Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ratto's Deli

How could I have worked just 8 blocks from one of the best deli's ever and have not crossed its threshold for over two years? Ratto's Deli (aka Ratto's International Market) is in Old Oakland at 821 Washington Street and is an Oakland institution, having existed for almost 110 years.

It's a deli. It's a cheese shop. It's a bulk foods store. It's an international foods store. How in the world have I missed this place?

At 2:30pm the lunchtime crowds are gone. I usually go for cheese and pick up a sandwich too. Ratto's has a gargantuan amount of choices when it comes to sandwiches. When you enter, pick up a sandwich slip at the front table, mark off your choices, and hand it to the nice lady behind the counter.

The first time I went I was overwhelmed by the choices and selected the Jenny: fresh mozzarella, fresh pesto spread, ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced onion, crisp romaine on a perfect, fresh baguette. It was delicious.

My favorite sandwich, by, far is my own creation, which is a baguette with pesto, prosciutto, onion and havarti.

While you wait for your sandwich check out the international foods, the bulk legumes, the Morrocan pillows. Measure out some spice or herb you've always meant to try (but never wanted to shell out $10 for a big honking jar for). Select cheeses and olives, some nice wine, fresh bread...Ratto's is a treasure trove for cooks and foodies!

They'll call your name when your sandwich is ready. Grab a bag of yummy chips and a drink and go sit out in the sun!

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