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Christmas Culinary Delights for Isle of Style Foodies

A Geezervile guide to Alameda restaurants

Here in that festive state of mind called “Geezerville,” recreational eating, food obsession, Instagram/Tiktok food porn, and other variations of gluttony are passé. Because so many Geezerville residents are sophisticated world travelers and multicultural, our experienced and jaded culinary tastes favor local, simple, fresh, carefully prepared dishes. Overwrought, 20-ingredient concoctions that require a culinary school education to prepare will not be seen on a Geezerville table.

Alameda Post - a drawing of a chef who stands next to a menu board and wears a Santa hat

Many Geezerville residents have Millennial or Generation Z children and grandchildren, so a holiday list of popular Isle of Style eats had to be derived from their untainted recommendations. Anecdotes regarding each dish help to pique interest and appetite. The dishes, in no particular order of quality, are as follows.

Alameda Post - a platter of BBQ from Fikscue
A Fikscue platter featuring brisket, chicken, a hot link, sides, and sauces. Photo Fikscue / Instagram.

Beef brisket at Fikscue Craft Barbecue

A brisket “Just as good as Texas barbecue,” Sarah sighed happily. She’s a Millennial, and one of our advisors.



A brisket anecdote: When we ponder brisket, we are reminded of the Taylor Market in Conroe, Texas, where a smoky, cramped rear-room barbeque pit was the place to buy brisket that had been slow-cooked for 12 hours in an old, shelved smoker that could hold 60 briskets—just enough for the lunchtime rush. When we entered the smoky pit, there was a old, lanky, Stetson-wearing, grumpy pitman named Butch tending the fire. He was watching “The Price Is Right” on a tiny black-and-white TV, and yelled “$12.99” before he testily turned to us and barked, “Y’all want the deuce? That’s two pounds of brisket and two of my homemade hot links.”

We opted for deuces and each received a hunk of fragrant, steaming brisket, with two long and fat hot links that reeked of hot Texas chili pequin peppers. Butch wrapped our treasures in pink butcher paper and used a black marker to scribble “2” on a corner of the paper. “Just tear that off and hand it to my wife Marlene at the counter when you take off,” he said. “If you try to leave without paying, you’ll be picking buckshot out of your asses for days.”

We gladly paid for brisket that perfumed our palates with hickory smoke and mesquite as the luxuriously fatty meat melted in our mouths. The cayenne-laden hot links spurted hot pink juice all over our shirts, which delighted Marlene at the counter when we paid just $10 for our feast.

“Hey Butch!” she yelled, “We done baptized these here California boys. They got hot link all over their shirts!”

“Good!” bellowed Butch. “Now that they’ve had some real barbecue, they can get the hell out of Texas!”

We did.

Try the great brisket at Alameda’s own Fikscue Craft Barbecue at 1708 Park Street.

Alameda Post - a Benedict meal, probably lobster Benedict brisket
Enjoy a Benedict brunch at Ceron Kitchen. Photo Ceron Kitchen / Instagram.

Maine lobster Benedict at Ceron Kitchen

“The ultimate Benedict, perfect lobster, perfect Hollandaise,” bubbled Sarah.

A Benedict tale: At one time, I decided to take a fellow Granada TV service manager to breakfast at the renowned “Country Kitchen” restaurant in Fremont, right next to the Extended Stay Hotel where I would be giving a class on satellite system installation.

Tim was the Southern states service manager, headquartered in Nashville, and he spoke with a thick, slow southern drawl.

“Well, howdy ma’am,” he said to our cute waitress. “I’m Tim, and this big ugly old hoss across from me is Gil.”

He then began a memorable description of what he wanted for breakfast.

“Well, ma’am, what I’d like is this here dish that my whaff—”

“Let me interpret his lingo for you. Whaff is wife,” I said to the waitress.

