two things you have to get your hands on this week
from people who are clearly overqualified for their jobs
Quickly sharing two bites that I can’t stop thinking about that you need to try to get your hands on this week.
Ok’s Deli - this place. My goodness. Sandwiches can be so simple, but this place has made them extraordinary. Ok’s is a small lunchtime pop-up running out of Mago restaurant on Piedmont Ave, run by Albert Ok who was previously cooking at Maum in Palo Alto. I’ve had four different sandwiches here over the past few weeks and each one has blown my mind.
It only takes one bite to feel like the team behind Ok’s (pronounced ‘oak’s’) Deli is overqualified to be slinging sandwiches all day - which is why they’re so damn good. And I don’t mean they’re overqualified in the way that some chefs try to make things unnecessarily fancy by adding over-the-top ingredients like foie and black truffles to a burger, or throwing in inappropriately showy molecular gastronomy techniques; no I don’t need to eat a bubble that tastes like an oyster, but thanks. No, it’s definitely not that at Ok’s Deli. They’re just procuring the highest-quality ingredients, bringing the absolute best parts of their culinary skills and using care and craftsmanship to put the flavors together so perfectly and indulgently to make all your favorite classic sandwiches shine. From an impossibly spicy and tingly Sichuan chicken sandwich to a layered, crunchy Cubano and even a hearty pesto and tomato meatball sub. Everything is scratch made - from the bread to the pickles to the hot sauce. I am not someone who likes to plan ahead but this sandwich is worth it — pre-order Ok’s Deli online starting on Mondays for lunchtime pick up on the following Friday and Saturday. Check it out now. It will not disappoint.
PieSociety - speaking of people overqualified for their jobs. If you said that a world-class pastry chef from three-michelin starred Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan would be out here in Oakland running a pie pop-up, I’d guess that the pies would be available one-time only for about $100+ each. But they’re not - they start at about $19 each (for a 5” 1-2 person pie) which after you’ve tasted one feels like an absolute steal and star pastry chef Angela Pinkerton is selling them every week. I initially came to this place for the passionfruit pie. I’ve always liked passionfruit which can be hard to find, as one time in Kenya I had a glass of passionfruit juice from a garden three feet away and it was the best, most incredible passionfruit I’ve ever had in my life and I’ve been chasing that tart and tangy high ever since. The seasonal passionfruit bay leaf merengue pie at PieSociety came pretty close - but what really knocked my socks off was the coconut cream pie. I didn’t even know I was a coconut cream person until I had this. It was so rich, yet somehow subtle, the sweetness well-tempered and tame with a delightfully buttery and flaky crust that made it impossible to stop eating.
They sell 9’’ and 5’’ pies, plus cookies with flavors like Bacon Chocolate Chip, Cardamon Raspberry Ginger, Gianduja Brownie and Chamomile Cornmeal. Angela Pinkerton is certainly up to something and I’m so grateful she brought her talents here to share with all of us. Again - you’ll need to plan ahead on this one - but order online for pick up in Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco: https://angelapinkerton.com/