Olde Depot Public House is open/awesome in Oakland!  »


As Laura informed us way back in August of last year, one of the owners of Oakland’s venerable Beer Revolution (aka “the place where all the beer lives”) planned to open a new place directly next store called Olde Depot Public House, with yet more beer and what Laura charmingly called “a veg eatery.” Slated to open in early fall 2012, many of us waited and waited and, upon inquiring, were invariably told that it would probably be open “next Saturday” … a day that, sadly, never seemed to arrive.

I’m pleased to report that next Saturday is officially here.

I don’t know when Rebecca and the Beer Revolution crew formally opened the doors of Olde Depot Public House, but I noticed as I walked by during lunch and popped my head in. Obviously, I returned after work to grab a beer and see what’s up with veganism’s slow, steady takeover of 3rd Street. Here’s what I learned.

First off, Olde Depot has lots of beer and another sweet, dog-friendly patio, which is positive news for fans of beer and dogs.

The menu, which will be expanding, includes salted traditional pretzels that come with mustard and are delicious. (They seemed the go-to order out on the patio. Also, they brought me an extra one by accident, so that was a bonus.) There’s perogi filled with caramelized onion and potato in a mushroom sauce. I didn’t get this the first time I stopped by, because I am an idiot, apparently, but I split an order with a friend today and they were pretty stellar. Given that they were fairly crisp, they actually seemed more in the samosa/empanada arm of the Bread Filled Savory Stuff family, but really good all the same.  

The focus is on the sausages, which are all made in-house and come with two of the different toppings, from grilled onions to fennel and dill kraut: options are Apple Sage Onion, Cherry Rosemary Herbed, “Currywurst (with curry Catsup),” and Rauch sausage. I went for the Cherry Rosemary Herbed Sausage with grilled onions and sweet peppers, and tried both the Rauch and Currywurst. All were delicious, though I think I liked the curry one the best, because it’s a sausage with curry on it.

There’s also pommes frites with a bunch of dipping options and what is described as a “daily European potato salad (rotating countries).” Today’s was Ukranian! Plus a tuna salad sandwich as a special.

It is all very exciting. I’m told you can also text your order from the Beer Rev patio and they’ll bring it to you, where presumably you already were drinking an Imperial Stout in the sun, because you are awesome.

Rick Kelley spends his days at an Oakland workers’ rights nonprofit and his evenings probably playing moderately accurate renditions of Propagandhi songs with his awesome partner and their rescued pups, Bandit and Emma. He’s currently active in organizing for an Oakland urban agriculture proposal that does not include animal exploitation, and both writes and serves on the advisory board for the Food Empowerment ProjectHe used to blog, and might do so again someday.


Underdog!  »

So after a long, hard workout with an extremely motivating taskmaster (that sound like I had sex for hours and was paid for it but sadly, it was really just an intense workout. In a gym.), I had to gorge myself on something not totally terrible for me but still delicious that was less than 2 minutes from the gym because FUCKING A I WAS STARVING. So I decided to try Underdog, an all-organic hot-doggery with many vegan options in the Sunset District. I know, I have a lot to learn about weight loss.

The place is adorable and teeny-tiny with a couple of tables inside. There is a bench outside where you can sit with your dogs and they even have a doggy water bowl!* The woman working was super friendly and I have two words for you: TATER TOTS!! Goddamn. Those sneaky little fuckers are hard to find in restaurants so whenever they’re on a menu, I’m gonna immediately make a scene. And these weren’t just any tater tots, these were AMAZING TOTS. They were baked instead of fried (Holla back, diet!) and had this delicious smoky flavor and my GOD, I could have eaten 10 orders (Holla back, diet!). The vegan sausages are Tofurky brand and I’m a fan so I was delighted to see they are grilled perfectly. You have your choice of toppings, sauerkraut, relish, ketchup, 19 kinds of mustard, etc. and they’re all organic. They also offer mayo but anyone with a brain would agree that they should offer Wildwood Garlic Aioli instead. Anyone who has ever tried mayo and Wildwood Garlic Aioli in a back-to-back taste-test will tell you that mayo ain’t got nothing on the PERFECTION that is Wildwood Garlic Aioli. Having typed its name three times, I don’t think I can continue until I eat some.

On subsequent visits, I learned Underdog also has really fresh garden salads, fruit salads, a good pb&j, and lots of organic snacks to choose from.

They’re definitely big on the organic thing, which I think is cool and all but I wonder what that even means. “Organic” is one of those words that is tossed around so often and has become so mainstream that it’s losing whatever sloppy-ass USDA-governed meaning it had to begin with. The U.S. Organic standards are lenient at best and completely ignored at worst. Also, “organic” doesn’t mean the animals are treated any better…in fact, 99 percent of the time, they have the same crappy lives and ended up at same crappy slaughterhouses as the factory-farmed animals. It’s one thing if people go to Safeway and buy their fucking ground chuck on super-cheap-ass savings deal-o-rama and know that that animal had the worst life and death imaginable, but it’s quite another thing for people to think they are doing the right thing by buying organic, humanely raised, happy-life, painless-death animals when it couldn’t be further from the truth. Anyway, there’s more info on that here.

I love Underdog for caring about vegan business and making a real (and successful!) effort to accommodate us, but at the end of the day, their mission statement claim of wanting to conduct business in ways that make the least negative impact on our planet has an easy solution: stop serving meat! No manner of biodegradable utensils will come close to having such an impact.

*The owners of Underdog went on to adopt TWO Rocket Dogs! Yay!


Review: Rosamunde Sausage Grill!  »

Rosamunde is a shitbox hole-in-the-wall where you can order all kinds of gross-ass dead animal sausages and a couple vegan sausages. I believe they use Tofurky brand. The sauerkraut is first-rate and the grilled onions are delicious too. Basically everything you ever wanted to put on a sausage and the buns are terrific! And I’m not talking about the crazy German lady who works there! Or if I am, I’m also talking about the actual sausage buns too! The pickles are NYC Jewish deli-style too, definitely worth the buck. Other than that, you can’t really eat in but you can take your sausage to one of the 54 bars nearby and enjoy it with some beer. Sausage and beer, people love that, right? I think that’s how it goes, fuck if I know, I’ve checked out of relating to the human race like three years ago.

A final note: Whenever I come in here, I feel like recreating the breakdown scene from Half Baked* but with sausage. First I would point to the dead chicken sausage and say, “Fuck you!” and then I would point to the dead lamb sausage and say, “Fuck you!” and then I would point to the vegan sausage and say, “You’re cool!” and then, “I’m out!” Actually, I would prolly say, “I’m out, bitches!” but that wouldn’t be staying true to the film. And if I’m anything, it’s accurate. And very good-looking.

*This is a really great movie, by the way. It was written by Dave Chappelle, directed by Tamra Davis (WHO ALSO DIRECTED THE PEERLESS BILLY MADISON and is married to Beastie Boy Mike D!) and has a cameo by Tommy Chong as the Squirrel Master. Have I piqued your interest?

[photo via yelp]

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