Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland (Soul Food Cookbook, Southern Style Cookbook, Recipe Book)

Brown Sugar Kitchen is more than a restaurant. This soul-food outpost is a community gathering spot, a place to fill the belly, and the beating heart of West Oakland, a storied postindustrial neighborhood across the bay from San Francisco.

The restaurant is a friendly beacon on a tree-lined parkway, nestled low and snug next to a scrap-metal yard in this Bay Area rust belt. Out front, customers congregate on long benches and sprawl in the grass, soaking up the sunshine, sipping at steaming mugs of Oakland-roasted coffee, waiting to snag one of the tables they glimpse through the swinging doors. Deals are done, friends are made; this is a community in action. In short order, they’ll get their table, their pecan-studded sticky buns, their meaty hash topped with a quivering poached egg. Later in the day, the line grows, and the orders for chef-owner Tanya Holland’s famous chicken and waffles or oyster po’boy fly. This is when satisfaction arrives.

Brown Sugar Kitchen, the cookbook, stars 86 recipes for re-creating the restaurant’s favorites at home, from a thick Shrimp Gumbo to celebrated Macaroni & Cheese to a show-stopping Caramel Layer Cake with Brown Butter–Caramel Frosting. And these aren’t all stick-to-your-ribs recipes: Tanya’s interpretations of soul food star locally grown, seasonal produce, too, in crisp, creative salads such as Romaine with Spring Vegetables & Cucumber-Buttermilk Dressing and Summer Squash Succotash. Soul-food classics get a modern spin in the case of B-Side BBQ Braised Smoked Tofu with Roasted Eggplant and a side of Roasted Green Beans with Sesame-Seed Dressing. Straight-forward, unfussy but inspired, these are recipes you’ll turn to again and again.

Rich visual storytelling reveals the food and the people that made and make West Oakland what it is today. Brown Sugar Kitchen truly captures the sense—and flavor—of this richly textured and delicious place.

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2 thoughts on “Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland (Soul Food Cookbook, Southern Style Cookbook, Recipe Book)”

  1. Chicken & Waffles done right… This book is worth buying for the first 2 recipes that I’ve tried. We don’t live far from the Brown Sugar Kitchen here in Oakland, and love their chicken & waffles. This book has made up for the disappointment we experienced one day when we stopped by to do a Saturday morning pick-up for take out (rushing to the City to take care of some family business)… the BSK does not do take out on their wonderful chicken & waffles. Sigh. The craving has been hanging in the background since. So when I…

  2. As much fun to read as to cook from Sometimes a book just calls your name and this one has been calling mine often since it arrived. Not only is it a fun read, it’s fun to cook from as well. I have already made sixteen of the recipes and have marked several more to try soon. One of my families favorites was the Burnt Ends Chili. Both my son and husband said I could make this one again any time. There are so many wonderful sounding recipes in this book that really satisfy my southern roots. Some of the other recipes that we loved…

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