The food at Dyafa Oakland is delicious, definitely go eat there. It's a "A Reem Assil–Daniel Patterson partnership brings Middle Eastern snacks & mains to friendly quarters." Effectively it's an approachable Syrian restaurant in Jack London Square, Oakland.
Drink these cocktails: Dark-skinned nightingale and Dabke on the Moon. Order all the breads. We liked the muhammara, hummus kawarma!, hindbeh, the fish and the lamb shank. We have to go back and try the rest of the menu. The kenafeh was a nice way to end the meal. Chef Patterson served us dessert which was cool.
The accolades to Dyafa are deserving and we were already planning a return visit before dessert came.
Haydel's Bakery is our favorite. We always get the sugar only (the sugar + frosting is pretty sweet) and we get the package with the coffee, bead pack, etc. because why not!?! The high costs of these cakes are due to FedEx shipping but good luck trying to find a legit King Cake outside of NOLA. Buy NOLA and support their economy!
The new to me hotness -> hibiscus tea and the best is supposed to come from the Sudan.
Benefits of drinking hibiscus tea include weight loss, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent types of cancer and depression, and pro-liver; not at high doses.
Every tea seller has hibiscus tea but a lot are in blend form w/ black tea or berries, e.g Imperial Red from Imperial Tea. Luckily Berkeley Bowl has some just plain old hibiscus tea.
I'm not going to link to bad Google results for Karkade recipes which is a sweet hibiscus drink (there are no links to an Egyptian or Sudanese website for a recipe? really?). It's basically dried hibiscus, sugar, and water which is also agua de jamaica.
And I had no idea that jamaica was hibiscus. I didn't know what the red and tart drink was, just thought jamaica tasted good. Who knew? Anyway, it was nice to get introduced to hibiscus tea and will probably need to drink up other teas/mix it up a bit before I go overboard and get sick of it. Hasn't happened yet though.
Ramen Shop in Oakland – Chez Panisse vets opened up a Ramen Shop near Zachary's Pizza on College Ave.; pretty good, a bit on the expensive side for a bowl of ramen but the execution is nice…could be giving some of the best ramen shops in Japantown in LA a run for it's money once they find their groove…
and Ramen Tomo will be opening up on Telegraph near Koryo soon…
If I knew and was really passionate about ramen (I'm not), I'd open up a ramen shop called Fukuoka Ramen or FU Ramen for short. Fukuoka is supposed to have the best ramen anywhere, famed for their tonkatsu ramen, and Fukuoka is also Oakland's sister city.
There's a name idea for you for whoever wants to open up a ramen shop in Oakland.