Our family celebrated my son Curtis’ 34th birthday in the Berkeley Oakland area last month and we had a ton of fun. We ate and drank at Limewood, Mad Oak Bar, and at Mua Restaurant all evening long and truly enjoyed spending time together. It’s rare my husband and I get to take our boys Curtis and Andrew 27 out on a Friday night, so we took advantage of the opportunity. I’m hoping today’s blog will inspire you to check out Oakland and all it has to offer. Plus I will include my recipe for my home made Blackberry Pie.
I always do a ton of research before exploring a new area, yet trying to make reservations online isn’t my cup of tea. I never want to box myself into a time in case our plans change last minute. That’s why we started off at the Claremont Hotel and their Limewood Bar. Also Curtis didn’t wanted to miss the Warriors game, so we were happy we could keep track of the score while eating dinner.
The Claremont is a special place because my husband and I stayed there on our wedding night over 29 years ago. It is a gorgeous historic place and I knew my boys would love experiencing the food and nightlife there.
My husband Ken was our designated driver so Curtis, and Andrew and I could enjoy ourselves and imbibe in fancy libations, but we first had to eat. We ordered the crispy Brussel sprouts made with fish sauce caramel, peanuts and cilantro, olives, ahi tuna with potato chips, the roasted chicken and lentils and their braised beef cheek in tagliatelle. The food was presented nicely and everything was delicious.
Andrew ordered a Guinness beer, Curtis had a cocktail and I had a glass of Cabernet. We asked the bartender where he suggested we go next and he recommended the Penthouse Bar Mad Oak. This place was very hip and popular. They had a rooftop bar that was packed with a fun crowd. They also had the Warriors basketball game showing on a large wall. We found a spot to sit at the roof top bar and enjoyed our drinks. Curtis had the vodka cocktail that was on special, while Andrew and I stuck with our beer and wine. We weren’t hungry yet, so we sat and talked and enjoyed the clear night and open air bar.
Next we went to Mua Restaurant not far from the last stop. We were lucky to find parking close by and an available table. We ordered more drinks, guacamole and chips, the half pound burger with fries, the “Mac n Cheese” made with butternut squash and cream and who knows what else. The night is a blurr and I can hardly remember much else. All I know is that we didn’t get home until 1:30 AM after dropping off our boys.
Mad Oak roof top Bar in Oakland
I can’t remember the last time we partied like this with our kids. It doesn’t happen on a regular basis, but we are excited to spend time with them, especially around their birthdays. I highly recommend spending the evening in Oakland and checking out the Limewood Restaurant and Bar, the Mad Oak Bar and Mua Restaurant.
Next you will find my favorite Blackberry Pie recipe. It’s the perfect dessert to go with your Valentine’s day dinner. It’s my husband’s favorite pie, so I had to have my friends over today and show them how to make it. We had a blast and you will too.
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Blackberry Filling for Pie
6 Cups of Frozen Blackberries (3 bags of O Organics from Safeway or fresh if in season)
1 Cup granulated sugar
Juice and zest of 1 orange
½ t grated nutmeg
Pinch of Maldon Salt Flakes
¼ C Hanson’s Sonoma Organic Vodka Mandarin Flavored
2 T Cornstarch
3 T Tapioca Flour
3 T Unsalted Butter cut into chunks
1 whisked whole egg (used to brush on top of pastry)
1 T granulated sugar
1 T demerara sugar
Pour 6 Cups of blackberries into a heavy medium sized pot. Add sugar, nutmeg, orange juice and zest and salt and cook until bubbly.
Mix mandarin vodka and cornstarch in a small bowl and add to the pot of boiling blackberries. Cool.
Make pastry. Check out my previous post here: pastry recipe .
After mixture is cooled and pastry is rolled out and placed into pie dish, mix 3 T of Tapioca Flour into blackberries and pour into pastry lined pie dish. Dot with chunks of butter. Top with remaining rolled out pastry, crimp sides with your thumb and pointed finger to make a nice edge. Cut out a tiny whoel (I made a heart shape) in center of pie.
Brush with egg and sprinkle with both sugars.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place filled blackberry pie onto a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour or so until crust is golden brown.
Let pie cool completely so that blackberries have time to gell and set. This is the hardest part. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.