Another impromptu yet fun Saturday date night. As the date night planner in the relationship, The Cook And Her Farmer definitely got my attention because of its name and location. The restaurant is located inside Swan’s Market. Swan’s Market is a registered historic building in Oakland that was built in 1917. It is 102 years old and an Eat, Live and Work establishment in Old Oakland.
Swan’s Market is an open market and houses 10 restaurants. It has been a few years since Mr Sweetie and I have been to Swan’s Market even though it is really just about 50 short blocks away from where we live. First and foremost, I just love historic markets such as the over a hundred year old Baguio City Market in the Philippines, Ferry Building (opened in 1898) in San Francisco and Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia (since 1893). I have very fond memories of my visits to the Baguio City Market with its locally handcrafted goods and food, and its surreal atmospheric feel being located on top of a mountain. Reading Terminal Market in Philly is my most favorite in the US because it is really a market for all — down to earth and very affordable. I was floored by how cheap the prices were compared to the San Francisco Ferry Building. In Philly, everyone was partaking on the food from the construction workers tucking in a hearty breakfast on their way to work to corporate folks in their business suits. Mr Sweetie and I had a full breakfast of pancakes and eggs for two with coffee for less than $10 total at the Reading Terminal Market!
With these said, Ferry Building is not for everyday people, in my opinion, with its exorbitant food prices (e.g. a little pastry will likely cost you close to $10). Swan’s Market is a little bit less spendy than the Ferry Building but it is up there in terms of prices. This is just typical Bay Area lifestyle and very high cost of living.
On to our dinner at The Cook and Her Farmer. The website describes:
” The Cook And Her Farmer is a café, oyster and wine bar serving coastal inspired cuisine with a touch of southern influence. We are proud to work with local organic farms to source all of our produce, dairy, and meat/fish. “
Mr Sweetie and I sat at the communal table after placing and paying for our order at the counter. For starters, he ordered a half dozen oysters $18 (really for me)!
I usually do not order drinks unless it is wine or champagne but house made sweet tea seemed so appealing at the time. I am glad that I got it because it was delicious and sweet!
Mr Sweetie ordered a Harissa Chicken with greens $16.5. Since I could never resist an Oyster Po Boy $15.5 everytime it is on the menu, and that was what I had. While eating we decided that we wanted fries as well. I went back to the counter and ordered a side of fries. I was laughing when I sat back down again and told Mr Sweetie that it is official that we live in one of the most expensive cities in the world. With tax and tip, the fries were few cents less than $10!
The Verdict: Mr Sweetie thought that his chicken was dry. I tasted it and it was very flavorful. My oyster po boy was okay. The bread was too soft and the sandwich was luke warm although the oysters were supposed to have been freshly out of the fryer. Not many oysters as well but just a lot of coleslaw. My favorite in SF will always be at Brenda’s French Soul Food where the chef is Filipina and hails from New Orleans. My most favorite is the Oyster Po Boy that I got from Verti Mart, a little mom and pop liquor store in New Orleans. I remember picking it up from the store, making a stop at the wine store close to my hotel (so I did not have to carry it that far) and face planted on my po boy while on my hotel’s patio while every one could see me. I did not care. It was about $14, almost the same price as the po boys here in the Bay Area. However, I remember my sandwich as almost the size of a new born baby. Okay, I am exagerrating but it was heavily packed with freshly fried oysters and creamy coleslaw. I could not finish it but I remember how it was one of my best meals ever and paired so well with chilled Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio! (And how I fell soundly asleep in the middle of the afternoon after eating!) TCHF was okay. Despite me griping about prices, it was more about the cost of living in Bay Area cities. TCHF’s prices and value were fair and pretty standard.
Swan’s Market was fun and lively which was why I chose it. It had a nice community feel to it which is one of the things that I love about Oakland. I would like to go back to try the other restaurants. As we were leaving, Mr Sweetie got me a box of cupcakes from one of the stores. It was a super-fun date night. It was a cool evening and Old Oakland was alive, beautiful and confidently laid back.