Around the corner from the Parkway Theater and Woody's Laundromat is Baggy's by the Lake. I took the daytime pictures some time ago, but I've been waiting to post it until I had a chance to get a night shot. That's because during the day, it doesn't look like much. A closer look reveals a nice variation on the requisite drink glass, that even has a bit of color. And a nice-looking front door that bespeaks a bygone era. While the main sign is in good shape, the sign that hangs out for visibility up and down the street is broken.
This lovely sign is not far from Lake Merritt, next to Leaning Tower of Pizza. It's a funny little commercial zone surrounded by apartments; if you stick to Lakeshore (which looks great these days -- loving the redone lanes and increased bike-friendliness) you'd never know it was there. Shout out to Only in Oakland for letting me know about it.
Saturday, K and I had reason to be out and about in the evening, so we decided to finally try Encuentro. It's been on our lengthy "restaurants in Oakland to try" list for a while, so I've been looking forward to it for some time.
It features an "eclectic mix of organic/sustainable wines from small, local and old world vintners." and "highlights simple, flavorful, organic and local, vegetarian cuisine in the style of enotecas and tapas bars". Local, organic, vegetarian...what's not to like? In short, we loved it. Some of the dishes are vegetarian (including dairy) and some are vegan, but all are clearly marked which are which on the menu.
We ordered a bottle of California Sangiovese (i.e., Chianti grapes) which was the perfect accompaniment to the various dishes we ordered. We started with some deviled eggs which were excellent, and brought to mind our eventual plans to raise chickens for eggs. We then moved on to the marinated vegetables w/baguette, quinoa with kale, empanadas (we acquired a taste for those years ago in Argentina), and the socca of the day. I think we may have had ordered something else in there, too. It was all excellent.
Feeling full but not totally stuffed, we finished off with some great butterscotch pudding (K's choice, but I had no complaints). That's the only thing the wine wasn't perfect with, but by that point we'd pretty much killed the bottle.
They've got a small space (which must be a bear to heat in cold weather with all that glass), so it can get crowded during popular times. We sat at the bar, which was great for service and for people watching. Not the cheapest meal we've had in Oakland by a long shot, but well worth it. In short, highly recommended.