Fred and I have been friends going on 35 years now. We hung out together all the time when we were at University: Cutting class on warm spring days to have lunch in the quad, Friday beer bust at the student union, all nighters in Architecture studio. Good times. As adults, finding the time to hang out together isn’t as easy. Everyday life seems to get in the way. Several years ago we made a pact to have dinner at least once a month to catch up and last Friday was our monthly dinner. Being Good Friday and what with Fred being a good Catholic and all, we needed to find a restaurant that served fish. We tossed about several restaurant possibilities and decided on Marica Restaurant on College Ave. in the Rockridge area of Oakland. Last minute planning means no reservations, but we were seated at the bar (my favorite location to be seated anyway) within five minutes. We ordered the Prix-Fixe dinner, a half dozen oysters, a couple of Manhattans and settled in for an evening of catching up. When the oysters arrived, the server informed us that the chef had also comped us an order of the Prince Edward Island Mussels with Pernot shallot broth. Score!! I do love me some good mussels and these were among the finest I’ve had: plump and succulent with a killer sauce. The sauce required another order of bread to sop up the leftovers. Admittedly the kitchen timing was a bit off with dishes arriving before we had finished our previous course, but the restaurant was slammed and we were having a good time so we really didn’t mind. The mussels more than made up for it.
Marica Restaurant: 5301 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618