Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oakland's Casserole House is a mirage for this Midwesterner

To a homesick Midwesterner driving down Telegraph through the Temescal district, the sight of a restaurant called "Casserole House" might bring thoughts of a place where cans of Campbell's soup are delivered by the truckload, where the pantry is always stocked with cans of crispy onions, where Big Ten sports is constantly on the TV, and where you'll see all the people from Michigan pointing to places on their hands to show where they come from. The menu would be stocked with classics like Green Bean Casserole, Tuna Noodle casserole, Frank and Noodle Supper, House Cleaning Day Dinner, Prairie Hot Dish, and Tater Tot Hot Dish. Vernors, a long list of Faygo flavors, and a variety of beers from the Midwest would provide liquid refreshment. 

But alas, the Casserole House on Telegraph is not that place. The casseroles in that house are steaming, bubbling, sometimes fiery stone bowls of tofu, vegetables, meats and seafood cooked in a Korean style. The East Bay Express says that "...many dishes are hot here, but rather than simply assault the mouth, this hotness brings other flavors alive, suddenly spotlighting subtleties you might otherwise miss: It’s the burning road that brings you to a higher place."  I haven't eaten at the casserole house yet, and doubt that I will, seeing that my loyalty lies with the Pyung Chang Tofu House just up the street.


Random link from the archive: Boat Chaat - The Return of Whole Urad Dal

Technorati tags: Oakland : Korea : casseroles : Food


Ginaagain said...

Hi there! I'm delurking to tell you that there is an award for your blog waiting on mine.

dkuroiwa said...

Hi...see that person who commented first? Well...she told me to come and check you out....I do like how you write!!

I was laughing because I live in Nagasaki Japan and there are three..yes three places that go by the name "Casserole"..except one is spelled "Casserrole" so I'm thinking it's completely different. (HA). Being like you and thinking that this would just be heaven...alas, I was severely disappointed. One is a "family style" place (not a green pea/mushroom soup mixture AT ALL), another is a cafe with soups and salads and the other? don't know. not even going to give it a chance.

Have a great day!

Sweet said...

The only connection this has to do with your blog is that it is the same restaurant but I wanted to post anyway.

Driving down telegraph and decided to try this restaurant. I enter and ask if they are still open and if not could I get an order to go (mind you its is 11:10 pm @ this point). The woman at the register says "oh sorry we're close to closing time" as she looks at the clock which was 11:12 pm to be exact. Fine, I think that perhaps they close at 11:30 pm and just perhaps they had a long day and wanted to shuffle out the last people in there and get going.

Thank you for intuition!!!!!!!!! I get home and decide to phone in to the restaurant and actually check what time they close. The same woman picks up (who i had encountered face to face) and says they close at midnight. Huh....I thought....maybe my 5'2" frame scared her or perhaps I was the wrong know her brains tweeking "black at night"=no service. But my voice doesn't register what she may prejudicely define as "my race".

So... she proceeds happily to ask me if I would like to place an order. I then order dishes (with her patient help as I purposely display ignorance of the many dishes) enough to over fill about 4-5 people. She even had the nerve to ask me if "we" wanted to come down to the restaurant to eat. I said "no, "we" are having a get together at the house".

Its truly disturbing when I encounter people with narrow mindsets...which is sadly too often...and this is 2009 but I know a "black" president won't change the deep seated bigotry many people would be so sweet to just press delete on the bigots....oh well...but that can't happen just like we need bacteria: good and bad....vermin people like her are here for a purpose as well...but that purpose is yet to be deciphered.

My word of mouth can be so sweet like honey or lethal like poison...Can't wait to see the look on her face when I show up and remind her of this incident...

Nezuko said...

Oh man, there needs to be such a place! Vernors and Faygo Rock and Rye! Tuna noodle casserole with potato chips on top! Tater tots! Mabe it could even go international and serve Poutine.

I came to the Bay Area from the left lower side of the palm, but I went to college under the thumb *grin*