If you haven't tasted from the vast array of culinary offerings that Oakland has to offer, consider this your crash course. From the chilaquiles at Grand Lake Kitchen to Hopscotch's Yonsei Oyster, here are 100 things you need to try in the Town before you die.
This year, the “Big Eat” is pure gluttony. We’re on the wagon, having replaced the smattering of cocktails that were on last year’s list. (Don’t you worry. The “Big Drink” is next on our to-do list.) We’ve also made sure that most of the dishes are staples on their restaurants’ menus. But note that some rotate on and off or vary seasonally, so call ahead. This year’s list includes 33 newcomers—each denoted with an asterisk. Some hail from new restaurants, others are new dishes from old favorites. Rest assured that all have been 7x7 tasted and approved (and that our gym memberships have been renewed).
While you might all be thinking about this glorious Indian summer day. I'm sitting here wringing my hands about the impending winter—specifically the 2012 Big Eat, our annual 100-things-you-have-to-eat-or-drink-before-you-die bucket list. Though it might not be on the newstands until late January 2012, I have to get it done in the next month or so. This is the life of print.
Luckily, the internet allows me the immediate satisfaction of culling your suggestions right now for what dishes you think should be included in the upcoming Big Eat. For 2011's list, there were 30 new dishes added (such as these completely addictive garlic pretzels with cheese sauce that I discovered one night at Absinthe). And thus, 30 subtracted to make room.
We have a poster of the Big Eat 2010 cover on our wall here at the office, and every day I look up at the Little Skillet fried chicken and waffles and think, "Damn, that looks tasty." I think it's my favorite cover of all time.
Yes, it's time for the Big Eat 2011, coming soon in our February Food + Love issue (isn't that kind of one and the same?).
Those of you who have been busy spotting Big Eat items on Foodspotting now have some more lists to get through! We're excited to announce that we're part of Foodspotting's 2.0 iPhone app and website launch, and now have our Big Sweet 2010, our Ramen Guide and our SF Burger Bonanza available for the hunt. So renew those gym memberships and get busy making plans to spot Fish & Farm burgers, Hapa ramen and Humphry Slocombe's Secret Breakfast ice cream. You can find all of 7x7's lists here.
The debate about whether or not diners should photograph their food is nothing new. The should we, shouldn't we game is old news—the point is that people are. Lots of them. All the time. They are posting to Facebook, to Twitter, to their own blogs. The Times detailed the trend in a long piece yesterday, an obsessives gallery par excellence. Here at 7x7, we're of the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" school of thought, which is why when we released our Big Eat list back in February, we partnered with Foodspotting, challenging our biggest eaters to keep a visual record of all of the dishes from the list that they tried.
Michael Meadows completed the Big Eat scavenger hunt on Food Spotting on February 24, barely three weeks after the February issue of 7x7 containing the 2010 Big Eat came out! We were stunned. We were curious. After congratulating him (and getting ready to send off his winning prize of dinner for two at Quince and a stay at a hotel), we got down to the nitty gritty.
I love the Big Eat. It elicits such strong reactions from people. The latest one I stumbled on is from yesterday on Mission Mission. "Fuck yeah! The Mission dominated this year’s 7×7 2010 Big Eat SF with 26% of the 100 recommended restaurants. Take that, Hayes Valley!" I love the statistics of it all.