Last weekend my book club, The Oakland Readers, celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary. We have read eighty-three books during this time. We tend to match our books to a food and/or event theme. For example, we had Chinese food when we discussed “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” we went to Golden Gate Fields when we read “Seabiscuit,” and had Afghani food after we read “A Thousand Splendid Suns.”
To celebrate, we decided to pick a special meeting place for dinner in Oakland. We chose Bocanova in Jack London Square. The restaurant has been open for almost two years and I had eaten lunch there previously. It wasn’t very memorable my first time, but I have heard a lot of great things about Bocanova since.
Bocanova was having happy hour and a few of us were able to enjoy this before our book club dinner. I ordered a Soirée, a specialty crafted cocktail made up of pisco, honey syrup, oranges, mint, and Ginger beer. It was yummy.
Their bar bites or bocaditos looked good, so we decided to order a couple of items. We had the fried shishito peppers and some dungeness crab deviled eggs. The peppers were an interesting spicy crisp, but the eggs were amazing. I would definitely come back for Happy Hour.
The menu at Bocanova is pretty unique, as they list items by how they are prepared. We had a large party of ten so we decided the best way to share was probably order some items with a partner and then share amongst our neighbors. It worked out well as I got to enjoy corn chowder with sweet potatoes, bacon, and grilled shrimp, pork ribs with guava BBQ sauce, and sweet potato and chipotle gratin. as the waiter poured the chowder into the bowl, I was confident is was going to be amazing and it was.
Our neighbors also shared some of their Mexican rice, summer pole beans, and the Pork Special. They cooked an entire pig, the skin was crispy, and it was delicious.
For dessert, we decided we can all have spoons and share a few things. Four beautiful desserts came out including olive oil cake with vanilla balsamic ice cream with Frog Hollow nectarines, warm chocolate croissant pudding cake with chocolate ice cream, and warm polenta cake with fresh berries and whipped cream. I forgot one of them. I do however remember I liked the polenta cake the best.
I am very glad I gave Bocanova a second chance. This time the food will be remembered (at least most of it!)