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East Bay Eats: Off the Grid and Korean Fried Chicken

Fries from the Smothered Fries Truck, via Facebook

Get yer ribs, waffles and crème brulee! Sunday mid-day eats in Pleasanton has a slew of new lunch options all in one hot spot with the launch last month of Off the Grid: Pleasanton, the Bay Area’s most prolific network of rotating street food markets serving the south-east corner of Alameda County in fun and filling fashion.

Trucks at the initial Pleasanton launch ranged from KoJa Kitchen (Korean & Japanese fusion), to Sajj (falafel and shawerma), Drewskis, Hapa (Filipino), Savourie Streets, Blue Saigon, Waffle Roost, The Rib Whip, Crème Brulee Cart, and Garden Creamery (ice cream). This weekend a whole new crew comes in and can range from: Cluck It Up (chicken), Frozen Kuhsterd (ice cream), Grilled Cheese Bandits, Pacific Puffs (cream puffs), Sanguchon (Peruvian), The Chairman (Asian street food).This food fun runs Sunday 11AM – 3PM weekly, on the corner of Springdale Road and Stone Ridge Mall Road across from the JC Penney. Parking is ample, as is seating, but the chairs do get pulled promptly at 3PM; one wise group did BYO chairs and turned their feast into a tailgating party.

That was fast! Copan, which we just reported in November as a new Temescal spot serving Korean-Japanese fare, has morphed into Bowl’d BBQ Korean Stone Grill—yes, there's a sister Bowl’d location in nearby Albany. Micha Oh runs and owns Bowl’d and was involved with Copan earlier. Now the refreshed menu concept is based on centuries of family recipes passed down to two sisters who today also operate Spoon Korean Bistro in Berkeley. Such deep family connections to food almost guarantees it will taste great, in our experience.

Among the signature small plates are kimpbop (Korean sushi), and savory pancakes made with house made kimchi. A specialty of the house is BBQ, from Korean fried chicken to a whopping five different types of pork belly barbeque—yes, really. The popular kimchi soup is way spicy and satisfying, and there’s also customizable rice bowls called bibimbop, “The Works”. Note: the house version of KFC is reportedly big and juicy and is available with no sauce; or go for the sweet and garlicky soy glaze on your chicken, spicy sauce that has almonds, or the house BBQ sauce. Bowl’d serves up chicken wings that also satisfy on crispness and meatiness. Good news for large roving packs of hungry Cal students: the restaurant has 90 seats and it remains a beer and wine affair for now. 4869 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; (510) 654-2000.

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