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I've long anticipated this book ever since I had the cornmeal waffles. There are a lot of exciting recipes I can't wait to try. My one complaint about the book is that the story telling about the hipster neighbors who frequent the restaurant is overbearing and self-congratulatory. What is largely missing is what I crave in any cookbook: explanations. Why does the chef prepare it this way when another book uses a different method? So it's less instructive than it could be. But I'm giving this 4 stars anyway, because this gourmet soul food restaurant is an amazing accomplishment.
I got this book for the shrimp and grits recipe, having had it at the restaurants more than a couple times. I was surprised at how simple the recipe was for the depth of flavor in the creole sauce, truly inspired. That recipe is posted online if you don't want to buy the book. It's too bad oakland doesn't get their act together with revitalizing west oakland industrial area with some rezoning. You don't have to knock everything down and build high rise apartments. They have the opportunity to become a hub with cheap live work, start up office space. The popularity of this place is a litmus for that desire. People get some tasty grub and get to tell their lame friends they slummed it up on Sunday morning in west oaktown, wha wha?