I first heard of Farley’s East through work, as they have opened up a public parklet – a mini-park that takes the place of a parking spot. This isn’t the first one in the city. Somehow, the first one was stolen. Yes, a mini-park the size of a parking spot was stolen. Regardless, when I first started my internship in Oakland, my co-workers wanted to take me here. Instead, we ended up at a French VIetnamese restaurant. Thus, when I wandered by this place, I was intrigued.
The place is a combination of coffee shop and restaurant. The large windows let in a glow of natural sunlight and a yellow hue from the reflection of a gold-windowed office tower across the street. The venue has various levels of seating, with stairs in the back that lead to other areas and, of course, the parklet as a place to sit. The walls are lined with magazine shelves holding multiple copies of recent publication issues. Grabbing an Entrepreneur and Details magazine, I settled myself after ordering what I believe is the only food on the menu, a weekly special sandwich of artichokes, roasted pork, kumquat marmalade, cabbage, mozzarella cheese, and a side of spring mix salad lightly dressed with vinaigrette.
To ensure that you don’t look like a fool when eating here, you help yourself to the cutlery, which is hidden behind a magazine shelf. Additionally, when you are done, you bus your table in a dish bin located under the sugar and cream mixing station. I definitely appeared like an amateur on my first day there.
When I arrived, which was between 2-3pm, the crowd was more subdued. Definitely a place people try to get some work done, read, or relax. This place must be crazy during a lunch rush. The people behind the counter all look like cool Oaklandians: beanies, tattoos, piercings, dressed in hip cool hemp everything. I love it. I want to be you.
After ordering the sandwich special – totalling to just under $9, I glanced through some magazines. The food took a little longer than I expected, but when it arrived, it was quite the sight. I have seen others order this, and the lady sitting beside me gave a glowing recommendation on it. I is excited.
With the halves placed on a tilt, I sank my teeth into this panini-style sandwich. Rightfully, it is a panini, but with extra toasted bread which has been glazed with olive oil – making it extra crispy. There is quite the oozing explosion of cheese and roasted pork that rolls across your tongue conquering all available territory in your mouth. Duly noted, the bread is very crispy, but this is the only structure that is able to keep the cheese at bay.
I do believe the mozzarella overpowered the artichoke and cabbage, which I was looking to taste in the panini sandwich, especially the artichoke, which was a kicker to order the sandwich. The roasted pork came in tender soft pink lightly-seasoned chunks, which I ensured I picked off the plate. It was so good it deserves to be a standalone, but gallantly made its presence known in the onslaught of mozzarella (cheese onslaught is the best type anyways). They did not skimp on the pork, and for that – I am thankful. The spring mix was a nice compliment, though it didn’t act as a palate cleanser as I wish it did. For $9, I was satiated and walked away a happy camper.
If they craft all their sandwiches this artfully, I may become a dangerously regular patron. I greatly appreciate their free wi-fi and racks on racks of magazines to peruse through.
What’s your wild rabbit?
33 Grand Ave. Oakland, CA 94612