Today I am a simple girl, seeking simple food. I feel like eating breakfast, even though it is late in the morning and the sun is high...
One afternoon maybe two weeks ago, the BH and I decided to go simple. Breakfast for lunch at Mama’s Royal Café on Broadway in Oakland. If you haven’t been there, Mama’s is an old Oakland institution, having opened in February of 1974. At Mama's they serve breakfast all day ~
I have lived in Oakland all my life, and am fortunate these days to eat at many of its newer restaurants. While these establishments are often upscale in both their ambiance and their menus, they are barely as old as my favorite winter coat. Mama's is older than both of my kids.
I am remembering today that Oakland has a history. It is a history that for a large part, I was a witness to. As she rises out of the ashes of the past several decades of inertia, closed businesses and empty storefronts, I watch as she shakes off the rising dust resulting from the spoilage of earthquake and fire that has ravaged her businesses and her homes. I have watched as she rebuilds. Now, when these things that held her back are at last dimming in the memories of her inhabitants and new businesses are thriving, there are days when I want to remember that history. To celebrate it even. Mama’s has been in the same location for over thirty years. That gives it a certain resonance.
These were some of the food icons of my childhood, and sometimes that’s all I need. To remember them with a visit to a place like Mama’s. There I can imagine the red leather booths and dark smoky bars of my dad’s favorite steak joint; or the shiny chrome and smooth formica-topped tables in the diners my grandparents frequented after church on a Sunday. Dining at Mama’s allows me to remember those things that are gone. Those things that are gone, but not forgotten.
The other platter has an omelette, a fat, hearty omelette of chicken, avocado and jack cheese. A bit more fruit, some toast on the side.
The prices are good here. In this flailing economy I appreciate a day in which my dollar buys a good portion of my lunch. In today’s Oakland, amid the march to the new and improved, the upscale and the chic, this constant stream of change for the better is appreciated. But it is good to know that sometimes there is a way to appreciate what came before and to savor it.
When you are in one of those moods, check out Mama’s, and Bon Appetit!
Mama's Royal Cafe
Oakland, CA 94611-5618
Table size: adequate
Dining time: easily done in less than an hour (absent any wait, of course)
Noise: ONE BELL