Tim was miffed. “She don’t need you to interpret, you big dummy! Just let me order my damn vittles!” He continued his description to the waitress. “Well, lookie here now, ma’am, what my wife done ate was two runny soft-boiled eggs, a-sittin’ on a nice slice a’ ham, which was a-sittin purty on a biscuit, an’ the whole damn shebang was smothered in this thick yeller gravy, which she said tasted like butter and lemons. It sure looked good!”

I sneered and barked, “That’s Eggs Benedict, you old hillbilly!”

Tim ignored me and asked the waitress, “Do y’all serve that here, ma’am?”

“Of course,” she answered. Tim beamed.

“Make sure you give him plenty of hollandaise—I mean ‘yeller gravy’–-with that,” I snickered.

The waitress laughed, then took my order of a Denver omelet. When she left, Tim was riled. He lifted his coffee mug and stared at me, muttering, “Danged fool tried to translate for me. Wait ’til I tell my whaff.”

Taste the terrific Benedict at Ceron Kitchen, 1619 Webster Street.

SAGA Kitchen has a little of everything. Photos Saga Kitchen / Instagram, Left and Right.

Tonkatsu, dim sum, sushi, ramen, and the service robot at SAGA Kitchen

“ Four restaurants in one location makes so many choices that it’s like a buffet or a smorgasbord!”—Julio, Generation Z.

A smorgasbord yarn: Until 1987, the Piperis family ran the “Pipers Smorgasbord—All You Can Eat” restaurant in San Leandro. For a nominal sum, one could dine on around 25 disparate dishes that adorned a large steam-table buffet.

There was no particular order to how the dishes were displayed. Dolmas were placed next to tamale casserole, fried chicken next to Swedish meatballs, and jello-mold next to creamed tuna.

The all-you-can-eat policy was also up to the interpretation of the floor manager, a tiny Greek woman with a loud voice and a non-nonsense attitude.

When my buddy Big Jim and I hauled our bulky frames into the restaurant one afternoon, we got the manager’s evil eye. She watched closely as Big Jim loaded his platter with mac and cheese, fried chicken, barbecued ribs, fried shrimp, potato salad, an enchilada, bockwurst and a tamale. I followed his lead and loaded up with fried chicken, ribs, creamed corn, lasagne, mac and cheese and a knockwurst. Unlike Big Jim, I remembered to grab a piece of cinnamon loaf for dessert.

When Big Jim ate fried chicken or ribs, a visible aura of contentment formed over him that precluded conversation. All I could do was nibble my meal, sit back and watch his noisy, disgusting, swine-like display of gluttony. I tried to eat my monstrous meal and instantly endured the throes of dyspepsia.

After 20 minutes, Big’s Jim plate was empty. He grabbed it, belched, said, “Time for seconds,” and leisurely strolled back to the buffet.

The minuscule manager marched into action. “No more!” she barked.

Big Jim was perplexed. “I thought it was all you can eat,” he said.

“Yeah,” she yelled. “ That giant plate of food you ate, enough for twelve people, that’s all you can eat!”

“ Wow, what a rip-off!” Big Jim responded.

The buffet tender’s countenance softened, and she mumbled, “OK, one more piece of chicken, a slice of cinnamon loaf, and then you and your big buddy go.”

But Big Jim’s fragile ego was hurt, so he turned to me, yelled “Gil, let’s go,” and we left Pipers, never to return. Big Jim’s face was flushed as he moaned, “Kicked out of an all-you-can-eat buffet. My God, how embarrassing!”

I thought some levity would help, and said “Not as bad as that all-you-can-eat sushi place in Reno, where the owner’s seven-year-old son blocked us, and wouldn’t let us in the door. ‘You fat guys go!’ he screamed.”

Big Jim got a chuckle from that, and then said, “I’m still hungry.”

Experience four great Asian restaurants and a nifty robot at SAGA Kitchen, 1707 Lincoln Avenue.

Gil Michaels gives the gift of holiday love to all Post supporters at [email protected]. His writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Gil-Michaels.

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