Brennan really liked the fish tacos, so I began with that.  The soft corn tortilla was overflowing with crispy battered and fried chunks of fish and piled with tangy coleslaw, spicy salsa and drizzled with baja crema

The pieces of fish were meaty and tender inside of a delicious crispy fried batter.  Yum…

Now let us proceed to the Carnitas, which although less flashy than the fried fish tacos, were actually more compelling.. The braised pork was savory and rich and incredibly tender,topped with spicy salsa, cabbage slaw, and drizzled with a housemade creamy white sauce.  Mr. K said he preferred this to the fish, and I kind of agree.

Next to the taco stand is Casbah’s Grilled Sandwiches, which specializes in middle eastern gyro and kebabs.

Mr. K and I both ordered a Gyro ($5) which was outrageously good, best ever!  The freshly grilled pita was heaped with thick slices of oh-so-tender lamb that was dripping with juices and infused with the flavor of garlic and exotic spices.  Topped with a handful of chopped tomato and fresh onion and drizzled with tangy Tzatziki sauce and some fresh parsley.

They had chicken on the grill that they just sprinkled with aromatic spices which smelled amazing.  Next time, we’re splitting one of the chicken souvlaki and and another gyro…  I was so taken by the tender juicy gyro, which seemed to have been the most perfectly cooked specimen I have ever encountered.  I’d like to go back to see if that was just the luck of good timing or if this is going to be my new obsession…

And we always pass the Miette Patisserie on our way back to our car, which must be resisted as it is so counterproductive to our new exercise regime…


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa July 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm

A lovely way to spend the day! That market looks wonderful and the food just loooks downright scrummy!




suzanne July 14, 2011 at 12:34 am

Amazing shots and delicious looking gyros…mm 🙂 What is the best way to reach you via email?


ella July 14, 2011 at 2:35 am

The fish looks delicious, I really like the farmer’s market as well b/c of these special gems.


Cookie July 14, 2011 at 9:05 am

OMG what a fun day! I’ve never gone kayaking before but would love to try it some day.


Carolyn Jung July 14, 2011 at 8:36 pm

A great way to work up an appetite for those fish tacos? But what’s this — no Miette’s? I think you burned more than enough calories to have at least one little macaron. 😉


Erin July 16, 2011 at 4:41 am

This gyro looks so delicious 🙂


grace July 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm

this would’ve been fun even without the awesome food. bonus!


hungry dog July 27, 2011 at 9:10 am

I can never resist a goof fish taco–and Baja style is my fave. Who wants grilled fish when you can have it lightly battered and fried to perfection?


hungry dog July 27, 2011 at 9:10 am

I can never resist a good fish taco–and Baja style is my fave. Who wants grilled fish when you can have it lightly battered and fried to perfection?


Bonnibella July 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Fun way to workout before eating your way through the market. The little duckies are so adorable!


Gastronomer August 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Aw, what a sweet, delicious, and active day!


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