Tasty, cheap lunch dishes made with locavore ingredients..
Once resigned to chain Chinese lunch spots, Oakland’s downtown workers can do better thanks to a crop of new spots, including this sparkling little café with inexpensive, high-quality food. Tidy and welcoming, with fresh-pear-colored walls, reclaimed tables and a handful of outdoor seats, the spot’s most notable features are its theater-like exhibition kitchen and unpretentious hospitality, courtesy of chef Arash Ghasemi (Eccolo) and co-owner Lauren Ghasemi. The young couple’s philosophy hits all the right marks---compostable materials, local and organic ingredients---with both hearty American results (oyster po’ boys, fried chicken sandwiches) and Persian and Mediterranean touches (lamb burgers, eggplant sandos, date and goat cheese omelets). Everything is made in house except the ketchup, Acme Bread and Olivina olive oil, and almost nothing costs more than $8.