Friday, May 7, 2010

Bake Sale Betty's in Oakland

Several years ago, on a Sunday morning, my husband and I would go to the Farmer’s Market in Walnut Creek and have the pleasure of enjoying wonderful ginger and pear scones from Bake Sale Betty. Not to mention the Lamington’s, which are like an Australian zinger of sorts, made of sponge cake, strawberry jam, dipped in chocolate and covered in coconut. If you did not get there early, they were gone.  She set up her shop on old fashioned ironing boards and the crowds would follow.  With her quite distinctive bright blue wig and australian accent, she left an impression on her customers.  Great marketing plan "Betty"!

One day we went to the market and realized that Betty (aka - Alison Barakat) was no longer hitting the farmer’s market circuit but rather that she opened her first bakery in North Oakland's Temescal District.  Congratulations!

When you visit the bakery, the first thing you will notice is the unique dining tables outside – vintage ironing boards with stools. The second thing you will notice is lines out the door since customers come from near and far to enjoy all of the wonderful treats. The stand out sandwich is the legendary fried chicken sandwich that is crispy and piled high with spicy slaw on a soft roll. For me, the slaw is unbeatable with the tangy, spicy vinaigrette dressing and mandolin thin jalapenos that just dance around your mouth.

The ginger cookies are chewy and spicy with bits of crystallized ginger. I could easily eat two or three of these. The strawberry shortcake is fresh, fruity and will exceed all of your expectations. Be prepared to wait in line, but believe me, the wait is completely worth it. Visit today – you will enjoy every bite!

Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwich
(Recipe Source: San Francisco Chronicle)

Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
Kosher salt to taste
1 quart buttermilk


1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 jalapenos, seeded, cut in half and sliced crosswise
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 green cabbage, core and outer leaves removed, and very thinly sliced
Kosher salt


1 pound all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt + more to taste
11/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying

4 Acme Bakery torpedo rolls, sliced lengthwise

Instructions: Season chicken breasts with kosher salt. Let sit at least 5 minutes. Fill a wide, shallow non-reactive bowl or casserole dish with buttermilk. Add the chicken and soak in the refrigerator for 1 hour up to overnight.

Vinaigrette: Combine mustard, vinegar and salt in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended.

For the coleslaw: Macerate onions in red wine vinegar, and let sit at least 20 minutes. Remove onions and discard vinegar. Toss onions with jalapeno, parsley, cabbage and salt. Toss with vinaigrette until evenly coated.

To fry chicken: Pour vegetable oil into a large stockpot. Do not fill up more than halfway, or the oil could splatter. Bring oil up to 365°, using a digital thermometer/candy thermometer to monitor the heat. Prepare the the breading while waiting for oil to heat up.

In a wide shallow bowl, mix flour, cayenne, salt and pepper. Pull a chicken breast out of the buttermilk one by one, letting excess drip off, and dredge completely in flour. To create a thick crust, place in buttermilk and dredge in flour a second time. Do not drain or shake off excess buttermilk or flour during the breading process.

When the oil is at 365°, carefully place chicken pieces into oil one by one. Let it cook for a minute before disturbing chicken, then help it "swim" in the oil with tongs, until it is evenly cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towels. Season immediately with salt.

For the sandwich, pllace fried chicken breast on bottom of torpedo roll or other soft roll and top generously with coleslaw.

Original location:
5098 Telegraph Ave, Oakland

New Location:
2228 Broadway Ave, Oakland


  1. OMG - I absolutely love this place. You hit the nail on the head. Thanks for finding the recipe for the chicken sandwich - a must make.

  2. That's my standard meal on the plane ride back to Philadelphia. Spicy slaw on the side to be added on the plane (prevents sogginess).

  3. Now that is how I would like to eat fried chicken!
    That looks wonderful. And making a sandwich out of it makes for a more refreshing, less heavy summer meal. Great idea! Thank you.


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