Sneak Peek: Oakland’s Oaxacan Restaurants are Hopping
Agave Uptown and Calavera offer more than delicious fried grasshoppers.
In Oakland, hip, bar-centric Oaxacan restaurants are serving up grasshoppers—not those once-popular after-dinner cocktails concocted with neon-green crème de menthe, but the fried variety.
At the newly opened Agave Uptown, the insects are served straight up as bar snacks; choose between grande and extra crunchy or muy pequeno with a kick. They make for a colorful contrast to cocteles, such as the Guelaguetza Sour laced with passion fruit, spiked with smoky mescal (the bar boasts 30 labels), and topped with a latte-like design of foamy bitters.
At Calavera, which I checked out (and loved) when it opened last year, the crispy chapulines were sprinkled over a chilled scoop of chunky guacamole like nuts over ice cream. Pair the guac with Calavera’s chile-flecked Mezcalera margarita.
Even if locusts and loco-libations aren’t your thing, these two Oaxacan restaurants are still worth a trip. The whole grilled fish at Calavera and the carnitas with mole at Agave Uptown are both incredible. So hop to it.
Agave Uptown: 2135 Franklin St., Oakland, (510) 288-3668, agaveuptown.com. Lunch and dinner daily. Calavera: 2337 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 338-3273, calaveraoakland.com. Dinner daily, lunch Mon.-Fri., brunch Sat.-Sun.