Slap Hitter: A's win! Let's get donuts!

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My A's buddy points out that the Florida Marlins must have felt right at home this weekend in Oakland playing before a half-full house in a decaying stadium better designed for watching subpar professional football games. But the charm of Beer night on Saturday and the bigger lure of twilight baseball brought Slap Hitter down from the cheap seats and sneaking into the first deck to watch Huston Street impersonate a big league closer. At game's end we wanted to grab some local grub and realized that except for the BART station's lukewarm hot dog we weren't too hip to where to get our grub on. After heading into the night we wondered, who would know the local scene better than a national publication devoted to denigrating the accomplishments of second cities everywhere? We present: ESPN's guide to gustatory Oakland eateries. Bring napkins.

My A's buddy points out that the Florida Marlins must have felt right at home this weekend in Oakland playing before a half-full house in a decaying stadium better designed for watching subpar professional football games. But the charm of Beer night on Saturday and the bigger lure of twilight baseball brought Slap Hitter down from the cheap seats and sneaking into the first deck to watch Huston Street impersonate a big league closer. At game's end we wanted to grab some local cuisine and realized that except for the BART station's lukewarm hot dog we weren't too hip to where to get our grub on. After heading into the night we wondered, who would know the local scene better than a national publication devoted to denigrating the accomplishments of second cities everywhere? We present: ESPN's guide to gustatory Oakland eateries. Bring napkins.

The "world-wide leader" has a website that delves into travel do's and don'ts which includes a guide by big-league ballparks. Our neighbors across the Bay Bridge have a number of steak-houses and tapas bars and the like. Cruising through the glamour challenged cities like Cincinnasti reveals a restaraunt rec for a place called the Palace followed up by a venue named Jean-Robert's. Those guys must make way better chili cheese fries than the dozens of other vendors I belched past on my way to the ballpark there. Point being that everyone else has better listings than us. Detroit? Pittsburgh? St. Louis? Where they serve fried ravioli as an appetizer? Here's Oakland's chow palaces. Dick's donuts listed as number 1. Yep, that will keep the tourist dollars in town. Though Dick's menu isn't published, a handful of raves here will let you know why it's top notch in the minds of ESPN. And the list kind of peaks there, no offense meant to the Egg Roll Kitchen (number 2 but moving up!). Of course it's not just getting slagged for our dining options, but the "City guide" featuring Willie Mays in bronze and the San Francisco bay glittering behind him.

Yep, my idea of a road trip to Oakland would be getting the hell out of town in a flash with a quick stop at Fong's Cafe (no reviews, but y'know it sounds like it might be good). Speaking as the kind of nerd who has done some ballpark-city tours I know part of the charm is diving in and exploring beyond the beaten path, but Good Lord, ESPN treats all of Oakland like terra incognita and shows its contempt by its non-existent leg work. Next time they decide to update their site, they could actually BART, bus or drive around and find something a little more filling than a maple old-fashioned. Of course that might involve them doing a little bit of journalism rather than Google-imaging the Coliseum. So, let me extend the offer to visitors, next time you're at the ballpark and see one of us wearing a weather beaten A's hat approach us gently (we might be gnawing a cruller after all) and ask, "Anything good to do when the game's over?" and we'll be happy to share. Plenty of good seats remaining in our side of the Bay.— Kibby Kleiman

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