Monday, January 3, 2011

A Salute to Biff's Coffee Shop in Oakland

My family hails from Oakland, California, and besides the Denny's and Sambo's and IHOPs, there were two quintessential local coffee shops -- Dave's, and Biff's.

Both are now closed, Dave's lasted longer than Biff's, but both were iconic, with wonderful signage. Dave's was a classic rectanglular shaped building topped with a winking neon chef, and Biff's was a Googie masterpiece of flying saucer design with concentric circles and big blocky futuristic Flinstone lettering.

Dave's was an uptown diner, on 42nd and Broadway, near Rockridge, while Biff's was closer to downtown on 27th and Broadway.

Biff's had something on the menu that I will never forget, and still eat to this day. Coleslaw with peanuts. Nothing fancy, mind you, it was just coleslaw with peanuts, but the taste sensation caused me to start putting peanuts in all sorts of things -- macaroni salad with Beer Nuts is still a favorite of mine.

The 99 Cent Only Store frequently has bags of Dole cole slaw mix, and red cabbage, so I usually buy one of each. I like a lot of color to my coleslaw, and am creeped out by mayonnaise, so here is what I do. I shred a carrot, and add that to equal parts traditional cole slaw mix (cabbage, carrots) and red cabbage.

Then I add Ranch dressing (I like Riverton Valley Brand Light Ranch Dressing from the Dollar Store), and some balsamic vinegar, and some white wine vinegar. Add some black pepper, stir, refrigerate a while for the flavors to blend, then top with peanuts before serving.

Of course, if you want to add peanuts to classic coleslaw a la Biff's, that's mighty tasty too.

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